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Wings Over Scotland

The thieves of devolution

Posted on October 16, 2012 by

It’s probably fair to say that the opposition parties in the Scottish Parliament have reacted badly to the SNP’s victory in two consecutive Holyrood elections, especially the 2011 one in which the nationalists secured an unprecedented overall majority. Scottish Labour in particular has never really fully come to terms with its rejection by the electorate in a place where it has regarded power as a birthright for half a century, as can be seen by its constant demands to be consulted over legislation despite the voters unequivocally choosing to exclude the party from government and placing their trust in the SNP alone until at least 2016.

Despite enacting some highly controversial policies in its first 18 months as a majority (minimum pricing, the anti-sectarianism bill and equal-marriage legislation), polls consistently suggest that if anything, the gap in popularity between the SNP and Labour is growing as Johann Lamont’s party indulges in factional infighting and alienates its core voters by adopting neoliberal policies from its UK parent.

Meanwhile, the Tories continue to flatline in Scotland as they’ve done for most of a generation, and the Lib Dems suffer the consequences of a massively unpopular Westminster coalition and a third successive leader who seems more consumed by hatred of the SNP than any commitment to seeing his own party’s policies advanced.

So it shouldn’t come as a great surprise to any passing neutral observer that the Scottish opposition has all but given up on any hope of defeating Alex Salmond democratically at the ballot box, and quietly embarked instead on a new strategy: to steal power from the nationalists by bypassing Holyrood altogether.

Without a great deal of fuss, all three opposition parties have announced plans for a future “constitutional settlement” if Scotland votes No in the independence referendum. Here, for example, is how the Telegraph reported Tory thinking earlier this month:

“Tory insiders insisted the convention would be a ‘safety valve’ when Alex Salmond’s separatists challenge the Unionist referendum campaign to spell out which powers will be devolved if voters reject independence.”

Scottish Labour’s intention was strongly hinted at in a passage of Johann Lamont’s infamous “something for nothing” speech, but was little remarked-upon in all the furore of the speech’s headline-grabbing attack on universal services:

“Decision-making isn’t just a discussion about Holyrood and Westminster, it’s about where power should best lie to ensure that decisions which affect our communities are made at the most appropriate level, which does mean thinking about our councils too.”

And the position of the Lib Dem commission fronted by Sir Menzies Campbell is curiously similar, as set out on Lib Dem Voice (and subsequently reported in the Times last weekend and by the BBC today):

“We are determined to make sure that we give real power to local communities. The community rule part of our remit is important.”

And finally, there was an intriguing suggestion put forward by Lord (David) Steel of Aikwood in last week’s somewhat one-sided House Of Lords “debate” on the future of Scotland’s constitution:

“I am following closely what the noble Lord says. One of the advantages if the House of Lords were a properly integrated force in a federal constitution is that it could also be a revising Chamber for the devolved Assemblies, which do not have one. Committees of the House of Lords could perform that function.”

Have you spotted it yet? If the Scottish people vote No in 2014, falling for a promise of “enhanced devolution” to follow, the Unionists will respond with a revised arrangement which keeps all the big stuff (defence, taxation, welfare, pensions) at Westminster, but strips Holyrood of much of its current power in order to hand it to councils instead – a level at which the nationalists have significantly less of a grip – and have the Parliament’s legislation “revised” by committees of unelected Westminster peers.

All three of the London parties will win under such a scheme, because all have influence on councils in various parts of the country. Labour would of course be the biggest beneficiaries, but the Tories would still happily go along with the plan because they wrote Scotland off as fertile ground long ago, and with Labour policies now barely distinguishable from Conservative ones anyway their ideology would get to win even if it was under different colours.

This is the true future for Scotland after a No vote – the emasculation of the Scottish Parliament by the least popular parties in it, ensuring that even if the SNP were to win all 129 seats they’d be able to do almost nothing with them. (It’s rather like the way the US system tends to ensure that even if a Democrat gets elected as President he’s paralysed by a Republican Congress blocking his legislative programme at every turn.)

