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Weekend guest: View from the fence

Posted on May 06, 2012 by

Ray McRobbie has his own blog, but dropped us a line to ask whether we’d be interested in hearing from someone who used to be anti-independence but now resides in the “undecided” camp. We said we’d be delighted. Take it away, Ray.

I’ve written a wee bit on the issue of Scottish independence in the past, without explicitly outlining my own view. A couple of years ago I was quick to criticise the Scottish National Party, and I’m not exactly a fan of Alex Salmond. Since then I’ve seen a lot, heard a lot and read a lot. I’ve studied the issue in some depth for my dissertation at university, and I figure I’ll be reading and writing a bit more in the lead up to the 2014 referendum. So I decided at some point I should actually outline where I stand. At least for the moment.

As it happens, I’m not really a decisive person. I usually like to have all the facts on something before I make a choice. A yes/no question is not often easy for me as I might pick the “wrong” option. This is a strategy I cannot depend on when it comes to Scottish independence. The referendum will most likely boil down to a yes or a no, but in reality it’s much more than that.

Another thing I’m not is a fierce patriot. Growing up, I enjoyed a Scottish win in football or rugby or snooker or squash. I’d put on a Scotland top and support the team or the sportsman, but I wouldn’t get depressed for a week afterwards if they failed, unlike many others. I don’t know when it happened but now I’m not fussed what the result is – I just want to see a good game. It’s a shame Scotland haven’t qualified for a major football tournament since 1998 but if they’d truly deserved it they’d have been there.

A patriot is devoted to a place or a way or life, so says George Orwell anyway, and that’s something I wouldn’t call myself. I like Scotland, I enjoy living here, all my friends are here and I haven’t explored nearly enough of it, but I’m not devoted to it. If my family decided to up and leave for whatever reason, we wouldn’t think twice about it if it meant having a happier life or a great experience.

Scottish radio, television and news coverage has not really been my cup of tea. I enjoy listening to English-based radio, enjoy following the English Premier League, I like to follow politics in many other countries, even if I’m not completely sure what the hell they’re going on about. I prefer to watch TV shows, news and sports from other countries around the world. Scotland is where I live but it’s not where I get most of my entertainment from, such is the greatness of the globalisation of Earth.

On the other hand, am I a nationalist? Do I want Scotland to gain more power in the world, to be able to stand on its own, to be able to build its own prestige and reputation and look after its own responsibilities? Probably. I’m pretty sure that Scotland already does have a reputation and decent enough standing in the world, but I’m not 100% sure if we can look after our own responsibilities. But that’s not the point. How can you prove that until you give it a try?

One of the more disappointing aspects of the whole independence debate for me has been the politics of it. Scottish independence is huge. It’s long-term, it’s fundamental, it’s massive. Yet what we get in debate between top party leaders, and anyone else in a political party, is short-term gibberish – politicians toeing the party line, saying or doing things simply to boost their own party and their short-term aims.

One only has to watch First Minister’s Questions from this week, when Alex Salmond was subjected to every other major party leader using their question time not to ask about local issues, or not to ask about the long-term future of the country, not even to ask about the elections happening the very next day. Nope, the First Minister had to respond to Johann Lamont, Willie Rennie and Ruth Davidson going on and on nonsensically about the SNP’s links to Rupert Murdoch and News International.

Now as I said earlier, I’m no Alex Salmond fan. He has questions to answer, and he says he will (in his own time of course). I’m not quite sure why he hadn’t already revealed if his phone had been hacked or not – plenty of other people did so before being brought in front of an inquiry. Salmond often looks very smug and arrogant during these spats and John Swinney was laughing his head off and slapping his thighs and generally just looking like a moron. The First Minister, for once, looked a little uncomfortable with some of the statements he made and refused to answer most questions, not that that’s a new thing during these events.

Still, I can forgive these theatrics because what riles me more are a group of party leaders, in parliament, with the job of asking questions the public want asked and holding the government to account in a way that is relevant and important to the voters. Instead what we get are the opposition party leaders avoiding all discussion of things the public want to know, and avoiding all discussion of the elections because they all got decimated last year. They all aimed at Salmond with the same rambling questions that had already been addressed, questions they already knew were never going to be answered any differently than before, questions used in an attempt to portray the SNP as a party with something to hide. Short-term tactics to protect their parties, and an absolute disgrace.

There is, and was always going to be, a strand of negativity to these debates. It’s the SNP versus everyone else in what appears to be an incoherent mess. Outside Scotland, it’s Alex Salmond versus everyone else because not many outside Scotland know anything about any other SNP member. Which is fair enough – I couldn’t name many politicians in the Welsh or Northern Irish assemblies.

Having studied some newspapers and their reporting of the issue for uni work, it initially seemed to me that the more Salmond is mentioned and quoted in the media, the more people will get sick of him. However, the context of the articles involving the First Minister could possibly have a different effect, and I feel this is what has happened with me – the more he is attacked and the more the opposition avoid the substance of the issues, the more people will back him.

The opposition parties can attack Alex Salmond fairly if they wish – there has been plenty his administration have gotten wrong in the past or achievements they failed to reach – but if they’re going to go down the negative route of bleating on about links to the media and/or other supposed scandals when all we care about actually are real issues, then they must remember that they will be painting themselves as absolute hypocrites at the same time.

Looking at the “British” media, the pro-independence view is less mainstream but there are plenty of decent websites and blogs out there which strive to provide the other side of the story. Some are a bit more partisan than others and can forget that political leaders and government heads being attacked is somewhat of a natural thing. These sites also stress the bias of the mainstream media but quite often look down on a differing opinion on their pages, opinions which will be ridiculed unfairly with vile language or just simply deleted. Childish nonsense occurs on both sides.

But these sites are important. Mainstream articles on independence are nearly always vague because there’s simply too many issues to discuss and they have no time or space for it but feel the need to publish something. People don’t go to national British newspapers or their online counterparts for Scottish news. So they concentrate on the “big” things – the use of the Euro in Scotland, the monarchy, military, the future of oil and other assets – but cannot provide much solution or anything actually new because nobody knows what the outcome to any of those issues will be.

Having spent the last four years studying journalism (and by studying I mean sitting in pubs all day with a newspaper… Ha! I’m kidding, we don’t read newspapers), perhaps I’m indecisive because I like to have both sides of the story and I sometimes like to be impartial.

However, one thing is clear in all this. If Scottish independence is to occur in our lifetime, from purely a journalistic perspective, it’s the best thing that can happen. This would be the biggest event in this country for over 300 years. For the media, it’s a treasure chest of upheaval, violent debate, bad news, complaints, fierce patriotism and harking back to historical events. It’s cool to be alive when stuff happens.

