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Specialist subject: the bleeding obvious

Posted on January 13, 2013 by

Scotland on Sunday today carries an interview with Michael Moore, in which the Scottish Secretary rather undermines the No campaign’s constant demands for “detail” about an independent Scotland by admitting that the Westminster government will refuse to discuss matters like Scotland’s possible share of UK debt in advance of the referendum. There’s an even stranger passage shortly afterwards, though:

“Moore also signalled that his government would play hard-ball if Scotland did vote for independence – a scenario that would force the UK administration to negotiate an independence settlement with the Scottish administration. In the event of a Yes vote, Moore said the UK government would have to “prioritise” the interests of the English, Welsh and Northern Irish and would be unable to give the Scottish Government everything that it wanted.”

Well, duh. If Scotland votes for independence, then any UK government minister will by definition be acting on the sole behalf of “the English, Welsh and Northern Irish”. Their ONLY responsibility will be to try to get the best possible deal for those people, in a negotiation in which Scotland is on the opposite side of the table. Anything else would plainly be a gross dereliction of duty.

It’s a bit like Ally McCoist saying that if The Rangers were to be drawn against Celtic in the Scottish Cup, he would “have to prioritise the interests of Rangers fans and would be unable to give Neil Lennon everything he wanted” – true, for sure, but as much of a big fat waste of time and newsprint as leading with the front-page headline that the Sun is hot and the sea is wet.

Scotland on Sunday’s circulation fell by almost 20% in the last year.

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    64 to “Specialist subject: the bleeding obvious”

    1. Indy says:

      It is a major gaffe by Moore to admit that though. He should have tried to fluff that question, not volunteered the fact that he is willing to work against the interests of his own constituents.

    2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      Is it? I mean, what remotely rational person on either side of the debate could possibly have thought otherwise? It is, as suggested, the bleeding obvious.

    3. Dan777A says:

      Obviously the uk gvt will work in the best interests of the ruk but shouldn’t the Scottish MP’s abstain from negotiations as there is a clear conflict of interests. If they negotiate on behalf of the Ruk as clearly is their duty, then wouldn’t that undermine the whole process as people could claim they were doing it half heatedly to secure the best deal for their constituents and not the best deal for the ruk as they were appointed to?

    4. FreddieThreepwood says:

      At the risk of incurring the wrath of those who believe this site is not the venue for such observations … that’s a week in which the MSM have given Moore and Darling (almost) free reign on several platforms, distorted the latest polling info from the British Social Attitudes Survey and reheated every scare story from Faslane job losses to North Sea Oil running dry by next Tuesday. (You actually get the feeling Bitter Together have been given so much airtime and column inches they’re running out of things to say).
      Meanwhile, over at Yes base camp?

      Zzzzzzz … 

    5. EricF says:

      It is indeed bleedingly obvious that two sides will be negotiating post-independence and, by definition, neither side will begin by conceding the other side’s demands.  I’m interested in Moore’s position in all this though – as a Scot, a Scottish MP representing Scottish constituents, which side will he be supporting?

    6. Richard McHarg says:

      Without Scotland, there is no UK.  It was a treaty between Scotland and England, so when we leave, we dissolve it.

      Westminster, including the dense Scottish Unionist members, behaves as if England is the default nation of the UK.   

    7. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Scotland on Sunday’s circulation may well have fallen 20% in the last year but I suspect Michael Moore’s circulation doesn’t reach his head.
      He and Danny Alexander are gifts to the YES campaign. The coalition agreement  has had the effect of exposing how useless the LibDems are by putting them into positions in which an abilty to think is quite important. 

    8. cath says:

      Moore said the UK government would have to “prioritise” the interests of the English, Welsh and Northern Irish and would be unable to give the Scottish Government everything that it wanted.””

      It is disingenuous in the least to suggest that post independence this will be a huge difference to what we now have. Michael Moore himself in his own testimony to the Lords economic affairs commitee said  “there is no way to separate UK interests from Scottish interests”.

      I never saw it picked up by anyone but that one sentence spoke absolutely volumes about exactly why we need independence. And also about how the independence and referendum debate cannot possibly be fair, balanced, unbiased or reasonable. Politicians at Westminster cannot act in the interests of Scotland if those clash with that of Westminster. And they can only ever assume “the UKs” interests in everthing they do. Naturally, this will always prioritise England and specifically the south, as that’s where the UK establishment, power base and wealth is. Essentially that establishement and elite do not recognise there is such a thing as “Scottish interest”.

