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Something fishy

Posted on April 15, 2014 by

The chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, Bertie Armstrong, was reported in yesterday’s Press & Journal as saying that a vote for independence would leave Scotland with a weaker voice in the EU, as it would only have seven votes in the Council of EU Ministers, compared to the UK’s 29 votes.


(Which it would likely retain even in the event of losing 5.3 million of its citizens, due to the Treaty of Nice favouring the six largest countries: Germany, France, Italy and the UK all have 29 votes, while Spain and Poland have 27 each; the next largest is the Netherlands with only 13, even though the difference between their population size and Poland’s is exactly the same as that between Poland’s and the UK’s).

But Mr Armstrong seems to be having a problem with his arithmetic.

Currently, when it comes to a vote in the Council of EU Ministers which will affect both Scotland and the rest of the UK, there are four possible scenarios in terms of whatever issue is being debated:

1. It’s beneficial to both Scotland and the rest of the UK

2. It’s detrimental to both Scotland and the rest of the UK

3. It’s beneficial to Scotland but detrimental to the rest of the UK

4. It’s detrimental to Scotland but beneficial to the rest of the UK

At the moment, as long as scenarios 1 or 2 apply, then Scotland is okay – the UK will vote in our favour. However, in scenarios 3 and 4, the UK will vote based on what benefits the majority (well, for what benefits the Square Mile in London), and therefore AGAINST what’s in Scotland’s interests.

Now that’s all well and proper – it’s the responsibility of any government to act in the best interests of the biggest number of its citizens. But let’s see what it means for the interests of Scotland:

(green = the right outcome for Scotland)

Scenario 1: +29 votes

Scenario 2: +29 votes

Scenario 3: -29 votes

Scenario 4: -29 votes

Hmm, it’s not looking too good in those last two. But let’s see what happens if Scotland becomes independent and has its own representation:


Scenario 1: 7 + 29 = +36 votes

Scenario 2: 7 + 29 = +36 votes

Scenario 3: 7 – 29 = -22 votes

Scenario 4: 7 – 29 = -22 votes

In all four scenarios, Scotland is better served by having those seven votes of its own in the Council of EU Ministers than not having them. If something is in our favour but not the rUK’s, we can mitigate against the rUK opposition, potentially combining with other member states to change the outcome.

Conversely, if something is in our favour AND the rUK’s favour, then we form an even bigger voting bloc than at present. You might even say we’d be, well, better together.

There is simply no situation in which Scotland would be arithmetically disadvantaged by having its own voice in the EU. There are, however, situations where the rUK would find itself disadvantaged by suddenly having seven extra votes that were outside its control. They might even have to – God forbid – negotiate with the Scots and treat us like equals in order to get our support.

We’re not entirely sure what the bad part of that is supposed to be.

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    99 to “Something fishy”

    1. Calgacus says:

      Best article yet Rev.Stu. That blows another argument clean out the water

    2. Ally says:

      You were doing so well until

      “They might even have to – God forbid – negotiate with the Scots and treat us like equals”


    3. Sunshine on Crieff says:

      Heard him on Radio Scotland yesterday and one thing he is not doing is representing fishermen’s interests. He is representing his own British nationalism.

    4. Jim T says:


      it was Doug D that penned the text 🙂

    5. Morag says:

      You know, the above is really in the category of the bleedin’ obvious. I’m not sure which is more tragic – that our government in Westminster tries to pull the wool over our eyes like this, or that some people actually fall for it.

    6. Papadox says:

      Ask the skippers and crews what they think of Westminster negotiating for the Scottish fleet behind closed door where Holyrood reps can be and are excluded. This guy is just a joke, but a dangerous joke.

    7. rabb says:

      If the Scottish fishing fleet were to vote against this clear opportunity to INCREASE their representation at an EU level then they can all fuck off and accept the inevitable fate that awaits them. No excuses. The next time they complain about the EU or quotas I’ll just ignore it.

      Same goes for anyone else voting no in general who is so blinkered that they refuse to see the “UKOK” train wreck that’s currently staring us all in the face (in the shape of the next 60% of austerity measures that are still to be implemented by Labour & Tories).

      Vote Yes and we can all get cracking on building a fairer society for everyone (We can easily afford it).

      Vote No and you can suck it up buttercup. You had your chance and chose to continue to be royally screwed over by an elite class who don’t give a toss about you or your children’s future.

