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No place like home rule

Posted on October 30, 2013 by

If there’s one phrase that has long bedevilled the Liberal party and its descendants, it’s ‘home rule’. What are we supposed to understand by it? And perhaps more to the point, what do modern Lib Dems understand by it?


If you go back in Liberal history to the time of the great William Gladstone, ‘home rule’ meant something. It meant the principle of self-governance for Ireland, with certain powers reserved to Westminster.

Gladstone’s idea of home rule was very similar to what we now call Devo Max. And when Gladstone stood up for this principle and fought to drive it through parliament, he was attacked in terms we recognise only too well today.

Here he is in the House of Commons in 1888:

“Now, sir, we are called separatists. (Ministerial cheers.) We are denounced as such. (Renewed Ministerial cheers.) I am glad to have any of my assertions supported by honourable gentlemen opposite, whose approval is conveyed in that semi-articulate manner which they find so congenial. (Opposition cheers and laughter.)

But we are called separatists, because we wish to give effect to the national aspirations of Ireland within the limits of the Constitution and with supreme regard to the unity of the Empire. (Ministerial cries of “Oh,” and Opposition cheers.)”

Gladstone’s refusal to be swayed from the principle of home rule for Ireland cost him the premiership and split his party. And during the long descent of the Liberal party from party of government to parliamentary rump, home rule continued to haunt it, like a Greek chorus lamenting the cruelty of the fates.

In that same year of 1888, Keir Hardie stood against the Liberal in Mid-Lanark on a platform that included home rule for Scotland. Whatever the Labour party have thought about home rule since, and whether they’ve blown hot or cold on the idea (mostly cold), they’ve never conceded Scottish sovereignty, never thought further than Devo-Max, and seldom that far.

But the Scottish Liberals have. At a ceremony in Orkney in May this year to mark the centenary of Scottish party icon Jo Grimond’s birth, David Steel quoted from Grimond’s 1983 book ‘A Personal Manifesto’.

I do not like the word devolution as it has come to be called. It implies that power rests at Westminster, from which centre some may be graciously devolved. I would rather begin by assuming that power should rest with the people who entrust it to their representatives to discharge the essential tasks of government. Once we accept that the Scots and the Welsh are nations, then we must accord them parliaments which have all the normal powers of government, except for those that they delegate to the United Kingdom government or the EEC.”

This idea that the Scottish people are sovereign is not some subversive undercurrent in Scottish Lib Dem thinking. Far from it: it appears to be central to what they now think of as home rule.

Writing in the Herald this year, Scottish Lib Dem Caron Lindsay quotes David Steel:

“I’m a federalist and my views on how Scotland’s governance should work were very neatly summed up by David Steel recently: ‘The principle of home rule is different from devolution. Under home rule, sovereignty lies with the Scottish people and we decide when it is sensible to give powers to the centre on issues like foreign affairs and defence.'”

I can’t see many Yes voters disagreeing with David Steel there. The Scottish people are sovereign; they alone have the power to delegate stuff when they think it is sensible. So why on earth aren’t the Scottish LibDems backing Yes, when it would give Scotland just such power? Because if you’re a Lib Dem, life’s never that obvious. Here’s their Scottish 2011 manifesto:

We are calling for a new, permanent home rule settlement, within a federal Britain, that will equip Scotland with the powers to build a fairer Scotland and a strong, sustainable economy.”

And here’s Willie Rennie in the preface to the Scottish Lib Dems Home Rule and Community Rule report, published in 2012:

“They were asked by our party, the Scottish Liberal Democrats, to set out the details of home rule’ for Scotland within the United Kingdom.”

Now it simply isn’t possible to have that both ways. Either the Scottish people are sovereign, or they are not. Either the Scottish people have the power to delegate foreign affairs and defence “when it is sensible”, or they don’t. Either they can decide in their own time whether or not to belong to a federal Britain, or they can’t.

So which is it? Poor, ever-loyal Caron Lindsay does her best to fudge her way out:

“I don’t doubt that Scotland could flourish as an independent nation but I think that we benefit from being in the UK. The union isn’t perfect, but the way forward is to work on that inter-relationship, not ditch it completely.”

Anyone with a grain of common sense can see that “working on that inter-relationship” is going precisely nowhere. In fact, the Lib Dem federalist dream has been going nowhere for so long it now resembles an abandoned railway carriage used to house chickens. The only way the Scottish people are ever going to gain practical sovereignty is through voting for independence.

And surely that accords with Grimond’s and Steel’s vision: Get the power first, then decide how you want to delegate. If Scotland chose to vote Lib Dems into government after independence, they could set about creating whatever kind of Federation of Great Britain they want. And during the inevitable constitutional shake-up south of the border following Scottish independence, they may have a more sympathetic audience than ever before. But don’t expect such a rational, logical assessment to cut any ice.

The leadership of the Scottish LibDems will go on agonising over different versions of home rule, federalism, and devo-this and devo-that until they all vanish in a puff of orange smoke. They should perhaps hope their voters have a bit more sense.

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164 to “No place like home rule”

  1. Doug Daniel says:

    Interesting gesture from Jo Grimond in the picture…

  2. Seasick Dave says:

    I cringe when I think that I used to vote Liberal.
    They are not a nice bunch these days.

  3. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Good question. Answer: What’s in it for us? Big salaries/pensions etc. Have to be huge expenses!

  4. Cath says:

    Good article!
    It’s common sense that once you have sovereign powers – and only once you have sovereign powers – then you can use them to decide which unions and federations you enter into, but negotiated on your own terms. I can’t understand the Lib Dem position on this and haven’t since 2007 when they refused a coalition with the SNP.
    The fact that talk of home rule has been about since before women got the vote should tell everyone just how serious Westminster is about it.

  5. James Morton says:

    there is no way to make it work atm as there balance of power has shifted to the right. We are now treated to the spectacle of them trying to out rightwing one another. There is no alternative viewpoint. There is no office of the devils advocate asking awkward questions. There is no appetite for any reforms.
    The tories believe and have always believed that once you vote them in, you lose your right in how things are determined. The only time you get to make a complaint is at election time. Until then you expect to sit and watch them trash, the economy, society and everything; ironically, that it meant to be “British”.
    When no one is willing on their side to deal with your fairly – then thats when you leave. Common sense really.

  6. Spout says:

    “The only way the Scottish people are ever going to gain practical sovereignty is through voting for independence.”


  7. Macart says:

    So why on earth aren’t the Scottish LibDems backing Yes, when it would give Scotland just such power?
    Because your actual modern Libdem has SOLD OUT on the long held and manifestoed principles of their predecessors?
    Sorry, knee jerk reaction. Didn’t mean to shout. 🙂

  8. Iain says:

    ‘the Lib Dem federalist dream has been going nowhere for so long it now resembles an abandoned railway carriage used to house chickens.’

    Yellow feathered chickens perchance? ‘Cluck, cluck, if we keep telling each other the carriage is moving, then it will be so.’

  9. wee jamie says:

    Compared to our counterparts south of the border. the Scottish electorate tend to be a wee bit clearer in our preferences, we decided we didn’t want the Tories years ago, then we decided we wanted devolution, next we decided we didn’t want the right wing version of what used to be a Labour party making laws in Scotland, then we decided the Lib Dems were totally untrustworthy when we saw their eagerness to jump into bed with Cameron&co,at the cost of every policy they were elected on, and are about to go into an even bigger slump in popularity than ever before. What will we take upon ourselves to decide next ?  Is it too much to ask for a yes vote ?

  10. proudscot says:

    It would be interesting to hear the opinions of the likes of LibDems Danny Alexander, Alistair Carmichael, Menzies Campbell, Michael Moore, Willie Rennie and Tavish Scott, on Jo Grimond’s vision of Home Rule for Scotland. I would have included Charles Kennedy in that list, but I think he’s found the entrance to fellow-NO-traveller Johann Lamont’s sound-proofed bunker!

  11. Jeannie says:

    I’m glad to see this post because I’ve been baffled for ages about Lib Dem attitudes.  Independence gives them everything they claim they want so why on earth are they so against it? 
    I really do believe that if Scotland votes No next year, Westminster will ensure that future generations will not have the opportunity to vote for independence.  And, after all, they hold the legal right to grant or not grant the Section 30 order that would allow another legally-binding referendum to take place.  Without that agreement, Scotland would be in the same position as Catalonia – they might vote for independence only to find other EU states are reluctant to recognise it.  But at the moment, because we have an agreement with Westminster, we will have no trouble with recognition by other EU states.
    It’s far better to vote for independence now, then re-negotiate our various relationships with rUK from a position of strength and genuine equality, rather to stay part of the UK and try to re-negotiate these relationships having given away our trump negotiating card.  This is essentially the Lib Dem policy – vote No, give away your key advantage, then negotiate from a position of weakness.  Who in their right mind would do that? Especially when the future of their children is what is at stake.

  12. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    There is a very strong and perfectly understandable sentiment that Scotland should cooperate where sensible with the rest of the UK. We should be talking about something we define as “Confederalism” to differentiate it from the largely discredited LibDem fudge on “federalism” and pointing out that the confederalism we envisage is similar to the Nordic Union in which already independent countries decide freely to co-operate on matters of mutual interest.
    The parallels are useful as the Nordic Union accommodates a range from some small island group,the tiny Faeroes and the large Sweden.
    A suggestion that Eire and Northern Ireland  (in whatever constitutional guise it adopts as change creeps up on it whether it likes it or not) should be part of a British Confederation could be very constructive and useful indeed

  13. Roboscot says:

    Home rule will never happen. It is contrary to the nature of the union. Advocates of home rule are either in denial or have used it to divert the electorate from independence. Even the mere prospect of home rule is finished, killed off by the Libdems in 2007 when they spurned a multi-option referendum.

  14. gordoz says:

    The great Winnie Ewing used to tease Joe Grimmond and Russell Johnstone about this all the time; and they did not like it as it is so close to the truth.
    Why oh why Liberals keep to the UK political line is beyond me?
    It only makes sense with the line  ‘but I think that we benefit from being in the UK’; the ‘we’being those political beings, MP’s who desire the gold & ermine that Westminster offers. There is no wider benefit for Scots beyond the MP’s and propping up the Westminster system.

