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Wings Over Scotland

North from here

Posted on October 14, 2013 by

As a NATO member state with a strategically important position in the North Atlantic yet essentially no military at all, Iceland represents an intriguing counterpoint to the arguments of the No campaign that an independent Scotland would be somehow dangerously vulnerable to attack from enemies unknown.


Earlier this year, the Icelandic Review of Politics and Administration published a paper looking at the implications of Scottish independence for Scotland, the rUK and the rest of NATO. An alert reader sent it to us a while ago and we’ve just got round to reading it all the way through. (It’s a modest 16 pages, but hey, we’re pretty busy.)

It conclusions are rather less doom-laden than those of the UK government.

We strongly recommend taking 20 minutes to read through the entire document. But we’ve pulled out a few quotes just to give you a flavour.

On the post-independence attitude of the rUK:

“In its given, North-west European and ‘strong state’ context, Scotland’s independence – should it ever happen – would be more of a ‘velvet divorce’ than a violent (conflict-driven) breakaway or radical régime change.

It is hard to build realistic scenarios where London would wish or be able to treat Scotland in a zero-sum, purely hostile and vengeful way – at least on strategic points – when facing an actual split either post-2014 or later in history.

The morning after a ‘Yes’ vote would witness a new situation where the rUK would also be a demandeur and could only hurt itself by casting Scotland into a limbo of indefinite non-membership.”

On cost:

“NATO’s collective budget is very small and not a significant cost for a nation like Scotland. The latter would more probably have to ‘pay’ by continuing to contribute to NATO-led (as well as EU- or UN-led) military missions abroad; even small states can meet niche requirements in this context, while their presence conveys political solidarity.

One independent study suggests that viable intervention forces as well as basic territorial defence could be provided for little more than half the money Scottish taxpayers currently contribute to UK defence.”

On an independent Scotland expelling nuclear weapons:

“Would NATO itself want to keep Scotland, as a small ‘security importer’ with reduced defence spending and capacity, where – moreover – the dominant political movement proposes to declare itself a non-nuclear state and remove the present Trident nuclear submarine base at Faslane? 

The major headaches this poses for the UK government should not obscure the fact that very few NATO states now have other people’s nuclear forces on their territory, and a democratic Alliance could hardly bully a new member to retain nuclear capacity in peacetime against its will.”

On NATO membership generally:

“It would be hard for it to reject Scottish accession on the grounds of military spending or force size, when other recent entrants’ performance has varied considerably and Iceland, a founder Ally, has no forces at all. 

What would probably dominate, ultimately also in London’s view, would be the case for maintaining unbroken NATO coverage (with its scope for coherent US reinforcement) across the North Atlantic, and having a Scotland that was a modest contributor rather than a complete free-rider.”

On EU membership:

“The EU faces no obvious strategic danger from leaving Scotland out, and would have alternative ways of working with it (the European Economic Area or a Swiss-type bilateral model.)

Conversely, however, it has nothing to lose from keeping hold of such a prosperous and peaceful territory, once the political after-shocks of secession and procedural costs of transition were absorbed. Those who agreed to launch accession talks with Iceland in record time in 2009 would have little excuse to go slow on a Scotland already fully compliant.

More broadly and perhaps decisively, the EU as a whole and its territories currently doing most business with Scotland – starting with the rUK – would face huge economic, financial and societal uncertainty if Scotland was no longer to be part of the Single Market, the Four Freedoms of human and capital movement, and the common bedrock of EU regulation.

This makes it likely, all legal debate and rhetoric aside, that the time of grace before actual Scottish separation would in fact be used to devise ways of keeping the EU system provisionally alive in Scotland and (re?-)establishing Scottish membership fast.”

We don’t want to just cut and paste the whole thing, but there’s lots more after that. It appears to be a calm, rational, balanced and sensible appraisal of the realities, free of any vested political agenda. As a guide to how the rest of the world really sees the prospect of an independent Scotland, we suspect it’s pretty much bang on the money.

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97 to “North from here”

  1. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Incidentally, the only media to pick up on the paper was the Herald, who published an uncredited piece putting the most negative scaremongering spin on one selected aspect of it that it could manage:

  2. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Iceland does not have forces but it has a large US military presence at Keflavik which probably renders an Icelandic force redundant.
    When I entertained Icelandic senior citizens at my hotel in Argyll for several years in the late 1980s I was amazed at the generosity of their pensions. I’ll find out what they are now.

