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The perils of polling

Posted on February 10, 2014 by

There’s a pretty in-depth YouGov poll out this morning on the subject of attitudes towards immigration in the UK and Scotland. Some of the results are a little dismaying, others less so, but the media reaction has been predictably superficial.

“Scots want immigration cut and more control”, yells the Scotsman, while the Express goes with “Scots demand curb in migrant numbers” and the Daily Mail unsurprisingly goes for the most extreme xenophobic and anti-SNP interpretation possible:


Only the Herald finds a positive angle, with “Scots more liberal about immigration impact than rest of UK”. But those last two headlines aren’t merely an example of how the same polling data can be spun and twisted to give diametrically opposite impressions. A closer look at the figures shows us how sometimes poll results just don’t make a whole heap of sense in the first place.

For a start, the results are considerably more nuanced than any of the headlines suggest, though none of them are actually false. The gulf between Scots and the rest of the UK is very great – 54% of people in England and Wales think immigration is one of the top three issues facing the country, compared to just 22% of Scots.

(Those numbers also tally closely with the poll’s headline question – comparing those who want immigration reduced against those who want more or think things are fine as they are, England and Wales scores a net +54 in favour of reducing numbers, more than twice the Scottish net of +25.)

Drilling into the detail, there’s a dramatic difference in attitudes towards immigrants according to their profession. On both sides of the border, people are keen to have MORE immigration of what we might term middle-class workers (eg scientists and researchers), but want far fewer working-class immigrants (labourers, restaurant staff). Poor people clearly feel far more threatened than the well-off by foreigners competing for their jobs, but Scots consistently remain less opposed across all categories.

(Most notably when it comes to immediate families of existing legal immigrants. Scots are almost exactly evenly divided on whether we should let more or fewer people come to join their spouses/parents/children, with a net rating of just -1, whereas almost twice as many in England and Wales are opposed to reuniting families as are in favour.)

But then things get a little odd. When asked what they mean when they talk of immigration, Scots by a margin of +12 say they’re thinking of legal rather than illegal immigrants. In England and Wales, however, the situation is exactly reversed, with the figure at -12.  Yet when asked which they’d like to see addressed, the two groups’ responses are almost identical (45% in England and Wales wanting illegal immigrants to be the main focus of reductions, 42% in Scotland).

So we were already pretty confused by the time we got to the matter of jurisdiction. Because despite apparently being firmly in favour of a reduction in immigration, a whopping 60% of Scots wanted the matter controlled by the Scottish Goverment – which currently favours INCREASED immigration – against just half as many (31%) who wanted the anti-immigration UK government to handle the issue.

Once again, the only explanation we can offer for this contradiction is that Scotland has almost no home-based media. Bombarded daily with anti-immigration propaganda by newspapers owned and run in England, Scots reflexively answer that they want less of it. Yet when asked to think about the subject in detail, they reject English attitudes and want a Scottish Government which actively seeks to welcome migrants to have control of Scotland’s borders.

Not for the first time, then, Scots give out conflicting messages depending how you ask the question. We already know that in the more general sense, if you ask them if they want independence they say No, but if you ask them if they want the Scottish Parliament to make all decisions about Scotland (ie independence) they say Yes.

It must drive the Yes campaign mad. But it must also give them considerable hope, because today’s poll is only the latest in a long series of examples that show a Scotland radically out of sync with the rest of the UK and longing to run its own affairs, just so long as it doesn’t have to actually give that desire a name.

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133 to “The perils of polling”

  1. The Water Beastie says:

    ‘The political ambition that dares not speak its name…’

  2. Peter Macbeastie says:

    Oddly enough, of all media sources the BBC ran with something along the lines of the Herald item, using the data that most Scots supported the Scottish Government controlling immigration to Scotland rather than the UK Government. There was also some chat on the other data but I wasn’t listening to closely; driving on the M8 at rush hour tends to take your concentration away from the radio a little. But broadly the conclusion seemed to be that the attitude in Scotland to immigration in general is markedly different to that in England. Surprisingly balanced reporting compared to most of the BBC output in Scotland these days; maybe they’re getting in a little early preparation for their enforced impartiality stage running up to the referendum, just to make sure they still know what impartial actually means.

  3. Macart says:

    The ‘devolution journey’ seriously needs kicked into touch. People want independence in all but name. Its for them to wake up to the realities of devolution and who really controls what.

  4. Gillie says:

    Different Scottish attitudes to immigration is the reason why UKIP has no traction in Scotland.

    One result of that is that we could easily see UKIP win the EURO elections south of the border and lose all their deposits north of the border.

    Scots are different.

  5. yerkitbreeks says:

    Polling – there’s an old Scots proverb that sums it up, depending on your perspective :

    First comes joy, then annoy

  6. G H Graham says:

    We are witnessing the chronic effect of British propaganda which is digested daily by most of the population who read newspapers & watch the news on the telly.

    Nevertheless, many places in England are overcrowded & appear to be populated by large numbers of people of foreign ethnic origin which the media simplifies as “immigrants”.

    Scotland is more sparsely populated with less than 5% of its population considered ethnic, according to last census report.

    Looking around Scotland, its hard to see why anyone could reasonably resist an increase of immigrants especially if they come with good skills and a decent education.

    But if you live in an overcrowded ghetto in London of which there are many, it is not surprising that the folks already there would resist an influx of more people, even of they looked like themselves.

    And since almost all of us view Great Britain through a media that is almost entirely published in England & is especially London centric, it is no wonder that some of the nasty, jingoistic, insular, anti foreigner attitudes in the south east of England spread across the border.

    and by accident or consequence, the media in Scotland has in my lifetime anyway, never been in a worse condition; shamefully dishonest, misleading, biased & shallow.

  7. HandandShrimp says:

    The figures suggest that immigration is an issue, just a not very big issue in Scotland. The figures are sufficiently different to make that clear. Obviously to the Mail immigration is a major issue and they want to push that agenda at every opportunity regardless of the figures.

    If you ask somebody if they want a Abu Hamza type character to move in illegally next door the answer is likely to be “not really”. If the question is, “do you want those nice Polish plumbers that just fitted out your bathroom to stay” the answer is likely to be somewhat different. Immigration is a very leading question issue. The truth is, nice people are welcome, psychopaths are not. Painting a particular group as deranged psychopaths is what the Mail is all about.

    I notice that the Mail also seems to have a negative headline in relation to the Scottish Government setting up a children’s guardian; in particular the complaints from the church. Are the Mail now advocating that the churches should be the guardians of children? An interesting double think given all their previous headlines over the last few years.

  8. seoc says:

    ‘No home-based/ controlled media’ is the nub of the difference.
    This glaring lack permits foreign print media to queue up seeking to put their words in our mouths, their thoughts in our heads.
    Ah, who could live without the fearless, investigative media that is constantly vigilant on our behalf?
    On second thoughts – who needs them?

  9. mogabee says:

    The blame game. MSM use it to detract from real issues.

  10. creigs1707repeal says:

    Can we just use the word ‘jam’ in place of ‘independence’. After all, it’s the only realistic means by which we truly will receive jam tomorrow.

  11. velofello says:

    Peter A Bell has an excellent article over on NewsnetScotland – Vote Yes to Save the Union. In the article he refers to the six unions of the UK between Scotland and England, and that it is to end the political union that a Yes vote is necessary, and so allow the other unions of the UK, particularly the social union, to continue.

  12. Cath says:

    I do quite a few polls for YouGov and I think one problem with them is you have no change to give a nuanced view – and on most subjects, most people don’t necessarily have to knowledge to give one anyway.

    For example there was one recently which asked something along the lines of agree/disagree “the welfare system is not fit for purpose”. Now I would say no to that because I’ve seen the hell extremely ill and disabled people are put through daily by ATOS and the DWP. Someone else answering may be coming from a Daily Mail propaganda perspective that “they’ve all got flatscreen TVs” etc. So it doesn’t really tell you much but can be spun anyway chosen.

    I suspect immigration is the same. It depends entirely on your own experience and the meaning you bring to the question. Also, bear in mind most people are pretty much ignorant of politics, so they’re not likely to know whether Holyrood does have control of immigration, or what the SNP policy on it is.

  13. memaw says:

    Last year I had a very interesting chat with a Pakistani lady who has lived in Scotland for over 50 years. She said that she was a proud Scottish Muslim who believed that she owed everything to Scotland. She thinks Scotland is a little jewel but in her words, “it is only a small country and “they” should stop immigration.”!! I was astounded by her vehemence.
    Maybe it would be interesting to find out the the make up of the core group of respondents.