    8. Doug Daniel says:

      Morag: “You know, the above is really in the category of the bleedin’ obvious. “

      You know, while writing it, I was actually thinking “are folk not going to think this is ‘teaching your granny how to suck eggs’ a bit?”

      But then again, we’re dealing with people who insist nobody will tell them what currency Scotland will have, despite being told what it will be millions of times!

    9. HorseHead says:

      Bertie Armstrong, Chief Executive, Scottish Fishermen’s Federation was being negative about Scotland’s Fish after Indepenence. He spoke on BBC Scotland yesterday. Why would he do this on camera unless it’s for national consumption and frighten nervous voters, and to stop Independence. Bertie says UK has more votes in EU than an Independent Scotland! Thus subconsciously implying its better to keep status quo and stay in the UK.

      He should not been doing this in a free and open democracy!
      I suspect he’s one of them, a Unionist and Anti-Scot Better Together’er.

      Asked my old ex sojer pal who served on streets of Ulster during Northern Irish Troubles(1969). He’s Scot and with us. He’s my N.Irish expert. He heard Bertie Armstrong speak said it’s Northern Irish with a Scottish surname, must be Unionist and they’re usually ultra Unionists. OMG.

      It gets better. He’s ex Captain of HMS Fishery Protection Navy ship. His job was to pursue and prosecute Scottish fishermen. OMG. I think I’ve just found another troll!

      ps: Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) formed 1973 to preserve, promote interest of Scotland’s fishermen’s associations at national and international levels.

      pps. I’ve noticed lots of Ulster Scots broadcasting on the BBC Scotland lately. Are BBS at it!

    10. Murray McCallum says:

      Logical stuff Rev Stu.

      It’s as if some folks have fallen for the spell of that character in “Jungle Book”. The snake – “trust in me …”. No need to consider your own thoughts and instincts just leave it all to us.

    11. gordoz says:

      Ex stuff Doug.

      Nearly went off the road when I heard Armstrong (“I’m non political; We just want honest answers from both campaigns to ‘Pool and Share’ our resources (oops) their answers to support the UKOK position (oops again”)

      Well nailed sir !

    12. chalks says:

      Fact is, some people just assume the UK acts in Scotlands interests……it needs hammered home that it rarely does.

    13. Andy-B says:

      Westminster’s representation of Scotland’s fishing industry,has been a bit of a polemic argument, with Westminster believing, that overall their,strength of bartering in the EU through their 29 seats, has somehow benefited the Scottish Fishing industry.

      When that position couldn’t be further from the truth,isn’t it the case that the Scottish Fishing industry has been in decline for a number of decades now under Westminster rule. It could also be said that Westminster has used the fishing waters around Scotland, to curry favour, with its EU partners.

      The link gives you an insight to the decline of the Scottish Fishing industry.

    14. Scott says:

      I have tried to make this point so many times. If it genuinely is in Scotland and the uk’s interest in the eu sphere, independence is the best option.

    15. gordoz says:

      Andy-B – your points are all true.

      My point when this broke yesterday; the fisherman should boot this guy where it hurts and pronto (seen no statement of backlash from them yet), or face wrath of scottish voters who elect SNP goevernments, MSP’s & MP’s over the years, who direclty stand up for them in Europe and elsewhere.

      Hugely dissappointed today.

      Question : Where is the reaction from the fishermen re this clowns statement; or do we assume they support him ?

    16. Murray McCallum says:

      ^ Of course I meant Doug Daniels! ^

    17. Jamie Arriere says:

      Had a look at the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation website, and the annual report of their President, Alan Coghill for 2013-14.

      Spot and smell the fear & uncertainty about the referendum, and the copious demands for answers from the Scottish Government…or not as the case may be! 🙂

      Business as usual.

    18. Doug Daniel says:


    19. Morag says:

      You know, while writing it, I was actually thinking “are folk not going to think this is ‘teaching your granny how to suck eggs’ a bit?”

      But then again, we’re dealing with people who insist nobody will tell them what currency Scotland will have, despite being told what it will be millions of times!

      Sadly, I have given up believing that there is anything so obvious that it doesn’t need to be pointed out, or that some people who are ostensibly capable of tying their own shoelaces will inevitably spot it.

      (This has become a particularly glaring issue in the Lockerbie investigation, of which more in the not-too-distant future.)

    20. Murray McCallum says:

      Ha – I spotted that as soon as I hit submit. I’m mixing you up with that magic relative of yours!