  3. Tearlach says:

    The yanks left Iceland in 2006, and the Icelandic defence force closed Keflavik in 2011.
    No need for it you see. Iceland has no Military at all. The defence force is the Coast Guard and a “Crisis Response Unit”
    “The Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (ICRU) (or Íslenska friðargæslan or “The Icelandic Peacekeeping Guard”) is an expeditionary peacekeeping force maintained by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. It is manned by personnel from Iceland’s other services, armed or not, including the National Police, Coast Guard, Emergency Services and Health-care system. Because of the military nature of most of the ICRU’s assignments, all of its members receive basic infantry combat training. This training has often been conducted by the Norwegian Army, but the Coast Guard and the Special forces are also assigned to train the ICRU.” 
    That’s not say that they are insular – three folk have been wounded in Afghanistan.

  4. Imagine that – when an outside body with no involvement on either side of the debate looks at things, things aren’t nearly as ‘scary’ as BT like to paint them.

    Who woulda thunk it?

  5. Donald MacDonald says:

    Stuff like this is Gold.
    It should get wide circulation.

  6. HandandShrimp says:

    It conclusions are rather less doom-laden than those of the UK government.
    The Call of Cthulhu is less doom-laden than UK Government advice to Scottish voters. 

  7. Edward says:

    Slightly connected, have just watched Channel 4 news, which had an interview with Eric Schlosser, author of ‘Command and Control’
    Apart from the mind boggling revelations of near accidents in America with thermo nuclear bombs and missiles that could have taken out North Carolina and Arkansas. Scotland got a mention in relation to the Trident Missile system. Apparently there is an inherent fault that the Americans discovered 12 years ago but the UK Government have covered it up (what a surprise there).
    The thing that got me was, that I hope many in Scotland that are thinking of voting NO, hopefully see this as a wake up call
    I cant find a link yet for channel 4 news broadcast

  8. velofello says:

    And fully off topic. I was out today letter boxing the Yes newspaper today, assisted by my volunteer 8 and 5 year old granddaughters. They one one side of the street and me on the other – Oh, I meant avenue! Chuffed to bits was I.

  9. Hotrod Cadets says:

    @HandandShrimp: “The Call of Cthulhu is less doom-laden than UK Government advice to Scottish voters.”
    Brilliant! 🙂

  10. Murray McCallum says:

    I caught the C4 news interview with Eric Schlosser too. The trident missile is apparently unusual in that the nuclear device is not at the top of the warhead but in the middle, closer to the highly explosive fuel supply.
    Mr Schlosser said something along the lines that he hoped the people handling nuclear weapons in Scotland were doing so very carefully.
    We need rid of these things.

  11. ianbrotherhood says:

    Just read that report.
    What a refreshing change to read something about ‘us’ that isn’t propaganda, and here’s hoping that the SG have time to incorporate some of the comments and analysis, if they haven’t already.
    The whole thing has ‘quality’ – you just know that there are serious, professional minds behind this, and they’ve spent time on it. These people can see the world from a point-of-view that most of us won’t ever experience, and I daresay they’re probably not the sort to get involved in discussing pipe-dreams.
    If you don’t have time to read it all, please read 3.3, ‘The Arctic Dimension’ – it’s a complete mind-bender, but in a very VERY good way (put it like this – see the ‘map’ of the UK that we all have in our heids? Turn the whole thing upside-down, then view the new ‘British Isles’ as if from Greenland – then imagine Greenland as the new ‘centre’ of real discovery and action – where does that leave Londinium?)
    Thrilling stuff – the hairs on me were upwise!

  12. Morag says:

    Stuff like this is Gold.
    It should get wide circulation.
    I’m just getting furious.  Again.  There’s about as much chance of the Scottish media reporting this fairly as there is of them publishing next week’s lottery numbers in advance.  Look what the Herald did with it – cherry-picked an unrepresentative snippet to create a doom-and-scare headline.

    And Robbie Dinwoodie has the unadulterated gall to propose that he and his mates are professionals who should be preferentially listened to?  Who is he kidding?

    I’ve been struck by the number of people who have said recently that one of the things that got them started looking at the independence debate was the observation that according to the BBC, STV and all the newspapers there is absolutely no case at all for independence.  There’s nothing but risks and disadvantages.  Which doesn’t really make sense considering that many people are strongly in favour, and many European states the same size as Scotland are doing fine.  So they looked a bit closer.

    Unfortunately, the number of people who will work that out may be relatively small.  Indeed, it might be more realistic to put forward a few minor positive points and present it as a debate heavily balanced to the union – but still a debate.  But it seems they don’t  need to.  Just rubbish everything, spin everything, deny everything.

    Journalism?  These guys gie me the dry boak.

  13. Betsy says:

    What refreshing reading! Tweeted + shared on Facebook. This deserves the widest possible audience.

  14. HandandShrimp says:

    I wonder who wrote the shabby Herald report of the document, McDougall? The authors should pop round and insert a fully grown cod into whoever did that twisted hatchet job.

