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Small is beautiful

Posted on May 04, 2013 by

Are we doomed to decline if Scotland separates? I can think of lots of good reasons why Scotland might want to vote to remain part of the United Kingdom. But the Commons’ Foreign Affairs Select Committee report this week is not one of them.

smallcountry

According to the report, if Scotland votes for independence, it would mean the UK was “a world power in irreversible decline”. Setting aside the question of whether we should expect folk to vote in the interests of geopolitical greatness, does being small mean you’re doomed to be weak? Not at all. The assumption that in geopolitics strength comes from scale is simply not true.

How did that piddly little mud bank off the coast of Italy, called Venice, become a great power? By opting not to join the Holy Roman Empire, weren’t they too doomed to decline? Wee Venice became so strong, she eventually overwhelmed mighty Byzantium. What about that tiny little Dutch republic? Shortly after opting out of the mighty Habsburg block, she became the world’s leading naval and commercial power.

To be sure, with the industrial revolution, size did seem to matter more. Small states – Holland and England – were eclipsed by bigger states – the US, Prussia, Russia. In the age of mass production, strength seemed to come from having bigger everything – including larger markets, economies of scale and big trading blocks.

The European Union is built on many of these residual assumptions about the need for size and scale. But the big-is-beautiful era in geopolitics was an aberration. As the EU illustrates rather neatly, being big also means being cumbersome – unable to innovate or adapt (see Euro crisis).

In the age of the internet, we are moving towards niche production and distribution. Prosperity lies in the long tail, not big uniform trade blocks. It is small states that once again seem to have the advantage – the Singapores and Dubais and Switzerlands. And whether Venice in the Middle Ages, or England or Scotland in 2013, there are three things small nations need to grow great:

First, independence. You won’t be as well governed if you are ruled over by men and women who do not live amongst you.

Second, dispersed power. Those who do make the rules amongst you, need to be accountable to you.

Third, you need to be part of a global network. Venice benefited from its connections to Byzantium and a Greek-speaking Mediterranean world. England and Scotland today are each part of the Anglosphere – that network of the most prosperous and innovative people on the planet. And of course even the tiniest states today are on broadband…

Small can be beautiful, rich, innovative and strong.

.

Douglas Carswell is the Conservative MP for Clacton. A version of this piece previously appeared on TalkCarswell.com. Reproduced with permission.

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    88 to “Small is beautiful”

    1. Juteman says:

      Well michty me! ūüôā

    2. AnneDon says:

      Wow – how can someone so reasonable cope with being in the Tory Party? Interesting historical analysis, with a well-made point about Scotland being all that stands between the UK and irreversible decline.

    3. Morag says:

      There was me running through the names of the SNP’s MPs and trying to figure out how come there was one I wasn’t familiar with!

    4. Geoff Huijer says:

      A Conservative MP talking sense…whatever next?
       
      Thank you Mr Carswell.

    5. Iain says:

      ‘First, independence. You won‚Äôt be as well governed if you are ruled over by men and women who do not live amongst you.’

      A very basic truth in an excellent piece. Mr Carswell also proves that those who don’t invariably toe the party line often see things most clearly.

    6. Jimbo says:

      A Westminster Tory MP with a commonsense attitude to Scottish independence – quite unique, I think.

    7. Macart says:

      Appreciated and welcome contribution Mr Carswell.

    8. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      Aye, small is beautiful, but don’t forget what Confucious said – ‘big tatties are easier to peel’.

    9. annie says:

      I wonder if Mr Carswell will be “stepping down” as Mary Lockhart did a couple of weeks back¬† – I think it’s more likely his view is shared by¬†quite a few tories¬†south of the border.

    10. HandandShrimp says:

      E F Schumacher “Small is Beautiful..A Study of Economics as if People Mattered”

    11. The Man in the Jar says:

      Nice to see some sense being talked here surprising but welcome. Compare and contrast with these two zoomers.
      Warning contains Alan Cochrane and Andy Nicoll.
      Apologies if posted elsewhere already.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-22405351

    12. HighlandMartin says:

      @man in the jar
       
      I watched this incredulously. A load of drivel wrapped up as a serious effort to engage BBC viewers.¬† I think it was supposed to be a pro union and independence minded balance…¬† if the BBC are that hard up for intellectual input, my dog would of put on a tie and done better.
       
       

    13. Jim Mitchell says:

      When i first heard the findings of that committee my reaction was,
      Oh dear!
      How sad!
      What a shame!
      It still is!
      Think of the favour we will be doing them after a YEs vote, when they realise they have no option but to drag themselves into the 21st¬†century with all it’s¬†implications, but they should look on the bright side, they will still have Trident, which when you think about it, makes you wonder just how the committee could have arrived at¬†that¬†conclusion if Trident is all they claim it to be!
        