    9. Galen10 says:

      I notice the increasingly desperate unionists are still trotting out the old chestnut about negotiating what share of North Sea oil an independent Scotland will be entitled to.

      Can we PLEASE nail this ridiculous piece of disinformation once and for all? An independent Scotland will be entitled to the geographical share of oil and gas reserves established under international law – it’s not rocket science folks! 

    10. Rabb says:

      Can I just point out that people like Moore are not public servants, they are career politicians.
      They will not negotiate for what’s best for their constituents. They will negotiate for what’s best for their career.

      Entirely symptomatic of everything that’s wrong in the current UK. 

    11. Seasick Dave says:

      Michael, if you are reading this; as Scottish Secretary shouldn’t you be fighting for Scotland? 

    12. Peter A Bell says:

      The real revelation here is Moore’s intimation that he would be, or hope to be, a part of the rUK negotiating team. This is a formal acknowledgement of something we already knew. That he has totally betrayed his remit to represent Scotland’s interests in the UK government.
      Moore has confirmed that, subordinate only to personal advancement, he serves the British state regardless of the cost to the people of Scotland.

    13. Nik says:

      It was obvious that Westminster would say they aren’t going to open any negotiations before the referendum. The major point that will make people vote no is that they will not know what they will be getting in an independent Scotland, which Westminster knows. The Yes camp needs to mitigate this as much as possible by setting out a list of items that will and will not be open to negotiation.

    14. Macart says:

      “Moore also signalled that HIS government“????????

    15. Wullie says:

      Moore cant do any such thing, the second the yes vote is declared he and all other unionists will be instantly unemployed and in no posotion to debate with anyone.

    16. Kenny Campbell says:

      As stated earlier, what do Scottish MP’s do in the event of a yes vote….and peers. It raises a very interesting scenario. Moore saying he would negotiate for rUK seems bizarre. Did he actually assume this ?

    17. Lyneside says:

      The thing that amuses me most is that the No campaign have said a no vote will lead to new powers for Holyrood anyway.
      Presumably these new powers can no longer be discussed either.
      Michael Moose really has shot himself in the foot, inserted his other foot into his mouth to the knee and stuck his head where the sun doesnt shine all in one very acrobatic maneuver.
      Any questions the Bitter together campaign ask of the yes campaign can be answered with “Westminster refuses to discuss the issue with us” painting (quite correctly) rUK as petulant schoolchildren who are throwing a temper tantrum.
      As for threats of playing hardball i can only suggest that door swings both ways too.
      An absolute gift to the independence cause whatever way you look at it, and they havent even said a word yet.

    18. Holebender says:

      Galen10; it’s not rocket science, but there will undoubtedly be negotiations on fixing the international boundary which, in turn, will determine Scotland’s share of the oil & gas.

    19. AndrewFraeGovan says:

      Moore is irrelevant. Negotiations can only take place between the Scottish Government and the Government of England, Wales & NI (which doesn’t exist). I’m sure there’s plenty discussions going on, though.

    20. Keef says:

      One thing is clear when the yes vote is confirmed Moore is by default unemployed. So the only thing he will be negotiating is his severence package and trying to get a affair price for his London digs. He can play ‘hardball’ all he likes with that.

    21. Ghengis says:

      Why would England/Wales/Northern Ireland employ an MP representing a Scottish constituency to negotiate on their behalf after 2014? He wont be needed by them he wont be trusted by us. He’s out, good riddance.

    22. wullie says:

      The international boundary between Scotland and England already exists, just as it does with other countries in the sea surrounding Scotland At the dissolution of the union between these two countries they will go back to their pre union borders under international law. This will include Berwick apon Tweed.

    23. blunttrauma says:

      Won’t the post independence negotiations be conducted by civil servants not politicians, I’m sure the ground is being prepared already.

    24. Sunshine on Crieff says:

      In the event of a Yes vote, I can’t really see how any politician representing a Scottish constituency could negotiate on behalf of the entity that would be England/Wales/Northern Ireland; I know Westminster doesn’t normally bother about these things, but there would be a massive conflict of interests.

      Of course they will play “hard-ball”, will try and wring every last penny out of Scotland (what’s new?), and will play every last trick in their extensive handbook of having to relinquish hold over a territory. They do not hold all the cards, though.

