stooges of the Kremlin

Wings Over Scotland


The dividing line

Posted on April 29, 2014 by

Alert readers will be aware that this site spends a not-insignificant amount of time pointing out how few and how trivial are the actual political differences between the three UK parties. Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats all basically offer slightly tweaked and rebadged versions of the same centre-right policies, in an unhealthy consensus set in concrete by the UK’s undemocratic electoral system.

channelferry

There does, however, remain one major issue on which there’s still clear blue water between the only two parties who might provide the next UK Prime Minister, and it’s one that’s a lot more important to the independence debate than is generally thought. Have you guessed what it is yet?

This morning’s papers carry two stories placing Labour and the Tories on opposite sides of perhaps the last great ideological division left in mainstream British politics.

“Labour will not change EU referendum stance if Ukip win European elections”

“David Cameron threatens to resign without 2017 EU vote”

Those are two pretty unequivocal positions, difficult to back away from even in the modern political era where promises are cheap. More importantly, they’re believable positions. Ed Miliband would face extreme difficulty in persuading Parliamentary Labour to hold a referendum which polls say would result in the UK leaving the EU, and Cameron simply couldn’t survive against his own party’s rabid Eurosceptic wing if he backpedalled on his pledge.

With just one year until the 2015 general election, then, the battle lines are drawn. And with Labour’s lead now down to an average of just three points and the UKIP vote nudging 20%, that puts the 2015-2020 occupancy of Downing Street right up for grabs.

A considerable number of commentators and analysts still cling doggedly to the belief that Labour’s inbuilt electoral advantage in the UK will give them a comfortable win despite the narrowness of their lead over the Tories. But that faith is built on a huge and potentially lethal underestimation of the English electorate.

People are fond of highlighting the “sophistication” of Scottish voters, who recognise the quirks of different electoral systems and different situations and vote accordingly – backing Labour at Westminster but giving the SNP a landslide at Holyrood.

Yet belief in a Labour win in 2015 is based on the presumption that their English counterparts are thick. And having lived in England for a considerable number of years, readers, I can promise you that they’re not.

The people of England are just as capable of recognising a lost cause as Scots are, and very few UKIP supporters are going to split the right-wing vote in a Labour-Tory marginal, knowing that Ed Miliband becoming Prime Minister would deny them the best chance they’re ever going to get at the one thing they want more than anything else in the world.

They may stick with UKIP in the safe Tory shires, or those few seats where they’re the main credible challenger to a Tory incumbent. But to imagine that any meaningful number of them would vote blindly in such a manner as to genuinely risk letting a Labour or Lib Dem MP take a Tory seat and imperil a Tory government is to gravely underestimate both their intelligence and their burning desire to be free of Brussels.

ukipsupport

Because anti-EU sentiment in Scotland, while it exists, is a lunatic-fringe interest rarely discussed in polite society, some Scots have a tendency to dismiss the strength of feeling about it south of the border. Even as UKIP’s support grows, there seems to be an assumption that it’s somehow not “real”, that it’s just an anti-politician protest vote which will melt away as 2015 looms. But it isn’t.

The anti-politician sentiment is real enough, damaged both by the expenses scandal and the triangulation of the three main parties to the point where they can barely be told apart (and also by the increasing disconnection between normal people and the robotic career politicians that infest all the parties).

But that sentiment isn’t being expressed by people not voting. Turnout in the 2010 election, immediately in the wake of the scandal, was the highest since Labour’s 1997 landslide. Instead, robbed of any kind of meaningful ideological choice in the parties’ main programmes, voters have focused on the one area where they feel their vote CAN still have any effect on anything.

It’s frequently said that were the SNP to win independence, the party itself would break apart. Its main goal achieved, there would be nothing left uniting the left and right factions, republicans and monarchists, social liberals and social conservatives.

Commentators often remark on the remarkable internal discipline the SNP has maintained in pursuit of that one goal. Yet they seem unable to grasp that those English voters desperate to see their country out of the EU and closing its doors to immigration could possibly be capable of the same single-mindedness.

Today’s news crystallises the choice that will consume England 12 months from now. For all that behind him stands largely a collection of nutters, it beggars belief that so many in Scotland still underestimate – in the face of all the evidence – the ability of Nigel Farage to direct and manipulate the English political agenda.

Farage will marshall his forces to opportunistically grab himself a few MPs if he possibly can, but he won’t lose sight of the overarching objective. His supporters will go into the polling booths knowing exactly what is expected of them – above all else, to ensure that Ed Miliband does not become Prime Minister.

The Tories may not even need their help, and they may or may not undertake a public or secret pact, but there’ll be a tacit one either way. Scots have no trouble accepting that people who would vote Labour in an independent Scotland will “lend” their votes to the SNP to make that independence happen.

Refusing to credit the people of England with the same level of intelligence risks Scotland voting No in September only to wake up to another Tory government in May 2015 – and in the remarkable and frightening situation that the mere fact of that government’s election will be the least of their problems.

Because it’s what that government would then do that would leave Scotland truly adrift in the worst of both worlds.

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    112 to “The dividing line”

    1. bookie from hell says:

      Next 2 years can see huge changes,for the union

      2014–European elections
      2014–Scottish referendum
      2015–General election

    2. HandandShrimp says:

      Lord Foulkes was absolutely clear on Radio Scotland a month or two ago. If Labour win in 2015 there will not be a referendum on the EU.

      The question is I guess, how much do the electorate in England want a referendum. It looks like UKIP might actually win the EU elections in 4 weeks (although I can hardly believe I am writing that) and if they do that will embolden the Tory Euro-Sceptics to pursue their referendum notion. We live in interesting times.

    3. galamcennalath says:

      Excellent analysis of what England is likely to do over the next year. There are too many voters in England who believe EU and immigration are the most important issues at present. Remember, they see the two as the same … if they pull out of the EU 100000s of EU citizens working here will not have the right to remain. The Rev is right, our southern neighbours will vote in the anti-EU Tories in 2015.