    14. theycan'tbeserious says:

      the man in the jar….thanks for the bbc link.
      This is what they consider¬†to be balanced debate….my arse!

    15. The Man in the Jar says:

      Alan Cochrane what a charmer eh? He said something like “In the event of a Yes vote he will be on the last helicopter out of Edinburgh” Can I volunteer now to carry his bags and why he last one why not the first. I think we should hold him to that promise, What a vile man has he no shame? Of course the BBC let them spout whatever nonsense without question. He even got away with the old “I have kids living in England I don‚Äôt want them to become foreigners” Crap!
      Douglas Carswell who I admit that I have not heard of and who I assume is an English Tory MP can write a balanced article like that what motivates the likes of Cochrane apart from his apparent hatred for his own country,

    16. Jiggsbro says:

      Are we doomed to decline if Scotland separates?
       
      Yes, we are. Can you imagine how much more we’d have to spend on ferries and big bridges and the like? Of course, it depends on how many pieces we separate into, but it’s still going to have an impact. I think we should settle for independence.
       
      Still, fair play to Mr Carswell. It’s nice to see a Tory admit that the UK is not wee enough, too poor and too stupid.

    17. muttley79 says:

      What happened to Andy Nicholl in that clip?  Said that Cybernats were the worst for abuse?  His paper covered someone saying they wanted to shot Salmond.  I thought he was balanced? 

    18. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @TMITJ-
       
      Thanks for link.
       
      I lasted 6 mins 13 secs, had to chuck it. Does Cochrane speak like that all the time or is he half-cut? 

    19. The Man in the Jar says:

      @muttley79
      Imbalanced more like. Deranged definitely. I usually try to avoid watching him I get so angry. Yes they all layed into those vile cybernats right enough, poor wee Calman even got a mention. Where’s my tinfoil Tam O Shanter gone?

    20. The Man in the Jar says:

      Cochrane’s arrogance takes some beating. He could not even conceal his contempt for the viewers who had emailed in questions. On the up side stuff like this can hopefully sway some votes our way.

    21. Matt says:

      Having looked into his political positions, I think I can happily say that if I had never heard of the Tory party and I met Douglas Carswell, I could well find myself voting for him, even though I definitely don’t agree with him on everything. An independent thinker and an asset to his party.

    22. muttley79 says:

      The MSM and the Unionists seem to be living in a parallel universe these days.  We have the MSM in Scotland telling us that it is the Cybernats who are the most abusive.  However, elected Unionist politicians have been calling Salmond a dictators for years.  We have had Mussolini, Mugabe, Dear Leader etc.  Then we have photos of Salmond as Hitler by No supporters, and also of people saying they want to shot SNP leaders.  However, instead of all this the blame gets put on Cybernats!

      I have not seen any threats against Unionists anywhere on the internet.¬† There has been plenty of robust rhetoric and arguments, but I honestly cannot recall seeing any threatening behaviour by independence supporters.¬† I think what we are seeing in the MSM, and by the No campaign, is an attempt to demonise independence supporters on the internet.¬† They have been trying to do this for years in response to SLAB’s defeats in the Scottish Parliament elections.¬† However, they have definitely been stepping it up recently.¬† What it shows us is that the No campaign and their MSM buddies will continue to smear Cybernats as they cannot take being challenged.¬†

    23. Spout says:

      Thank you Mr Carswell – a well written and thoughtful piece.
      Scotland is a well resourced agile yacht chained to big tanking ocean liner UK – the quicker we can persuade our fellow Scots to help us cut the chains the better….
      We all need to get out and help get a Yes – with our time and funds – now not later.

    24. cynicalHighlander says:

      ianbrotherhood says:
      4 May, 2013 at 6:52 pm

      @TMITJ-

      Thanks for link.

      I lasted 6 mins 13 secs, had to chuck it. Does Cochrane speak like that all the time or is he half-cut?
       
      It’s the meds he takes to keep him from self harm.

    25. john king says:

      “Nice to see some sense being talked here surprising but welcome. Compare and contrast with these two zoomers.

      Warning contains Alan Cochrane and Andy Nicoll.Apologies if posted elsewhere already.http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-22405351
       
      managed 8mins 23 sec before I gave up on that shite 

        

    26. Aye the real reason why Westminster wants to keep Scotland subdued is that they will lose face,power and influence,nothing to do with the good of the people of Scotland.
       

