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Wings Over Scotland

How things change

Posted on December 04, 2013 by

Well done to the alert reader who spotted this 2006 Q&A with Jack Straw MP, former Foreign Secretary and then Leader of the House Of Commons, on the BBC website:

Question from Stephen, London: As Leader of the Commons, how can having two Scottish MPs as the front runners for PM be democratic? Powers for most agencies including health, education etc have been devolved in Scotland, yet Mr Reid or Mr Brown would set the agenda for solely English matters when they represent Scottish constituencies.


Jack Straw: English MPs control all the money which Scotland receives – is that ‘fair’? England constitutes 85% of the UK’s population and 87% of its wealth. It was English MPs who agreed to devolve some powers to Scotland in a Westminster Act of Parliament; but year by year controls over public spending levels for all of the UK continue to be exercised by Westminster. And power devolved is power retained, not ceded.

“While the current Tory cry of ‘English votes on English laws’ has a simplistic appeal, it is in reality unworkable, undesirable and dangerous. It would create a two-tier system of ‘ins and outs’ that would be so complex and confusing as to be unworkable.

How is it possible, for example, to distinguish between English ‘bits’ of legislation and UK ‘bits’? It isn’t. The territorial extent of the clause in a bill – or part of a clause – cannot be conclusive, as so many ‘England only’ decisions have plain implications for Scotland as well.

Hence, Vernon Bogdanor, perhaps the foremost constitutional expert in Britain, has claimed that the Tory proposals would ‘destroy the principle of collective responsibility, according to which government must stand or fall as a whole, commanding a majority on all the issues that come before Parliament, not just a selection. It is difficult to see how Britain could be effectively governed in such circumstances.’

Moreover, it is difficult to see how the UK could remain united. The outcome of a break-up of the union would be calamitous.

The United Kingdom – Great Britain and Northern Ireland – is a union which works to the equal benefit of all four nations of the union. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Historically, England called the shots to achieve a union because the union was seen as a way, among others things, of amplifying England’s power worldwide. And the reverse would certainly be true.

A broken-up United Kingdom would not be in the interests of Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, but especially not England. Our voting power in the European Union would diminish. We’d slip down in the world league GDP tables. Our case for staying in the G8 would diminish and there could easily be an assault on our permanent seat in the UN Security Council.”

It’s refreshing to hear the real reasons just once in a while, isn’t it?

Incidentally, with regard to that second-last paragraph, here’s Jack again:

“The English are potentially very aggressive, very violent and of course we have used this propensity to violence to subjugate Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Then we used it in Europe and with our empire. You have within the UK three small nations under the cosh of the English.”

It does make a change from “the positive case for the Union”, at least.

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    1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Stomach churner this one.
      Jack (Weasel) Straw, the man who introduced so many laws that we are all now guilty, it just for the various services to find out which one.
      Bit like a Smorresgebrod, pick and match. 
      Left wing fascism, dead simple.

    2. I would add a careful qualifier that the “subjugation” of Ireland, Wales and Scotland always took place in concert with native allies. England’s dominion over Ireland was secured by the Dublin aristocracy and, latterly, Anglo-Scots Protestants who flooded into the country in an attempt to Protestantize the island, and who latterly came to represent the country in all dealings with the wider British government until at least the 20th century.
      In Wales, Anglophone Welsh have always been important for governing on behalf of Parliament in London, although Wales contributed more than one royal dynasty to England (the Tudors being the most well known). Finally, Scotland, as we well know, was governed at a distance by Anglophone Scots who acted on behalf of the King before 1707 and Parliament afterward.
      In each case, there’s an argument that the Anglophones genuinely acted in what they believed to be their country’s best interests – what Chris Whatley would call “principled Unionism” – but there’s no denying they always incorporated the interests of the elite English/British political authorities.

    3. Mark Coburn says:

      I actually remember reading that article!

    4. Thepnr says:

      Why not just tell it like it is Blair, Alastair, David and George?

    5. Barry Blust says:

      Well done!! ‘Under the cosh of the English… potentially very aggressive, very violent.’
      A violent people with a history of subjugation and domination, using their conquered lands to weigh down English coffers.  I doubt anyone could effectively argue with these conclusions.

      Clear to me why England wants to keep us under boot.  Clear to you?

    6. An Duine Gruamach says:

      Good grief – can you imagine the howls if Alex Salmond had said some of those things?

    7. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Straw is now harmless, and of no further use – BT can simply dismiss him as someone with a proven track record of misleading parliament…nae danger.