From a regular perspective, it’s possibly a nightmare. Upheaval, violent debate, career and/or financial uncertainty, bad news, xenophobia, unpleasantness. Yes, it can also lead to a great feeling of freedom and positive nationalism and taking a country by the scruff of the neck and making it your own. But this will follow years (possibly longer) of haggling, negotiating, arguing and huffing and puffing over every single molecule owned by the United Kingdom.

It could get exhausting. Some people may really want independence, but will a majority of people want it that much that the best years of their lives are interrupted by the constitutional earthquake that is separating from, and breaking up, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

I was initially against Scottish independence but for no real reason. I had what I call a David Cameron view on it: Gosh, it’s all just a bit of a hassle, isn’t it? I just didn’t think it would make much difference. I do agree that it would be better for Scotland to gain more powers because everything is increasingly London-centred and that is not healthy. Businesses and industries need to be created or rejuvenated in Scotland and nations should be able to have the chance to take responsibility for themselves if they wish.

But will it lead to everlasting happiness? Will anything major really change? At the moment I’d have to say no. An independent Scotland, at its most basic, will go from London-centred to Central Belt-centred. An independent Scotland will still have good economic years and bad. Scotland will still have corrupt politicians looking out for themselves and the short-term. Scotland will still have a lack of sun. Scotland will still have council budget problems, strikes, protests, taxes, unemployment, road deaths, crime, football hooliganism, alcoholism, smear campaigns, and so much more.

On the other hand, Scotland will still have fascinating scenery, plenty of whisky, interesting castles and other monuments, beautiful lochs, pretty wee villages, shops, bars, workplaces, churches, banks, and other things that make you smile or give you money or take up your recreational time.

The fact is, if all the negotiation over assets happens after we all vote, how in the world are indecisive buggers like me meant to take a strict position on this? How do we know that politicians who aim to do one thing and promise to achieve this or that in the event of a ‘yes’ vote actually follow through with those promises afterwards, or are stopped from doing so?

Because as I see it right now, I don’t think there will be too much difference for the normal Scottish citizen. Whatever the outcome, we’ll go to work, have a beer afterwards, maybe be a little poorer at one point, then perhaps a little richer at another point, then we’ll get old and moan about pensions and the price of milk and so forth, then we’ll die, and nothing will really matter, because we’ll be dead.

And perhaps most importantly, whatever the outcome, after we’re gone our kids and grandkids will call Scotland Scotland, just like the majority of us now call Scotland Scotland, and if they want to be proud of the country they were born in just like some of us are today, I’m sure they will be.

So yes, if you’re asking, you can put me down as a “Don’t Know”.

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56 to “Weekend guest: View from the fence”

  1. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy)

    Hello Ray,

    Thank you for the exxcellent summing up of the position of many previously Union supporters now moved to undecided.

    I hope that ove the next 2 (and a bit) years, that we can move you to positive.

    In your piece you mention the haggling over every atom of the Union as a sort of Fatigue negative to independence, but you have to remember that it is not the people who will be doing this but the Scottish Government. That government would be a majority SNP administration and they would not suffer fatigue in such an event, in fact they would relish it!

    Next, we can look at the Velvet Divorce of Czechoslovakia where from the Declaration of Independence to its undertaking was only 6 months. This is more likely to be the template for Scottish independence than anything else. If there is a will, there is a way.

    Short term difficulties are nothing compared to long term opportunities!

  2. Alex Grant

    Good article. I don’t subscribe to a lot of the inclination indicated but I understand it.
    It only highlights the need to portray a vision of how different Scotland can be to what Westminster is every likely to be and to do that we should promise a real constitution. The Unionist parties who always wax lyrical about the beauty of their ‘unwritten constitution’ and the ‘mother of parliaments’ will never sign up to having themselves constrained by this.
    Take a look at

  3. Angus McLellan

    Independence is a process, not an event. (I think I’ll get a t-shirt made with that on it.) It’s easy to overestimate the immediate degree of change if there’s a Yes vote. Look at Australia, Ireland or New Zealand: independence takes time to crystalise.

    A lot of the groundwork is already done really. Scotland has a separate education system and a separate health service. We have a separate legal jurisdiction (legally Scotland and England are almost as “foreign” to each other as are Scotland and Ireland) and a separate police force with distinct powers. One tiny change – a case of reporting to Keith Brown rather than Justine Greening – and we’d look after our own lighthouses and navigation. We enforce our own fisheries policy (in as far as we have one as part of the EU). And so on.

    But yes, there would be changes. We’d have our own commemorative stamps, our own embassies, our own spies, our own defence and foreign policy, taxes, and so on, But none of those things would make a great deal of difference to everyday life after a day or a year and a day. And few of these changes really compare with the difficult challenges that most of the world’s 150 “new” countries that appeared since 1945 have had to face. Almost without exception those new states had much less favourable circumstances in which to work. Scotland has a functioning democracy, an effective civil service, police service and judiciary, and a stable and cohesive society. As newly independent countries go, we’d be starting with three or four aces in our hand and that’s before we consider the fact that Scotland is, by any reasonable measure, a rich country in the most peaceful and law-abiding part of the world. 

    Does this mean that a Yes vote is guaranteed? Does it hell! But it’s a good place to start from.