    27. bunter says:

      Just watched cochrane/nicholl on the BBC. Was there one question asked that wasnt a favourite BBC scare, and by that wee snivvelling nyaf!
      A total disgrace the BBC is and with any luck there is someone recording and cataloguing this anti democratic state broadcasters so called inependence debate.
      Fuming is puting it mildly!
       

    28. douglas clark says:

      That is the unionists for you. They are willing to spout shite because they think it reverbarates.
       
      It doesn’t.

    29. Thanks for the considered article, Douglas.

    30. Morag says:

      I really don’t think this “I hope someone is recording this evidence of bias” line is at all constructive.¬† Nobody is, because there is no benign impartial referee overseeing this game.¬† We’re on our own and they can do what they like.¬† Get used to it.

    31. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      QUESTION 4:
       
      a) If you are half-cut most of the time and four sails to the wind the rest of the time, can you ever be ever less than 75% rubbered?
       
      b) If you’re half as drunk as you’d like to be, but twice as drunk as you need to be to qualify as ‘stocious’, how many ‘over the eight‘ are you (where a unit is equivalent to 500ml of 5% ABV)?
       
      c) If you are too inebriated to answer a) or b), but have read thus far, please leave the room quietly. Now.

    32. annie says:

      Cochrane and Nicholl did themselves no favours – they came accross as a couple of luddites pining for the days when any response to their columns came in the post three days later and they got to bin the ones that didn’t agree with them.

    33. DougtheDug says:

      An interesting piece by Douglas Carswell. He’s not a Scottish nationalist nor a Scot but he can see the benefit of a Scotland run by Scots for Scots.
       
      It’s not an article we’d get from a Scottish Unionist politician because Scotland is England’s most successful colonisation project. It’s a country where a large segment of the population now identify with England rather than Scotland.
       
      Cochrane is a perfect case in point. His remark that, “In the event of a Yes vote he will be on the last helicopter out of Edinburgh”, is not the threat as he believes but a confession.
       
      From that statement it’s quite clear that when Britain splits back into Scotland and England Cochrane will not identify with Scotland but with England in terms of both identity and nationality and will move to what he regards as his real country. It’s something to remember when anyone else makes that threat.

    34. Jim Mitchell says:

      Settle down friends, that stuff on the BBC link is obviously their examples of satire!
       
      For unionist examples of irony just read the posts from them on¬†today’s Herald and¬†Scotsman¬†sites, the day after that nice Mr¬†Alexander calls for reasoned debate.¬†¬†¬†

    35. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      EXCLUSIVE!!
       
      BT infiltrate popular game show to unveil new Darling-approved mascot:
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJQdEY82zs0

    36. roboscot says:

      I hope the pro-independence amongst us are not going to wallow for the next 500 days in pessimistic complaint about the relentless lies, fears and smears of the unionists. Scots are born with an ‘I smell shyte’ detector hard-wired in to us. It sometimes takes a while to compute all the data and come to the answer but 500 days is long enough.

    37. scottish_skier says:

      @roboscot

      No me anyway. I’m in a great mood.

      Things couldn’t be looking better as far as I can see.

      The whole UKIP thing is a massive bonus I didn’t see coming, at least until Eastleigh. It’s a disaster for BT and a big boost for YesScotland; you can see that already.

    38. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      Interesting stuff from Andy Wightman at Land Matters – Thatcher’s briefing document on the day she took office.¬†
       
      http://www.andywightman.com/?p=2500#comment-29687

    39. Boorach says:

      o/t but bbc news reporting Nigel Evans (deputy speaker) has been arrested by police investigating 2 male rape cases

    40. Dorothy Devine says:

      How nice! Thank you Mr Carswell I feel so much better knowing that there are reasonable , thoughtful commentators about.
       
      As for the link to Cochrane and the BBBC ,Ill give it a miss I prefer to keep the pleasant taste of reasonable debate to that of rabid drivellings. Though I note with delight the ” last helicopter out” Why not the first??
      The man has a house in France does he not – surely the French would like him as a neighbour ,albeit as a foreign neighbour.

    41. john king says:

      just sat and watched¬†Britain’s¬†got talent from Glasgow,
      and it would have appeared that they went out of their way to hit every anti Scottish button they could from bagpipes playing Scotland the brave to pictures of fried mars bars, even one of the contestants complained about the patronizing behaviour seriously guys get over yourselves,  even the poor Scottish accent was used OMG,
       no one says you should lose your sense of humour the minute you come over the Scottish border but really?
      ask yourself would this sound funny in any other part of the UK before you say it

    42. Jiggsbro says:

      I think what we are seeing in the MSM, and by the No campaign, is an attempt to demonise independence supporters on the internet
       
      They can control what’s said in the MSM, but not on the internet. The internet well needs to be poisoned so that only the MSM kool-aid is drunk. So they need to discredit what nationalists say on the internet, by painting us as nutters.