  15. Desimond says:

    The Lib Dems…a raison d’etre to exist and have policies which mean absolutely nothing when you are asked to stand by them when called upon.

    They says absolute power corrupts absolutely, but for the Lib Dems  the same can be said about a nice office and pleasant stationery.

    Another merry band marching down the corridor marked “Yesterdays Men”.

    Theres a WIzard of Oz style gag in there too of course “Follow the Yellow livered brick obscurity”

  16. Doug Daniel says:

    Go to the Lib Dems website and there’s nothing about creating a federal UK. Does anyone join the Lib Dems to create a federal UK? Does anyone actually believe in it? It strikes me as an old policy which they cling to in order to appear “different”, but they never campaign on it, and the second they got a sniff at power, they showed us just how serious they were about it.
    Imagine an SNP that never spoke about independence, and ran away from the chance to further the goal of independence when they got the opportunity. That’s the Lib Dems and federalism. It’s an abstract concept they bring up every now and again when they want to release a paper on something, but they’ve never actually explained why federalism would improve the UK (it would, but they don’t tell us), what it would look like (you can’t have a federal state where one state is bigger than the rest combined, so England would need to be split up), or how it would be achieved (a referendum? A simple Lib Dem majority? I have no idea.)
    The referendum would have provided a perfect opportunity to flesh out how federalism in the UK (not quite as catchy as Anarchy In The UK) would work, but all they’ve done is get Ming Campbell to put out a paper going “oh we believe in federalism, honest, although we have no idea how the rest of the UK would organise itself, but vote No anyway”.
    Actually, I’ve just remembered I wrote a great article (even if I do say so myself) about the Lib Dems’ federalism-based contribution to the debate last year:

  17. NGH1875 says:

    You want former Scottish Liberal activists discussing why they support a Yes vote?

  18. Cath says:

    I’ve never forgiven the Lib Dems for not going into coalition with the SNP in 2007. They had pretty much identical manifestos – both left of Labour – and the only difference was that the LDs said they wanted full fiscal autonomy while the SNP preferred full independence. Together, they could have worked up a proposal for FFA, home rule, secure autonomy, call it what you will. Given that they were then in coalition in Westminster in 2010 they also had the power to broker it with London. That would have moved Scotland (and the UK) forward a huge amount without the rancour of an independence referendum and probably satisfied most people for a fair while to come. Instead they joined the other Westminster parties in fighting against Scotland’s interests.

  19. Cath says:

    There is a very strong and perfectly understandable sentiment that Scotland should cooperate where sensible with the rest of the UK. 
    Of course. And that makes perfect sense. If anything it’s a very good argument for independence for rUK as well. If the UK were a federation of independent nations, where our interests align we would have 3 or 4 votes and voices in an international body like the EU or UN rather than just one. Where they don’t though, we can fight our own corners. That’s how countries should work. Not “let’s sell out Scotland’s fisheries so we can have a rebate for London and the SE”.
    Imagine an SNP that never spoke about independence, and ran away from the chance to further the goal of independence when they got the opportunity. That’s the Lib Dems and federalism.
    Ah, I wonder if that’s where UK politicians get the “of course he doesn’t really want independence” line about Salmond. They can’t imagine anything different from themselves.

  20. Gillie says:

    The Lib Dems are destined to become extinct. So any mention of further devolved powers is just graveyard talk. 

  21. gordoz says:

    Some light relief –
    Hope this provides the form of Epiphany that awaits the occupants of Better Together Headquarters (and all their rump of loyal MSP’s, MP’s & Lords), after SS Free Scotland has sailed off into the sunset.

  22. Macart says:

    Whilst I had lost interest in their politics some time earlier, to that point I still had some respect and some faith in the Libdems. 2007 saw both of those views flushed forevermore. They painted even then a vision of things to come and in 2010 I was neither surprised by their choice or shocked by their subsequent actions up to and including the franchise negotiations.
    They are liars first and foremost. How many voted Libdem and before that Liberal over the years, based on their promise to deliver home rule, a federal solution, a fairer middle path, how many? When the opportunity came along not once, but twice in a three year period where they could have made this case felt, their first action on both occasions was complete capitulation with the establishment.
    I have no sympathy for what comes next at any poll. A bit harsh perhaps for those who disagree with their leadership, but they put them there.

  23. Alabaman says:

    The remaining rump of Liberals are thinking “if  Jeremy Purvis (?),can become a Lord, with all
    the extras that come with that, then sod Scotland becoming independent, I’m hanging on for
    my turn!!.  

  24. HandandShrimp says:

    Do we trust them?
    I mean really, do we?  

  25. Illy says:

    “This is essentially the Lib Dem policy – vote No, give away your key advantage, then negotiate from a position of weakness.”
    Isn’t that what they did in Wesminster with the Torie coalition?  At least they’re consistant 😉

  26. liz says:

    @cath @macart – my view as well.
    When the libs refused to go into coalition in 2007 – as far as I am aware it was Ming the merciless who refused to allow it – they showed themselves up to be what they are -which is all mouth and no policies.
    This was confirmed when they went into coalition with the cons at westminster – they are finished.

  27. Fudgefase says:

    Home Rule?
    What no one points out is that England already has home rule. Scotland just wants the same.

  28. Tom Potter says:

    Scottish Liberal discussion here.

  29. David McCann says:

    The LibDem’ take on Winnie’s famous phrase.
    “Stop the world, I want to get on-the gravy train!”

  30. jim mitchell says:

    The old liberal party were finished once they merged with the Social Democratic Party!
    BTW, the Better Together lot have been back in touch regarding another jolly wheeze of theirs.


    Dear Jim,
    Scotland has a long and proud history of research, innovation and discovery. Every day Scottish inventions improve the lives of people across the world.

    Our universities are truly world class. Right now, as part of the UK, Scotland has five universities in the world’s top 200.

    We benefit from the free flow of ideas and people right across the UK. We take advantage of a disproportionate share of UK Research Council funding – Scotland makes up 8.4% of the UK population yet we receive over 13% of funding.

    Having worked for over 30 years in academia in Scotland, I’ve seen first-hand the opportunities our universities are creating. I don’t want to see that put at risk. That’s why I am getting involved with Academics Together.

    The group brings together people from across Scotland who believe that our world-leading scientists, researchers and universities benefit from being part of the UK.

    We are launching Academics Together next week and it would be great if you could join us.

    The launch will be held in central Glasgow on Monday 4 November at 7pm. The leader of the Better Together campaign, Alistair Darling, will be delivering the keynote speech. Details of the venue will be confirmed closer to the time.

    Click here to RSVP

    If you can’t make the launch, you can still sign up to join Academics Together here.

    Thanks for your support,


    Professor Susan Shaw
    Former Vice Principal of the University of Strathclyde and Academics Together activist

  31. jim mitchell says:

    Regarding my earlier post, it’s nice of them to suppose that i am an academic, but they couldn’t be more wrong!
    Incidentally, is it possible for some one to be an activist in something that hasn’t been launched yet? 

  32. Jeannie says:

    @Dave McEwen Hill
    and pointing out that the confederalism we envisage is similar to the Nordic Union in which already independent countries decide freely to co-operate on matters of mutual interest.
    Exactly, Dave.  First independence so we can decide on our own priorities within the country, decide on our position and relationships within the world at large and identify and work with those countries with whom we have mutual interests.  I just don’t understand how anybody could object to that.

  33. I was a LibDem member for a number of years, and that was to a large extent because I thought their home rule vision was almost as good as independence, and I believed it was perhaps somewhat easier to achieve.
    Over time I realised that home rule is just something LibDems like in theory — in practice they’re perfectly happy with the status quo.
    I’m now a member of the SNP, which actually does its best to achieve its aims, and that makes me very happy.

  34. Tasmanian says:

    Sovereignty from the people…? What nonsense. This is the United Kingdom! Sovereignty comes from the Crown, which graciously chooses to delegate its powers to the elected government.

    So what in what sense is it to say that, within the United Kingdom, the Scottish people somehow have a competing source of sovereignty of their own? All the sovereignty comes from one source: a magic hat!
    (The above is tongue-in-cheek but that’s the constitutional situation in the UK as I understand it. As far as the UK has a constitution that can be observed or specified. Absurd situation. Can’t wait for the next uprising of pro-republic sentiment in Australia. It’s even more ridiculous that the Windsor crown has any authority here!)

  35. creature says:

    David Steel’s wife is voting Yes. She also got a tattoo of a jaguar on her shoulder to celebrate her 70th birthday. There’s a Facebook page for Libdems supporting Independence too. I suspect there are a lot of closet Yes voters. We should encourage them to speak out more. Maybe they could contribute to Wings?

  36. Cath says:

    “She also got a tattoo of a jaguar on her shoulder to celebrate her 70th birthday”
    That’s quite cool. I want to be like that at 70

  37. Les Wilson says:

    Why are the Lib Dems like this?
    Because Westminster corrupts, that my friends is the answer.

  38. Embradon says:

    ” I cringe when I think that I used to vote Liberal.”
    So did I but I am old so feel no need to cringe – the party I voted for is long gone.  Grimmond to Rennie and Alexander – sublime to the ridiculous.
    The fundamental problem with Federalism is that it could only happen if England voted for it. We must seize our own destiny.

  39. pmcrek says:

    Basically Independence is the best and most robust form of federalism.

  40. Jimbo says:

    Lib Dems’ Home Rule Commission Report:

    ‘No self-respecting parliament should expect to exist permanently on 100% hand-outs determined by another parliament, nor should it be responsible for massive public expenditure without any responsibility for raising revenue in a manner accountable to its electorate.’
    Willie Rennie:The report sets out radical tax plans that would give the Scottish Parliament the powers to raise the greater part of the money it spends while confirming the advantages of social and fiscal equity across the United Kingdom.”
    By their way of thinking, a self respecting parliament should expect to exist permanently on 50% handouts instead of 100% handouts.
    IMO it’s your typical Lib Dem ‘dog’s dinner’ way of thinking. A halfway house between dependence and independence.  