  4. Suth

    I always get the feel that the undecided haven’t had the access to the information that they should have to help tip them into the indie camp. When you consider how hard it can be to get that information when the media is almost entirely staunchly unionist and the government are doing their best to throw mud and monsters under the bed it’s not surprising at all.
    The issues and benefits are long term and large scale. Focusing on the short term and petty (will we go to the pub afterwards or will people still have car accidents?) is missing the point entirely and no wonder someone would be undecided if that was all they were considering. You’d be better considering the advantages of greater powers focused entirely towards improving Scotland’s lot, economically, socially, etc. as well as greater control over that future and what we want to be. There are the advantages towards a government that is nearer to home and based in that home – look at Iceland and what they managed to achieve thanks to their more local government and the greater passions people have to get invovled. Those two things are tied together. They’d have struggled to fight against the bailouts and modify their constitution if they had been Scotland in the union. Similarly, the Scandanavian countries show other paths to walk other than the grim future offered by Westminster’s endless “austerity” and inflation to help out the City parasites who dictate or heavily influence policy in the union. 
    Scotland can vote for one party in every seat but its voice is so small it is merely a region and will be overwhelmed by whatever England decides. Having no real political voice and so no voice to decide how you want to be governed or the future shaped for yourself and your children is alone reason enough for independance. It is this sort of thing that leads to despair in the electorate. People stop believing in democracy if they clearly have no voice. Hand people control over their destiny and you can inspire them once more. Especially once the massive negative hype and fear machine (which RevStu covered here in an article) starts to evaporate.
    There is also the fact that independence will open up for debate things that Westminster will never allow and will shut down instantly. Nuclear weapons, constitutional matters, forms of government and methods of voting, etc. The list of possibilities will be endless. What was set in stone can be at last remade. No more sighing and simply putting up with generations of politicians riding the gravy train to Lordship for life. 
    There’s the shamless and never punished hand in the cookie jar angle where the media and government have spend decades lying and wheedling about countless issues and promises, obviously nervous and frightened of Scotland being able to stand on its feet and making itself better than what the union allowed it to be with pocket money and chores. When someone is lying to you endlessly and trying to hide things from you and delay you for their own benefit then it’s high time to brush that aside and move on instead of allowing them to paralyse you with fear, uncertainty and doubt. Those are their weapons and they don’t care if their FUD is proven wrong when things blow over as it only has to last in the short term for them while everyone in the union has to suffer the long term consequences for surrendering to that FUD hype once again.
    There’s also the moral/ethical and pride aspect. Would someone not rather stand on their own two feet and take a chance at making themselves into something great than spend a lifetime being little more than a resented parasite by “mother”, sucking on her teat and spending the pocket money you’ve been given for the rest of your life? To throw away that chance for independence is like voting to life with mum and dad in your wee bedroom like a kid well into your 50s and in return you have to give up the power to make your own choices in life. I’d rather give up that smothering safety blanket work towards my own future like a grown up, just as Scotland and the Scottish should make its own future without being smothered like a proper grown-up country and people and not a pretendy wee region that is regularly beaten like a red-headed step-child by its own union’s media and even the government sometimes.
    Independence is not unusual. Independence is the normal state of being and what anyone should strive for in life. The union is the aberration and clearly an unhealthy and at times abusive union at that.
    The short term or small elements will be decided upon and fall into place when the major issue – independence itself – is set. It will be the newly independent people and their new chosen government that will make these choices. As someone pointed out it is a process and not a sudden overnight magical changeover. Even with rather large issues like currency are all part of that process – Australia used the pound until it got its own currency up and running. This is the normal and sensible way of doing it as it transitions you from one state to the other and lets you work out the details when it matters and when you need to, instead of fretting about and getting bogged down in minutae before you’ve taken one step on the path or even got your shoes on for that matter.
    The FUDs are doing their best to bog down the debate with their FUD mud and endless pointless minutae because they know they don’t have any real or good counter arguments or that magical positive case for the union. Think on that. 300 years to make their case and when it comes down to it with this latest round they have been struggling to come up with good arguments and cases. They are instead throwing endless FUD mud and making confusing noises and obvious distractions. Surely you can see then that something is seriously wrong with that situation? What are they trying to hide?

  5. Peninsula

    Aside from all the other arguments for independence, there is a single core reason why, from a fundamental democratic point of view, Scotland requires independence.

    It’s the fact the Scots are in a situation which guarantees that their vote at a UK general election is almost worthless. 

    Over 90% of the time, the Scots don’t have any say in which party governs them.

    That decision rests solely with the England electorate,  and we are stuck with the party they voted for, like it or not.

    This isn’t anti-English, it’s the reality of being in union with a country 10x your population. 

    This democratic deficit is exacerbated by the widening gulf in political ideology north & south of the border.

    Sooner or later, the impotence of Scottish voters to influence the outcome of UK elections will end the union.

  6. Angus McLellan

    From the general to the specific and topical. The Greeks are voting today, the poor bastards. And why is Greece in the crapper? Don’t pay their taxes? Up to a point. Borrowed too much. Yes, but why did they borrow too much? No, not the Olympics. They cost a trivial amount compared to the over £100 billion problem. So what’s the “right” answer, or at least my version of it?

    Greece would have had no problems with debt if their governments since 1991 – and indeed before then – hadn’t engaged in an activity that Westminster unionist politicians like to present as one of the benefits of the Union: punching above our weight. This Guardian story – – you’ll need to strip out the “it woz the Germans wot done it” stuff, explains what went wrong. (But not why.) The French and Germans did not – could not – make Greece buy lots of expensive ships, tank and aircraft. They didn’t force Greece to spend twice as much on defence – based on official figures, so probably more in reality – as the average EU member or European member of NATO. The Greeks did that to themselves.

    But Greece isn’t the only smallish European nation struggling under the burden of a grotesquely oversized foreign and defence budget. There’s one much closer to home than Greece. And I don’t mean Norway, they have money to burn. No, I was thinking about us in Scotland. In nice round, easily-divisible-by-12 numbers the UK spent about £51 billion on spies, diplomats, aid and defence last year. Divide 51 by 12 and you get Scotland’s theoretical share, about £4.25 billion.

    Is that a lot or a little? Well, compared to Ireland it’s a hell of a lot. The equivalent number there comes out at well under £1.75 billion, £2.5 billion less. For New Zealand those numbers are £1.5 billion and £2.75 billion less. So one way to think about Scotland’s position as part of the Union – whether that’s now, or with the Calman-Minus Scotland Act, or with Devomax or Devoplus – is that we have a roughly £2.5 billion handicap before we even start to think about spending or raising money. Yes, there are some economic benefits from that spending that money, but they’re less than for most other forms of government expenditure and they are mainly generated in southern and central England.

    Now there’s no guarantee that an independent Scotland would be able to save all of that theoretical £2.5 billion or so. Especially not as a member of NATO. But it gives an idea of the financial consequences of punching above our weight. And remember, these are annual and not one-off figures and this is not a new state of affairs. It’s been this way almost forever and the end of the Cold War didn’t change things much. The cumulative sums involved are mind-boggling and that’s true even if we replace Ireland or New Zealand with – for example – Denmark, a small country that really does punch above its weight (whether that’s a good thing is a question for another day). Over the 15 years from 1993 to 2009, Denmark spent a cumulative total of around £15 billion less in present-day money on defence alone than GERS would show Scotland as have spent.

    So every time you hear a politician, pundit or journalist utter the dread words punching above our weight, in the two seconds it took them to say the words the cost of punching above our weight to Scotland was between £60 (compared to Denmark) and £150 (compared to Ireland or New Zealand). Makes parking in Edinburgh seem cheap.

  7. peter

    sorry to say, but this article was a long winded, “don’t know”.