    43. douglas clark says:

      Jiggsbro,
       
      We are a sort of samizdat,¬† let’s never forget that,

    44. Connal says:

    45. Jamie Arriere says:

      Knowing this guy is an ally of ultra Eurosceptic Daniel Hannan, I’m sure his analysis applies more to the UK in Europe as much as Scotland in the UK. However it is consistent, principled and coherently argued, and lacks the usual hysterical unionist baggage with it. A radical Tory indeed, and if there were more like him in Scotland, his party might have a future in an independent Scotland.
      I haven’t watched the Cochrane video as the guy makes my skin crawl and my heart sink. However, did anyone here ask him a question? (before we all complain about all the loaded ones he did get)

    46. Marcia says:

      In tomorrow’s Sunday Herald:
      sunday herald?@newsundayherald
      A blueprint for an independent Scotland … report depicts good life after a yes vote, following nordic example @newsundayherald exclusive

    47. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      Douglas ‘The Alexander’ will be in hot pursuit of whoever created this masterpiece:
       
      http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=535426709832625&set=a.189622151079751.38546.144502598925040&type=1
       
       

    48. Ron says:

      @Jamie Arriere
      “Knowing this guy is an ally of ultra Eurosceptic Daniel Hannan, I‚Äôm sure his analysis applies more to the UK in Europe as much as Scotland in the UK. However it is consistent, principled and coherently argued”
       
      Agreed, I think perhaps people are reading a little too much into Carswell’s piece with regards to Scotland. He absolutely is being consistent, because he is a well known Eurosceptic (not unpleasant or hysterically so) and so naturally thinks a relatively small UK in world terms does not need to be in a larger union. His position re Scotland in relation to UK is consistent with that.
       
      But his piece strikes me as all about the UK. It’s the premise of his article, rebutting the idea that the UK would be diminished. It’s not about Scottish independence, it’s about UK independence.
       
      Consistent and well argued then, but those who think he’s about to campaign for Scottish independence are maybe reading too much into it ūüôā

    49. Marcia says:

      Sunday Herald Front Page:
      http://twitpic.com/co832j

    50. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      roboscot
      Quite agree. I welcome the likes of Cochrane writing his poison. It undermines the case for the Union,  especially when Labour party zombies forward the crap. Must impress ordinary Labour voters-not!
      Good piece by Mr Carswell.  Although I have to laugh about the UK ceasing to be a major world power. I thought that was confirmed during WW2.  

    51. scottish_skier says:

      @Marcia
      I think we can conclude that the Sunday Herald is most definitely testing the ‘Yes’ water.
      Will sell out tomorrow and so be judged once more a commercial success.

    52. John H says:

      Lord Tebbit has urged Cameron to adopt some of UKIP’S policies. They can’t move further to the right fast enough.

    53. Albert Herring says:

      @Jamie Arriere
      Why on earth would anyone, far less anyone here, want to ask Alan Cochrane a question?

    54. Marcia says:

      scottish_skier
       
      I think you may be correct.

    55. cynicalHighlander says:

      Albert Herring says:
      4 May, 2013 at 10:31 pm

      @Jamie Arriere
      Why on earth would anyone, far less anyone here, want to ask Alan Cochrane a question?
       
      How does he keep his beard the same colour as his main crop?

    56. Doug Daniel says:

      Pretty good piece – I don’t generally agree with Carswell’s politics, but I remember him coming out with some interesting stuff around the time of the MPs expenses scandal. The first line’s a bit of a stinker, though:
       
      “Are we doomed to decline if Scotland separates?”
       
      Scotland’s separating? Really? What, into Highlands and Lowlands or something? How strange!

    57. scottish_skier says:

      And as for turning points. I’ll bet my kilt we just hit a major one today.

      The polls turned last October. The union peaked (if you can call it that) way too early.

      The events of the last couple of days should cause an acceleration; if a spark was needed, we just got a flame thrower. 

      I might say I’d buy Farage a pint. But na, Douglas Carswell deserves one a lot more for talking some sense.

    58. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @Dorothy Devine-
       
      ‘Though I note with delight the ‚ÄĚ last helicopter out‚ÄĚ Why not the first??’
       
      Dorothy, you probably know this, but for the benefit of those who don’t, Cochrane is making a none-too-subtle reference to this:
       
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwmCPNid9Kk
       
      That reference is only going to resonate with voters of a certain age, but the fact that he seemed happy to reaffirm such wildly inappropriate and hysterical wartime imagery speaks volumes. He knows he’s in a real scrap here, and all his bluster about there being ‘no debate, just shouting’ is tinged with fear – he can’t win substantial ‘debates’, and knows it.
       
