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The nest of lies

Posted on March 03, 2013 by

When someone sent us the image below on Twitter, we actually went to the “Better Together” Facebook page to verify it was real, because it can be hard to tell the No campaign’s real leaflets and posters from satire. But it’s totally genuine.

We’ve spoken before of the “swarm of wasps” principle often deployed by Unionists to undermine any prospect of serious debate about independence. It operates by packing so much untruth into a small soundbite that simply unpicking all the lies – let alone making any sort of counterpoint – takes far longer than anyone is ever allowed to have uninterrupted on any news or current-affairs programme or interview.

Even on a website like this it’s hard to deal with all of it before people’s attention starts to wander, but images like today’s are such an instructive textbook example of this particular dirty trick that we’re going to make the effort. We’ll try to keep it short.


1. There’s a real audacity to presenting “If Scotland votes for independence we’ll lose two thirds of our embassies and you won’t have anyone to turn to if you get into trouble abroad!” as a “positive message”. In “1984”, George Orwell called this propaganda tactic “blackwhite”.

2. We’re not sure how the UK manages to have 270 embassies and consulates when there are only 206 sovereign nations on the planet. It would seem that there might be grounds for some pruning to be done there.

3. The claim that an independent Scotland would only have 100 embassies is an extrapolation from a rather vague comment made by Nicola Sturgeon – not even an actual quote, never mind a stated policy.

And as noted by several commenters in this post, Scotland wouldn’t need to open its own dedicated embassies to have representation. EU rules provide for access to the embassies of other member states, and numerous countries – including the UK – already have embassy-sharing agreements.

4. If the state of the UK’s finances are anything to go by, our embassies haven’t done the greatest job of “building prosperity” anyway. We could probably manage to get by okay without a few of them.

5. The cherry on the cake, though, is the diagram. “Better Together” presents its questionable statistics in pictorial form, illustrating how many fewer 100 is than 270. But it can’t even bring itself to tell the truth about the contents of its own lie.

The “270” map is depicted with 102 dots marking notional embassies – including, oddly, one in the UK, and no fewer than 20 in the US. On that ratio, the “100” side should have 38 dots. (Here’s how that might look, as we’re fairly sure that having 20 separate Scottish embassies in the USA would be overkill.)

But in fact it has exactly half as many – just 19. Evidently, the No camp’s graphics artists decided that even their own hyperbolic scaremongering wasn’t scary enough, and doubled it.

This particular image is just one trivial example. But it’s one of many, almost all of them equally dishonest, and the intended effect is to cumulatively wear down voters with an irresistible, unrelenting bombardment of untruth, and to provide a constantly-moving target – already telling a new and multi-faceted lie while the old one is still being debunked – with the unceasing assistance of a Scottish media always prepared to dutifully follow the agenda set by the anti-independence parties.

Some believe it’s best to simply ignore the “Better Together” propaganda output, and that drawing attention to it only gives it exposure and some sort of twisted credence. It’s an understandable view, but not one this site shares. The more people understand that they’re being lied to – and crudely and insultingly lied to, at that – the more of them begin to wonder what it is the No campaign is trying to hide.

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    132 to “The nest of lies”

    1. Marian says:

      Spot on analysis once again. As you say the unionists are taking the scatter gun approach with their lies in the hope that the sheer volume will overwhelm any will to resist. What they don’t seem to understand is that their campaign which is based enirely on lies is bound to fail big time after the people of Scotland rumble what the unionists are doing and they will pay a very heavy price at the ballot box as a consequence.

    2. muttley79 says:

      Yes, a pattern is certainly emerging from the No campaign.  We have already had the 19,000-18,000 jobs loss claim for Trident (when the MOD actually admitted that the real figure was around 500 ish jobs).  Then we had the 14,000 international agreements that needed to be re-negoitated.  It was later reduced to around 8,000, which is almost a 50% fall.  Now we have the 270 embassies that will be lost.  No doubt this figure will be reduced to something like 200 or so in a week or two.
      Linked to this is a complete failure by the MSM in Scotland to hold the No campaign to account for their false figures.  It is absolutely ludicrous that the scrutiny of the No campaign has to come from internet sites, and not the print and broadcasting media.  There is a systemic failure by the media in Scotland, and it does have consequences for democracy in Scotland.  Their failure to ask any hard questions of the No campaign is tantamount to corruption and censorship in my opinion.           

    3. creag an tuirc says:

      270!!! How much does it cost a year to run these things? How about get rid of a few of them and scrap the bedroom tax.

    4. Nikostratos says:

      I dunno if i get Pished up in a foreign nation
      say like Engeraland i wanna know i got some
      diplomatic protection.
      After separation if it happens(god Forbid) they will
      run prisons on the same social lines  as Eton.
      and we all know what that could mean to a
      muscular good looking young lad. Oooer!
      To be honest not many actually read the better together
      blog I certainly dont……As a unionist I find our lies
      are always a bit are bit boring and hard to digest.
      Now the Nats lies are much more imaginative
      and colourful quiet often i sort of wish they were true.
      But after a lie down and gaze at the<a href=””> Union flag</a>
      the effect fades.

    5. Hermione says:

      “We’re not sure how the UK manages to have 270 embassies and consulates when there are only 206 sovereign nations on the planet.”
      Er, because you have one EMBASSY per country but you may have multiple CONSULATES. Happy to help. (Er, but shouldn’t a professional journalist know about this stuff?)
      I recall someone on the web doing some numbers on this. It costs Scotland around £150m to be represented by the UK’s 270 foreign missions.
      Ireland, on the other hand, pays £180m to be represented by only around 30 missions.
      You can do similar sums for Denmark, Norway, NZ etc.
      Worth thinking about, yes? Scale, economies of.

    6. cheryl says:

      They just don’t have an argument.

    7. Tony Collins says:

      I like this analysis.  Their ‘bombard the people with untruths’ tactic will counteract it’s very own purpose, the more ridiculous untruths people are exposed to, the more the resistance against the next untruth develops. Maybe one day they may even strike upon something discernibly ‘true’ by which time good people will have stopped listening. I was pretty sure most of us were taught about ‘the boy that cried wolf’ while still in nappies, this parable apparently has yet to permeate to the better together propaganda dungeons. 
      More confident than ever a yes vote will prevail. 
      thank you

    8. scottish_skier says:

      All the ‘No’ voters I know feel that way because they are half English/half Scottish; it’s a problem of the heart for them. They know why we are where we are, but sort of retain some fading hope that maybe Britain could be saved with a new progressive government appearing somehow. Most of them say they won’t vote or of if they do will vote Yes probably when the time comes.

      They also all hate better together for the shite/lies it spews out. That’s why I’m content enough for this to continue. After all, if it is converting No voters to Yes, it should be welcomed.

    9. Denmark <a href=”“>seems to have</a> about 50 embassies, 10 consulates general and <a href=”“>450 consulates</a>.  I have a feeling they’re counting embassies and consulates for the UK, but only embassies and consulates general for an independent Scotland.