  15. A well wisher says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    14 October, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Incidentally, the only media to pick up on the paper was the Herald, who published an uncredited piece putting the most negative scaremongering spin on one selected aspect of it that it could manage:

    Newsnet Scotland covered this report in some detail one week before the Herald did.  Read it here:

  16. alexicon says:

    velofello says:
    14 October, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    And fully off topic. I was out today letter boxing the Yes newspaper today, assisted by my volunteer 8 and 5 year old granddaughters. They one one side of the street and me on the other – Oh, I meant avenue! Chuffed to bits was I.
    Good for you, as well as lucky you 🙂
    I was all out on my lonesome and managed to pop magazines through around 530 doors today, I also got caught in a down pour and my feet are killing me.
    Keep up the good work folks.
    On that subject if anyone is willing to help distribute magazines in the Falkirk area (Fordie?) get in touch with the YES Falkirk team. Link below.
    You don’t have to do that much, maybe even you own street.

  17. moujick says:

    C4 News link re Trident safety:-

    “I hope in Scotland that they’re very careful when they’re loading and unloading the missiles.”…

  18. Frazer Allan Whyte says:

    re Murray McCallum’s post on the volatility and inherently unsafe design of the nuclear weapons aat Faslane: “Mr Schlosser … hoped that people handing nuclear weapons in Scotland were doing so very carefully.” We know very well that they are not being so handled. The submarines that transport them are – at least on occasion – manned by homicidal drunks and have a nasty habit of ramming well-charted reefs. And this is just the bad news we know. Of course Westminster, the BBC and the various nUKe authorities would be sure to keep the population of Scotland – especially that of its biggest city – informed should anything untoward happen.
    By the way – it’s difficult to build a nuclear facility in the US or most western countries anywhere near an urban area because of the difficulty/near impossibility of evacuating a metropolis in the case of a nuclear emergency. A believable evacuation plan must be prepared. Obviously such a plan MUST exist for Glasgow – is there any chance Scots/Glaswegians/anyone could see it?

  19. kininvie says:

    As it happens, in a previous life I knew Alyson Bailes, cited as the chief author of this report. Nobody’s fool, and, as you can see from her Wiki Bio, not without pan-European respect:

  20. ianbrotherhood says:

    Love this, from page 15:
    ‘Sea creatures have an inconvenient tendency to move in and out 
    of states’ exclusive economic zones (EEZs) or exclusive fisheries zones EFZs).’
    I hope the SG’s White Paper is written in a similar style, and avoids obvious ‘sound-bites’ – aye, there’s room for humour and optimism, but the tone has to be right, as it is in this report – this is too important to waste precious minds and time pandering to the LIV or the MSM. Let the facts speak for themselves.
    God bless Iceland!
    Right, where’s me old Bjork CD?…

  21. James Morton says:

    current NATO policy is to “go out of area or go out of business”- hence its courting of countries like Sweden and Finland:

  22. ianbrotherhood says:

    Alison Bayle’s CV could be cited, by a cynic, as the typical background of a ‘spook’ – what does that tell us about how the real ‘players’ in Whitehall and Washington are viewing this whole process?
    Have to say, I’m mightily cheered after reading the thing – it’s just so good to hear it all being treated with the respect it deserves, and it exposes the paucity of any substantial ‘No Scotland’ arguments.
    There’s no way Darling, Cameron, Lamont, McDougall, Davidson, Rennie (!) or any other prominent BT voices could possibly summon a response to this – that would require them to treat the subject ‘seriously’, and do so in public.
    They don’t, and they daren’t.

  23. Mik Magnusson says:

    Two points:
    *Iceland remains a NATO member despite the US forces being withdrawn a decade ago; and
    *Iceland’s Crisis Response Unit, while not being a “military force” per se, meets the country’s commitments to the UN and the North Atlantic alliance.
    Scotland can do this too… but perhaps with a standing military force, and without the need for nuclear weapons.

  24. kininvie says:

    There’s no way Darling, Cameron, Lamont, McDougall, Davidson, Rennie (!) or any other prominent BT voices could possibly summon a response to this – that would require them to treat the subject ‘seriously’, and do so in public.
    So, maybe it’s up to people such as Angus R and Nicola to ask them what their response is? In parliament and elsewhere.

  25. ianbrotherhood says:

    This is a great time to post comments – when everyone’s away watching the ‘serious’ Scottish news programmes.
    This Van Morrison song was nowhere to be found on Youtube a few years ago – now there’s a few versions. Beautiful stuff…‘recall all the dreams that you once used to know.

  26. fordie says:

    Great minds and all that 🙂 Just arranged this evening (via SNP local meet) to do Sunday morning leafleting of Yes magazines. Got one through the door at the weekend and it’s really good. ‘Simple’ facts and figures which address the main concerns of don’t knowers.
    On the Icelandic paper. I’m sure the researchers are delighted to have their work spun in such a negative way. They really should have a right to reply. Wonder if they’re aware of The Herald article.

