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Not enough respect to lie

Posted on January 29, 2013 by

There’s a small but quite vocal subset of opinion among followers of Scottish politics that David Cameron and the Tories are doing their damnedest to “throw” the independence referendum. A string of implausibly clumsy interventions starting with the Prime Minister’s attempt to lay down the law of a year ago have led to growing speculation that the Conservatives would in fact be somewhere beyond delighted to see Scotland go its own way, but simply can’t be seen to be saying so.

It’s an argument that has a lot of rational weight. Scotland hasn’t returned more than one Conservative MP since 1992, and seems unlikely to change that statistic any time soon, effectively giving the Tories a handicap of 50+ seats in every general election. There’s now little remaining dispute that the balance of Scottish revenue/expenditure at the Treasury is basically neutral, so there’s no great financial blow to be endured if the Scots make off with the remainder of North Sea oil.

(And even senior Scottish Tories think that the sort of complete break with the toxic Conservative brand which would accompany independence is the only hope of ever reviving their fortunes north of the border.)

Are we really meant to believe, then, that Cameron’s party is unbreakably committed to keeping a pathologically ungrateful Scotland in the Union for purely sentimental reasons? Pull the other one, readers – it’s got bells on.

The latest evidence for the theory is the bizarre case of High Speed 2. The upgrade of the UK’s creaking rail network to include superfast new trains between large English cities is incomprehensible on all sorts of levels.

It’s mindbogglingly expensive – around 50 times the cost of Edinburgh’s farcical trams, and many billions more than the official cost of a new Trident nuclear weapon system – in order to achieve some incredibly modest aims, shaving as little as 30 minutes off journeys between London and Birmingham for the benefit of the six or seven people who’ll be able to afford a ticket.

It lays waste to uncountable acres of countryside, much of it located in Tory constituencies which are up in arms about the despoilage of their estates. The economic argument is a shambles. Even the Daily Mail thinks it’s a dreadful idea.

More to the point, though, work HS2 isn’t due to even start until 2017 – halfway through the next UK parliament – and that’s a highly optimistic estimate, with the Independent this week suggesting that 2022 is a more realistic aim. The ironically-named “northern” section, extending the line from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, isn’t planned to be in service for at least 20 years, probably more.

(If you were wondering about that definition of “north”, on the above map the upper thick black line is the north-south “equator” of the UK if you include Shetland and Orkney, and the lower one is the midpoint if you only count the mainland. The red arrow indicates the location of Leeds.)

Any further potential extensions of HS2 towards Scotland, then, are so far in the future that we may well not be alive to see them. But that’s not even the point.

Such a timescale is, in terms of government infrastructure planning, essentially infinity. An administration elected for five years considering developments 20, 30 and 40 years away is indulging in nothing more than idle daydreaming, as distant from reality as the Scottish Football Association commissioning a report into whether it has enough cabinet space to house both the World Cup and European Championship trophies.

So given that they’re operating in a world of complete fantasy anyway, why doesn’t the government at least pretend they’re planning to bring HS2 to Scotland by, say, 2030 at the latest? They might as well, for all the relevance it would bear to anything that’s actually going to happen. Pledges cost nothing, and they’ll all be long gone by the time the promise had to be broken.

There are two obvious possible explanations. One is that the Tories don’t expect (or perhaps even intend) Scotland to be any of Westminster’s concern by then. And the other is that they don’t even respect us enough to lie. Take your pick.

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90 to “Not enough respect to lie”

  1. scottish_skier says:

    “There’s a small but quite vocal subset of opinion among followers of Scottish politics that David Cameron and the Tories are doing their damnedest to “throw” the independence referendum.”

    What a crackpot idea. Who on earth would give credence to such a silly theory. 😉

    “So given that they’re operating in a world of complete fantasy anyway, why doesn’t the government at least pretend they’re planning to bring HS2 to Scotland by, say, 2030 at the latest?”

    Does beg the question… 

  2. Keef says:

    The Tory run better to-get-her are finding it near impossible to articulate what their ‘jam tomorrow ‘ would envisage. Is it any wonder then that they have given up on what effectively would be termed ‘jam next decade’?

    Incidentally, what portion of EU funding would be in this scheme? 

  3. muttley79 says:

    Scottish Skier will be loving this article!  I was sceptical at first about his theory.  However, I now beginning to think he is on to something.  I am still not 100% sure though. 

  4. Luigi says:

    Ending the line at Leeds/Manchester is indeed a strange choice. Perhaps the Tories are cutting Scotland off, but I don’t think that Cumbria and Northumberland will be too chuffed either. It could become part of a “jam tomorrow” package. Vote No and you will get your HS trains to Glasgow and Edinburgh (in the year 2064)!
    Whether this apparent referendum push-pull effect on the Scottish people (Cameron pushes, Salmond pulls) is by design or default, does not really matter. It is having a devastating effect on the Better Together campaign.
    Let’s forget the Scottish Tories for now (everyone else has)! The rUK Tories seem to be willing now, not so much to deliberately get rid of us, but to force the issue one way or the other. This makes perfect sense, Scotland then either votes no and is neutered for decades, or votes yes and no more Scottish headaches for the Tories. It’s a potential win-win situation. I think Cameron may be a lot smarter than many people think. Like Salmond, he has options.

  5. MajorBloodnok says:

    I’m looking forward to Cameron letting slip that, for all the hints from Better Together that we only need to vote NO for there to be substantial new devolved powers thrown at Scotland, he couldn’t possibly agree to any jam tomorrow and in fact there won’t even be a jam jar (they’ll all be privatised by then).

