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Wings Over Scotland

The Scotland of the South

Posted on June 25, 2014 by

In 2009, nearing the end of my Masters degree in Scotland and with the UK recession in full swing, I decided to leave for New Zealand. I’ll admit that the decision was somewhat influenced by a breathtaking TV ad. Sweeping helicopter shots of stunning mountain ranges, photogenic youngsters frolicking on sunny beaches, and a thumping soundtrack. I still can’t listen to “Forever Young” without goosebumps.


New Zealand is a country slightly larger than Great Britain with a population smaller than Scotland. Famed for its beautiful scenery, laid-back lifestyle and sporting achievements, this small and successful country where I still live, tucked away in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, provides an ideal argument for an independent Scotland.

Why? I’ll explain.

My first year in New Zealand was at times difficult, as I struggled with homesickness. Without any family or friends within 11,000 miles, I was, for the first time in my life, completely independent and with that came a real sense of responsibility. Over the next three years, I settled into a positive new life in New Zealand and developed a stronger self-belief than I ever knew was possible.

It’s an unbeatable feeling to achieve your dreams through your own choices and determination. I believe that independence for Scotland will mark the start of just such a positive transformation. With a renewed sense of responsibility, Scotland will begin to forge its own path in the world. With that will come a self-belief that’s currently lacking. There will undoubtedly be obstacles along the way. They will be overcome.

In contrast, Scotland within the union will forever be unable to make key decisions about its own future, and will forever remain uncertain of its true potential. Scotland doesn’t require the so-called broad shoulders of the UK.

If you’re concerned about the tenability of an independent Scotland, then you need only consider New Zealand. I won’t claim that NZ is a utopia, but it performs very well in international comparisons on human development, life expectancy, public education, civil liberties, press freedom, lack of corruption, and so on.

Indeed, it outperforms the UK in many such comparisons. For example, New Zealand was rated 6th in the 2013 Human Development Index (pg 15), compared to 27th for the UK. In 2012, it ranked 1st in the Worldwide Index of Human Freedom. All this for a geographically isolated country of 4.4m people, with a near-identical GDP per capita to the UK, and no massive bounty of natural resources comparable to Scotland’s oil.

The relationship between New Zealand and its nearest large neighbour, Australia, is in many ways similar to that between Scotland and England. Most New Zealanders have family and friends living in both countries. Indeed, tens of thousands of New Zealanders make the move across to Australia every year.

Australia is New Zealand’s leading trade partner. They enjoy an intense sporting rivalry and take pride in winding each other up, usually over a few beers. They share a common travel area, allowing citizens from each country to live and work freely in the country of their choice. In other words, the two countries share a close bond.

If you were to try to convince New Zealand to abolish its own government and instead hold a minority share in Australia’s, you’d rightly be met with a swift proclamation of your insanity. Such an arrangement would undoubtedly fuel a sense of grievance against Australia and ultimately lead to a deterioration in the relationship.

And yet this is the political arrangement that was created in Scotland. An independent Scotland can aspire to having a more positive relationship with England, unburdened by blame, much like New Zealand currently has with Australia. Treating each other as equals can only break down barriers, not build them.

It’s also worth commenting that people living in an independent Scotland will be no more foreign to those in the rest of the UK than they are now. As an immigrant myself, I know that you’re not defined by your nationality, but rather by your thoughts and actions. My friends and family in Scotland will always be that, regardless of their nationality. I know that they’ll see me in the same way even if I someday return with a New Zealand passport.

The economic arguments for or against an independent Scotland are already settled to the extent that they need to be. Scotland can and will survive financially, as has now been accepted by both sides of the debate. There’s still debate over the precise wealth of an independent Scotland, but these concerns are ultimately unnecessary.

For example, in 2012 New Zealand (13th) outperformed the UK (22nd) in the United Nations’ World Happiness Report. This is despite much greater mean wealth per adult in the UK (6th in the OECD) than in New Zealand (14th). That’s because what’s most important is how a country chooses to spend and distribute its collective wealth, not the sum total of it.

New Zealand spent just 1.1% of GDP on its military in 2012, compared with 2.5% in the UK. The country, which is listed by the USA as one of its “Major Non-Nato Allies”, or MNNA, was declared a Nuclear Free Zone in 1987, which ensures that no nuclear weapons are allowed on NZ territory.

The New Zealand government has committed around £8 billion to the cost of rebuilding the city of Christchurch following the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, yet in the most recent budget NZ was still running a government surplus without the need for massive cuts to public services like those being experienced in the UK. These are the distinctive features of a peaceful nation focused on social development for its people, rather than “punching above its weight on the world stage”.

I am finding it increasingly difficult to imagine returning to live in the UK. I struggle daily to comprehend the constant vilification of immigrants, the unsettling rise of UKIP, the relentless privatisation of public institutions, and the crippling austerity agenda that attacks the poorest and most vulnerable in society. The mainstream media spout propaganda and lies at a rate that makes my head spin. The UK, full of bitterness and vitriol, suddenly seems very different to the one in which I grew up.

Scotland has an opportunity to vote for something better in September. From a very similar position on the other side of the world, I recommend you take it.