       

    59. Luigi says:

      “Small” is a funny word. Yes, Scotland may only have one tenth of the UK population, but has one third of the land mass and the bulk of valuable natural resources. The only thing diminished by independence will be rUK. Why would anyone i Scotland, aside from the raging BritNat imperialists be concerned? Those living fossils should have died out years ago.

    60. Taranaich says:

      As a history nut, the very first thing that popped into my head on reading the end of the second paragraph was Venice. Lo and behold!
       
      What’s also cool is not only Venice, but her Italian contemporaries – Milan, Genoa, Pisa, Florence and Naples – were all significant European powers in their own right, while Ancona, Amalfi, Ragusa and other maritime republics held their own for centuries. There’s no reason independent Ireland, Scotland and England can’t prosper alongside each other if these cities could.

    61. Jamie Arriere says:

      Somebody complained about the questions all being full of the usual scare stories and anti-indy set-ups for him to leap on – was merely asking if anybody had asked him about Donorgate, missing death threats, positive case of the union etc.
      Just because they would be unlikely to ask it let alone answer it, or that nobody would want to hang around to listen to his drivel, doesn’t mean that those questions shouldn’t be asked by someone.

    62. Luigi says:

      S-S, yes events, dear boy! With the rise of UKIP, we now have a really interesting twist to the tale. Quite a few scots I know are now worried about being torn out of Europe. The same people that think we are to  wee to go it alone, also think that the UK is too wee to go it alone. We now have the prospect of voting YES to make Scotland an international partner, and part of a bigger European community, or voting NO to be part of a diminished, little UK, all on its own in the big bad world. Over the next few months it will become clear to the electorate: If you still think we are too wee, better vote YES in 2014!

    63. The Man in the Jar says:

      @ianbrotherhood
      At 11:10pm
      Excellent video, have not seen that one before. Brought back memories.

    64. Marcia says:

      One newly elected UKIP councillor was no doubt a paper candidate:
      http://tinyurl.com/bmy5mhh

    65. cynicalHighlander says:

      Mmm I did read that you wou;ld link to his blog but none of your links do, so will rectify.
       
      http://talkcarswell.com/home/are-we-doomed-to-decline-if-scotland-separates/2649
       
       

    66. Chic McGregor says:

      The first study I saw on country size versus GDP per capita was way back in the early 70’s from Herman Kahn’s (sp?) famous Hudson Institute.¬† The people who popularised the word ‘scenario’.¬† OK he is probably more famous for his scary ideas re nuclear warfare tactics, but they did much more in the field of ‘futurology’ than that.
       
      They concluded, even back then, that the optimum population size for developed countries as we moved toward the year 2000 would be around 5 million.
       
      Here is a more modern study carried out at the behest of Plaid Cymru a couple of years back:
       
      http://www.plaidcymru.org/uploads/downloads/Flotilla_Effect_-_Adam_Price_and_Ben_Levinger.pdf
       
      It does nothing to dispel the predictions made some decades ago now.  5 million would seem to be around the optimum population for developed nation states.
       
      There is, of course, an economy of scale effect and this is marked for very small populations.  However, the benefits of economy of scale reduce exponentially as populations leave the hundreds of thousands and move into the millions range.
       
      The observed, seeming optimum at around 5 million, is usually explained as being the point where economy of scale benefits are overtaken by loss of flexibility and ‘nimbleness’.
       
      While that must be part of the story, I think there is another factor at work, which academic studies are reluctant to deal with, probably because of the difficulty of quantisation.  It does have a connect with the increase in bureaucratic inertia which occurs with large countries (large countries = large civil service, more people justifying their existence by producing ever more rules and regulations and nuances thereof). 
       
      That factor is, I believe, the propensity of corruption and the resilience of it.  The obfuscation engendered by large bureaucracies, not only reduces an ability to respond by a natural increase in inertia, but forms a breeding ground for corruption.   The increase in obfuscation in large bureaucracies is ideal to cover up corrupt practices and the large number of those involved makes it hard for any anti-corruption team to successfully expose and bring such corruption to book.
       
      In smaller nation states, with small bureaucracies, they are necessarily more streamlined and less susceptible to the kind of obfuscation which attracts the corrupt element in society.  Also, the numbers of people involved within the bureaucracy are going to be much smaller and therefore far easier for anti-corruption teams to deal with.
       
      The overall result being much better quality of governance as well as being an innately more flexible/nimble system with a faster response.