  27. Eddie says:

    Nice to see some reasoned thought on independence for a change.  That the unionists cannot admit to the reasoning behind that report is pretty damning.  That said, they want to stay on the Westminster gravy train and don’t give a damn anyways.

  28. Keef says:

    I’m not one for going O/T but on this occasion I make no apologies.
    I just want to take time out to congratulate and say bloody well done to all the people who get out and do letterbox drops (regardless of weather) and ensure their fellow Scots get information that they otherwise would be oblivious to.
    I’d love to read some of the funnier stories and indeed, the stories of ‘no’ voters being shown the light.
    Your efforts will not be in vain.
    I salute you all.

  29. Morag says:

    Alison Bayle’s CV could be cited, by a cynic, as the typical background of a ‘spook’ – what does that tell us about how the real ‘players’ in Whitehall and Washington are viewing this whole process?
    Having suffered for several years from the attention of two creepy stalkers who seem convinced I’m a “spook” because they disagree with me about something, my sympathies are entirely with Alyson Bailes in respect of remarks like that.

    I’ve recently had one stalker threaten to report me to my employer for “moonlighting” for MI6 (supposedly breaking my “civil service contract” – I don’t work for the civil service and never have), while the other is compiling a fantasy wiki page about me which he is spamming round various people’s email accounts despite repeated requests by the recipients to take them off his mailing list.  The last round of that was the day before yesterday, and I’ve just had to block him from following me on Twitter.

    That’s where this sort of speculation ends up, and it’s not helpful.  It can seriously impinge on people’s lives if some nutcase takes it seriously.

  30. ianbrotherhood says:

    We’re only, what, 27, 28 comments into the most positive thread for ages, and here she is, yet again, with doom-laden, pity-me shite.


  31. ianbrotherhood says:

    This might be helpful for people who need to get over themselves:×544.jpg

  32. Morag says:

    Thank you for that, Ian.  Just as I finished typing that, another round of the stalker’s emails, with quotes from his demented wiki page, arrived in my inbox.  This time forwarded by a friend, copying in other mutual friends.  And it’s not the first time something like this has happened, with friends being “warned” about me because of this lunatic.

    It’s not funny.  It’s making me quite seriously nervous.  Thanks to a local newspaper article about the recent council by-election it’s now decorated by a photograph of me, too.  And it all starts with someone making the sort of idle, unfounded speculation you just made about Alyson Bailes.

  33. ianbrotherhood says:

    You are out of order in so many ways? I don’t know where to start, so won’t bother.

  34. fitheach says:

    and do letterbox drops (regardless of weather)
    The Doors

  35. Morag says:

    Ian, Alyson Bailes is a real person.  You just speculated on a public forum that she is a “spook”.  I’m pointing out to you the very real damage such unthinking assertions can do to people’s lives.

  36. dee says:

    All rational debate temporarily interrupted (again)!!.

  37. The Man in the Jar says:

    I haven’t the time to read it all right now but thanks to the excerpts provided by Rev Stu I can tell that it will be considered and so logical you would be excused for believing that it was written by Spock from Star Trek.
    Part of me is chuffed but it saddens me as well as I know just how much of a chance there is of it circulating amongst the population. Sure we can all do our own wee bit but stuff like this never gets the attention it deserves in the MSM. And they are doing it deliberately!

  38. Morag says:

    All rational debate temporarily interrupted (again)!!.

    Well, I’m perfectly happy to continue the rational debate.  I’m not happy about casual maligning of one of the authors of the article we’re debating, that’s all.

  39. Keef says:

    Thanks for that link Fitheach.
    I’d love to hear more of these stories. It helps bring the more humane aspect of this whole debate to light.

  40. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    We’re only, what, 27, 28 comments into the most positive thread for ages, and here she is, yet again, with doom-laden, pity-me shite.”

    That is utterly unwarranted. You’ve both misinterpreted each other. Behave yourselves.

  41. ianbrotherhood says:

    Here’s what I wrote:
    ‘Alison Bayle’s CV could be cited, by a cynic, as the typical background of a ‘spook’ – what does that tell us about how the real ‘players’ in Whitehall and Washington are viewing this whole process?’
    I cited Bayle’s CV as an example of the type of background that a cynic (or someone writing an episode of ‘Spooks’, or working on a ‘Le Carre -type novel) might use by way of ‘authenticating” a fictional character. I wasn’t having a go at the woman – I was celebrating her involvement. I think that much is plain to any objective reader.
    That you choose to pervert my reference to Ms Bayles in the way you have says much more about you than the topic in question – if you choose to interpret my comment as an attack on Ms Bayles, and, by extension, an attack on you? then, I’m sorry to say, your critical faculties are being overwhelmed by vanity. 
    Bayles is clearly an ‘Establishment’ figure – agreed? – and she has put her name to a report which shows our country in a new and exciting light.
    You agree with that too, Morag – don’t you?