  8. Morag

    I think the degree of upheaval, and indeed the degree to which in the end people’s lives won’t be affected, are being exaggerated.
    Someone already mentioned the quickie “velvet divorce” between the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  In addition, consider the experience Whitehall mandarins have of organising independence for many countries around the world.  They like nothing better – it’s an interesting job.  We see now the implacable hostility of the unionist establishment, but my money is on that changing after the referendum.  At the moment, Scotland is cut off from international support, as a “region” of the UK.  As an emerging independent state we will have the support of international law, the UN and the Council of Europe.  England will not be able to beat us up and steal our lunch money, even if she was of a mind to try.
    I also expect our lives to be extensively affected, for the better.  We are a rich country, but we have indeed been having our lunch money taken from us for many years.  Scottish assets aren’t in fact all that significant in the context of the UK as a whole (though significant enough, when you see the panic among the unionists at the prospect of losing them), but they are potentially enormous in the context of Scotland.  There is so much scope for the betterment of life in our country, and we should not down-play this.  What if we’d had that oil fund when the recession bit?  What if we had the power to take our own decisions on how to handle the banking crisis and the credit crunch, as Iceland has, rather than being forced into Cameron’s approach (I was going to say solution, except I don’t think it is a solution).  All these “shovel-ready” projects, being funded, and creating jobs.
    By a quirk of timetabling, I spent the Friday after the vote both this year and last year working with a colleague who is an Irish citizen.  He was full of congratulations for the SNP, and unable to see why everyone doesn’t vote SNP.  His point is that self-determination is a golden prize worth having for its own sake, in lean times as well as fat.
    I’ve forgotten how many countries have become independent in the past 100 years, but it’s a lot.  Circumstances vary widely, from ex-colonies to Ireland and Norway.  They all have one thing in common.  If you went there now and conducted a referendum on whether the people would prefer to re-join with their old union partner, or even whether they could envisage circumstances where they might possibly consider re-joining in the future, you’d be laughed out of town.
    Why would Scotland be any different?

  9. Domhnall

    I spend a fair amount of time workng in both london and dublin. Scottish independence comes up without fail. In London my English friends are by turn baffled and then resentful, “but why do you want to leave us? We are all British together, if you were independent then scotland would be different and, well, just foreign” and that then quickly turns to “we pay for everything you have so you could not survive without us!” It’s as though they personally feel rejected.
     In dublin my Irish colleagues say “I bet they say you’re too poor and too stupid to look after yourselves, same as they did with us, do you know what, just go for it!”
     another london based colleague is Irish and is always remarking, “gosh Scotland really is like a different world” (from london).

  10. Arbroath1320

    Peninsula says:
    It’s the fact the Scots are in a situation which guarantees that their vote at a UK general election is almost worthless. 
    Over 90% of the time, the Scots don’t have any say in which party governs them.

    This is the crux of the voting system that delivers Westminster governments. Every single person in Scotland could go out to vote, all vote for the same party, and STILL they would not get the government they voted for. Whenever we have a U.K. general election there is only ONE thing you can be certain of, the Westminster government you get is the government that is voted for by voters south of the border. Is this what you call a democracy? I certainly don’t. The only time Scotland stands a chance of getting a Westminster government that it voted for is if Scotland votes for the same party which is voted for down south.
    Now, consider an Independent country, let’s call it Scotland.:D
    Now we have a situation where EVERY vote at a general election DOES count, and whoever Scotland votes for as their main party DOES become the government of Scotland and WILL be held accountable by the people of Scotland, unlike a Westminster government. This situation leads to the situation where the parliamentarians in Scotland MUST be prepared to do “what they said on their tin” otherwise they are out next time around. All this is about the politics of an Independent Scotland.
    Now another BIG question constantly thrown towards we “Indepndenistas” is about our Army, Navy and Air Force. Well for starters the “Westminster gang” have a humongous cheek asking such ridiculous questions. Yes they ARE ridiculous questions. Why? Well you need look no further than recent MOD announcements. The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and the Scots Dragoon Battalions are earmarked for disbandment, this after the recent disbandment of 40 Regiment Lowland Gunners. According to Angus Robertson, SNP leader in Westminster, this means that we will have lost one third, that’s right ONE THIRD, of Scottish raised battalions in the current U.K. Army. This equates to a loss of THREE out of NINE BATTALIONS. I don’t know about any one else but this is NOT good news for Scottish Battalions. All three battalions having been disbanded by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition. And they have the gaul to question the military outlook of an INDEPENDENT Scotland?
    There is a small article about these military cuts over on the SNP site here.
    Rant over……for now. 😀
    I may return later for more hot air release. 😀

  11. Suth

    The best part about a truly Scottish government is that it will have our best interests in heart and will rely on our goodwill to ensure they stay in power. No more will “our” (Westminster) government be destroying Scottish fishing industries to gain some favour in Europe that benefits London or moving our industry down south or giving us the bill for improvements and events down south (London’s water and sewer infrastructure, Olympics, orbital motorway, etc.) while forcing us to pay for our own improvements from our pockets alone – or any other number of moves to support the SE of England or London at the cost of Scotland. All we will ever matter to them is what they can get from us to benefit themselves and their cronies, while at the same time they only need to please England just enough to stay in power, for their vote is what counts and Scotland is only a far-flung secondary matter. Like a colony of old that simply needs to be kept quiet and divided to keep the tribute flowing.

  12. Barbarian

    Good article. And as one who went from anti-independence, to sitting on the fence, to independent support (albeit highly cynical), it’s good to read another point of view.

    I don’t agree that the Murdoch issue is nonsensical whatsoever. It’s deadly serious and could potentially blow the whole independence campaign. His opponents are justified in this attack.

    The concern over jobs is a valid one, as are many other points. A bit more realism is needed to persuade more people.

  13. ayeachrihanish

    Respectfully, there seems a lack of any sort of wider appreciation connected with the circumstances in which you find yourself. 

    By way of example you say “I like Scotland, I enjoy living here, all my friends are here and I haven’t explored nearly enough of it, but I’m not devoted to it. If my family decided to up and leave for whatever reason, we wouldn’t think twice about it if it meant having a happier life or a great experience.”  This statement appears to be a classic Generation  Y” point of view that omits that “the only reason I can see so far is because I am standing on the shoulders of giants”. Absolutely, peruse for yourself and family a happier life and greater experience – that is not in dispute – but at what point in the articles considerations dose it expand to consider the needs of others outside your immediate circle? 

    Ask the same question but not from my immediate circles point of view but from say, the wider communities point of view? Expand if further, what about what would be best for this nation of other united nations? In Scotland we have institutionalised poverty, meaning well established political institutions fostering poverty. A discredited and undemocratic Westminster political system and main stream media bias of blatant state propaganda. For you and I there may well be the opportunity to step over these ” inconvenient obstacle” and realise our unforfilled experiences – but at what price to those left behind or not even considered in our deliberations?
    Do we really wish to leave to our grandchildren or great grandchildren  a nation and legacy based “me” having happier life or a great experience today? 