    8. Les Wilson says:

      What he points out is the fact that England rules, because, well, that is what they do.
      I do not see where this Union serves Scotland in any way except the natural cultural links, which are themselves beginning to fray, I will leave the other parts to speak for themselves. 

    9. Caroline Corfield says:

      speaking with my 1/8th English hat on, I hope that when people talk about ‘the English’ they mean the English establishment and not the peepul. Because when we talk about ‘the Scots’ we tend to mean the peepul and it’s easy to mistake that sort of thing. The English electorate certainly have a different view of how to run a country but what they get isn’t quite what they had in mind. It’s a significantly larger country in population and the ‘I kent his faither’ effect doesn’t suffuse the whole country but only has an impact at a regional level. This colours their attitude to rights and responsibilities, it often allows indifference to be mistaken for tolerance, but on the whole they are moving in the direction of re-discovering a real Englishness, of defining who they are ( the kind of thing that happened to the Scots after devolution). Despite the protestations of my English husband that they don’t need their own parliament because that’s what Westminister is ( sigh I tried but he’s not really into politics) it was fatal to the union not to devolve a parliament to England, not because they want one but because they need one. Now, they are caught by the desire of the Establishment to try and play each home nation off against the other which sees them as the ‘parent’, the ‘subsidiser’, or the ‘brains’ and the realisation that perhaps someone’s been telling porkies to them for some time. It’s a hard lesson lets not burden them with the crimes of the Establishment at the same time. 

    10. Yay, I’m the alert reader. Although technically I was just passing the link on from one of my alert readers. But still. I have some nice pics if anyone wants to share them.

    11. Paula Rose says:

      @ Caroline Corfield – a timely reminder, we are used to using terms that some folk might find misleading, anyone got an idea on which word to use? eg westminster.

    12. handclapping says:

      As an Englishman I ask you please to remember that the so called English who did the lets subjugate routine again and again were a bunch of French gorse huggers who had had a stroke of fortune with an arrow. They were the Westminster / Whitehall elite nexus of their day and bugger all to do with the average Englishman, just like now.

    13. gordoz says:

      Im pretty sure we’re talking about the ‘state machine’ run from the territory known as England. Is this controversial ? We can’t not use the word England or English in this discussion relating to the above piece or it would not make sense.

    14. Krackerman says:

      It’s revealing to see Mr Straw refer to “the English”, “the Scots”, “the Welsh” and “the Irish” as if he was none of the above… it belies perhaps his view that these are simply groups with labels to be manipulated, set one against the other, to achieve goals… 
      And of course that’s exactly what they are 🙂

    15. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Translation for Scotland. You’d have to be fuckin nuts to vote No.

    16. braco says:

      ‘as an Englishman’ you are getting a bit close to an ethnic defense of your nationality. 1066 was a bloody long time ago to be referencing when it comes to Iraq and Afghanistan etc. etc.

      No need for a defense anyway, it was the British establishment after all.

    17. Caroline Corfield says:

      I think Westminister is understood to encompass the machinery, the Establishment is how I like to describe them and it has the added benefit of also including many trough orientated pro-unionists from all the home nations. We must guard against creating a new Establishment by emphasising that sovereignty lies with the people and not in the parliament or some hereditary position. It might even catch on south of the border. 

    18. naebd says:

      I done it for the lulz.

    19. Morgan McKeown says:

      Jack Straw- the man who said “The English as a race are not worth saving” 

    20. Jim Mitchell says:

      naebd, I can see what your after but that poster/picture would be better with Jack straws face on it, then there is no room for misinterpretation and it would make it more powerful.

    21. ayemachrihanish says:

      Sorry Jack – more precisely its this way….
      The first Colony of the British Empire was England (not Scotland) and  England  will be the last to gain its independence – and therefore find and reclaim its national identity. A sad fact unknown to the vast majority of English people is that Westminster’s colonisation of a British Empire started with the colonisation of England. This was ultimately followed by the eradication of England’s identity and the transposition and promotion of “Britishness”. Britishness “the great illusion” created by a Westminster ruling elite and Treasury for the benefit of that elite.
      In England the Magna Carta was primarily founded to curtail the monarchs’ powers in favour of the wider the land  barons – and was an attempt by the barons to protect and enshrine their property rights against seizure by the crown.  To the feudal barons in England at least, people – the peasantry – were also property. 
      So, even today all UK wealth flows to where? 
      1. The elite are base where? 
      2. To the Boris Johnston fronted London elite – the people of England are simply tax paying peasantry. 
      3. London is the alter of all Britishness – all else are simply tax payers – so hence no need for a constitution 

    22. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Just stumbled across this link via Rev’s Twitter feed – a slice of must-read barking madness from a fully matured, cornered, frothing Cochers who clearly knows he’s in the last battle of his career. He realises it’s all or nothing now – he’s either in for a gong, or ignominy and exile.
      Got to hand it to the man – he’s nothing if not single-minded.