  14. Robert Kerr says:

    Regarding the foreign newspaper propaganda. It has been many months since I accessed the “Scotsman” website and am getting close to the tipping point as far as the Herald is concerned.

    It would be appreciated if images of pieces by Ian Bell and Iain MacWhirter could be linked to on this site.

    Then I am isolated from the appalling annoying stuff by others and am no longer part of the revenue stream to that publication.

    Even the comments in the Herald are annoying and I cannot understand why anyone bothers with the pollutants emanating from Obe-Wan and others.

    Thanks Rev for an excellent service to democracy.

  15. steven luby says:

    Which to me proves just how poor an education we in Scotland have grown up with. Then there is the lack of political honesty,dire media output. Hardly surprising that Scots shy away from a single word ‘independence’ but want ScotsGov to handle the responsibility.I do strongly suspect that most of those that do shy from the ‘word’ are reading the Daily Record,religiously. Of course many towns and cities in England have huge populations of immigrants so to fire up the anti-immigration machine is as easy as Farage & Galloway appearing on tv.

  16. Murray McCallum says:

    “Once again, the only explanation we can offer for this contradiction is that Scotland has almost no home-based media. Bombarded daily with anti-immigration propaganda by newspapers owned and run in England, Scots reflexively answer that they want less of it.”


    In particular, our broadcast media in Scotland seem content to play the regional news role and not discuss our national (Scotland) issues in any depth of quality. Too timid.

  17. The Penman says:

    Did the poll ask if people thought the Scottish Parliament should have the powers over immigration, or the current Scottish Government?

    Conflicting accounts of the reports are confusing me.

  18. Mary Bruce says:

    Scottish_skier has posted some analyses of this poll on the previous thread, they are worth a look if you haven’t already seen them. Unsurprisingly they appear to be biased in favour of “Britishness” again, with far too few participants being born in Scotland than you would find in the general population, the poll is about 8% out.

    I’m so glad we have you on here, Scottish_skier, to point out the flaws in these polls, otherwise people like me might end up believing that they are in some way meaningful.

  19. EmbraBoffin says:

    This chimes a little with what I hear from people on the door step when I’m canvassing. It’s mainly older, apparently retired folks who worry about immigration and when you quiz them why they have no answer. When I suggest that we need more immigration to boost worker numbers to help pay for public services and to reverse the number of people who have left Scotland over recent decades they just look blankly at me. They just don’t have an answer.

    I suspect they are simply parroting what they have been fed by the media but haven’t actually considered the issue in local terms; that Scotland and England have very different needs when it comes to immigration.England seems to have reached saturation point in some areas while Scotland needs more folk to come here and work.

  20. scottish_skier says:

    As I noted on the previous article, it would seem Yougov’s Scottish panel is quite heavily skewed towards British. British attitudes are harder on immigration etc which affects results.

    Also helps explain why Yougov are an outlier for Y/N polls in addition to erroneously still weighting to 2010 (in part).

  21. Dick Gaughan says:

    That Ian Smart article exposes the mindset that is responsible for the long, slow demise of Labour in Scotland.

    Ian, the reason why people have stopped listening to you and no longer vote for your party lies in the total contempt in which you hold them. “No need to explain anything to them, they vote for us anyway. Just get them to the polling station.”

    And the real tragedy is that you don’t even begin to see any problem with that.

  22. Craig says:

    To be honest these are loaded questions. The very fact they are saying ‘reduced’ can have so many different parameters. Are Scots basing their views on events and hysteria in England? Are Scots really saying “we don’t mind immigration however it needs to be better managed in order to reduce overall flows?”

    A telling point will be the European elections. As to date, Scotland has rejected UKIP who have lost every deposit in Scotland. Make sure we have Scottish MEPs and not UKIP ones.

  23. Ericmac says:

    @Robert Kerr

    My sentiments exactly. There are around six people who are bitter defenders of unionist propaganda. While a number of YES supporters are able to debate both sides and occasionally see cons as well as pros… these six people only argue along the ‘smear, sneer and fear’ approach.

    I must admit, I find it hard to listen to their repeated scoffing, lies and denial that Scotland can do anything positive.

    But despite my New Year resolution I find myself back there rebutting their comments, if only for the sake of the lurkers, people reading who don’t comment.

  24. Cath says:

    I do see their support for immigration as a possibly weak point for the SNP, because so many people have been brainwashed by the media on this, and don’t realise Scotland is different from England. And in fairness, if you’re unemployed and in poverty, in an area with no jobs, it really isn’t any different. It would be a huge sell on the doorsteps of employment blackspots to be saying, “yes we want to throw our doors open to more immigrants after independence”.

    But at the same time, people quite naturally don’t want to close the door to people within the UK, who are not really seen as immigrants. So I think this is something the SNP/Yes camp probably needs to work on messaging a bit better.

    The “open borders” policy is, as far as I’m aware, only within the UK, meaning the situation wouldn’t change for people in Britain to move about freely and come and work here. The other immigrants the Scottish government want to attract are ones with very specific skills to help re-build areas of industry, build up science and engineering etc, all of which will help provide jobs for people here.

    That message needs to get out a lot more as a positive message, otherwise the ground will be left open for Project Fear to use it as another negative, scaremongering, divisive tactic.

  25. Ericmac says:

    O/T Half way through Lesley Riddoch’s book. Blossom, on my iPad. Incredible value at £1. Thanks for that Rev.

    Her description of life in Glasgow over the past 50 years (differences with England) and how it impacts on Scottish attitudes today is very relevant.


  26. Chic McGregor says:

    I think we are on dodgy territory if we imagine differences in attitude to immigration beween Scotland and England are down to some kind of inate difference in welcoming spirit.

    We are quite underpopulated whereas they are very overpopulated. At some point that must impact on things.

  27. desimond says:

    What do you want?
    An end to procrastination
    When do you want it?
    We’ll get back to you

  28. I would not exist if Scotland had adopted English dislike of foreigners. I’m half-Sicilian.

    The Italian community, (“Collar the lot!” Churchill) has made a distinguished contribution to Scottish life and culture … and I’m not including the Romans.

    Include Roman influence – money, architecture, military tactics, spas, drains, roads, Latin, theatre, and you arrive at Londinium, 43AD. But try telling a Cockney St Pauls is a copy of the Vatican and watch him choke.

    Generally speaking, English dislike of foreigners is as ingrained as their suspicion of intellectuals. In the end, they are all forced to live abroad.

  29. Ericmac says:

    @ Cath I think you are 100% right. I know areas in Scotland where the residents are very vocal and are angry at ‘immigrants taking their houses and jobs’.

    When people are impoverished and unable to get housing, it is to be expected that they will get angry when the local council seems to give foreigners priority. That is exactly how they see it.

    Scottish Government needs to ensure that local communities are taken care of and educate people around immigration.

    They will lose votes in many council estates if they espouse the importance of immigration without recognising some of the concerns.

  30. CameronB says:

    More evidence that Mr. Aaronovitch talks mince?

  31. A2 says:

    “Surprisingly balanced reporting compared to most of the BBC output in Scotland these days;”

    This may be down to the exercise that is being done by radio 4’s feedback prog where they are getting two listeners to monitor the output for a week. from about 22mins.

  32. Grendel says:

    In the supermarket this morning I noticed the headlines on the Daily Express in the rack. I picked the papers up, turned them around, and replaced them, sports pages facing outermost.
    A small act, but it helps.

  33. msean says:

    Scots answer differently because they are different,the strange figures come with the different Scots viewing/reading media based elsewhere. I don’t think Scotland faces the same situation as London and the south east,Saying that,they do face the continent and have the payoff of being in a great position for to benefit greatly from continental trade.

  34. Paul says:

    Immigration is a huge subject for debate in England as opposed to Scotland because they have much more of it. How many Scottish schools is English no longer the first language or how many Scottish towns have the indigenous population been outnumbered or even supplanted. Hundreds of English Schools have hardly any white pupils and towns like Birmingham, Bradford, Burnley, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Oldham,and Luton are just some of the Towns that depending on your point of view have now been taking over. To be truthful Scotland doesn’t know the half of it.

  35. Grendel says:

    I agree with Ericmac. I’ve said it before on here, there are businesses across the country who are using cheap immigrant workers rather than the local unemployed workforce.

    Big business is getting rich keeping Scots workers on the dole.