  14. Bill Cruickshank

    A very worthwhile contribution to the debate Ray – as one of our British institutions would say “it’s good to talk”!  Without going over all the ground you and others have covered: Just to say, I favour independence because I honestly believe we can make Scotland a better place to live; developing our own social, economic and international strategies etc. However, for me the whole issue is also one of self respect and respect for all who share this planet; nothing to do with Flower of Scotland, Bannockburn and gubbing the English. The real beating heart of independence is self-determination – knowing that we are in charge of our own destiny and rejoining the international community.  As one of my great heroes – Jimmy Reid – once said, to be an internationalist you have to be a nationalist first. Makes a lot of sense to me!
    All the best, hope you fall on the side of an international Scotland.

  15. ayeachrihanish

    I agree with Peter that, as it stands, it is an overly long don’t know – but you are exploring a vital deliberation which many have – and that’s great. But Ray, in this referendum debate, what do you stand for?      

  16. Suth

    Barbarian, why is the Murdoch thing “deadly serious” and why are the opposition “right” to spend almost 24 hours a day and 7 days a week banging on about it like it was the apocalypse while conveniently ignoring the fact that their hands have long been in the cookie jar? Having had a look at your blog you seem obsessed with this and have quite the axe to grind.

  17. Arbroath1320

    Suth, I think you are right to question the opposition’s obsession with Murdoch and what the F.M. did or didn’t do with respect to him and BSkyB. I think that they are so obsessed w ith this aspect of the “Murdoch expansionism” that they have taken their eyes off the ball and are suffering from selective amnesia.
    Was it not messers Blair and Brown who spent 13 years wining, dining and snuggling up to the Murdoch empire?
    Out of Blair, Brown, Cameron and Salmond, who was it that jetted half way round the world to smooze up to Murdoch in an effort to persuade him to keep the Sun on the side of Labour?
    Salmond is happy to attend the Leverson inquiry, how happy are Blair, Brown and Cameron?
    Come to think about it WILL Blair, Brown and Cameron ACTUALLY attend the inquiry or will they find some obscure reason that will prevent them from attending?
    If, by some twist of fate, messers Blair and co. DO actually attend the inquiry how smug will the unionist parties be after the grilling messers Blair and co. will undoubtedly get?

  18. Angus McLellan

    @Arbroath1320: The army – like the rest of the defence forces – exists for purposes other than keeping Old Comrades’ Associations and retired brasshats happy. If it has to be cut – and it does – that’s that. Add to that Scotland was overrepresented in terms of infantry regiments and that recruiting wasn’t able to keep them up to strength, and Hammond made the obvious decision. A Scottish defence minister would probably have done the same thing in the same circumstances. The alternative would be to end up with an army that was an expensive and useless hollow shell – all chiefs and no indians – unable to perform its assigned tasks.

    The demise of the Fiji Dee Gees (aka Scots Greys, aka Royal Scots Dragoon Guards) and one infantry battalion was only a slight surprise and that was because I’d expected two nominally Scottish infantry battalions to get the axe this time round. But the Highlanders aren’t safe yet – there will be more cuts next year – and it’ll be no big surprise if nothing more than their flags and their silverware ever come back from Germany with their name on them. We shall see.

  19. Macart

    A good article Ray and would strike a receptive chord with many undecideds. Very much recognise the feeling of futility at FMQs. Pots and kettles springs to mind over the hypocrisy on display. I’d rather they actually got down to work at some point and acted more like the constructive opposition we pay them to be (nah can’t hold my breath that long). 🙂

    Also very much agree about transition, other than high level negotiations and wrangling, for the most part nothing is going to be hugely changed in terms of day to day life. This fear of the walls falling in on society is what others would have us believe. What will be fairly huge is  the democratic angle in Scotland. Our parties and governments would now be directly answerable to us. Before they had the get out of jail free card which was the UK electorate, 55+ million bods who effectively set the form for who got to sit in the big chair at Westminster, regardless of how our entire country voted. Under independence those same representatives will really have to focus on their own electorate and their needs for once. Big brother and big party politics won’t be able to guarantee their easy ride to career and ermine.

    Now that would be a pleasant change for the better. 

  20. Adam Davidson

    For anyone campaigning for the yes vote this article will be a massive help. There are diehard no voters. There are diehard yes voters. In between is where success or failure will be. So many of the inbetweeners will feel like Ray. Life is,okay, why rock the boat. There will be a lot of work to do it so let’s not bother. The reason why 30 something percent didn’t vote in the local elections; apathy and disconnected from the system. No matter who is in power, my life doesn’t change etc.

    That is a massive hurdle to overcome. No matter how much we shout the pro’s from the rooftops, the mainstream media either ignore it, don’t report it then complain that the independence campaign won’t present a valid case for independence. 

    All the sites; Wings, Newsnet, Weggie Warbler really help give me information to spread the word and deal with media BS but how do we get the facts out there.

    I am in sales. Part of any sales process is to adjust your message to different kinds of customers. Some want facts and figures. Note ‘facts’. Not opinions. Others want to know how their life will be changed by the product. Others can be told what to buy by someone whose opinion they trust. But before any of this is relevant, they need to feel they need a new product. If the one they have now isn’t broken then the features of the new one don’t matter. We have to firstly show the Rays of Scotland that their existing product is broken and the replacement they can buy from Independence will meet all their needs. The biggest hurdle? If the product proves not to be as described, they can’t take it back.

  21. Seasick Dave

    A bit of a long ‘don’t know’.

    Just remember, Ray, that its not about the SNP, its about Scotland’s future.

    That means you and your childrens’ future.

    I travel around the world a lot and can see that Scotland could be so much better than it is.

    I can’t afford to take every doubter in Scotland to Norway (even on my superstar wages) but, if I could I would.

    There you will see what an independent (UDI) country that was poor as a church mouse can do with control over its own resources.

    While you sit on your fence wondering whether its worth the hassle from Westminster, Norway has developed its infrastructure, set up funds for the future and is an affluent and confident country that cares for its people.

    I have attached a link which makes for interesting viewing.

    Hopefully, Ray, you will see that the future can be Scotland’s to shape and that we can all be part of it.

    Onwards and upwards!

    Vote YES.

  22. Seasick Dave

    Ananurra thing, Ray.

    You mention patriotism and football shirts and all that goes with it.

    I couldn’t give a toss about all of that. I love football and I support Scotland but its only a game to me.

    My wife is English so if my son (or daughter) wanted to play for England then it would not bother me one bit; its totally up to them.

    This is all about Scotland making all of its own decisions and funding them from our own substantial resources.

  23. Ray

    Firstly, a big thank you to WoS for letting me have my say. Yes it was perhaps a bit long-winded but it’s a viewpoint that I don’t see nearly enough. As mentioned it’s the undecided who could determine the outcome and it’s not really reflected when we see the yes voters battling against the no voters in the papers, on the news and online.

