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A common enemy

Posted on September 19, 2013 by

[Over the coming months we aim to bring you the breadth and depth of the Yes vote under our “Perspectives” tag, because there’s no such thing as a “typical” Yes supporter. Yesterday we heard from 15-year-old Saffron Dickson. Today it’s the turn of one of the many English people living in Scotland who want out of the UK too.]

I saw a poll last week that gave the Yes campaign for an independent Scotland a 1% lead. The last time I looked, the No camp had had it by a country mile. Is this phenomenal turnaround any kind of surprise? Not in the slightest.

In an era of such abject political mediocrity, Alex Salmond stands out like a giant redwood among a field of saplings. It’s hard to imagine how far behind he would have to be for the No campaign to feel truly confident of success. A few weeks before the last Scottish Elections he was 20 points adrift, but when the ballots were counted he won by a country mile.


I’m no kind of betting man, but if I was, it would be a no-brainer as to where punt my cash. Not only is Salmond the standout politician of his generation in terms of getting ballots into boxes, the lineup who are going try to take him down aren’t even close to being in the same league. All of which makes it seem more than likely that Scotland will be its own nation in a year’s time.

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve now spent a third of my life up here as a “white settler”. I’m now a well and truly established immigrant. My English roots, though, don’t deny me the chance to have a vote on Scotland’s future and, unless something changes in a big way, that vote is almost certainly going to be Yes.

Why? I guess when you’ve lived most of your life down in England it makes it easy to appreciate all the stuff that’s so much better up here. A few years ago my dad wound up in a Wigan hospital, having had a stroke. I couldn’t believe the state of the place when I went to see him. When compared to hospitals up here, it was sub-third-world.

Whenever I give presentations in English schools they seem like peeling, dismal places when compared to schools up here. There’s less traffic, you can see the stars in the sky, you can park your car with worrying about it getting nicked or set on fire.

It seems like more and more people down south are starting to notice all this stuff. They’re picking up on the fact that whenever the news carries a story about yet another NHS crisis or some horrendous abuse in a private-equity-owned chain of children’s homes, it’s always suffixed by the statement “… in England and Wales”.

Whenever we travel south, we get asked questions like “How come you lot get free prescriptions and free university tuition and free care for the elderly?” Why indeed? I can’t pretend to have many of the answers, but it’s pretty damn crystal clear that the railroad is much better run once you find yourself north of Gretna Green.

As a born and bred Lancastrian, I have an instinctive loathing of the South East of England and all who sail in her. My formative years in the 70s and 80s saw the North was sent to hell in a handcart, and no-one in London seemed to give a damn.

In fact, they seemed to find the whole thing amusing. I spent many an afternoon penned into the away sections of Stamford Bridge or White Hart Lane or Upton Park being spat on by hordes of leering Cockneys, every one of whom had made a point of bringing a £20 note to the game to wave in our faces.

“… Hey rock’n’roll… Scousers on the dole…”

How hilarious. But for me this is the biggest difference. In many ways, Dumfries & Galloway is every much of a backwater up here as Lancashire is down there. The difference is that the government in Edinburgh can’t afford to ignore us the way that Northerners are ignored by Westminster.

We’re a tiny independent charity based in a small, sleepy town and yet it’s always been possible to reach those in power. Over the years we’ve been invited to give the view from the frontline to Parliamentary Committees four times. Many politicians have also come down to see us to get a pavement level view of what’s going down.

In our time we’ve played host to the First Minister, two party leaders, the Education Minister and the Parliament’s Presiding Officer. This would never happen in a million years in England. It’s the beauty of living in a country of five million. Things are more connected, easier to run properly, and it’s more possible to make your voice heard.

So a life-long contempt for the leafy suburbs of Surrey and all those insufferable Etonians in the shining towers of the City and the bloated billionaires of Belgravia is one big reason for sticking up two fingers in a southerly direction and putting my cross in the Yes box.

But there’s no point in pretending that there won’t be a healthy amount of self-interest in my Yes vote. Salmond is smart enough and streetwise enough to make this place rock over the coming years. Even before I came up here to live, I’d always say I was from Scotland when travelling around the world. Say ‘England’ and most people think ‘London’ and hate your guts. Say ‘Scotland’ and a big grin appears on their faces.

(You only need to look at the different experiences that English and Scottish fans have when they travel abroad. When the English come to town, every door is locked, every bar is closed and lines of riot police complete with snarling dogs represent the nearest thing there is to a welcoming committee. When the Scots hit town everyone takes to the streets for party time.)

Just imagine how the French will be. They’ll be rubbing their hands in glee at the prospect of an independent Scotland. Imagine how much pleasure it’ll give to those in the corridors of power in Paris to help make Scotland boom at the expense of London.

And the French won’t be alone. Ever since Maggie rubbed our European neighbours up the wrong way back in the day, there are many in Europe who will relish the chance at getting some revenge served cold on the arrogant public school boys of Whitehall.

Ever noticed what they play when there’s a huge police funeral in Philadelphia or Baltimore? Bagpipes. All over the world there’s a fondness for Scotland. Sometimes it’s down to watching ‘Braveheart’ or ‘Whisky Galore’ or ‘Rob Roy’. Sometimes it’s down to having a surname beginning with Mac. There are a tonne of reasons and you can bet your bottom dollar that Alex Salmond will exploit every single last one of them.

I gather that he has all kinds of cunning tax plans up his sleeve ready and waiting for the day when the cord is cut. Scotland will have Corporation Tax as low if not lower than any in Europe. And here’s where he’ll surely hit the ball out of the park: Over the next fifty years, most of the money in the world will continue to flow out East. Let’s imagine a Chinese mogul taking a look around Europe to find the best place to site his new assembly plant complete with hundreds of jobs.

First up, he’ll compile a list of the places with the lowest tax regimes and Scotland will be up there at the top. And then he’ll have a little smile to himself. The odds are that like most East Asians, two of his most favourite things in life will be whisky and golf. So he’ll create a mental picture of his regular visits to his new assembly plant:

A flight into Edinburgh. An easy ride out to a big pile of a house in the hills where the air is a trillion times less polluted that his home air in Shanghai. He’ll picture sipping an old malt in front of a stacked up log fire. He’ll picture himself striding down the 17th at St Andrews like Tiger Woods. He’ll picture taking photos of his son graduating from Edinburgh University. And all the other names will soon be crossed off the list.

It’s ironic. When it came to doing the very dirtiest of the Empire’s work, the Scots were always front and centre. A majority of estate managers in the slave plantations of the West Indies spoke with a Scottish twang. History’s two greatest ever drug dealers who managed to get the nation of China hopelessly hooked on opium were Jardine and Mathieson, fine Scotsmen both.

