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Klingons on the starboard bow

Posted on February 05, 2013 by

Since we’re on the subject of Willie Rennie, we may as well have a look at the comments he’s made today in response to the Scottish Government’s publication of its “transition” plans in the event of a Yes vote. A clearer, more dispiriting example of the “We cannae dae it, Cap’n!” mentality would be hard to find.

“Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie insisted today that the SNP has “hopelessly underestimated the scale and complexity” of the task ahead.

“They would have to negotiate over 14,000 international treaties, a currency, the division of assets, membership of NATO and the host of international organisations,” he said.

“To say they will bang all this through in just 16 months is absurd. This will give most people in Scotland the shivers and fuel suspicion that the SNP are just making it up as they go along.”

Now, “making it up as they go along” is a pretty strange reaction in the first place to someone publishing a detailed planning document almost TWO YEARS ahead of the time it would be needed. But let’s humour the poor man and glance through his terrifying list of impossible tasks.

1. “Negotiate over 14,000 international treaties”

We suspect there may be some double counting going on here. We may drop Mr Rennie a line and ask him if he can let us have a copy of the list, which would represent over 70 separate treaties with each of the world’s 195 other countries.

Nevertheless, we’re not sure we understand why they all need urgent negotiating. How about we ring up everyone, say “We’re planning on keeping to the terms of the existing treaty/treaties for now, sound okay?” and then sort out any problems or changes in the fullness of time?

Allowing for a polite exchange of pleasantries and such, 10 minutes per call (working office hours) should wrap that up in a week or so, with most of Friday off.

2. “A currency”

We’re going to be using Sterling. Next?

3. “Membership of NATO and the host of international organisations”

Those would presumably come under “international treaties”. See, we told you there’d be some double counting going on. Naughty wee Willie.

4. “The division of assets”

Okay, this is the real one. But even so, it’s not THAT complicated. Huge chunks of Scottish society and infrastructure – education, law and the health service being the biggest and most obvious – are already entirely independent, and can be taken out of the equation straight away.

Scotland owns an 8.4% share of everything that belongs to the UK, so we know the value of what we’re entitled to, and indeed also what we’re liable for. Fixed assets – buildings and territorial resources – are also straightforward: they stay where they are. So really, what actually needs dividing?

The armed forces are probably the trickiest – Scotland will presumably want a few actual aeroplanes and ships and suchlike to get its defence up and running on day 1 rather than simply going away with a cheque to build or buy its own. But almost a year and a half seems plenty of time for reasonable people to divvy things up in an acceptable manner.

(And everyone WILL be reasonable, because it’s in nobody’s interests not to be – for all sorts of reasons, but most pressingly the future of Trident, Scotland’s trump card in all negotiations.)

It should go without saying that “But the paperwork will be a hassle!” is in any event just about the most dismal, cringing reason anyone could ever concoct for rejecting their own nation’s independence. The families of the millions across the world who’ve given up their lives for the same goal must look on people like Willie Rennie with undiluted contempt, and it’d be hard to blame them.

Scores of nations have secured independence since the end of World War 2, and not one of them ever failed to sort out the small print. The notion that the Scots (and the people of the rUK), who once administered and then dismantled a vast empire which circled the globe, are uniquely incapable of legally extricating their state from a larger one would be hilarious were it not so pathetic.

As such, we suppose it’s an entirely fitting position for Willie Rennie.

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    1. 29 03 13 15:20

      Meanwhile, over in Unionistville………. | Ghosts of Darien

    88 to “Klingons on the starboard bow”

    1. Tattie-boggle says:

      No sweetie for willie , here’s a pokie hat go and stand in the corner son !

    2. Doug Daniel says:

      As I believe I’ve posted in the comments elsewhere, it’s like the Churchill Insurance advert:

      “I SUPPOSE THERE’LL BE LOADS OF FORMS TO FILL IN!” 

      Quite apt really, given that Willie Rennie plays the role of a nodding dog pretty well.

    3. Bill McLean says:

      Willie Rennie, must be one of the most ridiculous figures ever to take up politics. He has no insight and little intelligence. When he was my MP (Dunfermline) some years ago he came to my door canvassing. When I asked him why, as a Liberal, he approved of British nuclear weapons and sat in a parliament which sent soldiers to die for a lie he replied “I sit at Westminster to stop the English from being so aggressive”. I kid you not. A clown in every way possible. Best to be ignored!

    4. creag an tuirc says:

      Ahhhhh. Wee Willie Winkie.