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  1. 25 06 14 11:34

    The Scotland of the South | Scottish Independence News

90 to “The Scotland of the South”

  1. Liquid Lenny says:

    Its Changed, it said Stuart Campbell a couple of minutes ago!!!

  2. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    “The mainstream media spout propaganda and lies at a rate that makes my head spin.”


    Like the Sun today which reports that Alex Salmond has pulled out of the debate with Alistair Darling

  3. Kris says:

    Brilliant. It is starting to sound like my cliche but it is all about self determination.

    Remember that time you moved out of your parents house…? Self determination. Remember that time you left a boy/girlfriend because it wasn’t working out…? Self determination.

    Great piece and New Zealand is lucky to have such a forward thinking, progressive individual.

  4. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Its Changed, it said Stuart Campbell a couple of minutes ago!!!”


  5. Grouse Beater says:

    Excellent article.

    New Zealand Cannot Exist – grousebeater.wordpress

  6. Doug Daniel says:

    I love these kind of articles. Isn’t it ironic that we’re the ones looking outwards to the rest of the world to see how other countries forge relationships with each other, yet the No campaign claim that we’re the ones that are parochial and inward-looking.

    I just want Scotland to be a normal country. What’s wrong with that?

  7. Hugh Wallace says:

    I am half New Zealander (courtesy of my mother) and spent much of my childhood there. NZ is no utopia and ultimately I left that country to return to the place I consider home. But as Colin Campbell writes, the Britain of today is increasingly different from the place I once thought it was. For the past 20 years I have toyed with the idea of emigrating again, perhaps to France, Canada, the Netherlands or Norway, but in recent years I had all but decided to return to NZ, accepting its limitations in favour of the advantages it would provide me. When this referendum became reality I decided that it was my proud duty and desire to remain in an independent Scotland and help make this nation a successful country again. But should the Scottish people return a No vote I doubt I will stay. ‘Rats leaving a sinking vessel’ is always used as a derogatory phrase, but rats are smart creatures that know when to cut their losses. I sincerely hope I don’t end up joining Colin down under but I know that if I do it will be because doing so offers me far more safety, security and opportunity than remaining within this UK of ours.

  8. Liquid Lenny says:

    Im probably going daft Stu but Im sure the author of the article was posted as you, then it changed to Colin Campbell? But thinking about how the brain works (or doesn’t) I probably saw the surname Campbell and my brain was expecting it to be Stu Campbell and therefore that’s what I saw. Apologies.

  9. Soda says:

    Thanks Colin, sometimes people need to stand outside and look in to truly see the whole picture. I’m going to share this far and wide.

  10. Murray McCallum says:

    Thanks for a great read Colin. You raise many excellent points.

    The MNNA label is food for thought given NZ’s anti-nuclear and lower military spend. Sounds like pragmatic international politics to me.

  11. Taranaich says:

    @Doug Daniel: I love these kind of articles. Isn’t it ironic that we’re the ones looking outwards to the rest of the world to see how other countries forge relationships with each other, yet the No campaign claim that we’re the ones that are parochial and inward-looking.

    Not only that, but they seem actively interested in discouraging people from comparing Scotland to other small countries like Norway, Denmark, Iceland and New Zealand – almost as if we’re not that different from them or something.

  12. FraserP says:

    Very interesting view, Colin. I too moved to NZ the year before you after 20 years living in England and I agree with your assessment that despite NZ’s ‘junior partnership’ with Australia there would be little support for any unification. There was apparently some debate on this many years ago but it has never seriously surfaced since, because everyone knows how the relationship would go – NZ would always we seen as the minor partner and would constantly be suspicious of Aussie domination.

    There are of course important differences. NZ doesn’t have major trading resources like oil or minerals which would make it financially desirable for Australia. The recent strength of the Australian economy has meant that NZ would very much be the poorer relation and trans-Tasman income differences have accounted for a lot of the Kiwi migration. The present (right-wing) government made a lot of noise about reducing the 30% income gap and promptly did eff-all about it. Only the exchange rate has done it for them as Australia’s economy has slowed.

    So Scotland is unquestionably in a better position in relation to England than NZ is to Oz. But NZ does carry some warnings for an independent Scotland. Despite the happiness index and other measures, NZ is still one of the world’s more unequal societies – Norway it ain’t. There is widespread racism, and a crippling property bubble.

    And the TV is shit.

  13. desimond says:

    Excellent read.

    So thats Canada, and now New Zealand…I now await a piece from Corby and thats the ex-Pats hat-trick complete!

    (I do accept that it might be a long wait!)

  14. Muscleguy says:

    I emigrated to NZ from Scotland in 1972 with my family aged 6 and grew up there, gaining that NZ passport along the way. The rest of my immediate family and a daughter are still there. The daughter after a Scottish education.

    Having kept in close touch and been back at the end of 2012 I agree with the picture painted. Except, don’t get ill there. Going to the GP will cost you. Though for the first time it will not cost your kids. Been a long time coming that one. The realisation that investment in primary care saves secondary care (hospital) costs has been slow in penetrating NZ politics.

    As for parallels, back in the ’70s and ’80s you would see on car bumpers in the South Island ‘Cut The Cable’. This referred to the high voltage electricity cable that connects the two main islands. Back then the big hydro dams in the South Island meant it send a lot of power North. But there was a perception that not a lot of the riches made its way South in terms of investment. As for occasional Australian offers that we become part of Australia the best response is: whenever you jokers want to become the West Island of New Zealand you only have to ask. Put that way it usually shuts them up.