    10. Nairn Clark says:

      Going by their map, an independent Scotland would actually only have 19 offices. And two of those would be in Nunavut, which seems impractical to say the least. How does that add up to 100, unionists? Or is this another example of the fabled unionist maths?

    11. (Sorry about escaped HTML above.)

    12. Yesitis says:

      This whole Better Together malarky is a real gutterfest of lowest common denomination crap. To think there are Scots who are not only taken in by it, but who celebrate it`s rank rotten heart…utterly confounding.
      I read some of the comments after clicking on the first link. The Miller Watson (you can`t leave Britain and still be British) character is a first class idiot.

    13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “(Er, but shouldn’t a professional journalist know about this stuff?)”

      Sure, in much the same way that you should know that oil production figures are meaningless when presented in isolation from oil prices. But there you go, eh?

    14. Ray says:

      The image shows Scotland wouldn’t have any embassies on mainland Europe. Will that be because we’ll be kicked out the EU for a decade at least?
      It’s great that Better Together keep pumping this stuff out, pissing around with numbers while it’s being fronted by a former Chancellor of the Exchequer.

    15. Cyborg-nat says:

      Passing thought, if any of the 270 Embassies were financed under PFI then Rump UK will be mortgaging their collective birthrights to keep up the repayments for eternity.

    16. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      “The more people understand that they’re being lied to – and crudely and insultingly lied to, at that – the more of them begin to wonder what it is the No campaign is trying to hide”
      Spot on. That is the key. Once the average Scots understand that they have been taken for a fools the reaction will be fierce.
      What is also now very obvious is that the lie is trotted out then dropped before any rebuttal can be prominently published.
      I hope somebody is keeping a record of the lies. I’d like to use them at some point

    17. ianbrotherhood says:

      Do we know who gives the final thumbs-up for this type of thing? i.e. the individual posters, leaflets etc? You have to wonder if the likes of Darling, Lamont, Davidson etc go to bed not knowing what rubbish they’ll be expected to support the following day

    18. SPni says:

      I knew this would rile you up a bit, Stu.

      One thing, the 270 includes consulates so it’s probably a perfectly valid number. However, if the No campaign continues this excessive negativity of Scotland’s position in the Union then they can probably expect a sharp shock much like Labour got in 2011.

    19. Dcanmore says:

      What it comes down to is a small number of Scots telling a large population of other Scots lies to achieve a purpose. There are no morals or principles involved here, no debate or not even any facts, just scare people with lies. You wonder what the people running this show are actually like as human beings. They are so accustomed to lying and deceitfulness that they really can’t smell their own bullshit and must be really reeking by now.
      Only a lawyer, someone who actually gets paid to lie for gain, then transposes those skills into being a politician can possibly sleep at night after a day of constant lying on an Orwellian scale. So we have Alastair Darling, the perfect liar lawyer cum politician who rose without trace and got away with being the worst Chancer of the Exchequer ever inflicted upon the people of the UK. Unfortunately his sort of corruption is infectious.

    20. alasdair says:


      Your link to ‘this post’ in point 3 is an incorrect link, linking to your admin panel won’t help us unless you give us all the username and password … I suspect you’d rather not 😉

    21. muttley79 says:

      These dubious claims by the No campaign are in the same vein as the accusations by opposition MSPs against Salmond in the Scottish Parliament.  Pravada on the Clyde make them headline news on Reporting Scotland etc, and when Salmond is cleared it becomes a footnote on the self-same programmes.  The same process is repeated on newspaper front pages in Scotland.  It is designed purely for propaganda purposes for the unionist side in the referendum.  I concluded some time ago that the media in Scotland generally do not care about their lack of integrity and lack of impartiality.  There are some honest political journalists in Scotland, but they are heavily outnumbered by the likes of Alan Cochrane, Euan McColm, Kirsty Wark, Glenn Campbell, Peter Jones and Tom Peterkin etc.    

    22. Tris says:

      “Worth thinking about, yes? Scale, economies of.”
      Might be a good idea then for us all to be represented as the European Union. 
      Scale, economies of, and all that.
      I was wondering why Iceland has disappeared. The UK has an embassy there, and I imagine so would Scotland. Greenland has similarly been wiped from the face of the Earth or has no one at Better Together heard of it?.
      I’m very concerned that the UK seems to have a number of Embassies and/or consulates in the most northern territories of Canada, where there are few if any people, and almost no one ever visits. Isn’t that a bit of a waste of money. I can be reasonably certain that Scotland will have no such offices, Polar Bears for the use of.
      Incidentally Norway has just over 100 missions abroad, and the last time I was there they seem to be infinitely better off than we are.  I can only infer that these party going, champagne swilling, Rolls chauffeured, ambassadors are not doing a very good job.

    23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Your link to ‘this post’ in point 3 is an incorrect link, linking to your admin panel “

      I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU – um, thanks.


      *security fail*

    24. Simon says:

      A foreign journalist friend goes to parties in the British Embassy and says they are far and away the classiest parties in the city where they live.

    25. muttley79 says:

      Are you being serious?

    26. Tearlach says:

      I am always amused when folk like H trot out the economies of scale line (a subset of the too wee line, of course), as the obvious riposte is “why not a single EU government, as a precurser to a single world government?”, especially as kids in Bolton are as important as kids in Bathgate, so why not Bonn, or Bogota?
      Post independance Scotland will have Embassies and Consulates where we need them, eg a presence in Washington DC well as consulates in Boston and Houston. Perhaps Chile, but not Peru, where we could share with Ireland, or Denmark.
      You get the drift…..

    27. Dcanmore says:

      UK has 111 Embassies; 63 Consulates; 48 High Commission, Trade and Cultural Offices. The rest is made up of delegate offices of multilateral organisations such as
      Permanent Representation to the EU
      Permanent Representation to NATO
      Delegation to the Western European Union
      Mission to the Office of the United nations
      Representation to the Asian Development Bank
      Delegation to the UNESCO
      … and many more Delegations, Representations and Missions to various organisations situated throughout the world. Better Together have probably lumped them all together to get their magic 270 number. I’d ask them for a list.

    28. velofello says:

      @ Hermione: your petticoat is showing. Economies of scale? Explain please how this applies to embassies and consulates.I can understand how the concept of economies of scale helps the UK MOD purchase efficiently..oh eh, wait a minute.
      Simplistically having just one ambassador for Asia who is obliged to travel round each consulate may yield an economy of scale.How this would impact on the ambassador’s ability to execute effectively his mission statement needs to be examined vs economies of scale.
      And you have entered a third element , missions. So the UK has embassies, consulates and missions and Scotland is charged for the missions only? Or are missions discreet ventures like sales campaigns? Your declared cost to Scotland of £150m. Is this Scotland’s identified charge for the upkeep and maintenance of UK embassies and consulates,or simply the  additional backcharge strategy imposed, for example on Scottish whisky producers for holding sales promotions,missions if you prefer, in UK embassies/consulates premises?
      And the cost of the UK’s 270 embassies and consulates?

    29. Daisy says:

      Same embassies they charged Scots for malt whisky corporate sales events whilst allowing English companies to do it for free in the same UK shared & owned real estate….
      Looking forward to Scotland House being our Embassy in London…
      They just don’t understand, that it’s over. Period. Basta tutti.