      “Weary is the mother who has a dusty child,
      A small short little child, who can’t run on his own,”

    5. Pa Broon says:

      I think there is a long list of things Willie Rennie finds difficult to traverse or navigate, things like doing the velcro straps up on his shoes, forming understandable opinions and dressing himself of a morning come to mind.

      From his point of view, he’s not really lying.

    6. muttley79 says:

      I get the distinct impression the No campaign’s politicians are having difficulty in even convinced themselves why Scotland should not be independent. 

    7. Seanair says:

      How does he get out of his bed in the morning?
      “I  might trip on the carpet, I might cut myself shaving, the car won’t start, I’m doomed”.

      Just more scare stories, which they will ultimately run out of. 

    8. Keef says:

      O/T but please do not get your hopes up as you wait for the free downloadable poster from the Yes Scotland site to open up.

      I’m trying to be kind when I say I was somewhat deflated. 

    9. Adrian B says:

      Willie needn’t fret, he ain’t got anything to worry about as he isn’t going to be doing any of the hard work required.

      He can continue to snipe from the sidelines without fear of doing any work what so ever.

      Workshy is the term I think many have used in the past to this sort of attitude. 

    10. BillyBigbaws says:

      I have been told in the past that the division of assets will be made more difficult by the fact that there is no real record of what is located where, or who owns what, due to us all being the best of mates and sharing everything equally across our internal borders without even thinking about that sort of thing.

      It was no surprise to find that is not true. The National Register of Assets (albeit from 2007, and with certain sensitive items omitted from the publically available version) is available online here:

      http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/psr_investment_nar_2007_index.htm

      Anyone negotiating for our share of UK assets would have to be allowed access to the most recent Register, of course.

    11. Mister Worf says:

      I’m starting to think either most of the No camp’s leadership are all secretly pro-independence, or that the water pipes in the Bitter Together offices need checked for lead and other heavy metals. They seem to be getting dafter every day.

    12. Richard says:

      Lazy no good politicians, what he means is the no campaign is too busy chancing a skive, to strive like the rest of us.
       

    13. Rabb says:

      Can we not use one of those comparison sites to switch?

      If they could switch my broadband provider seamlessly then I’m sure they can accommodate our sovereignty?

       

    14. creag an tuirc says:

      @BillyBigbaws.

      I bet John Swinney cannae wait to get his teeth into those up-to-date documents

    15. Seasick Dave says:

      Mister Worf

      I’m sure the pipes in the Better Together office are absolutely fine 🙂

      When I was at University we were taught the maxim that, to be successful, never go to your boss with a problem, go with a solution.

      Willie and the BT team can only come up with problems which is why they will never be  successful.

      Ironically, the only solution that Willie has come up with was to put the Olympic rings on the roof of his Kelty bungalow and that was never going to happen! 

      The BT team have no ambition for Scotland and, in fact, would like to see us regress with the loss of our free services.

    16. Stevie Mach says:

      er, who brought up car insurance when the topic’s about a Libdem?

      Form-phobic Rennie should be given one-hundred lines to help with his paperwork aversion.

    17. The Rough Bounds. says:

      Whenever I think on Willie Rennie (not often) an image comes to my mind of him wearing shorts and with one of those wee school caps on his head. Very odd!
       
      We have all met Willie’s sort before. He is the ubiquitous bore. The guy at the bar that people can only tolerate for just so long before someone eventually loses patience and says, ‘For fucks sake Wullie, shut the fuck up. You’re boring the shit out of everybody’.
       
      My mental image of Johann Lamont is of her dressed as a clippie on an old Glasgow tram. And that’s it.
       
      And my mental image of Ruth Davidson: the woman that is introduced to your company and everyone immediately clocks her sensible shoes…and the conversation dies.

    18. Doonfooter says:

      There is a BBC news item with open comments here
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-21331302
      But I wouldn’t recommend rushing over as the comments are full of bile and xenaphobia from English commentors.
      Typical BBC won’t allow comments on daily Scottish politics but happy to open the threads to the Little Englanders.

    19. Cameron says:

      I think I know the answer to this one already, but will Scotland be entitled to 8.4% of the Bank of England? After all, was it not nationalised in 1946?

    20. Les Wilson says:

      Is anyone convinced that Willie Rennie has the slightest idea of what he is talking about?
      I doubt it, somehow I do not see him as a titan of procedures. 

      He has just been handed the wording to continue the scaremongering by his Westminster Conspiracy Colleagues, as they do. He is just doing what he is told, as HE does!
      But whit can yea dae man?? 