    Thanks for all the comments, there have been some great points made but I expected nothing less! Points about the lack of a voice in the current Westminster structure really resonated with me, as do examples of other countries and their moves to become independent. We’ll see how long I stay a “don’t know” for!

  24. Longshanker

    A newspaper can create great controversies, stir up arguments within the community, discussion, it can throw light on injustices, just as it can do the opposite, it can hide things and be a great power for evil.

    – Rupert Murdoch 1968

    Good piece Ray. Don’t agree with you about Murdoch though. The day that Mr Salmond endorsed the Sunday Sun was the day he delcared himself as a lickspittle cheerleader for corporate plutocrats – a horrible vision for an independent Scotland.

    To be found out by a confidential email only made him look even more like a standard Westminster style Snake Oil politician. (Jeremy Hunt anyone?)

    Who, other than an acolyte of blind faith reverence, could believe anything he had to say on the matter after that?

    In the era of the EU, technocrats, austerity and failed currencies, the idea of Nation-Statehood seems virtually anachronistic, backward and mostly meaningless.

    Yeah, we’ve got the oil. And if anyone is naive enough to think that there would be a ‘Velvet Divorce’ then maybe they should take a look at the Sudan.

    One side claiming the majority of valuable resources invariably leads to conflict. I’m not saying there would be war, but the Holy Grail of the McCrone report pays homage to a belief that force could likely be used to prevent any such handovers.

    So, like you, I’m dithering. Like you, I’m getting bored. Unlike you, I’m getting more and more worried by the polarisation of certain elements of the Nationalist camp who sound increasingly Thatcherite, right-wing, intolerant, willfully blind and extreme.

  25. Seasick Dave

    So, like you, I’m dithering. Like you, I’m getting bored. Unlike you, I’m getting more and more worried by the polarisation of certain elements of the Nationalist camp who sound increasingly Thatcherite, right-wing, intolerant, willfully blind and extreme.

    It must be conceded, Longshanker, that you do irony extremely well.


  26. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy)


    RE: Nationhood – It is precisely because of Supra-National bodies such as the EU, UN, WTO and NATO that nationhood is paramount.

    You can have no say if you are gagged into a union tha denies you a voice.

    Having a voice, even a small one, is better than none, and in todays world it is the nature of “Flottila Politics” for confederations of small nations to campaign on mutually beneficial topics.

    As for your comment on Sudan, this is ridiculaous in the extreme! Sudan has never been a first world country, does not have the infrastructure or education of Scotland and was embroiled in a bitter war over their only resource. They had nothing to lose.

    Scotland has many resources but added together they are significant. Oil is only one.

    As part of the UK they are a net contributor, but they are not significant in the UK wide aspect so as to make them worth International sanctions to the rUK. This is pure fantasy and scaremongering of the lowest order, to try and imply invasion from England on Independence.

    The closest thing to Scotlands situation, is the velvet divorce of Czechoslovakia. But lets be clear, there are no precidents for an advanced Western State disintegrating into 2 or more constituent parts but it is in the interest of the rUK to ensure that Scotland is regarded as a successor state and that there is a smooth transition of assets and debts subsequently.

    They will Haggle for a better deal, but so will we, and our priorities are different so there will indeed be scope for agreement whereby we can give up what is not important to us (Trident) in return for something that is (Choice of Military hardware). At the end of the day it will be the “Grown ups” in the civil service working together and not some Hissy fitting Unionist Politician working through the minutae of detail.

    The politicians will sign off the final deal, it may alter, but it will be achieved.

  27. kevybaby

    @ longshanker

    ‘I’m getting more and more worried by the polarisation of certain elements of the Nationalist camp who sound increasingly Thatcherite, right-wing, intolerant, willfully blind and extreme’

    a fair point of view, but would you agree that if such a party was in government in an independent scotland then the ability to vote them out would also be there, one which as posted by several others here is not really in our power to do at the moment? 

  28. Dál Riata

    “So, like you, I’m dithering.”

    Really? Oh, okay then, let me help you along.

    When the time comes, press a pen between your cloven hooves and scratch X’s all over the voting paper. That will then be a spoiled paper and a spoiled vote.

    Rather that than have you and your poison associated in any with a Yes vote and a forward-looking and progressive independent Scotland.

    But, it’s irrelevant anyway, because we all know where you really intend to scrawl your X, don’t we, troll-boy?

  29. Morag

    I keep encountering people who oppose independence because (they say) they oppose borders of all sorts and want to have as few as possible.  There was another one in the Herald magazine on Saturday.
    I don’t understand how a world without any boundaries would actually work in practice, and less so how you would get there from here.  But more importantly, I think they have profoundly failed to grasp the realities.  In a world where national boundaries exist, it does nobody any good to subsume your own nationality in pursuit of an unattainable ideal.
    More so, I think it impinges on what Jimmy Reid said, about having to be a nationalist before one can become an internationalist.  I want Scotland to be a nation precisely so that we can be more outward-looking and interact with other nation states on an equal basis.  It’s not about putting up a border between us and England, we would like that border to be as nominal as reasonably possible, it’s about having the platform to stand on to interact with everybody else.
    Labour keep going on about a poverty-stricken child in Bradford being unimportant to the SNP, who only care about the poverty-stricken child in Baillieston.  The obvious answer to this is, what is Labour doing for either of them?  And if the SNP cannot help the child in Bradford, does that mean it should abandon the child in Baillieston to its fate?  But more importantly, one has to consider the poverty-stricken child in Beirut.  Does the Labour party want to go into a unified state with all the poverty-stricken places in the world so that it can “help” all children equally?  If not, why not?  We’re not seeing them being ever so enthusiastic about Europe, even, under the banner of helping the poverty-stricken children of Belgrade.
    Does anyone feel like writing an article about this?  I feel it’s profoundly mistaken to rail against the SNP for seeking to normalise Scotland’s status in the world as it is, but complaining that it’s somehow holding back this nebulous ideal nirvana where there are no borders at all.  I find it hard to articulate the counter-argument, but I think it would be well worth doing, if only because it’s an argument I encounter a lot.

  30. Macart

    I think you did just fine Morag.