  41. creag an tuirc says:

    OT: Yes Scotlands’ Facebook page has broken the 100,000 likes barrier.

  42. Ian Brotherhood says:

    The Liberal movement may have spawned some heavyweight thinkers and acted as a vehicle for truly decent people with vision and humanity.
    Fair enough.
    But here’s what they stand for now:

  43. Jingly Jangly says:

    Under Scots Law Sovereignty  rests with the Scottish People
    They can never take that away from us, its been this way since the creation of Scotland  for example the declaration of Arbroath clearly states that its the people that are sovereign not the Monarch.
    I know that the Better Together experts such are Darling et al, say that with the creation of the Scottish Parliament in 1999 we seeded our Sovereignty to Westminster. however I would dispute that is the case.

  44. Marcia says:

    History may record that the decision of the Liberal Democrats at Holyrood in 2007 not to support a coalition with the Scottish National Party has led to the current political situation. If there had been a coalition in 2007 rather than a minority Scottish National Party administration then there could have been a curtailment of the SNP programme for 2007 to 2011. I think we should thank them for bringing the referendum a bit quicker than expected. 

  45. muttley79 says:

    I think we should thank them for bringing the referendum a bit quicker than expected.
    Yes, let us do that.  Thanks very much Tavish Scott and Menzies Campbell in particular.  Your political ineptitude has to an extent brought us to this point.  Well done lads… 😀 😀

  46. david says:

    creag an tuirc says:
    30 October, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    OT: Yes Scotlands’ Facebook page has broken the 100,000 likes barrier.
    is there a figure for the no campaign?

  47. Morag says:

    History may record that the decision of the Liberal Democrats at Holyrood in 2007 not to support a coalition with the Scottish National Party has led to the current political situation. If there had been a coalition in 2007 rather than a minority Scottish National Party administration then there could have been a curtailment of the SNP programme for 2007 to 2011. I think we should thank them for bringing the referendum a bit quicker than expected.
    I remember almost holding my breath when it was announced that they had refused even to talk about a coalition and thinking, no, surely not, could this really be the snowball that starts the avalanche?

  48. Castle Rock says:

    Good article.  
    I’m wondering though why Stuart doesn’t include Caron Lindsay’s blog under his Zany comedy relief section, she surely can’t believe the drivel that she writes?  Surely.

  49. Cath says:

    “I remember almost holding my breath when it was announced that they had refused even to talk about a coalition and thinking, no, surely not, could this really be the snowball that starts the avalanche?”
    At the time I wasn’t pro-independence but much more pro-federalism, and was surprised to find myself so enthusiastic about the SNP win. I really, really wanted them to go into coalition and deliver good government, and shift us towards fiscal autonomy and really hoped for that. That period between 2007-2011 was when I could just feel my disillusionment with all 3 Westminster parties growing and growing. I guess those more switched on than me politically at the time could have predicted that 🙂

  50. Cath says:

    OT Prison Officers association have just voted to back the Yes campaign according to Twitter.

  51. G H Graham says:

    Sing along my Westminster chums …
    What a friend we have in money
    What a friend we have in debt
    Tax the population’s workers
    Base your wealth on what you bet
    That folks will stomache endless pay cuts
    And suffer losses to their jobs
    Fear not my ermined Lords & Ladies
    Just thank yourself you’re not a pleb

  52. DougtheDug says:

    “We believe that sovereignty rests with the people and that authority in a democracy derives from the people. We therefore acknowledge their right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs and commit ourselves to the promotion of a democratic federal framework within which as much power as feasible is exercised by the nations and regions of the United Kingdom.”
    In the preamble to their constitution the Lib-Dems say that, ” sovereignty rests with the people”, but they’re not entirely specific about which people. Do they mean people of the UK or the constituent nations of the UK? The bit about the nations and regions would however imply that they’re talking about Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland.
    They also promote a, “federal framework within which as much power as feasible is exercised by the nations and regions of the United Kingdom.”
    What they don’t promote, endorse or mention is independence for the various nations of the UK. I think the key word is “feasible”. Anything which results in the break up of the UK would not be regarded as feasible.
    In any case the Lib-Dem party itself is not federal. It’s got Scottish and Welsh regions but the invisible English region is merged with the Federal party so it’s pretty much a mirror of the current devolution set up for Westminster, Holyrood and Cardiff.

  53. Dcanmore says:

    BT is about 10,000 likes behind YES on Facebook. However that doesn’t build a true picture, how many ‘likes’ do BT garner from outside Scotland. I’ll bet a sizeable percentage are from disgruntled Tory, BNP and UKIPpers from England and not forgetting our ‘friends’ in NI that the  O-O would have stirred into action. Also, I believe, to make a comment you have to ‘like’ their page in the first instance.

  54. Morag says:

    Cath said:
    At the time I wasn’t pro-independence but much more pro-federalism, and was surprised to find myself so enthusiastic about the SNP win. I really, really wanted them to go into coalition and deliver good government, and shift us towards fiscal autonomy and really hoped for that. That period between 2007-2011 was when I could just feel my disillusionment with all 3 Westminster parties growing and growing. I guess those more switched on than me politically at the time could have predicted that.

    The thing is, if the LibDems had gone into coalition there would have been no referendum in that parliament anyway. It was a ridiculous objection. To say, we won’t even ENTER DISCUSSIONS until you’ve agreed to give up the most central aim of your party, is hubris of the first water.

    If they had gone into coalition, then they would have influenced policy in that parliament. More importantly, they would have been able to claim credit for everything that was achieved. They would have prevented the SNP from demonstrating that they could govern well without any help from more “experienced” politicos.

    This had always ben the Achilles heel of the SNP plans. Get elected, show everyone how it’s done, and make them realise it would be even better without Westminster. But the PR system was deliberately designed to make that impossible. Dewar’s plan was that the SNP would never be able to govern without a unionist coalition partner, therefore they would never get up a head of steam.

    Ming blew a complete hole in that, in his unfounded belief that a minority SNP government would sink. I could see the possibilities the minute his decision was announced. I didn’t dare hope, but here we are.

  55. Vronsky says:

    It’s interesting.  The Liberals, way back then, seemed invincibly a natural party of government. They foundered quite unexpectedly on the rocks of what they might or might not do about Irish aspirations for self governance. Could Labour be the Liberals of the future? Destroyed – ironically – by their failure to understand an argument they once themselves advanced?

  56. Bigheed says:

    What are Liberal Democrats????  What do they stand for??? what do they offer the Scottish People???? They are the Third Lanark of Scottish Politics. Then you ask that about Labour.. what do you have to offer the masses???? Nothing!!! The people who vote NO are the political blind as these UK parties have nothing to say, no policies, no individuals we can relate to. 
    So lets hope history tells us a party that once were partly popular, led to Scottish Independence from their actions in 2007.
    O/T I class myself as a progressive, I am voting YES for a brighter future for our future generations but I love now reading up on Scottish History as this maps our journey. I am reading a book by Robert Low called The Lion Rampant and The “Black” Douglas tells us that he is not a big fan of English soldiers for what they have done to his country, dislikes the Welsh soldiers for siding with the English but the ones he hates are the Plantagenet Scots!!!! Was just thinking what he would make of Ian Davidson et al.

  57. scottish_skier says:

    BT is about 10,000 likes behind YES on Facebook. However that doesn’t build a true picture
    Aye, BT have been spending huge amounts of money on online advertising to get people to their facebook page. YesScotland have not get have 52.4% of total likes.
    A better indicator of interest which is much harder to manipulate is ‘people talking about this page’. In that case, Yes Scotland averages 61% vs BTs 39% of total people talking about both pages on a given day.

  58. Morag says:

    I was in the Faroe Isles in the summer. Nice place, but not many natural advantages. No oil, no coal as far as I know, just a lot of grass and sea.

    They have devo-max from Denmark (itself a country the size of Scotland). They contribute no tax to Denmark and get no money fron Denmark, or that’s what the tour guide said. They have complete autonomy other than currency, defence and foreign policy.

    The place looks remarkably prosperous. One statistic that stuck in my head was that the state pension, that everybody gets, is the equivalent of £12,000 per year. Though most people have private pensions on top of that. They also have a universal healthcare system.

    The chances of Scotland getting that arrangement are zero though. We need to leave.

  59. DougtheDug says:

    The Lib-Dems in Scotland are British nationalists because the Lib-Dems are a British party. There is no “Scottish Liberal Party” and so the party is overwhelmingly English in membership and English based with British policies and a British outlook. 

  60. jim mitchell says:

    o/t Derek Bateman sounds off about the BBC’s attempt to appear neutral by filming NO leafleters on the day of the Calton Hill Rally, He is kind enough to compliment this Blog for spotting the BBC’s ‘work’ 

  61. Cath says:

    “Ming blew a complete hole in that, in his unfounded belief that a minority SNP government would sink. I could see the possibilities the minute his decision was announced. I didn’t dare hope, but here we are.”
    Yes, and the Westminster parties just keep on underestimating them in the same way.

  62. TheGreatBaldo says:

    Even a Tory like Alex Massie thinks Theresa Mays visit yesterday was demeaning…..
    “What is the point of this stuff? Who does Theresa May think she is persuading? Vote No to remain beneath the GCHQ umbrella! It’s pitiful stuff, frankly. How does anyone manage to live without the protections afforded by the British security services? I mean, even the Belgians. Come on.”
    “This is drivel. Worse than that it is exasperating drivel. Who, I ask again, is it supposed to persuade? The poor sap who might vote Yes but can be security-theatred into voting No? How depressing, how insulting. It’s a rotten way to campaign and something that should be unworthy of the Home Secretary.”
    A return to form from one of the more lucid Unionist commentators ?

  63. Andrew Morton says:

    “I was surprised to discover that this Whitehall paper concluded that independence would be a high-risk adventure that might leave Scotland more exposed to international nasties and other security threats than she is at present. Best to think again, lads.”
    This is comic writing of thechighest order!