    23. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Sorry – bad link. Try this:

    24. bannock hussler says:

      “The outcome of a break-up of the union would be calamitous.”
      I wonder what he might have meant…?
      Perhaps we should all accept that there’s going to be a Yes vote and start behaving like grown-ups. It’s not Scotland that’s the conflicted entity, after all.

    25. naebd says:

       “then there is no room for misinterpretation

      That’s me and my obscure sense of humour again.

    26. naebd says:

      Chochers – a gong or ignominy.
      Didn’t Comical Ali retire to quiet leafy Baghdad suburbia? Alan will be fine. 🙂

    27. Brotyboy says:

      By all accounts, Cochers is not just a renegade as far as we are concerned, his political standpoint differs markedly from that of his own family, who are fairly left wing.

    28. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @Brotyboy –
      Makes you wonder if his family will be drawing straws to see who gets him this Christmas.

    29. kininvie says:

      The identity question came up this evening when Nicola came to speak in Livingston. (227 people turned out to hear her – nae bad eh?) She could not have been firmer in expressing her view that what we are seeking to achieve is political and economic independence, and that whether you feel British or Scottish or English has nothing to do with the debate. She said that so far as she was concerned, she was happy for folk to go on considering themselves British, just as the Scandinavians consider themselves Scandinavian.
      This is the point that I think is just not sinking in down south (not helped by Mail, Telegraph, Spectator, etc). There, it seems to me, the campaign is still viewed through the Braveheart anti-English filter. And if that mentality sticks, we can expect there to be a lot of needless hurt. It’s an added burden when we have Yes to win, but I do think we need to spend effort to reassure our friends in the south that Britishness need not disappear just because we choose to take our own decisions

    30. Lobeydosser says:

      sorry OT/ Saw on Reddit that Katie Hopkins has been removed from ITV breakfast show.

    31. Training Day says:


      Scotland Tonight: how long will the media keep repeating the mantra that No are ‘well ahead’ in the polls? That’s a rhetorical question, obviously.

      How long will the notion that Darling ‘filleted’ the White Paper in two nannoseconds go unchallenged by the MSM? Another rhetorical question.

      And how long will people thole listening to Better Together spokespersons like the incoherent and stupefied Simon Pia? Less of a rhetorical question..

    32. Papadocx says:

      Simon Pia On Scotland tonight, thought his heart wasn’t in it (to put it mildly). George Kerevan
      like a cat with two tales made mince of Pia’s ramblings. Simon was NOT happy. To put it mildly! 

    33. twenty14 says:

      O/T – but did anyone else have trouble getting on to Wings earlier. A few of us couldn’t get here for about an hour. Any problems Rev ?

    34. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @kininvie –
      Hear ye mister, hear ye.
      But how  to do it?
      ‘As a nation we have what the Germans call eine unbewaltigte Vergangenheit – a past with which we haven’t completely come to terms. (In this we are quite unlike the English, who have come to terms with their history so well that they have largely forgotten it.)’
      Hamish Henderson in the Scotsman (1966)
      ‘We have to become independent so that we become more Scottish and less anti-English.’
      Dick Gaughan (1995)
      These are reasonable, mature positions, and would resonate with most civilised Scots. But who’s on the other side of the table when it comes to any possible MSM discussion? And who would (want to) mediate?

    35. HandandShrimp says:

      Did I hear right? Did that chap Pia (not someone I have ever heard of before) really extol the virtues of Westminster because it stopped Cameron going to war in Syria? I mean FFS! I mean FFFS! talk about stable doors and bolting horses. Where was fucking Westminster in 2003?
      He also extolled the virtue of how wonderfully Darling filleted the White Paper (all 670 pages according to Pia). Ignoring the fact that he did so within seconds of laying his paws on one. I think Papadocx is right – he was just going through the motions. He never disputed George’s comment that on the ground Labour and Conservative activists such as there are do not speak to each other.
      Pia did agree booting Moore for Carmichael was a big mistake though. Prog started with Fraser Nelson chewing a few plums and putting a hefty boot into Carmichael.