  36. Ericmac says:

    If polls were so perfect and always able to predict something… the pollsters and psephologists would be multi-millionaires. They’d be able to bet their houses and shirts on the results and thereby make a fortune.

    They don’t, because they cannot.

    They deal in percentage possibilities so far removed from certainty it makes a mockery of attaching much more than a passing interest to polls on the referendum.

    Does anyone know of pollsters currently betting everything on either a Labour or Conservative win in the GE?

  37. Ananurhing says:

    I give little credence to anything coming from yougov, ipsos mori these days. You know they’re shaping and harvesting responses with an agenda.

    The ambiguity of some of the questions reveals a clever exercise in amphibology masquerading as psephology.

  38. Gillie says:

    A YES vote would herald a revolution in Scottish broadcasting and reporting. It would breath new life into a profession and an industry that has lost all contact with Scotland and meaning to Scots.

    A NO vote will see the London dominated Scottish MSM die on its a##e. It would not be missed under those circumstances.

  39. heedtracker says:

    I always wonder what people who have moved here must think of us in Scotland when they read these headlines from ghastly newspapers like the Express/Mail. On the one hand, the English right want an endless supply of dirt cheap labour but who knows what they’re up to now. Tory/UKIP Britnat jingos master plan, mass brain washing them out of the EU, Britannia rules the waves, Royal majesties, playing fields of Eton, City gents, landed gentry, fox hunting, pearly kings and queens and the absolute right to immigrate anywhere THEY like. Rant over!

  40. The politically contrived, artificial debate in England over immigration – keeps our attention off the new criminal class called bankers and financiers – issues from the British empire’s past habit of dispensing passports to annexed nations as a way of keeping the “natives” quiet and controlled. Being English was inculcated as the best thing in the world.

    Few colonials expected non-British would take the offer to heart and plan to immigrate to a “better life” in Blighty.

    Westminster’s inane gibe Scotland has fewer immigrants and therefore less to complain about is racist nonsense. We have a good many communities, not the least of which are English, and set against a smaller Scottish population than England’s, just as prominent.

    We DO complain, but at those behind the trade counter who cannot speak English or count out coins efficiently, but there it tends to stop. Our lomg-assimilated immigrants, Indian, Pakistani, Italian, Chinese, Polish, Jewish, (not a race, I know, but an obvious othodoxy) Japanese, Nordic groups, Americans, and many from African nations, are seen as exotic citizens who enrich our culture and our understanding of theirs.

    Let’s not be hard on ourselves; the highly skilled Polish decorator who is content to work long hours within the non-insured, non-pensionable, black market is a considered blessing. He’s always available when the local company can’t attend to the job because he has too much work.

    Londoners never complained when they patronised China Town for their sweet and sour chicken dinner. What upsets them now are those wearing burkas, advertising their religion, reminding us who it was we last bombed to hell and back.

  41. ronnie anderson says:

    @Memaw11.08,yes it would be very interesting indeed,their all brother,s & sister,s,untill their lively hood,s threatened,ie( shop taking,s ),good post.

  42. Juteman says:

    The SNP need to make it clear they favour some kind of ‘Green Card’ system, and not an open door policy.

  43. Les Wilson says:

    As Stu points out, the fact that our english owned MSM and indeed the Scottish/ Westminster parties are almost cetainly going to bring this up in Holyrood MFQ’s in order to attack the SG on any level. Whether it is right or wrong, Willie Bain gave the answer to that.

    We will get the Westminster line until referendum day, our internet presence is the only way to debunk all this trash,
    it makes sites like this and Wings in particular, very very important for us. I like many others cannot wait for a time we have a real Scottish MSM who actually do report the real feelings and aspirations of the Scottish people. I live in hope anyway.

  44. HandandShrimp says:

    I would tend to agree with Chic and Paul in that immigration is not an issue of any great importance in Scotland simply because we have so few immigrants and a lot of empty space. England is over-crowded and the pressure on land and resources can be plainly seen by the number of flood plains they have built on. I am quite sure we are not inately kinder and it would folly to play it that way but the needs and experience of the two countries are quite different and consequently immigration has a different political play in Scotland. I think it would be sensible for Scotland to have control over its own immigration department in order that it can attend to its own determined needs.

  45. K8ie says:

    In 1939, Scotland’s population hit the 5 million mark. In 2011 it reached 5.295 million. Where did all the people go and why?

  46. Andrew Coulson says:

    I can’t understand why the Westminster pro-EU politicians do not see the trap opening beneath their feet. It is clear that the main force behind the rise of UKIP is that the UK cannot control EU migration. It is also clear, therefore, that the main demand that Mr Cameron will have to make in his re-negotiation with the EU is to take back control of EU migration. Any Westminster politician who is riding the anti-immigration wind will have to support DC, or look very foolish. The EU will not concede this demand. The in/out referendum will be held on the basis that DC did not secure his essential result. I can tell you what the outcome of _that_ referendum will be, now!

  47. Doug Daniel says:

    It’s difficult to see what exactly people DON’T want devolved. Immigration may be handled by the Home Office rather than the Foreign Office, but it would surely be difficult to devolve immigration while keeping Foreign Affairs reserved.

    So perhaps the fabled Devo Max that everyone supposedly wants is simply everything except defence devolved. But then what about Trident?

    Perhaps instead of “Should Scotland be independent?”, the referendum question should have been “Should the following powers be devolved to Holyrood?” followed by a list of all the reserved powers.

  48. heedtracker says:

    “The SNP need to make it clear they favour some kind of ‘Green Card’ system, and not an open door policy.”

    I disagree. For a start EU citizenship is right to live and work anywhere in Europe. Beyond that, I’ve never met an immigrant who is not here to work and do well. It’s absolutely disgusting to watch the UK right trying to attack these people.

  49. G H Graham says:

    Physiologically Scots & English are all but identical save a difference in genetic heritage. But when your experiences are dramatically divergent, one should expect the responses to reflect a split.

    Thus an overcrowded people living in a high cost region amongst a relatively high immigrant population will likely have a more negative view of what the British like to label as “foreigners”.

    This viewpoint is then sharply focussed by the puerile, jingoistic English media, which is delighted to oblige their readership with simplistic jargon & invective to support their reactionary opinions.

    Our geographic distance from the vast London ghettos & slums & our relatively low density of population partly mitigates the English media propaganda because what we are told rarely matches our reality.

    To me, the poll results reveals more about the effect of the English media/propaganda than about the attitudes of Scots.

  50. Big Jock says:

    10% of Scotlands population are from England and another 5-7% from various other nations. So we are reflecting their views as much as indiginous Scots.

  51. HandandShrimp says:


    I must say though that I find it ironic that the EU has a petted lip about Switzerland tightening up on immigration because the EU dream is about a more open and intergrated Europe and in the same breath Barroso and Rompuy drop heavy hints that Scotland and Catalonia would be unwelcome in the EU. Haggis and eat it springs to mind.

  52. Doug Daniel says:

    Paul says:

    How many Scottish schools is English no longer the first language

    Dunno, how many schools are there in the Western Isles?

    Hundreds of English Schools have hardly any white pupils

    Oh right, so it’s not immigration that’s the problem, but skin colour?

  53. ronnie anderson says:

    All british media have feed us PAP for donkey,s year,s, its litte wonder they get stupid result,s,people parroting back the PAP the were fed by them. as we all know , a large dose of salt,s need taking, they are no real indicator, as the are manipulated to the desired requirement of the pollster,s.

  54. HandandShrimp says:

    G H Graham

    I agree that the drip, drip poison of the media is incredibly corrosive. It poisons the mind against the other. Hell, it even tries to poison the mind against ourselves inculcating the too wee, too poor, too stupid message in any and every way.

  55. Schiehallion! Schiehallion! says:

    @ velofello

    Peter A Bell has an excellent article over on NewsnetScotland – Vote Yes to Save the Union. In the article he refers to the six unions of the UK between Scotland and England, and that it is to end the political union that a Yes vote is necessary, and so allow the other unions of the UK, particularly the social union, to continue.

    Thanks for mentioning this article (

    That is an excellent, essential question. A political union between England and Scotland – WHY?

  56. G H Graham says:

    K8tie, the Scots followed the money. And it is no surprise it wasn’t to be found in Scotland.

    If there’s better data which reveals the shocking negative effect on Scotland by being part of a union with England, I have yet to see it.

    I cannot think of a single British wide institution which has its head quarters in Scotland. Even the British ski club is in London.