  42. fitheach says:

    I’d love to hear more of these stories
    Just in case you didn’t see the link, there are a few more volunteer stories

  43. Morag says:

    The article is very good, and also balanced.  It does however use quite specialised vocabulary (in particular “the costs of shelter”) which means something rather different to what might be assumed by a casual reader.  It is thus capable of being misrepresented in much the same way as Alasdair Gray’s categorisation of English incomers into “settlers” and “colonists” was misrepresented.
    Or on the other hand maybe the Herald journalist only read the abstract.  When you understand what the authors actually mean, and in particular their own intent in using the vocabulary they are using, it’s very positive.

  44. Morag says:

    Ian, I am not going to continue to discuss this.  I point out that you have made an unwarranted and very probably unwelcome imputation against someone you don’t know.  You can now carry on calling me all the names you like, I’m out.

  45. Morag says:

    That is utterly unwarranted. You’ve both misinterpreted each other. Behave yourselves.
    Look, Ian suggested Alyson Bailes was a “spook”.  In so many words.  I’m not sure how I misinterpreted that.

    I’m away to my bed, tomorrow is another day.

  46. ianbrotherhood says:

    All I know, right now, is this –
    When I read this post, three-plus hours ago, I went on a high, and my previous posts are evidence.
    Now, I’m on a downer, because a fellow poster has accused me of this, that or whatever-else…
    What’s that all about?
    Strange, but true…

  47. kininvie says:

    @Ian @Morag
    Since I’m the one here who brought my personal knowledge of Alyson into the conversation, I can assure you of the following:
    She was not a spook.
    She resigned from the diplomatic service and joined the Stockholm institute because in the end she prefered academia, and she’s a cold weather person.
    IMO, you are both, in different ways, exhibiting excessive suspicion. Divide and conquer is an old tactic – no need to inflict it on ourselves.

  48. Dcanmore says:

    I have no doubt that if Scotland votes for independence negotiations with the rUK will be smooth despite protestations from the (ultimately powerless) Unionist cabal in Scotland and the frothing right-wing London Press. I read the whole document and found it intelligent, thoughtful and intriguing. I wouldn’t be surprised if other EU countries have drafted similar documents for the benefit of their own governments: ‘What If’ and ‘Best Case Scenario’. Even if there are those in the British Establishment who would love to make it as difficult as possible for Scotland to transition to independence, I suspect they would bow from pressures from within the EU and the United States. A smooth ride would benefit everyone even if it’s distasteful for some.

  49. Doug Daniel says:

    This is exactly the sort of thing the independence debate needs – rational, unbiased academic research that simply gives a warts-and-all account of what would happen if we become independent, which isn’t being paid for by either the Scottish Government or Westminster, and therefore can be taken to be neutral.
    I keep hoping the Nordic nations will suddenly decide to declare public support for Scotland being independent, even though it won’t happen (it’d be a diplomatic nightmare, even if the UK does seem to try its best to piss everyone else off). But the most promising sounds have been coming from Nordic countries – first this, then the Danish politician the other week who agreed that our membership of the EU will be seamless. Maybe we’ll get the Norwegian Statsminister telling us how easy an oil fund will be to set up next…

  50. ianbrotherhood says:

    Have just re-read it all.
    Oh my goodness gracious me!
    Really, in all seriousness, I need to back away from this – if Morag can say what she did tonight, and I get no ‘honners’ from the regulars?
    Sorry chaps (kininvie excepted – I appreciate the effort) – someone else will have to do the final, painful showdown with her.
    Be thou not mistaken! A show-down will have to happen with the bold Mo-Rag, and it won’t be pretty.
    I’m offksy, but shall watch from the cheap seats.
    Bye y’all!

  51. kininvie says:

    @Ian @Morag
    Do you really think Stu’s readership needs to have this inflicted on them? If you have a quarrel, take it to quarantine FFS.
    I respect both of you and read all your comments, but honestly, this looks like something from the bottom (very bottom) of Hootsmon comment threads. And that’s not what we need – or deserve.
    Right, enough from me too. G’night.

  52. Keef says:

    the obvious acrimony between yourself and Morag has been pretty evident on other posts. I think you will save yourself a lot of reading and writing if you just ignore Morag’s comments. There is no need for “show-downs”, readers will and do make up their own minds as to the veracity of other’s comments. The rev. Does a pretty good job of moderating the majority of crud on here. It might suit you better to ignore jibber jabber and enjoy the positive contributions made by others.