    21. scottish_skier says:

      Surely there must be one reason Scotland can’t be independent? Just one, simple, clear reason? An unequivocal one you can place in the middle of the table and say ‘Look, there you go, that’s it right there. We told you so!’. I get the impression that’s what the No camp are expending most of their energy doing; fruitlessly searching for something that does not exist.

      They’d be better of looking for a positive case for the union as that’s what the electorate want to hear about. It’s the bit that’s missing from the equation and that’s what’s becoming increasingly obvious; hence the declining ‘no’ vote share in polls.

      The peak of the union was last year; it’s all going to shift the other way now. I heard that stated by a unionist former First Minister of Scotland too, not from the Yes campaign. I completely agree with him.

    22. Alastair Hutchison says:

      @muttley 79

      I agree.  When I listened to Blair MacDougall I got the impression from his body language and his speech patterns that he didn’t believe most of what he was acutally saying.

      Alistair Darling this morning on GMS echoed Mr Rennie or visa-versa.  His whole interviewed boiled down to it would be difficult and the fine details of Independence couldn’t be solved over night.  It just screamed of “TOO STUPID” to me.

      If I could give some advice to Better Togheter it would be to make an arguement for the Union (There has to be one……….. there must be one……… somewhere surely).   I used to be in the Camp of Devo Max / Federalism…. but the mantra from what I considered “my side” has led me here. 

      The ecomonic agruement is even patronising now… yes most of our trade is with England…. no one has said why that would stop post Indy?  I also find it insulting to think as a Scot my ambitions should be limited to selling things to England… there is a BIG world out there.

      Oh and finally Blair MacDougall……. I used to buy and source products for the company I worked for from all over Europe…. It wasn’t harder than dealing with the rest of the UK.  I even got a decent Beer when I went to a German Trade Fair.

      Rant Over

      Alastair                      

    23. chicmac says:

      I don’t know if ‘Klingon’ refers to London’s desire to hold on to Scotland at all costs or if it is related to their increasing desperation and its effect on the frequency and softness of their bowel movements, however, one good blood pressure tip whenever a unionist uses ‘SNP’, is to assume it stands for ‘Say No Party” then the context usually makes much more sense.

    24. Seasick Dave says:

      With reference to Norwegian Independence, it seems like Britain was in favour of Norway going its own way.

      From Wikipedia:

      Polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen weighed in heavily for dissolving the union and travelled to the United Kingdom, where he successfully lobbied for British support for Norway’s independence movement.

       On 31 August, Norwegian and Swedish delegates met in the Swedish city of Karlstad to negotiate the terms of the dissolution. Although many prominent right-wing Swedish politicians favoured a hard-line approach to the issue, historical scholars have found that the Swedish King had determined early on that it would be better to lose the union than risk a war with Norway. The overwhelming public support among Norwegians for independence had convinced the major European powers that the independence movement was legitimate, and Sweden feared it would be isolated by suppressing it; also, there was little appetite for creating additional ill will between the countries, closely related as they were (and are).
      Even as the negotiations made progress, military forces were quietly deployed on both sides of the border between Sweden and Norway, though separated by two kilometres. Public opinion among Norwegian leftists favoured a war of independence if necessary, even against Sweden’s numerical superiority.
      On 23 September, the negotiations closed. On 9 October the Norwegian parliament voted to accept the terms of the dissolution; on 13 October the Swedish parliament followed suit. Although Norway had considered itself independent since 7 June, Sweden formally recognised Norwegian independence on 26 October when Oscar II renounced his and any of his descendants’ claims to the Norwegian throne.

      Where there’s a will (not a Willie), there’s a way.

    25. Macart says:

      So basically Mr Rennie’s considered argument is we shouldn’t do it because it’s too hard and a bit of a bother?????????

      Next. 

    26. Training Day says:

      “It should go without saying that “But the paperwork will be a hassle!” is in any event just about the most dismal, cringing reason anyone could ever concoct for rejecting their own nation’s independence”

      I heard exactly that from a supposedly sentient individual last week.  As you say, Stu, pathetic.

    27. Ysabelle says:

      Just noticed that Labour for Independence have over 2000 likes now on their FB page, so here’s another plug for them. Their FB page which can be read by those not signed up to Facebook has useful links to articles, and comments, etc:

      https://en-gb.facebook.com/labourforindependence?group_id=0&filter=1 

    28. scottish_skier says:

      @Alastair Hutchison  

      I agree.  When I listened to Blair MacDougall I got the impression from his body language and his speech patterns that he didn’t believe most of what he was acutally saying.”