    As for music that I will always associate with sweeping helicopter vistas of bush, mountains and sea for me that is Sibelius’s Karelia Suite Intermezzo. Back in the day when TVNZ started at midday it began with just such a sequence set to the crescendo. I have searched long on youtube but it seems nobody saved it for posterity.

  15. caz-m says:

    Excellent piece Colin about New Zealand.

    It’s heartbreaking that we can’t appreciate Scotland’s beauty and potential while we are stuck in this rotten Union.

    When we are a Free and Independent Nation, the world will see Scotland in full bloom.

  16. BrianW says:

    What a brilliant read. I’m sure if all took a step back and looked at the Independence Story from the outside we’d see it in a similar light. It’s not an accidental act that small countries are successful and full of energy (it’s ok I’ve not got the full power rose tinted specs on).

    Yes, each country has it’s problems/hic-ups. But with the referendum we have the opportunity to make our own choices, choose who governs us and not be a poor neighbour wakening up each morning to more doom and gloom stories – a bit like the weather report (sponsored by Better Together). It’s be a damp dreich start to the day, with squally ramblings, and a distinct cold front of untruths.

  17. Flower of Scotland says:

    Thanks. This is a great article, seeing things from outside, brings a better perspective to the discussion. It’s was a soothing piece and I needed it after receiving my BT leaflet!

    As for the BT leaflet? I cut it up into little pieces, put them in an envelope and sent it back to Freepost Blytheswood Square! Whew! I feel so much better! And they have to pay!!

  18. Muscleguy says:


    The TV wasn’t always shit. TVNZ used to be like the BBC, except funded from central taxes. No ads. We then got TV3 as a commercial station. Successive governments have fucked around with TVNZ making it chase ratings and ad income while still saddling it with a public service ethos. The latter can still be found on National Radio, just about.

    But I agree, it is unwatchable shit. Ads every 5-7minutes (no exaggeration) sees to that. Consequently a lot of people buy box set DVDs of US and British shows and do lots of time shifting to filter out the ads.

  19. desimond says:

    Come on Scotland, be inspired.
    Vote YES for:

    Fight of The Conchords

    Split Pea-Endz

    Alannah Chicken Tikka Massalla Currie

    The PiaNo Thanks

  20. Muscleguy says:

    Oh and it terms of looking like Scotland you want the McKenzie country (named after a Scottish shepherd and alleged rustler of fame/notoriety). You may have seen it depicted as Rohan in the LOTR movies. Rolling tussock covered hills and a big sky. If you squint the hydro dams look like lochs.

    There are parts of Otago and Southland that closely resemble the lowlands of Scotland too. We said as much when we were back. Being well acquainted with both.

  21. Jim Thomson says:

    O/T … and this lot are one of the contenders to take over the Student Loans book.

    What’s the betting that they’ll still be deemed suitable and “sound” people when the contracts get let?

    we REALLY need to vote YES.

  22. Helena Brown says:

    Doug Daniels, I think we all want Scotland to be a normal country, I certainly do.
    New Zealand is a beautiful country from what I can see and full of New Zealanders of Scots descent. Have always said we run half the world, time now to run Scotland, and thank you Mr Campbell for you article.
    I have a fiend who now lives in Malaysia with her Indian Husband, half Maori,half Scots descent and proud of it.

  23. Misteralz says:

    Thanks for this article. It’s made me miss NZ even more than normal. We’ve talked about emigrating in the event of a no vote, and NZ is top of the list.

  24. Robert Bryce says:

    Beautiful country NZ. Stayed in the south island a while back with relatives just north of Christchurch (Amberley).

    Can’t say I would want to leave Scotland to live there though but each to their own and all that.

    The one thing I did notice down there was that everyone I met had a smile on their face and a harty welcome. I was even confronted by a bloke in the boozer that noticed my accent and came over to question me on where I stayed in Scotland.

    After 10 minutes of chat it turned out his old man worked in the same steel plant as my dad. They left under Tebbit’s on yer bike fuckfest for NZ when he was a wean.

    Guess where I ended up the next night? In a strange blokes house in Rangiora gabbing to his old man about the steel mills. Small world indeed.

    Anyway, facts speak for themselves. Despite a lack of abundant resources they seem to carved out a nice wee place to live down there free of Westminster interference!

  25. Martin says:

    Colin, stick around to give me emigration advice if we vote no, eh? I don’t like what this country might become. Hopefully it won’t be necessary however and we can turn our own country into a happy place to be.

  26. Nana Smith says:

    Have family in NZ who like the author were homesick at first but no way would any of them contemplate returning to Scotland as part of the union.

    Canadian relatives feel the same way, a couple of them are waiting anxiously for a Yes vote.

    Please may it be a resounding Yes.

  27. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Haven’t always been in tune with Kate but an excellent piece on Burd’s Eye View this morning

  28. chalks says:

    We’re off to Australia or the USA in the event of a No vote.

    Family in both countries…..I know USA is a clusterfuck but at least they love Scottish folk.

    Good article, sadly it’s the insular types that are against a Yes vote. No vision and cynical as fuck.