      Btw I blame you (DOUG D.A.N.I.E.L) for getting a tune stuck in my head. You know the one that goes along the lines of “Everton, Everton, Everton, …”. You used different lyrics on twitter that I can’t remember.

      I’m off before causing myself any more embarrassment.

      But I liked your article.

    21. Doug Daniel says:

      Incidentally, a couple of my cousins in Peterhead are fishermen – well, one of them has moved into the oil industry because he felt it was becoming too hard to be a fisherman these days – and both are absolutely in favour of independence. So I dunno whose interests Bertie thinks he’s representing, but I suspect it’s not the ordinary fishermen of Peterhead and Fraserburgh.

    22. Macart says:

      Cracking post Doug.

    23. Macandroid says:

      Good post Doug. It is bleedin’ obvious as is the whole YES thing actually!

      It would be interesting to see how the UK has voted on fisheries issues in the EU in the past and how many went against Scottish interests.

    24. Dcanmore says:

      Good catch Doug! 🙂

      Okay here’s the thing, was Bertie Armstrong and the SFF involved in the talks that had 6000sqm of Scottish fishing grounds annexed to England. If not why not? Did he (they) oppose the move or supported it? If the SFF supported the annexation was it a fair reflection of the views of the Scottish fishing community, or did the SFF turn blind eye that substantial Scottish fishing grounds were handed to another judiciary within the UK?

      Perhaps this is the answer: the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation is an umbrella organisation representing other Scottish subsidiary associations *bar one*. The one that sicks out like the proverbial sair plum is The Anglo-Scottish Fisherman’s Association which represents members from the River FORTH to Northumberland’s River Aln. The ASFA’s headman in Northumberland, David Shiel, just also happens to be vice-president of the SFF.

      Yup, fishy indeed!

    25. themadmurph says:

      ha ha @Doug Daniel! I used to drive an ex colleague mad by calling him Dave Woods, when his name was Wood. It was great sport!! I had another colleague whose maiden Name was Deans and married name Dean.

      As an aside, I got a reply from Jim Sheridan to a letter I sent yesterday (speedy service)! Mind you, I had asked about JoLa’s comments in the Northern Echo and several other questions. His reply, in full was -:

      Thank you for your further emails regarding Labour’s devolution plans.

      The Scottish Labour Party recently produced a document outlining our vision of a strong Scotland as part of the United Kingdom called ‘Together We Can’.

      I attach a copy of this document for your information which I believe clearly sets out Labour’s position on Scotland after the referendum.

      Yours sincerely,
      Jim Sheridan MP
      Member of Parliament for Paisley and Renfrewshire North

      So that was that! I emailed him again asking him to address the points I raised. We live in hope!

    26. Calgacus says:

      Oops sorry Doug, great post:-)

    27. Gillie says:

      5. It’s detrimental to both Scotland and the rest of the UK

      Scenario 5: -7 + -29 = -36 votes

    28. Peter Macbeastie says:

      Given the way UK ministers negotiate the detail of the Common Fisheries Policy without reference to the Scottish Government, nor even allowing Scottish Goverment representatives to be involved (not since 2007, anyway; they’re apparently allergic to the SNP where Labour weren’t a problem) I suspect there is barely a solitary fisherman in Scotland who actively believes they’re well represented by the union.

      I cannot quite grasp how being a full EU member with more directly elected representatives is going to be worse. That’s more people who you could reasonably expect to be on the side of Scottish interests. Not, I would suggest, something you can always say about those MEP’s who represent the rest of the UK and NI. Especially not where fisheries are concerned, because the UK Government in particular does not seem to understand that the fishing industry is actually a fairly important part of the Scottish economy.

    29. MolliBlum says:

      It beggars belief that people actually think our voice in the EU would be diminished if we were negotiating on our own behalf.
      While we might well have “only” 7 votes on the Council of Ministers, this would still equate to the votes apportioned to countries of similar size. (Though according to the Council’s own website “the numbers are weighted in favour of the less populous countries”)
      Where it gets really interesting is when it comes to MEPs. Currently, Scotland has just 6 MEPs – the same as Luxembourg (pop. 0.4m)and Estonia (pop. 1.3m).
      Countries of comparable size, such as Denmark (pop. 5.4m) and Finland (pop. 5.2 m) have 13 MEPs.
      That would undoubtedly change, and give an independent Scotland a much stronger voice in Europe.