  6. muttley79 says:

    I agree.  I think what you have said is a distinct possibility.  If Cameron really does want to torpedo the No campaign this would be like firing a Trident submarine into it…

  7. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    There is a very odd thing happening.
    Headlined pieces of opinion polls (like last weeks irrelevant and out of date offering) get picked up by the establishment media down south, are swallowed whole and then get regurgitated back through a process of compliant media up here that means that the so called Scottish Labour, Tory and LibDems who all take instruction from down south find themselves reacting to a news agenda they don’t actually believe.
    A large section of the MSM believe that the independence threat has been seen off for the time being. Big parts of it however are committing the cardinal political sin of believing their own spin 
    The more percipient (like Kevin McKenna) know differently.
    All this is very much to our advantage.
    We have a number of essential imperatives. We must establish in the minds of a majority of out peope that Scotland is comfortably self sufficient.
    And we have to expose unionist lies to a very wide audience and establish firmly in people’s minds that no intelligent Scot believes the lies. When we do that we don’t have to waste our time rebutting the lies line by line. We can move on to a progressive agenda

  8. Cuphook says:

    The need for a high speed rail system should have been met in the 1970s, but I guess that there was no rail lobby pushing for the infrastructural development as there was for the roads. Short sighted government, again.  As to The North – it is beyond Watford.
    Have you noticed the few attempts by the media to frame an anti-independence story around the security services, this week? The Telegraph has now run with a ‘separate’ Scotland being unable to stop terrorists killing us. The odd thing is – I came across this conspiracy article last week which announces the start of this very campaign.

  9. heraldnomore says:

    Perhaps Cumbria and Northumbria would like to join us in The North and have the chance to cast a Yes vote

  10. fitheach says:

    “There’s now little remaining dispute that the balance of Scottish revenue/expenditure at the Treasury is basically neutral”
    Really? Care to support that with some stats. When one considers that, for example, one quarter of total UK corporation tax comes from oil and gas activities that seems unlikely.
    HS2 is partly a vanity project, like the Olympics, which says that Britain can still do it. So, actually doing any construction work isn’t as important as saying “we can do this”.
    The other part about HS2 is all about continuing the dominance and gravitational pull of London. If Westminster really wanted to improve the economic situation of the other English cities it would make sense to start by connecting Manchester/Birmingham/Leeds/Bradford etc.
    Which of the gentlemen in the photo is you Rev?

  11. heraldnomore says:

    Angus to confirm voting with labour against the boundary changes – defeat for Cameron imminent

  12. Luigi says:

    Remember Cameron said he doesn’t want a “Neverendum”. He is forcing the issue. In order to achieve a conclusive result (either way), he has to. If Scotland votes no, Cameron saves the union. Hero! If Scotland votes yes, the Tories r UK. Either way, Labour are stuffed. Is it any wonder that Labour politicians and their Scottish MSM poodles are starting to behave irrationally. Frustration has boiled over into anger and resentment.

  13. Cuphook says:

    This conspiracy article that I mentioned: it turns out that its author is not a conspiracy nut but a respectable Washington journalist whose sphere is intelligence. As he got this week’s Unionist scare story correct it might be worth looking into his claims that the secret services are out to discredit the leaders of the Yes campaign.

  14. Training Day says:

    Am I missing something or does it make perfect sense for the SNP to vote with Labour against boundary changes? That way the Tories will need to find another means of boosting their chances of an overall majority at the next getting shot of Scotland..

  15. Sandy says:

    Even worse, it’s not much use to people in england unless they want to go to London. They might as well make it in the shape of a giant arrow pointing to where all the “important” stuff happens.
    I’m a supporter of high speed rail (and rail in general) but this plan doesn’t make the case for it very well.

  16. Luigi says:

    Training Day
    Just what I was thinking. We are either great minds or fools together!

  17. cath says:

    The Tories have a lot to gain from this. As Luigi says, win/win for them, and Better Together is amusingly bad enough to look like a deliberate attempt at destroying Labour in the process, at least inScotland. But beyond pure cynicism and politics, I wonder – and have for a long time – if the coalition are actually being truthful when they say they don’t want more devolution?
    Why shouldWestminsterwant to be tied up in never-ending demands for more and more to be devolved, and conflicts with a Scottish government that can find and create conflicts wherever and whenever it wants?Scotlandis a small concern toWestminster, and fair enough: that’s the reason behind independence; that it’s better to have decisions made here, by people who do care aboutScotland.
    If they’re genuine about wanting to put an end to that, their best bet is a conclusive, decisive result either way. Either an overwhelming Yes and friendly negotiations, or an overwhelming No and Holyrood’s wings clipped. The nightmare scenario, if you assume there is a truth behind it, would be a narrow result either way, as that would ensureScotlandis a pain in the bum for the foreseeable future.

  18. Silverytay says:

    Cuphook   The sun today are still peddling the myth about 11000 jobs relying on trident .
    On the one hand they are praising Nicola for sticking to her principles and on the other hand they go on about the loss of 11,000 yes votes due to them losing their jobs when trident goes.

  19. scottish_skier says:


    If Dave can’t get the boundary changes through, losing Scotland is going to become imperative rather than just very attractive for 2015.

    Boundary changes fail and that’s a potential extra 20 Tory MPs scuppered. He’ll really want to lose the 59 from Scotland then.

  20. douglas clark says:

    I read somewhere that this whole plan is to allow quicker commuting from places that are now seen as outwith the sphere of influence of the South East. Rather than move jobs to the workers they are going to move the workers to the jobs. Birmingham will become the new northern suburb. House prices will rise! And, despite the faster trains, you will still spend a huge amount of your waking day on travel.

  21. Birnie says:

    It may be comforting for Yes campaigners to think that the tories have thrown in the towel, but I don’t believe that to be the case.  The UK establishment simply cannot allow the crippling loss of Scottish assets and the overwhelming loss of international status which Scottish independence implies.  For the forces of unionism, the Yes/No campaigns are sideshows for public distraction.  The real planning at the moment is for the mobilisation of all the domestic and international economic and clandestine forces to ensure the continued corralling of the Scots.  Dirty tricks? – we aint seen nothing yet!  The fight for independence is not lost, but it will take a massive “Scottish spring” to overcome UK and American all-out effort to keep the status quo.

  22. Cuphook says:

    11000? Has nobody raised that figure this week?
    The reason that I was raising the article I linked to is because it was written in Washington DC and announced the beginning of this week’s scare story. If a foreign journalist working in security and intelligence can be that precise then perhaps his other claims regarding the referendum campaign need serious consideration.