      Very much so; it was extremely obvious from posture, facial expressions, mannerisms. He’s really an extremely poor liar. What really tops it off is he seems to believe he’s a good one, which means he acts in a way which makes it all the more obvious he’s not.

      Certainly, after watching him being interviewed, I thought to myself ‘we’ll he’s not much of a concern for the Yes campaign’.

    29. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Typical BBC won’t allow comments on daily Scottish politics but happy to open the threads to the Little Englanders.”

      Careful – Calum Cashley will be after you.

    30. HenBroon says:

      Cathy Jameson her self said before she scuttled of to Westminster, her last shot at haunting hooses wi Curran and Bailey and the wee Hairy, caterpillar.
      “These are very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very difficult hings n that knaw, whit ur means?”
      We Wendy wiz nodding at every very so she wiz.
       

    31. Swello says:

      Interesting to see the mildly panicked reaction from the “No Bodies” to the release of this document today as it seems to mark the point where the Yes side are moving onto the front foot and forcing Better Together to react to events rather than the other way round. So far there have been orchestrated scare stories which the Yes side have had to debunk – but by starting to release some substantive information, the game changes.

      It also starts to kill the “they won’t give us any detail” argument that No (and Jim Sillars 😉 ) have used for the past year or so… 

    32. muttley79 says:

      @Alastair Hutchison
       
      There is not a positive case for the union.  The No campaign is just against change, and also about self-preservation (mostly of careers).  If the UK was an egalitarian, socially progressive state then that would be a positive reason for the union.  Instead it is one of the most unequal states in the West.  There is massive social inequalities, and it is only going to get worse when the welfare cuts take effect.  There is a huge amount of power concentrated in London, to the detriment of all the other parts of the UK, including the North of England.  You just need to read an article on the extent of the planned cuts in Newcastle to see that a social catastrophe is looming.

    33. BillyBigbaws says:

      creag an tuirc said:
       
      “I bet John Swinney cannae wait to get his teeth into those up-to-date documents.”

      Well, I’d rather him than me!

    34. Cameron says:

      @ muttley79
       
      Of course there is a positive case for retaining the union. In fact, you stated some of the most obvious. This arrangement ensures that the British establishment will be able to continue troughing of the British state. I put it to you that any political movement which seeks to change this arrangement, is nothing more than the politics of envy. You should be ashamed of yourself for even dreaming of being able to stand on you own hind legs. 😉
       
      BTW, do you know if Scotland will be entitled to 8.4% of the Bank of England?

    35. Allan28 says:

      While I hope it will not stop Willie Rennie from carrying out the research he clearly failed to do in relation to International Treaties, someone obviously pulled the ‘14,000’ figure from here: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/treaties/uk-treaties-online/
      Unfortunately that person failed to recognise that this number seems to represent the total number of all Treaties ‘involving’ the UK ever entered into and thus includes all Treaties with defunct states ( a quick look shows for example Abyssinia, Anglo-Egyptian Sudan, French Settlements in India and many more in similar vein ), all Colonial Treaties, all Treaties which have been entered into by the EU (i.e. not negotiated by the UK itself) and self evidently vast numbers of Treaties which no longer have any force or effect.

    36. muttley79 says:

      @Cameron
       
      No idea about the Bank of England.  Re: the troughing, I think even the ermine chasers know that they can’t give this as a positive reason for the union…

    37. Marcia says:

      Having read Willie Rennie’s comments, he seems to have a problem for every solution.

    38. Cuphook says:

      Willie Rennie could well be an intellectual in the No campaign if the comments on the BBC are anything to go by. Judging by the shocking educational standards on display perhaps form filling is not their strong point. I’m away to run my brain under a cold tap.
       
      @Cameron
       
      We do own our percentage share of the BofE. A good resource for information can be found over at Newsnet.

    39. Adrian B says:

      Quoting Willie”cannae dae it” Rennie

      “To say they will bang all this through in just 16 months is absurd. This will give most people in Scotland the shivers and fuel suspicion that the SNP are just making it up as they go along.”

      Its not 16 months that Nicola is suggesting – Its 15 months.

      And as far as you are concerned Willie, the Referendum should never take place. Well if you can’t stand the heat stay out of the kitchen. 

    40. Dcanmore says:

      Willie ‘am a wee bit feart’ Rennie. Another hopeless BT politcian that aspires to be FM (laugh!)