  29. Peter Macbeastie says:

    Tried, in 2009, to bugger off to NZ. The fact that I now live in Partick should tell you how well that went. Not through choice, and nothing to do with the really shitty telly and the racism (which I never saw but I defer to greater knowledge on that one,) my wife and I are firmly back in Scotland with the now cheerful knowledge that we can help to influence the independence referendum directly. Every cloud, silver lining.

    No, our move needed the wife to get a job. She’s well qualified, scores more than high enough on the NZ immigration points system, and within three weeks of arrival was in for a post at Victoria Uni in Wellington which pretty much had her name on it; they wanted an accountant with a background in academic science. First interview, second interview… then nothing.

    Unfortunately they delayed the appointment to the point where we ran out of funds and hey presto, back to sunny Scotland. Shit happens; you make the best of what you’ve got wherever you end up.

    With respect to the guys concerned, ignore the downsides the NZ residents commenting here quote for their nation of choice. Every country has crap aspects so NZ, or Scotland, have no right or expectation to being Utopia. We need to work to ensure NZ’s crap aspects do not end up reflected in Scotland. But since most of the tv output is crap already maybe we can’t avoid that completely….

    Our position is one of making Scotland better than it is. I firmly believe that cannot be achieved inside the union. And as the article says, nothing will change Scotland more than taking full responsibility for all our own decisions.

  30. colin says:

    I’ve lived in nz for 5 years now and am only just getting the vote. It’s the day (or two) after the independence vote. The difference being I have no idea how to vote here. The ‘right’ here want to build more social housing. The monsters.

  31. Neil Craig says:

    The argument applies equally, or better, to an independent Orkney & Shetland (separately or together), Argyll/Lordship of the Isles, Highlands, Borders etc.

    Do either SNP or Yes favour allowing any of them that choice?

    To be fair the argument that the SNP and Scottish political class are crap because we have an rUK safety net does make some sense. On the other hand the suggested way of finding out risks it turning out that the lunatics running the asylum are lunatics even when they have no excuse.

  32. Morag says:

    If any of these areas wants to be an independent sovereign state, let them form a party dedicated to that objective, and get members elected, and pressurise Holyrood for a devolved parliament and work through that towards an independence referendum.

    Then we can watch the rest of Scotland (and the world) telling them they’re too wee and too poor and too stupid I suppose!

    Even an opinion poll showing desire for independence in any of these regions to be into double figures would be a start. But it isn’t. This is about the most ridiculous example of whatabootery I’ve ever come across.

  33. msean says:

    I like the snippets of information in these pieces,I didn’t realise that Australia and New Zealand shared a common travel area.

  34. R whittington says:

    I see the British mainstream media have been at it again. Apparently they are responsible for Luis Suarez taking a mid morning chomp from the Italian defenders shoulder yesterday. Some sort of psycic mind control used to avenge his goal against England I presume. Does their manipulative behaviour know no bounds?

  35. heedtracker says:

    It’s interesting how we view New Zealand as our birth right. A lot of people in England look to Scotland like that, a kind of escape. New Zealand looks amazing but I could never leave. I’d miss stuff like Eastenders too much and all the smirking BBC in Scotland gang. Ireland feels a lot like NZ sometimes without all that cloying Britishness BBCpress hysterics but one little cross in the yes box and that’s it.

    Today in Aberdeen vote no or you’ll be attacked by Muslim terrorists from local comprehensive St Machar academy, is the press and journal frightener front page headline with bloater Alistair Carmichael swinging in with “no community is safe now.” Fozzie didn’t actually state that, he says “no community can be complacent”

    Anywhere else in the world plagued by broadcasters, press and polititicians as corrupt and destructive as teamGB? Italy maybe.

  36. Chris Cairns says:

    It’s the crippling lack of confidence you sometimes encounter on the doorstep that’s the worst. The ‘I’m all right Jack’ No-ers I can take – they’re probably Tory so you wouldn’t expect anything else.
    But those who simply can’t believe we’re able to stand on our own, who’re constantly on the look out for any evidence of our inadequacy or unworthiness – they’re the most infuriating. It’s a trance they’re in and trying to speak to them is like doing charades through sound-proof glass.
    If only we could strap them all to chairs and force them to read excellent articles like this … OK, OK, it was just a thought.

  37. Grouse Beater says:

    And another thing …

    New Zealand has a great film industry.

    No new Messiah every two years buggering off to London as soon as their graduation film makes waves, London where all UK funds lie, and all cultural priorities, a place once ruled by producer David Puttnam. He sits in the House of Lords now, ermine on his shoulders in place of a white silk scarf that was his trademark.

    New Zealand’s first film of note was Smash Palace. Now they have Peter Jackson.

    Scotland has a proto-corporate form-filling bureaucracy, “Creative Scotland,” (as opposed to ‘Dullard Scotland’) that gave £200,000 to an advertising agency to create a logo, rather than (say) a £20,000 prize offered to Scottish artists and graphic designers to design one.

    Aren’t we lucky?

  38. Macart says:

    First class article Colin and you’re right I can’t think of a single reason why we should continue to have others make our decisions for us. Its what independence is all about whether personal or collective. The right to choose your own path in life and the right to be the best you can be.