But for one reason or another, this somewhat uncomfortable fact seems to have been quietly airbrushed from history. The blame for all the bad stuff we Brits have done over the years now lies squarely in London whilst the Scots are seen as all nice and cuddly and blameless. Well, no-one is complaining up here.

So in my very humble opinion, a Scotland with Alex Salmond at the helm will be a place that’ll boom and keep on booming. Quiet roads, well-educated people, low crime, clean air, whisky and golf courses and all the sweeteners in the world for any business wanting to locate here. London will hate it and no doubt there’ll be those who will dream of going back to the good old days and sending the army up to Carlisle.

But will London suffer? Not really. The City of London will still launder cash for any crook with a suitcase full of it. Tourists will still flock in to buy replica models of Big Ben made in China. Russian billionaires will still pay tens of millions for their mansions in Hampstead complete with razor wire and underground cinemas and pools. And this is the point at which my emotions become mixed.

London and the South East will not pay the price for a booming Scotland. London and the South east will become a permanent gated community where the immigrants work for buttons and the poor are despised and the super-rich are fawned over and pampered. The Express and the Daily Mail will have the same front page every other day where they report yet anther 10% increase in London property prices with breathless excitement.

(The headlines on the in-between days will be cancer and Diana, of course.)

Sadly the price will be paid yet again by the North of England with its worthless minority of Labour MPs who will become yesterday’s men once an independent Scotland deprives them of the votes they need to stand a chance of ever holding power again. What chance will Lancashire, Yorkshire, Humberside or Tyneside have of attracting that new Chinese assembly plant and all the jobs that go with it? None.

Competing with a booming, low tax Scotland will be completely impossible. And all the kids of the north who do well in school and university will start to get on the bus and head north instead of south to seek their futures in the new Caledonia.

For all of us who live up here, the future looks pretty damn good. I only hope that the price won’t have to be paid by the North of England. When can we move the border?

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124 to “A common enemy”

  1. Desimond says:

    Excellent post Mark, bravo

  2. DMyers says:

    A great piece.  The only thing I take issue with is the fact that Labour doesn’t depend upon Scottish votes for power at Westminster.  If England votes Labour, there’s a Labour government; if it votes Tory, there is a Tory government. 

  3. HandandShrimp says:

    I wonder if Labour will give any guarantees on the Royal Mail?

  4. gavin lessells says:

    Well done Rev!
    Why, I ask myself are there people high in the Independence movement who do not approve of your blog? Beats me!

  5. iain taylor (not that one) says:

    Good stuff. 

  6. AnneDon says:

    IntEresting piece. I hope an independent Scotland won’t be quite as selfish as this piece suggests! 
    As I’ve said before, the tax rate is almost irrelevant unless it is collected. 

  7. Ray says:

    Some excellent points, and very positive to boot! Good stuff Mark.

  8. Morag says:

    Anne, I don’t see where this piece is suggesting Scotland will be “selfish”.  Is it selfish to try to run your economy to maximise benefit for your own citizens?  It’s not as if everybody else isn’t doing exactly the same thing.  I’m quite sure our foreign aid will be commensurate with our international responsibilities.  However, giving free handouts to other countries by reducing our own competitiveness would be an absolutely ridiculous strategy.

  9. Macart says:

    A cracking piece Mr Frankland. Like DMyers has already pointed out though, the only piece of nitpickery would be the Labour vote in England. I believe the Scottish contingent have only been required three times in the past century to make that difference. England will get exactly the parliament it votes for just as all the nation partners have gotten exactly the government England has voted for in the past. Its up to Labour London to make that happen.
    Meanwhilst, I agree a few years down the track we should all be sipping a beer on the beach at Mossyard, enjoying the view across the Solway safe in the knowledge our pensions are safe and our kids have jobs.

  10. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    Good article Mark. Can I direct you to this link which has a 45page BorderLands report commissioned by the Association of NorthEast Councils [July 2013]
    The conclusions P37-40 are well worth a read and you have echoed the sentiments expressed. I do think that Alex Salmond is well aware of the NE/NW English border counties concerns and I do hope they embrace our Independence to their and our advantage.

  11. Murray McCallum says:

    Mark, I like the theme of you piece and your contrast between north and south in areas where the Scottish Parliament has used its powers to make a difference. I also feel your cockney footballing alienation having been in with the Evertonians at White Hart Lane in the late 1980s – oh the joys of the barbed wire pen.
    Afraid I don’t share your view on low corp tax strategy for Scotland, but that’s democracy and the important thing is it will be people living in Scotland making these important decision.

  12. Mosstrooper says:

    When did looking after your own become selfish?
    We, i.e. Scotland, have paid and paid royally for decade upon decade and now
    when  we have the chance to spend on ourselves you accuse us of being selfish.
    The Scottish cringe in full flow. Go and wring your hands to the Bitter Together mob. 
    I for one am having none of it.

  13. rabb says:

    Excellent piece Mark.
    Interestingly I was talking to an English colleague this morning who resides in Northumberland.
    The spin from the media down their is terrible. Both himself & an NI colleague for that matter are being told that the Scots are flatly rejecting independence and that it simply won’t happen. Could this be a ploy to stop folk from south of the border flocking into Scotland while they can by pretending it’s a non starter?

    I asked him to ask everyone in the office how they intended to vote; every one to a man said Yes. He looked genuinely bemused. The penny did drop though.
    He’s gone home now considering a move to Glasgow before the referendum 🙂
    As the Swinney’s, Sturgeon’s, Harvie’s & eventually Salmond become more prominent in the debate the groundswell will overwhelm the unionst campaign.
    Patrick Harvie & the greens MUST be given a more prominent voice in the debate. Patrick’s contribution on the big debate alone was refreshing and inspiring. I can see why the MSM have been keen to stifle the Scottish Greens input.
    It’s happening people, the game is well and truly on!!

  14. Linda's Back says:

    A very inspirational article in sharp contrast to the tired arguments of Michael Kelly in to-day’s Hootsman

  15. Jimbo says:

    “I saw a poll last week that gave the Yes campaign for an independent Scotland a 1% lead. The last time I looked, the No camp had had it by a country mile.”
    I don’t believe these polls that give the NO camp such a massive lead. I place no credence in them whatsoever. It is my opinion that they are purposely skewed on behalf of those people with a vested interest in keeping Scotland within the union. 
    Let’s not forget – When you sign up to take part in polls, one of the first things the polling companies ask for is what political party/parties you vote for/have voted for previously/support/are a member of. Having pre-knowledge of the political leanings of their polling subjects it would not be too difficult to get the answer their (Unionist) client wants to hear. 