    30. squarego says:

      When do we get to choose the 27 or so UK embassies that we want to keep? Let’s take the sunniest ones. 
      Fewer embassies will save us millions in FerreroRicher bills.

    31. Bill C says:

      @mutley 79 – “Their failure to ask any hard questions of the No campaign is tantamount to corruption and censorship in my opinion.” Totally agree mutley, however I think you are even closer to the mark in your later post when you refer to “Pravda on the Clyde”.  For me that is the greatest concern of the whole referendum debate.  The people of this country are being consistently lied to by their own state broadcaster.  The situation at present is a national scandal and is reminiscent of the power of Pravda at the height of the Cold War. The people of Scotland are being subjected to mind manipulation on a national scale. If we lose the referendum vote, it will not be down to an act of democracy, it will be because our own state broadcaster chose to peddle the stream of smears, distortions and lies supplied to it by unionist politicians, MI5 and a good number of its own journalists.   

    32. Macart says:

      Positive message?
      Sooooo its not a threat of doom and abandonment for future Scottish tourists abroad then? Just so we’re clear on message from better no. Positive means threat and negative is………………………. a bigger threat?

    33. tartanfever says:

      270 embassies !
      Who cares ? Actually no-one, except for some country that actually believes it still owns most of the world and the little johnny foreigners should be on bended knee thanking them for giving them christianity..
      I’ve been to a few UK embassies, some, like the Oslo embassy is just an apartment. Others are just a rented room in an office block. 
      Anyway, the way forward is going to be ‘EU’ embassies that serve any EU citizen. Much cheaper.

    34. Baheid says:

      East India Company keeps popping into my mind when I read about Embassies, Consulates, High Commissions etc etc. 
      Very very expensive regional sales offices.

    35. scottish_skier says:

      Wait, is this same the Hermione who’s an ‘expert’ in oil and gas yet doesn’t actually know what actually comes out of the ground when you drill into a hydrocarbon reservoir?

      Also an ‘expert’ (ahem) in international relations I see too. My my. 

      I guess this is why those on the economic right tend to fail miserably at what they do.

    36. Macart says:

      This really isn’t difficult you know. A positive vision of a united kingdom.
      Overhaul of government
      A future federal system for all uk partners
      A stand alone parliament for England
      Full governmental, fiscal and legal autonomy for all nation partners allowing each nation to legislate for the particular needs of its own electorate.
      A UK written constitution
      Abolish the house of Lords
      Joint foreign office and common defence treaty
      Just for starters like, but you get the drift. None of the above suggestions will ever happen and for all the obvious reasons. The point being I’d have considered that a positive vision of a UK future thirty odd years ago. What I wouldn’t be doing is offering daily releases of threats and doom for an independent Scotland whilst pretending that devolution or the status quo is just working peachy.

    37. Swello says:

      The constant scare story stuff is turning into white noise already – It takes a particularly funny or annoying one to raise my interest now – and there is a long way to go. The thing that does still wind me up a bit is the narrative that somehow the rUK and any external body we need to deal with will somehow go out their way to make life especially difficult for Scotland. The idea that the UK will gladly share embassies with others for cost reasons but somehow not Scotland is fundamentally dishonest – as is the idea that we wouldn’t be able to have the appropriate representation in the countries that we need it. 

      On another subject – the spinning of the upcoming GERS figures which are presumably showing a healthy surplus for Scotland into an impending disaster after independence is quite amusing. In the special language of the Herald, a Surplus = an “economic black hole claim”

    38. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I have had  experience of UK Embassies abroad – or in my case Commissions (because we were in a Commonwealth African Country ). The English lady who ran the sub-commission where we were got an OBE despite not allowing her children to play with the African children of her staff.
      Waste of time mostly. When we had a problem we learned to go to the Irish embassy and on one particular instance when a English friend was locked up on a completely concocted murder charge it was the Italian embassy that arranged his release. He worked for an Italian construction firm. The British Commission’s view was “we don’t interfere in the legal affairs of a friendly country”

    39. scottish_skier says:

      Vote No to give up your human rights seems to be the flavour of the day.
      This imaginary thing called ‘British law’ is cute in some ways. Like children and the tooth fairy.

    40. Jiggsbro says:

      Sooooo its not a threat of doom and abandonment for future Scottish tourists abroad then? Just so we’re clear on message from better no. Positive means threat and negative is………………………. a bigger threat?
      From the BT site:
      “In contrast to the separatist campaign, our materials don’t attack the other side of the argument. We simply offer facts, and the perspective of real Scots who offer their reasons for sticking together in the UK. ‘People want facts, not politics. This isn’t an election where politicians will make the decisions. This decision is for us as Scots to make”
      So, countering their BS is negative, because it attacks the other side’s arguments. They don’t attack the independence arguments – I wonder why? – they just present ‘facts’ and the opinions of ‘real’ Scots (No true Scotsman wants anything other than for his country to be extinguished, don’t you know?).  Countering their BS is ‘politics’, which people don’t want…because this election (which isn’t an election), unlike every other election in the UK, is to be decided by the voters, not by politicians (there are no politicians involved in BT).

    41. Macsenex says:

      The purpose of embassies is basically twofold: to facilitate foreign investment and trade and representation of one’s nationals abroad.

      Can the Better Together campaign show how the Uk compares with other states on these two measures on effectiveness and cost to the state per £ gained and national saved?

      I don’t think there has been such an international league created so the claims are meaningless.

    42. Jiggsbro says:

      I don’t think there has been such an international league created so the claims are meaningless.
      None of BT’s claims are meaningless. They all mean the same thing: “be afraid, be very afraid, we’re all doomed, vote No for the security of the status quo”. And it’s a very effective message.

    43. Bingo Wings Over Scotland says:

      Unless I missed it, nobody seems to have mentioned that based on population share Scotland has paid for at least 8.6% of every single one of those 270 embassies and consulates. If Westminster don’t want to pay Holyrood a settlement of 8.6% of the real estate value (based on current property prices) then I’m sure they could find a spare room or a cupboard under the stairs for the Scottish Ambassador in every building. But why should Better Together let facts get in the way of a good scare story?

      BT are quick to tell Scotland that we’ll be due a share of UK debt, but always forget to say that we’ll also be due the same share of UK assets. That allocation will be negotiated following a Yes vote. We should watch closely to see how many embassies the UK claims to have then. £20 says it’s a lot less than 270!

    44. Craig P says:

      I want a job at one of the 5 Greenland embassies! 
      It is interesting that most of the BT content involves supplementary reasons for not doing independence rather than core reasons. The only core ones that I think of are:
      1. Foreign invasion 
      2. Poverty 
      3. Britishness
      The first of these is vanishingly unlikely, for the second McCrone and GERS shows Scotland actually raises more money than it get back in tax, leaving only Britishness as a core reason to keep the union. Which only works if the majority see themselves as more British than Scottish…

    45. CameronB says:

      Who needs to be correct, when you have the BoE notionally on your side and you control the levers of Whitehall and the state broadcaster? The British state that is, not Niko and Hermione, who I imagine were blameless in the colonial exploitation that made Britain Great once. They, Niko and Hermione, appear to aspire to what they have at present and a retention of the status quo. That is OK then, as apparently it must alright for some…….but kind of reminds me of a book I once read about farming. Or was it about politrics?