      If Scotland doesn’t vote Yes in September … we’re well up the creek paddle-less!

    4. goldenayr says:

      Said,after the results for 2010 were in,that the next UK govt would be a Tory/UKIP coalition.It’s looking evermore likely by the day.
      Richt ah’m aff agin.Things to do,just thought I’d throw my tuppence in.

    5. bjsalba says:

      Am I right in thinking that the City wants the rUK to stay in the EU? How many rUk voters understand that many international banks/financiers will leave if the rUK exits the EU? They are only here for entree into the EU without having to use the Euro.

    6. Helena Brown says:

      So Labour will not hold a referendum on Europe if they win in 2015. So they will go into that election in England being portrayed as anti democratic. Well that is something which is becoming easily recognisable to us here in Scotland. Right now Miliband is having an easy time of it, as soon as the GE election campaign begins it will not be easy. He was firmly ensconced in Gordon Brown’s government as was his Shadow Chancellor. They may be happy to throw muck at our First Minister, wait till they see the much that is coming their way.

    7. bookie from hell says:

      looks like Steve bell cartoonist,guardian is in the better together camp

      http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cartoon/2014/apr/28/alex-salmond-scottish-independence-european-union-steve-bell

    8. heedtracker says:

      The Darling/Brown.com Labour gov left office with a note saying “There’s no money left, good bye, good luck” and now http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/apr/29/uk-economy-grew-gdp-2014

      UK economy grew by 0.8% in first three months of 2014
      Chancellor George Osborne says the GDP figures confirm that the economic recovery is well under way

    9. bjsalba says:

      @galamcennalath
      If 100,000s of Europeans have to exit, how happy will thousands of rUK emmigrants be to be forced back?

      rUK voters might want to look at the terms Greenland got on exiting.

    10. heedtracker says:

      @ bookie from hell, why the Steve Bell fascination with our FM’s aerse?

    11. heedtracker says:

      @ bookie from hell, why the Steve Bell fascination with our FM’s aerse?

    12. galamcennalath says:

      @bookie from hell

      re Steve Bell’s cartoon. Better than being in America’s.

      Also, I note betterapparttogether.com doesn’t actually exist.

    13. Peter Macbeastie says:

      I still fully believe it is fantasy to believe there will be any other result in 2015 but a Tory Prime Minister and some other odious creep in a coalition with the Tories forming the government. If there is a no in September and that cretin Farage holds the balance of power in a coalition in 2015 I swear I will find a no voter and punch them.

      If the thought of a Tory/ UKIP coalition does not have a vast Yes majority I do not honestly know what it will take to make hundreds of thousands of people just wake the f**k up.

    14. Pilar says:

      o/t

      Talking about relationships and connections of Scotland with other countries….

      I would like all of you to know about “Solidarity with Scotland International Campaign”

      Specially for those Scots who are living abroad and for friends of Scotland all around the world

      We are in Facebook and twitter and anyone can find the full explanation of this campaign and sample letters for it there.

      https://www.facebook.com/solidaritywithscotland

      Our twitter account is @ScotlandAbroad
      #solidaritywithscotland
      We are working on our web site and you could find us in solidaritywithscotland.com

      So, please have a look, spread the word and join us! Thank you very much

    15. Lindsey Smith says:

      Brilliant! Paints a very clear picture of what election strategy in England means for us in the event of a No vote. It also shows that who is elected and why is not the same, at all, either side of the border

    16. scottish_skier says:

      >10% (it is likely to be higher, possibly up to 20%) of the Scottish electorate planned to vote SNP / supported them in 2010 but instead opted on the ballot for the Libs and Labour in roughly equal measures. You can see it clearly in polling data.

      A completely tactical vote in an attempt to stop the Tories. People in England are no different for sure; perfectly capable of the same. A vote for UKIP under FPTP is a vote for Labour as you say Rev.

      UKIP voters know it too; they’ll tell you if you ask politely. You do have a tiny minority who actually think UKIP are amazing and would vote for them in a GE. The rest know UKIP would be a disaster in parliament and are trying to push Cameron to the right / towards a referendum and say they plan to vote Tory again in 2015 once the Euros are done.

      Anyway, next month is going to be a disaster for Better Together. With ~half the English electorate voting Tory or extreme Tory (UKIP), the union’s going to be one hell of a hard sell.

    17. Craig P says:

      I still struggle to get my head round the idea that England would vote out in a Euro referendum. I suppose if immigration is that important to them they might well do so.

      An ideal scenario from an English Eurosceptic point of view would be to use UKIP pressure at the Euro election to ensure the Tory referendum promise, and a Tory victory in 2015. I certainly don’t think they are daft enough to allow UKIP anywhere near the real levers of power (Westminster), mainly for their various other policies over and above the EU and immigration ones.

    18. MochaChoca says:

      Although there is an obvious appetite for an EU referendum down south I would think when push comes to shove and their IN/OUT campaigns get a head of steam a large majority will opt to stay in.

      Hopefully by then it will be of no consequence to the Scottish electorate.

      Does anyone know if the EU election requires an official campaign period during which broadcasters are supposed to be balanced and impartial, like in the Scottish or UK elections or indeed in the referendum.

    19. galamcennalath says:

      @scottish_skier

      “Anyway, next month is going to be a disaster for Better Together. With ~half the English electorate voting Tory or extreme Tory (UKIP), the union’s going to be one hell of a hard sell.”

      Yes, the good news just keeps coming!

    20. faolie says:

      Beggars belief really, that rUK would actually vote for an exit. If businesses here were/are worried about independence, they’ll be crapping themselves about a Euro exit.

      Was at a Business for Scotland meeting when the subject came up. Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp reckons there might well be an exodus of head offices tripping across the border just to stay in the EU. Oh irony of ironies if that were to happen.

      Also, I hear that Nissan would immediately petition the Scottish Government to annex Tyneside in order to keep their massive plant in the EU. Ok I’m kidding on that one..