  57. MajorBloodnok says:

    I don’t know what’s wrong with EU immigration. I mean, we’re free to go there if we want.

    Is it our fault (or their fault) that successive UK governments have discouraged us from learning foreign langauges, reducing our ability to understand and interact with the outside world thus preventing us from moving there easily, and demonised foreigners to the extent that some of us don’t want anything to do with any of them?

    Let’s face it though, life in some of these European countries is actually far better than in the UK, if only we could speak the lingo and find out for ourselves (Can’t have that! Would undermine the British state).

    Concepts of foreignness has clearly been a powerful tool in the UK government’s armoury to control us and keep us fearful of the external and the unknown, in that English/British is self-evidently good and foreigners are by definition bad (with no further thought or analysis of this absolute presupposition required).

    It also raises a problem with the independence issue because that mind set can’t square the fact that Scots will go from being British (quasi-English) and therefore normal, just like us, to suddenly being foreigners and therefore instantly ‘other’ and ‘just like them.’ Explains a lot of the anguish and hostility we see in the press and when below the liners in the Mail and Telegraph are given their head.

  58. heedtracker says:

    Hello HandandShrimp, the oh so clever Swiss banned mosques with minarets in Switzerland because you know what its like, you’re trotting along in Switzerland, a mosque with minarets pops into view and the world ends:-)

  59. bjsalba says:

    I am much more concerned about emigration – the loss of young people because there are not the jobs for them here.

    Until London and the South-East gets it they will be overcrowded and we will be underpopulated.

    The quick way to educate is called Independence – Vote YES.

  60. heedtracker says: The Cukoo clock and cheese dip, just saying.

  61. Dick Gaughan says:

    I very much doubt that rUK will be holding any in/out referendum.

    The whole notion seems to be simply a transparent ploy for trying to keep Tory voters away from UKIP. There are just too many provisos being touted – “if we win the next election” and “if we cannot successfully renegotiate“, the latter being their “get out of jail” card.

    Following a Tory or Tory/UKIP win at the next Westiminster GE, negotiations will be launched between rUK and the EU and as we know such negotiations could be dragged out to take the lifetime of the next Westminster parliament. The final conclusion by 2020 is likely to be a few bits of EU tweaking, probably around restrictions on population movements, which can be spun and presented to the rUK peoples, in the same light as Thatcher’s ridiculous “handbagging”, as major renegotiations making any referendum unnecessary.

    The best way for Scotland to react is with a Yes in September and leave them to get on with it.

  62. wee 162 says:

    I’ve said it before on here I think. There is a difference between abstract thinking about immigration and the reality for those most effected. I’ve got friends who work in the catering and building trade. They have absolutely seen a decline in the wages available to them since there’s been an increase in immigration to Scotland. That is because they’re simply being undercut by people willing to work for less money. They don’t hold an awful lot of resentment towards the individuals, but they absolutely detest a system which in their opinion is simply increasing profit for the owners of companies (the price of eating out and building work hasn’t went down) at their expense.

    It’s fine for people to look at this abstractly and say it’s good for the country. But there is a human cost to that as well. What is needed is something which encourages immigration, but also protects living standards for those working here already. It isn’t a net benefit to the economy or the country if those with roots and who are trying to look after their family here can’t get work because it’s cheaper to hire someone from Latvia who is able to live 4 to a room. And that’s not just those who were born Scots. There are plenty of immigrants from Eastern Europe who’ve now settled here with partners etc who are experiencing the exact same issues as those they were originally replacing. It’s a completely unsustainable system to be attempting.

  63. ronnie anderson says:

    It is with good reason that the early immigrant population, made money here,& the rUk,is that they were not incumberant of the Bank Borrowing.

    They work as a collective,putting money into a pot,then bought out buisnesses,(shop,s,houses,cash transaction,s ) Ivan Mc Kee touched on this system in a TV interview,& is still operated today.

    The problem,s with immigration in the past & as is today was & is UK Large buisness wanted Cheap labour.

    Any body who watch the news & Keith Vas welcomeing people from Solvakia, one guy came hear to wash car,s, that is not what the Uk / Indy Scotland need,Yes Scotland need,s people but the right kind of people, as & when we ourselves have full employment, & that mean,s we need Industry first & foremost.

  64. LeithBlueToon says:

    Paul: Interesting the English cities you provide as evidence of too much immigration are all “traditional” destinations for Indian/Pakastani communities. Personal experience tells me these cities are (generally) well adapted to a situation that arose many years ago. I think the hostility arises now in areas where this is a new phenomenon. Rural Lincolnshire for example. There ARE many areas of England where immigration is a huge problem and, yes, many schools are simply swamped. This is the perfect environment for the Daily Mails of this world to peddle their propaganda. And, as others have said, it’s then read by Scottish readers and taken as some sort of “one size fits all” policy.

  65. With English antipathy to foreigners it is always skin colour and religion that catches attention.

    Skin darker than a caramel has you marked as different, and that includes Spanish or Italian, or South American.

    That some schools are more Indian than English is a sure sign of a deprived area neglected by local and national politicians for generations, but cheap enough for the poor immigrant to make his home. It is a natural imperative for people of like mind and culture to herd together. It is, after all, exactly what English do when broad – seek out out others of their kind in order to be fully accepted and to feel secure.

    The same racist who scorns Scots for thinking riddance of Westminster cures all ills, is the same who thinks ridding England of immigrants cures all economic problems.

    The infamous, racist Tebbit test – cheering the English cricket team ensures an immigrant is fully assimilated – is hogwash. The immigrant cannot alter the colour of his skin. Like a Scottish accent in London, especially in the House of Commons, he will be classed as an “outsider.”

  66. Dick Gaughan says:

    @ wee 162:
    I’ve got friends who work in the catering and building trade. They have absolutely seen a decline in the wages available to them since there’s been an increase in immigration to Scotland.

    Much more significant is the number of jobs lost by the destruction of our coalmining, steel and shipbuilding and dependent industries. And those weren’t lost due to immigration.

  67. CameronB says:

    Hope this isn’t OT.

    I didn’t suggest ‘God is an English gentleman (of a certain caliber)’, to be racist against the English. I am part English myself. What I was referring to was the role that Anglican Evangelism played in spreading and growing the British empire. So I did a search and these caught my eye.

    Anglicanism and the British Empire, c.1700-1850

    Religion Versus Empire?: British Protestant Missionaries and Overseas Expansion, 1700-1914

    Missionary Discourses of Difference: Negotiating Otherness in the British Empire, 1840-1900 (Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series)

    British Missionaries and the End of Empire: East, Central, and Southern Africa, 1939-64

    This could also be interesting.

    Railways and Religion in Victorian England – Evangelism, Symbols and Unexpected Connections

  68. HandandShrimp says:


    I would agree that Cameron doesn’t want to hold an EU referendum and Foulkes said on the radio that Labour definitely would not and the Liberals are unlikely to back one. So Cameron has to win an outright majority. He could do that of course. The polls in England indicate that Milliband and the economy are not seen as favourable companions. The only caveat seems to be that the French have called Cameron’s reforms a non-starter. Consequently, Cameron would be under a lot of pressure to hold his referedum should he win. He will of course campaign against leaving but he would then be hostage to fortune because unlike our ballot a lot of the media in England will back the other position (Sun, Express, Mail).

  69. fergie35 says:

    Generally, it’s a part of Scotland’s culture that people can move here and be accepted, from what I have seen in England that is not the case, and yes England is far too heavily populated, while we are not, but there is a distinct difference in our social attitudes.

  70. Ivan McKee says:

    @ Macart, re the ‘devolution journey’.

    Leaving aside the fact that the process of further devolution only has 1 logical endpoint (unless you start to go backwards) the politics of this are about to become interesting.

    We are rapidly approaching the point where the answer to anyone who is ‘fed up’ with this constant debate around constitutional issues is to vote Yes and get it done with.

    The alternative is to indulge the Unionist parties desire to constantly debate the finer points of further devolution forevermore. Why would the people of Scotland want to put ‘Scotland on hold’ for more years into the future while we endlessly debate constitutional issues. Then we can have more referendums on further devolution in a never ending cycle of neverendums.

    All the SLAB lines of attack re-IndyRef are about to come back and bite them 🙂

  71. desimond says:

    I have a friend who has a lassez-faire attitude to independence as he thinks the EU ( and its control/pandering by/to big business) is the main cause of todays ills.