    36. Taranaich says:

      A most timely post, Rev.
      It was English MPs who agreed to devolve some powers to Scotland in a Westminster Act of Parliament; but year by year controls over public spending levels for all of the UK continue to be exercised by Westminster. And power devolved is power retained, not ceded.
      And we Scots best not forget it:
      A Scottish MP has reacted with fury after the Scottish Parliament was stripped of a key energy power after a House of Lords amendment was backed by Unionist MPs.
      SNP Energy spokesman Mike Weir MP slammed the vote, which saw powers over renewable obligation brought back under the control of Westminster.
      As if we needed further proof that Westminster has no interest in devolution, save to see what they can get away with clawing back to their lair. If they’re willing to roll back devolution without even consulting the Scottish Parliament before a No vote is even cast, what makes anyone think they’ll do it when the threat of independence is gone?
      Remember, this is what they think “playing nice” means.

    37. Training Day says:

      Better Together spokespersons Nelson and Pia were also allowed – unchallenged – to perpetuate the absurd notion that Better Together has less money to call on than Yes. Fewer volunteers, certainly. Less money? Geezabrek.

    38. HandandShrimp says:

      I thought Better Together made a big song and dance about how much was pledged to them. Did the money never up?

    39. Morag says:

      If the HoL really have clawed back some devolved powers, now – come in, Scottish Skier, this is your cue.

    40. Ian Brotherhood says:

      @HandandShrimp –
      ‘Fraser Nelson chewing a few plums…’
      Sometimes I wish I did watch telly. Nelson’s always good value, speaking out of the side  of his mouth a la Prince Charlie, flattening his vowels like there’s no tomorrow. What’s the betting he has a poster of Jacob Rees Mogg on his wall?
      Speaking of which, here’s a belter from the very man, the one and only, the original, who looks like he was born wearing specs and a three-piece pin-stripe:

    41. JGedd says:

      Rees-Mogg is known in this house as Gussie Finknottle. Does anyone still read Wodehouse?

    42. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Rees-Mogg in full flow –
      Note when he starts on about Property Rights at 3.51; an intervention from Stewart Hosie at 7.33; who he’s about to respond to when it cuts off…

    43. clochoderic says:

      Sorry to go OT again but adversity seems to make for strange bedfellows. Tory frother in chief in Scotland Mad old Cochers is singing in perfect harmony with Labourlist tonight.
       Watch out for Alistair Darling doing another inspector Dreyfuss impersonation in the next few days.
      Nope, everything is going fine in Blair Macdougall’s universe.

    44. silver19 says:

      OT :- Spotted this on twitter from Guardian “Case for Scottish independence boosted by more optimistic economic forecasts, Experts say Scotland will be worse off under UK green energy reforms, while thinktank downplays cost of its ageing population” :-

    45. art1001 says:

      Wings is loading very very slowly at the moment. Strange.

    46. clochoderic says:

      Stu should run a poll of Wings’ poll  readers whether Darling should get the sack as the boss of the Better Together campaign boss  and who would replace him. Gordon Brown or Magrit Curran  or the hereditary arsehole millionaire from Glasgow. Murphy and Alexander are outside bets.
       Step up to your place in history, James Kelly.

    47. Keef says:

      Something that has puzzled me since the argument began on the use of the pound by the SG.
      OK I understand that the Bank of England is not England’s bank and does in fact represent Scotland, England, N. Ireland, The Falklands, Guernsey, Jersey, Gibraltar, etc. as the lender of last resort on their individual pounds.
      I also get it that Scotland is entitled to roughly 10% of all assets (as well as taking on the same ratio in debts) when they vote YES for independence.
      So if the Bank of England is not owned by the English/Westminster, the politicians have no grounds on which to say they will veto the SG from having a currency union. It has also been pointed out by the WP that this arrangement makes logical sense for both sides as Scotland is England’s second largest trading partner and as Nicola said it would cost roughly 500 Million quid in transactions alone for English businesses if they decided to veto it.
      Now what I don’t get is why do we have to have the BofE as our lender of last resort?  
      Why do we need to be worried by all the fuss of making sure our inflation rate is pegged to that of England?
      Scotland would have a far smaller ratio of GDP to outstanding debt after the YES vote. Scotland being ten times smaller than England/Wales/N. Ireland would require borrowing decidedly smaller amounts to run her economy.
      Scotland will have far bigger natural resources that are sellable to anyone in Europe; therefore our balance of payments will be far more secure as an Independent nation. Which means our currency will be far stronger than most other European currencies (see McCrone report). This also leads me to believe that a triple A rating would not be too much to ask for indeed within the UK those days of triple A are long gone (so much for BT’s claim of the millions we would save by remaining part of the UK and enjoying the benefits of her triple A rating).
      So the question is why do we need the BofE as a lender of last? Why can’t a Scottish owned bank with the backing of the SG act as our lender of last resort? There must be hundreds of smaller nations who get by without a hitch whilst not using the BofE as their lender of last resort. What is stopping Scotland from keeping the Scottish notes that are in circulation now?
      Could not the SG simply grant the right to one of Scotland’s banks to print Scotland government bonds and act as the lender of last resort for Scottish governmental agencies and businesses?