      On the wider point of pre-referendum negotiations, I find it hard to believe that the UK state is not making serious preparations for a Yes vote. As the ex-military man said the other week, if he had still been in his position of authority, he would have turned a “blind eye” to any government minister telling him not to prepare for what is a very real possibility. There will be plenty of senior officials/heads of government departments making surreptitious contingency plans as we speak.

      And if it the case that the UK government are not making plans of what to do in the event of a Yes vote, then they really are neglecting the people and the new “nation” they will have to represent. Not the best way for preparing to play “hard-ball”. 

    25. Sunshine on Crieff says:

      One thing I would like to know is, in the event of a Yes vote which side would the MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, Michael Moore, be on? If he could have any input which side would supporting? Same would go for any Scottish Labour or Liberal Democrat MP.

    26. JLT says:

      Moore is a waste of space. He holds the title ‘Secretary of State for Scotland’. He might as well as just be called ‘Janitor’.
      Salmond either laughs at him, dismisses him, or just plain ignores him as his political function in life is utterly useless. This man holds no power over Scotland. 
      And exactly what are the rUK going to decide for Scotland – what? – tell us we’re taking a quarter or half of the debt, and we’re giving up half the oil. Salmond will laugh it out of the room, and go running to the UN, and ask for neutral arbitrators to decide on what is right. The rUK won’t have a leg to stand on. This is just Moore bleating like a sheep into trying to scare us into the No camp.
      I really, really hope, that these Lib Dems get eaten alive at the Referendum, and the next Scottish and UK General elections.  

    27. Jeannie says:

      But there will be a UK election in 2015 and presumably we will have to vote in MPs to represent us from then until 2016 when we “officially” become independent.  So my question would be, what would the point be in anyone voting for Michael Moore if he’s going to represent the interests of the rUK?  And the same would apply to any unionist MP.  It seems to me the only sensible thing to do would be to vote in SNP MPs as that’s the only way you could be sure that Scotland’s interests would be properly represented.

    28. DougtheDug says:

      Is it? I mean, what remotely rational person on either side of the debate could possibly have thought otherwise? It is, as suggested, the bleeding obvious.
      Rev, right up to the Edinburgh Agreement there were lots of people who thought devo-max was still an option even though it was bleeding obvious that devo-max has never been a possibility from the year dot.

    29. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I suspect the almost politically incoherent statement that LibDem elected Scottish spokespersons are coming out with are probably partly a symptom of deep unease in what is left in the LibDem membership in Scotland but rather more to do with the fact that they have never had to make meaningful political statements on anything at all in the past.

      In political terms the LibDems can best be compared to a political vacuum.
      This vacuum sucked in decent citizens who were disappointed by or unattracted Tory or Labour but felt they had a civic duty to vote so they voted for those nice LibDems who had made a point of never adopting any political position that might annoy anybody.  They flourished wherever the big two did not but never on the basis of policies or principles. Thus though this constituency has been represnted by LibDems for the major part of the last fifty years it was possible to walk about it for months and never find a member of the Liberal Democrats. Their membership was made up almost entirely by their elected representatives and their immediate family, many of whom only became members just before they were put up for election. 

      The floating vote the LibDems has attracted from time to time could be critical come referendum time (which probably explains the amount of BBC coverage wee Wullie the unionist Rennie gets ).
      The launch of a LibDems for Independence is awaited eagerly.

    30. Galen10 says:

      @ Holebender 12:44

      No, my point is that there is legal precedent and existing norms which will dictate what the maritime boundary between the putative Scottish and English sectors of the North Sea will be, just as there are agreed Danish, Norwegian, German, Dutch and Belgian sectors. The concept that rUK would be in any position, morally or legally to try and claim more than the internationally accepted geographic boundary needs to be knocked on the head; I’d say this is a good example of an issue which the Scottish government can challenge the UK authorities on now, as it’s a relatively straightforward issue.

    31. Andrew Parrott says:

      To be fair, Michael Moore does not in his article in SoS, if I have read it properly, say or imply that he, personally, will be involved in any negotiations. He does state the “bleeding obvious”. When Scotland votes YES I suspect three things will happen:

      1 MPs for Scottish constituencies will leave any ministerial posts they hold in the coalition government. The English majority will not have it otherwise. 

      2 MPs for Scottish constituencies will not represent the rUK government in any negotiations with the Scottish government. In fact with the reality of a YES vote and regardless of previous positions taken some may feel it to be their duty to use their experience of Westminster to assist the Scottish government negotiating team.