    If anyone can help offer some counter advice, would be very much appreciated

  72. handclapping says:

    This poll shews the difficulty of propaganda when confronted by reality. The MSM reflects the concerns of their predominant readership which does not chime with the situation on the ground in Scotland hence the disparity in poll results.

    However we must remember that polling and publishing the results is part of the Delphi method and interpretations like the Mail’s are facilitating their agenda.

    The best answer to propoganda is to make the real obvious so wearing your Yes button when out, delivering Yes papers, chapping doors with the Yes questionnaire all make Yes more real to people and counteracts the propaganda that they only experience in absentia through the media.

  73. Andrew Morton says:

    It never seems to occur to anyone that the most likely source of immigration in an independent Scotland is expatriate Scots returning home.

  74. Dick Gaughan says:

    HandandShrimp says:
    Consequently, Cameron would be under a lot of pressure to hold his referedum should he win.

    Granted, but the one scenario we’ve overlooked is what if the Tories should win but then the 1922 Committee do a John Major on Cameron? My crystal ball screams in horror and retires 🙂

  75. Linda's Back says:

    O/T but on a slow news day I typed out yesterday’s editorial from Sunday Times, which sells many more copies than the combined sales of Sunday Herald and SOS, and gives a flavour of the metropolitan mindset that still thinks Scotland gets more in subsidies than it pays in taxes.

    We are all naive and need to get real and stick with the UK.

    Scotland the naive needs to get real

    In 1992, days before the general election, John Major made an impassioned plea for maintaining the union between Scotland and the rest of the UK. “The other parties would put at risk the links between Scotland and England which have held us together for nearly 300 years,” he said. “Their policies could lead on to the disaster of full separation.” Mr Major struck a chord. The Tories scraped home in an election they had been expected to lose and their Scottish vote actually increased.
    David Cameron made a similarly impassioned plea on Friday. “Our great United Kingdom: brave, brilliant, buccaneering, generous, tolerant, proud — this is our country,” he said. “And we built it together. Brick by brick, Scotland, England, Wales, Northern Ireland. Brick by brick. This is our home — and I could not bear to see that home torn apart.”
    He has been criticised for making his speech at the Olympic park in East London, rather than in Glasgow or Edinburgh. He has been attacked for wrapping himself in the Union Jack glories of the Olympics two years ago. Alex Salmond, the Scottish first minister, who has challenged Mr Cameron to a televised debate on independence, had the temerity to suggest that a British prime minister should not be making such speeches but should be dealing with the floods.
    Mr Salmond, who is a clever politician, knows his audience. Even Mr Cameron recognises that whatever the Scottish roots of his name, the words of an Eton- educated English prime minister are more likely to increase support for independence north of the border than make Scottish voters think again.
    Professor John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde makes the fair point that the prime minister does a rather better job of explaining why Scottish independence would be bad for the rest of the UK than setting out why it would harm Scotland, Britain’s place in the world and a 300-year history of togetherness.
    Mr Salmond offers the possibility of change which, according to today’s Panelbase poll for The Sunday Times, appeals to 43% of Scottish voters.
    The vision of Scotland’s first minister conveniently overlooks the fact that, overwhelmingly, economic assessments show independence will mean change for the worst for a high-spending Scotland (benefiting for decades from higher public sector spending per head than neighbouring poorer English regions) and overreliant on diminishing North Sea oil revenues. Mark Carney, the Bank of England governor, has pointed out the humiliating constraints that an independent Scotland would be under if it maintained a currency union with the rest of the UK.
    Is the idea of a successful independent Scotland a non-starter? No. Nationalists tend to look at the success of the Nordic nations such as Norway, with its oil-based sovereign wealth fund, and Sweden. But there is no realistic prospect of Scotland establishing a sovereign wealth fund and meeting its other fiscal obligations. The modern success of Sweden is based on action to cut its budget deficit and radically to reduce welfare benefits and taxes.
    If there is a vision of success for an independent Scotland, the land of Adam Smith and Andrew Carnegie, it would resemble the entrepreneurial state offered by Wealthy Nation, a pro-independence right-of-centre pressure group: “If Scotland is going to have higher economic growth it can only come from the policies of the right — it has certainly never come from the policies of the left, here or anywhere else. So we need to deregulate, to lower taxes . . . slim down government, cut out public extravagance and waste.
    “That is what the Slovaks and the Slovenes did, starting from something like the same sort of collectivist economy as we have. After such action we will, like them, get investment and profits and jobs.”
    Is there any prospect of Mr Salmond and his cronies adopting such a vision? No. Which is why, whether they like him or not, Scots should heed Mr Cameron’s warnings on independence.

  76. alexicon says:

    My views on immigration are the same as most commenters on here and I do think the green card system is viable policy route for a future Scottish Government.

    Just a little heads up in case you come across your typical Labour troll trying to play this card.

    I’m sure the eventual figure was higher.

    So there you have it folks, unfettered immigration under Westminster.

    One thing about your enemy’s enemy is that they tend to let the cat out of the bag frequently and the other thing is my enemy’s enemy is not my friend.

    Anyone else having access problems (seeing them) to the Herald’s comment sections today?

  77. HandandShrimp says:



    Should the Tories win in 2015 (and let us hope we win in 2014 before that happens) the Tories have every chance of tearing themselves apart over Europe all over again.

    2020 might be Ed’s year to have a confortable win in rUK.

  78. A2 says:

    “agree with Ericmac. I’ve said it before on here, there are businesses across the country who are using cheap immigrant workers rather than the local unemployed workforce.”

  79. Macart says:

    @Ivan McKee

    Completely agree Ivan. You could see this one coming from a long way off.

    I’m guessing they were hoping their weight and media superiority would have seen off an independence vote long since over the eighteen month period to date. No need to explain anything at that point and certainly no need to become split over more devo, no devo.

    The next seven months should see the devo bubble well and truly burst, the interesting part being just what the split reaction will be? How will Scottish Labour members react to London HQs intransigence? I’m betting on a fair number of hi profile bods finally coming off the fence at that point.

  80. jingly jangly says:

    If some of my English friends complain about Immigration, I remind them that the English were the first Illegal Immigrants into the British Isles, that usually shuts them up!!!

  81. heedtracker says:


    As a Scot whose met, works with, hopefully friends with and tries to pull Eastern Europeans that have immigrated to Scotland, I am so so sorry about these London politicians, deeply creepy journalists and above all else, the endlessly repulsive UK newspaper barons.

  82. MajorBloodnok says:


    Next time your friend is walking along a scottish beach near a town he can ask himself why it’s not covered in human shit, condoms and panty liners. Step forward the EU Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive, which has progressively compelled EU countries to control and treat sewage discharges to rivers and the sea over the last 20 years (yes, salmon in the Clyde again and the Danube’s much improved too).

    The EU is very good at environmental legislation – which helps to preserve and actively improve our environment (river water quality, air quality, waste management (landfills), groundwater quality, landscape, designated areas, protected species, etc.) meanwhile providing us environmental consultants with gainful employment.

    Speaking of employment, the EU also has some very useful jobs-related legislation, which of course the UK has managed to opt out of where at all feasible to suit big business and Westminster’s ‘Victorian values’ fetish. The EU gets blamed for a lot of stuff that actually should be laid at the door of Westminster.

    And of course any attempts by the EU to try to make the banking sector more responsible and accountable is regarded as profoundly ‘un-British’ and we wouldn’t want foreigners meddling on our proud traditions of boom, bust and financial bubbles now, would we?

  83. crisiscult says:

    I heard Humza on Radio Scotland this morning and I thought he did fine, pointing out the illegal/legal immigration feature. I would have loved it if he had asked Gary Robertson why the BBC was trusting the methodological validity of this piece of research but not the research of a few weeks back finding that the BBC was exhibiting bias against independence; did the BBC plan to examine this new research to check its reliability and validity?

    Anyway, this immigration research fits nicely into the new anti independence front – Scots are no different from the rest of the UK, so belt up and stop pretending you are. As Rev has pointed out, the research doesn’t exactly fit that narrative however, but with some selective reporting it does the job quite nicely. I’m looking forward to getting some cross europe research on these social attitudes that’ll probably show that the whole of Europe is pretty similar, then the world.

  84. desimond says:

    Labour welcome another ConDem DWP initiative…

  85. crisiscult says:


    Good point about employment rules by the way. Left to the neo liberal consensus in the UK, without the buffer of the EU, I think we’d lose fixed term and part time protections for one thing. So nice that Cameron’s negotiations include trying to opt out of the social chapter.