  64. @Castle Rock says: Good article.  

     I’m wondering though why Stuart doesn’t include Caron Lindsay’s blog under his Zany comedy relief section, she surely can’t believe the drivel that she writes?  Surely.
    Oh yes she does as her boys are the most logical and common sense politicians ever in her mind.

  65. Albalha says:

    Re the POA, I haven’t seen twitter but didn’t they vote to support YES last year? Maybe this is the final rubbery stamp.

  66. john king says:

    She also got a tattoo of a jaguar on her shoulder to celebrate her 70th birthday”
     I don’t want a bloody tattoo of a jaguar I want the real thing
    not-that-kind-of-jaguar is it? 

  67. Tamson says:

    The maxim “Labour and the Tories are two cheeks of the same arse” is wonderful: it tells you everything you need to know about the Lib Dems without even mentioning them…

  68. Clarinda says:

    John King et al,
    Well boys …. perhaps it’s a cougar – was that the reason her hubby wasn’t best pleased when she revealed her adornment?

  69. fairiefromtheearth says:

    Dont yous get it,were supposed to say thank you for getting bent over and having a union jack dildo rammed up our well you get it.WERES ALL THE MONIES WENT certanly not in a Scottish soverin fund.

  70. Brian Mark says:

    Ah the Liberals!, a party that jailed anti war Socialists on the Clyde for opposing the First World War and jailed the women who wanted the vote and forced fed them into the bargin 

  71. Iain says:

    When it comes to crunch, the Scottish Lib Dems – like their predecessors, the Scottish Liberals – can never bring themselves to stand up for the federal or devo-max Scotland which they claim to support. They don’t, and didn’t, want to divorce themselves from their counterparts in England, and the prestige, wealth and honours attending participation in government from Westminster.
    And of course there is no possibility that English Lib Dems would support federalism. The last time I remember a Scottish Liberal advocating a federal UK was Russell Johnston at a British Liberal Party conference, years before devolution. He was howled down by his English colleagues. The idea simply wasn’t on the agenda south of the Border.  

  72. setondene says:

    I haven’t had time to read through all of this thread, so apologies if someone else has said what I’m about to say now.  As I understand it ‘sovereignty’ is not possible for a sub-state body in a federal system.   The reason being that sovereignty is supreme state power in the form of control over deadly force – i.e. armed forces, and the right to decide on and implement the death penalty.  Thus, German lander do not have their own armed forces and are not sovereign.  Interestingly, in the old federal Yugoslavia state defence forces (e.g. for Slovenia) existed as a backup to the Jugoslav National Army in preparation for invasion by Stalin’s Red Army.  What is not clear is whether the ultimate command structure of the Slovene state defence force lay in Ljubljana or Belgrade.  However, US states, who obviously don’t have their own armies, can and do implement the death penalty.  I personally contend that there will be no sovereignty for Scotland within a federal setup.  Only full independence with our own armed forces will get the Westminster monkey off our backs.

  73. Alasdair Buchanan says:

    In a round about way you express my misgivings concerning the up and coming Independence vote .

    The traditional Westminster Parties and the MSM have formed an unholy alliance which is causing the debate to centre around the minutiae of government policy in an Independent Scotland .

    This is difficult to ignore . It has the the desired effect of consistently placing the proponents of “Yes” at a disadvantage . Everything which is proposed or suggested is either ignored or immediately countered by a concerted negative response by those with a vested interest in retaining the status quo .

    Thus the “Fear and Smear” tactics of the last 12 months has served its purpose by creating uncertainty and indecision in quite a sizeable slice of the electorate ; although your excellent Panelbase survey , conveniently ignored by most of the MSM , indicates a slight positive movement favouring a Yes vote .Encouraging but not in any seismic manner which would cause concern to the Better Together naysayers .

    By the use of ” Better Together ” the opposition has , in only two words  , cleverly encapsulated in a very positive manner their whole campaign and their raison d’etre .

    Whereas , in comparison “Yes” may in fact be acting as a negative in triggering doubts by opening the avenue of ” Yeah ,  but to what ? ” .

    Thereafter being easily manipulated by “Better Together” and their eagerness to discuss the minutiae of  Independence .

    What is singularly missing with only 10 months to go is a vision of a better Independent Scotland free from dead hand of Westminster government .
    A vision in which we can all participate and make us proud of our history and having Scotland as our homeland . A vision where everyone can feel secure at ease with itself and its’ neighbours . A vision for ourselves and our children . A vision of a better more inclusive society. A Vision for a better future , governed from Scotland for the benefit of Scotland .

    This vision , or Big Picture , is in my opinion behind the Grimmond and Steel thinking .

    In short , firstly obtain the power and only then become involved in discussing the minutiae which power in itself brings to the debating table .

    Recent Political history provides evidence that this broad brush approach to obtaining a political advantage has proved successful. Martin Luther King and his “I have a Dream” : John F Kennedy and his “Ich Bin Ein Berliner “: Margaret Thatcher ” Britain isn’t Working ” : Tony Blair ” Britain Deserves Better ” : George W Bush ” Yes America Can ” and latterly shortened to ” Yes We Can ” by Barak Obama .

    ” Yes ” on its own can best be described as being somewhere in no mans land and at worst as being capable of being manipulated and turned into a negative .

    So , my personal thoughts are centred on the hope that the Nationalists will , in addition to the  November White Paper on Independence , give us their broad vision for an Independent Scotland which is not solely dependent on the presentation of facts and figures . A vision which above all can be trusted and easily understood by all sectors of the electorate .

    Hopefully November and thereafter will bring an urgency to the campaign and a growing number of converts to a “Yes We Can ” mindset .

  74. Krackerman says:

    I thought the US states did have their own armed forces in the form of the National Guard? They are certainly allowed to have militias….

  75. Alastair says:

    I’m Alastair and I run the Lib Dem voters for Indy facebook page.
    There is just so much I want to say in response to the article and the comments but I will try and keep it very brief.
    In terms of Federalism, yes it was one of the reasons I was attracted to the party and it is also because of the lack of action on this front that I am have become so annoyed at the party.  The Party has a Federal structure, so there is actually a Scottish Party that can have different policies to other areas in the UK… the problems is we don’t use this Federal structure to our advantage or to distance ourselves from Clegg and Co.
    As has been mentioned by several people 2007 was a key year.  From the Lib Dem side I could not understand how we didn’t go into coalition with the SNP…. our manifestos were almost identical.   A lot closer than with Labour in the previous years or the Tories in 2010. 
    I’ve always felt the SNP was, in terms of political outlook, the closest party to the Lib Dems……. and I’m not the only Lib Dem to think that.
    Anyway I’ll leave it there for now but remember 400,000 people in Scotland voted Lib Dem in 2010…… what the Party stands for appeals to a lot of Scottish people, its just the leaders are not standing up for what we believe in. We also  can reach parts of Scotland where Labour don’t exist……. :o) 

  76. Ghengis says:

    A call from Derek Bateman to: Arrest the dissidents! specifically the Rev Stuart Campbell 🙂

  77. Andrew Morton says:

    Welcome to the revolution Alastair!
    It’s good to hear from a LibDem member. You’re absolutely right, all too often we tar individual members with the brush of the views of the party leadership when any party encompasses individuals with a wide range of views. I’m sure that there are Conservatives who secretly wonder if Independence wouldn’t be a great thing for their country AND their party. Why not write an article? I’m sure the Rev. would love to publish it.

  78. JLT says:

    Good article, Andrew. It certainly blows the myths away about the Lib Dems offers on Home Rule or Federalism. Basically, I think even they don’t know what they want!
    For me, I will vote for no other party except one that offers Scotland Independence. Once we have that, then we can decide our own future. I will then at that point, listen to what the new ‘Scottish’ parties will offer as fair and democratic policies to the people of Scotland.

  79. john king says:

    Little BBC  mischief making about a rare bird flying all the way from the Himalayas to be killed by a wind turbine in Scotland, so the bird flies over 6000 miles over many countries (no doubt with wind turbines) and gets the chop by the most lethal turbines on the planet? 
    here a little something

    Man-made structure/technology

    Associated bird deaths per year (U.S.)

    Feral and domestic cats

    Hundreds of millions [source: AWEA]

    Power lines

    130 million — 174 million [source: AWEA]

    Windows (residential and commercial)

    100 million — 1 billion [source: TreeHugger]


    70 million [source: AWEA]


    60 million — 80 million [source: AWEA]

    Lighted communication towers

    40 million — 50 million [source: AWEA]

    Wind turbines

    10,000 — 40,000 [source: ABC]

  80. FreddieThreepwood says:

    @Alistair – glad to have you drop in. Hope you won’t take the abuse too personally!
    But since you’re here … I have to say the Lib Dems (or its leadership, as you would have it) completely lost any respect from me the moment it sided with Labour and the Tories in opposing a 2nd question in the referendum. I mean, call it what you will (devo+, max, whatever) it all added up to enhanced home rule – in other words, official Lib Dem policy! 
    A party so unprincipled it would block a referendum on one of its most long-standing and cherished political aims I’m afraid deserves nothing but scorn, derision and oblivion. It’s had the first two already.

  81. john king says:

    Clarinda says
    “John King et al,

    Well boys …. perhaps it’s a cougar – was that the reason her hubby wasn’t best pleased when she revealed her adornment?”
    whits a cougar? does it go like a jaguar? 🙂  


  82. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I have been in politics for over fifty years. I have never seen a Liberal or LibDem leaflet devoted to Federalism. In most elections in which I have been involved I have never seen a LibDem leaflet that even mentions Federalism. I have never heard our LibDem MP mention Federalism. Mind you I have never heard our LibDem say anything that I can vaguely remember.

  83. john king says:

    Hi Alistair
    noo, aboot yer 400.000 pals? 😉

  84. john king says:

    JLT says
    “I will then at that point, listen to what the new ‘Scottish’ parties will offer as fair and democratic policies to the people of Scotland.”