  31. Angus McLellan

    @Scott: “there will indeed be scope for agreement whereby we can give up what is not important to us (Trident) in return for something that is (Choice of Military hardware)”
    Nothing personal, but when I read things like that it makes me want to scream and throw my toys out of the pram. The United Kingdom’s armed forces are designed, organised and equipped to do all sorts of things, but “defend a small country in a cost-effective way” isn’t really one of them. Why, then, is there a widespread assumption – from the old SNP defence docs to the SDA ones to endless blogs and comments – that cutting a small piece off the MoD’s varied collection of military hardware would be much help in producing a workable Scottish defence force?
    Let me quote from the E&W Green Party’s Peace and Defence policy statement (the whole thing is here: and worth a skim through) :- “PD204 The defence budget needs to be adequate to ensure security, but no more so. Military preparations are a drain on our resources, as well as being a source of threat. Even peacetime military activities can have major impacts on communities, on the environment, and on a healthy democracy. All military capabilities and exercises should have specific military objectives built on real and credible threat scenarios. They should be proportional to the threat, sufficient to respond adequately, but not disproportionate.”
    That qualifies as stating the obvious. Stuart Crawford would approve. So would the gurus at RUSI. And the folks at the MoD. The disagreements would be over the nature of the threats and the capabilities and spending required to meet the adequate requirement. So, if everyone else thinks that in order to decide on anything you need to first assess and define military objectives and real and credible threats before spending any money, why is there an insistence on doing things exactly the opposite way round when it comes to a hypothetical Scottish defence force?
    The differences in costs and composition between a minimal credible defence force, as advocated by the E&W Greens, and – to pick an example – the costs and composition of a “NATO standard” defence force would be huge. And it’s not just a case of “more” or “less” of the same things.
    Today in Scotland the Royal Navy does defence things at sea. But if we look further afield, there are (or were) also things done by Marine Scotland, the Northern Lighthouse Board, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, by DEFRA and the SEPA which would – in the US, Norway and elsewhere – be classified as defence or homeland security tasks and be carried out by a maritime component of the defence forces.
    So defining the role of the defence forces – is it broad or narrow? – is yet another prerequisite. If the maritime defence force was also to maintain lighthouses and navigation buoys, to carry out EEZ and customs patrols, to deal with maritime accidents and pollution, and so on – as the Royal Norwegian Navy does today – it would need to have a very different collection of ships from a purely military force. “Some frigates and minesweepers” – what you’d get if you divided up the Royal Navy – could be the answer to the wrong question and about as much use a chocolate teapot.
    That’s true also of air forces in some ways. For example, the majority of government-owned (or hired) helicopters routinely operating in Scotland today are not controlled by the armed forces but rather by blue light agencies – police, ambulance, coast guard, lighthouse board. To lapse into bullshit bingo business speak, there may be synergistic benefits from having a single agency – the air component of the defence forces – procuring, maintaining and operating all of those helicopters rather than just one third of them. But the majority of UK military helicopters could well be, for various reasons – too big, too small, too old, too unreliable, too expensive to run – unsuitable for those sorts of tasks.
    So, questions, questions, as far as the eye can see. And no answers yet. But until there are answers how can anyone possibly make rational decisions on divvying-up the MoD’s goodies?

  32. pa_broon

    Only thing I would say is, when I speak to people who are undecided or having a no-feeling for independence, they are invariably comfortable in their life (have money and security etc) and don’t have any significant challenges that require support from the state.

    Thats when things change. For me it really is about services, both my parents are elderly and receive free care at home, although they are retired now, they took advantage of things like free prescriptions.

    Its also about accessibilty. Westminster is far less accessable to me than my MSP at Holyrood (and I have had to contact him.) I detest the nannying tendencies of the SNP but like their idea of social democracy and a society the state cares for (hopefully effectively most of the time, although sometimes not.)

    What we have is Westminster with its cuts agenda, while its necessary, they’re cutting entirely the wrong things, remploy or the results of ATOS for example.

    I don’t have a fuzzy view of Scotland being a rich caring utopia (we have some right bastards up here, most notably the ones who stole my motorcycle recently) but, in terms of direction of policy (if I can use that politicians guff-word) I much prefer the direction Holyrood is taking than Westminster.

    I suppose I might say to Ray, I’m not sure how old you are, you may be a mature student, you say you’re doing your dissertation? Not having the details, how much did you pay to do your course?

    Its these differences in real policy that make the argument for me so, as my considerably richer and more known fellow countryman likes to utter: when it comes to the Union – Am oot!

  33. Juteman

    This post on NNS might help you decide. It does’t seem to have generated much interest, but if it’s true, it shows the corruption at the heart of the existing political system.

    Quote . “#Concerned Scot2012-05-07 12:13
    Gerry Braiden ? @GerryBraiden
    Hhhmmm..hearing promises made to the Brethern about changing the code of conduct in Glasgow’s parades policy in return for a Labour vote.

    Gerry Braiden ? @GerryBraiden
    The Brothers in the OO promised an anti-Labour campaign in run-up to last week’s election which didn’t materialise. Happy with the promises?

    Gerry Braiden ? @GerryBraiden
    Confirmation from @Andrew4Glasgow who attend Monday’s meeting in the Evangelical Church “and Matheson said he would reverse policy”.

    AS criticised in Glasgow for making a statement in support of Rangers FC employees, yet no problem for Labour to do a back-door deal with the Orange Order.”

  34. Angus McLellan

    @pa_broon: I hear what you’re saying and it makes sense, but it’s only part of the picture. I’m comfortably off and face no challenges. Independence wouldn’t make a huge personal or financial difference to me. If taxes go up or down I won’t really notice the change and my job doesn’t depend at all on the state of the Scottish (or even UK) economy or on government finances. And if I have to travel on business or for pleasure, well I almost always have to take a passport with me today so Teresa May’s scare stories don’t bother me. But none the less I’m 100% in favour of independence to the extent that I don’t care at all about the financial side of things. I’d happily vote to be poorer and independent. But I don’t believe I would be poorer.
    What’s true for me is even more the case for lawyers, accountants, PR people, managers and all the rest of the comfortably off. The one thing that we can be absolutely sure of is that independence will be good for those sorts of people. Government and related jobs – often the best paid ones – which only exist in London today would appear in Scotland. And who’d get them most likely? Those comfortably off people with good degrees from prestigious universities, or their friends and children.
    And what’s true of government jobs is also true of business ones. Unilever, for example, have UK and Irish offices, but no specifically Scottish one. So in Dublin there are management and support jobs – from receptionists and cleaners to lawyers and accountants – that just don’t exist in Scotland today. But they would exist very soon after independence. Now some of those jobs could go to transplants but how many lawyers in London know anything about Scots law and how many Scottish-qualified chartered accountants are there in London? So the cream of the jobs would go to the douce burghers – and their children – in Edinburgh, Glasgow or wherever Unilever decided to put down roots. 
    So while independence should be good for most people, the only ones who we can be 100% sure will benefit immediately are, in general, the kind of people who are most strongly opposed to the idea. Weird, no?

  35. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy)

    @Angus McLellan

    Well, you did succeed in throwing your toys out the pram with that one.