    30. Wayne says:

      The only problem with your analysis is the assumption that rUK will continue to have the same number of votes after Scotland’s independence. That seems inherently unlikely to me, and a reduction would surely be inevitable as part of rUKs EU re-alignment/re-negotiation (assuming Farage hasn’t persuaded them to leave anyway). To do otherwise would effectively allow Scotland and rUK to combine (which they often will) with an extra 7 votes in hand. That will not be allowed to happen.

      Otherwise your logic is sound, and the basic premise that Scotland would represent itself better in terms of the EU than the UK government is infallible in my view.

    31. Robyn - Quine fae Torry says:

      Can’t speak for the fishers of Aberdeen, ha! are there any left? But during election campaigns, most of the major fish processing factories in Torry display SNP posters. I have seen them walking to work and the one I buy my fish from displays large SNP posters in its shop window. Can’t miss it.

    32. Iain McCord says:

      Once you get beyond the raw numbers, which are already a plus, you get to the power of persuasion. At the moment the UK speaks “for” Scotland which can lead to them acting against our interests. Even if it were as simple matter of number of seats Scotland would still be in a much better position as we might be able to persuade other states to see things our way. Or they might actually make an effort to persuade us. However it’s not always simply a matter of seats. The move in the EU is to a thing called Qualified Majority Voting which is kind of like the block votes used in unions where things are decided based on the population you represent. So even if the UK keeps all 29 seats there will be times when they’re only worth 93% of their current value.

    33. MajorBloodnok says:

      This is all bollocks of course. After we vote for independence we will be kicked out of the EU entirely because the Spanish will veto our membership and therefore and won’t have any representation in Europe at all, which means in any negotiations regarding fishing in EU waters we will automatically be outvoted by, er, Spain, who will just take all our fish because we won’t actually be allowed to fish in Scottish waters because, er, the sea will still be in the EU although we won’t, er… Better Together!

      By the way, did I mention that as we won’t be in the EU and won’t be able to use the pound we will be forced to use the near worthless Euro and/or fish fingers as currency, assuming the Spanish will let us have any.

    34. Big Jock says:

      Rev you are just stupendous in your analysis. If only you ran BBC scotland!The facts speak for themselves!

    35. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Gillie, and how is that different from 2? Do keep up…

    36. CLIFF MCCABE says:

      Gillie says:
      15 April, 2014 at 4:02 pm
      5. It’s detrimental to both Scotland and the rest of the UK

      Scenario 5: -7 + -29 = -36 votes

      I like your scenario 5 it gives me a nostalgic memory of scenario 2.

    37. Craig P says:

      Major Bloodnok – have you considered submitting that well-argued piece to the Huffington Post?

    38. Alan Mackintosh says:

      Big Jock, not the Rev, Doug Daniel penned this. It is noted at the top

    39. Desimond says:

      great read Daniel Douglas!

      However shouldnt
      “’s the responsibility of any government to act in the best interests of the biggest number of its citizens”

      " it’s the responsibility of any government to act in the best interests of the biggest number of its citizens that need its help"

    40. Scottish climber says:

      Monday 14 April on the front page of the P&J (Aberdeenshire edition!) “Fishermen voice “Yes” fears”.

      Tuesday 15 April on the front page of the P&J (Aberdeenshire edition!) “Home rule “would help fishermen”.

      Monday’s article was based on Bertie Armstrong’s comments, Tuesday’s on comments by John Cox SNP councillor and Billy Gatt a wellknown skipper and vessel owner.

      Despite the P&J’s anti-indpendence line there’s a strong SNP presence in the NE – just ask Alex Salmond!

    41. scottish_skier says:

      Talking of the EU – this gave me a wry smile:

      Ukip leader ‘no danger’ to UK

      ALMOST half of voters do not believe UK Independence Party (Ukip) leader Nigel Farage is a “danger to Britain”, according to a new poll.

      Oh dear. He’s a very clear and present danger. Wait and see after next months EU elections. Farage will likely need to start considering a party name change ahead of 2015 if UKIP does as well as predicted south of the border in polls.

      Incidentally, while just a subset, a majority (giving a view) in Scotland did say he was a danger. I suspect a lot of them appreciate what those down south don’t.

    42. Doug, I would say that was a slam dunk!

    43. Mike Fabisiak says:

      It’s all very well Wings blowing arguments out of the water, but the counter arguments are only being read by Yes voters. The media are publishing the Better Together arguments every day, to be read by everyone, yet if you want a counter argument you have to look for it in sites like Wings.