  16. david says:

    i was passing unison memebers (around 8 to 10 of them ) this morning on my way to a job. there were picketing outside stirling council offices all wearing their unison jackets. before i could stop myself i shouted out the window ” indepndence, vote independence”. pretty loud, i was a little surprised that every one of those guys gave me a thumbs up.  im almost convinced yes shall win this referendum by a big majority

  17. Morag says:

    Could this be a ploy to stop folk from south of the border flocking into Scotland while they can by pretending it’s a non starter?
    I doubt it.  People will still be able to move here from England after a Yes vote, and indeed after actual independence 18 months later.  EU freedom of movement and all that.
    I think it’s denialism.  They don’t want to think about the consequences, so they deny the possibility that it will happen.  More cynically, if they tell the punters that it won’t happen, its stops the punters thinking through the consequences for themselves.

  18. ` says:

    My view is we could be a worldwide hub,perhaps in the line of Singapore,who is extremely business orientated. They know how to draw business and prosper.
    I see 2 major deep water ports in Scotland, one Glasgow and the other Edinburgh or Dundee, major warehouses being here to feed the the USA/ Americas, the other Europe and more. A hub of activity, creative technology and pharmaceuticals.
    A new vibrant and confident, socially country will emerge. No more Westminster induced “Scottish cringe “. A new nation making it’s own luck and prosperity, that is how I see the possibilities of a Free and exciting Scotland, it is what Ithink we should aspire to.
    Of course then there are our assets, the cream on the cake, what is not to like!!

  19. Doug Daniel says:

    Great piece by Mark. I’m quite hopeful that his one real note of caution – the north of England finding itself cast into the wilderness – won’t come to fruition, as authorities in the north of England are already looking into ways in which they could take advantage of Scottish independence by increasing cooperation with the Scottish Government. This already happens in some respects – when I worked offshore for a few months in 2011, there were far more North-East England accents than North-East Scotland ones.
    If Scotland truly becomes the success we all think it will be, then there’s absolutely nothing stopping companies in the north of England looking towards Scotland as their main target market, rather than the south. The Øresund region in Scandinavia – effectively Zealand in Denmark and Scania in Sweden – is very closely integrated, despite being in two different countries. They even have the barriers of different currencies and slightly different languages, which Scotland and the north of England won’t have. There’s no reason at all why something similar shouldn’t happen around the Scotland-England border.
    Scotland can’t help the north of England from within the union, but there’s a very good chance it can do so outside of it. We may not be able to take them with us, but we can certainly become a supportive and reliable friend.
    And who knows, maybe one day we’ll see two places at the UN marked North England and South England? Or maybe Northumbria and TaxAvoidanceLand?

  20. Tris says:

    Great read, Mark. Thank you.

  21. Scarlett says:

    Interesting viewpoint, but I also do not share a desire for a ‘race to the bottom’ in the shape of low corporation tax. Lets stop barking up that failed neo-liberal tree. 40 years of analysis has failed to prove the Laffer theory that low tax results in higher state revenue. After all corporation tax in Germany is 30%. I personally would not like to see the tired ‘trickle up’ policies of old, visited on a fresh, shiny new Scotland. We can do better.

  22. Albalha says:

    It’s interesting to hear a range of views, of course we will all have our own visions of Scotland after a YES vote, that’s the debate I’m looking forward to.
    We’re not there yet. @Rabb I wholeheartedly agree with you re Patrick Harvie and others like him who’re not seen as people with a direct investment in the outcome.

  23. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Excellent article Mark.
    I think everyone who reads this article can tell that it is truly written from the heart, there is no pretence in what you say here. As someone who has lived abroad and in London I can back you up 100% on what you say about how Scots are welcomed and treated. I’m not talking about this from a footballing sense but an everyday sense. The minute I said I was from Scotland when I lived in Hong Kong the faces of people lit up and smiles appeared from ‘ear to ear.’ Friends I had who were English never experienced the same level of warmth. In London it was the reverse. Mention you were from Scotland and you were quite often sneered upon, mind you I think the accent kind of gave it away as well. :D:

  24. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @ Rabb – Appearing on stage at Calton Hill ‘Patrick Harvie & The Jelly Tots’

  25. Simon says:

    As a southern Englander living in Scotland I agree with this piece almost entirely.

  26. david says:

    i spent a year in london and never experienced any anti scots

  27. DougieDouglas says:

    Gavin Lessells
    The high heid yins are looking towards a ‘steady as she goes’ approach.  Rev has created something unique and challenging and they very simply don’t need to be seen to be supporting his work.  In private they will be enjoying the output here as much as the next man but they must go with the safely-safely approach.  
    ‘No’ and The MSM are desperately trying to paint Rev as a bonafide nutter and are throwing mud, it isn’t sticking as it baseless but in a world where perception is all the ‘management’ are keeping their distance ‘just in case’.
    Wings in, my opinion, is a powerful force, more casual than Newsnet but with far bigger balls; it serves up truths every day, highlighting the blatant and concerted media bias  – the leadership don’t want to and can’t be seen to be too close to Wings as it will be portrayed as them supporting a fringe blog, run by a nutter,(sorry Rev) who is paranoid about the media and they will, by extension, be portrayed as the same.
    I think every thing is travelling just swimmingly: the long run-up to the referendum is looking savyier by the month, Rev and NNS are chipping away, polls are balancing and the white paper has not even been released.  If i were in the No campaign I’d be bricking it – the wheels are coming off!

  28. Morag says:

    I also do not share a desire for a ‘race to the bottom’ in the shape of low corporation tax.
    You’re just accepting the nay-sayers’ rhetoric there.  Corporation tax is only one lever in a whole portfolio of tax-raising powers and fiscal stimuli.  It’s not what one does with a single tax that makes a country “neo-liberal” or not, whatever that means, it’s the aggregate of the entire basket of taxes and regulations.
    If an economic policy attracts good quality jobs leading to a high standard of living, then I for one am not going to quibble about the minutiae of how it does it.

  29. Albalha says:

    And forgot to add, I’m not sure how much we learn, really, from the chants at football matches.
    According to large swathes of Scottish fans people in Dundee suffer from a severe shortage of footwear and soap.

  30. Morag says:

    Wings, a fringe blog run by a nutter?  Well, I’m going to the big Yes Scotland bash in Galashiels tomorrow night in my Wings sweatshirt, and we’ll see who complains.

    I’ve been here almost since day 1 and I like it here and I’m not about to change my mind because a few wet nats are too PC for their own good.

  31. seoc says:

    Enjoyable read Mark, although the blarney detecting meter was rising steeply.
    We can be clannish folk at tribal level, but we have respectful regard for the person at our everyday macro level.
    I hope you and yours continue to find more of the enjoyable same.