      3 There will be no UK general election in Scotland in 2015. Those MPs already elected to Westminster will continue to represent Scotland at Westminster until the day of independence in probably 2016.  

    32. cirsium says:

      “Moore also signalled that his government would play hard-ball if Scotland did vote for independence ”

      I think that there is a fourth strand to the “too wee, too stupid, too poor” meme which is ‘too cowardly”.  Mr Moore’s threat would play to this.

    33. cath says:

      “The real revelation here is Moore’s intimation that he would be, or hope to be, a part of the rUK negotiating team. This is a formal acknowledgement of something we already knew. That he has totally betrayed his remit to represent Scotland’s interests in the UK government.”

      If he realy was intimating that, and if – as it looks – he is positioning himself for a negotiation position – that surely suggests the UK government is gearing up for independence to happen and beginning to look more to the post Yes landscape? As state here, he couldn’t be on the UK negotiating team and a Scottish MP, but he could shift to a different job role, and perhaps that’s what he’s angling for?

      Quite a number of their arguments, re the currency, EU etc suggest more of a pre-negotuation stance than a genuine anti-indy one. Be interesting to see how it plays out this year. They really are putting up no arguments at all for the status quo, simply talking about hypothetical negotiing positions.   

    34. Peter A Bell says:

      While the first two points are reasonable and probably accurate, the third is a constitutional impossibility. There is no way that MPs for Scottish constituencies could continue to be members of a parliament which will cease to exist at the end of its term.
      And so long as Scotland remains in the UK there is no way that Scottish constituencies could be excluded from the elections to a new parliament.

    35. Peter A Bell says:

      Interesting point about a “pre-negotiation stance”. You may be on to something there.

    36. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Peter A Bell

      Peter, I can’t imagine Westminster allowing any Scot to be part of any negotiation team, on behalf of the UK (still will be a UK at that stage). British public opinion could  topple the Government.

      There’s the rub. Would English voters in English constituencies (post Independence) vote for Scottish candidates?   Would the British establishment allow Scottish Lords to continue in The House Of Lords?   


    37. Peter A Bell says:

      It is not, I think, overly pedantic to point out that the term “negotiations” is inappropriate. There can be no formal negotiations. But there can be meaningful and constructive preliminary discussions. And if British nationalists like Moore weren’t lying in their teeth when they say they want more informed debate, then they would be falling over themselves to initiate such discussions.

    38. Peter A Bell says:

      If some of the comments I’ve seen on the likes of The Telegraph website are any indication then you are probably right to be concerned about an “ethnic backlash”.

    39. cath says:

      I doubt, realistically, England could exclude people from any ordinary job on the basis of nationality. Or rather, percieved nationality, given everyone in Britain is currently only “British” there is no formal designation of Scottish, English, Welsh etc. This will be an issue when determining who is “a Scot” for the purposes of citizenship too.

      The only way I can really see it being done in reality is both Scotland and rUK having a generous, inclusive policy towards anyone who is British if they say they want citizenship of whichever “new” country. For jobs – even negotiating ones – I can’t really see it working for Scotland and England to reserve these only for those they see as “their own”. It may be that some of the best people for the jobs come from outwith the UK   

      MPs, Lords and official representation will be more difficult I guess and that will have to be firmed up. But for a long time to come it will be difficult to distinguish citizens of Scotland and rUK – all will be newly designated.

      Ireland must give some clues to this kind of issue?    

    40. FreddieThreepwood says:

      @ cirsium

      I’ve already heard them before as a quartet – too wee, too poor, too stupid, too feart. 

    41. Andrew Parrott says:

      Peter, Given that there is no written constitution in UK, I don’t think anything should ever be regarded as constitutionally impossible. I think it would be quite easy for the negotiators to sign up to this arrangement, particularly if a date for formal independence had already been set. If any of the existing MPs didn’t like the arrangement they could resign and force an election as being without representation is different from extending the term of representation for which there is precedent albeit for the whole of the House of Commons. Given a YES vote in 2014 who wants to contest a 2015 UK GE?

    42. Jeannie says:

      If Scotland votes Yes in 2014 and the respective unionist parties lay out manifestos for the 2015 UK election, it will be interesting to see what is included in said manifestos.  For example, if they decide that there is electoral advantage in rUK in playing hardball with the Scottish Government, then what platform would the prospective MPs for Scottish constituencies stand on – it would be difficult to get Scots to vote for them if their UK party is promising to stand firm against the Scots. I’m not sure how they would be able to square this circle.