  53. Taranaich says:

    *Positive vibes, positive vibes, positive vibes…*
    This is a great wee study, isn’t it?  I might print it out and keep it on hand when I go delivering Yes papers.  I already carry around the A to Z of Indy and a few leaflets with the websites on them.  Should probably have a few copies of the McCrone Report too.

  54. Bubbles says:

    @ Ian
    Don’t you dare bugger off! I appreciate your from the hip style too much to let you go for something so trivial. To state that someone could be perceived as a spook (horrible term by the way, lol) is not the same as calling them out. I get what you mean, even if some others are just a tad too sensitive. Stay and keep contributing. You have been warned ????

  55. Macart says:

    Another good un Rev. People are watching our referendum and they are thinking. They have to, they wouldn’t be doing their jobs otherwise.
    Here’s a wee piece from NNS not so long ago:

    Links to the report by Dorcha Lee and the IIEA are on page. These reports aren’t created for fun or mental exercise. Folks out there in the big wide world are thinking about a world where the outcome of this referendum will have a very real impact. Its no too hard to do a wee search and see ourselves through others eyes. We all know that others will be keeping a very close watch on proceedings. A number of US titles regularly post articles, the likes of RT have covered recent events in some detail, the EU have found themselves in the very centre of the debate on more than one occasion. Its not outwith the realms of possibility that official bodies outside this group of islands are coming up with their own reports and scenarios.

    They really would be fairly bloody lax if they weren’t wondering how to approach an independent Scotland on trade or defence. 

  56. Patrick Roden says:

    @ Ian.
    Remember the big prize my friend, do not let anything or anyone stop you posting on Wings.
    I value your contributions on here and so do many others.
    Chin up and don’t give up.

  57. Macart says:

    It might be interesting to see if we could all send the REV as many news items or govt releases as we could find from various corners of the globe. Literally see oorsels as ithers see us. Some may be repeats of articles we’ve covered before, but it may be instructive to see them all in one place at one time. Like a links article.
    Would that be help Rev or just a royal pain?

  58. alexicon says:

    @ velofello.
    You must have been very proud.
    Have you seen the new sweatshirts the YES campaign are selling for children? They’re great, with a motif saying: ‘Vote YES for me’. Very child friendly.

    @Fordie. Welcome aboard.
    Anyone else in the Falkirk area?
    @Ian & Morag. Are you two married or something? 🙂

  59. GP Walrus says:

    I read the full thing last night. Thanks for drawing attention to this Stuart. It is really helpful to get a well-thought- through view of the geopolitical position of “iScotland” as they put it.

  60. Another London Dividend says:

    O/T and closer to home on votes by Scots MPs “have little influence”

    Judging from this Herald story, Tom Greatrex is working hard on job creation  however the headline has four superfluous words.
    I can do no better than quote from a letter by one of Alistair Carmichael’s constituents.

    “In February and March 2012 a parliamentary bill, the Health and Social Care Bill, applying to England only, was having a rough ride, not only at Westminster, but from the vast majority of health care professionals.

    One of the bill’s key provisions was that, whereas formerly only 2% of beds in foundation hospitals in England could be allocated to privately paying and privately insured patients, the percentage was now to shoot up to 49%. It would mean that ordinary NHS patients would be squeezed down the queue for hospital operations.

    The bill promised to be bad for Scottish patients too. The funding we receive from Westminster for our public services is allocated under the Barnett Formula at around 9.9% of the UK spend. And so if England were to spend less public money supporting publicly available hospital beds, then the UK global spend would drop, and Scotland would suffer a proportionate drop in funds for its own hospitals, from Melrose to Lerwick, and would be forced to try to draw in more private patients to make up the shortfall.

    The bill was in the balance for weeks, as more and more amendments were forced on the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley.

    But eventually this ghastly bill was forced through Parliament and enacted on March 27, 2012. If Mr Carmichael, as the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, had not severely dragooned his troops, many of whom had serious misgivings, then it would have failed to achieve a majority and would have been ditched.

    After a little delay, Mr Carmichael has now been rewarded by David Cameron with a Cabinet post. His Cabinet post as Scottish Secretary has as its central purpose a second attempt at mobilising a socially destructive vote. Mr Carmichael’s new target is to dragoon the Scottish electorate into voting No in next year’s referendum.
    If we vote as he wishes, the Scottish NHS, as a universally and equally available service free at the point of need, will inevitably suffer due to the accelerating shift from public to private healthcare south of the Border.”

  61. gavin lessells says:

    I do wish both Morag and Ianbrotherhood would go away and give the rest of us peace!

  62. sneddon says:

    what Kininvie said plus remember there are undecideds reading this and if they think this is a bitch fest kind of site it won’t be doing any of us any good.
    Back on topic a good. balanced and real life report that shoots down (no pun intended) any nonsense from the MOD and BT.  Nice wee read.