    21. Clootie says:

      I think the article is very valid. Like many here I watch the polls closely but somehow the UKIP percentage forecast for the European elections didn’t seem right.

      Unfortunately it is and they are now in first place.

      Thanks for the wake up call. I hope the wider population pay heed to your prompt.

    22. Dr Ew says:

      Our referendum is one vital part of a fascinating phenomenon across Europe, and perhaps across the world. The 2008 crash collapsed the system and while the facade is straining to reassure with a “keep calm and carry on” façade, the dislocation of MSM, political institutions and parties from, well, reality means people are finding other ways to express their anger. We’re fortunate in that we have the prospect of a real, democratic and profound change to our system with the potential to shift genuine power to ordinary people. Scottish Independence offers a coherent strategy and real opportunity for recalibrating the economics and democracy of our country, as opposed to the simplistic cure-alls of right-wing movements such as UKIP or Greece’s Golden Dawn – but if we squander this one chance…
      …well, suffice to say positive alternative we can create will be hugely significant to the future of the continent.

    23. Peter Macbeastie says:

      O/T – anyone else see the pish in the Metro this morning about Eck’s supposed admiration of Putin?

      Yet more out of context, delayed reporting, neither fact of which is mentioned in their crappy little article.

      It’s reaching the point where I won’t pick up the Metro, free or not, because I pointedly avoid any paper that indulges in this sort of shite and I have no wish to see their circulation figures in Scotland sustained.

    24. yerkitbreeks says:

      Noam Chomsky, our latest high profile supporter, indicates 80% of a population need to be distracted ( by MSM sports coverage, emotional family topics and so forth ) so they really don’t want to know about what will fundamentally affect their future lives.

      Out canvassing last weekend this did seem abundantly clear – on the doorstep most had NO idea of the ominous developments that will evolve after the expected Euro results.

      The agenda of the masters of the MSM will, I’m afraid, be to try to conceal this.

    25. JGedd says:

      I have never lived in England so have to rely on those who do and your analysis seems entirely plausible to me. It also chimes in with my own observation which is that people are the same everywhere, it’s only cultural nuances and economic circumstances which produce perceived differences.

      It might be the case – again I don’t have the anecdotal evidence which those who live there have – that some of the obsession with immigration in the south is to do with the imbalanced economy? Their communities might not seem to them so swamped by ” foreigners ” if there was a strong economy throughout the UK and immigrants would naturally distribute themselves where the economy offered jobs.

      Those in the south are constantly complaining about overcrowding, lack of green space and impossibly long commutes etc. Some of these problems might also be eased if there wasn’t such a greedy over-heated economy in the south producing huge conurbations like the Great Wen itself. A more evenly distributed economy might also have led to a more consensual state of affairs politically, but that’s a whole other story.

    26. HandandShrimp says:

      I have little time for UKIP and they seem to have an endless supply of completely barmy foot soldiers but I see that there is something of a concerted effort being made by the three main parties and one or two media outlets to go for the same sort of smear and fear tactics that are being employed in Scotland.

      Given that strategy is proving counter-productive here I am somewhat tempted to say “Is that wise Captain Mainwaring?”

    27. Grouse Beater says:

      The core problem Ukip is Farage is a weak leader trying to govern a party made up of belligerent BNP and EDL refugees.

      How long before they show their real attitudes? A few have already broken ranks.

    28. Tommy Kane says:

      Sorry to go O/T but thought this might be an insight to the Hootsmon.
      http://www.holdthefrontpage.co.uk/2014/news/johnston-press-chiefs-in-line-for-bonus-boost/
      Apologies if it somehow causes difficulty to the system

    29. Jim T says:

      O/T Betting Odds

      Just looked at Oddschecker and there are now two bookies offering less than 2/1 – albeit an extremely small amount less, and both are not your well known High Street bookies.

      http://www.oddschecker.com/politics/british-politics/scottish-independence/referendum-outcome/bet-history/yes-to-independence/today

    30. handclapping says:

      Its a great shame about the North East’s referendum on devolution. Yes, they were being offered what NuLabour hoped Holyrood would be but we took Holyrood and made it work as we wanted it. The North could have made themselves a voice and instead of UKIP they could have had a Liga Norde or Council of the North party to express their disgust with Westminster and its so called politicians.

      The rUK will have to look after itself but …
      There was a young lad called Nige
      Who smiled as he rode on a tige(r);
      They returned from the ride
      With the UK outside,
      And the smile on the face of the Farage.

    31. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Here is a wee thought;

      Scotland votes YES and in the following Westminster GE, the Tories or Tories/UKIP win.

      The Referendum goes for quiting the EU.

      Two points here, I am not sure if the City wants the rUK to stay in or leave.

      If they stay in they will increasingly be restricted by EU control so maybe, let us say they will leave.

      If the City wants the rUK to stay in when there is a leave mandate, will these banks and other assorted shysters re-register their name plates in Scotland and just physically carry on business in London, like Deutche Bank did in Dublin’s wee virtual off shore zone?

    32. Tamson says:

      @bookiefromhell:

      Bell’s on record as being anti-Indy. There’s a nasty anti-Scots undercurrent in some of his older cartoons.

      He stopped being funny many years ago.

    33. DH says:

      The belief that “anti-EU sentiment in Scotland, while it exists, is a lunatic-fringe interest rarely discussed in polite society.” is untrue. I have regularly been involved in discussions about Scotland’s future EU membership with many people on the left expressing great misgivings about the idea. For example, there exist many good reasons why one would like to see an independent Scotland begin life outside a supranational organisation that is in large part driven by the rampant neoliberal agenda of its Courts. This is particularly true if one would like to see strong trade unions and free higher education for all in an independent Scotland.

    34. Andrew Sinclair says:

      So, here’s something to think about. Scotland’s votes are all counted on the 19th September, say by 05:00am, and it’s a clear “YES”. The markets open at 08:00am, what will their reaction be? Will they attack the £ Sterling? Just how long will David Cameron be in power if he’s the PM who lost the UK and is under attack in the markets? A snap UK election called? Or is this a totally ridiculous scenario..