    41. ianbrotherhood says:

      @chicmac –
      Maybe ‘Klingon’ is a reference to Rennie being an ineffectual arsewipe. 
      Soon, the penny is going to drop – these bottons in the Opposition, including Labour, are just taking up space, preventing the Independent government Scotland will have. That is their only function. Post-Yes, they’ll disappear like snow off a dyke, and we’ll see a completely fresh political landscape, with new parties. We know the far Right has no place here, so what’s to be afraid of?
      If Rennie had any courage he would throw Libs in Scotland a lifeline, accept AS’s invitation to join the Yes Scotland campaign and tell Clegg to keep his two faces out of it. 

    42. Bill C says:

      “But the paperwork will be a hassle!” – I wonder what the authors of the Declaration of Arbroath would have thought of such a toe curling excuse for denying your country the right to self determination?  Rennie’s statement is an embarrassment, not only to himself, but also his party, his constituents and above all his country. He should resign immediately.

    43. Boorach says:

      The one thing that willie has got right is that this’s will give most people in Scotland the shivers”. 

      It sure has willie….. shivers of expectation! 

    44. andrew_haddow says:

      @Adrian B
      I make it 17 months, assuming an October vote. Plus there’s another 20 months for pre-negotiations prior to the referendum. Plenty time!

    45. Cuphook says:

      O/T couple of questions I can’t find answers to:
       
      Soldiers posted abroad but who normally live with a parent when back home – if the parent is on benefits will the ‘bedroom tax’ apply?
       
      Are Scottish MPs voting on the marriage bill going through Westminster?
       

    46. Adrian B says:

      Andrew_haddow,

      I took the 15 months figure from the Guardian article.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/feb/05/snp-urges-cameron-start-handover-talks

      If Nicola did say 15 months which is what I heard on the radio this morning then I would go with that figure for now. Either way its only a matter of weeks difference. We may well be able to go Independent from a date prior to completion of all treaty signatures being completed if there is a written agreement on this being done within a certain following time scale.

      Nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

    47. Elizabeth says:

      I’m not Brian Taylor’s biggest fan but I have to say his piece today ‘Giving in to Temptation’  is good!

      “Alex Salmond envisages independence day for Scotland would be in March 2016, but the exact date for the referendum has yet to be announced
      In combat – and indeed chess – it is a classic tactic. Tempt your opponents, lure them onto your territory. Then pounce.
      Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon are pursuing broadly that approach with the publication today of a paper tracking possible process from a putative “Yes” vote in the independence referendum to the creation of a distinct Scottish state.
      This is not comfortable territory for supporters of the Union. They do not want to talk about it.
      They do not want to presume the establishment of independence – nor even to posit it as a prospect, lest it somehow become more likely, more ingrained in the public mind.
      But Scottish government ministers have a perfect explanation ready to justify their decision to focus on the process of independence – rather than the substance – in the first paper of a planned series.
      (Not that they feel the need to offer excuses, you understand. But it is always advantageous for a politician to be able to point to external justification.)
      In this case, the notion of explaining process was explicitly urged – and urged rather substantively – in the report published last week by the Electoral Commission…..”

      Full article:
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-21338509  

    48. Hetty says:

      I know, many people already have trouble with ‘form filling’, there will be plenty of that to do come the costly and imminent welfare reforms for those who are already struggling day to day. So Mr Rennie think yourself lucky you don’t have zillions of pages to stress over just to keep a roof over your head and food on the table for the kids…just something to ponder as it’s all coming from your pals in westminster.
       

    49. pmcrek says:

      Actually reading the paper Mr Rennie is commenting on but likely hasn’t read, the 15 months claim is based on the average time it took to negotiate independence for the 30 other states since 1945 which have similarly democratically voted for their independence.
      To give him the benefit of doubt would be the assumption that Mr Rennie has a problem accepting ALL empirical data, however as such a life would be impossible to lead I can only assume he simply disagrees with empirical evidence that invalidates his particular thesis for the week.

    50. Morag says:

      I’ve only got one problem with Nicola’s announcement.

      I want independence day to be at a time of year when barbecues and street parties might conceivably occur.

      March isn’t always bad, last year it was the month we had summer, but even April or May might be a better long-term prospect.

    51. Albamac says:

      Keef says,
      Please do not get your hopes up as you wait for the free downloadable poster from the Yes Scotland site to open up

      I’ve just done it Keef.  It took a few seconds.  What sort of problem did you run into?