    43. Peter A Bell says:


      There may be no written constitution but logic and the law seem unfazed by this this deficit. Logic dictates that MPs elected to a specific parliament cannot continue to be members of that parliament when that parliament ceases to exist. And UK law now defines fixed-term parliaments. So no extension is possible.
      The date of the next UK general election is set as 7 May 2015. Parliament will be dissolved approximately three weeks prior to this date. On the dissolution of parliament all MPs immediately lose their status and privileges.
      The only way a person can become an MP is by being elected. There is no provision for someone to simply be declared the MP for a constituency. The notion of the MP resigning to force an election doesn’t make sense as there would be no MPs to resign.
      You ask why anyone would want to contest a Scottish constituency in the 2015 UK election following a YES vote. A more pertinent question would be why would anybody vote for anti-independence candidates under those circumstances. Scotland would continue to be subject to laws passed in the UK parliament pending independence. The terms of independence would certainly be subject to debate at Westminster. Surely it is obvious that Scotland’s interests would have to be represented. Given that independence would by that stage be a certainty, even NO voters would see the sense in voting for pro-independence candidates rather than those whose declared intent is to act in the interests of the British state rather than the people of Scotland.

    44. Westie7 says:

      13 January, 2013 at 11:38FreddieThreepwood says:

      Meanwhile, over at Yes base camp?   Zzzzzzz …
      BEST observation I have seen all week!  And as has been over the last year or so the most alarming. Unless you are on here, NNS, any of the other usual suspects or already a “YES” taking part in rallies… you wouldn’t know YES existed. even a little

    45. James McLaren says:

      Peter A Bell says:

      You ask why anyone would want to contest a Scottish constituency in the 2015 UK election following a YES vote. A more pertinent question would be why would anybody vote for anti-independence candidates under those circumstances.

      Take a close run referendum YES result and a Labour induced stooshie of postal votes–yes I know but is Labour we are talking about and if they adhere to their “Bain Principle” of defying intelligence and logic— so they put up candidates for Westminster to provide a challenge to the ref result and try to block  a Westminster vote?

      Suicide it may be but never underestimate  the stupidity and perfidy of Lamont; Harris, Davidson  et al.

    46. Nik says:

      It’s more than likely that you aren’t hearing from the Yes camp because the media refuse to report anything about it, unless it’s negative.

    47. R Louis says:

      To those complaining about lack of comment from the YES campaign, it’s really rather simple, our wonderfully biased media in Scotland, don’t report anything they say – except on very rare occasions.

      In the past, I and others criticised the SNP for exactly the same thing, only for it to be pointed out, that the SNP are roundly ignored by ALL the Scottish media.

      Comment is made, it just isn’t reported.

      This independence vote will not be won by someone acting on our behalf.  It is up to all of us to do the work, whatever that might be.  Know the facts, get people talking, and nail the BBC and Scottish media lies at each and every opportunity to people who you know, or people you work with.

      Although I have always supported Scottish independence, free from London’s corrupted shackles, I now wholly believe the future for Scotland independent will be an enormous business opportunity as well.  I am frankly astonished that business leaders, our so-called ‘entrepreneurs’  in Scotland are not right at the front of the queue demanding independence, as the opportunities in Scotland will be truly enormous.  Instead we see business leaders who seem tied to a wholly redundant thought process, where innovation is something to be feared.  They need to, as the Apple ads used to say, think different.

      Independence in my opinion is not just desirable, it is the most effective way to completely stimulate and re-generate the Scottish economy.  I repeat, the business opportunities will be huge. 

    48. douglas clark says:

      I am more than a little confused about all of this.
      I had assumed that the referendum result, if it were a yes, would put in place the machinery to dismantle the UK. It seems to me that at that moment in time the UK is finished. Both sides, the rUK and Scotland would establish negotiating teams to deal with that decision.
      If rUK decides to be intransigent, then Scotland could declare UDI, could it not? That is the answer to rUK trying to play hard ball.
      I am also somewhat alarmed that by May 2015, we would still be part of the UK. That would not have been our decision and electing MPs to a Parliament we had rejected the previous year would seem genuinely weird to me.
      What is the usual timetable for a split? Does anyone know?