    As far as Im concered JLT they’ll have to do a lot of soul searching and grovelling before I’ll ever have anything to do with them, 
    I suspect post independence those (people) will have to wait for a new generation before they are deemed acceptable, in other words OVER MY COLD DEAD BODY

  85. craig m says:

    Alistair, it would be good to understand your view on what Lib Dems are really thinking, please. Surely they are not in the anti SNP camp of negative opposition to the SNP just for the sake of it? My own experience of lib dems in local government isn’t rosie. In Highland Council they came over as pseudo intellectual snobs, sort of water downed guardians of secret knowledge that the prols wouldn’t understand. 
    When I see the rubbish that Tavish comes out with I just despair. If ever a man wanted an ermine neck warmer, he’s it. I get the impression that the lib dems in Scotland are another Labour, highjacked by wanna be Westminster careerists. Is it to much to ask that someone from a party other than the SNP/Greens/SSP will step forward and actually say something positive about Scotland. Just one idea, a sentence, please, on a vision. 
    I live in eternal hope.

  86. Edward says:

    Related to this is the background of the Labour party and its founder Keir Hardie, who advocated Home Rule for Scotland. Came across this interesting letter shown on the  Electric Scotland website. The letter is from a ‘J Ramsay Macdonald’, who later became Ramsay MacDonald the prime minister. The Year is 1888 :
    “Scottish Home Rule Association.
    “23 Kelly Street, Kentish Town, London.

    “Mr. J. Keir Hardie,
    “Dear Mr. Hardie,—I cannot refrain from wishing you God-speed in your election contest. Had I been able to have gone to Mid-Lanark to help you—to do so both by ‘word and deed’—would have given very great pleasure indeed. The powers of darkness—Scottish newspapers with English editors (as the ‘Leader’), partisan wire-pullers, and the other etceteras of political squabbles—are leagued against us.
    “But let the consequences be what they may, do not withdraw. The cause of Labour and of Scottish Nationality will suffer much thereby. Your defeat will awaken Scotland, and your victory will re-construct Scottish Liberalism. All success be yours, and the National cause you champion. There is no miner— and no other one for that matter—who is a Scotsman and not ashamed of it, who will vote against you in favour of an obscure English barrister, absolutely ignorant of Scotland and of Scottish affairs, and who only wants to get to Parliament in order that he may have the tail of M.P. to his name in the law courts.
    I am, Dear Sir,
    Yours very truly,
    “J. Ramsay MacDonald,
    “Hon. Secretary, S.H.R.A.”

    S.H.R.A. is the Scottish Home Rule Association

  87. john king says:

    Criag M says
    “Is it to much to ask that someone from a party other than the SNP/Greens/SSP will step forward and actually say something positive about Scotland. Just one idea, a sentence, please, on a vision. 
    I live in eternal hope.”

    For the life of me I cant imagine why that hasn’t already happened,
    surely to Christ not all of these people see an ermine neck warmer (like it) in their future,
    how big do they think the HoL is for Christ sake?
    by these idiots reckoning there will be about half a million people sitting in the lords,
     wouldn’t they be better betting a couple of quid on the lottery?

  88. david says:

    house of lords is the carrot for unionist politicians

  89. Morag says:

    Hi Alastair.
    I’ve voted LibDem too, in the past, when I lived in England.  When I lived in England, some of my best friends were LibDem members.  They were and are lovely people, and honest and straightforward.  It was only when I started to pay attention to the leadership, in particular the Scottish leadership, that I began to realise the truth.  At the leadership level, the Liberal Democrats are two-faced, dishonest liars who would sell their grannies for a ministerial Mondeo.
    I remember debating to this effect before the 2010 election, to some opposition from English posters in the discussion.  But then afterwards, some of them came back on the thread and said, hey chaps, she was right, wasn’t she.
    So the Scottish parliament should have been a LibDem wet dream.  Labour or SNP the largest party, no matter.  Either way the LibDems will almost certainly be needed in a coalition to form a government.  It was a recipe for permanent power.
    Only, by the time push came to shove, Dewar’s original strategy seems to have been forgotten.  When the LibDems were required to coalesce with the SNP in order to keep the dangerous separatists from running riot, they failed to step up to the plate.  The permanent ministerial Mondeos awaited once again, but they declined.  They might be prepared to sell their grannies, but they wouldn’t work with the SNP.  You say you don’t understand this, Alastair.  I think it’s obvious.
    Their hatred of independence over-rode everything else.  They were so terrified of even the possibility of being in government with a party that was promoting a referendum, they backed away.  Not even the prospect of cabinet posts could persuade them – even though they had no problem later when the Tories came calling.
    They calculated that a minority SNP government couldn’t go the full four years.  Goodness, people who had never been in government before, with a single-seat majority, and most of the rest of the parliament implacably opposed to them!  They thought they’d have their knees back under the table with their Labour pals within a couple of years at the most.  It didn’t even occur to them that the SNP were capable of making such a good job of it that they’d be returned on a landslide to an overall majority four years later.  For which we thank them, on our knees.
    None of the present LibDem leadership has the slightest interest in federalism.  It’s just lip service to something they can point to as a policy that differentiates them from the other unionist parties.  They have no idea how it would work, because it wouldn’t.  A federation where one of the partners has close to 90% of the population is a non-starter.  Of course, they never needed to think about it, because they were never going to be in any position to offer federalism, in the parliament able to deliver it – Westminster.
    Until 2010.  Then they were.  They were in government in Westminster when the SNP offered other parties the chance to have some sort of middle-way which could have been a federal settlement included in the referendum.  Nick Clegg could have proposed to David Cameron that they should take advantage of that and so achieve a vote for a continuation of the union.
    Any sign of him dong that, Alastair?  No, none.  The LibDems slammed the door on a third question just as hard as the Tories and Labour did.  I think that tells us all we need to know, if we really did need to know anything more.

  90. Peter says:

    Offly topic again.
    I just watched Scotland beat Tonga from last night (and on a channel I didn’t even know I had).  
     The Scotland team are called, their official name, does cochers know,  THE BRAVEHEARTS!
    Blatant YES propaganda from the RFL.

  91. lumilumi says:

    Andrew, thanks for this article, and I see it’s sparked off quite a discussion on who and what the LibDems are. Is this the second in a series? You did the possibility/need of a moderate right (not-Tory) party in Scotland just a while back. Are you tackling the Scottish left next? 😉
    Most of the things I want to say have already been said, so I’ll keep it brief. 2007 (Holyrood) and 2010 (Westminster). Very bad mistakes. Maybe in 30 or 40 years’ time they will be seen as seminal in contributing to Scottish independence (and the demise of the LibDem party?).
    Alastair @6.42pm, thanks for commenting from the inside, as it were, or at least from the point of view of a committed Scottish LibDem activist. Independent Scotland will need a liberal, centrist party and maybe one will rise from the smoking ruins of the UK LibDem party. Independence is probably the best thing that could happen to “LibDems” in Scotland. There are many voters in Scotland that way inclined but they can’t stomach the present UK system and focus on Westmister.

  92. Alabaman says:

    Tamson, why not finish the quotation fully, ==,Labour and the Tories are two cheeks of the
    same arse, with the Lib/dems in the middle!. 

  93. gordoz says:

    O/T What the Herald didn’t say about the IFS report!
    If we follow the logic and the thrust of the suggestions in the article.
    An independent Scotland will thus only need to put up taxes by 14% in the same sense as the UK will need to put taxes by 21%.
    In other words, an independent Scotland will be able to lower taxes by about 7% compared to the taxes we will incur if we remain in the UK.

  94. gordoz says:

    Sorry should have included this heading
    Warning taxes could go up 21% after No vote  (Full analysis of IFS report)

  95. Alan Gerrish says:

    “Labour and the Tories are two cheeks of the same arse” …and the Lib Dems are the fart that periodically erupts from between them.

  96. Marian says:

    Off topic:
    I just noted on Guido Fawkes blog that that former PM Gordon Brown speaking to Mishal Husain and the Queen of Jordan in Qatar today, reveals he sees himself as an “ex-polician”!

    Now if I had an employee who was perfunctory in the least at turning up to his place of work, but was still drawing his enormous salary, and suddenly saw him on Tv saying that he was an “ex-whatever his job is supposed to be” when I thought he was still working for my company, I can say that at the very least I would be reaching for the telephone requesting his attendance ASAP at a disciplinary fact-finding interview.

  97. Alabaman says:

    .@.Alan Gerrish,
    SO that’s what the smell was in Dunfermline, and here was me thinking it was coming fron
    the Labour Party ,.

  98. david says:

    i find it hard to respect or take seriously anyone who can give their following to the calibre of leadership of the scottish unionist parties. if lamont and rennie had been leaders during the lab/lib coalition at holyrood, our country would have been a laughing stock. Scary thing is, that scenario is still possible.

  99. benarmine says:

    o/t I was at the debate this evening between Blair Jenkins and Blair McDougall at Dundee University. A full house and overwhelmingly Indy sympathies. Brian Taylor was excellent as umpire. McDougall had nothing but deceit, deflection and lies. Blair Jenkins was solid without being spectacular and made the case. The referendum is no contest as long as we can engage with anyone prepared to listen.

  100. BuckieBraes says:

    I have to agree there. It was a great event attended by 400 people and one slightly annoying bluebottle; and credit where it’s due to Brian Taylor. When it turned into Blair McDougall’s party political broadcast for Labour I was actually embarrassed for him.

  101. OT – Just back from the Blair vs Blair debate at Dundee Uni, and to be honest, I was a bit disappointed. Neither one said anything that I hadn’t heard from them before.

    I’m hardly an impartial observer, but I don’t think McDougall would have won over many undecideds with the same tired old points, and I’m still not convinced about Jenkins as a public speaker and I think he missed a few obvious points to rebut some of McDougall’s wilder claims.

    He did seem to get much more applause after making his points, though, than Blair M did, which was heartening.

    Oh, and do we think that the £100 to charity bet on whether Cameron will debate with Salmond in the end (Blair J says he will, Blair M says he won’t) will happen? There were quite a few witnesses!