  32. Andy-B says:

    Talking Rev of Alex Salmond, being a Giant Redwood, the First Minister was brilliant at FMQ’s today at Holyrood.
    The gallery was jam packed with spectators who saw Mr Salmond, lay into Jackie (two dinners Baillie) about the bedroom tax after she had the audacity to ask why hadnt more cash been pumped into help the needy.
    Alex then went on to box Johann Lamonts ears when she tried to fudge the figures from the Institue of Fiscal Studies.
    Finally Alex tore a strip of Ruth Davidson for trying to read selective chapters from the IFS and OBR reports.
    When asked to read the whole reports chapter instead of a selective paragraph the Tory kickboxer received a knockout blow when she refused to do so.
    FMQ’s today was striking blow for sanity, justice and surely, independence.
    Alex finished with a resounding conformation to renationalise the Royal Mail north of the border after independence. 

  33. Marcia says:

    Talking of Dundee here is a video of yesterday’s Yes campaign activities, alas I couldn’t make it.

  34. Jamie Arriere says:

    Fascinating to read a heart-warming appraisal of Alex Salmond from an Englishman, and you are spot on the money as to his effect on the move towards independence. As a nationalist for many years/decades hoping for a SNP government/administration, there was a fear that they may be just as inept in power as any of the other parties – after all government ain’t always easy and they’re just politicians after all. However, the 2007 SNP minority government was an absolute masterclass in co-operative confident and inclusive management of the country, not needing a coalition but still accommodating objections of the other parties, improving the relations with local government, dealing with a hostile media, when they could be voted down at any time.
    Those four years above all, convinced me that Holyrood gets it right most if not all the time – the PR system works (wouldn’t have Patrick Harvie & Margo without it) ; the SNP get it right and reflect the national values, hence the majority govt in 2011, and the natural extension of this is independence. Compare and contrast with Westminster with gross economic incompetence, corrupt MPs/police/newspapers, business as usual in the City of London (remember the last industry that brought down a government ie coal, the Tories went back and destroyed it!), demonising the poor & the immigrants, PFI, I could go on ad infinitum.
    I do feel for the North of England (my gran was from Yorkshire) but they are big enough and hard enough to shout for their own cause – maybe a Northern League party like in Italy would be a solution, if Yorkshire & Lancashire could ever coalesce. Too many years of voting Labour and watching them turn into Red Tories and vanish into ermine has done for them I’m afraid. Besides there are more of them than us. They are more than welcome to join us.

  35. Albalha says:

    Thanks for that, I know Jimmy Black as it happens. I currently live in Glasgow however, but I reckon Dundee and Angus will deliver a resounding YES.

  36. Murray McCallum says:

    I also do not share a desire for a ‘race to the bottom’ in the shape of low corporation tax.
    You’re just accepting the nay-sayers’ rhetoric there. 
    I personally think Scarlett is simply saying what a lot of people in the Yes camp believe. I don’t care what the No to Scotland campaign says.
    While I think Scotland can set a competitive corp tax rate (and more importantly collect it) I would rather companies located here for longer term reasons, e.g. skilled and educated workforce, education and quality of life, stable democracy, more consistent and longer term government business strategies, etc

  37. jim mitchell says:

    How interesting that an Englishman’s view of the South East England/London is, if anything, even more distrustful than that of some of us Scots.
    We tend to make it clear that we tend, usually, to speak in terms of political decisions, here we have a view point that is more personal in feeling.

  38. Karamu says:

    A facebook friend has basically asked me to convince him with “cold, hard facts”. Recommendations for what to share with him??

  39. Albalha says:

    Point them in the direction of Business for Scotland, Ivan McKee also made an interesting post on the last thread about the relative success of small nations over mid size ones.
    And then a multitude of articles here, the Q and A on YES Scotland, blogs etc.

  40. HandandShrimp says:

    A facebook friend has basically asked me to convince him with “cold, hard facts”. Recommendations for what to share with him??
    A skelp across the side of the heid with a frozen side of Aberdeen Angus with the words “this isn’t the only one we have either”? 

  41. DougieDouglas says:

    I agree wholeheartedly – we want businesses to locate i Scotland for the reasons you outline but we are also uniquely positioned.
    Perhaps the greatest gift the English have given us is the quashing of our native languages and the imposition of theirs.  As native speakers of this, ‘the language of the world’ we are ,like England, a gateway location for the European market. If we have marginally lower corporation tax than RUK, in addition to the benefits you outline, we will become the location of choice for many companies.
    RUK would not and could not race to the bottom with lower rates, they are supporting an economy 10 times larger.  Attracting 100 employers employing 500 people each would make a massive difference in Scotland but would have a small effect RUK.  A marginal decrease in corporation tax is a smart move (in unison with the promotion of the true benefits of doing business in Scotland).

  42. ` says:

    I second other comments here,Alex Salmond WAS brilliant in today’s FQ’s, he showed just why other politicians fear him. He is formidable  even more so when he rises to the occasion. None could touch him.
    I am very happy to have him on our side ( and us on his ), 

  43. Scarlett says:

    I’m not accepting anyone’s rhetoric, I really do not believe that lower corporation tax is in Scotland’s interest, as I don’t believe it brings in high quality jobs. The natural conclusion of the argument can be seen in the Export Processing Zones in the developing world. They bring in zero tax to the host country, although they do provide lots of insecure jobs paying almost enough to live on.
    I think we need to be encouraging corporate social responsibility, where corporations want to contribute their fair share to the community they operate in, not facilitate a global shop front for unscrupulous corporations to hunt out the best deal.

  44. Robert Kerr says:

    It is not just the North that has concerns. I have a good friend in the Midlands who thinks our referendum is utterly unfair. When (not if ) Scotland’s subsidies to/for London are gone the Midlands shall pay more and there is nothing they can do about it.
    The eyes of the World really are on us. I doubt the English Establishment can comprehend how much the rest of Humanity despise them and their greed and simple badness.
    Hail Alba

  45. proudscot says:

    Superb article, Mr.Frankland. You cover the financial and political advantages of being an independent country very well. On the emotional side ot the debate, I have personally experience the immediate “switch on” of warmth when abroad, whenever I have politely corrected the innocent assumption that I was “English” or “from England”, by stating that I am Scottish. It is I agree somewhat ironic that many inhabitants of former British colonies, which were administered by Scottish bureaucrats and militarily occupied by bayonets often wielded by kilted soldiers, seem not to resent this in the modern era, but instead equate the Union Flag with Britain/England, and the oppression that went hand in hand with the “Butcher’s Apron” banner!

  46. kininvie says:

    One of the things that excites me about the debate – quite apart from the result – is that it is obviously pushing many people to take more of an interest in politics, and to think about each other’s views. I think this is particularly so in the Yes camp, where we have quite a mongrel coalition. It’s all very much to the good of our democracy.
    What is needed, urgently, is a thorough clean-out of local councils, where the same characters have often been inhabiting their seats for years, and playing with taxpayers money by doing down the other side, rather than getting on with looking after their wards. And I don’t think it’s just Labour councils that are to blame –
    So I hope that the invigoration of Scottish politics and the good example set by Holyrood will encourage people to set about turning their local authorities into a force for the good, rather than sinecures for the usual types.