A No vote will give Westminster carte blanche to introduce such reforms, because having conclusively rejected independence the Scottish electorate will have nothing left with which to threaten it. They could elect the SNP to Holyrood again, but only as a rubber-stamp puppet parliament. (The new “constitutional convention” would of course delay its report until after the 2016 Holyrood election, plausibly citing more urgent priorities, just to see how the land lay.)

The opposition parties can’t be accused of acting in secret. They’re preparing the ground in full public view. The Lib Dem proposals offer the Scottish Parliament extra responsibilities and problems, but nothing in return – what’s the point of being able to increase income tax, for example, if you can’t then use the money for welfare or pensions? Holyrood would be weighed down by the new burden of having to gather money, but have the power over spending it given away to councillors. The Parliament would be reduced, deliberately, to the role of a widely-hated debt collector.

Yesterday finally saw the independence referendum become a reality. We already know what a Yes vote will mean – a Scottish Government, elected by the Scottish people alone, deciding all of Scotland’s affairs. What a No vote will stand for, on the other hand, is only just beginning to become apparent.

The post-No devolution settlement will be an upgrade of the current one in the same way that Apple Maps is an upgrade to Google Maps – except this time the directions we’re being given are a bit more accurate, if only you listen closely to them.

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58 to “The thieves of devolution”

  1. velofello says:

    Spot on Rev Stu. Yes I’ve noted Lamont’s pleas for consultation at Holyrood level politics – doesn’t the Holyrood committee system provide for that? – yet the ease with which Labour found common cause with the Tories at council level and so exclude the SNP despite the %age weight of votes by the public to the SNP. 

  2. blunttrauma says:

    When it comes to deviousness the Unionists take the biscuit.

  3. An Duine Gruamach says:

    Very good piece, Stu – one thing, though: there’s 129 seats at Holyrood, not 130.

  4. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Oops. Added the PO in twice. Fixed, ta.

  5. Doug Daniel says:

    Yeah, I’m all for devolving power to the most local level possible, but this just goes to show that we only have room for one national parliament. Holyrood has demonstrated that we can do things differently from Westminster, but unless it’s going to follow the obvious conclusion (replacing Westminster entirely), then I don’t really see the point of having both. This is why devolution is ultimately doomed one way or the other.

    If we vote NO, we might as well admit we don’t think Scotland is really a country, and fully assimilate with the rest of the UK after 300 years of dragging our heels. If people don’t like that idea, then they need to ask themselves what exactly they think Scotland is – a country or a region of a country – and vote accordingly.

  6. Holebender says:

    Very good piece, but one wee pedantic quibble; your first sentence uses the word “subsequent” completely out of context. I think you meant to say consecutive.
    Let’s not forget, no matter what happens in the referendum and no matter how Holyrood is subsequently (did you see what I did there?) dismantled the Scottish electorate will always have the nuclear option of electing a majority of pro-independence MPs to Westminster. Every time the number of Scottish MPs is reduced it just becomes easier to get a majority of them!

  7. Luigi says:

    Good article. This not-so-subtle ploy (not so clever, either) should be exposed in full to the electorate before 2014. The real consequences of a NO vote should help supporters of more powers and the undecided realize that their one big opportunity will be the referendum. Well, in the short term, that is. I am not too concerned about this development long-term, however. The people always find ways of dealing with underhand tactics and takeover attempts. The SNP majority in 2011 was not meant to be possible, for example. No matter how powerful the councils, and how weak Holyrood becomes, the people can be relied on to sort it out eventually. Discredited neoliberal policies will not be tolerated in Scotland, no matter how devious the politicians become. Holyrood may well be emasculated, but the council and Westminister elections will provide future opportunities to punish those that scheme against us.

  8. muttley79 says:

    What happens if there is a very close result in the referendum, with the No vote winning by say 52% to 48%?  Given that the unionists would know that almost 50% don’t support the Union, would there not be the issue of how much legitimacy for the Union remains?  If the SNP did very well at the subsequent general election, what would happen?