    48. scottish_skier says:

      I’m hearing about a poll.
      Done before the white paper. I suspect from the numbers it’s TNS. TNS show strangely low yes due to the shy factor (they literally knock your door then ask you face to face in your living room). Anyway, if it is, then the No continues to fall with possibly less shy factor this time.
      N = 42 (-1), Y = 26(+1), Y = 32
      That would be No doing this: 52, 51, 47, 44 ,43 ,42…. since March.

    49. Stuart Black says:

      Good morning all. Off topic – I can’t afford to get started on Jack Straw 😉 – the Herald is a wee bit more nonkers than usual today. Mark Smith continues his sniping with claims that both the nationalists and the Yes campaign exploit anti-englishness, not sure how that goes down with all the English folk involved, from grass roots to ministerial level, but hey Mark, keep on throwing mud, some of it’s bound to stick.

      Russell Valance warns us on the letters page that the Spanish will probably veto our membership in order to pillage our fishing grounds in the period when we don’t have a navy, and also dismisses oil as unimportant as half the EU membership have their own oil.

      And to complete the set Peter ‘Pink Pedro’ Russell is setting both the poetry and history worlds to right, including another stroll out for that old ‘SNP Nazi sympathisers’ chestnut.

      No shame, some people.

    50. twenty14 says:

      Rev – what’s happened to all the previous comments ??

    51. Keef says:

      Someone yesterday mentioned pages were loading real slow. Same today and sometimes I get database error showing up with no page.

    52. Macart says:

      @Stuart Black
      Ach hardly raises a yawn these days Stuart. Only their own brainwashed true believers actually take any of that bumf on board. As skier points out above, only one team are haemorrhaging points. Most people out there are aware of who and what the SNP represent and the laughable idea that they have anything to do with ultra right wing ideologies simply makes the opposition look like buffoons. Same deal goes for the EU and oil stories, they’re becoming background noise as the campaign proceeds. The story breaking over Cameron’s own wee chat with Mr Rajoy was quite telling and doesn’t require degrees in astrophysics to join the dots.
      Its all coming along nicely. 🙂

    53. Fairliered says:

      The internet is probably slow because everyone in Scotland is checking whether their house has blown away.
      STV won’t know unless it is in Glasgow.
      BBC will say that it has and that it is Alex Salmond’s fault.

    54. HandandShrimp says:

      Error 503?

    55. Bunter says:

      Been having problems since last night accessing. Wings??? 

    56. The Man in the Jar says:

      Problem with Wings loading very slowly since last night 🙁

    57. HandandShrimp says:

      57% Y to 42% N the final scores on the doors for the MSE poll. Better Together made a bit of an effort on that one 🙂

    58. gordoz says:

      Yeah – Page still has problems (something not right and slow)

    59. Jingly Jangly says:

      Still very slow in loading, other websites ok, so its WOS that’s put the brakes on.
      Something needs booted unless of course its black ops and a Denial Of Service Attack….

    60. The Man in the Jar says:

      At least someone in the BBC has a sense of humour, that or they are colour blind.

    61. Stuart Black says:

      Hi Macart, yes agreed.
      The heartening thing is that lots of folk – anecdotally – seem to have seen through the constant negativity, so maybe I should applaud efforts like those I referred to, but it is irritating to constantly wade through the muck.
      Mark Smith is either stupid or malicious, perm any one from two.

    62. Edward says:

      A bit of topic – Its a question of Data protection
      Would you think it illegal for a political party to e-mail people promoting that political party, using e-mail addresses of people not actually signed up to that political party?
      Now keeping that thought in mind, would you think it even more illegal for that political party to sending e-mails promoting their political views to staff of  NHS England, using the governments own in house server?

    63. call me dave says:

      Aah!  At last able to access WoS for the first time since 11pm last night.
      All other links seemed to work to other places but on wings got error 503.
      Anyhoo!  Good to be able to access the stories again.