    Challenges, difficulties? Absolutely, no more no less than any other nation’s in the world, but they’ll be our challenges and they will be met by those we choose to make decisions on our behalf. We’ve got what it takes in every measure to become a better Scotland. What we require is the belief, the confidence to take that first step.

    Once we do though I’d be proud if the Kiwis considered us the New Zealand of the north.

  39. Hugh Mcmillan says:

    If we don’t vote yes I may well join you in NZ
    Imagine if all the yes voters did the same
    Do you think Nz is ready to accept a few million refugees

  40. yerkitbreeks says:

    I went over to visit relatives in 1976 and worked in Auckland. If it hadn’t been for a great job ( in London ) lined up for me I would still be there.

    It’s something about the ” can do ” attitude of a small country that impressed me.

    However New Zealand needs to watch it concerning immigration if my visit last year is indicative. Like Sweden, it has allowed so many that ghetto culture, rather than assimilation may happen ( in Stockholm it’s non integration by those mainly from the middle east; in NZ it’s Asians, from China, Korea etc ). There are historical examples of economic mischief such as in Fiji, and not sure if it’s still the case that anyone with 100k dollars can get NZ citizenship.

  41. Les Wilson says:

    Good article, we need more of our diaspora to chip in and register their support.

  42. Callum says:

    worth noting that NZ is one of the UK’s closest foreign political “friend” which includes NZ, Can, Aus, USA. (Anyone with a services background might recognise that list)

    Note that each of those 4 countries have a huge Scottish diaspora. i.e. they would be friends and allies of iScotland too.

  43. Andrew says:

    Hi folks,

    I’m not trying to hijack this thread so apologies in advance if anyone is offended. But – any chance some of you kind people could repost this link on your Facebook or Twitter accounts to try and raise a wee bit of cash for the Yes Stirling campaign office?

    We’re still a wee bit short and your extraordinary generosity will make a difference as it has in the past for so many other similar worthy causes on this site.

  44. galamcennalath says:

    Chris Cairns says:
    The ‘I’m all right Jack’ No-ers I can take – they’re probably Tory so you wouldn’t expect anything else.
    But those who simply can’t believe we’re able to stand on our own, who’re constantly on the look out for any evidence of our inadequacy or unworthiness

    Yes. The first group are beyond conversion, they are British, say no more. The second group hold promise. We can attempt to educate, but can we instill confidence? Many of this 2nd group may be uncrackable too.

    But hey, I suppose some people will vote NO 😉

    We only need 50%+1 … well 50% plus a few 1000 to avoid challenges!

  45. Bond says:

    Great to read this.

    I’m another recent emigrant from the UK to NZ (it was initially meant to be for a year only, I’m still here 3 years later). I’d add that the downplaying of Scotland’s economic prospects by ‘Better No Thanks Together’ look even less convincing when we consider that Scotland’s main trading partners, and sources of incoming tourists (rUK, EU) are virtually all within 1-4 hours travel time of Scotland.

    NZ, on the other hand is MINIMUM 4 hours flying time from our nearest neighbours in Oz. Yet, somehow, the country is economically viable, has heaps of incoming tourists, and as the author points out – the government is almost turning a surplus too.

    NZ’s not perfect – there are big social and economic problems here too; however, it’s clear that – despite having a vastly bigger (neoliberal) neighbour next door – there is a notably more social democratic approach to public services here (I work in the health sector).

    I think that the NZ / Oz comparison is the right one to make when considering the future Scotland / rUK relationship – perhaps it’s something that could be made more of (for my own part I’m driving my family back in Scotland crazy with pointing this out).

  46. kendomacaroonbar says:


    I made a contribution a few days ago even though I was disappointed with YES HQ’s comments about Wings.

    I hope our Wings Family can rally to your support.

  47. Tasmanian says:

    I’m Tasmanian (surprise), so I guess I’m antipodean Welsh?

  48. Phil Robertson says:

    One of the unmentioned here is the cost. Those who espouse foreign examples should include the costs e.g Norway’s very high tax rates. Likewise NZ where tax, on an income of around £20k would be about £3k (compared with £2k in this country).

    If the electorate in this country would tolerate higher tax rates then there is a lot that could be done to improve things without independence.

    Also on the subject of costs, I notice that the Scottish government’s own costs for scrapping the council tax would be about 3p in local income tax which would be a 15% increase in basic income tax. Figures from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre suggests that an increase of 20% might be needed.

  49. chalks says:

    As for Aberdeen and this terrorist thing, the boy went off to Leicester to get radicalized.

    I believe there is quite the movement down there….unsurprising considering UKIP/Britain First support on the rise….and it is an illegal war…

  50. Grouse Beater says:

    Robertson said: Those who espouse foreign examples should include the costs e.g Norway’s very high tax rates.

    Commensurate with very high salaries.

    Odd how folk omit that aspect.

  51. David says:

    Hey Phil Robertson, we have bloody FOOD BANKS in the UK! Anything else you waffle on about is irrelevant.

    Westminster rule is destroying the UK, but luckily for Scotland we can press the Escape Button on September 18 by voting Yes.

  52. Peter Macbeastie says:

    I tend to agree with Chalks.

    It is not that we seek independence because we want to be smaller, it’s that we seek independence because it gives us back our long silenced voice in the world.