  23. muttley79 says:

    Your post is why I am still not 100% convinced about Cameron wanting to lose Scotland. 

  24. cath says:

    “It may be comforting for Yes campaigners to think that the tories have thrown in the towel, but I don’t believe that to be the case.”
    Yes, there is the danger of thinking “they’re so bad they must be secretly on our side” when actually they care so little they simply aren’t thinking about Scotland in any way at all. But in terms of independence, they’ll fight a dirty, nasty battle to keep us in the UK which we just haven’t really started to see yet but will feel the full force of nearer the time, or when polls start shifting. It would certainly be daft to treat such “conspiracy theories” as anything other than idle speculation.

  25. James McLaren says:

    I have always said on this and other blogs, after reading the analysis here  of the geographical disposition of Tory seats, that Cameron has decided that we are going and by letting us go he obtains a near hegemony of the FUKRs. Milliband has sussed this too and realised that Labour must do a Tony Blair Mk2 and veer even more right to have any chance of getting a majority.

    I never countenanced that if we are so stupid to vote NO (and he is really doing it big time, deliberately) we will be gang raped and pillaged in a manner unknown since the Middle Ages. Thatcher’s reign would seem like a Teddy Bears’ Picnic———-kids song not an OL day out.

    The ultimate extension of a Yes vote would be a Red Pill/ Blue Pill political culture both of which would backed by the same City Spivs. Clegg has done in the LibDems, thank you very much. A sort of Republican and Democrat style of US politics run by more City types and the bought MSM awaits.

    Finally the idea of an Offshore City of London being a City State ( OK incorporating the SE of England) like Singapore or Hong Kong would be the final destination if the EU goes into a more regional association type of organisation I see some of the false boundaries of   Old Europe (Basques, Catalans, Alsacians, Savoyards, Italian Alps,  North and South Italy, Venetians etc etc ) are replaced by some sort of voting enfranchisement downwards.

    It would be a long gestation but we are talking about wealth systems that have been fundamentally in place for centuries, albeit masked.

    Call me paranoid  but

  26. pmcrek says:

    Ineptitude or Deliberate? Either way I’m not complaining, the “Scottish” Tories today announced that we should be investing in fossil fuels and nuclear power and stop building wind farms… obviously thats going to be a real vote winner.

  27. Luigi says:

    Cameron does not want to lose Scotland, but he now has to force the issue. We are only three weeks into 2013, and it’s already a new ball game. Interesting times!

  28. Vronsky says:

    Birnie is correct.  The idea that Cameron or any other British Prime Minister would wish to be remembered as the man in power when the the Union failed is absurd – and that’s without mentioning unconscionable losses like oil revenues, remote deep water ports for WMD, far-off places to dump nuclear hulks and test iffyy nuclear technologies (Dounreay), deserted moorland to pelt with depleted uranium, islands many miles from London where you can dump weaponised bacteria (Gruinard) and god only knows what other nightmares we know nothing about. 
    Rev Stu recently ran a piece showing that Scottish votes over the past many decades had had no, or only marginal,  bearing on the results of UK elections.  Getting rid of Scotland does not guarantee Tory rule in perpetuity, or even at all.  Mrs Thatcher knew this: she said that the only vote that mattered in Scotland was the SNP vote.  What we have seen and will continue to see is New Labour taking the same approach: the only vote that matters is Middle England – the Scots can be kept quiet thoughtful edition of the BBC News, ably assisted by chip-wrapper media.
    As Birnie says, the USA does not want Scottish independence either, and the Yanks are even less noted for patient negotiation with those who disoblige them than the English.  Fasten your seat belts.

  29. scottish_skier says:

    No, Cameron at least would like to keep Scotland. I believe George and other Tories are much less fussed. However, it’s not about what Cameron wants, it’s about what’s actually possible…
    Continuing on the boundary changes thing… I did wonder if Dave could do a deal with the SNP and Plaid for their support; there was even some talk in the MSM about this. The changes would remove some of the unfair advantage Labour has over the Tories (e.g. which allowed Labour to get a majority on 35% of vote in 2005, but not the Tories in 2010 on a higher 36% share).
    However, thinking about it more, if there was a deal and the boundary changes were passed, that might give the Tories an advantage with the possibility they could dump any deal promises made afterwards – maybe they’d think they could win in 2015 Scotland still in the union or not. At the same time, could harm the SNP/Plaid in the eyes of voters, i.e. ‘deal with the devil’, as noted by posters on here.
    So, better SNP play hard ball, vote against, helping defeat the bill (and the Tories) whilst at the same time make keeping Scotland look even more of a headache for Dave et al. in 2015 and beyond? With no 20 MP gain, losing the 58/59 from Scotland would be even more attractive…
    ‘Sorry Dave, canny dae that and ye ken why’.
    Interesting to watch anyway because if the bill does fail – which it looks like it will – the pressure will be even more on Cameron for 2015.
    In terms of the future, I’ll stick by my belief that it’s impossible for Scotland to remain in the union under the Tories (as backed up by that recent poll). Even if Devo Maxed it would not last long. This is the stark reality facing Dave and pals. Best go for a city state of London with leafy suburbs accessible to the upper classes who can afford the fast posh train? They can screen off the view where passing through the poor, derelict areas subject to riots etc where the cheap labour tries to keep themselves alive. That would be Tory heaven.

  30. Christian Wright says:

    Ah, good to see other catching up. The last time I proffered this notion it was tut-tutted all the way down the thread. 

    Cameron, by his “Non”, the Xmas before last on treaty changes to allow the use of  EU institutions to facilitate Eurozone’s closer integration, and his speech on EUref, clearely demonstrate his first concern is preserving his job and keeping his party’s rebellious hordes onside. His next priority (synergistic with the first) is of course to keep himself and his party in power.  

    Neither consideration of Scotland’s needs nor Scots sensitivities were anywhere in the frame on either occasion. And why would they be, given the priorities detailed above?

    It follows then that denying Labour that sizable chunk of Scottish parliamentary seats would be an attractive option. Though it is fairly argued by some that historically, Labour have seldom needed the parliamentary windfall from their Scottish fiefdom to gain power (since most electoral swings were large enough for English constituencies alone to secure victory), past performance does not ensure that trend will hold.