    64. gordoz says:

      Very Disturbing, disgusting developments. Quick Scot won’t be paying attention at the moment.
      In relation to this piece it is disgusting to see the punitive, pre-emptive ‘tug o’ the leash’ from that unelected club of Westminster HoL. Stripping away powers from Holyrood because they can and they know best; democracy ?
      Clear indication of where sovereignty lies under any Devolution > even DevoMax crap !
      Remember this is decision was taken by your betters; (?)  an unelected bunch of costume lovers & gravy trainl troughers on a meal ticket you or I could not imagine. Its the retirement plan of choice for Scotlands Independence Referendum Coalition ‘Scottish’ Labour/Tory/Liberal MP’s 
      Shame on No campaign – must be pushed to explain ‘Better Together’ statement.
      Undecided’s for Christ sake seriously ? This is what awaits with this lot and a vote for No. They will continue to pillage our minds and our abundant resources if we do not get wise to this control by stealth.
      Siding with this lot is betraying Scotland, it cant be put any other way.
       Vote Britain Yay ! (Aye Sure!)

    65. HandandShrimp says:

      The Man in a Jar
      I think that was a competition to annoy Unionists with some of the most hideous flags ever seen.
      Is it a case of “Don’t leave me or I will be forced to do this”

    66. HandandShrimp says:

      Aye Vote No and see your Parliament stripped of powers and your old forced to work by Atos goons into their 70s.

    67. Ghengis D'Midgies says:

      For the love of Bob! Naebd, that’s not helpful or wise.
      It occurs to me that my tweet of yesterday referencing Jack Straw’s racism ie that of defining an entire people with a certain characteristic is also unwise.
      Talking about racism. People all over Scotland walked  in to their paper shops yesterday and could not miss the front page of the ‘Scottish’ Daily Mail slamming Scotland for being a Nation of Dunces
      The article was merely a hatched job on Scottish education and of course devolution. They barely mentioned the fact that Scotland came out above the other countries in the UK. All they said was “The Scottish government will no doubt point to statistics from the rest of the UK but … ”
      I don’t visit a paper shop every day, but if this is how the people of Scotland are being informed, with scurrilous headlines, well…

    68. Macart says:

      @Stuart Black
      Mark Smith is either stupid or malicious, perm any one from two.
      Too close to call. 😀

    69. desimond says:

      Cant wait for FMQs and to hear wee “Hire Me” Ruthie and Johann Lament demand that someone in the Government must resign as there werenae enough anoraks in Scotland for todays storm!

    70. Fergie 35 says:

      2 wrongs dont make a right, and give Jack his due, he is open about it.
      Britain can no longer use soldiers against Scotland, but the tools they have in their war chest are media power, subversive activities, disinformation, sectarianism and divide and rule.

    71. velofello says:

      The Man in a Jar: of the flag designs in the BBC News magazine I’d say flag three is most apt. A kaleidoscope – mirrors and pieces of coloured paper – depicts the UK unwritten constitution well.

    72. Ghengis D'Midgies says:

      Regarding that headline in the Scottish Daily Mail. Nowhere in the article does it point out who is calling us dunces.  So that means it’s down to the editor. The Editor of the Scottish Daily Mail is calling people in Scotland dunces.

    73. Mealer says:

      Rev,I hear a Lord who was jailed for swicking the tax payer has been released and can now resume his seat in the Lords.Making law over the people he swindled.And being paid for it.Could you look into this?Cheers.

    74. gordoz says:

      I know ‘itsall good’ to the uninterested masses until its too late.

      Best of British – keep calm carry on, while we rob you blind and repress you on so many levels because Mother Labour is coming back to save you – except she isn’t and she can’t because she has bought into the whole westminster ‘sovereignty of parliament’ system too (hook line and sinker) and can’t change Fxck all. 

      ‘Scottish monicker’ or otherwise. 

      Lets move on from Proud Scots and use Gullable Scots as a description of NO’s from now on, undecided’s sorry but if you can’t make up your mind by now, it suggests a distinct reticence against positivity and aspiration for progressive Scotland, so either way make up your minds and get of the fence FFS.

      Undecided’s owe it to us all to create a true picture of where we are in terms of YES / NO so stop procrastinating make a decision for a positive future on the table with Scotland Independent or stick with past glories of Britain and ‘stall progress’ at best, but more likely ‘slam your kids future in reverse’ for the coming Westminster punitive measures of a NO vote already started by the HoL.
      We live under devoultion and ‘the leash has been tugged’ by the Lords

    75. john king says:

      Handandshrimp says
      “Is it a case of “Don’t leave me or I will be forced to do this”
        That comment reminds me of the washing powder advert extolling the virtue of whatever powder it is, that it doesn’t take the colour out the fabric, and the husband is sitting next to earnest lady in very loud golfing gear, when shes finished her spiel turns to him and says “you look like a clown” 
      so what your saying is that we leave, their taste will go right out the window and we’ll get the blame for them flying a BBC test card for a flag?