    44. heedtracker says:

      Armstrong really represents wealthy fish merchants in Aberdeen who are on the whole deeply Conservative and very UKOK unionist. They make a lot of money but via very low wages and ofcourse a shocking disregard for fish stocks.

      Armstrong likes to say out loud, “we don’t want to turn the sea into an aquarium” as UKOK fish stocks wobble on the edge of extinction. For example, there used to be huge North Sea tuna stocks now extinct and migrant Atlantic Salmon seem to have been finally wiped out now. What guys like Armstrong are really scared of is Scotland’s fisheries being run like they do in Iceland. Not a chance in GB, possible for Indy Scotland.

    45. galamcennalath says:

      OT On Bella there’s a wonderful poem of ridiculous reasons to vote No …

      .. But we what is so astonishing is that BT have actually proposed most of these as genuine !

    46. jingly jangly says:

      O/T Not had a response from Katie Clark to the first email re Devo Nano, anybody else in North Ayrshire got a response?

    47. Murray McCallum says:


      I failed to spot the fish finger as currency argument. Hmm, I’ve been saving different coloured buttons for some time now. I’m now questioning all my planning.

      Doug’s article highlights a theme of better together’s statements. They are not based on fact but a hope that people will not seek to discover the simple facts.

      If you can get people to catch on to one of two of these issues then they will hopefully start to lift the curtain on lots of better together drivel.

      Hats off to Big Jock “not the Rev” Doug Daniel.

    48. gordoz says:


      Hey just realised its Tuesday; does that not mean the respected (?) Gordon Brown will be due to relaunch (yet again) ‘United with the Tories’ or ‘Undead with Labour’ or something or other / he’s always at it and think its due.

      Its some sort of resurrectionist movement; sure somebodies heard of it ? Isn’t it about to resurface again with big Beasties & Lords or something. Something to scare the weans into submission.

    49. jake says:

      That’ll be the same Mr Armstrong that spent 30 years as a Royal Navy Deck Officer, followed by a stint as Queen’s Harbour Master at Faslane submarine base, before becoming Chief Exec of SFF in 2004. I find it hard to believe he can’t count.

    50. chicmac says:

      Same generic point can and has been made by myself and others many times regarding numbers of MEPs. The main difference from the above being that, currently, smaller population countries have a greater than pro rata number of MEPs, so the effect is all the stronger.

      Vis a vis, a combined British Isles voting bloc, when interests are aligned, which would be most of the time, would be significantly more likely to prevail, whereas, when they differ, the smaller nation still has more chance of getting the result it wants.

      Ironically, it is the UK which is the strongest advocate for pushing for a more pro rata approach.

    51. Surely the rUK won’t have 29 votes in the Council. Because it will be a bigger country than Spain, they probably won’t drop as far as 27, but I’d say that shrinking to 28 votes will be a necessity.

    52. Wp says:

      O/T. Have been watching the betting on oddschecker. I’m no expert on odds etc. but there seems to be a bookie named Betdaq giving odds on Yes 20/21. Probably a mistake as the nearest is 13/8

    53. Clootie says:

      Fishing and the EU (ECC then) – “A price worth paying”

      Have the fishing community forgotten what London did when the UK joined. Do they think for one moment that London cares about the Scottish fishing fleet. Westminster has no down side in this debate. It’s an SNP seat / the fish stock is the bargaining chip(couldn’t miss the chance!).

      Was Mr. Armstrong elected or appointed?
      Did he consult before he announced?

    54. P Forsyth says:

      Worth bearing in mind that under the Lisbon Treaty the voting rules will change from 1/11/14; there will be no more assigned numbers of votes but rather a qualified majority will be composed of at least 55% of the participating Member States and at least 65% of the population of the participating Member States. But Doug’s basic point about the various scenarios holds true. (Incidentally, an additional rule specifying that a blocking minority must consist of at least four MS, even if three opposed MS comprise more than 35% of the population, will also be introduced, which will have the effect of reducing the power of the UK and the other largest MS.)

    55. kalmar says:

      O/T (again, sorry) – PM on Radio 4 are doing little segments this week about independence. I generally trust PM as a news source, and the bit I heard today did seem pretty fair in tone. It was about regional devolution for the North East of England, and how Scottish independence is generally seen as a positive opportunity there.