    46. Angus McLellan says:

      Hermione’s numbers are a bit off. But why expect anything else? After all, 96.3% of statistics on the internets are made up.

      Ireland has around 70 diplomatic missions – around, because it’s not clear exactly what is included in the 270 figure and therefore which Irish missions should be included. As mentioned earlier, the Irish Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade financial statement for 2011 is found here. This is for Vote 28 only. Vote 29 is also controlled by the Ministry but covers foreign aid and corresponds more or less with the UK DfID. The Irish ministry net spend was EUR 172 million. Using the 2011 average exchange rate of 0.86798 [per], that comes to £149 million. (Gross figures for 2011 were EUR 217 million and £188 million.)

      Hermione is right to say that dividing the UK FCO budget by 12 gives a population-share cost of around £150 million. This makes the FCO look like rather good value. But the Irish ministry does foreign affairs and trade. At very least we need to add in the cost of UK Trade & Investments, population share around £8 million. We probably also need to add in some part of the budget for Vince Cable’s BIS department (pop share around £1500 million), but precisely how much – it can’t be a huge proportion I think – isn’t clear. And in bygone days, before the creation of the misnamed Single Intelligence Account, SIS/MI6 used to be on the FCO’s budget. Some of it probably still should be. Clearly the financial argument could be a lot less clear-cut than Hermione’s anonymous sources supposed it to be and certainly comes out very different from the way it has been presented in the Daily Mail.

      But the financial aspects speak only to affordability. They do not speak to the desirability of a separate foreign ministry. The purpose of a foreign ministry is rather more than just helping out tourists, businesspeople or would-be migrants. It has to speak out in the country’s interest and on issues which are important to the people of the country when required. We know Ireland’s foreign ministry does so. The question we need to ask is whether the FCO does this for Scotland. I know what I think. Your mileage may vary.

    47. cath says:

      ” They all mean the same thing: “be afraid, be very afraid, we’re all doomed, vote No for the security of the status quo”.
      The yes campaign should really turn their “uncertainty” around on them. Want certainty? Sure, then vote for continuing Westminster government where you have the certainty of continuing bedroom tax, the rich getting ever richer, some shade of Tory government – from either UKIP to New Labour – trident staying on the Clyde, massive debt that can’t be controlled, more welfare changes hammering the poor.
      Want certainty? Sure, vote No.

    48. cath says:

      The EU will still be totally uncertain though. And the scale of further austerity is equally uncertain. And the constitution…forget about certainty there. Labour are reporting in 2025.

      Also, “And it’s a very effective message.”

      A bit early to say that, isn’t it? If they “win” with it, it will have been proved effective for winning a referendum. Then what?

    49. Macart says:

      @ Jiggsbro
      Aye we’ve seen their cast iron facts in action. 😀
      Wonder how that triple A rating forecast is coming along now that the UK exchequer has managed to lose it for us? I also wonder how much it’ll cost to pulp all that literature. 😀

    50. cath says:

      “We simply offer facts, and the perspective of real Scots who offer their reasons for sticking together in the UK. ‘”
      Contradiction in terms there.
      “real Scots” – wtf?- “who offer their reasons” is patently opinion, not fact. And as for “don’t attack the other side of the argument”. No, because they don’t have any arguments. They prefer smears, lies and attacking individuals. Nice.

    51. rabb says:

      Hermione says:
      3 March, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      “We’re not sure how the UK manages to have 270 embassies and consulates when there are only 206 sovereign nations on the planet.”

      Er, because you have one EMBASSY per country but you may have multiple CONSULATES. Happy to help. (Er, but shouldn’t a professional journalist know about this stuff?)

      I recall someone on the web doing some numbers on this. It costs Scotland around £150m to be represented by the UK’s 270 foreign missions.

      Ireland, on the other hand, pays £180m to be represented by only around 30 missions.

      You can do similar sums for Denmark, Norway, NZ etc.

      Worth thinking about, yes? Scale, economies of.
      It so reassuring that we have an embassy in ever country. It provides great comfort to our troops when we illegaly invade them 🙂

    52. CameronB says:

      Embassies and the like are also an excellent resource when deploying ones national intelligence assets. Or was that a Bond film I once watched? 🙂

    53. Hermione says:

      Oooo, Scottish Skier seems still to be all het up about whether I know the four forms his industry’s emissions can take.
      Have I got you excited hon? Because when it comes to “four phases”, all I’ve seen from you is anger and denial.

    54. CameronB says:

      Perhaps we should refer to Hermione as Boxer, from now on, and Niko as Squealer. After all, who uses their real name online? Any comments?

    55. Doug says:

      A poor attempt at trolling. Lacks subtlety or a real hook. Thanks for playing…

    56. Chic McGregor says:

      A bit daft of them to use nearly the same number of dots to illustrate the good Britanglia coverage as the 100 they say Scotland would have. 

      If its supposed to look good for Britanglia then surely it must look good for Scotland.

      Ignoring the stupid distribution of course.

    57. kininvie says:

      I was interested to read Prof Scheffer’s view that the sensible route forward for both Scotland and rUK where international stuff was concerned was co-operation rather than confrontation It seems obvious. I don’t understand why Better Together has become locked into this shock & awe mode. It didn’t ultimately do G Bush any good. The simple answer to the business of foreign representation is for Scotland to have a few embassies or high commissions of its own, but elsewhere to rent a bit of space in rUK premises.

    58. Jiggsbro says:

      Also, “And it’s a very effective message.”
      A bit early to say that, isn’t it?

      Not really, no. It would be a shame to wait for the result and then work out which of the opposing messages were effective. Better to identify them and address them before the vote. And this one is effective. Most people fundamentally don’t like, or trust, change. It’s very easy to persuade them that they’re better with the devil they know. Pointing out that the devil they know is a devil generally isn’t enough to dissuade them, so detailing the evils of the status quo generally won’t work. Which is why BT are using the ‘swarm of wasps’ technique. A swarm of swarms of wasps, in fact. Even if you could correct all their lies, many people won’t engage with the argument long enough to take it all in. They’ll take away the emotion rather than the facts. And the emotion is fear. Fear works. Fear is contagious. Fear can be passed on without the bother of boning up on facts and rational arguments. It isn’t obviously negative, in the traditional political sense; it doesn’t attack specific people, or even specific policies. It presents the objects of fear as by-products – unintended consequences – of the policy it opposes. In that way it can oppose the policy while maintaining the fiction of a positive message (“We want to help you avoid all these nasty pitfalls”), while reinforcing the idea of change as an unknown quantity, with even more ‘unknown unknown’ pitfalls.