    76. liz says:

      Jack Straws lazy use of the word English is probably deliberate as the Westminster club’s only real weapon is divide and rule.
      I, and I’m sure most others, think of them as the English/British establishment.

    77. Ken500 says:

      Straw the man of illegal wars attacking the innocents abroad. Banking fraud, tax evasion, Trident and redundant weaponry.

      Scotland raises more taxes, spends less and contributes more. £12Billion (including £Billion in debt repayment). £8Billion unaccountable. The Scottish gov could spend less. Administration/ Defence etc based in Scotland would add to the economy of Scotland. Cutting Trident would save £1.5Billion. Putting a tax on cheap drink would lower consumption and save on healthcare/social costs. £1.5Billion. Scotland drinks 20% more than the rest of the UK. = £3Billion raised.

      People in Scotland need to wake up and smell the coffee. Scotland borrowed less from the Banks (pro rata 1/2), and historically have balanced the Books. When Scotland votes for Independence that should be taken into account.

    78. gordoz says:

      Does Scotland have only one Psephologist ?
      If so he must be on a fortune !
      Maybe we are too wee ?

    79. gerry parker says:

      I like the yellow background.

    80. gerry parker says:

      I like the yellow background.

    81. Papadocx says:

      Why are we having this referendum if it can be struck down by the whim of a few genetic throw backs, or gangsters and thugs who wormed their way into the gene pool of the upper crust On their hands and knees and dress like clowns.
      If anyone in the BT crew can justify this anti democratic process then I will vote NO!
      9:39 pm ayemachrahanish spot on, didn’t realise it was still in effect to-day, very good piece.

    82. Ken500 says:

      The rest of the UK borrows and spends £121Billion more than Scotland (pro rata £12Billion)

      Total taxes raised in Scotland £57Billion+ Total spending £63Billion (under Westminster policies)

      Total taxes raised in the UK. £572Billion Total spending £693Billion. Scotland with (adjustments for Westminster policies) £60Billion in £60Billion out. Take that away. £121Billion more is being borrowed and spent in the rest of the UK.

      London no austerity, 4% unemployment, no cuts to public spending. Increase Bankers bonuses (35%) and no sufficient banking regulation. Scottish Oil sector taxed at 60 – 80%, while multinationals evade tax through the City of London. HMRC is not fit for purpose.

      The ConDems elected to protect NHS/Education sector are cutting services. They have cut taxes, especially for the wealthiest, who caused and benefitted most from the Banking crisis. There has been a tranfer of monies from the poorer to the richer. The deficit is down and so are tax revenues. The race to the bottom instead of achieving growth. The only way the Deficit has been cut is the Royal Mail sell off, and the short term use of the Royal Mail Pension Fund, £38Billion (with liabilities). The RM pension fund now becomes a liability, which will have to be pay for in the future.

    83. desimond says:

      If Scotland stupidly vote No,  i suspect Jack Straw will smile, make the same fist then do that windy up one-finger salute motion to show us exactly how his Establishment feels.

    84. Ken500 says:

      Ireland wanted Home Rule. There was a stong Home Rule movement in the 19C. Led by Charles Stuart Parnell, a Protestant land owner. Catholics were discriminated by the Union, so were people in Scotland. 1715/1745 Rebellion. Not allowed to carry swords, own, land or horses. Tartan was banned in Scotland. Both countries were suppress by the Unionist state.

      Ireland was partitioned in 1922 by Lloyd George a Welsh Liberal. Lloyd George also agreed to a State of Israel. The Balfour Agreement 1917 constituted by Lord Balfour and Lord Rothschild.

      The Partition of Ireland (Michael Collins) led to Civil War. The Easter uprising. The Black and Tans were sent into Ulster/Six counties to violently abuse the people. The Catholics were discriminated against in NI with support of the Unionists in Westminster. In some areas of Belfast the Catholics were not allowed to vote until the 1960’s (Bernadette Devlin) and were discriminated for public jobs/housing by members of the Orange Lodge. The Masons the handshake, nod, nod wink, wink.

      In Scotland the Churches have privilege above the Law. The equal opportunity Employment Laws etc.

      Ireland could soon reunited through the Ballot Box demographically. The IR does better
      economically than NI. The IR is doing better economically than the UK, according to recent Indexes.