    67. ianbrotherhood says:

       
      @TMITJ-
       
      Not to be rude, but I assume you’re a wee bit older than me (I’m 50) – is it possible that Cochrane is referring to anything else?¬†
       
      ‘The Last Helicopter
       
      If you go to Youtube and start typing it in, the scroll of automatic results includes¬†Saigon before you’ve reached the ‘c’ in ‘helicopter’. I can’t think of any other event he may have in mind.
       
      The interviewer introduced the guests as ‘doyens’ of Scottish journalism.
       
      I know…I know…
       
      All joking aside, does this man – even on a personal level – have no qualms about exploiting such misery and desperation to make a feeble joke?
       
      It’s blatant provocation.¬†
       
      If I had the relevant licences (and, er, a helicopter) I would offer to drop him at any place of his choosing on Sep 19th next year.
       
      But it’d be up to him to bring a parachute.
       
       
       

    68. Luigi says:

      If, by any chance, Mr Cochrane misses the last chopper out of Edinburgh, there is always the hot air balloon option.

    69. The Man in the Jar says:

      @ianbrotherhood
      No bother. I am fast approaching 60 “Gulp!” I can‚Äôt think of any other famous incidences of the “last chopper out”. Having said that I don‚Äôt doubt that there have been numerous similar incidents in the past and no doubt it will happen again albeit not as dramatic as Saigon.
      I wouldn‚Äôt read too much into Cochran‚Äôs reference to this. Anyone who grew up during “Nam” wouldn‚Äôt be so shocked. It was after all the first televised war. We were more upset by this!=
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnOoNM0U6oc

    70. The Man in the Jar says:

      To add to the above. I am not excusing Cochran‚Äôs statement but to put it in context as Nam was the first televised war we were getting used to horrific images on our TVs “Last chopper out” was “just” an expression. There was a lot worse going on.

    71. thejourneyman says:

      I know the Cochrane/Nicoll thing was hard to watch and like others earlier I came close to switching it off but I persevered.

      1. these guys probably support press self regulation but they don’t seem to approve of the free speech the internet offers others. (Code for we don’t want nationalists to have a voice.)

      2. How would independence affect cross border trade? It wouldn’t they agreed, but Cochrane gave good examples of Scottish products being enjoyed in the South then tried to come up with an English export we’d still enjoy in Scotland but drew a blank and gave up eventually.

      3.Currency started about how we’d changed our minds from Euro to the pound but by the end Cochrane said the currency issue was “airy fairy” implying it was not really an issue.

      4. Next up was who would the Sun support, AN didn’t know but suggested they’d wait a while. I suspect they’ll end up in the YES camp cause the polls will show the swing when it starts to happen.
      By this point I’m getting much better vibes from Andy Nicholl and have no doubt he’s a closet YES vote.

      5. On pensions both lead with the fear angle but by the end accepted that they didn’t really know and someone more experienced should answer. Not Andy Kerr the interviewer then as he was struggling just to ask the questions and they were all written down for him – what a joke!

      6. This was about EU membership and would rUK be out of the EU before Scotland had even negotiated staying in. By the end though both agreed that it was a pragmatic process after a Yes vote for Scots to still be in Europe.

      7. Oil both agreed most of it was Scotland’s and an asset but Cochrane tried to make the volatility argument whereas AN kind of suggested it would be nice to have the volatility to worry about.

      All Cochrane could come up with at the end as a main reason to vote No was doubt about stuff. And there you have it once you talk through some of the main issues the only reason to vote No is cause your scared.
       

    72. john king says:

      I think what we are seeing in the MSM, and by the No campaign, is an attempt to demonise independence supporters on the internet”
      How far do you think they are prepared to take it? 
      this far 

       
      or this far

       
      or maybe this far 

    73. john king says:

      @ianbrotherhood
      the picture of the troops leveling their weapons on the advancing enemy may have stirred the blood if had been taken during the American civil war, but the enemy were unarmed kids from university who were mad enough to get out there and do something about it,
      The picture of that poor dead boy (god rest his soul) was haunting and left you feeling a little small,
       This country has lost the ability to get mad and go out an do something about it, who remembers the Tories standing on a platform of stripping all those disabled wasters of their benefits or people of their homes they lived in all their lives   just because some little Etonian twerp thinks an extra bedroom is pandering to the poor?
      lets not forget the disaster that are the Tories is happening to England too, but we cant save them they must do that for themselves,
      We have to take the opportunity that presents itself next year or forever live in ignominious subservience to a greater England as Scotland will cease to exist as a nation (by our own hand)
       

    74. john king says:

       
      john king says:
      4 May, 2013 at 9:22 p

      just sat and watched Britain’s got talent from Glasgow,

       
      You know I slept on that thought, and wondered are Ant and Dec another example of the uncle tom attitude amongst people of northern Britain 
       lets face if northumbrians are as close (not just geographically) to Scots as you can get, geordies and Scots get each other, but still those two little twerps went out of there way to take the piss out of every Scot they spoke to and the looks on some faces suggested they were not amused, 
      have we really reached the level when all we are are entertainment for the southerners like a little dancing N***ers entertaining the cotton field owners ?