  9. Luigi says:

    Since 1999, the scots have become very fond of their parliament. Their own government. Woe betide anyone seen to be trying to neuter it. If this is what Labour are up to, then nail them to it!

  10. Dcanmore says:

    As Luigi says it’s not a subtle or even a clever ploy. But the Unionists don’t have many roads to travel down. That’s the beauty of the SNP strategy, they can manoeuvre a lot more freely to counter half-baked policy rumblings from the North British parties. There is nothing stopping the SNP offering the same thing after a YES vote: a more federalised transparent government with powers shifted to local authorities. Apart from Devo-Max I couldn’t see what the Unionist parties have offered the Scots that an independent Scotland couldn’t implement itself with bells and whistles on.

  11. David McCann says:

    Excellent analysis. As I keep saying.
    Vote NO. Get NOTHING!

  12. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

    Blair envisaged Holyrood as an emasculated county council type talking-shop of hasbeens  run by docile Labour unionist grunts.  Vote No and that’s what we’ll get. Oh joy! 

  13. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “your first sentence uses the word “subsequent” completely out of context. I think you meant to say consecutive.”

    An excellent point well made. What a strange brainfail. Corrected, ta.

  14. Doug Daniel says:

    Getting rid of the House of Lords is a reason FOR independence – it’s utterly absurd for Mr Steel and others to think they should act as a revising chamber for Holyrood. What more evidence do people need that Westminster is not just unreformable, but is undemocratic to its very core?

  15. molly says:

    Yesterday, despite events in Edinburgh, I left for work a little downhearted. The reality ,listening to callers or people interviewed so sure they would vote no, really kind of got to me. How do you debate with someone, who will not or does not wish to even consider the other point of view ? 
     Today , this article  reminded me whats at stake and all the huffing and puffing about the BBC or whatever newspaper, does not matter because it is up to us,everyone of us to start really asking the awkward questions. 
     You don’t want Independence ? Is there a site or info you can show me that would give me what the Better Campaign is all about ? In other words have you read anything about the Referendum or is this a gut reaction.
     “We’re safer together ? ” Really ,do you think so ? said face to face,its amazing how even the most stubborn person will quietly question their beliefs (even me ).
     This campaign is not about the politicians or the media,this is our campaign ,our voice and if  paid politicians ,little tribes ,little people are allowed to hijack debate we will only have ourselves to blame. It will be too late to say ,if only, I wish we had….in 2016 as we aquiesce 
    because Luigi ,we lose this and no the people won’t punish them,history shows we’ve rewarded them -just look at GCC. 


  16. tartanfever says:

    Of course, lets not forget our dear friends at Audit Scotland who just the other week issued a report saying that Scottish Councils are not transparent enough on their spending.

    ‘Scottish councils do not explain how they spend £40,000 a minute’ 

    The BBC covered this here:

    quote: The public spending watchdog said detail on how councils spent their £21bn annual budget was often “of poor quality, unclear and incomplete”.

    And Labour want to hand more money and power to them. Unbelievable !  More £500k pay offs to ex-Labour councillors running ALEO’s. 

  17. H Scott says:

    Two points:
    1. Any substantial change to the current devolved set-up would require a referendum.
    2. Any Westminster general election can be used as an independence referendum by the SNP simply making it the sole content of its manifesto. It’s not going to have influence anyway.

  18. Doug says:

    O/T Interesting brief piece on Munguin’s Republic. Sums up nicely the numbers with respect to the economy.  We SHOULD be able to blow the economic case against independence out of the water.  A pity the info isn’t widely disseminated.

  19. Roll_On_2014 says:

    I am a big believer that decisions should be taken by people who live in an area:

     So is Ruth.

  20. Dennis Smith says:

    I’ve no doubt you’re right that many unionists would like to roll back devolution, possibly including the current leadership of all three unionist parties.  But it’s not true of all unionists: the term unionist includes a lot of advocates of devo-plus and devo-max (currently homeless and disorientated).  It will be crucially important which way these people jump.