    85. Ken500 says:

      Don’t believe the Polls in Scotland they are persistently wrong.

      The BBC ‘expert’ has been wrong every time.

      The Piper calls the tune. The only numbers the London pollsters will have on speed dial will be 0131 or 0141. The Referendum will be decided by the rest of Scotland especially the North, where folk see the meters running and farmers are being defrauded by the UK Treasury.

      The DK’s will not vote No. They will vote Yes or not Vote. The outcome will be decided by the turnout., estimated to be as high as 90%.

    86. caz-m says:

      BBC radio Scotland this morning.

      No mention of reduced powers for Scottish Parliament. No mention of Labour defecting to SNP. No mention trouble in the Better together camp.

      They did mention how Scottish nurses would prefer English working conditions. Also how the elderly get poor after care after they leave hospital and just to round the morning off, they had another dig at Scottish education.

      They sure know how to put a spring in your step.

    87. theycan'tbeserious says:

      The truth behind this union….better together?….the best of both worlds?….more clout?….devolution? Even the definition suggest Scotland is “of a lower level”. Or maybe the master plan is option 2….


      noun: devolution


      the transfer or delegation of power to a lower level, especially by central government to local or regional administration.
      “demands for electoral reform and devolution”

      decentralization, delegation, dispersal, distribution, transfer, surrender, relinquishmentMore

      “the devolution of power to the regions”


      the legal transfer of property from one owner to another.


      descent to a lower or worse state.
      “the devolution of the gentlemanly ideal into a glorification of drunkenness”

    88. caz-m says:

      Last post wrote in a hurry, but you get my point.

      BBC Scotland seem to find “experts” with a negative view without any problems.

      Yet they seem to struggle to find an “expert” with a positive view of Scotland.

    89. seoc says:

      Let’s save these negatives from thinking too hard, let’s do it for them:
      You are all correct from your biased viewpoint – Scotland is the pits, it’s rotten to the core etc.
      But we still prefer it to the stinking Westminster cesspit and it’s deceit, embezzlement and soul-dark view of itself.
      Have a good day.

    90. Beastie says:

      I agree entirely that three out of four parts of the UK should not see independence as in their best interests… but I have difficulty, even trying to apply impartiality (which I can do, not that it’s obvious to anyone here) to the concept, to see how independence is not in the best interest of the fourth part…. Scotland.

      Funny how all those real reasons for the preservation of the union don’t seem to relate to anything Better Together says. Perhaps Mr Darling would be getting slightly less criticism if he was actually honest about it. Well, less from us, anyway. It beats anything out of the big fat book of unionist lies they generally use.

    91. tony o'neill says:

      Comical cochers,aye thats a good yin.

    92. Chris says:

      Straw is a Zionist Jewish extremist, who has no right to comment on the native British peoples past records. If he wants to speak out against injustice, he should reverse Israeli Apartheid and denounce the West’s complicity in it, via the proxy wars in Iraq and planned aggression in Syria and Iran.
      People like him have no place in our politics, or even our land.

    93. Dave says:

      “The English are potentially very aggressive, very violent”

      Yet it seems the country was peaceful and had relatively low crime, compared to other countries, before mass immigration brought violence and high crime rates to our shores.

      Also, for all that has been done to the English and indigenous British people, there has been little violence on the streets in protest. The only violent protests and riots so far have come from immigrant communities.

      The facts show his lies. If we subjugated Ireland and Scotland and forced them into the union of Britain, the Scottish referendum should rightly have gone completely the other way. Yet, they chose to stay in the union with the English.

    94. Kirsty says:

      Any time the word ‘English’ is mentioned on this website there’s always some asshat who comes on here saying, ‘Not all English people are like that’ (as though we hadn’t already worked that out for ourselves!) or,’I hope you mean the English establishment’. Can I appeal to those people to please stop being so damn chippy? I’m half English myself but I’m not going to piss about saying that English people themselves didn’t take part in the subjugation of many nations including Scotland or that England is not benefiting from the current subjugation of Scotland. It’s not just ‘the establishment,’ I know it’s more palatable to say it is but that’s just not the truth.

    95. Kirsty says:

      Yikes, I’ve only read a couple of comments at the end on here but it seems any mention of Straw brings out a lot of deeply disturbed individuals like Dave and Chris (possibly the same person?) Backing away really quite quickly (as in running) from them seems like a good plan just now.

    96. Wulls says:

      I’m wondering exactly where the “calamitous” consequences of the breakup of the union actually lie ???
      Certainly nowhere north of Hadrians wall.

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