  86. CameronB says:

    wee 162, it sounds like you want a written constitution mate. 🙂

  87. Garve says:

    The polling data has the question:

    “Do you think that immigration from outside the UK to BRITAIN/SCOTLAND should be increased, reduced or remain the same?”

    What does this mean? Were people in Scotland asked that, or were they asked

    “Do you think that immigration from outside the UK to SCOTLAND should be increased, reduced or remain the same?”

    Those are two different questions. I might well feel that the UK as a whole needs to curb immigration, but that Scotland (whether independent or not) doesn’t.

    And if it was the 2nd question, then surely it should be

    “Do you think that immigration from outside SCOTLAND to SCOTLAND should be increased, reduced or remain the same?”

  88. Ivan McKee says:

    @ Andrew Morton

    Correct. The biggest group of immigrants to iScotland will be expat Scots returning home, 2nd biggest group will be rUK residents moving to Scotland, 3rd biggest group will be EU immigrants (which is same rules as at present with iScotland being part of EU going forward)and is the same rules that allows Scots to go and live/work across the EU.

  89. john king says:

    getting a new router soon be back online

  90. callum says:

    O/T – the co-ordinated attempt to derail the Bannockburn celebrations by the local Labour party appears to be working. (This is the event that the local labour/tory council alliance secretly pitched to the MoD to have “armed forces day” on the same date). Now it looks like their next form of attack is to attempt to cut the funding for the event to ensure it won’t succeed.

    The Scotsman is faithfully reporting press releases:

  91. drygrangebull says:

    I know its o/t….again, but on farsnews they suggest if D.C wants Scotland to stay he will to resign and call a fresh election….lol

  92. wee 162 says:

    @Dick Gaughan 13:04

    I’m not saying de-industrialisation isn’t and hasn’t been a problem. What I’m saying that folk with none too many qualifications need work too. And to a large extent the areas which are available which offered some ability to work your way up existed in those types of jobs like being a chef or working in the building trade where you can servce a bit of time doing well in them and expect good renumeration.

    And at the risk of seeming a bit narky, de-industrialisation happened. There might be a possibility of re-creating some of those jobs under independence, but I’m more concerned with what’s happening now. And immigration has the biggest effect on those without too many qualifications whose job choices are mostly doing unskilled labour. We need to start looking after all of society, not just the most visible bits. Personally I’d be saying that raising the minimum wage so that it’s a living wage would be a decent starting point for that. The rest of our costs might rise a bit with it, but that’s surely a price worth paying to allow people a wee bit of dignity in their work. I’d also be in favour of complete unionisation within the industries most effected so that people are being treated equally (ie those moving here to work aren’t being utterly exploited because they’ve no awareness of their rights).

    BTW I’ll point out that those I know don’t have a problem with people moving and living here to try and make a better life for themselves and their families. For starters as Scots we’ve been doing that for centuries. But they are legitimately concerned that it’s the assault on their living standards which are being ignored with immigration policy.

    There should be proper discussion on immigration and its effects and how we want it to be and how best to make it work for both the current and future residents of our nation. That doesn’t mean legitimising the bigots who attack anyone without a British accent from the likes of the Daily Mail.

  93. Robert Louis says:


    What the council in Stirling have done is a crying shame. In my opinion, the Scottish Government should step in, and change the date and location to Edinburgh – teach these London-worshipping unionists in Stirling council a serious lesson. If they cannot respect Bannockburn and the history of Scotland, then they should NOT host the event.

    I find the whole concept of the recently introduced UK ‘armed forces day’ quite obscene, yet here we have the London-worshipping unionists (Labour and Tory) of Stirling council lining up to spend Stirling council taxpayers money to host such a tawdry event, on the same day as one of the most important Scottish historical events. It is clearly quite deliberate and quite intentional, designed to damage any chance for the Bannockburn event.

    In any other country of the world, politicians behaving in such a shameful way in regards to their own culture and history would be run out of town.

    Ahhh yes, such is the ‘love’ we feel coming from London. A quite deliberate plan to destroy a Scottish historical celebration. Thanks David Cameron and ‘Scottish’ London-worshipping unionists.

    Why do ‘Scottish’ London-worshipping unionists in the Labour party so despise the reality of Scottish history?? Seriously, what is wrong with them? You would NEVER find an Englishman denying his countries history in such a way. Never!

  94. heedtracker says: What the BBC in Scotland wants us to think. Scots must be the only people in the world where their state broadcaster takes the piss out of same people that pay their wages and the Scottish national flag, as per.

  95. ronnie anderson says:

    @Lnda,s Back, Re John Major,look where he ended up,oot the door, with egg,s tra benifits,in bed wi Edweena Curry,we cn sort Cameron oot the door,nae extra benifit,s, he,ll be dumpted like a hot tattie.anybody fancy a Spanish ommlette.

  96. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Robert Louis

    Trivialising and denying a nation’s culture and history is a way of controlling that country. Three centuries of it have created the Scottish cringe and clearly this is manifesting itself in Stirling.

  97. Robert Louis says:


    Aye, good old blatantly biased BBC to feed the propaganda. The BBC in Scotland answers to nobody and treats complaints with utter, utter contempt.

    Their arrogance is exemplified by their recent attacks upon the academic integrity of the one year long academic study by the University of the West of Scotland, which found serious levels of anti independence bias within BBC reporting in Scotland. How did the BBC respond? Apparently the research is ‘flawed’. Nothing wrong with the BBC.

    Aye, BBC knows best. Just like it did with Saville.

  98. Andy-B says:

    Alex Johnstone Conservative MSP on radio Scotland this morning,when asked about, Scots and their more lax view of immigration, and the fact Scots would prefer, the matter to be devolved to Holyrood.

    Mr Johnstone replied, in order for the rest of the UK to defend itself from Scotland soft approach to immigration, border controls would need to be implemented.

  99. ronnie anderson says:

    @MajorBloodnok 1.36, The EU have never since its conseption had a Financal Accouting, that for me is one reason, I would be against joining the EU,unless under Opt out clause,s apply to Indy Scotland.

    Like Westminster there is to much corruption,same lobbying of Corperate giant,s.

  100. CameronB says:

    Sorry, completely OT. On of my favourite documentaries concerning the effect Plutocratic elites have on the common man. 🙂

    Star Trek – Plato’s Stepchildren (condensed)

  101. Andy-B says:

    The Telegraph newspaper scaremongering, over Scottish investments, but some businesses, actually think an independent Scotland could help business flourish. Interestingly the resetting up of a Scottish stock exchange is mentioned, which in my opinion would help, medium to small businesses, something London’s stock exchange, has no interest in doing.

  102. Indy_Scot says:

    I can’t help thinking back to last week when Alex Salmond stated on several news programmes that David Cameron should be at the Somerset floods helping and supporting people, rather than lecturing them from mount Olympus to phone Scotland to tell it not to leave.

    I can just image David with his feet up watching TV after a hard days work at the office, and Sam asking if he fancies going out to celebrate his rallying of the troop’s speech.

    “Sorry dear something’s just come up. That Salmond is a pain in the butt, could you do me a favour and phone for a pair of wellies. You better get a chopper while you’re at it.”

  103. Oneironaut says:

    @Robert Louis
    Just wondering about that actually. I haven’t heard anything else about that report into BBC bias lately.

    Have the people behind the propaganda machine had the report swept neatly under the carpet or something?

  104. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Sorry for going O/T Stu but Max Keiser has a page up at the moment asking for folks views on Scottish independence thought people here might be interested in adding their thoughts. There are one or two, how can I say this, interesting remarks. 🙂

  105. heedtracker says: O/T but this is progressive liberal Guardian discussing the very sad loss of the journalist that brought them Comments is Free from Hugffinton Post, NY NY. Its only noteworthy here because I lost count of number YES vote comments that they simply “disappeared” or removed, as not of their community standard. This was a perennial experience CIFing on all sometimes bizarre vote NO bias stuff from Guardian foreign correspondent Severin Carrell in particular and especially loads of BTL on their lovingly rendered Johann Lamont puffs.

    Progressive and liberal England is fine but England rules.

  106. Andy-B says:

    Here’s Alan Savage, Chairman of the Orion Group, saying, “A vote to remain in the UK is a vote for certainty and stability”.

    How on earth can Mr Savage know for sure that a vote to remain in the UK, is one laced with as he says, certainty and stability.

  107. MochaChoca says:

    I see various reports etc mentioning the difference in population density as one of the reasons for the differing attitudes to further immigration between Scotland and rUK.