  102. lumilumi says:

    A couple of posters above referred to Nordic “Union” or “confederation” or some such. Just to set the record straight, the Nordic Council is an inter-governmental co-operation forum. It started after WW II, and the first big achievement, in 1952, was “common labour market and free movement across borders without passports for the countries’ citizens.”

    (As a side note, the English Wikipedia entry on the Nordic Council emphasizes the struggles and political differences rather more than the Finnish and Swedish – and, as far as I can understand – the Norwegian or Danish versions :-D)
    Since the 1950s, the Nordic Council has created a platform for co-operation for the Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland) and mostly it’s in areas like social security, health care and pensions. Simplified, if a person is entitled to those in one country, he/she is entitled to them in all. All the countries still make their own laws about those things, and it doesn’t mean equal provision in every country.
    Us Nordics are a diverse bunch. Finland and Iceland are republics, Sweden, Norway and Denmark are not, Finland, Sweden and Denmark are in the EU, Norway and Iceland are not. Denmark, Norway and Iceland are in NATO, Finland and Sweden are not. Finland is in the Eurozone, the rest not. Norway has oil, the rest don’t. 😉
    How can this work? Isn’t it all too difficult? And what about “international clout”? We don’t even have nuclear weapons, and only around 26 million people all put together!
    The point is that because we all share a similar culture – even Finland, whose language is totally unrelated to the others’ languages – and a similar outlook, a similar view of the world, and also a similar political culture, we can readily co-operate on many things. We can have differing views on many things (e.g. NATO, EU, monarchy) but we want to find common ground and co-operate where we can. Nobody throws temper tantrums if somebody disagrees.
    And we disagree! 😀 The Nordics are very fond of telling jokes about each other. (“There was a Finn, a Swede and a Norwegian…”) Back in the 1980s, before Norway became stinking rich, us Finns and Norwegians told jokes about Swedes. Now it’s us Finns and Swedes telling jokes about the Norwegians! 😀 (I’m not sure where the Danes and Icelanders fit on the joke map. The Danes I know tell jokes about the Norwegians and Swedes but I have no idea what jokes the Icelanders tell.)
    Autonomous regions within the Nordic countries (Åland, Faroe, Greenland) also have representation in the Nordic Council, and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) have “observer” status.
    Nowadays the Nordic Council is politically less important (due to EU, EEA, globalisation etc.) but it’s still culturally important. For instance, it gives grants to translate Nordic literature into other Nordic languages, and even into English. Most of those lovely noir Nordic detective stories that you read in English have probably been made possible by a grant from the Nordic Council.

  103. sneddon says:

    I think the libdems are in the same place as labour.  Its members want more social justice in an alternative to the current neocon economic mess.  Thde only way is through voting YES. This was discussed tonight at the book launch for ‘Jamie Mawells book of his Father, Stephen’s Essays.  The same with the unions, there is a mismatch between the aspirations of the members ands supporters and the ambition of their leaders.
    We just have to keep talking to them, they want to be convinced as the results from the latest Wings poll shows. So for next 11 months my motto will be ‘Issy wizzy let’s get busy’

  104. Jamie Arriere says:

    The vague nebulous commitment of the Libdems to what everyone thought was their core principles was also evident in the failures of local income tax at Holyrood and electoral reform at Westminster, when they had an open door to push at but instead stood outside with their hands in their pockets. 
    I wouldn’t depend on them in a crisis if you ask me, but who knows – maybe in an Indy Scotland the next generation might have a backbone amongst them.

  105. Brotyboy says:

    BuckieBraes says;
    I have to agree there. It was a great event attended by 400 people and one slightly annoying bluebottle; and credit where it’s due to Brian Taylor. When it turned into Blair McDougall’s party political broadcast for Labour I was actually embarrassed for him.
    Anyone know anything about the bluebottle?  It seems she’s a right winger with her own website and I’d love to find out more about her.  I clocked her on the way out just to make sure I’ll know her again if I ever see her.  Interesting that she was the most aggressive person in the room, and the least well disciplined questioner.  
    On a similar note, B McD’s suggestion that AS wanted to debate with DC because he wanted to make it into a Scotsman v Englishman thing was the only note of racism during the whole evening.

  106. theycan'tbeserious says:

    If the people of Scotland would view the future of Scotland as they view their needs when buying a new car. Ask yourself why you want a new car….what’s wrong with the old one? The answer is usually that the old one no longer meets your needs i.e. it’s too big, too wee, unreliable, burns oil, not economical or just doesn’t suit.
    So would you go out to the sales room and let the same salesman that sold you your last car sell you the same model again, with all the same problems you had with the last one, giving you all the same promises and expect you to pay for the privilege.
    No you are going to want better. Something more reliable, something that is more suited, meets your needs and aspirations, something that runs smoothly, one that performs and is efficient, less to tax and run and doesn’t burn oil, one that has the horsepower and gear ratio to do the job and give you “the ride of your life”.
    View the referendum as you would when you choose a new car. Do you want the same old inefficiency, promises and problems or do you want “the ride of your life”?
    Vote for a new car….vote for independence… YES….nothing LESS will do!

  107. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The Irish Question divided the Liberals and  led to their replacement by the Labour Party. They have never actually recovered in over 100 years, being reduced to a party of the fringes and then led by powerlessness into a coalition with the SDP to form the LibDems.
    The Scottish Question is destroying the Labour Party in Scotland and when we achieve independence despite its stupid determined resistance it will be completely discredited. As I said before it is dead on the ground and it is only the media using the corpse as a front in the battle for the Union that keeps it apparently in operation. I will be very surprised indeed if Labour does not split next year on the issue of Scottish independence . Then again I think perhaps it already has.

  108. BuckieBraes says:

    No, I actually meant a bluebottle! Maybe it was a cluster-fly (Pollenia rudis), but it was doing the rounds in the foyer to start with, then in the lecture theatre.

  109. wullie says:

    Apologies Rev can’t remember where I got this from
    As for the Liberal Democrats, this is an extract from their constitution:
    “We believe that sovereignty rests with the people and that authority in a democracy derives from the people. We therefore acknowledge their right to determine the form of government best suited to their needs…”
    Except for Scotland, apparently.

  110. That bluebottle will be following Blair McDougal as they like rotting carcasses.

  111. benarmine says:

    That was Subrosa? I thought Subrosa was an Indy, if somewhat out there. That woman was a no-hope blind unionist. The only disappointment of the night was how she managed to get a second chance at the microphone.

  112. lumilumi says:

    Hey, thanks, all you who were at the Blair vs. Blair thingie in Dundee and give reports! Sounds encouraging.
    The only confusing thing is that there are too many Blairs: the infamous Tony one, and the indy Jenkins one, and the BT McDougal one. I’ve seen even committed indy supporters disparaging Blair Jenkins when they meant McDougal – is this an insidious conspiracy by the No campaign? Did Blair McDougal get his job just because he has the same first name as his Yes counterpart and might therefore help to confuse voters?

  113. kininvie says:

    Thanks for the kind comments, everyone, and especially thanks to Alistair for venturing into the lion’s den 🙂 I’m still hoping that a pro-union LibDem is going to drop by and explain some of the contradictions I highlighted….
    It seems to me that the only way they can be reconciled is by stating that a vote for the LibDems is ispo facto a vote for federalism: In other words they may recognise our sovereignty, but  we have to give it away again immediately.
    In the bad old days before the Scottish parliament, I recollect the SNP taking the line that a majority of Scottish seats would be a mandate for independence. They didn’t have a lot of choice, to be honest, but I never much liked the idea that Scotland could become independent without the people being asked whether that was what they wanted. And in due course the SNP recognised that.
    But it seems to me that must still be the thinking behind the LibDems home rule ideas. Otherwise why not give us the choice by supporting independence in the first instance and thereafter working towards bringing Scotland into a new federation? It’s not as impossible idea as it might seem at first sight, because I think that once Westminster’s monopoly has been broken, the idea will become increasingly attractive to a lot of English and Welsh regional voters who are feeling increasingly disenfranchised…It’s certainly not as impossible as their current ideas.
    I did not set out to be mean about the LibDems. Howver venial they may seem at this particular moment, they, and the Liberals before them, have a good history of standing up for unpopular causes, sometimes to the detriment of their electoral prospects. And when we round on them for signing up with the Tories, remember that it was mostly the intransigence of G Brown that made a coalition with Labour impossible. That the Tories have totally outmanoeuvred them since, being long used to dining off the naive (especially in their own ranks), should not surprise us. The London LibDems will have learned some hard lessons about the exercise of power – which will no doubt be driven home to them in 2015.
    And the Scottish LibDems may equally learn that if you stand between a rock and a hard place, your softer parts will suffer damage. The figures in the previous post about LibDem voters’ intentions in 2016 ought to act as an awful warning.
    I really feel like shouting at them. If they joined Yes and helped us to win, they’d then have a real chance of subsequently pulling round the Devo-Max vote. But they are banking on a No vote, after which they will try to snuggle up to the SNP with a raft of new ‘home rule’ ideas. Again, Stu’s figures should dispel that dream.
    @lumilumi – I don’t feel qualified to pick my way through leftist ideas for Scotland. But I hope someone else may step up to the plate there…

  114. Marcia says:

    From reading her website over the years I doubt it was Subrosa, she lives in Perth and is retired.

  115. Frances says:

    Maybe not Subrosa then! Only other one I can think of is Effie Deans?

  116. ronnie anderson says:

    Hi Aliastr  welcome to another planet ( sanity ) if as you feel inclined to support  the Independence cause are you getting that message out to Libs / Lab or any one would you join a Yes group let us know

  117. lumilumi says:

    Marcia @ 10.44
    It was other people talking and speculating about bluebottles. 🙂 I was nowhere near Dundee tonight, and, having lived in Australia, I always thought bluebottles were nasty stinging medusas (jellyfish). I only learned a couple of years ago that in British English it’s a kind of an annoying fly. 😀

  118. Sue says:

    I never expected to find myself defending Gordon Brown, but he was not the bar to a “rainbow coalition” against the Tories. When LibDems declined to work with GB, he resigned his leadership of Labour to facilitate coalition. I thought John Reid was one of the main nay sayers.