    If Cameron can improve his chances of delivering the Tories a second election victory by helping Scotland out the door, his behaviour to date strongly indicates he will do so. 

    For a while it seemed he was intent on doing the dirty whilst appearing with every fibre of his being to be striving with every fibre of his being, to keep Scotland in the Union (and no I didn’t mistakenly put the cart before the horse there, before putting the horse before the cart). 

    He has clearly now abandoned trying to keep Scotland in the Union (if he ever meant to try – even from day one, even a little) and has also abandoned the appearance of wishing to keep Scotland in the Union (which is the thesis of the article).

    The next question is: Have Cameron and Salmond entered into a tacit agreement best characterized as, “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”? Was all the earlier drama just kabuki theatre?

    It appeared to me at the time that it was, because the degree of apparent blundering and the confluence of circumstance needed to achieve it, seemed just in terms of probabilities, highly unlikely, and that in fact it evinced intelligent design.

    Others herein made the credible argument that the Bulingdon Boys were not smart enough to pull something like that off, but were certainly incompetent enough to screw it up that badly by accident to create the appearance of purposefulness. Put succinctly their argument was: “You may think that nobody could be that dumb, but they are”.

    But I think that the Cameron “Non” a bit over a year ago was the smoking gun that made the case. Cameron’s EUref speech made the thesis unassailable (for the reasons outlined earlier in this post).

    So the only question that remains is can Salmond and Cameron, working in partnership, put their thumbs hard enough on the scale to tilt the result?

    Certainly Cameron and Osborne are giving it their best efforts, and I have long thought it might be Salmond’s role to deliver Faslane to England on an extended TEMPORARY basis as a way to grease the skids, and ensure the acquiescence of other English stakeholders in the dissolution of the Union.


  31. Doug Daniel says:

    As a few others have mentioned, the HS2 policy is about expanding “London”. Without wanting to go as far as call the Tories “Nazis”, it is essentially the “Lebensraum” policy which was fundamental to that ideology.

    The media have compliantly said this is about joining cities together, and telling us that the opposition is due to environmental concerns, with new railtrack having to cut through pieces of the countryside. They know exactly what they’re doing here –  they’re trying to create a narrative that those who oppose HS2 are NIMBYs. If the media were more robust and honest, they would be asking “if this is really about joining the cities together, where is the line going from Liverpool to Newcastle? Why does each line terminate in London, conveniently bringing the cities it goes to into commuting distance of The City?”

    This is just about the fact there is no more room for expansion in London, so they’re going to turn major cities into commuter towns, with the resultant rising house prices and gentrification effect this incurs. It doesn’t matter if it loses a few votes with the locals in the short-term, because they’ll soon be replaced with the type of voter who currently makes up the demographic in Surrey, Sussex and Kent – i.e. Tory voters.

    In effect, this is about turning England into Greater London. It’s about the complete capitulation to big business and The City. Scotland doesn’t even fit into their thinking. We’re not even an after-thought – we’re a never-thought.

  32. Vronsky says:

    Sorry, too late to edit.


    ” the Scots can be kept quiet by thoughtful editing of the BBC News, ably assisted by the chip-wrapper media.”

  33. James McLaren says:


    That was then, this now.

    The balance of Tory vrs the rest has shifted and is very much centred on the SE where all the money is going. Ever wonder why? 

  34. Erchie says:

    For some weird reason I got copied into a HS2 debate between UKIP supporters.

    Though most seemed to see the Channel Tunnel and all its connections as an evil plot against Blightly, some pointed out that if you are in Farage-land, the South-East it might make sense, elsewhere less so.

    But one chap said, and I would be interested to know if there is any evidence for it, because the antis are standing by this, that the  TGV, instead of stimulating activity at the termini, instead just sucked it into Paris, and I suspect that is the actual intention of this for London, as others have said, to increase the range of commuting.

    The UKIPers are still barking though 

  35. Callum says:

    HS2 confuses me.  The 30 min saving will be taken up by passengers who have to find their way to the new out of town stations – HS2 won’t be using the centre of town stations.  Birmingham for example; will be using a site near the airport at Solihul.  THE AIRPORT.  for premium fast travel, why not hop on the FlyBe to LCY?
    Vote No and pay 9% of a vanity project railway line (quite far) south of the border.

  36. muttley79 says:

    Did Salmond not have a meeting with Osbourne shortly after the landslide 2011 elections in London?  Was he not reported to have celebrated (in a minor fashion) outside afterwards?  It would be interesting to know what happened at this meeting?..

  37. tartanfever says:

    Of course, we have historical evidence to prove that this venture will never reach the border – and regular users of the M6/M74 will know what I mean.

    For years the three lane M6 motorway stopped at the last Carlisle turn off, and the last 5 miles or so to the border was a rather pokey, pot holed dual carriageway. Even when the M74 upgrades were completed, seeing the Scottish side provide a full three lane motorway right to the border, nothing was done on the English side.

    Having moved back to Scotland I don’t travel the route anymore, and I believe it has now been upgraded, but it’s taken over a decade at least. 

    Going by Westminster’s track record, I think it would be mid-22nd century before we saw the line built and by then we all be using teleportation anyway.. 

  38. Marcia says:

    A good few years ago when I worked for the Inland Revenue in London during the Thatcher years I would meet regularly with Treasury officials. One who I met often knew I was an SNP member and we had chats about the perceived subsidy to Scotland. I was told it was all hogwash as without Scotland’s income coming to the Treasury they (Thatcher’s Government) would be in queer street. The monies from Scotland’s oil revenue were funding the privitisation that was happening in the 80’s.

  39. Jeannie says:

    Just love the irony of calling something that will take 20 years to produce “high speed”.  It would appear that if I go down to Birmingham tomorrow and wait for the train to London, it might not show up for another 20 years? Somebody should tell them we’ve already got a service like that up here – it’s called Scotrail!