    Surely this is a red-herring. We may have far more open space outwith our urban areas, but our towns and cities (where the vast majority of original in incoming residents live and work) will be just as densely populated as those elsewhere in the British Isles.

  108. MochaChoca says:


    Good article by Messr Bateman on NNS today about the UWS BBC bias report.

    Includes another response from BBC attempting to further discredit the report and hoping to put it to bed with a ‘have to agree to disagree’ conclusion.

  109. HandandShrimp says:

    Alan Savage’s piece could have been written by Better Together central it is so full of the standard dog whistles. It certainly doesn’t entice me to vote No.

    Life is uncertain and change is inevitable. How often have businesses told their workforce those very words?

  110. CameronB says:

    Ukraine and the Rebirth of Fascism in Europe
    By Eric Draitser

  111. joe kane says:

    It’s ironic that the largely foreign-owned and controlled media in Scotland complain about foreigners but also refuse to represent the range of views of Scottish natives (so to speak) honestly and impartially. It’s almost as if Scotland is under foreign occupation and its people treated as if they are living in an occupied zone.

    We’re treated as foreigners in our own country by the London-centric establishment who, when they’re not ignoring us, denigrate and belittle our history, culture and achievements. I think this might have something to do with the difference in Scottish attitude to foreign people. We know what it’s like to be subjected to unwarranted views based on ignorance and stereotypes peddled by the likes of the Mail, Express etc.

  112. Ken500 says:

    Scotland 2/3 size of thevrest of the UK. Scotland 5million. Rest of the UK 55 million.
    Immigrants 10% of the Pop. Dcoland has been depopulated by Westminster centrist economic policies. Immigrants have traditionally migrated to London S/E because that is where the jobs are – low unemployment. ‘Unemployment in Scotland and th North was a price worth paying for prosperity in the South’.Thatcher and the Governor of the BoE. People from Britain work and live all over the world. Brits retire to Spain/France etc.

    In all Industrialised Democracies (Europe), the population are falling (without immigration). Russia, China etc. the populations are falling. US population has risen, slowly.

    It was not immigrants that caused the Banking crisis, it was the US/UK unregulated banking sector. For the first time unemployment in Scotland is lower than the rest of the UK, and the population in Scotland has increased.

  113. dmw42 says:

    This, on the same day European Commissioner (László Andor) states:

    “In Britain, and some other EU countries, we have been witnessing increasing unease, animosity, and sometimes hostility towards migrant EU workers, in particular as regards the rights of citizens from other EU Member States to various forms of social benefits in host countries.

    “The truth, and indeed it might be “inconvenient” for some, is that the vast majority of people who move from one EU country to another do so in order to work. They don’t do it in order to claim benefits. These workers are in fact of considerable benefit to the economies, and to the welfare systems, of the receiving countries.

    “For all countries with an ageing population, like the UK, the availability of migrant workforce is an asset”.

  114. Ken500 says:

    UK Border Agency rounding up two Indian chefs. Did the UK immigration Minister get fined £thousands for employing a foreign unregistered cleaner? Businesses have been fined.

  115. Ken500 says:

    Paul, the right wing Press tax evader, supports UKIP, and picks up EU subsidies for his Scottish estate. Total hypocrite.

  116. Brian Powell says:

    It was interesting during a Newsnight Scotland debate, where the audience were all from outside Scotland, the BBC reporter said, “UKIP isn’t represented so I’ll put there point of view.”

  117. JGedd says:

    Scotland’s population has stayed around the 5 million mark for several decades now while England’s has soared. Scotland actually has a bigger problem with emigration not immigration. The fact that the UK economy is so badly balanced and a mainly low-wage economy means that there are too many people chasing too few jobs which are poorly paid. This is why resentment is wrongly directed at immigrants.

    It is also true that ruthless employers have used this imbalance in having a large pool of people seeking any kind of employment, to drive down wages. I believe that the Scottish Government aims to have a high skills, highly paid work force, but of course, needs the levers that independence would give to grow that economy. It is difficult for people suffering the daily grind of living in the UK economy to believe in that better future, especially when they are daily fed spin and untruths from the media.

    How do we get past the roadblock which is the British media? I have to say that even with excellent sites such as this, I feel it’s a struggle we can’t win.Unless something miraculous happens, I can’t see the Scottish public being able to see round the roadblock – until it’s too late.

  118. Jamie Wallace says:

    From my own experience with their polls, YouGov doesn’t differentiate between Scottish Government of UK government in its polls. This may be where it gets confusing. Sometimes it is impossible to answer their questions because they talk a lot about devolved issues and it is hard to reflect I like how it is here in Scotland but fear for what is happening over the Border.

  119. orkers says:

    We scoff at New Labour for chasing after the Tories who are chasing after UKIP to see who can be the biggest bastards.

    I notice a trend from some on this Thread who seem to want to join in the chase?

    Don’t even think of doing it.

    Get a grip.

  120. velofello says:

    @ wee 162: Do you agree that there is a demand for steel products in the UK, now imported, and a demand for coal, – currently being shipped in from, I believe South America. And would you agree that work in coal-mining and steel-making is largely semi-skilled?

    So why oh why did Thatcher act as the mercenary to destroy these industries? Could it be because the Establishment saw profit elsewhere, demand control,are essentially supra-national in their thinking and so poverty and unemployment in the UK was/is of no concern to them, and Thatcher the shopkeeper’s daughter flattered by them, did their bidding?

    If we had presently these “uneconomic” steelmaking and coal mining industries then we would have this immigrant cheap labour to work these industries, and of course the UK unemployed too! And note I’ve placed uneconomic in inverted commas. Accountancy is full of trickery. Corporation tax?

  121. alec says:

    I found the poll results on immigration interesting. I can’t agree with some of the posters implying that the English are inherently racist. Of course there are problems, but England (and I mean specifically England) really is one of the most remarkably well integrated countries in the world.

    I actually think that you should be rather proud of your nearest neighhbour, and it’s advanced attitudes and ability to accept incomers from around the world. Much of England really is very cosmopolitan, and while of course we have issues here, we not doing too badly at all on this score.

    I was interested a few days ago on the exchanges over pensions, when one of the responses from several posters to my points about unfavourable Scottish demographics was that this didn’t matter for pensions, as an independent Scotland would be able to boost immigration.

    This is economically perfectly sensible and rational, but given these numbers, a doubtful political strategy. My assumption is that this is why the SNP have tried to bury the demographic projections, as a message that they will pay for better pensions through higher immigration is probably one that they are nervous of making.

  122. Chic McGregor says:

    Scotland is underpopulated and therefore can grow its population. Whether by immigration, repatriation or family planning incentives like child allowance/nursery provision.

    England is very overpopulated. That is a much harder issue to deal with in all kinds of ways.

    The only ways this can be addressed pragmatically is by immigration, emigration and family planning policies.

    All of these have ethical and economic implications.

    Immigration, controlling that, IMO, can only be ethically justified solely on the basis of the fact that England is over populated. Turning away those who want to move there because of where they come from is not justifiable ethically or even economically or sensibly.
    But, overpopulation is, if not already critical, at some point surely must, be a reasonable reason to have immigration control as part of the response. It is just a logical limitation. Doesn’t mean anyone should feel good about having to do it.

    Questions then are, should it be on a randomly chosen basis, or should it be on ‘perceived worth’ basis. Clearly, the latter would be better for England’s economy, but that introduces all kinds of questions regarding who decides what defines worth?

    Emigration, I can see no acceptable policy which could be applied to influence this.

    Family planning, some measures can be introduced, but only in a very slow acting way so that they would not effect the productive/non-productive demograph too much.

    Thankfully, Scotland does not have that problem. Underpopulation is much easier to deal with.

    But we shouldn’t be smug about it. England has a real overpopulation problem and we must hope they can address it in an acceptable way. By that I mean, a rational and ethical way rather than by growing support for organisations which perhaps utilize ‘othering’ or ethnic discrimination to foment support.

    Unfortunately, powerful political (neo-imperialist) and commercial (low wage exploitationist) forces are arrayed against the addressing of the overpopulation problem, and neither for good reasons. This only encourages the growth of the kind of repugnant organisations already mentioned.

    UKIP are gaining support simply because some of the things they are saying describe the reality of England’s overpopulation which chimes with the electorate’s own perception. It is like the old adage “Just because someone is an idiot, doesn’t mean that sometimes what they are saying doesn’t happen to be true.”

    Perhaps, the more mainstream parties can in response evolve an ethically acceptable plan to address their overpopulation problem and see off those less savoury factions.