  47. Morag says:

    Has anyone noticed Derek Bateman’s new blog post?

    This is getting kind of interesting.

  48. John MacIntyre OBE says:

    A ringing endorsement of the benefits to Scotland of being part of the United Kingdom and confirmation of all that will be lost by following Alex Salmond and his Project Vanity down the dead-end road to nowhere. The only puzzle is why the account appears on the Wings Over Scotland website? The case that the account makes for a “NO” vote is such that I would have expected it to have pride of place on the Better Together website.

  49. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Marcia – Thanks for the link to the YouTube vid of the Yes supporters in Dundee. It was actually quite well done and a joy to watch. However I was drawn to another video from 2012 about the visit of the Dali Lama and some probing questions from Brian Taylor to Ken MacIntosh regarding a totally untrue snub of the Dali Lama by the Dundee Lord Provost.
    Was I dreaming when I heard Michael Moore say ‘Alex Salmond whould rather talk to the Chinese than the Dali Lama’ Are there no depths of lies that these people will stoop to, in order to stop sinking into the midden?

  50. Davy says:

    Nice article Mark, I agree about the north of England being woefully ignored by Westminster right now and after independence, but they will have to grow a set of balls and take Westminster on like we did. If they dont like the choice of political parties they have just now, then they will have to find new ones.
    And I have to agree with “Andy-B”, our First Minster really gave the opposition a pounding today, with Ruth Davidson & Jackie Baillie being shown for the lying bitches they are, great stuff.
    Vote YES, Vote Scotland.

  51. Brian Ritchie says:

    Fine article Mark.  I appreciate what you say.  As a Yorkie I’m now approaching half a lifetime in this beautiful land.  I’m not normally a betting man either, but I have money on the 4:1 odds for a YES vote! 😀

  52. Morag says:

    I really need to figure out how to put some money on Yes at these odds.  The trouble is, I’ve never put a bet on in my life and don’t actually know how!

  53. Davy says:

    Yoh ‘OBE’, reading your comment makes me think the “Syrup of Figs” is taking effect, it makes no sense is your script upside down.
    Hail Alba.

  54. Brian Ritchie says:

    Morag, you can do it online.  I used Paddypower.  You just deposit funds then place your bet. 😉

  55. benarmine says:

    Very good article Mark, thanks. Re the Dundee Law, I’d never heard anything about that or would have been there. Must dig deeper for information …

  56. Morag says:

    Davy, you can do it man.  We’re all capable of it.  Don’t weaken now.  I-G-N-O-R-E  T-H-E  T-R-O-L-L.

  57. Albalha says:

    Betting very easy, just go onto a bookies and they’ll help, think they’re always quite bemused by the political better. My best win was in 1992, 5-1, the only good thing to come out of it, just had a hunch Kinnock wasn’t going to do it.
    On the Bateman blog seems some folks still doubt it’s him, even on the blog, hey ho.

  58. John Dickson says:

    O/T , well nearly. I see the “Scottish Editors” of the torygraph have been very busy yesterday. No less than around 10 scaremongering stories with no comments allowed on the ones you really want to comment on.

  59. faolie says:

    Good stuff Mark. And TBH, I’ve often thought the border should be shifted a wee bit south. Bit of annexisation wouldn’t hurt, and sounds like Westminster wouldn’t notice or care anyway.
    Seriously though, I think that the moves by the councils in the NoE to ascertain how they could trade with an independent Scotland is far-sighted of them. It would be great if the northern counties could benefit from independence too (and for these people that think voting No shows a solidarity with the people of the NoE, perhaps they might be shown that voting No does nothing for them but voting Yes might actually help their, er, ‘British’ compatriots)

  60. creigs1707repeal says:

    Brilliant Mark. A booming economy, stars, fresh air, whisky and the 17th hole at St Andrews. What’s not to like? I do, however, share your concern for the North of England (and Wales). I have family in both. My only hope is that a booming Scotland will have a knock-on effect to these poorer parts of the UK. My hope also is that a socially-just, booming Scotland will serve as a beacon to the North of England; that they will see how things COULD and SHOULD be done that they will rise up en-masse and sort the Westminster system once and for all.
    Once again, a brilliant, inspirational piece that all doubters should read.
    YES Scotland.

  61. Ken Johnston says:

    Welcome, OBE.
    You have found another site to spread your wisdom on.
    Only, and I mean this kindly, don’t stay too long. You do get kind of boring after a while. Back to the Herald where the editors appreciate you, even if few others do.

  62. faolie says:

    O/T, the third video from The Fear Factor is out today:

  63. Morag says:

    It’s delusional to think that by staying in the union we can do anything meaningful for people in Wales or the north of England.  Sharing their pain isn’t going to help them and that’s all we could do.  As an independent country, who knows, but it’s worth a shot!

  64. Davy says:

    Ok Morag, I will try very hard to ignore the obe troll, but he does make a very easy target, I mean I like shooting shit fin it comes in lumps that size.
    But I will try harder !!!!

  65. Dcanmore says:

    You could start with Scotland’s budget from Westminster to run its public services stands at £30bn (and will be cut further in future), with £29bn of Scotland’s money retained by Westminster and that is not including £billions generated by oil and gas (£10.4bn in 2011-12) of which Scotland never sees. So if Scotland were to become independent next year its available revenue will more than double because we got rid of the middle man.

  66. Desimond says:

    OT..just me or am I missing something or was this Parliament taking the piss?

    Labour’s Jackie Baillie rises to her feet accompanied by a massive cheer

  67. .Tattiehowker says:

    Yes and when a large international airport is created near Stirling with road rail and air links not only to the rest of this island and  Europe but through out the world ,this will show how the monopoly of the  British Airport Authority stifled air travel to and from Scotland,.  this was no accident. It would be a laugh if “due to the traffic going to Scotland ” they had to consider closing a runway at Heathrow  .

  68. chalks says:

    The common weal doesn’t promote low corporation tax?
    To be perfectly honest, I don’t agree with low corporation tax, corporations are good, but you can’t have them controlling your economy, local businesses aren’t corporations.
    Local businesses are better for the economy than global corporations.  They make Scotland more unique and valuable for exporting.  Corporations do not.

  69. chalks says:

    As for what happens to England, THAT is up to them, which is how they like it.  It’s up to a new party to rise from the ashes of the union and reclaim the Labour vote, either that or england will be broken up into states where areas are devolved….

  70. Morag says:

    Chalks, small local businesses pay corporation tax too.  Or I certainly did when I was a small local business in a village in England.

  71. chalks says:

    Come on Morag, the main point of lowering Corporation Tax is to entice the multi-nationals into setting up shop in your country.