    75. Sonas says:

      @thejourneyman

       
      thanks for summarising Cochrane/Nicoll. Your point 1 stuck out for me. Folk like them don’t see the tension between their vehement belief in the freedom (as in non-regulation) of the press vs freedom for folk like us (non-journalists, hah) to express our opinions online.
       
      (obviously the press is far from free, but I am just talking about regulation here)
       
      I heard a talk by the CEO of the Telegraph recently. Lucky me. He spoke passionately about self regulation – surprise surprise – yet could not hide his contempt when referring to blogs. Essentially he thought people needed ‘trusted content’, i.e. his paper, to save them from the chaos of the feral blogosphere. How patronising.¬†
       
      Of course a big problem for them is that blogs like this one are free to access Рthank you Rev Stu Рwhereas they need to figure out how to make a buck from folk accessing their websites. 

    76. bunter says:

      Nice article by Bell in Sunday Herald, appearing to call for calm heids from indy supporters and acknowledgng that we are playing into the hands of the NO campaign and their media pals when there is any sign of ”the nasty sign of nationalism”
      Interestingly, he takes the media to task on its silence overy HIGNFY and the insulting Bell cartoon.
      Good to see that there are some journalists, who see what we see, regards bias and are prepared to say so.

    77. Linda's Back says:

      Sunday Times reports

      An independent Scotland would benefit from an oil and gas windfall worth up to £4000 billion, according to analysis based on OECD figures which is much higher than the £1.500 billion previously forecasted..

      The SNP claims new data, to be highlighted in a report by the David Hume Institute this week, underlines its claims that secession would deliver greater prosperity for Scotland than remaining in the union.

      A key to the forecast is said to be the transportation sector’s lack of a substitute for oil, suggesting it will remain vital to supporting economic growth in emerging markets.The David Hume Institute report by Julian Fennema, Mark Schaffer and Karen Turner, highlights the OECD envisages a baseline expectation of $190 a barrel, compared with prices of about $110 in recent years.

      They state that the wide range of forecast prices “would of course have important fiscal implications for an independent Scotland”.

      Even without oil and gas, Scotland’s economic output per head is the same as the UK’s, which means that our North Sea resources are a massive bonus.As these figures indicate, the only debate is the sheer scale of that bonus.

      With over half of the revenue from the North Sea still to flow, and the industry entering a new boom, it’s vital Scotland gets the benefit this time round.”

    78. scottish_skier says:

      Labour on just 35% in the latest opinium poll.

      http://news.opinium.co.uk/survey-results/political-polling-30th-april-2013

      Less than one third can imagine Ed as PM
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/may/04/poll-ed-miliband-next-pm

      Tory + UKIP = 45%
       

    79. JLT says:

      Well said, Sir. 
      As most Nationalists have said, England is not the enemy; she is our sister nation. By having both nations independent of each other, but having literally a common culture on the main stage, surely 2 voices, 2 votes are better than just 1…

    80. The Man in the Jar says:

      @bunter
      Regarding Bell calling for calm heids from indi supporters. I have to disagree. Typically unionists make the more derogatory comments. Their comments apart from being wildly ill-informed use far worse language than indi commentators.
      As an example please take a look at the following link to  http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-scotland-become-an-independent-nation
      ¬†the debate is “Should Scotland become an independent nation” (Now standing at 80% for.) you will notice that the pro UK comments are mostly very negative. The indi comments are mostly folk responding to these comments with a balanced and informed argument.

      We should not pander to the “myth” of the cybernat as some swivel-eyed loon. I am perfectly happy to be called a cybernat to me it is a badge of honour.

      IMO cybernats are just ordinary politically aware people who due to the MSM & BBC silencing their voices and having had nowhere else to turn have taken to the Internet and are using it to their advantage. You are in fact doing that right now. The MSM have a hatred for us because for years they had the opportunity to voice their opinions without challenge. We have challenged that and they can’t understand or handle it.

      I have said it before. Cybernats are very like the Highland Midge on our own we are of little consequence but a swarm that’s a different thing altogether.

      I am a cybernat! Say it loud and say it proud!