    35. Helena Brown says:

      @ Pilar, I did have a look and I thank you. I do not have a facebook account and I do not want one, but I did want to say I had seen it.

    36. HandandShrimp says:

      Tamson

      I confess to not even getting the latest Steve Bell cartoon. It neither offends or amuses. I just don’t understand it.

    37. Ian Brotherhood says:

      Just got a message from change.org. It seems that some mysterious benefactor has lobbed them some dosh to promote the petition. No idea who it was, but if you see this, thanks!

      https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/lord-patten-chairman-bbc-trust-cancel-bbc-membership-of-the-cbi

    38. indigo says:

      @Jim T
      Ladbrokes have suspended betting?!

      I don’t know much about bookies – why would they have done that?

      They were 9/4 yesterday – I only know because i’ve been keeping an eye on that one as I’ve a bet on at 4/1

    39. pmcrek says:

      I get the feeling that when it comes to the crunch of an in/out EU referendum the tabloids would in the end completely brick it and rUK would vote to stay in.

      Just my hunch though, I really hope Scotland isn’t hanging around to find out.

    40. dean says:

      I live in Cornwall and speaking to colleagues/friends there is a lot of support for UKIP and a total lack of understanding of Scottish independence. I question, I probe, and really try to work out why this is. What mostly comes down to, unfortunately, is an identity crisis. For whatever reason many, not all, but many people in this part of England just dont like foreigners. And without the union jack, many don’t see where England’s place in the world is. To me that is both sad and scary. The only way to protect Scotland from these blind ideas is to vote yes, and hopefully in England that can spark an era of real democracy and fresh debates not just on policy, but identity as well.

    41. liz says:

      I would go as far as to say that Steve Bell has an unhealthy obsession with AS.

      Is his other name John OBE – the ‘cartoon’ is not funny, it’s not satire, it’s just pathetic and it’s one of the reasons I don’t bother with the Guardian any more.

    42. HandandShrimp says:

      pmcrek

      Not sure about that. The Excess, Heil and Bun are pretty anti-EU. The Heil is, to all intents and purposes, a UKIP paper these days. The number of posters that sign of as “somewhere in the EUSSR” as their location has become almost a trademark.

    43. rab_the_doubter says:

      Great reworking of the lyrics of Billy Bragg’s song ‘It Says Here’ on the Guardian Comments page (sums up the Britnat Media perfectly:

      ‘It says here that the Union is never wrong
      It says here the economy is on the upturn
      And it says here we are too stupid and too wee
      As our unionist press deflects our democracy

      If this does not reflect your view you should understand
      That those who own the papers also own this land
      And they’d rather you believe in Coronation Street capers
      Though the war on independence doesn’t sell newspapers
      Could it be an infringement of the freedom of the press
      To personalise issues and mock our right to vote yes

      When you wake up to the fact that your paper sides with Torys
      Just remember, there are two sides to every story’

    44. Robert Peffers says:

      O/T but relevant.
      I see, “A review of the BBC’s news output, “(conducted by the BBC Trust), has found it to be, “Trusted and highly regarded by audiencies”, but suggests viewers may find it, “distant”.

      More than 9,000 people were consulted as part of the review. One wonders if the BBC Trust bothered to include any Scottish views among those 9,000 people as Scots are, at least geographically, “Distant”?

    45. pmcrek says:

      HandandShrimp

      Aye they certainly are, but the owners of these papers also make a fortune out of the EU. I personally think cash would outweigh ideology in the end.

      Like I said though, just a hunch, I wouldnt bet my country on it! 🙂

    46. Alba4Eva says:

      I think it is incredibly important that normal Greens, Socialists etc. all vote tactically SNP at these Euro elections. This is the only way to give a huge boost to the YES campaign going into September 18th. Getting the SNP vote out will be incredibly important also of course.

      Lets be honest, none of the smaller parties are going to get a Euro MEP anyway… and if the SNP get 3 out of the available 6, then it is game on for September.

    47. Brotyboy says:

      Ladbrokes have suspended betting?! I don’t know much about bookies – why would they have done that?

      They are changing their odds.

      An earlier post referred to 2 bookies having odds below 2/1 now, but one of them is Betdaq, which is an Exchange, so a very small amount of cash which is matched at a specific price can be used by Oddschecker, I assume, so not really relevant.

      I await Ladbrokes, Corals and Hills showing odds below 2/1 on Yes, along with odds on No higher than Evens. Then it’s game on.

    48. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Regarding Cameron’s no way to partner in Government, I thought it was more a shot across the bows on the LibDems and at the same time an attempt to bolster his EU Scep credentials within his own party with at the same time giving UKIP a wee glimmer of hope for a Government Jag for Farage.

    49. Alba4Eva says:

      …actually, I’m going to add Labour voters and LFI supporters to that list too.

    50. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      I suppose that if there is a UKIP / Conservative coalition after 2015, they could always park Nigel Farage down the Drum and Monkey with a mobile phone, maybe one of Gordon’s repaired flying Nokia’s?

      That seems to be how Nigel runs is Office within the European Parliament, especially when they decamp to Strasbourg, allegedly.

    51. Tamson says:

      @handandshrimp:

      Yes, even by Bell’s low standards it’s a desperately poor effort. He’s simply trying to wind people up: clickbait, in other words.

    52. Bunter says:

      Just caught a look at SOMEONE ELSES copy of today’s Sun and it’s take on the Salmond threat to the EU was a headline , ECK, “That’s you warned” followed by a reasonable narrative.

      The suggestion, even if it’s wrong, that Salmond was being tough on the EU and it’s fishing fleet, may play quite well with many.

      Pity about the so called “quality” papers though.

    53. scottish_skier says:

      I’m not so sure that a possible EU exit scares the Scottish electorate that much. Polls have indicated that the prospect boosts Yes, but not as much as a fear of the Tories.