    56. Holebender says:

      Should just point out that the SNP is very strong in the North East’s fishing communities. I don’t think this guy represents the typical view of our fishermen.

    57. scottish_skier says:

      Have been watching the betting on oddschecker

      Odds on a yes were shortening slowly until recently. Past couple of weeks have seen them shortening rapidly with No drifting.

      Over 60% of bets now going on Yes.

      Would be fascinating to see what patterns are like in Scotland alone – oddschecker will be giving UK patterns.

    58. Peter says:

      I made this very self-same point a mere 2 decades ago. Why has it taken the R S so long to cotton on and when will the Yes campaign start smashing the ("Quizmaster" - Ed)s over the head with unarguable points like these?

    59. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Oh God the EU run i say RUN as fast as you can,another bottomless pit of beaurocricy.

    60. Archie C Martin says:

      I come from the fishing community in Musselburgh. My family have been fishermen going back to the 18 century. Now there are no longer any of my family working as fishermen. The Common Fisheries Policy has destroyed the fishing community in Musselburgh.In the 1970s there were boats fishing for white fish and the pelagic fishery . Along the Firth of Forth much of the remaining fishing boats are either small prawn boats or crabbers working inshore waters. Much of the deep sea fleet has gone and there are no longer any seine netters or larger boats operated by Musselburgh fishing families.

      The fishing industry employed not just fishermen but boat builders, fuel suppliers, ice suppliers, net makers, marine engineers and so on. Thousands of these jobs have been lost. Why should this be, well one reason is that when the UK negotiated entry to the EU the Tory Government considered the fishing industry expendable and was more interested in securing a good deal for the City of London and farmers.

      Although the fishing industry is vital to the Scottish rural economy, the Scottish Government has had little but observer status at EU fisheries negotiations.It is my view that it is essential that Scotland is fully involved and represented in its own right in fisheries negotiations so that it can obtain a secure future for the Scottish Fishing Communities. Westminster under both Labour and Conservatives have failed and presided over the destruction of many Scottish fishing communities.

      I strongly believe that a yes vote this September and Scottish fishermen represented in the EU by a Scottish Government elected by the people who live and work in Scotland holds out the best hope for the future of the Scottish fishing industry.

    61. alexicon says:


      “Listening to Hillsborough ceremony at Anfield. Why would any Scot want to make the people of Liverpool citizens of a foreign country?”

      George Galloway tweeted this. A new low for him.

    62. ronnie anderson says:

      @Doug Daniel, noo see whit you can acheive when you get oota the bed on the rite side an put yer socks on the rite feet,well done Dougie,I dont think that Mr Armstrong has very much vision,post EU membership,increase the Scottish fishing fleet to 80s level, & re-address the wastage dumping of non specifyed fish,they should still be landed & made use of ie fish Soup a very exspencive item ao many menu’s.

    63. Grouse Beater says:

      Politicians named “Salmond” and “Sturgeon” in charge and some fisherman says our fishing industry is in jeopardy?

      Captain Sparra is ‘avin’ a larf.

    64. ronnie anderson says:

      Well done Mr McGee for challenging Hammond on his scaremongering at Thalus engineering, the workforce should be proud of you, I know I am I hope there will be more like you whenever these Uk Politicians use your work places & the workforce as a captive audience.

    65. gordoz says:

      Budding star for YES; very calm Danny McGee giving it back to Hammond at Thales.

      Ya dancer – Well done

    66. Andy-B says:

      O/T I do apologise.

      Labour trying to lure voters by stealing SNP policies,they can’t even bring themselves to oppose the cap on welfare, by the Tory/Lib/Dem coalition.

    67. M_Bro says:

      Well, being fair, there might be situations where Scottish interest equals British interest (i.e. situations where there are no competing British interests at play, and purely Scottish interest governs the UK position before the EU). With independence, +29 in those cases becomes simply +7, or even -22.

    68. wingman 2020 says:


      Zombies for the Union.

    69. EphemeralDeception says:

      Good Article, but I think Armstrong’s arguments are a smokescreen. I discussed this with my a father, a former fisherman of many decades and he had this to say:

      The SSF is not a body that represents broad fisherman’s interests as was stated in the P&J. The primary interest/lobby is the from the Pelagic trawlers which are largely owned by Fish salesman business. IE. Big business as far as fishing is concerned.

      So why the UK support? This is due to large UK grants for large crews (I think it was > 12 crewman) and these get the huge UK grants and these boats/business make up the SFF lobby. It is as simple as that.