    And I’m not sure how easy it would be to roll back devolution on the lines you suggest.  Unless you envisage the unionists scrapping the whole Sewel convention, Westminster cannot legislate to reduce the powers of Holyrood (e.g. by reforming local government) without the consent of Holyrood itself.  So your scenario presupposes either Westminster overruling Holyrood by brute force or Holyrood being controlled after 2016 not just by unionists but by anti-devolution unionists. 

    Neither is impossible but these are big assumptions.  They presuppose a long-established historical trend going into reverse.  Devolution (administrative and/or political) has been going on since the 1880s and apart from the 1940s and 1950s (Second World War, welfare state) there probably hasn’t been a decade since 1880 that did not seen a net gain in devolved powers.  Would a NO vote in itself be sufficient to reverse this trend (bearing in mind likely developments in Catalunya, Flanders, etc.)?

  21. John Lyons says:

    Alright. How many people on here voted SNP in the Holyrood election, but not in the Westminster one?

    I’ve always voted SNP in both, but clearly, from our 6 MPs in Westminster there are not enough others doing the same. We should all be thinking about changing that in 2015 regardless of which way the referendum goes.

  22. scottish_skier says:

    O/T, but well something like this killed New Labour in Scotland…

    Now it’s the Daily Express, but the media seem to have been warming us up for this for some time.
    I have a lot of Iranian (all Mousavi supporters/reformists) colleagues (oil and gas industry); the sanctions are hurting. 
    However, one of them pointed something out to me that I did not know; getting flights to Iran is becoming very difficult. Apparently BA and KLM have stopped flying with Lufthansa due to shortly. Also major Asian airlines pulling out.
    At the moment, they still have Turkish Airlines. Some trains in and out of the country have also been stopped.
    If this is the case, then it seems Iran is being cut off. When I asked my colleagues what people in Iran were thinking this means, they replied ‘War against Iran’.

    This comes on the back of them saying that the BBC stories about Iran (BBC Persian in particular) have clearly changed to be against Iran in general rather than supporting the reformist movement as they did previously.


    @John Lyons

    Always voted SNP for every election. Margo on vote 2 when I was in the lothians.

  23. muttley79 says:

    How the fuck could this be afforded, given the economic mess we are in?  Something does not add up, Tory sums again……Maybe call me dave has being reading up on a period when there was severe economic problems, Tory ratings had hit rock bottom and then they got involved in a distant war?

  24. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Simple solution. We have Devo Max in an Independent Scotland.

    Also, Molly, don’t get disheartened. The ref isn’t for another two years yet. The last thing the YES campaign want to do is disclose everything now. It’s far too soon. 

    We need two years to get accurate information through to the masses, due to the MSM’s bias. I’m convinced the NO campaign can’t stand up to two years of scrutiny. We are just at the start of the Independence process.   

  25. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    John Lyons

     I never vote for any unionist party.  

  26. Arbroath 1320 says:

    I think I can see the emergence of a waterfall effect amongst the unionist parties here. I’ll TRY 😀 and explain what I mean.
    First we have the unionist M.P.’s and Lords fighting for their political lives (maintaining their noses in the Westminster trough.)

    Second we have the unionist M.S.P.’s fighting for their jobs at Holyrood.
    Not much of a waterfall you might think but look a wee bit deeper.  consider the date in 2014 AFTER Independence is won. What happens then?
    First the unionist M.P.’s and Lords are now no longer eligible to eat at the Westminster trough no more. What are they going to do now? Well the answer, to me at least is quite obvious, they will stand for the Holyrood parliament. But wait. They can’t do that they already have “colleagues” at Holyrood, as if a little matter of DESELECTING their Holyrood “colleagues” would be much of an obstacle for these “big boys” to over come.
    Second. We now have a load of EX unionist Holyrood M.S.P.’s what’s to be done with them? Well again, in my view, the answer is obvious, they stand for their local council elections. But wait. They already have colleagues in the various councils. Don’t worry about that though. If the EX M.S.P.’s can be deselected by their “Big brothers and sisters” from Westminster then they can surely do the same to their “colleagues” in their local councils, can’t they?
    Third. What about the now EX councillors. Well the answer for them is simple. TOUGH! Get a REAL job! 😀
    This is why Lamont and her “parcel of rogues” are all calling for more power/money etc to be passed down to the councils. They know it is at the council level where they will all end up and THAT is where they think THEY will be able to enforce THEIR power.
    SIMPLES! 😀