      The Scottish electorate are quite aware that UKIP = Tory Excel Max. The MSM have been very helpful here in making people aware of that, i.e. through saying how UKIP = disaffected, raving loony, swivel-eyed Tories.

      Polls are showing UKIP likely to take first place next month in England / rUK. I’m not sure how aware the Scottish electorate is of this as the press have been fairly quiet. They’re going to be very aware soon though; there’ll be no hiding a good 50% share for Tories + UKIP when the votes are counted.

      That will paint a very clear picture of the future of the union for the electorate in Scotland, whether it leads to an eventual EU brexit or not.

    54. fergie35 says:

      The most scary thing that could happen to Scotland is us being dragged out out of the EU and still in the UK.
      Ian Davidson would get his wish to bayonette the wounded with a lot of help from his right wing friends!

    55. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

      @Andrew Sinclair

      First thing that would happen on the 19th September would be the end of the Con Dem coalition. Carmichael and Danny(Tory) Boy would be out on their ears within hours.

      Then the more difficult decision – when to get rid of David Cameron?

      What are the odds on some aging Tory MP resigning (to get to the Lords in due course) on the 19th or soon after, to force a by-election in a safe Tory seat to give Boris a quick route back into Westminster for the leadership campaign.

      Now there is a thought?

      Mayor Boris for PM of London and UK in 2015.
      Go Boris – Go Boris!

      With thinking like that I could a senior Tory strategist.
      (Now where did I leave that knife?)

    56. CameronB says:

      Sorry, I’m a bit dim here. I’m afraid I didn’t get the P&O massage.

      In 1837, the business won a contract from the British Admiralty to deliver mail to the Iberian Peninsula[1] and in 1840 they acquired a contract to deliver mail to Alexandria in Egypt.[1] In 1847 P&O entered the opium trade, shipping 642,000 chests of Bengal and Malwa opium in the next eleven years. They faced stiff competition from the incumbent shippers, Jardines and the Apcar Line.[2] The present company, the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, was incorporated in 1840 by a Royal Charter, and its name therefore includes neither “Plc” nor “Limited”.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peninsular_and_Oriental_Steam_Navigation_Company

    57. CameronB says:

      Oops, message.

    58. Clootie says:

      I note someone said a result by say 5a.m. on the 19th. September

      The result has to be announced as a total result (no partial data will be available). A central focal point?

      It is likely several remote locations will have delays. I would not expect a result befor midday on the 19th. – any other opinions?

      …and it will be YES 😀

    59. galamcennalath says:

      “Andrew Sinclair says:
      So, here’s something to think about. Scotland’s votes are all counted on the 19th September, say by 05:00am, and it’s a clear “YES”. The markets open at 08:00am, what will their reaction be? Will they attack the £ Sterling? Just how long will David Cameron be in power if he’s the PM who lost the UK and is under attack in the markets? A snap UK election called? Or is this a totally ridiculous scenario..”

      Certainly not riduculous. There is bound to be a market downturn – it’s not good economic news for rUK. As the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who has just lost almost half the kingdom, Cameron will be pressurised to resign. He will go before the 19th has ended.

      Snap election? The other effect on the 19th, post-Yes, will be the reaction across the people of rUK. England in particular already has an identity crisis and widespread feelings of disillusion with their elites. Their country, their Britain, their Rule Britannia, their privileged place in the world, has just come to an end. There will be a backlash, but against whom? All sort of events might unfold!

      And we’ll be well out of it! With a Yes on the 18th, de facto Independence may begin on the 19th.

    60. Robert Tyler says:

      From Wales, I am marooned in the “Home Counties” of England, temporarily, and have been astonished by the underlying dislike of “immigrants”, “foreigners” and anyone/thing that appears different.

    61. Helena Brown says:

      I was a P&O customer, my first cruise was in 2007, a very good year don’t you think. Well as we always booked dinner for two we were not subjected to the abuse that the two nurses from Glasgow we spoke to on our last day in the Caribbean, they had abandoned their dinner table places because of the anti Scots abuse they had been subjected to. My next one was to the Caribbean 2012, just after the Costa Concordia, again we met people who had similar stories to tell. Our next, we were gluttons for punishment was later that year, the Baltic where we ourselves got the abuse. Unfortunately we had booked last years to the Black Sea before we had been to the Baltic, let us say apart from some of the guests, we had a good cruise but we were not enamoured by the conditions that the staff were working under. We will not be returning and since coming back we met a friend who told us of his and his wife’s experiences on his P&O Cruise, he said he was not sufficiently British, nor are we. Members of Ukip would make perfect passengers on their ships.

    62. Clootie says:

      CameronB says:
      29 April, 2014 at 1:10 pm
      Oops, message.

      “Freud developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference”

    63. Helena Brown says:

      @ Bunter says, there are no quality Newspapers left in Scotland regardless of size of page.

    64. handclapping says:

      @Cameron B
      Thinking of a pretty picture of a ferry bringing loads of immigrants to the white cliffs of Dover, what message do you think UKIP might send them where the initial letters are P & O? P*** O**?

    65. Andrew Morton says:

      @Helena Brown 1:19 pm

      My wife and I are going on a P&O cruise next month. She is an emotional No (her father was English) and a good bit of anti Scots abuse might tip her over to Yes. I’m looking forward to it!

    66. Andrew Morton says:

      OT, just read the following sub headline in the Record/Mail:

      “SCOTTISH journalists are among the best in the world – let them get on with their jobs says MAIL OPINION.”

      WTF?

    67. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Re a UK GE before the end of the 5 year parliament is, I think, not possible.

      Did they not extend the Parliament to a fixed 5 year period and the two members of the coalition signed an agreement not to vote down each other?

      Maybe wrong but I think that is the nub of the matter; until they vote to change it?