      These boats are tied up for much of the year but make so much money until the quota is up that this is their main interest. So quotas are a secondary element.

      The representation of SFF is a bit like how ‘CBI Scotland’ is support to represent most Scottish businesses. It does not.

    70. CameronB says:

      Hi. Please don’t think I’m being critical of your first post(?), as it is generally good to share. I think that story was covered some months back though. As such, the broadcast presented very little or no threat to the Better Together Message. We are talking about the BBC here.

      IMO, the BBC were most probably filling air space whilst providing themselves with a balance alibi. See, our heads all button up the back in Scotland and genetically we aren’t programmed to make political decisions because we have awfully short memory spans. 😉

    71. CameronB says:

      One step at a time mate. 😉

    72. Angry Weegie says:

      How did someone with opinions so at odds with what would benefit the Scottish fleet get into the position in the first place? Was he voted in? Or appointed?

    73. gordoz says:

      wingman 2020

      Hammond head zombie – no answers to STV reporters.

    74. Anne says:

      Scotland’s fish stocks need to be protected and fished sustainably. There seems to be much more chance of that happening if Scotland can put its own case in negotiations about fishing quotas (and we do need cooperation there as fish populations don’t recognise national boundaries, not even ones drawn up by Tony Blair).

      Incidentally while on the train to London I was eavesdropping on a conversation between a no supporter and an overseas visitor (couldn’t help but listen as they were talking so loudly). Mr No admitted that the tide was turning against the union but expressed the hope that people would come to their senses at the 11th hour and vote no at the ballot box. There has been a tangible shift in opinion in the last few weeks and even staunch unionists feel it in the air.

    75. msean says:

      As an independent nation,you also don’t have to fight(and sometimes lose)the right to be present at meetings that affect Scotland. No contest,better off independent.

      Being in the uk seems to work against Scottish Fishermen.

    76. crisiscult says:

      Great article because it has succinctly made a very powerful point. Also, the same logic really needs to be applied to ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING the UK’s strong voice in the world achieves. If Scotland’s interests tie in with the south east of England, we’re probably going to benefit. If not, then we won’t (and we’ll be worse off than if we were independent). The only argument against the first point is that our interests may diverge increasingly after independence, but having lived and worked in London and knowing a bit about its interests, my mind struggles to understand how much we could diverge from the current position.

    77. Betty Boop says:


      Just caught an item on BBC The One Show ( okay, I know….don’t shoot me, it was on when I came into the room!). Bunch of young first time voters being herded round Glasgow and in turn asking questions about indy of Blair Jenkins and then Blair McDougall.

      According to BMcD, when asked about being a big voice in iScotland and a wee voice in the crowd at Westminster (I paraphrase), Scotland is getting new powers soon, so that’s will sort that then. It is also is better having the back up of the UK to bring industry (ie jobs) to Scotland. On tuition, if we become independent he isn’t sure how long we could afford free education with all those johnny foreigners turning up.

      Scaring the young ‘uns now too. Of course, BMcD was screened last.

    78. edulis says:

      Well, that is Bertie Armstrong for you. He has represented the majority of Scottish Fishermen for years and has been only too willing to brown nose the UK government ministers.

      He follows rather than leads so hopefully he will be behind the curve once again come 19 September.

    79. Doug Daniel says:

      Stu, I demand you ban Desimond for crimes against name ordering.

    80. caz-m says:

      Great article Doug

      I do hope undecided fishermen and women are reading this.

      Or even get it passed on throughout the NET.(Scuse the pun)

      Did u get that wee joke, cos fishermen/women use the NET.

      Watch out Rev, you’ve got competition.

    81. call me dave says:

      @wingman 2020
      Thanks for link. Never knew that before about the EU college deals. ????

    82. ronnie anderson says:

      @betty boop, ah but you take notice of the mode of transport B Jenkins on a opentopped bus, the young people could have pressed the bell an got of at any time, they did’nt an plenty nodding heids.

      B MC D, on a boat ( nae escape ) no even a lifebelt, nae nodding heids,ah think the young people know that Scotlands bigger than a shipyard with MOD contracts for survival.

    83. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Not only did Thatcher trade away the North Sea fish for Spanish something, in the EU came of cards, Gordon Brown showed his contempt a few years ago when there were talks in Bruxelles on quota and conservation of stock.