      We’re engaged with the process, with the facts and the arguments. We’re unusual. It’s likely that the mass of voters in 2014 will vote for all sorts of reasons, some rational and factual, some rational and counter-factual, many completely untroubled by logic or facts. There’s a reason why ‘fear, uncertainty and doubt’ has been used in business and politics for decades. It works. Not 100%, not 100% of the time, but well enough and often enough to become a reliable weapon in the spinner’s armoury.
      Fear is difficult to counter on a fact-by-fact basis, as BT are no doubt well aware. It’s most easily tackled by taking one or two high profile lies and exposing them, or by poisoning the well; discredit the source and you discredit all its propaganda. In order for that to work, the counter has to be disseminated to the same level as the original propaganda. In a functioning democracy, that generally means the media holding the politicians to account. Unfortunately, we don’t seem to have a functioning democracy. We have the web, but most people would still rather use the web to engage with kittens and porn than with politics.

      My response, if I was an SNP spokesman being asked to comment on the latest scare story by a sneering Newsnicht presenter, would not be to try to swat every wasp in the storm. It would be to point out that it’s all lies…and then to point out that any self-respecting journalist would have already known that and challenged BT about it. I’m not sure that would be any more effective, but FUD is a difficult tactic to counter.

    59. Amanayeman says:

      Why on earth anyone pays any attention to Nicohione beats me, As I and others have said before IGNORE them.

    60. Doug Daniel says:

      Stu, that Scotsman article containing the “100 embassies” number gives a very interesting little fact.
      “Foreign Office minister David Lidington told the committee the UK diplomatic service had 270 offices in 170 countries, with 14,000 staff.”
      270 offices in 170 countries. So even the mighty UK – the strongest, biggest, bestest and most successful union of the past 300 years – is only represented in about 82 – 88% of the world’s countries, depending on whether you’re taking the 193 or 206 figure for the number of countries in the world. Isn’t that interesting? I wonder who those 23 to 36 countries the UK doesn’t give a toss about are? Probably small countries, because as we know from the overriding theme of BetterTogether propaganda, small countries aren’t important.
      The funniest thing about all this is the idea that anyone actually gives a fuck about embassies. I mean, unionists are always telling us how they’re desperate to get into “the real issues”, and yet they come out with “ooooh, embassies, embassies”, as if someone who is about to be forced to choose between food or heating because of the Bedroom Tax cares if Scotland has plush town houses in Harare and Jakarta.
      And lest we forget, those 270 embassies come at the price of 303 Tory MPs, 302 of which we never voted for.

    61. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Good post.

    62. Albert Herring says:

      “rent a bit of space in rUK premise”.
      which we already own.

    63. cath says:

      “We’re engaged with the process, with the facts and the arguments. We’re unusual. It’s likely that the mass of voters in 2014 will vote for all sorts of reasons, some rational and factual, some rational and counter-factual, many completely untroubled by logic or facts.”
      But that’s why I asked, “then what?” earlier. I have no doubt BT COULD win by lies, smears, and relying on those who aren’t politically engaged being scaremongered into voting against their own interests.
      But what then for the UK? Because many of us who are engaged – and previously weren’t – are now very well aware of the lies, smears, distortions and acts against our interests Westminster has been perpetrating for years. And if they win on that basis, rather than decent arguments, democracy etc, all those engaged, intelligent, creative people will be fucking angry. For me, and many others, I’m feeling real anger just at what I’ve learned so far. If they do win in that way in 2014, I can’t see me taking that. I would it if was fair, democratic and we had an impartial media. But I will feel no compulsion at all to accept a non democratic outcome.
      If you make virtually everyone who is engaged, creative, intelligent and political in a country fucking angry, how do you then go on governing it? The apathetic and easily scared who might have gone and voted no will remain apathetic, and may in time also come to realise what happened. But even if they don’t, they will be no particular use to the Westminster parties because they’re not political and will be back on their sofas watching Eastenders.
      So what then for the UK and Westminster?

    64. cath says:

      Personally, I’d support UDI in 2014 if the vote is lost not on any reasonable argument but purely because the UK and Westminster could muster enough propaganda to make the vote pointless. Especially if there was any attempt to claw back powers from Holyrood. Trying to say, “oh but that’s not democratic” would hold no water at that point, since democracy would already have been subverted by the country we’re attempting to leave. Something I believe isn’t even legal in international law.
      Luckily, I think their propaganda will backfire and that won’t be necessary.

    65. Jiggsbro says:

      If you make virtually everyone who is engaged, creative, intelligent and political in a country fucking angry, how do you then go on governing it?
      Remarkably easily, as Westminster has proven over centuries. And remember, some of those engaged, creative, intelligent and political people will still be voting ‘No’, for all sorts of reasons, including self-interest.

    66. Dcanmore says:

      One question I would say to Don’t Knows or Soft NOs right now, especially after the Eastleigh by-elections result … “If Scotland is independent now, would you vote to join a union with England?”
      That may get a few people thinking.

    67. CameronB says:

      Capitalism with Asian characteristics?

    68. Jiggsbro says:

      democracy would already have been subverted by the country we’re attempting to leave. Something I believe isn’t even legal in international law.
      I’m not sure you’d have a lot of luck convincing any court that the law was broken because politicians lied in campaign material. That would set a very unwelcome – to the establishment – precedent.
      They’ll lie. We’ll tell the truth. One of us will win. That will largely depend on whose message is one the majority of voters want to hear and want to believe. It’s unlikely to depend on which is true.

    69. DougtheDug says:

      I get 260 from the Wikipedia page “List of diplomatic missions of the United Kingdom”. That includes multilateral organisations.

      If you go to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office site then they’ve got 433 locations but that includes Department for International Development offices. Take out the development offices and Trade offices and you get 303

      I’m not sure where Better Together get the number 270 from.

      Then again it’s the usual message that without mummy England we’ll be alone and vulnerable in the world.

      Scottish Better Together must be one of the few national organisations in the world that actively promote the idea that their own nation is just not up to the job.

    70. cath says:

      “Scottish Better Together must be one of the few national organisations in the world that actively promote the idea that their own nation is just not up to the job.”
      To be fair it’s run by a bunch of politicians who patently aren’t up to the job, so they’re no doubt projecting. Just makes you want them to disappear and leave the job to someone else rather than trust them though.

    71. cath says:

      Interesting analysis
      A leading international lawyer has warned that the Westminster government’s claims on Scotland’s status post independence, risks creating a rift between the two nations that could last “for generations”.
      Professor David Scheffer has said that claims by London Ministers and Officials that a newly independent Scotland would inherit none of the current UK treaty obligations and benefits, risked “triggering slash and burn consequences that surely would deepen the rift between Scotland and the rUK for generations”
      Professor Scheffer has accused Westminster of building the claims on a “pyramid of presumptions” that are resting “on very thin ice” after Whitehall published an analysis that effectively claimed that Scotland no longer existed and independence would mean having to re-negotiate 14,000 international treaties.

    72. Yesitis says:

      If you make virtually everyone who is engaged, creative, intelligent and political in a country fucking angry, how do you then go on governing it?
      Remarkably easily, as Westminster has proven over centuries.
      Remarkably easy, until the rise of the internet. The internet changed/is changing everything.