  27. scottish_skier says:


    I’d say this is one to watch. Sent a chill down my spine when my Iranian colleague (PhD student I’m supervising) hung her head as she said the word ‘war’.

    I’m sure the Tories/Labour/Libs would magic the money up from a ‘special reserve’ just like they did for Libya. This special reserve sounds like a big box of gold they have secreted away under the houses of parliament. Instead, they just borrow more and mortgage the people of the UK/future generations. Must be great being able to borrow cash for wars and shiny explosive toys when you are not the one having to pay it back.

  28. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Muttley how can you possibly question the “thoughts” of our “great” leader Cameron?
    Of course we can afford a war with Iran. We have LOADS of reserves to call on.
    MORE cuts to the infirm.
    MORE cuts to the elderly.
    MORE cuts to the police.
    MORE cuts to the N.H.S.
    MORE cuts to the unemployed.
    MORE cuts to the sick.
    MORE cuts to the…….
    MORE cuts to…….
    MORE cuts……..
    This man is an economic genius. He can conjure money out of thin air. Don’t forget, despite the deep and ever deepening austerity measures we are receiving from Westminster he has STILL managed to conjure up £50 Million for his “celebration” of the START of WWI. There is NOTHING this man can NOT achieve.
    Simples! 😀

  29. Arbroath 1320 says:

    O.K. folks here they are, the reasons we are better together.

  30. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Blair Jenkins was also on Good Morning Scotland.

  31. muttley79 says:

    It would not surprise me at all.  I can’t see it going well at all though, potential for another Iraq situation.  I think Seymour Hersh has been arguing that war against Iran will happen sometime in recent years.  Really hope it does not happen.

    When the IMF appears to be more left-wing and progressive than the government you are being mainly being ruled by, then you know you are in trouble.

  32. jake says:

    Arbroath, your waterfall is both refreshing and exhilarating……but I’ve a query……..where is it written that after a “yes” vote any British Lords ( who just happen by accident of birth to have been born in Scotland) will be removed from their seats of privilege in the HoL? The Lords, including those we think of as Scottish, were elevated by the apparatus of the british state and (what passes for) its constitution, these same lords will no doubt retain british passports and nationality. To remove them from the Hol would be discriminatory, particularly so because there are and still will be others in the Hol who have been born outwith the territory of the new rUK.

    I can well understand that the Scottish Peerage lose their privileges to participate in the HoL, but my point is that many whom we think of as Scottish ( ie born in Scotland) are not Scottish peers and part of the Scottish peerage, they are British peers and I doubt they will voluntarily give up their seats nor is there any existing mechanism to make them do so.

  33. Arbroath 1320 says:

    If I were a supporter of the union, which happily I’m not, then I would try and stay stumm about the IMF as much as possible. Particularly when articles like these appear.

  34. KOF says:

    Arbroath 1320 says:
    October 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm


    O.K. folks here they are, the reasons we are better together.

    About 4 minutes in, did Darling say “co-operation tax”?
    Freudian slip of some sort? 🙂 

  35. Morag says:

    Sometimes, you know what?  You have to trust your emotions and your instincts.  And in the face of all the negativity, the BBC bias, the unionists telling us how the polls are all against us and we have a mountain to climb, the CiF trolls asserting that Scots are all far too canny to fall for smug Salmond, and all that, you know what?

    There is a smile on my face and my heart is singing.  Bliss is it now in this dawn to be alive.