    52. TYRAN says:

      Just went to BBC site to read a few of these comments people are on about. This is the first one I was greeted with; top of Editors Picks. >
      – (1470 Joe). …if they want to be seprate from Uk let them have it,then they have to support their own edicuation,health care ,priscription… If they can generate wealth income its doutful question and they cant support their people and its will end up like Grease status of baile out… SNP has no clue or idea 

    53. Adrian B says:

      Tyran,

      Seems to me Dave’s plan is working well. If England wish to see the Scots go alone, he isn’t going to be blamed for the breakup of the UK. Thats unfortunate for the Labour  fronted better together campaign, as they were obviously the ones that lost it.  

    54. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Soldiers posted abroad but who normally live with a parent when back home – if the parent is on benefits will the ‘bedroom tax’ apply?”

      Yes, it will. That scenario has been much discussed in the media.

      “Are Scottish MPs voting on the marriage bill going through Westminster?”

      The usual applies – SNP MPs aren’t, the others are.

    55. Angus McLellan says:

      It’s not Willie came up with the 14,000 treaties thing. No, it’s the lovely people at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/treaties/uk-treaties-online/ And they’ve even got a gadget that will let you search them: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/treaties/search.

      So, what bilateral treaties are there between the UK and – just because it’s near the top of the list – Alaska? The first thing on there’s the 1903 Convention between the United Kingdom and the United States of America for the Adjustment of the Boundary between the Dominion of Canada and the Territory of Alaska. Hmm. And then there’s the 1942 Notes between Canada and the United States of America concerning Alaska Highway – Construction of Flight Strips. Indeed, not one of the 13 treaties seems to have any relevance for an independent Scotland.

      It gets better. Or worse if you are Willie Rennie. There are 2 treaties with the long-defunct Kingdom of Bavaria from 1841 and 1852, and 18 with the equally moribund Kingdom of Sardinia.

      I don’t know about you, but as for me, I have the feeling that the 14,000 number needs adjusting. Downwards. By an awful lot. Isn’t that a shock?

    56. cuphook says:

      Thanks, Rev.
       
      ‘That scenario has been much discussed in the media.’ And yet I somehow missed it. Maybe there is just too much news for one person to cope with.
       
      I was looking at the (expected) figures regarding the marriage bill and it looks like it might be touch and go. I’m in two minds about this one. Equality: of course. Scottish MPs voting on a matter that does not affect Scotland: no. If it does take Scottish votes to pass I’m sure that that will be appreciated by the Daily Mail and The Telegraph. 

    57. Angus McLellan says:

      Debt, eh? What can you do?
      Well, if you couldn’t remember that Scotland would not be the first country to leave the UK, you might be impressed by Willie’s argument. There’s no reason to think any different, right? But there is. The Anglo-Irish Treaty didn’t resolve all of the issues when the Irish Free State became independent. Debt was one of the issues explicitly not settled and was parked to be negotiated after independence. See article 5 of the treaty at: http://www.nationalarchives.ie/topics/anglo_irish/dfaexhib2.html.

      For people who make a lot of our 300 years of shared history, the Better Together crowd don’t seem to know very much about that history. It’s a funny old world.

    58. muttley79 says:

      Oh dear Willie…

    59. Jeannie says:

      I have a question.  Why is it that the unionists keep screaming at us to provide more information on what an independent Scotland would like like and when I offer them a leaflet with that very information on it, they refuse to take it? Just askin’.

    60. DougtheDug says:

      “Negotiate over 14,000 international treaties”
       
      I thought that as a successor state to the UK Scotland would inherit all the UK treaties automatically.
       
      Is Willie suggesting that we will not be a successor state (no UK debt passed on Willie) and therefore will have to renegotiate all those we want to keep?

    61. Angus McLellan says:

      @DougtheDug: Yes, that’s the good old Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of Treaties available at http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/3_2_1978.pdf. We can see the way it works in practice in the Velvet Divorce between the Czechs and Slovaks, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velvet_Divorce#International_law.
       
      But not every treaty is simply a matter of sending a latter saying “To Whom It May Concern: We’re sticking by this deal. Love & kisses from Scotland”. Some do really need renegotiating, generally things like the EU, the IMF, the World Bank and the UN fall into that category. But those are a tiny minority of treaties. I’d guess you could list them all on a postcard.
       

    62. Christian Wright says:

      @Stuart Campbell:  “Scotland owns an 8.4% share of everything that belongs to the UK”

      Yeah, about that: Didn’t Scotland’s population comprise a significantly greater portion of the UK population during much of its asset accumulation phases?

      Scotland’s population has been relatively flat for a considerable period of course, and I did look into it in the dim and distant past and seem to recall our population historically comprising up to 12.5% or more of the UK total at one point.