    It won’t keep anyone Scottish who wants to see the world or live elsewhere at home for five extra minutes.

    And it won’t make us insular either.

    O/T – the book club that sells stuff to folk at my work has just dropped off their new selection to order… including an absolute pearl in this offering…. ‘My Scotland, Our Britain.’

    By Gordon Brown.

    I had a wee nosy in it, just out of morbid curiousity, and saw the line ‘if Scotland votes for independence it will wipe away three hundred years of history.’ Didn’t look for it, just to clarify, I opened the pages and it dropped on that one.

    Shut it again. That level of emotive and demonstrable nonsense is the No campaign with another hat on. Right there you have the problem they’ve got. They think independence is actually related to history; it isn’t. We pay due regard to history, but independence is for the future. We can do nothing about the past.

  53. heedtracker says:

    Phil’s desperate to keep wages very low in Scotland, right Phil. Like his £20k per year stuff, minimum wage pay is half that in Scotland BUT let’s not mention paid poverty in Scotland either eh Phil? How many Scots workers exist on slave wages and how many employers make a vast profit from it all.

  54. dennis mclaughlin says:

    A vote for NO will inevitably mean a rise in suicide in Scotland…..

  55. Morag says:

    Nobody lives in poverty in Norway, and nobody is obscenely rich either. What’s wrong with that?

    The average family has a couple of cars, a boat, and a cabin in the country for weekends. That’s the NORM. Pointing out irrelevancies like the percentage if income tax or the price of a pint is pure obfuscation.

  56. Phil Robertson says:

    Grouse Beater says:
    >Robertson said: Those who espouse foreign examples should >include the costs e.g Norway’s very high tax rates.
    >Commensurate with very high salaries.

    True of Norway but not New Zealand (see OECD figures).

    And if we’re being complete, let’s not forget cost of living. Oslo comfortable outranks London, never mind Edinburgh, in the list of expensive capitals.

  57. Tasmanian says:

    For an example of a typical Norwegian cabin, see this video.

  58. Clootie says:

    @liquid lenny

    Sometimes you can be right and yet very wrong – let it go.
    The Rev’s capital letters was a hint 😀

  59. Graham Scott says:

    Phil – tax on £20k income in the UK is only £2k if you ignore national insurance. For £20k income it would be £3,450.

  60. Grouse Beater says:

    Robertson adds; And if we’re being complete

    But you are being far from ‘complete.’

    Those countries made a considered choice for high taxes and salaries as a stable democractic system.

    We do not choose anything.

    It is foisted upon us by alien administrations, companies and corporations following a phony global philosophy that prefers weak government and paying NO taxes.

  61. Dick Gaughan says:

    @Phil Robertson

    Best tell your handlers that your script’s a bit old – we’ve done Norway already, several times.

    Do try to keep up.

  62. Wifey4Indy says:

    Maybe we need to get people to look at it from the other side. If Scotland already was a small independent north European country with full control over all our resources (and therefore a healthy bank balance built up since the 70s), would we really be voting to be subsumed, along with our much larger neighbour England, into a new entity called Great Britain? I don’t think so!

  63. chalks says:

    The fact is, the people of Scotland never voted to be in this Union. It was the rich of the time that got a vote, they were the only ones allowed to get a vote.

    They all benefited hugely from it. The rest of society were angry/rioted….then some of the lowest moments in Scottish History followed. Coincidence?

    An angry country, which people left in droves. Now we have an opportunity to restore sovereignty, self-belief and standing in the world.

    Mon en!

  64. willie says:

    NZ is a stunning place I spent two winters in Queenstown and travelled around the south island in springtime walking in the mountains etc etc, fabulous place with get up and go people. I was out on the hills for a week with an American, not being noted for their knowledge of world affairs this guy asked me what I thought on the miners strike. Bit odd for a yank I thought, he went on to inform me of Ted Heath, the miners and Arab money, safe to say its a long story, the Arabs wanted their money, westminster had spent it and the diversion was the miners among others. Whats new eh.

  65. chalks says:

    ‘Writing later, Sir Walter Scott summed up the attitude of the Scottish “man in the street” at the time in the words of one of his characters: “I ken, when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament – men o’ our ain, we could aye peeble them wi’ stones when they werena gude bairns – But naebody’s nails can reach the length o’ Lunnon”. ‘

  66. Muscleguy says:

    @Robert Bryce

    Even in the big city people are like that. When back end 2012 I took my sister’s dog for a walk and was smiled at said hello to by a lot of people. This was in Grey Lynn, an inner city suburb in Auckland.

    After three years of standing in the same place on the train platform with the same people every morning in London my wife, also NZ raised, actually got them talking to each other and to her. It only took 3 years.

    NZ is also the sort of place you bump into people you know in unlikely places.

  67. Grouse Beater says:

    Nice Scott quotation, Chalks.

  68. desimond says:


    i had a similar experience watching the excellent Billy Elliot play in London. Texan couple next to my wife and I and we duly started chatting during the break.
    The guy says “So whats this all about, didnt the Miners like Thatcher, I thought she was loved here?”