  119. lumilumi says:

    theycan’tbeserious @ 9.42
    If the people of Scotland would view the future of Scotland as they view their needs when buying a new car…

    View the referendum as you would when you choose a new car. Do you want the same old inefficiency, promises and problems or do you want “the ride of your life”?
    Vote for a new car….vote for independence… YES….nothing LESS will do!
    What a great analogy, theycan’tbeserous! 😀
    (Hm. What does this tell about me and my country because I’m quite happy with my 1998 Honda Civic Aerodeck (estate car)? Maybe I should work harder and aspire for something newer and with a bit more vrooom?)

  120. kininvie says:

    I don’t suppose we’ll ever really know the truth of what happened. And I agree, John Reid was right in there.  But there does seem to have been a lot of comment at the time about a) Gordon Brown unleashing a diatribe against Clegg b) Waiting from the Friday until the Monday to resign as leader c) attempting to remain as ‘caretaker PM until a new leader was elected. – None of which, if true of course, will have helped a Lib/Lab coalition to get off the ground.

  121. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    As I remember the SNP group had  offered to join a Lib/Lab coalition and this set John Reid off

  122. Andrew Morton says:

    I went to the launch of Better Together Musselburgh tonight and it was thought provoking. i’ve written a full account and I’m just waiting to see if the Rev. wants to put it in as an article.

  123. The Grew says:

    Just watching another UK site and the topic of Clegg is being discussed albeit with his connection to the Levison inquiry. But they do show that total votes in 2010 for Lib-dem at 14.7% and most of that was in Scotland

  124. Patrick Roden says:

    O/T Great News!
    The Prison Officers Union, have just declared support for Independence. 🙂

  125. john king says:

    Theycantbeserious says
    “Vote for a new car….vote for independence… YES….nothing LESS will do!”

    Will it have that new car smell?
    will it have zero mileage on the clock?
    then what are you waiting for

  126. Brotyboy says:

    Frances says
    Maybe not Subrosa then! Only other one I can think of is Effie Deans?
    Much more likely, although the venomous bile co-efficient is lower than I would have expected from what I witnessed last night.

  127. Ken500 says:

    Gordon Brown is in the Middle East claiming to be an ex-Politican while still drawing the salary + expenses?

    Dunfermile votes Labour again!

    The wife beater’s offences were committed under Unionist governance. Though complaints were made, there was no prosecution or conviction. One of the reasons for the non disclosure and acceptance of candidacy. When the historic accusations resurfaced, there was a dismissal and conviction. Yet Unionists made political capital against the SNP of historical Unionist failure.

    Another clone elected.

  128. Ken500 says:

    Cameron accuses Stevie.

    Thatcher was taking the equivalent of £20Billion+ a year in Oil Revenues and shutting down every manufacturing facility in Scotland,creating mass unemployment.

    Thatcher off shored the Oil Revenues, creating an offshore territory. Fiction. Used the Revenues for low taxation to buy votes in London S/E. £Billions spent on Canary Wharf and Tilbury Docks etc. Thatcher privatised utilities. Now cartels. Demutualised the Buikding Societies owned by their members so the Bankers,who fund the Tories, could take over the Mortgage books and gamble the money. Thatcher started a Civil was with the miners. Now coal is cheaper than Gas and plentiful all over the UK. Thatcher cancelled a Pipe line wasting the equivalent if £Billions of Gas.

    Thatcher came to Scotland and said ‘ We the Englush are generous to the Scottish people’, while ruining Scotland The McCrone Report kept secret by Labour fo thirty years. Thatcher left over 3million unemployed and interest rates at 15%.

    Cameron is as bad as Thatcher.

    Let Stevie’s be an example to all Labour/Unionists. Out in the cold.

    McCluskey is Alex & Co’s new best friend.

    Union’s donate monies to the Labour Party enabling illegal wars and defrauding Banking.. Why?

  129. Ken500 says:

    The ConDems elected to protect NHS and Education cut £3Billion a year from both. The UK government spending £720Billion a year – £20Billion more. ConDems cut taxes, especially for the wealthiest and transferred monies from the poorer to the richer. The old , the young, the sick and the vulnerable.

    The ‘room tax’ (£1/2 a billion) will cost more, and is totally inappropriate for Scotland . Housing benefit only went up 15% in ten years. 1.5% – less than inflation.

  130. Ken500 says:

    The LibDems and Labour together would not have held a majority in the UK 2010 election. LibDems and Tories did. That is why the the LibDem went with Tories. It is the blatant renege of the Tories and LibDems on electorale promises. Democracy in the UK is being eroded as a result, with less people voting.

    The LibDems did NOT have to go into Coalition that was a career choice. Wrong call. They could have voted with the Tories or with Labour, as appropriate. That is what happened in the Scottish Parliament. The Tories/LibDems helped get legislation through usually against Labour opposition. Cutting off their nose to spite their face as usual.

  131. Macart says:

    Had an evening to have a good ponder on this question now and think about the why of it? What is the real motivating factor of the Scottish Liberal voter? It appears to be a consensus within a greater union with self determination as a get out of jail free card. Of handing over power to a greater entity/greater good as they may see it, whilst having the power to say how much and when its enough.
    However unions with much larger entities don’t work that way, its an untenable proposal for the larger entity/partner, especially with basically incompatible tenets of sovereignty at the core. Crown/Parliament – People/Parliament. The core of the Scottish Liberal ethos is surely sovereignty of the people. Home rule before and above all else regardless of leadership fudges – Home rule and sovereignty of the people. If that is the case then a YES vote is the ONLY way to ensure sovereignty of the people.
    Post YES vote and prior to any Scottish GE, by all means consider a new arrangement for future manifestos, say a confederation of the British Isles and Eire, a beefed up British, Irish council. Confederation as opposed to Federation may sit well with many within the party as a way of squaring the circle, a different way to approach consensus between home nations. But make no mistake as a Liberal voter your leadership have been given two bites at the cherry in the past six years to really set the ball rolling on home rule and betrayed your vote on both occasions. It is as much a time now to look at cleaning house within parties as it is with parliaments. Much like Labour, a Scottish Liberal may have one last chance at redeeming their parties and their own party’s core values. In an independent Scottish parliament.

  132. Ken500 says:

    It was universal sufferage 1928 which led to the rise in the Labour Party. The rateable (property owning) qualification for voting rights was removed.

    The Welfare State – social benefits – started in 1911 (Liberals) Pension Bill. Germany was one of the first 1908? Russian Revolution 1917. First WW misery.

  133. Elliot Bulmer says:

    [Views my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Constitutional Commission or any other organisation.]

    It is good to see that the essential difference between devolution and Home Rule is still recognised, at least by some: i.e. that a home rule Scotland is sovereign, but may chose to share powers, whilst a devolved Scotland is not sovereign (except in the sense of a moral claim embodied in the Claim of Right, but not recognised by Westminster) and has only such powers as Westminster allows.

    There’s a fascinating little essay by David Steel, in which he argues for more less what the SNP want – not a ‘separate’ Scotland, but a Scotland which is a free and equal member of a variety of interlocking and ‘non-incorporating’ (to borrow Andrew Fletcher of Saltoon’s phrase) unions: Europe, the Commonwealth, and some sort of post-UK British Isles arrangement (e.g. a social union with a few cross-border agencies run on an inter-governmental basis to manage matters of common concern). That might look a bit like the Benelux treaty area. This is what he called ‘federalism’ – although I think, going by memory, he also uses the more accurate term of ‘confederation’ to describe it. This essay is in a book called ‘The Scottish Debate’, edited by Neil MacCormick (1970).

    Of course, in the modern world no state is ever fully ‘independent’. What is really on offer next year is Home Rule – the right to be recognised as a sovereign state  and to negotiate and determine our own terms of engagement with other states and international organisations. It is such a pity that the LibDems have fallen far from Home Rule principles – otherwise, with a common currency, common travel area, and shared head of state, they could have given much-needed support to the Scottish Government’s ‘Home Rule 2.0’ project.

    As an aside, I do wonder whether the Yes Campaign would do well to present a Yes vote as a vote for Home Rule – the word ‘independence’ is so divisive, but ‘Home Rule’ is perhaps less so. After all, most people want sovereignty to reside in Scotland.* Although it brings up Irish comparisons that might be divisive in some quarters, Home Rule sounds almost quaint and cosy – and above all safe, familiar, and incremental – by comparison to the perceived ‘big leap’ of independence. I’ve met many people who want all the attributes of independence, but say they will vote no because they don’t want independence: it is the ‘I-word’ that seems to scare them –  or perhaps to jar against their political identity.

    * Even the Labour party in the Scottish Parliament voted in favour of the Claim of Right last year, thereby endorsing the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. It is hard to wriggle out of that one.

    PS: It would be fascinating to do some research on the Liberal vote in Scotland in the mid-twentieth century, especially in those areas where the Liberals hung on to seats despite the near-collapse of the party elsewhere in the UK – and to trace how much of the Liberal vote was due to support for Home Rule. Does anyone know of any articles on this?

  134. Illy says:

    All this talk of the Nordic Council is making me feel that an independant Scotland would benefit from being a member. (And according to wikipedia they think the same, I hadn’t realised that until I looked it up)
    We have more in common with them than with England on so many issues (and north of the great glens was part of Norway a few hundred years ago, which might be a contributing factor 😉 )

  135. sneddon says:

    Ken500- your comments re: Bill Walker, it doesn’t matter when he committed the offences or who was in power he is a bastard and deserves to be a prison for a longer period.  So I don’t really get the point of that particular aspect of your post. He lied to the selection panel at the time and was kicked out of the SNP for that.  He wasn’t convicted by the historic accusations he was convicted by the testimoney of his ex-wifes.  I don’t see how it can be a ‘ historical Unionist failure’

  136. Macart says:

    Good to hear from you Mr Bulmer.
    The confederal construct was always my interpretation of the Home Rule ideal. It’s confused many somewhat in recent years as to why this has now been watered down by its proponents in devo+ or indeed the ‘devolution journey’. Any thoughts?