      I’m sure some sort of interpolation could be performed or has already been done, to produce an “equitable averaging”  of population ratios for the period 1708 – 2016.

      Within that, for the purposes of fair asset apportionment, weighting should be given to those periods when the UK was diligently asset stripping – a little impolitic, make that exploring and investing in – other parts of the globe.

      This examination is not a trivial pursuit. The amounts involved could be very significant, and Scotland and its people have every right to an equitable share of UK assets. 

      Many Schools, hospitals, university places, heating allowances, investments in infrastructure,  national rainy-day funding, could be financed with this extra money.

      Now clearly, what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and Scotland’s portion of UK liabilities needs equally to be so adjusted.

      I am confident however, that historically, returns exceeded investment costs by a considerable margin, and that net/net, we will come out of this examination considerably wealthier than we went in.

       

    63. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      I think I know the answer to this one already, but will Scotland be entitled to 8.4% of the Bank of England? After all, was it not nationalised in 1946?”

      “The Bank was privately owned and operated from its foundation in 1694. It was nationalised in 1946. In 1998, it became an independent public organisation, wholly owned by the Treasury Solicitor on behalf of the Government, with independence in setting monetary policy.”

      The Bank of England is in fact the bank of the UK. It is owned by the UK and therefore 8.4% of it is owned by Scotland.

    64. Christian Wright says:

      Yes, the best riposte to this anti-independence argument is indeed literally writ large the banner headline:

      INDEPENDENCE IMPOSSIBLE IN OUR LIFETIME!
      “THERE ARE TOO MANY FORMS TO FILL-IN” SAY UNIONISTS 

    65. andrew_haddow says:

      @Christian Wright
      Estimates indicate Scotland had around 20% of the British population in 1707. A useful benchmark?
      http://aberdeenvoice.com/2011/04/the-treaty-of-union-of-1707-part-3/

    66. M4rkyboy says:

      ‘but most pressingly the future of Trident, Scotland’s trump card in all negotiations’
      In the foreign affairs committee session in Edinburgh on Jan 28th that i watched last night Nicola Sturgeon categorically states to a direct question that the matter of Trident is non-negotiable
      http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=12561
      14:04

    67. TheGreatBaldo says:

      On Wullie’s ‘14,000 treaties’ claim…..

      Didn’t wee Ruthie say at FMQ’s or her Scotland Today interview after the EC Report the other week that there were 12,000 treaties….

      Now if we assume both are telling the truth logically means that the Foreign Office has negotiated and signed over 2,000 Treaties (without anyone even noticing) in the space of a week….

      That’s an outstanding body of work…..what with these Treaties being so incredibly complex and time consuming….so hats off to the chaps at the FO !

      In next weeks news,

      Jackie Baillie will announce that according to her research there are in fact 41,000 treaties that require renegotiation if we leave the UK…..

       

    68. Seasick Dave says:

      Willie can be contacted here for clarification.

      http://www.scotlibdems.org.uk/contacthq
       

    69. muttley79 says:

      @Christian Wright
       
      INDEPENDENCE IMPOSSIBLE IN OUR LIFETIME!
      “THERE ARE TOO MANY FORMS TO FILL-IN” SAY UNIONISTS


      Is this the emergence of the positive case for the union….

       

    70. velofello says:

      @ Christian Wright: re population movements over the past 300 years. Some interesting maths needed there. And another dilemma for Oor Wullie Rennie – the bother of it all. Well at least he won’t be involved in either the beaurocracy of treaties not the mathematics of assets allocation.
      @M4rkyboy: Trident is where I hope there will not be a split in the SNP post-independence.
      The fundamentalists led by Nicola Sturgeon, and the pragmatists led by whom?
      I’m usually on the pragmatist side on issues but Trident is a fundamental No no for me. 

    71. TYRAN says:

      Someone ask Willie & Co if Scotland will have to sign treaties with Abyssinia, Bechuanaland Protectorate, Electorate of Hesse and other such former places as these are the things showing up in the records on the link posted above. Yes, it may be 14,000 in total since day one. How many are actually valid in 2013 is another matter. It’s like keeping old Radio Rentals receipts for the bust B&W TV set from 40 years ago.

    72. M4rkyboy says:

      @Velofello
      I agree,the alternative to removing it is for England to retain sovereign bases in an Independent Scotland-a situation i could never agree to especially considering the nature of what they would be using them for.i was gratified to hear Nicola put into words what i have been looking to hear.