  36. Arbroath 1320 says:

    To be honest Jake I’m probably naively, I’m pretty good at doing naivety :D, assuming that as Scottish Lords they would, post Independence, be no longer Welcome in the HoL. After all as Scottish Lords they would have no say say on how the HolL conducted any of its business. I understand your point about them being “elevated” by what passes for a British constitution, however, this does nor detract, in my view, from the fact that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland would be less than happy with Scottish Lords debating issues and voting on issues in the HoL that had impact on “their” country, namely Scotland. This would be a bit like the West Lothian Question problem that regularly raises its ugly head in the HoC. I accept that post Independence some Scottish Lords might “try it on” and remain in the HoL at Westminster but I’m quite sure that after a fairly short period of time they would be “asked to leave” in the politest possible way. I know if the position were reversed I would be less than amused by the fact that Lords from foreign country were sitting in MY HoL and debating, voting etc on issues that affected me but not them.
    More over as Scottish Lords from an Independent country would not, I believe, be permitted to participate in ANY of the HoL debates. This then raises the question about what is the point of being a Scottish Lord in a foreign country. They would be achieving nothing. The best thing they could do would be to try and gain election to Holyrood. At least in Holyrood they would be “working” of sorts. There again as Scottish Lords it would not be the done thing to be seen mixing it with the commoners of the NON Lorded masses in Holyrood.

  37. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Jeez KOF, I missed that one! 😀
    Is this co operation tax a new SECRET tax that is about to be introduced by Westminster?
    Perhaps THIS is how Cameron is going to find his £50 Million for his 2014 “celebration”.
    Maybe this NEW co operation tax is what will fund Cameron’s war in Iran. 😀

  38. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “They presuppose a long-established historical trend going into reverse”

    That’s the thing, though – it wouldn’t be portrayed that way. It would be portrayed as an extension of devolution, and plausibly so. After all, wouldn’t Holyrood be getting more tax powers, and wouldn’t more things being devolved to local authorities? The intent might be malign, but it would still be “devolution”, and therefore hard to argue against.

  39. Holebender says:

    “There again as Scottish Lords it would not be the done thing to be seen mixing it with the commoners of the NON Lorded masses in Holyrood.”

    It was good enough for Lord Fffffouks, and Lord Steel before him.

  40. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Let’s face though Holebender Ffoulks is an EXCEPTIONAL exemption to the general rule. 😀
    As far as David steel is concerned, yes he stood for election to Holyrood but he became the first Presiding Officer. Therefore he had a “barrier” between himself and the commoner M.S.P.’s As he retired from Holyrood in 2003 I think you might be able to say he was able to remain “aloof” from the commoners actually doing all the debating. 😀

  41. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Arby: in the nicest possible way, do we really need all these BOLD CAPS? Any chance of maybe keeping it to one or the other?

  42. Oldnat says:

    Of course, BBC Scotlandshire was quite open about the Labour strategy of bypassing Holyrood. 

  43. Iain Gray's Subway Lament says:

    However the unionists promises of jam tomorrow to sneak in Holyrood curbs are portrayed by themselves or the media the fact is they opposed and stopped giving the scottish public the chance of having a say on further devolution.
    That’s all that needs repeating when they try to promote themselves as devolution friendly. They had the chances to back real devolution and their choice was to oppose and stop it.
    The SNP delivered the independence referendum it promised while the unionists are on record opposing the very same further devolution they will now claim to want

  44. domhnall dods says:

    there was a drama about this a number of years ago – pre Scottish Parliament. The stroy was set in a future when a Scottish parliament was up and runnign and people quite liked it. Then the SNP won and pushed for independence when there was a tory govt (with Portillo as PM). The Tories tried to disband parliament and it got messy. Can’t remember the rest. funny how things turn out eh?

  45. mato21 says:

    Anyone seen or heard of Charlie Kennedy? Seems like months since he was last seen anywhere

  46. Galen10 says:

    Whilst I fervently hope it doesn’t happen, I’m not so sure that a no vote in 2014 would be the disaster many people here and on other sites seem to think. It would be hugely disappointing of course, but the unionist parties have no plausible alternative to offer up to the Scottish people. They are naturally divided amongst themselves, but even if the could come up with a coherent and agreed plan, they have zero chance of steering it through Westminster.