      There was nobody which Westminster could send who knew anything about the subject and when the SNP offered to send someone who knew what he was talking about and some experts from Scottish academia, Gordon Brown arranged for the Westminster expert on bees to go instead.

    84. Capella says:

      @ Archie C Martin. Totally agree. Banff & Buchan is an SNP stronghold – and AS’s parliamentary seat. It is also the fishing and farming stronghold. There’s no way this Armstrong person can be representative of the fishing communities of the North East. Let’s hope they speak up on this.

    85. Wee pernickety point – there were twa signatories tae the 1707 Treaty of Union -Scotland an England, ergo if Scotland comes oot o the Union there will be nae rUK, jist England – despite aw the fantasies o the Imperialists in London a.k.a. WOMOLACA = WorldMoney Laundering Capital

    86. wingman 2020 says:

      @call me Dave…
      No worries.

      Yes the naval college thing was scandalous.

      They had to appeal the FOI requests to get the info finally. I emailed with a MEP (exSNP) about it.

    87. wingman 2020 says:

      If I had the wings of a sparrow
      And the bum of a dirty great crow
      I’d fly over Westminster tomorrow

    88. Marian says:

      The fishermen of Scotland should beware of Westminster political party politicians and their lackeys for it was the Tory Prime Minister Ted Heath who, in his desperation to trade something (anything) in order for the UK to join the EU, sacrificed Scotland’s fishing industry and tried to justify his actions by claiming “it was a price worth paying”.

      Result was an utter disaster for the Scottish Fishing Industry which went from being a major industry employing tens of thousands to a shadow of its former self within just a few years.

      Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, never sacrificed their fishing industry, and have reaped the rewards for doing so.

      There is no way an independent Scotland would have betrayed its own people like Heath and his Westminster government did, and would more likely have greatly improved Scotland’s position instead.

      Vote YES in 2014 to rid Scotland of a Westminster rule that cares nothing for the people of Scotland.

    89. Col says:

      The guy is a place man. It`s the British way. I didn`t hear the guy speak but reading from others comments and coming from a fishing family he just sounds like a good little Brit Nat. Always obedient and ready to be called on when the BBC is running low on negative headlines.

    90. Cactus says:

      ‘Mon the boats! Would love to see them three and all the others, in convoy up the River Clyde. Hopefully from 2016 onwards, we’ll begin to get a bit more activity on that (river) front again.

      I’m trying to make out the names of the front two boats, think they are:
      ~ Allegiance
      ~ Starlight NATS (they’re everywhere dem NATionalistS) 🙂
      What do you think?

      Full throttle ahead!

    91. Desimond says:


      Oh come on, it was the only name gag left 🙂

    92. morgan mc says:

      The best result for Scotland is: These are Scottish Waters and iur 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone. EU has no juristiction in our sovereign territory. We will manage our fish stocks and our oil exploration thank you. Now crawl back under your imperialist rock and gei us peace.

    93. JWil says:

      What we all ask when the lies are exposed and the truth comes out is, are the perpetrators made aware of it and called to account.

      Is Bertie Armstrong being called to account? Are the fishermen whom he represents aware that he is misrepresenting the facts?

      It doesn’t really help to let him away with it and muttering amongst ourselves is worse then useless.

    94. Wullie B says:

      Cactus its Starlight Rays and the Scarborough reg Allegiance, and am sure the rear most on is Ocean Bounty The SR and OB are Peterhead registered and all are whitefish boats

    95. Taysideterrier says:

      Just found an interesting article in reference the damage the UK Gov have caused by giving scotlands fishing grounds away to the EU as a bargaining chip. The figures (money and number of jobs/family’s affected) are astonishing and this proves we need our own voice in Europe.
      It is long reading but shows how much we were sold out without any say.
      Better together my a***

    96. Kiereann says:

      In fairness. An independent Scotland does have the power of informal veto in that it can leave Europe, taking it’s fishing rights with it.

    97. Haggis says:

      Another example of turkeys voting for Christmas. Westminster has repeatedly sacrificed Scottish fishing to suit their needs, sometimes costing Scottish fishing permanent (so long as under union) losses for temporary gains for Westminster. Scotland and her needs have always been considered disposable by the London elite. We’re nothing more than a purse and a bargaining chip to be used at their whim.

    98. farrochie says:

      Bertie Armstrong of Scottish Fishermen’s Federation leaves us in little doubt which way he voted. Seems he’s not too keen on “separation”.

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