  72. Morag says:

    And that’s a bad thing because…?

  73. Colin Dunn says:

    @ Scarlett says:
    ” . . I also do not share a desire for a ‘race to the bottom’ in the shape of low corporation tax.”
    I’m not necessarily worried about lower corporation tax as long as it’s all gathered. Between 2004 and 2011 HMRC failed to collect £230Billion+ in UK taxes. If Scotland can ensure all taxes are collected, then we can have our cake and eat it too.

  74. scottish_skier says:

    Chalks, small local businesses pay corporation tax too.  Or I certainly did when I was a small local business in a village in England.
    (co-founder of SME with 12 staff now and growing).

  75. Eddie says:

    Mark, Northumberland wanted to join Scotland over 1000 years ago and it is welcome to ask again.  There would be nothing akin to it in all of history between Scotland and England, that a large portion of it’s ignored and disgruntled citizens ask another nation to accept them and the land they stand on.  How’s that for sticking two fingers up to London and the South East?

  76. muttley79 says:

    And that’s a bad thing because…?
    Do you think Amazon are a good employer?

  77. Morag says:

    Let’s see if they want to, first.  Any more than the Shetland people want to go and join Norway.  Or join England.  Or become completely independent.  Or whatever, it’s all a bit hazy.
    In fact, why don’t both sides stop playing politics with other people’s territorial alliegences and let them articulat them for themselves?

  78. Gordon Smith says:

    I would like to think that r’UK and principally the northern parts, would help form and continue  the new BORDERLANDS initiative. Since it is clear the North of England interests come from even further North , not South.

  79. Marcia says:

    That was another story manufactured by the opposition. The Lord Provost had a family funeral at the time of his visit.

  80. Morag says:

    Amazon are a bunch of sharks.  And here. I speak as an author not as an employee.  However, hard cases make bad law.

  81. Caroline Corfield says:

    speaking with my North East of England hat on, I think independence will be a a big shock to Westminster, and since most people in London consider the English outside of it’s greater area not quite the same kind of English as them, despite the rest of England thinking otherwise, it may well make them sit up and take notice of what is happening on the periphery of England. The population of England is diverse, and has many strong regional identities, some even bordering on national identities but at the moment they do all still believe they are English and in England, it would be bad for London and the SE if they began to think differently, especially as things improve in Scotland after independence. Hence, I believe there will be lip service to regional autonomy, maybe to the county councils, but in the North East in my experience the county councils do work together if it is mutually beneficial, and there is a history here of doing things for themselves. It could run away before anyone notices. It’d be nice to think that it would result in the purging of the unelected second house of flunkies and floosies, and a written constitution but it seems at the moment they are wedded to their feudal roots.

  82. creigs1707repeal says:

    OBE – you might get away with your trolling pish elsewhere in the Forums of the Unionist Press but it won’t wash here. You have no vote in the Referendum next year so you can take your anti-Salmond bile back to bloody Woking. Better still – turn up in Edinburgh on Saturday and see how your argument fairs. I’d pay to see that.

  83. Onwards says:

    Interesting the comparisons with Singapore, and good point about the potential for deep water ports.

    It would be pretty cool to one day see a skyline like that in Glasgow’s business district.

    Don’t see anything wrong with trying to attract business with low tax, or subsidised energy costs. Unlike Germany, or even the South East, we are not geographically at the heart of Europe, or with a huge population – so you need some advantages to compete.

  84. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I’ve just found this over on Kiltr.
    I think it makes as goods an argument for voting YES on 18th September next year as any I’ve seen.

  85. Robert Louis says:

    A nice article.  
    What is truly exciting for an independent Scotland, as a NEW independent nation of the world, is that there is a real opportunity to try to get things right. To avoid ALL the nonsense and hubris of Londinium.  To make tax work, to make it simpler for people AND for business.  To create an equitable society, where the expectation is to give back, as much as you take, where people contribute and see contributing in a positive light.  This is what can be done in a relatively small country, rich in natural resources, with a highly educated population.  We can do it.
    It is a no-brainer.
    Right now, Scottish taxpayers are funding major infrastructure projects in London, and will pay several billions in the next few years for a high speed rail line between London and Birmingham, which most Scots will never see, never mind actually use.  Such is the nonsense of this bankrupted corrupted union taking our oil wealth and squandering it on the likes of the London orbital M25, or the St.Pancras re-generation, or the re-generation of east London, or updating London’s sewers.
    Then there is the ultimate symbol of Westminster waste and stupidity, Trident.  A country of five million people has NO freaking need for four nuclear submarines armed with ballistic nuclear missiles.  It is an obscenity.
    Anybody who cannot see that Scotland and Scots will be oh so much better off free of this tired, outdated and irrelevant political union with the filthy stinking cesspit that is Westmidden, literally needs their head read.
    Independence cannot come soon enough.  Vote YES, in 2014.

  86. MajorBloodnok says:

    IMvHO there is nothing inherently wrong with low corporation tax as long as:
    It doesn’t favour large businesses over small ones (in fact, even lower rates for SMEs would be good);

    It is all collected efficiently and there are no loop-holes;

    Employment law is robust and fair and does not disadvantage employees;

    The taxation system is overhauled to improve social equality but at the same time to reward innovation and long term investment in plant and people;

    That businesses bring in high skilled opportunites, rather than just being call centres and low skill/low pay opportunities;

    That businesses are legally required to provide proper training and continual improvement opportunities for staff;

    That directors are held properly accountable for the performance of their companies and don’t get rewards for short term profits masking long term decline.

    I’m sure others can add to this.  Remember, big businesses are bad when governments let them get away with it, because business is essentially amoral and will do whatever is (legally) necessary to maximise profit as (under current UK legislation) their directors are legally required to do this.
    What I’d like to see is stable long-term investment in privately owned companies or co-operatives (less vulnerable to the City markets) with sustainable strategies for steady growth so that communities can coalesce around them and there is job security.  All this would be possible in a new political system because it’s not going to happen under neo-liberal UK company law and tax regimes, that’s for sure….

  87. Morag says:

    What he said.

  88. chalks says:

    Morag says:
    19 September, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    And that’s a bad thing because…?
    Simply because you are then competing with other countries, who will inevitably drop their tax rate and we will follow suit in order to win business.  The race to the bottom is a telling argument, it’s why an emphasis on local businesses supporting the countries economy always wins over globalized companies.  By fully opening your country up to massive corporations you are then more prone to anything that happens to the global economy. 
    Now I am not saying that local businesses are not prone to a global recession, however, Norway didn’t seem to suffer much from it….they have invested in local business and it pays off.
    We don’t need to sell ourselves to global companies.  Local wins. Everytime.