    49. muttley79 says:

      @James McLaren

      I think if there is a Yes vote, regardless of the closeness, with no major voting objections, Cameron will concede.  I reckon there will be a lot of international observers at both the polling stations and the count.  There is only going to be one question, so the ballot paper will be easy to understand and count.  I would imagine that ways to reduce the potential of voter fraud will be seriously looked at and implemented. Remmeber that Douglas Alexander wil not be organising the vote either! 

    50. James McLaren says:

      Muttley 79

      Yes I know but it is a Sunday night; I have no TV and the weather outside is rubbish so my thoughts to Labour and what rubbish does for a living.

      They might, or at Davidson could, throw that one into the referendum fog?

    51. velofello says:

      @Westie7 – Are you signed up as a Yes volunteer, and/or ambassador?
      Have you paid in your Danny Alexander £1 to the Yes campaign?
      Please, I’m not being aggressive towards you but i’m saying to all who read here, the Yes campaign is us. and if US don’t become pro-active then the Yes movement will not prosper. 
      I’ve signed up as a volunteer.I visited the office in Hope St Glasgow on Friday and handed over £5. One £1 each for my wife, three grandkids and me. And having spoken to the young lad at the office, i’ll now volunteer to attend their Ambassador training. What good I’ll be who knows but I’m not going to sit around and hope others win independence for my grandkids.

    52. muttley79 says:

      Personally I do not think there could be few things more amusing than Lamont, Davidson (Both), Brian Wilson, Curran, Murphy etc disputing a referendum result that was accepted by everyone else (including Cameron, media, international states etc)…

    53. Peter A Bell says:

      Well said! I am already involved with my local SNP branch and am planning on helping any way I can with Yes Perth & Kinross. Although I am not in a position to do so now, I have in the past donated significant (to me) sums to the campaign for independence.
      I say all this, not to boast, but to further underline your point that this is our country! It is our referendum! It is our campaign! We must all play a part.

    54. Westie7 says:

      R Louis says:
      velofello says:
      Peter A Bell says:

      Yes I am doing my bit, we are all doing our bit, thats not in question here (or anywhere) THE Media is the question, and its one me and folk in my area are regularly raising. I had a discussion with my one of my local SNP councillors outside the school on local election day… on the back of a BWB Farce article. He just shrugged his shoulders and said well what can you do with such a twisted media. Even went as far as to describe an unlikely University link/friendship between AS and BT which defied belief

      Someone will have to make a breakthrough. And I mean at a level above what we consider our best. Bet we’ve all said that at one time or another in the last couple of years. It did actually cross my mind just after the election in 2011 that based on the result the media would have to shift to acknowledge the shift in the vote, But no, it got worse, and worse, and worse.

      As I keep saying to my Tory mother in law (Daily Express worshipper) its not about the SNP its about the whole YES campaign, beyond politics, the whole of her Grandchildren’s future. She said in all honesty she didnae huv a clue who Blair Jenkins was. But she is still voting No because she doesn’t know about all the ins and outs!!!

      At one point Yes/BJ/AS will have to make a stone cold stand that cant be ignored whatever the medium.

      “The Media is lying to all of Scotland”    someone will have to carry it 

    55. Edulis says:

      If there is a Yes vote then I think the Westminster Parliament will debate the outcome. Force majeure will override the newly minted electoral law and produce a special law to meet the circumstances. This might mean no General Election in 2015.

    56. Naebd says:

      Peter A Bell says:
      “The real revelation here is Moore’s intimation that he would be, or hope to be, a part of the rUK negotiating team.”

      Youve seriously misread his comments in a way that misrepresents them. He doesn’t say, imply, intimate, or suggest that.  I couldn’t believe it and wasn’t surprised to confirm that it wasn’t the case.

    57. Christian Wright says:

      Peter A Bell says: “Given that independence would by that stage be a certainty, even NO voters would see the sense in voting for pro-independence candidates rather than those whose declared intent is to act in the interests of the British state rather than the people of Scotland.”

      I predict those unfortunate Unionists MPs who fail to carpetbag an open parliamentary seat in England, will experience a damascene moment worthy of Saint Paul himself, wherein they will know  their sin, and contritely swear fealty to that holy cause they had hitherto eschewed.