  40. Doug Daniel says:

    As to the idea that the Tories are actively trying to offload Scotland, I think there’s one major problem with this idea. The sort of arrogant, stubborn refusal to acknowledge that the British Empire is dead and Britain no longer “rules the waves” is based on the idea that England (or more precisely London) is still the centre of the universe. Scottish independence threatens this. I think folk of this mindset would be very annoyed if Scotland went independent, but only in the way that an overbearing control-freak gets annoyed when someone they deemed to be under their control decides to start making their own decisions.

    Little Englanders don’t give a toss about Scotland, but they need us to remain under London’s control to keep alive the dream that Britain is still a superpower. Just like they couldn’t give a toss about the Falklands or Gibraltar until Argentina and Spain start eyeing them up. So I would go along with the idea that Cameron is trying to force us to make a choice to shut us up once and for all. Some of his actions may seem contradictory to that aim, but then control freaks often like to try and demonstrate the hold they have over their quarry by daring them to try and survive without them, in order to then reassert their full dominance afterwards.

    “Ahh, I knew you’d come crawling back. You see? You can’t survive on your own – you NEED me. Just remember that the next time. Anyway, let’s just make sure you don’t go getting any silly ideas ever again…”

    Just remember – the English public school system was created in order to train people to fulfil certain roles. The structures they were trained to lead may not exist in those original forms, but the training and dehumanisation that the public schools were set up to give still goes on. It’s inevitable that such people try and recreate the world they were trained for.

  41. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    I don’t buy the theory that the tories privately want Scottish Independence. Their  imperial mentality (however delusional) dictates otherwise. Not to mention the practical issues regarding Trident etc.

    They certainly don’t respect Scotland in any way. As far as they’re concerned we’re merely an outpost of northern England occupied by pains in the arses who are easily scared when it comes to self determination. They want the oil. Especially the potential of future finds, high prices and the respected opinion by Sir Ian Wood and others that it could last for another 100 years. That’s just with todays technology. Add to that renewable energy, including the oil companies Investment in that sector-it’s a windfall. Especially if you consider the massive cuts that will result in a NO vote.

    The problem they have is that they won’t permit further fiscal powers to the Scottish Parliament. Therefore they can only insinuate jam tomorrow. It makes them look indecisive and incompetent.   



  42. muttley79 says:

    Plenty of good points from both sides of the argument here.  Difficult to know what is going on at the moment…The next two years will likely bring a few answers.

  43. Jeannie says:

    I was just thinking……if I were Cameron and I wanted to keep Scotland in the union, would I put obnoxious, off-putting lightweights like Ruth Davidson, David Mundell and Jackson Carlaw in charge of spreading the message? Just sayin’.

  44. scottish_skier says:


    Murdo would have made a half decent Scots Tory leader; might even have upped their vote share slightly with his ‘independent’ Scots Tory party idea.

    Wonder why he wasn’t Dave’s preferred option…

    Just sayin’ too 😉

  45. Keef says:

    In the last GE  they polled roughly 400k votes In Scotland. A huge base for the no vote regardless of who is leading them.

  46. scottish_skier says:

    Right, well that’s me failed the new British citizenship test spectacularly. 1/7 correct and that was a lucky guess on the last one which had only 2 options.

    Test was linked to from here:

    (feel nauseous after reading about this again).

  47. domhnall dods says:

    I’ve heard this same theory voiced from an official in the UK Government but they’re so low down the chain I don’t think they know any more than the rest of us. I think it’s less of a secret SNP-Tory deal than it just doesn’t occur to them that we exist or are different.
    I was debating ths on line the other day with an English guy who was arguing we need to be bigger to stand up to nasty foreigners and I then asked why he was anti a federal Europe. His answer was because the Scots are basically the same as the English, we share the same values, politically, morally etc, whereas “the Europeans”  have nothing in common with us.
    I think HS2 is the same as the posturing on the EU, Scotland just doesn’t enter into the thought process of the PM. Sky news were rabbiting on about connecting the North of the UK, the Telegraph repeated the line about this bringing prosperity to the Northern UK. They actually just have trouble understanding much of what happens North of the M25.

  48. Craig P says:

    I’ve said it before about HS2, and others have already said it too on this thread. The net effect of HS2 will be to increase London’s sphere of influence, to the detriment of other areas. If you were in London and you wanted a business meeting with someone from Birmingham, you would insist they come to London. It only takes an hour, they have no excuse not to. (Obviously, asking someone in London to travel to the Midlands is a laughable vanity.)

  49. Seasick Dave says:

    The Premier of Quebec, Pauline Marois, has arrived for meetings with Holyrood’s political leaders.
    Ms Marois will meet First Minister Alex Salmond, as well as Labour leader Johann Lamont, to discuss the province’s referendum experience.

    I wonder how this will be reported on Reporting Scotchland. 

  50. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Just remember – the English public school system was created in order to train people to fulfil certain roles. The structures they were trained to lead may not exist in those original forms, but the training and dehumanisation that the public schools were set up to give still goes on. It’s inevitable that such people try and recreate the world they were trained for.”

    Did you read this piece too?

  51. Keef says:

    O/T but I had to laugh at the news thatsupposedly 27,000 have signed a letter at thebettertogether  website urging the SG to abide by the EC findings on the proposed referendum question being biased. That is despite the findings being released yet.

    How many of the votes were real is anyone’s guess? However were they being ironic when they asked people to support Darlings letter “Do you agree with Alistair’s letter? If so fill in the details below to show your support. “

  52. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Right, well that’s me failed the new British citizenship test spectacularly. 1/7 correct and that was a lucky guess on the last one which had only 2 options.


    3/7 here, two of which were complete blind guesses. I’m foreign!

  53. Craig P says:

    As for maps. If Orkney and Shetland are counted, the central latitude of Scotland is just off Ullapool! The map in the article reminds me of Spitting Image’s 1980s Tory Map of the World (warning, it is not very PC):

  54. MajorBloodnok says:

    I just made 3/7 – bloody stupid questions anyway…

  55. Seasick Dave says:

    Craig P

    At least they got Scotland right, the blighters.

    Major Bloodnok will be chuffed. 