    68. faolie says:

      Can’t see Cameron going anywhere on Sep 19th. They’ll shrug their shoulders and get on with winning the 2015 GE. In any case, they’ll know well before the 19th that they’re going to lose, so the plans will be in place.

      I admit though that Boris is the joker (literally?) in the pack. Losing the referendum might give the 1922 Committee a handy excuse to ditch Dave for Boris.

    69. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      How about another hypothesis?

      The YES vote in 2014 hits the rUK (really England) like a wet kipper and they turn nasty, ably abetted by the Dailies Mail, Telegraph and Express.

      With Scotland gone, where are they going to turn to a for a popular expression of the sectionable lunacies?

      The other Great Satan, the EU.

      Game set and match to the Singapore State solution for The City of London?

    70. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Anything can happen in the next half-hour.

      Thunderbirds are GO!

      cue music

    71. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      No one posting just now.

      Is there something else going on somewhere that I should know about?

      A public disembowlment of Blair MacDougall or the live pinding of his tuba?

    72. BtP

      I was just thinking the same!! What am I missing? Where has the party gone?

    73. haud on the noo says:

      I ditched the hootsman ages ago and the herald today. Used to get independent but it has almost zero Scottish news. Jeez I need something to read while shouting at telly. Any suggestions , FT / Border Telegraph?

    74. Murray McCallum says:

      Had a quick look on Twitter. Why are people going through Glasgow bins looking for Alistair Darling?

      Doesn’t he live in Edinburgh?

    75. jingly jangly says:

      I was down in the Shires at the weekend, Stafford over the weekend, Passing motorist shouted “Go for it Jock” when he
      seen my Merc LWB Sprinter festooned with YES stickers.
      We were asked several times about our YES badges, when we explained it wasn’t anti English and we were just changing the provider of our Government, bit like changing your lecky supplier,they all without exception said Go for it, wish we could.

      Coventry Sunday night, Foreign Receptionist bit hesitant to say where she came from, when I asked why, she said the English all hate us, I said were from Scotland and you are very welcome to come to our country.
      She then told us she came from Romania, and was delighted when I explained what the YES badges stood for, same response to the YES badges from the Greek girl who was on the night shift…

      Seems like the rise of UKIP has turned up the rhetoric no
      anti-immigrant bias in England, then we heard about that poor family of five who died in a fire in Sheffield, I suspect that it was deliberate and if so UKIP and the Daily Hail have a lot to answer for.

    76. Edward says:

      Bugger(the panda)

      “live pinding of his tuba” ?

      Is this a colloquialism 😉

    77. TheItalianJob says:

      Most bookies now shortening odds of Yes to 2/1. Only a few above this figure. William Hill and Coral at these odds, with Ladbrokes currently updating theirs.

    78. edulis says:

      I have just watched the Daily Politics show item on Ed Milliband. Both the Vox Pop and the studio discussion were very much seeing no chance of Ed Milliband making it to number 10. He is not leadership material.

      The general voting public in the main vote with their gut and not their head. The 2011 landslide for the SNP was largely made up of a feeling of competent government and a straight forward comparison between the nomark of Ian Gray and Scotland’s champion, Alex Salmond – as simple as that.

    79. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      @ Edward

      I write the words, you paint the pictures.

    80. Piemonteis says:

      @Alba4Eva

      Surely it would make more sense for normally SNP voters to vote Green and SSP in large numbers, since once the first and second seats are allocated, each SNP vote will count for less. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have 2xSNP, 1xGreen, 1xSSP (and probably 2xLab). and 4 v 2 for independence.

      Won’t happen of course, but neither are nominally Green and SSP voters going to get 100% behind the SNP.

      Having said that, the SNP should safely get 3 seats, and for a 4th would need twice the Labour vote or four times the vote of the party in 3rd, which is possible with a Tory/Ukip split vote and the predicted Lib Dem vote. It would be nice to see a Green in that last spot, though.

    81. It could be even more interesting when Scotland votes Yes, but then also takes part in 2015 GE – I’m sure the MPs from Scotland will only be given a limited seat in WM until Independence Day (oh that sounds good!!) What will happen to majorities in Westminster after that? Also the Government of rUK will change and the negotiating team will also change. Reckon Alex and #teamScotland will want it wrapped up before 2015.

    82. call me dave says:

      Danny’s coming North tomorrow to soften us up but Dave’s waiting until after May before he deals with us uppity jocks. So says the Herald. (can’t be archived)

      THE Treasury’s top economists have undertaken the “most significant in-depth analysis” to date of the Scottish Government’s economic claims, spending months number-crunching key sections of the independence White Paper.

      In a multi-part fiscal strategy, which the Lib-Con coalition hopes will swing the momentum of the referendum back in its favour, the first part will come tomorrow with a keynote speech from Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

      In a “myth-busting” speech in Edinburgh, the Highland MP will seek to expose what the No camp believes are the over-optimistic claims Alex Salmond and his colleagues have made on North Sea oil revenue. His address will coincide with the publication by HMRC of annual oil and gas receipts.

      A senior Whitehall source said the Treasury analysis would set out the impact of having to absorb higher spending and lower tax revenue caused by declining oil revenues, an ageing population, the SNP Government’s uncosted policy pledges, and the set-up costs of independence within a much smaller budget.

      “This is a significant intervention,” said one senior coalition insider. “The Treasury’s leading economists have produced the most significant in-depth analysis ever done in this area. We intend to up the pressure on the Scottish Government to make them come clean about their figures.”

      The key part of the fiscal attack will come in a few weeks’ time and could coincide with another visit north of the border by Prime Minister David Cameron, who, once the May 22 European and English local elections are out of the way, will clear the decks to concentrate on saving the Union.

    83. fairiefromtheearth says:

      The EU is a clusterfuck,non elected people running it mmm is that not a Dictatorship,Wheres the fucking monies Europe?What gets me Rev is you keep blowing holes in the rUK union but are shit scared to ever critisize the EU.

    84. fairiefromtheearth says:

      oh and it aint racist to ask were the fucking monies goes,just before the euro darlings jump on my back again.