    73. deewal says:

      cath says:
      4 March, 2013 at 12:14 am

      Interesting analysis

      Where is the source for this article as NNS don’t give one ?
      Radio ? TV ? Newspaper ? Report to Westminster or Scottish Office ?
      The way things are looking now is that whatever the outcome of the Referendum (Yes or No) there will be blood.
      “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Thomas Jefferson, 3rd president of the United States of America
      “Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master” George Washington

    74. CameronB says:

      Indeed these are revolutionary times, but lets not scare the horses.

    75. Macart says:

      “So what then for the UK and Westminster?”
      Exactly the point I was driving at two posts earlier. Devolution is a failed experiment, status quo is the reason we’re all here. We don’t want a future made of more of the same carnage. We want a future built on positive governmental change, equity and accountability. That would be a positive message, an actual vision of a future for the union where the partners were in control of their own house, shared the risks and benefits equally, where government served the people and more importantly were accountable to the people. All we’re seeing from BTs list of ‘facts’ is that its a bad old world out there and we don’t think you’re up the task of looking after yourself. 
      Wellll, thanks for the vote of confidence, but basically its an even riskier bet staying chained to BTs fear driven, top down, elitist and socially divisive union. I’m more of a ‘can do’, glass half full type. Social union, all for it. Union of crowns, don’t care much. Political union, not on your Nellie. We’ve got a good government, let’s give it some teeth.

    76. Vronsky says:

      @joggsbro @11:24
      Well said – those are exactly my concerns.  Serial lying is not neutralised by serial refutation, even if the refutation has the same circulation as the lie.  We need other strategies and your suggestion of poisoning the well (itself a propaganda technique) is one that should certainly be used.  We need to get everyone into Mandy Rice-Davies mode with BT: ‘well, they would say that, wouldn’t they?’

    77. Erchie says:

      Your arse in parsley. We’ll have none of this violence here, thIs is a local, peaceful campaign for those that have chosen to settle locally, no matter where they hail fRom.
      As to “real” Scots, I think that’s a reaction to BT being unable to attract any high level supporters in public life in contrast to the “YES”campaign 

    78. Alan Gerrish says:

      Another week another list of scare stories….except that I  get the feeling BT has overcooked things so much that even the great undecided (and possibly some confirmed NO supporters) MUST be starting to get seriously immune to the comical assertions they pump out. Yesterday’s Daily Mail front page for example:
       “The Royal Mint, MI5, your car tax, the National Lottery….even the Met Office. All on an official shortlist of services lost to Scotland if the SNP breaks up the UK.” 
      Reaction to this by the person who bought the paper (honest, it wisnae me) was complete disinterest as it looked more like April 1st copy. 
      Part of me still rises to the bait,though,  but I think as time goes on and the increasingly broad-based YES campaign gets the positive fact-based  massage across, people generally will see the logic of what they (and not just the SNP) are presenting as an achievable vision of a new, fairer and more democratic SCOTLAND in which everyone has a stake  …and in which you can still get your car taxed and find out what the weather forecast is, btw!
      I’m in no doubt that the great (and effective) effort by Wings to challenge the mince served up by BT is having a really positive impact on the course of events, and raising awreness of internet sources of information and getting as many new subscribers as possible should be a personal goal for us all, including the formal YES campaign

    79. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Therre are four things we must do
      1 Establish that Scotland is comfortably self supporting
      2. Establish widely that the unionists are knowingly telling big lies
      3 Establish that intelligent and informed people support independence
      4 Paint the dream. Start to engage our people in the things we can do when we are independent  

    80. cath says:

      In terms of how well the scaremongering is working, one area they’ve been heavily using for scaremongering is Royal Mail. So how’s that going?!/Tu4si

      The Scotland No2 Branch of the Communication Workers Union (The 2nd largest CWU Branch in Scotland with over 4000 members) overwhelmingly carried the following motion at their AGM in Edinburgh yesterday.

      “This Branch recognises that the referendum on Scottish Independence, due to be held in autumn 2014, will be the biggest political de…cision any of us has been asked to make in our lives.

      We recognise that under consecutive governments the gap between rich and poor has widened and that the UK remains one of the most unequal societies in the developed nations of the world.

      We further recognise that round after round of anti trade union legislation, introduced by Tory governments throughout the 80s and 90s remain on the statute book despite 13 years of Labour government ’97-2010.

      To this end we believe that the only way forward for workers in Scotland is to ensure a YES vote in the referendum and we agree to do all in our power to secure such an outcome.

      To this end we pledge to:

      1. Affiliate to the “Trade Unionists for Independence” campaign.
      2. Give our full support to YES Scotland and take an active role within the campaign.
      3. Initiate debate on the issue at future branch meetings, with invited speakers from both sides of the argument.
      4. Consider placing a motion to annual conference calling for support for our position and ensuring the continued unity of Postal and other workers throughout the UK and the wider world.

      The committee is instructed accordingly.”

      This is a major breakthrough in the TUFI campaign to ensure workers and TU rights play a major part in the Independence struggle.

      It will be seen as a major boost to all those others planning to place similar motions before their own branches.

    81. Luigi says:

      As I have mentioned before, the Better Together crowd are already operating as if we are in the last six weeks before the referendum. If they had held fire on this nonsense until August 2014, it may have worked a treat, but 20 months out? No chance! I feel that the yes campaign are very cleverly playing “rope-a-dope” with the unionists are the moment. The counter-attack, when it comes, will be devastating. The no campaign cannot be sustained, people are already  becoming desensitised to the MSM scare stories. The only reason why BT are campaigning so hard at this, very early stage must be blind panic – sheer terror that the yes campaign will start to gain traction and momentum. Their actions will not prevent this but they are trying very hard. Long may it continue.

    82. KOF says:

      @ Cath
      Some more info on No 2 Branch.

    83. As a longtime resident of Istanbul imagine my surprise when I discover that in order to renew my British passport I need to send the papers to Germany by cargo service to be processed. Fortunately I generally travel on my Canadian one. Which leads me to wonder at the generousity of the UK government in providing consulates scattered throughout Artic Canada in areas inhabited in the main by caribou and muskoxen- no doubt represnting the well known tenderness of the Brits towards animals rather than people- especially people from ex-colonies requiring life-saving medical treatment. I notice too that at least three diplomatic missions appear to located in the Amazon and that the future government of Scotland intends to reduce this to only one – obviously an example of superior Scottish fiscal prudence. Is it possible to send an expression of thanks to the “NO” campaign for passing on this promise of wiser expenditure in independent Scotland?

    84. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Dont think so mate. We’ve got this far peacefully and we will cross the finish line as a independent country peacefully.

    85. cath says:

      Deewal – the source was David Scheffer, writing a piece for Nicola Sturgeon’s blog.
      The fact no MSM has run with it beyond the usual bias and bile says it all really. They’ll gleefully report someone from Latvia saying something if it can be spun to suit them, but don’t report things like this.

    86. cath says:

      Blimey @KOF I had no idea the Labour party were quite so dictatorial and controlling towards unions. I knew they were strongly linked but..