  89. gavin lessells says:

    Just seen you reply to my earlier post regarding attitudes among the High heid Yins to WoS. It is more or less as I assumed. However, I in no way regard attempts to draw wider attention to WoS  to be in anyway disloyal to the overall aims of the Independence movement.  Quite the contrary in fact and I will not be diverted from attempts to do so.

  90. Dramfineday says:

    Thanks Mark – I enjoyed that.

  91. Craig P says:

    Enjoyed the article Mark apart from the chip on the shoulder about the south of England. 
    Although on second thoughts I am not surprised and you raise a good point. Who is going to stand up for the north of England,  both now and even more so, in the future?

  92. Craig P says:

    Morag, I don’t mind sticking a line on for you.  I always like to bet on the opposite result to my desired outcome – thus gaining a small consolation from a loss – but to be honest the odds on a no vote are terrible value. 
    Karamu, the best cold hard facts are the following stats taken from the GERS report of last year (sorry, don’t have a link).
     8.4: Scottish percentage of UK population. 
    9.3: Identified UK spend in Scotland as a proportion of total identified spend (I use the pedantic word ‘identified’ because a large amount of government expenditure is not regionally identified – you can leave that out if you are just trying to make a point. Though folk like Niall Aslen have estimated that most unidentified spend is in the south east of England). 
    9.9: Scottish percentage of UK tax revenues. 
    So yeah, we get more per head spent on us than the UK as a whole – but then we raise even more again. 

  93. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @ Caroline Corfield – Speaking with my North East of Scotland hat on 🙂 and referring to other posts on this thread, there is a definite connection with the businesses of this part of Scotland and the NE of England. The report that I mentioned at 1:52 pm on this thread also mentions the economic position with Dumfries & Galloway.
    I have to agree with you that the NE Regions of England feel somewhat divorced from London and look over the border. However in the aformentioned report and the conclusions by the eminent Professors, it was made apparent that they should make direct approaches to the SG rather than wait for the SG to come chasing. Are they right? Is this another sign of inward investiment and should it be encouraged?
    I am not talking about moving a border or hysterical comments regarding border controls [not by you] but a realisation that an Independent Scotland is open for trade with whoever.

  94. Soor Ploom says:

    I seldom comment, just read and leave it to those much more articulate than me.
    This piece was excellent. I think that if others of an English persuasion knew anything about Scotland, they might just have similar views.
    Well done sir.
    Oh, if it’s Saturday, it must be up the hill. Getting my raincoat ready!

  95. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @Soor Ploom – At the risk of forecasting a Yes vote I will defer and say that you will NOT need your raincoat.

  96. CameronB says:

    To paraphrase Newton’s Law of Motion, an object in motion will continue unless resisted by an equal and opposite force*. I don’t see this coming from BT.
    *(N.B. does not always apply in Manhattan)

  97. Jimbo says:

    @MajorBloodnok  & Morag

    Totally agree.
    I’d rather have 500 companies (employing thousands of Scotland’s people) paying 17% corp’ tax into a Scottish exchequer than have aforesaid foreign companies staying at home and (obviously) paying zero tax here.
    What is lost in revenue from the higher corp’ tax is more than compensated for by the income tax from the extra thousands in employment and the savings made in unemployment benefits.

  98. Archie [not Erchie] says:

    @ Soor Ploom – I used to sit here and read the comments by the posters on this site and thought to myself this bunch are so brainy, articulate and know so much more than I do about polls, history, politics and writing stuff. Then I looked at other similar forums online and realised that it was all just ordinary folk expressing their feelings.
    Some do it better than others but we are all just the same – just want to encourage you and make yourself known to all on Saturday. 🙂

  99. Albert Herring says:

    I don’t get this corporation tax thing.
    Companies pay a variety of taxes to the government: corporation tax, business rates, various duties, as well as income tax, and national insurance.
    Surely the trick is to get the balance of these right, in order to maximise tax take as well as encourage job creation.
    You can’t just take one element of this calculation in isolation.

  100. CameronB says:

    All of the debate re. the future of corporation tax may, well may be taken out of our hands. Has anyone heard of the Transpacific partnership? I fear for all of our futures if contemporary capitalism’s direction of travel towards “capitalism with Asian characteristics”, is not to become the global norm.
    As I see this affecting the future of everyone, I at least want the protection of a written constitution which underpins human rights and social democracy in Scotland.

  101. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I’d love tosee what would happen if somebody seriously suggested and campigned for a Northumbrianc ampaign to join Scotland

  102. CameronB says:

    My connection stalled before I could edit.
    direction of travel towards “capitalism with Asian characteristics”, IS to become the global norm.

  103. Soor Ploom says:

    I think I’m doing well here; second post!

    That may well be something the Westminster cabal may have to face in the not so distant future.

    The people of all the northern areas of England have been short changed by their self indulgent masters in the nether English regions for generations. Once all of the southern provinces of these isles witness the rise of our new and independent Scotland, they too will start to think again and be afraid. Very afraid.

    Whilst many in England read and believe the hyperbole, lies and crass propaganda spewed forth from such self interested comics as the (previously?) supporting fascists anglo Daily Mail, the comparison with the ever downwards boot of the Westminster regime to the socially balanced country to their north may well result in something different.

    The passage of time before us always seems slow but reflection on history behind is rapid. Who knows what can happen in that regard after Scotland regains her independence.

    Calton Hill on Saturday; the old man (me) and his son. Looking forward to it.

  104. BuckieBraes says:

    Getting my raincoat ready!
    It’s not going to rain, Soor Ploom. It will be a glorious day, in more ways than one.

  105. Macart says:

    Really feeling envious of you guys. I’d give a lot to be there for the march. Looks like it’ll be epic.

  106. Chris says:

    Very honest article, but it does fall down somewhat when he more or less accuses us of leaving the north of England at the mercy of the Tories. A simple bit of research shows that the Scottish vote would not have changed the outcome of any UK general election in the last 50 years.

  107. Soor Ploom says:

    Oh, Macart…’epic’ is in the thrawl of the movie makers and sometimes not so bad for that.
    However, Saturday, 21 September 2013 is for the people of Scotland. All of them. No, all of us. That and what transpires over the next year, will outshine and be greater and more profound than we can imagine, possibly further than this small land.

    Epic? The poor relation. If you get my drift.
    Remember these times.

  108. velofello says:

    Canvassing tonight; “Ill be voting No”.
    Can I ask you a few Big Issue questions?
    Aye go ahead.
    How do feel about Trident? Against it
    Privatising Royal Mail? Against it.
    High Speed trains to Birmingham? Against it.
    London Crossrail rail project? Whit’s that? Explain – Against it.
    London sewerage scheme? Whit’s that? Explain – Against it.
    Free prescription charges? For it.
    University fees? Against it
    Can i give you a Yes campaign leaflet? Aye sure.