  56. pmcrek says:

    “Right, well that’s me failed the new British citizenship test spectacularly. 1/7 correct and that was a lucky guess on the last one which had only 2 options.

    5/7 here, I did however guess every single question not knowing any of the answers.

  57. james morton says:

    Cameron is simply playing the hand he was dealt. The situation for him has gotten progessivley worse with each administration. He wants to stay in Europe but his predecessors used it as a place to heap their failed policies. They have woven such a tangle of lies and distortions about europe that it is now impossible for Cameron or indeed any UK prime minister to have a serious debate about the UK and its place in Europe. From Thatcher to Blair and with the support of the MSM, they did such a thorough hatchet job on it, there was nothing else he could do. In peverse version of Thatchers TINA doctrine, Cameron could only walk away, he had little influence in Europe and after his veto, he had absolutely none.

    In Scotland Tory is a four letter word. Recently in a twitter exchange that rev stu had with David Torrance, the latter objected most strongly at being described as “Conservative Commentator” and said that it was pejorative. The timeline for this vilification of the tory brand started way before Thatcher, but she managed in a short space of time to make herself and her doctrine the most despised and hated thing in Scotland. The tories who have never been able to come to terms with this, took this opportunity to do a hatchet job on Scotland as a land of Scroungers. How else to do you explain to the English, why the tory brand is regarded as shit of the heel of Scotland shoe. They did the job so completely and utterly well, that today many Englishmen believe that they pay for everything in Scotland. From pensions to wages, prescription charges and the TV license.

    Cameron has no choice but to play the tired old arguments of learned helplessness with regards to Scotland and her people, and it also informs labour with its better together campaign. Any progressive arguments about the so called positive message of the Union is absent, because there are no persuasive positive messages anymore. This damage to the concept of the union was started in the 70’s and carried on through to til now. You can see why the Tories were so scared of devolution and why Labour were so wrong to think it would keep the issue at bay. It gave scots an alternative to old fight between left and right, between tory and labour. As scotland takes on more responsibility the less relevant Westminster became and then the political landscape changed with the SNP winning in 2007.

    You could say that when they started down this path of demonising the Scots to explain their defeats, the Tories had made the Union a hostage to fortune.

    An ill wind bears bitter fruit so the old wise men say, and Cameron can do nothing else but take a bite and try not to choke on it. He may not want to lose Scotland, but he may have no choice in the end, so why not mitigate the effects now while the goings good.

  58. Seasick Dave says:

    2/7 so I’m feeling pretty good about that.

    I thought that the Rev would have done much better though, living as he does in Mashland.

  59. Ray says:

    “The HS2 policy is about expanding “London”.

    “This is just about the fact there is no more room for expansion in London, so they’re going to turn major cities into commuter towns, with the resultant rising house prices and gentrification effect this incurs.”

    “In effect, this is about turning England into Greater London. It’s about the complete capitulation to big business and The City. Scotland doesn’t even fit into their thinking. We’re not even an after-thought – we’re a never-thought.”

    Douglas, you need to start writing some articles for this site on a regular basis. Even if they are short ones. Your comments nearly always sum up a situation in such a simple yet powerful way that I can never understand why it’s not been done earlier, and more people need to read them.

  60. Dcanmore says:

    Here’s another story about transport madness, but this one has actually taken place. Stena Line removed their ferries from Stranraer (being a ferry port to NI for 160 years) in November 2011. They built a new port near the mouth of Loch Ryan at Cairnryan, 7 miles away. The idea for this £200m investment was to cut travel times from Glasgow to Belfast which stood at 4 hours, by Glasgow train (2 1/2hrs), then ferry from Stranraer (1 1/2hrs) and save about six miles in fuel and journey time by sea.
    There is no train station at Cairnryan so Stena Line tried to convince ScotRail/Rail Track to spend £millions laying down a new line between Stranraer and Cairnryan. During discussions Stena went ahead with their new development but ScotRail/Rail Track weren’t playing ball and refused to invest in a new line that would essentially carry only ferry passengers to Cairnryan.
    So, Stena went ahead and completed their new ferry port and decided it would be best for train passengers from Glasgow to disembark at Ayr station and be bussed 45 miles to Cairnryan to catch the ferry, rather than letting train passengers continue to Stranraer and getting a 7-mile bus journey to Cairnryan.
    For £200m expenditure at Cairnryan the passenger journey time from Glasgow to Belfast has now been cut by a whopping 30 minutes! Stranraer now has a disused and rapidly derelict harbour. Without the ferry passengers which made up two-thirds of the Stranraer passenger traffic, there is fear that the railway station (Scotland’s only working harbour station) will be next for closure. Is this progress?

  61. cath says:

    ” However were they being ironic when they asked people to support Darlings letter “Do you agree with Alistair’s letter?”

    Oh, there’s some fun to be had there. Might have to go and sign it.

  62. Doug Daniel says:

    5/7 for me, although mostly that was from using my finely-tuned quizzing skills rather than any actual knowledge of the events questioned.

    I assume it hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention how many questions there are about Scottish, Irish and Welsh history? (Except for the one about Ireland being colonised, of course…)

    Stu – I *MAY* have glanced at that article at some point this morning, yes!

  63. Tonia Wight says:

    Has anyone drawn the north/south map subject to population? Maybe that would explain there reasoning. I mean what else does? If you plot the population of the UK with 0% on the very south-most part and 100% up in the far far ‘there be dragons’ north. Whereis the equator? Probabaly Birmingham? I have no idea how you would even start finding the data for this though, otherwise I’d be all over it!

  64. Bill C says:

    @ Birnie” Dirty tricks? – we aint seen nothing yet! The fight for independence is not lost, but it will take a massive “Scottish spring” to overcome UK and American all-out effort to keep the status quo.”

    I have to confess I am all over the place on this one. I want to believe the Tories want rid of us and understand the electoral advantage they would gain. However, their international status would suffer, loss of seat on the UN Security Council etc.  I also think that the colonial mentality still has a major influence on Whitehall decision making.