      “the Labour Party had begun an “investigation” into the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), because its Scotland no.2 branch has decided to support the Scottish Socialist Party (SSP)… Derek Durkin says that his branch’s support for the SSP is entirely in line with the union rule book. The rule book says that CWU branches should affiliate to local Labour Parties – which the branch has done – but does not ban support for other parties.”

    87. Erchie says:

      @cath, @deewal
      There is a bit about David Scheffer’s opinion in the Herald

    88. Craig P says:

      Labour have to come down hard on the CWU and hope that it sets an example to other unions not to step out of line, however I can see that backfiring… their only other option is to ignore it and hope that support for socialism (SSP) amongst unions is not catching. If unions divert their money and campaigning machine from Labour to the SSP it will be disasterous for Labour in Scotland and a massive boost for the SSP 🙂

    89. DMW42 says:

      Do you know, every time I read these scare stories that an indpendent Scotland wouldn’t have this or wouldn’t have that, all I can think of is how many new jobs will be created that were never available in Scotland before!

    90. Hermione says:

      “all I can think of is how many new jobs will be created”
      You seriously think that creating extra public sector jobs is a good idea?

    91. muttley79 says:

      Do you prefer people to be unemployed?

    92. Albert Herring says:

      It’s a very good idea to bring public sector jobs which are presently in London, and which we pay for, to Scotland.

    93. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      “You seriously think that creating extra public sector jobs is a good idea?”
      It depende on your definition of “extra”.
      You see we ALREADY pay for these people in UK institutions and will be esssentially shifting thos jobs we pay for outside of Scotland to within Scotland.
      Our general burden of public to private employment will remain relatively static compared to what we pay for now.

    94. Morag says:

      I don’t think Hermione read (or understood) the reply last time she posted this.
      These are public sector jobs Scotland is already billed for.  The jobs are located in England (and Wales, for the DVLC).  We are already paying for them.  However, while we get the basic work done for the money, we miss out on the fringe benefits.
      We miss out on jobs for Scottish people who want to go on living in Scotland.  We miss out on the income tax and other taxes they pay on their salaries.  We miss out on the VAT and so on they would pay when they spend their salaries in Scotland.  Local Scottish businesses miss out on the custom these people would generate locally when they bought their goods and services locally.
      It’s win-win.

    95. Albert Herring says:

      Hermione prefers people to be employed in England.

    96. Morag says:

      I meant DVLA.  (Damn you, May King!)

    97. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Not to mention we wont be payng the £3k Minimum London weighting allowance for the people we do hire.

    98. Albert Herring says:

      Showing your age there, Morag 🙂

    99. the rough bounds says:

      ‘Truth forever on the scaffold,
      Wrong forever on the throne’.
      James Russell Lowell. (19th century American poet)

    100. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “You seriously think that creating extra public sector jobs is a good idea?”

      As opposed to what? Frogmarching people into Poundland to to be used as slave labour?

      I can hear your nose wrinkle as you say “public sector jobs”. Because we all hate public sector workers, right? Those bastard scrounging doctors and nurses and firemen and policewomen and teachers and librarians and other such useless scum. It’s not like they perform valuable services, or pay taxes, or contribute to their local communities.

      I loathe Labour for their treachery, incompetence and abandonment of principles. But the only thing worse than Labour abandoning their principles is fucking Tories sticking to theirs.

    101. Hermione says:

      “You see we ALREADY pay for these people in UK institutions and will be esssentially shifting thos jobs we pay for”
      Er, go have a look at the costs and headcounts of comparable government departments in “small” “independent” countries and see how they compare with the Scottish share of the UK bill.
      We pay less at present, don’t we?
      Scale, economies of. Again.

    102. Morag says:

      And once again Hermione demonstrates an implacable determination only to look at one side of the equation.

    103. Albert Herring says:

      Scotland will undoubtedly have to spend a little more on certain services. However it will equally undoubtedly save absolutely humungously gynormous amounts on certain other items.
      Not a very good argument for the union, I’m afraid.

    104. scottish_skier says:

      We pay less at present, don’t we?
      So how come Britain is totally broke with debts worsening by the day and not only that, it just had it’s credit rating downgraded when wee ‘no economy of scale’ minnows like Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark etc have lovely shiny AAA?

      Britain is an joke. Both financially and on the world stage. I have my French family asking what on earth is going on with 28% of people voting for racist national-front type parties in UK elections. Embarrassing.

    105. muttley79 says:

      List of public sector jobs which Hermione hates:
      Social Workers
      Civil Servants
      Anybody think of anymore?

    106. DMW42 says:

      Scale, economies of.
      Well Yoda, you’ll be aware that economies of scale are beneficial only where there are ‘duplications’. All of the services identified by BT are unique and idenpendent, economies of scale wouldn’t therefore be in point (unless of course we have spies who can design coins and badges of trade)!

    107. CameronB says:

      @ Hermione
      Hello Hermione, or should that be Boxer? Quite appropriate that you choose to join us on this thread about “the nest of lies”. It would seem from your previous post, that you would deny the existence of a unionist propaganda mill. Despite this, even you couldn’t deny the deluge of half-truths and downright lies published by the Better Together campaign. What was it that their latest leaflet said about the UK’ AAA rating? Any comments?

    108. MajorBloodnok says:

      I think that the money we will save by not having to pay for Trident will more than make up for the paltry sum required to set up embassies across the globe (should we require them all).
      What I find amazing is the mindset that keeps going on about the utter and complete impossibility of Scotland being independent.  I mean OMG setting up things like embassies is like so incredibly difficult that surely only very very very special and exceptional countries are capable of even understanding the insane and mind boggling complexity of such a gargantuan task. 
      Mind you, I have a ‘can do attitude’ and if I was a one man country I’d nominate my friends as ambassadors, get some brass plaques engraved and tell them to rent a flat in Sofia, Budapest, Dublin, Beirut, etc., and get a few phones lines in, etc., and just bloody well get on with it.  I mean how hard or expensive can it be?

    109. Morag says:

      It’s not as complicated a plan as that, Major.  BT have figured one thing out.  Half the population of Scotland is of below average intelligence.  And no matter how intellectually challenged someone is, they have a vote.  Their vote is just as powerful as the vote of the best-informed person who can explain in great detail all about everything we’ve been discussing.
      They’re going for the numpty vote.  They’re going for the people who only see the scare headlines and assimilate overall basic impressions, not the intelligentsia.  Oooh, it’s too hard and we’re too wee and too poor, we cannae dae it, cap’n.
      The people who will vote no because of that are too stupid.  Let’s hope we can engage some of them and the rest stay home.

    110. MajorBloodnok says:

      Amazing isn’t it – if the Union was worth saving all they’d have to do was explain clearly and honestly why, rather than resorting to lies, distortions and aiming at the lowest common denominator.
      Still, I do think that they seriously underestimate the intelligence of the Scottish electorate (otherwise support for the SNP would have fallen through the floor by now), and long may they continue to do so.
      I do find it funny that one of the arguments is that the Scots made the Empire (and so we’re British), and yet somehow we’re incapable of being Independent; you’d think it would be a doddle after building all those railways across the Punjab and whatnot.