    We must sincerely hope they can do that.

    The problem they have is that this requires a paradigm shift on their own part away from neo-imperialist ‘big country’ fixation, and even having achieved that, ethically acceptable measures, as mentioned before, will take a considerable time to work and the impatience of the electorate might be more attracted to seemingly faster solutions on offer from the more extreme parties.

    It is a potentially very serious issue for England and one we must wish them the best outcome from, but hopefully, by then, as an independent country with an entirely different situation regarding population ourselves.

  123. Chic McGregor says:


    I think the situation regarding Scotland is that we can have immigration because we are underpopulated and that that would help pensions demographics.

    It is not the case, as your post seems to infer, although I may well be picking you up wrongly, that Scotland would require immigration to fund our pensions.

    Scotland is actually in a much better situation regarding pension funding to productive worker ratio than the rest of the UK, simply because we have a larger proportion of our population in work and a smaller proportion of pensionable age (due in part to lower life expectancy).

    The MSM only ever mentions that our population is ageing faster. They neglect to point out that this is entirely due to our life expectancy figures catching up with the rUK. i.e. a good thing surely?

    It will not be until at least, at least 2030 that we catch up to the point where we had the same ratio as the rUK, and that is only if we do not grow our productive workforce.

    The likelihood that our productive workforce would actually grow, through immigration, repatriation and family planning incentives would only extend or put off indefinitely the point where we would be in the same predicament as rUK.

    Meanwhile, that is why the Scottish Government can promise things like keeping the retirement age down and inflation linked pension increases for the foreseeable future.

  124. Clay says:

    I’m saddened to see this type of propaganda being spread to Scotland and although Lesley Riddoch recently wrote a piece on it in the Scotsman I suspect many Scots might be unaware of the current problems faced by UK citizens married to non EEA citizens. As a Scottish person in the situation I’d like to give a general overview.

    In July 2012 in an attempt to outdo UKIP and drastically reduce net migration, the Tories changed the Family Migration rules so that there was a new income requirement: you had to have a job paying 18, 600 to sponsor a non EEA spouse to join you in the UK. The figure rises incrementally if you are also sponsoring children. Furthermore, if you fall short of the figure you cannot use third party support to top up earnings: you have to have 2.5 Times the shortfall plus 16,000 savings.

    So for example, if you have a job paying 17,600 you would need 2500 plus 16000= 18500 savings. To rely on savings alone would require 62,500. 18,600 May not seem like a stratospheric wage but let me be clear about this: 47 per cent of workers in the UK at present don’t earn this much, and 48 per cent of Scots. I graduated with a first class degree just after the crash as a mature student, I have decent experience in a few job sectors. I have applied for over 300 jobs in the past three years in Scotland with No luck whatsoever.

    In order to be with my non EEA wife I have to live with her in her country, where my work is soon due to finish. Although it is a beautiful place, the levels of violent crime are simply incomparable to anywhere in Europe, and as we are not wealthy we are exposed to them. I’m faced with returning home in search of work in the knowledge that I may be separated indefinitely from my wife. While I look for work in Scotland she is unlikely to be given a visitor’s visa, as it is likely they will view her as a non genuine visitor once I have moved back.

    This situation is due to the cheap party politicking of a party with one MP in my country. My wife would be an assert to Scotland, is well qualified and has specialist experience in a certain employment sector. I am effectively exiled from my own country because of completely disproportionate Tory immigration rules.

    Incidentally, immigration judges have overturned several cases affected by these rules and the Home Office has a High Court appeal against these judgements in March 2014. The Home Office may lose, but can appeal again to the Supreme Court in order not to lose face, and ground to UKIP in the next UK General election

    I am also in favour of the EEAin many ways but as their immigration rules stand, if I were from anywhere else in the EEA I could bring my non EEA spouse to on a free visa, no matter what I earned in the UK , along with almost any of her family members.

    Much is made of the financial aspect of immigration in terms of highly skilled migrants and students being of value to Scotland. However, over and above this more should be made of the Human Rights of UK citizens to have a family life with their non EEA spouses in the UK. I hope this will change in an Independent Scotland. The Tories justify these rules by suggesting that UK taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for non EEA spouses, the implication being that they cost too much in terms of benefits claims.

    There amount of benefits claimed by non EEA immigrants is miniscule compared to the entire benefits bill and the amount claimed by illegal immigrants even smaller. Of course, compared to the amount lost on missing tax from the super rich, there is no comparison. The vast majority of non EEA benefits claimants are also in London, which is least affected by the New rules such wages in general are so much higher.

    If I were a cynical person, I might say the Tories had sleekitly introduced a rule to aTppease middle England while ensuring that their London city state still had a supply of Labour for jobs British people and Europeans prefer not to do.

  125. wee162 says:


    I absolutely disagreed with the decisions to close those industries at the time when I was a child and spent my Saturday mornings collecting money during the miners strike. Nothing has changed my mind about that. But we still have to deal with what exists now regardless of that.

    There are next to no industries available for those with minimal qualifications to enter. Those which there are are disproportionately those who employ immigrant employees because they’re cheaper, and they’re more exploitable. Which means it’s an absolute struggle to protect the living standards of those who work in them. And that’s not just those born in Scotland, it is also the immigrants who have settled here whose cost of living rises at that point.

  126. morgan mc says:

    Whats interesting is if you mention immigration the press and tv immediately focus on non eu immigration. India, pakistan the Commonwealth, the Americas.

    The Swiss who are not in the EU voted to restrict EU migration on the same principal that the EU restricts non EU countries.

    So why is the EU policy not named and decried as a right wing xenophobic policy. When a member of the European Movement decried the Swiss decision as pandering to the right.

    Its called being independent and Brussels does not like countries asserting their rights. Even non EU countries.

  127. Andrew says:

    I can’t believe the dross I have read above.

    The poll shows that Scots have similar views to those in the rest of the UK on immigration, as they do on pretty much every social attitude indicator.

    A majority of Scots (58%) want less immigration despite the fact that existing immigration is relatively low in Scotland. The reason UKIP don’t get any votes in Scotland is because the nationalist vote is already taken by the SNP, not because Scots are inherently pro-immigration.

    Moreover, the reason Scots say they want the Scottish Parliament to decide on immigration issues (even although they don’t agree with the Scotish Government’s policies) is naked nationalism.

  128. Richard says:

    I await with interest the offishul EU response to the Swiss referendum. It is going to be tricky. Will they sanction the Swiss or will they create a fudge solution? Very interesting outcome likely to impact on the Bitters/Barosso/ van rompuy axis with our EU question. At least I very much hope so ;-p

    Can they respect democracy and live with it or will we see something else. Popcorn on order

  129. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The poll shows that Scots have similar views to those in the rest of the UK on immigration, as they do on pretty much every social attitude indicator.”

    Yes, so long as you ignore inconvenient stuff like, um, all the numbers.

    “Moreover, the reason Scots say they want the Scottish Parliament to decide on immigration issues (even although they don’t agree with the Scotish Government’s policies) is naked nationalism.”

    The SNP has never come even remotely close to 60% of the vote, which is how many people want Holyrood to control immigration. Please be less of an idiot, we have standards around here.

  130. morgan mc says:


    Info only: 2009 euro elections in Scotland. Ukip held their deposit with 5.2% of the vote.

  131. @Andrew
    A majority of Scots (58%) want less immigration despite the fact that existing immigration is relatively low in Scotland. The reason UKIP don’t get any votes in Scotland is because the nationalist vote is already taken by the SNP, not because Scots are inherently pro-immigration.

    Because everyone who voted for the SNP are clearly nationalists. Yeah, all those disgruntled former labour voters, tired of seeing their party ape Thatcher time and time again are pure hardcore nationalists man!

  132. Richard says:

    My my a lot of trolling from britnats these days.


    You clearly feel that it is important to you to equate UKIP/swivel eyed Tories/BNP with the SNP and no doubt, when asked you will be able to provide evidence of such bigoted, extremist, racist parties.

    I am interested in self determination for Scotland and a country that will welcome immigrants. If that is your interpretation of ‘nationalism’ then we share it. Put up your evidence or fuck off

  133. morgan mc says:

    I think that 503,000 should be the ball park figure for immigration in the first year of an independent Scotland. After all if the rUk objects to mass EU migration and are deemed racist by wanting quotas whilst still having immigration. Then for parity sake Scotland should put its money where its mouth is. Or is that figure to high?

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