    As far as dirty tricks is concerned, if they do want to keep us, then Cuphook’s article is right on the money. Like a few on here, I was active in nationalist politics in the seventies, eighties and nineties and remember some of the ‘tricks’ our friends in the security services got up to. If the British State does want to keep Scotland then MI6 etc will already be active and well ahead in their planning to thwart the democratic process. The hostilty of the unionist media is probably being monitored if not coordinated by some department at MI6 HQ on the banks of the Thames. 
    It is also obvious from recent comments from the States, that Scottish independence would not be in the interest of the USA. It is therefore quite conceivable that the CIA and MI6 are working together on behalf of ‘Better Together’.

    Hope I am wrong but somehow I don’t think I am. 

  65. Laura says:

     worth looking into his claims that the secret services are out to discredit the leaders of the Yes campaign.

    The dirty tricks brigade have been at it since the Alien Act in 1705 and that piece of ‘bog roll’ they call the Treaty of the Union. However, before I go off on a rant, we’ll move up a century or two. You only have to look at how any form of Scottish Nationalism/Celtic Movements has been discredited from the 1900’s to the present day. (Roland Muirhead and company and their supposed ‘cache of weapons, ‘assisting Nazis’ etc – even the strange ‘suicide of Willie Macrae )
    I am not a member of the SNP nor ever have been, but looking back it has been a long hard struggle to bring us to this referendum.

    This is one of the reasons I do no believe the Electoral Commission can be trusted they are not an ‘independent body’, nor do I trust postal voting for the referendum, but that’s just my opinion.
    Who can be trusted when there are evil forces at work amongst us, who will do ANYTHING to ensure that Scotland stays in the Union. (and I’m not talking about Darling, Moore & Co.)

  66. Dal Riata says:

    Severin Carrell and the Guardian publishing today’s anti-Scottish independence scare-story of the day. This one’s about “Scotland facing ‘enormous’ costs for independent security”. It’s already been ripped to shreds of course, but please do go along and annihilate it some more!

  67. Bongo Sanchez says:


    Does that make me a closed BRITnat ?


  68. Christian Wright says:

    Dal Riata says: “It’s already been ripped to shreds of course, but please do go along and annihilate it some more!”

    Poor Severin, born with a silver foot in his mouth. Duly eviscerated. 

  69. Shirley says:

    Does anyone else think that in 20 years time so much work will be done by computer that people will not be travelling as they are now? We already have a huge increase in the number of people “working from home”, video conferencing etc. And given how quickly technology evolves, it seems likely that the few people who will want to save 30 mins. on journeys from/to London in the future will be visiting relatives or friends, rather than going on business trips.

  70. muttley79 says:

    @Bill C
    I agree with a lot of what you have written.  However, on the UN Security Council seat issue, I am not sure Scottish independence would mean the rUK state would lose its status here.  I know they are completely different contexts, but Russia kept its seat on the UN Security Council after the Soviet Union split up.  Also, I would expect the Yes campaign to be positive in its approach to the rUK if  there is a Yes vote.  I don’t see it in Scotland’s interest to see the rUK’s status change significantly.  After all, independence is about having a new relationship with the world.  I would expect to see Salmond and co to be positive about the new relationship that Scotland would have with rUK.

  71. James McLaren says:

    But with all that tele-commuting you loose a night in the Smoke, a dinner on expenses and a change of Boozer.

    You are too logical and thus it will never happen.

    Fleshpots beats SKYPE every time. 

  72. Jeannie says:

    4/7 and no guesswork.  But is a question about Henry VIII’s wife really a question on British history? I can understand how the language question applies in the context of British history, but don’t see how the question on Jane Seymour fits into this category.

  73. There are two obvious possible explanations. One is that the Tories don’t expect (or perhaps even intend) Scotland to be any of Westminster’s concern by then. And the other is that they don’t even respect us enough to lie.
    And the third obvious possible explanation, given your preamble, is that they know excluding Scotland from the HS2 plans could be useful for the Yes campaign.
    It’s a bit similar to Cameron’s plans for an EU referendum.  There was no obvious reason for him to announce a referendum at this stage of the electoral cycle (UKIP could have messed up on their own before the next general election anyway), but I suppose Scottish Secret Agent Cameron thought the Yes campaign needed some help fighting off the No campaign’s scaremongering with regards to EU membership.

  74. Holebender says:

    Thomas, I don’t see how your third option is significantly different from Stu’s first.

  75. Holebender, it’s a question of intent.  I’m suggesting they’re keeping HS2 out of Scotland, not just because they don’t expect Scotland to be any of Westminster’s concern by then, but because they’re deliberately trying to ensure it won’t be.

  76. muttley79 says:

    Cameron also ruled out the possibility of Scotland being forced to join the Single Currency a wee while ago.  It was awfully chivalrous for an opponent of the Yes campaign to do that.  (I am still torn between both sides of the argument about Cameron’s intentions). 

  77. Christian Wright says:

    Stuart Campbell wrote:Did you read this piece too?

    I could have written the piece below and more from that article – in fact I have written it just as it appears in the article. Confusing thing is though, that my school was Catholic and I lived in a slum. The only thing they ware preparing me for was factory labour and how to be cannon fodder. 

    I guess the template of instruction was handed down by the ruling elites and adopted by the proletariat. Something very sad and really rather annoying about that.

    “Most of those he named were heroes of colonial conquest or territorial wars. Some, such as Douglas Haig and Herbert Kitchener, were by then widely regarded as war criminals. . . “

    “The history we were taught revolved around topics such as Gordon of Khartoum, Stanley and Livingstone and the Black Hole of Calcutta. In geography, the maps still showed much of the globe coloured red.”

  78. Holebender says:

    Thomas, didn’t you read the part you quoted and which Stu put in brackets?

  79. Bill C says:

    muttley79 –  I agree with your assessment that AS and the YES campaign will be positive towards the rUK and its position within the international community.  It’s how Cameron and co perceive their position post independence that may be the problem.  I have read a couple of articles expressing concern that the rUK will lose international status if the rUK ‘loses’ Scotland.  I don’t think we have to worry about the YES side cooperating in any new arrangements, but I do think the unionists are seriously concerned about their international position post independence.