    85. CameronB says:

      Clootie
      Careful now. 🙂

      handclapping
      Thanks. I thought it might be that, honest, but I also thought it could be some sort of ‘in’ joke.

    86. The Rough Bounds says:

      Anybody else see that ‘Scottish’ Green Party political broadcast yesterday evening. Boy! It really honked!

    87. scottish_skier says:

      Surely it would make more sense for normally SNP voters to vote Green and SSP in large numbers, since once the first and second seats are allocated, each SNP vote will count for less.

      I’m afraid not.

      Counting is by the d’hondt method. That is a PR-type system. The problem is that there’s only 6 MEPs to allocate out in the Scottish constituency; PR starts to not be so PR when there’s hardly any seats and lots of parties in contention.

      Given the dominance of the SNP and Labour, really only 1 seat is up for grabs if you go with current polls and assume the SNP will take the Lib seat to get 3/6. Labour should hold their 2. What happens to the remaining Tory seat really depends on the Tory vote and how it might split to UKIP. This is likely to some extent.

      The combined Tory + UKIP potential vote base (up to at least 17% possible) means other parties will struggle contend for this remaining seat. If the Tories come third with ~10%+, then the seat is theirs as a hold. If UKIP overtake them by gaining the most ‘British right’ votes and get ~10%+ they take the Tory seat.

      The same would apply for the Greens and the SSP etc; they would need to come third with 10%+ to take the Tory seat. This is much less likely than a Tory hold or a even a Tory protest giving UKIP the seat as 10% for the Greens or the SSP is a long shot.

      If no party pulls of 10%+ out of Tory/Lib/UKIP/Green/SSP etc, then the Tory seat is likely to go to the SNP presuming they get at least high 30’s with labour behind them.

      So, I’d not recommend anyone tactical voting. I’d just recommend voting and voting ideally for a pro-indy party 🙂

      The more votes there are for pro-indy parties, the more the Tory + UKIP share is diluted hence the more likely it is the current Tory seat will be lost, at least to the SNP (would be nice if it went to the Greens or the SSP but as noted, that’s highly unlikely).

      What would be best to stave off is UKIP gaining that seat. It would likely boost Yes (OMG unionists are bringing UKIP to Scotland – only way to stop that is Yes!), but the MSM would try to spin it as ‘Look, Scotland loves UKIP too’ even though it only got a tiny fraction of the vote due to protesting Tories.

    88. Arbroath 1320 says:

      In between posting comments on Twitter last night to Sky News about Andrew Pearce and Kevin Maguire and their comments regarding Scotland, Scottish independence and Billy Connolly, I did hear Andrew Pearce, yes it is him of *ahem* the Daily Mail, say that a WIN in September could very well see Cameron step down before the 2015 elections.

      I was thinking that if this actually happened we might see an unforeseen dynamic, at least unforeseen by the media, suddenly raise its head just months before the General Election of 2015. If this were to happen how would the electorate in rUK react to having a new P.M. month’s before the G.E.?

      Would having a new P.M. at this time have an adverse affect on the voting intentions of the electorate?

      Would this new P.M. still be bound by Cameron’s *ahem* pledge to hold an in/out referendum in 2017?

      If Cameron were to stand down as a result of a YES win who would be the new P.M.?

      Would having a new P.M. after September have an adverse affect on the post YES win negotiations between Holyrood and Westminster?

      From a personal stand point I believe that after we win in September, and I do believe it will be quite a substantial win, we are going to be in for a very interesting 8 months of U.K. politics until the G.E. result in May 2015. 😛

    89. Andrew Parrott says:

      To get four seats at the Euro elections the SNP need to get a third more votes than Lab and four times as many votes as any other party. SNP 41% Lab 30% Con 10% all others less than 10 would work.

    90. dw1000 says:

      Re – Peter MacBeastie’s comments:
      1. “a Tory Prime Minister and some other odious creep”
      2. “that cretin Farage”
      3. “I will find a no voter and punch them”
      4. “just wake the f**k up”
      5. “the pish in the Metro”
      … etc.
      and the lovely comments from Fairie from the Earth:

      I hate to tell you but you guys are a real turn off. You’re doing Better Together’s job for them by making this site an unpleasant read. The Yes argument’s strong enough that we don’t need this type of aggression.

    91. chalks says:

      Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to gain indy without oil.

    92. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Scottish Skier i think the SSP might suprize you, i was going to deface the ballot as i cant be arsed with another robbing union, but have decided to vote SSP. It seems to me the SSP is one of the strongest canvensing partys i think they might do well as they have been signing alot of poor people onto the erlectirate,but hey just my point of view we will see on the 22nd 😉

    93. scottish_skier says:

      To get four seats at the Euro elections the SNP

      http://www.dhondt.eu/php/?seats=6&votes=185794,229853,127038,57788,80442,321007,27174&name5=SNP

      Aye, you are correct. SNP would need to stay 10% above labour to be in with a chance of 4 seats and with the other parties (other than labour) getting less than 10%. The above makes things much easier to calculate outcomes.

      @FFtE

      By all means vote SSP – I wish them all the best. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I believe people should vote for the party they support at all times. As a matter of principle I’m not keen on tactical voting.

    94. Helena Brown says:

      @Andrew Morton @1.28, look for the very affluent Southern type though we found it did not really matter. One was a Northern woman, we normally got on with them but this one would lean in and say. “it must be the accent but what did you say?” After a while we just ignored them all.
      Should work a treat with a certain no. I have said to people that it isn’t me they are talking about you know, it is you as well and if you vote no they will not be grateful they will regard you as an abject coward.

    95. orri says:

      Not so sure I’d as readily write of Labour after a YES result. Depending on how far in advance they prepare there might be enough time for an emergency reshuffle at the top depending on just how reliant those there were on the Scottish membership putting them there.

      The right wing press might then try to paint them as being to Welsh for their tastes but that’d be a bit transparent.