  63. Macart says:

    Wondering if any interested journos or writers from overseas are scanning the page. If you are, it would be interesting to hear your take on the referendum, the possibilities for an independent Scotland, the view from your corner of the globe.
    Don’t be shy (waves).
    C’mon in, the water’s fine. 🙂

  64. MajorBloodnok says:

    Handand Shrimp says: The Call of Cthulhu is less doom-laden than UK Government advice to Scottish voters.
    It’s also less of a drain on one’s Sanity Points (and I should know, with my 3rd in Archaeology from Miskatonic University… motto: “Show us yer tentacles!”).

  65. Edward says:

    Just to add a bit of morning humour
    Isn’t Iceland ‘North by North West’ of us (ok I’m a fan of the film by the same name)

  66. Macart says:

    That is not dead which can eternal lie,
    And with strange aeons even death may die
    Speaking of Mr Murphy, it’d be interesting to send him a copy of this report. Just to see what the shadow defence master of darkness and deep places has to say about the Icelandic approach.
    How do you answer that one without offending the authors? 😉

  67. MajorBloodnok says:

    I suspect that the rapid ‘financial collapse’ of Iceland (as opposed to the UK’s slow but inexorable financial collapse) would be held against it.
    I mean Iceland is obviously too wee, too poor and too stupid for anyone to take any notice of it.  The fact that it prosecuted the bankers and politicians after said collapse and changed its constitution to make sure it didn’t happen again, whilst the UK did diddly squat so it could all happen again (and probably will), is neither here nor there…

  68. Macart says:

    Heh, they did go a bit root and branch. 🙂
    Another wee gem along the same lines Major.

    Amazing how these wee, poor, daft countries are bouncing back so rapidly. Some would begin to think that being a small adaptable economy has some merit.

  69. Macart says:

    Spot on. That’s exactly the kind of thing.
    Other nations looking at the ramifications of an independent Scotland from their perspective.
    Cheers Keef, that’s a keeper. 🙂

  70. Robert Louis says:

    This piece once again highlights the chasm between Westminster nonsense regarding Scotland, and the views of rational, non-partisan experts elsewhere.  I’ll not hold my breath whilst waiting for the blatantly biased BBC to notice, however.
    It is clear, that,as has always been the case since before 1707, Scotland cannot for one second trust a word that emenates from Westminster.  They are habitual liars when it comes to Scottish affairs.  What makes me angry, however, is that stupid nonsense ‘reports’ from Westminster, which are one sided and are designed to undermine Scottish democracy and self rule, are funded partly, and against our wishes, by Scottish taxpayers.  I can only describe such behaviour by Westminster as colonial.
    As an aside, Ian brotherhood, Keef above offers sound advice.   I see no problem with what you posted.
    Meanwhile, we have a referendum to win…
    Vote YES in 2014.

  71. Ken500 says:

    Iceland 1/2 million population, (quite a large land mass)

    Would not have a large Defence force.

  72. Ken500 says:

    Iceland financial collapse was because two Bankers were borrowing unprecedented amounts of non collateral money on the London lending markets and buying up commercial assets (at a loss) in the UK. Pozzi scheme. One went to jail. The other is hiding in Chelsea, protected by the London financial sector.

    ‘Inside job’.

  73. Willie Zwigerland says:

    Iceland financial collapse happened because no-one in the Icelandic government had the gumption to question what their banks were up to. Whilst many factors in the 2008 crash were to an extent unforeseeable, what happened to Iceland was entirely avioidable.

  74. Barontorc says:

    There is a  huge expectancy from the SG’s White Paper due in a month or so, some would say it is being over-hyped by the usual suspects standing on the sidelines willing it to crash and burn.
    The more ‘sensible’ No-ists that I talk with list this as their most sought after upcoming read, but their problem, as I point out, is that they, as always, will then take their analysis of the White Paper from the MSM and BBC – which is guaranteed to produce a bemused stare back.
    So it will not be just what is written in that WP, but the mechanism used to get the facts out that is crucial in all of this. What is planned for making this happen?
    If we need to be mobilised to personally do this, then we should be hearing of plans to do it and if I am right in understanding from what I heard yesterday, that the voting intentions are firming up as solid 30% YES, 30% NO, 30% DK and the 10% who couldn’t give a monkey’s, then there’s a ‘standing army’ of huge amount to serve the purpose. Who’s to set the ball rolling?

  75. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Willie Zwingerland
    Thank Heavens the UK government had the gumption, not to mention the balls, to stand up to the banks, foresee or at least make contingency for the financial collapse, separate risky casino operations from domestic operations, regulate properly and make sure the ordinary tax payer didn’t in the end have to bail them out so that they could continue with their bonus culture (wouldn’t want to lose all that financial talent now would we?) causing at least a decade of austerity and the excuse to embark on long cherished right wing policies targeted mainly at the poor and disabled.  No, that didn’t happen at all.