    “Oh here we go” sighed my beloved

  69. Capella says:

    @ Grouse Beater on NZ LOTR film
    There was NZ director and producer Jane Campion’s film of NZ author Janet Frame’s book “An Angel at my Table”, also “The Piano”, “Top of the Lake” etc

  70. john king says:

    your not looking hard enough Muscleguy, I found
    Karelia Suite Intermezzo in ten seconds flat on spotify.

  71. john king says:

    Btw wasn’t the Karelia Suite Intermezzo
    the opening music to This Week?

  72. Muscleguy says:

    @John King

    Sigh, I have the Sibelius piece on my iTunes. It was the ident video with it that I wanted. Do try and keep up.

  73. Grouse Beater says:

    Capella reminds: There was NZ director and producer Jane Campion’s film of NZ author Janet Frame’s book “An Angel at my Table”, also “The Piano”, “Top of the Lake”

    Fine films, all.
    I love The Piano – am still bemused how it was in perfect tune after days in sea water.

  74. john king says:

    Sigh, I have the Sibelius piece on my iTunes. It was the ident video with it that I wanted. Do try and keep up.

    Wow soorrrryyyy
    I’ll just go and pick a birch switch will I?

  75. john king says:

    You don’t know Goldenayr by any chance Muscleguy do you?

    I’m getting real superiority complex going on on this site suddenly!

  76. Thrope says:

    Great article. Very much reflects the opinion of NZ friends living in Scotland, all voting YES. Also reminding me why NZ is near the top of my ‘must visit’ list.

    Now, this might be O/T slightly but in response to @grousebeater who says
    Scotland has a proto-corporate form-filling bureaucracy, “Creative Scotland,” (as opposed to ‘Dullard Scotland’) that gave £200,000 to an advertising agency to create a logo, rather than (say) a £20,000 prize offered to Scottish artists and graphic designers to design one.

    According to various online sources, the ‘wretched’ logo cost £35k not £200k. For comparison, the Scottish Arts Council rebranded in 2002 for £21k. I don’t know whether that’s good or bad but it’s not £200k. The Arts Council of NZ is called Creative New Zealand, though they have a separate Film Commission unlike Scotland. Independence may bring benefits for arts/film in Scotland, and we could learn many things from NZ, particularly around support for indigenous culture and language. The Westminster approach to funding cultural activities, etc, is worrying.

    NZ artists have a big presence at this year’s Edinburgh Festivals, so any homesick NZ folks (or those considering NZ as a haven if it’s a NO in September) check out

  77. The_Duke says:


    I am very much the same as you, in so many respects. Born in Scotland, moved out to Auckland as a 3 year old. Spent the best part of the next 40 years flitting between the two countries.

    I abiding memory of the eighties was having to wait a week for the tape of “Big League Soccer” to be popped on the plane and sent out to NZ so we could all sit round the telly and watch the Match of the Day from the previous week. Happy Days 😉

  78. Grouse Beater says:

    Thrope: I don’t know whether that’s good or bad but it’s not £200k.

    You are privileged if you know the exact cost. Charged a £1 for a box and a circle they were ripped off, or were happy to hand public largesse to a famiar ad agency.

    It was £200,000 spent, later, in answer to protests, explained as including an amount to design offices and furniture.

    But that doesn’t matter – the fact that Creative Scotland chose to adopt a cold corporate business ethic, not a creative agenda, showed early on how it planned to conduct its business.

  79. Tam Jardine says:

    Chris Cairns

    But those who simply can’t believe we’re able to stand on our own, who’re constantly on the look out for any evidence of our inadequacy or unworthiness – they’re the most infuriating. 


    These people can be reached. Never has our national inferiority complex been manifest as now. It is like end of a horror movie where the demon finally manifests itself in some real form (that can be killed by the heroes… That’s us by the way).

    These people think nothing will change with a No, that we all survive at the largesse of Westminster and that we are in fact inferior. They have been raised to think this way – its why Scottish people think Scots is uncouth slang, it’s why we drink so much and why we’ve put up with another country running our affairs for so long.

    Everyone of us (excepting the away fans in the home end, who by the way have a function in themselves in keeping us from complacency and highlighting the No arguments to expect, so we can destroy them when we come across No folk in our lives)- every one has the power and the tools to debunk the myths, push the positive message and highlight the future we face with a No.

    The other type: I’m alright Jack are hard. How do you persuade someone to change character and care about what happens to other folk?

    Most people have a young relative – their kids or nephew or whatever. I bang on about the First Minister’s “rocks will melt in the sun” before he let’s tuition fees be reintroduced in Scotland. This sums up the SNP’s commitment to me.

    I would rather I was on the side of a man willing to make that commitment than on the jackals down South, most of whom benefitted from a free uni education yet choose not to pass it on.

    Playing on our fears, and the dark side of our national psyche was a risky play, rather than offering a vision for a more prosperous future as part of an evolving union that could change. I mean: HS2 is a guid example – when it first was touted as being a line linking the central belt with London, not one person questioned which end we would start building, or even if it would be built in any other way than London first.

    I’m no psychologist but wonder if we think this is what we deserve – so we don’t question when it is cut short and we don’t get the benefit, only the cost.

    That shit may have been good enough in the past for some but now we can take back control we would be insane to pass up the chance and consign future generations to rule from the wealthy elite down South.

    I don’t want to move to New Zealand, lovely as it sounds. I want the people of Scotland to grow up, grow a pair and barge our way into the international community.