    96. n@tfisher says:

      I’m noticing BBC Scotland TV News Presenters starting to look stressed. Jackie Bird seems to be loosing weight and haggard, and even Sally Magnusson was looking tired!

      The daily deception must be wearing, and ultimately unhealthy.
      Hopefully the conspiracy is starting to unravel.

      BBC Scotland John Beattie Joke Show and NewsDrivel have spent all day putting down Fort William, its shoddy look!
      This is not the News, its trivia!

      ps. Only sociopaths and psychopaths can keep lying daily without health consequences, from the stress hormone, cortisol!

      pps. I’ve spotted at least a dozen psychopaths in the previous BlairBrown Labour, and Thatcher Tory governments. They’re very dangerous individuals. We all know who they are.

    97. Andrew Morton says:

      >@dw1000 3:27 pm

      I’m not convinced that those two aren’t Better Togetther trolls.

    98. CameronB says:

      Andrew Morton
      I thought we had settled all this the other week. Order and civility is the norm on WoS, as most posters show curtsy and tolerance for others who may have a different outlook from their own. There are, however, one or two posters who think it is there prerogative to judge other and to define standards. There is only one authority on this site, and I would ask you to please keep that in mind in the future.

    99. Bill McLean says:

      dw1000 “this site an unpleasant read” – My God have you ever been on any unionist site or do you ever read the comments in the Mail and Telegraph.

    100. Ken500 says:

      The EU vote is even in the UK 48%/48%. In Scotland there is higher support. The support is highest in Scotland and London S/E.

      The Independence vote is even or YES depending on the DK’s.

      Scotland will vote for Independence and UK will vote to stay in the EU, whatever is soonest.

      Scotland will vote for Independence in the EU.

      The English working class voted for Thatcher. UKIP is irrelevant in Scotland.

    101. Ken500 says:

      Keiser discussing Scottish Independence on RT. ‘It doesn’t need a central bank’. Chris Cook.

    102. Marc Davies says:

      The baffling irony at the heart of all of this is that one of the best reasons for Scotland to stay in the Union is the UK’s position in the EU. It will be hard for iScotland to negotiate as good a deal as the UK has earned: in both the financial sector and the oil industry, 60 million inhabitants holds a lot more clout in Brussels than 10 million.

      But if the Tories and UKIP are willing to throw that away, then remaining in the Union is no longer the safe bet that the Unionists argue it is; uncertainty over the UK’s EU membership will cause FAR more economic uncertainty than anything Scottish independence could possibly do.

      In such uncertain climes, better for Scotland to go it alone and negotiate with Brussels directly. I say this as a forlorn former pro-Unionist; I will be sad to see the Union split up but English politics has simply made itself too unattractive for the Scots, and that is at the simple truth of the matter.

    103. manandboy says:

      There must be 10,000’s of life-long Labour voters in West Central Scotland who:

      a) are seemingly oblivious to the shift by the Labour Party to the right/Tory

      b) think they’re voting for Labour in an Election on Sept 18th.

      c) have little appreciation of the catastrophic consequences of a No result

      d) are reliant on the BBC & STV and the Daily Record for political guidance.

      e) live in a state of constant anxiety about the future after the September vote.

      f) see Better Together billboards on every corner with very few from Yes to counteract at this time.

      Why do I say that? ‘Cos I was talking to a few of them at the wk-end.

      There is a MASSIVE amount of work still to be done by the Yes Campaign.

      Yes is FAR from being a done deal.

    104. Ken500 says:

      EU contribution is 100th of revenues – most comes back – in CAP, Grants and shared Defence costs.

      Scotland UK contribution is 1/6. It doesn’t come back. (+ what could be saved from a tax on ‘loss leading’ alcohol and Trident/redundant weaponry, interest payments etc.)

    105. Kirsty says:

      My dad’s English so I know that there’s a huge depth of anti-EU, anti-immigrant feeling in England. His family and friends in England are rabid about “all the foreigners” in England, losing their culture, etc. – they’re mostly well-educated, well-travelled people too so I find it amazing.

      It’s funny because many of them live in other countries, including Scotland, and they’d be the first to wail about racism if anyone made similar comments about their right to be there as they do about people moving to England. They genuinely don’t see that it’s the same thing.

      Anyway, I’m not so sure that all the UKIP supporters will move back to the Tories. I think a lot of them will vote UKIP anyway, especially if they do well in the EU elections, and hope for a coalition with the Tories. We’ll see; either way, it’s not a path I’d like Scotland to be forced down or to emulate.

    106. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

      @manandboy
      I agree with you there. I friend of mine was interviewed by a pollster at Edinburgh Airport and was one of very few Yes supporters seen all day.

      So a lot of work to be done right across the spectrum of society – not just the labour voters.

      I was also out with a group of No supporters at the weekend and their views varied from denial, not wishing to discuss any topics, and amazement that you could actually go out leafleting or campaigning. They are just sleep walking into the referendum and hopefully they will not wake up until the 19th.

      So there is plenty of time to catch up and overtake – just get out there and drum up support for Yes. Our grass roots supporters are by far our greatest advantage.

    107. jimnarlene says:

      You will all have to excuse the homemade vino, but f**k it we’re off. The rUK aren’t at the races.

    108. Craig says:

      “Scotland’s votes are all counted on the 19th September, say by 05:00am, and it’s a clear “YES”. The markets open at 08:00am, what will their reaction be? Will they attack the £ Sterling?”

      No, the rUK government will announce a currency union with Scotland at 07:59am!

    109. Billy says:

      Neither Labour or Tory want an in out referendum. Cameron is a weak PM and his promise of a referendum was a reaction to support for Ukip who have outflanked them. Cameron is desperate to renegotiate some EU treaties, in order to sell a better EU membership to the UK electorate, or even remove the need for a referendum. These fears are brought on by the failure of project fear in Scotland, the very same campaign they hoped to run to stave of an out vote in 2017.

    110. Vote No. Get Boris and Nigel



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