    The desire for, at the very least, FFA is not going to disappear in a puff of smoke in the event of a no vote in 2014. The unionist establishment should be under no illusion that they can roll back the progress made since the re-establishment of the Scottish parliament.

    When it becomes obvious that the promises of jam tomorrow are hollow, the Scottish people simply give the SNP a further mandate either at Holyrood or in Westminster; Scottish Labour looks increasingly like a dead man walking, so it isn’t difficult to see a fair number of their current Westminster seats changing to the SNP, as well as gains from the hapless Lib Dems.

    Of course the best hope is for a yes vote in 2014, but in the event that it is a no (particularly a close run no) supporters of independence need to realise that it is simply independence deferred, not abandoned.

  47. Richie says:

    @domhnall dods

    I remember that programme too (not much of it though). I think it was on STV. It had the Scottish Government deploying police outside the parliament building to protect it from being shut down by the UK government. That’s about all I remember. 

  48. David Smith says:

    Well, if it ever comes to that, I’ll stand in line outside with the polis!

  49. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Well said Morag! Don’t let the bastards get you down.  Their whole promotion centres around lying about Independence.

    Let them get on with it. I’m convinced the SNP will blow our socks off when the time is right.  We can and we will win this referendum!     

  50. muttley79 says:

    That is what I reckon as well.  Given that the unionists love mentioning the Scottish Bill and the fact that the borrowing power is not due to be introduced till 2015, I am not sure that they could cancel these powers after a No vote in the referendum.  In addition, there is no way Salmond will let them get away with a repeat of 1979, and will mention what happened as much as possible, probably starting on Saturday in Perth.  However, we need to win to be assured of all the powers that independence will bring.  That is why a Yes vote is so important.

  51. Andrew says:

    Morag, Ronald
    They want us to go into the polling booths believing a load of lies. Shocking!
    Not going to happen!

  52. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Off topic. What do you guys think/want the question to be?  Will it be as per previously stated by AS? 

  53. Dennis Smith says:

    @Rev. Stu at 4.37

    I agree they could try but it would be a hard trick to bring off.  The ‘unionists’ are internally divided – not just Labour competing for votes vs Tory vs LD but also devolutionists vs anti-devolutionists.  Are all pro-devolution unionists too dim to notice what is happening here?  Unless unionists go for the nuclear option of abandoning Sewel they still need a majority at Holyrood for this kind of scam.

  54. Jeannie says:

    In other words, it will be COSLA running Scotland and not the elected government. And as if the very limited power he’s already got hasn’t addled Terry Kelly’s brain enough!  I used to work for one of our local councils – I wouldn’t trust them to spend a four-year-old’s pocket money wisely.  It still makes my blood boil every time I hear them say they want to raise the council tax because they haven’t enough money.  I could tell you stories of waste of taxpayers money that would make your hair curl! If Robert Black had dedicated more of his considerable resources towards investigating the spending of the average social work department, for example, to see where the money is going, we might all be due a council tax refund, not an increase.

  55. Morag says:

    Slightly OT, but bear in mind that that bastard Cameron wants to privatise the NHS and will force us (through Barnet consequentials) to privatise our if he can.  Look at this.

    Suicide is cheaper

  56. Adrian B says:

    RE: Suicide is cheaper.

    Jesus…..that’s not right

    And the American’s think that they are an advanced nation, Actually I think I am going from disbelief through shock to bloody anger about this.

    I caught the back end of something on Channel 4 news tonight which was about means testing for end of life care in England, that is the thin edge of the wedge:

  57. Arbroath 1320 says:

    Let the new round of mud slinging begin!

    Get to the end of the article and you will find the real reason for the Westminster gang of hypocrites not wanting to move Trident from Faslane!

  58. Its at times like this those with the power to inform should not fail the people,but they will because of a blinding obedience to a so called political party,instead of the people.

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