  109. Hetty says:

    Sorry I haven’t had time to read comments yet, but in response to this article, I feel quite sad. A very close friend who is a staunch Labourite fae Glasgow, sent me a very old photo today, of some very poor women in Gateshead, his message was, ‘thought this might make you homesick for the town of your birth!’. We clash on Independence, that’s ok and does not make us enemies!
    I have lived in Scotland for half of my life, probs have Scottish ancestors, my parents really loved Scotland, but the card and photo felt like a ‘don’t forget you are not Scottish and so why are you so keen for Scotland to be Independent’  type of thing. Last week he jokingly said ‘aye with you a Nationalist’ which was clearly meant in a negative way. So I have my response in my mind, but perhaps I am more in tune with Scotland than he is, after all I am happy living here, I have the interests of all at heart and especially don’t wish to see Scotland disadvantaged any longer at the hands of westminster and the rich boys and girls in the South of England. however, my dear friend is not happy here, so why stay?
    On a positive note I spent the afternoon with a great female friend who is, she says,  ‘coming round to the positive case for Indy’!
    YES for Scotland, and hopefully a positive future for all who make Scotland their home, no matter where they were born, even if they were born in Newcastle and not Gateshead, where my labour friend presumed was the ‘town of my birth’. I will be staying in Scotland and see it as my adopted home with the kids and all, so thanks for making me feel welcome Scotland!

  110. sneddon says:

    Unhappy people gravitate towards other negative people/views. All shit feared to face themselves and the future.

  111. Hetty says:

    Oh and Northumberland is kinda right wing place mostly inhabited by the well off landed gentry type of place, it is I think though a big lib dem stronghold. It is not the same as Gateshead/Newcastle in terms of being more economically and socially disadvantaged or industrial, though now most of that industry is gone, we know why.
    Not sure what will happen in the NE of England should Scotland become Independent, I think people will start to wonder though, why they just rejected the choice a few years ago to decide on gaining some devolved matters for themselves.
    Ahhh, well, these people in westminster do make a very good job of divide and rule, while making sure the people have no idea of the actual facts regards politics. I see an end to that in sight!

  112. Jeannie says:

    Priceless 🙂

  113. JLT says:

    Well said, Mark.
    Beautifully written.
    One thing, Mark. I don’t believe the North of England will suffer for long. Their eyes will definitely turn north. For the Scots, we will need to trade with the rest of the UK, and where is the first point …the North of England. I think with Independence for Scotland, I think it will lead to a transformation in thinking in the north of England.
    As my father says, there are 10 million people living in the North of England. Twice as many in Scotland. That means a lot of trade will pass between the borders. With the shackles off, it would mean that Scotland can listen to any proposals from anyone, without interference. For the north of England, this would be a blessing! Instead of always having to look south, they now have a massive opportunity to look north!
    If it is done correctly, then only god knows how many cross border deals could be completed between the various regions, councils and businesses. Newcastle is a hundred miles away from Edinburgh – a two hour drive. Most of northern England sits within 3 hours of the Scottish capital. Closer to Edinburgh than London!
    The north of Britain suffered from Thatcherism, and later from its aftermath. Maybe …just maybe, if everything should come to pass next year, then maybe there is hope of better days for everyone in the North; not just in Scotland.

  114. Clydebuilt says:

    Mark Frankland   “For all of us who live up here, the future looks pretty damn good. I only hope that the price won’t have to be paid by the North of England. When can we move the border?”
    Great post Mark
    I used to work on the 14th floor of a skyscraper in Manchester. The locals knew my politics. (the SNP car badge gave the game away) . More than one asked if they could join up with an independent Scotland.
    Even by keeping the border where it is, the North of England would gain from a more prosperous Scotland. I’ve always felt a bond with the North of England and that won’t change with independence. 

  115. Karamu says:

    I may just have my first convert…
    In response to me sending him about half a dozen links to various sites (including this one):
    “Cheers dude…. I’ll plough thro these tomorrow to wet the appetite & the start info gathering to the countdown to what will be the biggest decision of our lifetime.ta much again siirr”
    Once he starts availing himself of information I can’t see him turning back, especially as he gets the significance!!

  116. gordoz says:

    This is excellent work Mark (thanks for this portrayal from a former ‘southerners’ perspective and also for your commitment to the cause). Its very honest and covers some intersting points of view.
    The new Scotland will need all of its people born here or not. Please pass on to your English friends that all are welcome up here but we draw the line at the Westminster Parliament and all that it represents. 
    Keep up the good work !

  117. creigs17707repeal says:

    O/T – apologies.
    I despair sometimes. Especially why I read utter GUFF like this:
    Heffer is Shocking (no surprise there) but it is the comments I find most appalling and disturbing. But then, I suppose being bombarded with the utter tripe from the likes of Heffer, can we really blame the ordinary folks down south when this guff is what they are being presented with as ‘fact’.
    YES Scotland.

  118. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Don’t worry about it. It suits our purposes perfectly well to see a huge percentage of the English wanting us pit oot.
    Its the crap the Mail and the Express put out in their Scottish editions that is our major worry. I still thinkwe should be exposing these titles to wide public ridicule even it if means producing “Not The Daily Mail” or “Not The Daily Express” spoofs

  119. Jamie Arriere says:

    Re Corporation tax, reform of the multinationals tax regimes was on the agenda of the last G20 summit and, while these may be all good intentions and will probably be smothered by lobbying at the country level, there may be a different regime come 2016 and beyond as regards multinationals shifting profits – so who knows, maybe there won’t be a race to the bottom and Scotland can choose a reasonable tax level.

    However there will be a huge variety of switches and levers it can turn on and off to encourage investment into regions, industries, research and encouraging cooperation with other countries.

  120. ianbrotherhood says:

    The Lib-Dems have NO strongholds now.
    You sound a bit down – please wait until the Sunday papers come out, and make what you will of their coverage of the Calton Hill rally.
    Scotland is now on its way out of the ‘UK’. Northumberland and Cumbria will be right behind us when they see what we can do.
    This is not, and never has been, about ‘Scots’ versus ‘English’ – it’s about power, pure and simple.
    Once that’s acknowledged, wherever it may be in the ‘UK’, the real enemy is easy to identify: the sooner the ‘City of Westminster’ is declared (by Big Boris) to be an independent state, the better – then we can all see who we’re really up against.

  121. Macart says:

    @Soor ploom
    Looking after some one at the moment. A person who in his younger days would have been marching along with everyone else to Calton Hill. Hopefully next year both of us, Mrs Macart and the mini Macarts will be there for the third planned march and party time.
    Hope you lot take your cameras and bring me back some Edinburgh rock. 🙂

  122. tattie-boggle says:

    If we build it people will come… Excellent piece Mark

  123. Marc Sabates says:

    Freedom for Scotland !!

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