    73. Kenny Campbell says:

      Wullie is the kind of guy who hasn’t had his PPI payment yet as its “jist too much bother”……We know he’s got PPI due back as he’s the type that had it for everything….A perpetual worrier with little or no job security….

    74. Kenny Campbell says:

      Whether we are due 8.4% of UK assets and be liable for any UK debts will depend on the method of independence….there are real possible scenarios where neither would apply.

    75. Cameron says:

      Thanks cuphook and Rev. Stuart. 
       
      I should probably do my own research to answer further question I have, but I thought these might add to the debate.
      Should Scotland have representation on the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee, at least until/if we decide to establish our own currency?
      Would part-ownership of the BoE be compatible with Scotland’s new Constitution? For starters, the identities of the BoE’s board of directors remains a guarded secret, protected by both Royal Charter and the Official Secrets Act.
      If our new Constitution compels Scotland to sever ties with the BoE, how can we establish its true value? The Bank of England Nominees Ltd. was granted an exemption from the traditional disclosure requirements under the Companies Act 1976, and the Bank’s Royal Charter excludes it from the legal requirement for external audit.
       

    76. ewen says:

      I lived in Lithuania for 12 years. They had to codify a new legal system, forge new treaties, set up a new currency, new national institutions and suffered an economic blockade. They did it along with so many others but somehow Willie Rennie thinks we are less capable. Yet another example of Unionists putting Scotland down.

    77. Aplinal says:

      @M4arkyboy

      I agree about Trident / WMD, BUT … this is SNP policy and in an Independent Scotland it may well be policy for another government that they would “accommodate” the rUK Trident subs.  Of course they would have to be voted in by the electorate, and most probably in a similar, or even more PR based system a majority single-party government is unlikely.  However, it IS possible.

      But that is what Independence means.  Sometime in the future we may have a SG which reflects views we don’t like.  Of course, the difference is that these views will be Scottish voter views, and not rUK ones! 

      EDIT: Pedant alert. Rev, shouldn’t it be “Klingons OFF the starboard bow”?

    78. andrew_haddow says:

      @Aplinal
      Surely it should be “Klingons aft” 

    79. Adrian B says:

      For those of you that want it going around in your head for the rest of the night, here it is in all its glory:

    80. Cameron says:

      Ya cannie change the laws oh physics capin! Given that Newton’s law of motion implies the conservation of momentum, it looks like we are on for a big celebration come 2014. For those who are not already familiar with this concept (I was terrible at physics when at school myself), it means that a moving body will continue until it is resisted by an equal and opposite force. Does anyone really see such resistance coming from the Bitter campaign?

      @ Adrian B

      You are truly a person of bad taste. 😉

    81. Davy says:

      ‘TheGreatBaldo’,
       
      I can confirm that Jackie Ballie will announce their is actually 41,000 SWEETIES not treaties to be negotiated before she leaves the house let along the UK, next week.

    82. Christian Wright says:

      I made the mistake of play that video. Adrian B has much for which to answer.
       

    83. Tamson says:

      OT, but another example of the sheer strength of the Unionist-reality disconnect. I stumbled upon this review, in the New Statesmen, of Gerry Hassan’s book “The Strange Death of Labour in Scotland”.
      http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2012/07/strange-death-labour-scotland-review
      Douglas Alexander (for it appears to be he) can’t even get through his first paragraph without making a huge factual error.

    84. Adrian B says:

      Cameron,

      I never really liked it, but I am of an age that it was impossible to avoid. Some of my trecky friends loved it however.

      Christian,

      Perhaps my impromptu message of the tune going around in your head all night was more curious to you than it would have been to those that new what it was. I hope you didn’t suffer for long. Blame Willie Rennie as it is all his fault.  

    85. charlie says:

      Sorry to mention it but weren’t  the Klingons fairly pro-active about their independence?  It was  the faceless Borg who kidded on you must be assimiated (tho I don’t remenber none of them mentioning a pension from Westminister)

      Eh, live lang an prosper likesais

      1314 of 1314

    86. muttley79 says:

      This quote from Douglas Alexander is striking in its almost complete lack of self awareness and irony:
       
      “It will not be achieved simply by attacking the SNP: if the Scottish people sense we hate the SNP more than we love Scotland, they won’t vote for us.”


      Just a few weeks we had Sarwar and co in the Commons calling Salmond a dictator!

    87. Peter Mirtitsch says:

      Muttley, don’t know if you ever read the “Paisley Depress”, where that nice Mr Alexander has a column. He seems barely able to get through a paragraph without blaming something on the SNP, regardless of the truth of the matter or no…
       



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