  76. faolie says:

    This is great stuff. I agree that we need more of other countries’ views of Scottish independence.

    @macart: I like that link to the end of the Irish bailout, especially the quote from the Taoiseach: “But the exit from the bailout is not an end in itself.  In fact it’s just the beginning.  The beginning of our freedom to choose the kind of Ireland we want to build.
    I like that last line.


    @keef: Great wee link from Oz. Interesting last line of the article too: “An independent Scotland may yet create an Australian Republic.

  77. Mosstrooper says:

    Just finished reading the Icelandic paper. What a positive buzz I got from it and to top it the sun has just come out here in deepest Renfrewshire. Good omen or what? Big smilely thing!

  78. Macart says:

    It does tend to put a spring in the step. 🙂

  79. MochaChoca says:

    This is a great read. Balanced and thought provoking. I can imagine ‘the other side’ (journos and politicos) reading it and hoping to god it doesn’t reach a wide audience.

  80. The Rough Bounds says:

    Attaboy! A wee bit of positive attitude goes an awful long way.
    Lucky you getting some sunshine. Here in Perthshire it’s dull and my flippin’ legs and knees are aching from the damp.
    But we’ve always got Morag and Ian to cheer us all up haven’t we?

  81. Ananurhing says:

    Ian Brotherhood
    For what it’s worth, I for one really appreciate your humour, enthusiasm, and insight. Your an intrinsic contributor here, and this site would be greatly diminished if you were to withdraw.

  82. The Rough Bounds says:

    Spelling. It’s not ”your an intrinsic” etc; it’s you’re an intrinsic etc.
    See? Morag is catching. Time for my flu jab.

  83. Shinty says:

    Think we should all send a copy to Gordon Brown & Alistair Darling:)

  84. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “@Ian @Morag
    Do you really think Stu’s readership needs to have this inflicted on them? If you have a quarrel, take it to quarantine FFS.
    I respect both of you and read all your comments, but honestly, this looks like something from the bottom (very bottom) of Hootsmon comment threads. And that’s not what we need – or deserve.”

    Yes. That thing.

    Ian and Morag both had essentially valid points, but both over-reacted to the other’s, most likely as a result of their personal differences. It makes my heart sink. I don’t want to be afraid to look at the comments on the grounds that they’ll make me depressed. There’s far too much of value in them to let that happen.

  85. Mosstrooper says:

    Ha Ha Ha! well said Rough Bounds
    That’s the Spirit!

  86. Keef says:
    Here is a small 4 minute piece from Australian TV on the referendum debate.
    Make your own mind up who the reporter is backing.

  87. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “See? Morag is catching.”



  88. Doug Daniel says:

    Willie – “What happened to Iceland was entirely avoidable”
    See also: the UK.

  89. Ananurhing says:

    Rough Bounds
    I am suitably chastised, but get my name right. It’s Ananurhing. The war cry of a drunken Scots pedant. As in ‘An anur hing’.
    Ananuhing is a bit too nihilistic for me.

  90. Willie Zwigerland says:

    Doug Daniel – there’s a reason it’s only Icelandic politicians that were criminalised – they were several orders of magnitude more negligent than their counterparts in other countries. We’d probably be in a military state now if the UK politicians had acted like the Icelanders.

  91. Mosstrooper says:

     @ Ananurhing
    Talking of pedantry, (of which I have studied long and hard) in your name should there ( or their, they’re, take one’s pick) not be an “a” (lower case of course) between the r and h of your name thus faithfully following the cry of the inebriated discursist An an ura hing.
    Mind you when one thinks about it an an ura hing could be a double judiciary hanging so I can see grounds for argument. Hmmm!
    Many, many wee smilely ‘hings

  92. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Willie Zwigerland
    Well hurrah for British Exceptionalism!

  93. Ken500 says:

    At least the Icelandic administration did something about the Banking crisis. One banker (asset stripped) and an irresponsible polititican both jailed.

  94. YerkitBreeks says:

    First time I’ve responded – excellent piece as usual. Another essential part of the icelandic paper is
    What would become of all this after a ‘No’ vote – currently the highest probability – in 2014? Would Scottish energies switch to gaining greater autonomy within the UK, and might any external-policy elements be included? For sure, the clock will not simply go back. If important actors in Scotland grow attached to a specific ‘small state’ agenda, and forge new Nordic links, in the process of contingency planning, these themes will stay alive one way or the other in Scottish and UK politics.

  95. gillie says:

    Well folks it’s 1966 all over again. ABE?

  96. teechur says:

    Just a wee note to say that the link to the document has moved. It can now be found here:

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