  80. mutley79 says:

    @Bill C
    It would not bother we in the slightest if a new Scottish state argued for the retention of the rUK’s place on the UN Security Council, and other similar things.

  81. Holebender, yes, I did, but I didn’t read it as if they specifically declined to extend HS2 to Scotland because they wanted to support independence, but because they didn’t expect it to matter because it’ll be a Yes (perhaps because they support it).  It’s not a big difference, I admit.

  82. Peter says:

       When the channel tunnel was being built, and paid for with all that lovely oil money,  we were promised a direct fast link to it and on to the continent.  

         No ifs, buts or maybes. A promise in black and white and repeated by a gaggle of ministers and the unionist lickspittle media.   

        Where is it?  And why are, “broken promises”, like these not shouted from the rooftops as our real, “Union dividend?”

  83. Vronsky says:

    Quiz: 5/7.  But I started school in Cheshire and have Irish nationality, so that gave me a couple of answers.

    Security Council:  Given that the UK is a puppet of the warmongering USA, wouldn’t it strike a blow for peace if we could keep them off the UNSC?

  84. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Where is it? And why are, “broken promises”, like these not shouted from the rooftops as our real, “Union dividend?””

    You find me a link to a quote, I’ll do the shouting.

  85. Cameron says:

    As far as I am aware, HS2 is a component of the European Transport Plan (ETP) published in 2000 (possibly earlier?). The original plan aimed to mitigate the economic disadvantage experienced by peripheral regions, through the development of high speed transport links. A spinal route was considered the most appropriate for the UK, connecting the Channel Tunnel to Stranraer and then Dublin.
    The ETP is a truly ambitious and massive project which, by necessity, has required incremental implementation. The amount or work that goes in to infrastructure projects such as HS2 is absolutely mind boggling, in terms of Environmental Impact Assessments, modal impact assesments, land-use planning impact assessments, etc. For example, I was working on London’s recently completed Crossrail link in 1989. The project was already about 25 years old by then.

    As the scheduling of development projects such as HS2 is largely dependent on the availability of finance, I think Doug might not be too far of the mark with his description of possible effects. Scotland and the north in general, could expect a very pronounced drain on development, if we do not have the means to protect ourselves. It is not unreasonable to expect that those waiting for the Unionist Jam Express, will be waiting for a very long time.
    As to dirty tricks, that was a cracking if scary find by Cuphook. My dad was under surveillance by the Special Branch during a trade dispute in Dundee in the 80s. They told him so. He wasn’t even on the unions side, he was middle management, but he had once been very active as a union member.
    P.S. I think I’ll change my name here. Even I’m beginning to get confused.

  86. Dave McEwan Hill says:


    Of course the Secret Services are out to discredit our leaders. But probably not quite yet. The time to discredit our leaders is when it is too late to for us to change them which is anther reason why a broad non SNP independence front is essential.
    This is why our enemies are trying to keep the attack on the SNP and not on the YES campaign and why we must broaden the front further to frustrate this. BUt I would be very surprised if we did not have lots of substantial cheerleaders under the radar at the moment

  87. douglas clark says:


    I used to commute out of Glasgow Central station a long long time ago. This was what we were promised way back then:

    As the article says and as you know it never happened.
    Thatchers privatisation programme, according to the article killed it.
    They had one of these trains sitting in Central Station looking pretty cool. I think they did that just to annoy us.

  88. Patrician says:

    As much as I can appreciate the points made in this article, I am bit saddened to find it gaining any real traction with people.  I can see this as an enjoyable exercise in exploring  alternative viewpoints even if it is one that I don’t think very likely.  
    The reason for my take on this is simple, it is all about money and power.  If Scotland gave up all claim to North Sea oil and accepted Trident could still be based here, would there be much of an argument from Westminster to keep us?  Some of the Imperialist/Empire old guard wouldn’t be happy about it but I’m sure a few OBEs or similar gongs would shut them up.
    As for Cameron’s gaffes, do you really believe he cares that much about Scotland? I think Cameron is very sure that the referendum answer will be a no.  However, can you imagine him or one of his cohorts lying awake at night dreaming of ways to help the YES campaign?  
    The reality is that I don’t think Cameron could believe his luck when Darling and Scottish Labour agreed to front the NO campaign.  Years of infighting before the referendum between the Scottish political parties would hurt Labour in Scotland more effectively than than any boundary changes.  The voting patterns are already showing shifts moving away from Labour, in Scotland, to SNP.  This is where Cameron wins, he has effectively neutered Labour MPs from Scotland.
    Finally, if Cameron really wanted to make Scotland choose independence, he would just have headed up the No campaign with a Conservative spokesperson, job done.

  89. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I can see this as an enjoyable exercise in exploring alternative viewpoints even if it is one that I don’t think very likely.”

    That’s all it was presented as.

  90. BillyBigbaws says:

    Why are people saying that MI6 will already be active in trying to muck up the Yes campaign and/or the SNP? We haven’t won yet! MI6 won’t get involved until we all become “foreigners”. Plus, they’ll be busy over in Syria, Mali, Iran, etc. at the moment.

    I’m afraid we’re stuck with just plain old MI5 and Special Branch for now. Like in the old days.

    There’s no question at all that they will be active on behalf of the Union. Their official remit is to serve the Crown and protect the United Kingdom, and to nullify any internal threat to it’s interests. If striking miners, peace activists, and non-violent environmentalist groups are considered subversive enough to warrant them being infiltrated, smeared in the press with planted stories, and deliberately provocateured, then we can bet that a group which has a realistic chance of ending the Union forever and forcing the UK into unilateral nuclear disarmament will be looked at closely. Diomhair, the national archives, and (eek!) The Scotsman show that they have always taken an interest.

    Saying that, I would be wary of calling Wayne Madsen a “respectable journalist” or citing him in support of an argument. He’s made some seriously dodgy – and provably false – statements and predictions in the past, and nowadays he hangs out with Alex Jones and similar sensationalist morons. He certainly used to be close to the intelligence services though, but so did David Shayler, and I wouldn’t call him a reliable source either. He maybe was, once. It’s sad what’s happened to him.

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