    111. Yesitis says:

      Longshanker rides again.

    112. Morag says:

      No, really, there are several unitrolls.  It’s not all just one person with a couple of dozen sock-puppets.

    113. CameronB says:

      Sort of like a Smurf village, only far less wholesome and not at all positive?

    114. MajorBloodnok says:

      They’re all on the blue spectrum (politically) though, so you may have something there.

    115. Jeannie says:

      There’s no reason to suppose that an independent Scotland would simply replicate already-existing UK systems.  Neither is there any reason to believe that what already exists at UK level necessarily represents the most efficient or economic systems of governance.  An independent Scotland will design its own systems, some of which may resemble current UK ones and some of which will be completely different.  An example of this would be the recently-released proposal for a Combined Scottish Economic Regulator in which it is proposed that currently separate functions be combined in one, should Scotland become independent. The work of the current regulatory bodies will still be achieved, but in a more efficient and joined-up way, providing its own intrinsic form of economy of scale suited to Scotland’s needs.  Economy of scale can just as easily be achieved by combining several functions within one body as by one body catering for a larger population.

    116. Hermione says:

      @Scottish Skier
      “Britain is an joke. Both financially and on the world stage. I have my French family asking what on earth is going on with 28% of people voting for racist national-front type parties in UK elections. Embarrassing.”
      Wow. That was an astonishing attempt at diversion into irrelevance, wasn’t it?
      It is clear that your attempts to present yourself as some sort of analytical mind are just pure posturing. You made some emotional decision long ago that you hate being British, and everything you say think and do is subconsciously aimed at justifying that.
      You poor person.

    117. scottish_skier says:

      Hi Hermione

      No, my mother in law is from Le Harve and was on the phone to my wife the other day. She’d read about the UKIP (Britain for the British) 28% in Eastleigh in Le Monde and asked about it with genuine concern.

      It’s interesting you consider me an analytical mind. In production chemistry yes; specifically gas hydrates and KHIs; my research in this area is well known and respected, but only by my peers and they are few.

      I’m happily British (from the British Isles). It’s Westminster that’s a laughing stock. Or rather more a big concern. 
      My wife is French and sat and watched Alastair Darling say that foreign/not British = bad. I can understand the discomfort of her and my work colleagues (oil and gas is international after all) with this, then the apparent rise of a racist party which can pull off 28% of the vote.

    118. Yesitis says:

      “It is clear that your attempts to present yourself as some sort of analytical mind are just pure posturing.”
      Hark at you, eh. Oh, the irony.

    119. Hermione says:

      “It’s interesting you consider me an analytical mind.”
      I don’t.
      To wit: the idea of anyone French being astonished / disgusted by the minor semi-success of the relatively inconsequential and inoffensive UKIP is risible.
      What numbers have the Front Nationale scored in French elections?

    120. scottish_skier says:

      H: Note I’m also an economically centrist social liberal. Ergo, my only choice is to vote for Scottish independence if I am to have a hope of seeing the country I live in governed in a style which might approximate that.

      I’m guessing you’re a Tory? There’s room for that in an independent Scotland. At least wet Tories with some degree of care for their country rather than just themselves. 1/59 MPs and 12% of the vote (current holyrood polls) says it all for the current lot; a complete failure of a party who’s legacy will literally be bringing an end to Britain. Not intentionally of course; just a lack of foresight/intelligence.

      (please don’t tell me you are UKIP, that would give me the creeps).

    121. scottish_skier says:

      UKIP manifesto for Scotland:
      “Scotland will be for the Scots and the British first”
      You can understand how my wife, as a French national, read this with unease.
      Thankfully, UKIP are nothing more than an unpleasant sideshow in Scotland. The fact that they are polling 15% or so in England is however, rather concerning so long as Scotland remains in the UK. That and the fact they can pull of 28% – just about enough to start landing MPs – is very worrying.

    122. Jiggsbro says:

      the idea of anyone French being astonished / disgusted by the minor semi-success of the relatively inconsequential and inoffensive UKIP is risible.
      And yet it happened. Possibly because UKIP are neither inconsequential nor inoffensive, or because S_S’ mother-in-law was neither astonished nor disgusted, or possibly because the Front Nationale get nowhere near 28% in any election, making the UKIP result relatively remarkable. Or possibly because you’re entirely disconnected from reality and imagine a hypothetical risible scenario which you find, unsurprisingly…well, risible. Here in the reality based community , we’ll continue to find your preference for living in a universe of your own imagination both remarkable and risible.

    123. scottish_skier says:

      In all the main European titles.

      Yes, people in Europe read the news too. Which includes articles on the UKoGB. 28% is very high for a far right (right-authoritarian) party.  I mean Golden Dawn peaked at what ~7% in Greece? That made headlines did it not.

    124. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “To wit: the idea of anyone French being astonished / disgusted by the minor semi-success of the relatively inconsequential and inoffensive UKIP is risible.”

      People sometimes ask why I don’t ban commenters they consider to be “trolls”. The answer is that it’s invaluable to gain some sort of insight into just how blithely, crassly ignorant some sections of the populace genuinely are, and to thereby remind us that we have to work tirelessly for every single vote between now and autumn 2014. Because either we have to turn these people’s opinion around with facts and reason, or get enough others into the polling station to counteract them.

      You can probably guess which of those is most likely applicable to Hermione.

    125. tartanfever says:

      The whole UKIP thing is a non-event. With a FPTP in Westminster, they’re simply not going to get anywhere in a general election. Most of their voters will return to the tory ranks come the time as the only chance they have of a referendum on Europe is through Cameron and the tories. If they do decide to vote UKIP, they run the risk of ending up with labour in government  and that will be the end of a EU in/out referendum.
      As for the Hermione person, what a hoot ! Of course what she fails to recognise, especially when it comes to UK institutions/ public money/ civil servants is the vast majority are based in London. So while taxes may go to the national pot, the vast majority of personal wages are spent locally – in shops/car dealerships/housing/schooling etc etc. The rest of the UK funds these public jobs that are predominantly based in London and we support London’s local economy with our taxes, not the other way around.
      There was meant to be a reverse of this over the last few years, moving government and public jobs out of London, but from what i remember I think they only managed to move one position, and that was from Peterborough into London !
      What surprises me most is that you meet people like Hermione all the time, they are usually people that live outside the London bubble who are being ripped off in the same way that Scotland is, yet somehow are blinded by their hatred for Scot’s independence that they refuse to look at the simple evidence before them. Quite bewildering really.

    126. Macart says:

      UKIP…….. UK Independence Party is it? And they say there’s no sense of irony in British politics. 😀
      Daily Mail fans without the cuddly mindset or the humor. 😉

    127. scottish_skier says:

      “Scotland will be for the Scots and the British first”

      UKIP obviously don’t consider Scots as ‘British’; the two being clearly differentiated here.

      Adds a new dimension to the above.

    128. Macart says:

      I don’t think we’re considered the right sort you know. 😉
      Rebellious, fractious Celts dontchaknow. That is how we are referred to in some corners of the house, yes? The ‘Celtic fringe’ or should that be cringe?

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