  137. Kate says:

    Seasick Dave says:


    I cringe when I think that I used to vote Liberal. They are not a nice bunch these days.
    I cringe even more when I think how I used to vote LABOUR, now there is a real NASTY party.

  138. Doug Daniel says:

    “[Views my own and do not necessarily represent those of the Constitutional Commission or any other organisation.]”
    It’s a sad state of affairs that you even feel the need to put that at the start of your comment, Elliot. I do hope we can get away from attempts to silence people from airing their honestly-held views once the referendum is over.

  139. Another London Dividend says:

    Tories / Better together are upset that Salmond saved Grangemouth  and busy briefing THe Times / Michael Kelly etc to traduce Scottish government’s pivotal role.

  140. Jingly Jangly says:

    It was not Thatcher who created the UK Continental Shelf for the oil+gas revenues it was the Labour Party’s Tony Benn.

  141. setondene says:

    @ Elliot Bulmer, I disagree entirely with your post above.
    My late father believed passionately all his life in ‘Home Rule’ for Scotland.  However, just before he died 20 years ago he told me that he didn’t believe in independence for Scotland.  He was very clear that there was a difference between home rule and independence and so am I.  I’m for independence and not home rule.  So when you say that under home rule Scotland would be sovereign I think many people will find this confusing in terms of the debate that’s been going on here for the last 50 years.

  142. Morag says:

    I remember a well-meaning new member of SNP London Branch showing up to a meeting in Hyde Park bearing a placard that said, among other things, “Home Rule!”
    Our then Convener, Dr. Bob Purdie, Senior Lecturer in something high-brow and political at Ruskin College, said to me in an aside, well we shouldn’t really have that, it’s not party policy, but it won’t really matter here and I don’t want to curb her enthusiasm.
    It’s about words meaning what we want them to mean, and we need to have some consensus.  Elliot seems to be using the term in a slightly different meaning to a number of other people, and it can get confusing.  This isn’t dissimilar to what happened when Alasdair Gray chose the words “settlers” and “colonists” to describe two different sorts of English people living and working in Scotland.  The readers didn’t hear what he was trying to say, they only heard the connotations of what they themselves beleived these words to mean.

  143. Edward says:

    Slightly O/T – There is an article in the Daily Mail (yes I know, but someone needs to do the dirty work! and have taken a bath with strong carbolic soap since)

    The article is an attack on Unite and Stephen Deans, with the usual Mail bile. But what caught my eye was that the union were practicing what, Unite call ‘leverage’. Basically its like secondary picketing, but its not. They send a group of ‘picketers’ around to managers or directors houses and intimidate protest to ‘persuade’ said manager or director to agree particular terms. Apparently this has been going on with police being involved. But the intimidation protests have also taken in wives , children, neighbours, as well as any other company associated with Ineos.

    In one (grainy) picture they even have an  inflatable Rat

    Have the Mail made this up? I cant tell, but suffice I wouldn’t trust the Mail to tell me the time. However according to Unite themselves they do use this tactic called Leverage

    There is also an article in a local Hampshire online paper, ‘The Southern Daily Echo’ which reports that a daughter of one of the Directors was intimidated at her home in Lyndhurst, Hampshire.

    IF all this IS true, then why hasn’t it been reported on the BBC? …Oh silly me!

    Just an aside, when a news report was shown last night we had a view of the Camelon Labour Party social Club – Why Do they need so many satellite dishes attached to the building?

  144. Silver19 says:

    @Edward, The reason for so many satellite dishes it’s for all those bunkers that the Northern branch of labour keep hiding in.

  145. HandandShrimp says:

    Thought Hamza acquited himself well this morning on GMS despite the somewhat bizarre line of questioning on overseas aid and the reporters lack of knowledge on the subject (including the fact that a percentage of GDP is not a fixed figure but goes up and down dependeing on the strength of the economy).

  146. tartanfever says:

    Astonishing stuff Edward.
    Why do the BBC insist with trying to keep elements of this story under wraps?
    Why do they insist with stuff like this?

    ‘Management were looking at claims that he used company time for union business.’
    No shit Sherlock – that was his bloody job! The allegation is that he used company time for Labour Party constituency work, not Union work.
    Thats the 3rd time I’ve read this in a BBC Scotland news story over the last week, are they so desperate to keep the Labour Party out of it as much as possible?

  147. Iain says:

    O/t, SNP Glasgow councillors are today putting forward a motion to ditch ATOS as sponsors of the Commonwealth Games – great news as I felt this was the one black spot against the event. Let’s hope some Labour councillors find a spine and a conscience, and support the motion.

  148. Edward says:

    Iain – Talking of the Commonwealth Games, did anyone see the idiotic piece by BBC Scotland on either disreporting  in which they were reporting that G4S ‘may’ tender for the security aspect for the games. So reality check time. G4S havn’t actually applied and havn’t actually said they would. But G4S being the contracted security company at Hampden Park. BBC Scotland even got an interview with the Labour MP Keith Vaz, who said that Scotland should not allow G4S to have the contract.
    So we had a non story about supposition, backed up by a Labour MP telling us what to do. Can the BBC in Scotland get any more stupid?

  149. Iain says:

    ‘Can the BBC in Scotland get any more stupid?’
    Now that’s a statement to tempt fate!

  150. faolie says:

    Great piece Andrew. Wouldn’t it be great if there were two parties advocating home rule? The Libs might be toast in England, but advocating home rule here might have saved them. Sadly only in parallel universe #9 is this actually happening.
    Thanks for stuff on Nordic Council. Very interesting. I’ve clicked your link and a wee bit further down the page there’s a bit about our very own referendum, saying:
    In June 2013, Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson stated that, in the event of a yes vote in the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Iceland would welcome Scotland as a member of the Nordic Council. The following month, Søren Espersen, deputy leader of the Danish People’s Party, said in an interview: “There’s lots of opportunities. We are so close to each other in so many ways. There will immediately be a close connection. I know that the Danish government will accept straight away that Scotland could be a member of the Nordic Council.”

  151. faolie says:

    Dear Rev, I wondered why my comment was awaiting moderation, so I edited and found A CITE TAG. It’s gone now. Really. Vamoosed. Deleted. Don’t shoot me, I’m only a humble commenter..

  152. Brian Powell says:

    On Scandinavian issues and Defense.
    A commenter on another site, who lives in Sweden, said there was a common defence strategy. A quote of his words would be simplest. so;
    currently Sweden, Finland and Norway form a Nordic battle group (with contributions from Ireland and Estonia). Sweden is seeking to set up a Scandinavian Defence union where Denmark, Iceland and, if independent, Scotland could also be members.
    This defence union would collaborate closely and share resources to ensure an adequate and efficient military presence in the region.”
    “The Scandinavian Defence union could of course collaborate with NATO or individual nations such as EWNI as and when it is appropriate. This may well be the best defence solution for Scotland offering close ties with allies that have similar strategic needs and at an approriate level of cost.”
    Seems to me to be a very useful contribution to any discussion on Independence, Devolution and where we can proceed in the future.

  153. Macart says:

    @Brian Powell
    You might find this interesting.

  154. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    If we’re smart at all we’ll get our people thinking about whether we should join the Nordic Union or help form a similar union of an independent Scotland with England, Wales and the two Irelands. If they start to make a choice it’s in political terms getting them through the door.

  155. Brian Powell says:

    Very good info.
    That kind of alliance for defence is something we could feel good about, it feels clean when looking at the Drone strike, mass invasion mentality and Trident posturing the UK has now.
    The destruction of Iraqi society with the massive death toll and displacement of civilians, the increasing heroin addiction in the population and social breakdown in Afganistan is nothing short of criminal.
    A nordic union makes sense to me.

  156. Macart says:

    @Brian Powell
    It really does look like a pretty slick and efficient model. Came across it a wee while back in another discussion and was impressed by the structure almost immediately.

  157. Albert Herring says:

    I think the Dundee “bluebottle” at 17.50 may be the very same one who appeared at 2.10 in Clydebank and who later buzzed rather rudely at Linda Fabiani.

    Unionist flying squad?

  158. BuckieBraes says:

    @Albert Herring
    I thought the same thing myself, especially since I saw someone who looked very like the Strident Woman catching the Glasgow train at 1949, having given the Dundee station staff a dose of her wit and wisdom. If it wasn’t her, she has a double.
    I have decided to name the Strident Woman Barbara (‘Barbara Strident’ – with apologies to Kenny Everett). Look out for Barbara at future events.

  159. truescot says:

    LOL Albert

  160. As a Brit frustrated with ALL our politicians I say good luck to the Scots. This need by the Scots arises mainly from the same feelings that all ordinary people have in these islands.

    At eighty and since WW2 I have watched our education manipulated away from teaching us how to prepare for life to those subjects only fit for useless people able only to produce empty hot air, yes politicians. This means that most ordinary Brits have become in practical everyday skills, very dysfunctional and extremely unhappy.

    The resulting problems would take weeks to list but for example you only need to just look around with opened eyes and ask how many of us can easily cope with the basics needed. I know of dozens who just do not know how to make a cup of tea and I am not just talking about men. My granny would bluntly say “They can’t even wipe their own arses” or “….boil water” when in perlute company.

    Now ask who would profit from this situation and you will have it, “politicians”. There are very few who arise in such ranks who do not fit this latter description. Yes their way in life is through “academies”, preferably very expensive ones. Then via Oxbridge learning how to speak eruditely and persuasively about nothing in dead languages to become politicians. Here I must admit they have also produced some marvelous comedians. Is there another connection here?

    I have to conclude that what the citizens of the whole British Isles badly need is home rule away from Westminister and their filthy over rich paymasters in “The City”. Ask “Who caused the world wide financial collapse”? It was big money men and their yappy puppets, the real working people are too busy trying to make enough to be able to live after our “leaders” have taken most to waste on silly, empty, impractical ideas. I will never see it but it cheers my latter days to think that one day it could happen: HOME RULE FOR ALL!

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