  80. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Tam Jardine –

    Hear, hear.

  81. Tam Jardine says:

    Colin Campbell

    I ramble on for an age and forget to say: thanks for the wonderful piece. There is much to admire and emulate in New Zealand’s success, and articles like yours are great for wavering visitors of this site to read to remind us of what we can achieve.

  82. Paula Rose says:

    Now boys, its dark outside so you can come indoors – but if I catch any of you nattering here tomorrow in daylight hours when you could be out winning over the undecided, I am going to get very very narky.

  83. James Dow A voice from the diaspora says:

    Whilst England has lost an Empire Scotland has an ever expanding one, The Great Scottish Diaspora estimated at up to 50M Scot’s born and generational a World wide powerful force both politically and financially, one that if mobilised would not see any calamity befall Scotland, for we have not forgotten our obligation of blood and place. It is dismaying to look apron the apparent lack of self belief displayed by Scotland’s current custodians when compared to their fellow Scot’s that risked all to hopefully prosper in new lands. New lands where today the prominent culture is Celtic, such is it’s power.
    Should Independence be delivered Scotland’s tourist industry and consequently the broader economy will receive a massive boost from Scot’s returning HOME to say they walked the surface of a FREE Scotland. And I am one of those

  84. tartanthing says:

    I was there for 10 years. I miss it and my mates every day. I can only assume that fate had me come back to vote Yes. If it is a No vote I will be working all the hours sent to get me back there.

  85. Hobbit says:

    As a New Zealander in Scotland, can I comment:

    * New Zealand is actually the poor relation w.r.t. Australia, which is why half a million people born in New Zealand now live across the Tasman.

    * We are every bit as dependent on the state of the Australian economy as Scotland is on the state of both the London and the European economies.

    * As a colony we developed very differently to Australia, which felt much more ‘separate’ to Britain to what we did, and do. Australia had far more Irish immigration than New Zealand – we got the Empire Scots.

    * It helps having thirteen hundred miles of open sea between us. That is essentially why we didn’t join Australia when we had the chance, in 1901.

    I agree with a lot of FraserP’s comments above; so I’m not sure the parallels between New Zealand and Scotland are quite as strong as one might think.

  86. Grouse Beater says:

    Hobbit said: I’m not sure parallels between New Zealand and Scotland are quite as strong as one might think.

    Then you’d be very wrong.

    The parallel that matters is, it’s a small country that exists on its exports. And it isn’t governed by the UK.

  87. Muscleguy says:

    @The Duke
    I remember aged 8 in Dunedin, must have been ’74 I asked my parents if I could get up at 2am to watch the Scottish Cup final. When they reluctantly said yes, with lots of caveats and promises from me. I then asked if I could also do the FA Cup. I did so for the next several years. I was the only person in my family even interested in sport, let alone participating. I got infected at school in NZ. Primary schools with playing fields, with sports equipment that could be signed out at lunchtime.

    My primary school in Stewarton didnae have a playing field, just an asphalt playground. Our kids primary in London didn’t either. It occupied a corner of a huge set of playing fields but the closest gate was over 400m away from the school. Neither the primary the youngest went to here in Dundee nor the secondary they both went to had or have playing fields. They must treck up the hill to the public park.

    And the other thing, NZ school playing fields, tennis courts, netball courts etc are open for use after hours. Want to kick a ball around? go to the local school. Here they are closed with ‘private property’ notices on them.

    If you ever wonder where the world’s top rugby team gets its players from with a population of only 4 million, there is your answer: they do not put barriers in the way of playing sport or the practising of it.

    BTW not only did my primary in Dunedin have two playing fields but opposite was a full sized soccer pitch. We used that for matches against other schools. You could sign out padder tennis gear, rugby or soccer balls, netballs, cricket wickets, bats, pads, balls (proper leather ones) and athletic gear like hurdles. I first leapt a hurdle on that playing field. I first felt how hard a well hit cricket ball feels when it hits you in the thigh there. I was first kicked in the jaw diving for the ball at someone’s feet while in goal there.

  88. The_Duke says:

    @ Muscleguy

    Such similarities….mind you it is to be expected 😉

    I was a North Shore boy all my days… apart from a brief two year spell in Whitby, Wellington. If I am honest…Wellington was probably the best two years of my childhood. An amazing little city. In many ways very similar to Edinburgh in that it was the capital. Had culture, great sporting attitude, museums, amazing topography, was big enough that there was something happening, yet small enough that it wasn’t an urban sprawl.

    When I was young, my parents would run me all over the place to play sports. Winter was always football and summer was a mixture of cricket, tennis, golf and sailing with a few mates. It was very rare if anyone didn’t do any kind of sports…. Kids with the help of their teachers we always encouraged to go out and do something. There were times in the summer where there were just not enough hours in the day to do all the sports I wanted to do. While off school over Dec/Jan/Feb, my mum would drop me off at the golf course on her way to work and pick me up on her way home. Was able to play 3 rounds a day….everyday!

    The whole mindset around sport participation is something that I would hope an iScotland would look to try and change more along the lines of NZ. However, there are circumstances that are difficult to replicate… e.g. the availability of land and the climate. That said it doesn’t seemed to have hindered Norway who have many enclosed sporting facilities.

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