      And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith” Acts 9:13–19

       And they drank of that blessed bru made from girders: And did wrap themselves in the Holy Flag of Saltire. Then they raised their heads up crying out : “Lord thy name is Salmond!”: We beg thy forgiveness in thine infinite mercy!: For we would sit with thee in thy kingdom of Holyrood. 

      And their Lord gazed upon the repentant, saying: “Ye cannot enter the kingdom of thine Lord for thou art not pure. Go then and do penance in Purgatory for thy transgressions: For thou art not yet worthy: And the sinners did whale and did say unto one another.  Lo, the Master hath spoken: And we must go from this holy place to another place, short of the gates of hell, called Smith House, wherein we shall do penance: And they did penance therein where their eyes where held open and they saw the Great Video of FMQs where their Lord did smite the evil Sadie MCludgey and the slithering thing called the Wullie Rennie, and the Judas called Tavish, and all manner of crawling things: And there was much pulling of hair and gnashing of teeth. Bullingdon : 138:7-58 

    58. Boorach says:

      Apparently HMQ intends to relocate N of the border in the event of a YES vote! Straight off the press courtesy of the Stanley Baxter show currently on radio 4

    59. Christian Wright says:


       “And the sinners did [whale] wail and did say unto one another. ”
      “And they did penance therein where their eyes [where] were held open”

    60. Don McC says:

      The Hootsman’s Farquharson was tweeting about this article and asserted that Moore would be in any negotiation team (along with, for some reason, Murphy and Alexander!).  At first I dismissed this as errant nonsense but could the UK government insist on his inclusion?  After all, he’s more likely to concede ground to the Westminster government than Salmond and co.

    61. Holebender says:

      Haud on… are you saying they’d be in Scotland’s negotiating team? GTF… the losers don’t get to dictate terms and, besides, nobody can choose their opposing team. Imagine if football teams got to pick the starting line up of the team they were about to play against!

    62. Tamson says:

      One aspect perhaps not mentioned here is the political numbers game at Westminster, should Scotland vote Yes. Although obviously Scotland doesn’t become independent from Day 1, the legitimacy of Scottish MPs voting on just about anything is going to be questioned, particularly by the Daily Mail mob.

      By my reckoning, Westminster sans its Scottish contingent has an outright Tory majority: they have just over 300 non-Scottish MPs (306 at the election, minus Mundell and by-election losses), and Westminster has 591 non-Scottish constituencies. Seems a slender majority, but the DUP can always be relied on supporting the Tories in exchange for some pork-barrel.

      As such, Moore’s comments on what the Westminster government will do post-referendum  are meaningless: whatever way you look at it, he won’t be involved.

    63. dadsarmy says:

      As a note of caution, the Scotsman will have put extreme spin on the words Michael Moore actually spoke, the same way as they do to any politician including Salmond and Sturgeon – and Darling. We’d need to see both question and answer to get the exact context, in the same way as Salmond back on Neil last March. Moore’s actual words I picked:

      I and my Ministerial colleagues represent the whole of the UK; we cannot – and should not – negotiate or plan in the interests of only one part of it.”

      If people in Scotland choose to go it alone, those representing Scotland will make their case. Similarly the UK government would have to prioritise the interests of the people it represents in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and agreement could only be reached on that basis

      It’s a little bit contradictory, but if he’d said “the UK government empowered to act on behalf of the rUK government by the Queen” or suchlike in the second quote, it could have been better. I disagree with him totally on the first – the UK gov could consult with the Queen (Head of State) and set up a simulated rUK government, even with the same ministers – with the exception of Moore and Alexander.

      I also see no sign that Moore would be, or want to be, part of the rUK negotiating team – plainly he can’t, and in fact would have more of a responsibility to negotiate for Scotland – as an MP for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.

      In fairness Moore is between a rock and a hard place. His only position is probably the one he’s playing at the moment. I’d expect that to change radically after a YES vote, and it would be questionable if he could continue as Scottish Secretary, except in some sort of advisory or go-between role – to both sides.

    64. dadsarmy says:

      Michael Moore’s role should be the subject of a Holyrood debate, with him asked – and accepting – to appear before it. He wouldn’t need to agree to anything, but could then take the views of the Scottish Government, and have a similar debate in the House of Commons.

      In light of the Independence Referendum, and the Edinburgh Agreement, his role and the role of the Scottish Secretary clearly needs to be redefined, and as well as constitutional conisderations, I would suspect a protocol advisor should be appointed to work with him. To an extent of course, this should have been done before 1999.

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