    81. The Man in the Jar says:

      For those who wish to see a comment from one of our lovely neighbours here is a wee gem from Debate.org (Should Scotland become an independent nation?) and they have the cheek to decry cybernats?
      Anonymous saysApril 30 2013 06:24 PM
      “Happy to have Trident back, thanks. Re-target on Edinburgh, Glasgow etc. Do you really think the “British” are any better or different to the Yugoslavs? Looking forward to a violent, bloody and vicious war. Than a closed border, forcible repatriation of ethnic Scots, cessation of trade and commerce. And veto Scotlands attempt to get back into the EU.” All the more reason to build up our armed forces and be rid of a nation of half wits like you.

    82. handclapping says:

      Noone is bothering to comment on “Second, dispersed power. Those who do make the rules amongst you, need to be accountable to you.”
       
      Surely the 40% who dont vote, the rise of the SNP and of UKIP are phenomena of the failure to observe this requirement by the Westminster system. Or is the SNP only about making our lives easier by hogging all the oil just for us?
       
      And where are the suggestions of what we can do to avoid a similar situation building up in our super duper free Scotland?

    83. Jiggsbro says:

      And where are the suggestions of what we can do to avoid a similar situation building up in our super duper free Scotland?
       
      Well, we have PR in Scotland which helps a little. And we’re promised a written constitution, which will help a little more. But fundamentally, we’ll get the government we vote for, which will help a lot.

    84. Mosstrooper says:

      Went on to Debate .org. to register my YES vote. Very sad to read some of the negative comments especially from young people. The level of ignorance is astounding. I believe G.B.Shaw has the right of it “many people would rather die than think”

    85. Stuart Black says:

      @TMITJ: Yes, I was disappointed with the Bell piece, he is normally fairly positive towards indy, and will be a yes voter, but I find it hard to believe that he sees equality of vileness between the two camps. My blood pressure is dangerously high at the minute after re-visiting http://wingsoverscotland.com/those-vile-cybernats/
       
      I have not yet heard the sanctimonious Mr. Douglas Alexander decrying the examples that the Rev has put together. There’s a level of hatred there that I have never seen from even the most bat-shit crazy of indy supporters. Can you imagine the BBC outrage¬†if stuff like that had been posted by YES campaigners?

    86. Stuart Black says:

      Another gem from debate.org, the level of sheer ignorance on the NO side is frightening.
       
      The head must rule, not the heart.
       
      In all practicalities, Scotland would not earn nearly enough money to cover the welfare system in place or any of the public sector employment. The welfare system in Scotland costs £104 billion per annum, with 20 billion approximately being the cost of the NHS. Scotland has a GDP of between 1 and 10 billion per year -depending on which sources you examine Рwhich includes oil royalties.

      Without the trade and only 2 million tax payers to cover the costs it is an ill-conceived idea to consider independence. It is very likely that without the Royal Mint, Post Office, Pensions and EU membership that Scotland would survive 10 years without approaching the UK to rejoin.

      On a post script note, it is worth noting that 80% of the employment in Scotland is in the Public Sector which means that some employed in the Public Sector now, would lose their jobs. All pay would be decreased with a massive surge in taxation.”
       
      Where to start, eh?

    87. handclapping says:

      @Jiggsbro Thanks for the response. Sorry for the delay, breakfast called. It is not just in Parliamentary terms.
       
      Here is Farage leader of a party with no MPs, MSPs or AMs stating that 70% of our laws come from Brussels. Inaccurate but said to promote a misconception in the minds of our voters. The media are happy to promote the guy with no attempt to verify his claim. Where is he held accountable?
       
      As for PR, I vote SNP and I get Ruth Davidson. She promises me better devolution after if I vote no. If the first in time happens and the second doesn’t, to whom is she accountable?
      Our written constitution is not yet written.
      And we have the Government we voted for but Ms Baillie can still call Scotland the bug capital of Europe without being accountable to anyone for that misleading statement.  More needs to be done. Perhaps a counter claim passed for trial by a sheriff and a 5% recall election might keep those in elected office up to the bit.

    88. The Man in the Jar says:

      @Stuart Black
      Where to start? Good question. It is like looking at a twenty-ton pile of shite with only a teaspoon to shovel it with. You are correct regarding Bells comment when you read with your own eyes the pure nastiness of unionist bile and their staggeringly ill-informed level of “debate” how can he say that both sides are in the wrong. I rarely see independence commenters resorting to abuse (perhaps I visit the wrong websites and apparently most of the worst stuff is on twitter) I think most indi commenters are very well informed (thanks to Wings and others) and are just wanting to argue a positive case for indi.
      I guess we just have to keep chipping away at it and hope that the message gets through. If it is a no vote in 2014 it wont be because people don’t want independence it will be because the unionists and their lapdogs in the MSM have hoodwinked the electorate and scared voters away from indi. And that I will find very hard to live with.



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