    You will notice that I said:

     “we can give up what is not important to us (Trident) in return for something that is (Choice of Military hardware).”

    In other words, I dont want 8.4% of the Navy, Army and Airforce, but if there is kit that could go towards the setting up of a backbone of the Scottish Defence Force then we should aim to acquire it during negotiations.

    Scotland is going to have to decide whether it wants to go to full blown NATO levels of spending (not my preference) or go for the minimum designed for the purpose. Yes that will mean buying in new kit and hopefully rearranging the military as what we certainly dont need is a Mini-MOD thats too top heavy and inefficient, but we also dont need to start from scratch if we dont have to.

    The requirements of the defence forces need assessed and built accordingly, but if kit that meets the criteria set is available during negotiations then it makes sense to horsetrade to get what we need. The point I said remains valid, we trade our share of what we dont want for something we can use.   

  36. Arbroath1320

    Whilst meandering through my partner’s facebook page (I don’t have one) I came across this.
    I hope he is able to reach his £22,000 target and gets this debate off the ground. This is the first time that I’ve seen an Independent “organisation” try and put up a debate on Scottish Independence/2014 referendum. As the intention is to put the debate up on the internet 2 days after the debate is finished I think quite a lot of eyes will be opened up to the real possibility/prospect of Scottish Independence. I have every confidence that anyone in the audience/panel who tries to spread the word of the “untruth” will be shot down in flames in no uncertain manner.
    This is, I believe, a genuine attempt to produce a politically neutral debate. Apparently 6 parties have been invited to attend. For the first time we may actually get an even handed debate, 3 parties FOR the Union and 3 parties FOR Independence.

    Roll on August. 😀

  37. Macart

    Now that is a cracking prospect Arb and a first class cause for the charity donation. A fair and open debate which has equal representation. Superb 🙂 I’d love t’ be in that audience.

  38. Arbroath1320

    I think the debate could be quite lively. 😀
    Question is how many unionists will turn up for the debate, to be in the audience I mean.
    I won’t be able to attend the actual debate but I’m already starting to slaver at the prospect of watching it on line. 😀
    If this debate turns out to be as good as I suspect/hope it will be I think it should be prescribed viewing for all “Don’t Knows”.
    I am confident, not recklessly so, but confident non the less that a whole range of unionist “non-truths” will be laid bare for everyone to see.
    Just a wee after thought. Will any of the broadcasters find a sliver of courage to approach the team involved in this project with a view to broadcasting the debate, in full, on terrestrial T.V.?

  39. Angus McLellan

    @Scott: I’ve picked up my toys and got back in the pram. I’ll be good now. Honest I will.
    Regarding the proposed debates mentioned above, all it needs is 1100 people to put in twenty quid. In fact just 1097.5 people now. Murdo Fraser tweeting the Clavel’s Spring crowdfunder page probably managed to raise hundreds of pounds towards the costs of the film, so even if you can’t contribute yourself – and times are hard indeed for many people – you can always ask people who might have the money, plug the link on your blog, link to it on your facebook or google+ page, and so on. We can’t all be Murdo Fraser – probably just as well – but every little helps.
    I have a question for readers, especially for people like Ray, who remain skeptical about independence, or Barbarian, whose conversion the cause is perhaps a bit lukewarm compared to some. Do you think that more specific information being available make it easier to make your mind up? If so, what kind of information would that be? I have a cunning plan, but perhaps it’s more like one of Baldrick’s plans and is really a giant turnip in disguise. So any comments and thoughts gratefully received. I’m sure Rev Stu won’t mind too much if you put them here.

  40. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy)


    The man setting up this debate is Martin J Keatings – He is a Cybernat and runs an excellent blog but mostly it links to stories elsewhere (But saves you time and effort in doing so) and there are a few good blog entries too. Unfortuantely, as he is a self confessed cybernat, I dont think he will get buy in from Unionist politicians, but he may get civic Scotland involved.

    You might be interested in trying this Twitter feed newspaper run by Peter A Bell

    Its a link into a site called ScoopIt that Peter uses to create the e-news on the Scottish Referendum. Essentially it provides a compendium of all newspaper and blog stories on Scottish independence that are published each day as spotted by twitter users linked to Peter. If like me you are very busy and cant peruse all the papers each day it helps keep you on top of what is being said and where.

  41. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy)

    @Angus McLellan – Thats quite alright mate. Debate is good. I just dont want to see us scare people off becuse they think we will be defenceless on day 1. We can use a little existing kit to tide us over until the root and branch review and planning of what Scotland needs is done and dusted.

    As for your other points… Twitter is your friend!!!

  42. Arbroath1320

    Thanks for the link Scott.
    Do you think that the fact Martin is a cybernat is enough of a reason for unionist parties to say no to a, I assume, “open” debate?
    I would think that the chance to “embarrass” a known cybernat would be too good a chance to miss. When you look at how the Anti Independence Brigade have been behaving up till now this MUST be an opportunity which they see as an “open goal” for them.
    I take your point that as he is a cybernat he may experience some problems getting this project off the ground. However, as I said above surely any opportunity to lock horns with the Pro Independence parties can not be allowed to go by without arguing their corner. Failure to do so would, in my view, be seen as further proof, if any were actually needed, that the A.I.B. had nothing positive to say about staying within the union. 
    Are the A.I.B. so thin skinned that they are terrified of entering the “Lion’s Den?”
    After all the Pro Independence parties are always going onto political debates, the “Lion’s Den” if you will, organised by the pro union BBC.

  43. douglas clark

    Ré the Minto – McLellan bun fight over our military.
    It doesn’t really matter if rUK leaves us naked. We would then just go out and  buy a few planes, a few boats and build from that. It is pretty obvious that we need a reactive force, and possibly a force able to help the UN in certain circumstances.
    I do not think we are anyone’s immediate target for aggression. But we do need to be able to defend ourselves. I quite like the McLellan model. But the Minto position is a realistic starting point. It is not as if we can redesign the available kit on the hoof, is it?

  44. Macart

    Hey Arb, Peter A Bell has an article on NNS at the moment where the discussion is centering around getting the message out past the MSM. It may be a good place to stick a link for this project.

    Do you want to pay a visit or would you mind if I dropped your link on there?

  45. Suth

    I saw your twitter link about the unholy alliance between Labour and Tory, RevStu. Shocking stuff, even for those fiends.

  46. Longshanker

    @Scott Minto

    The closest thing to Scotlands situation, is the velvet divorce of Czechoslovakia.

    That’s so bland and unjustified that it can only be considered a Nationalist style Barnum statement.

    Scotland has many resources but added together they are significant. Oil is only one.
    Oil is the only one of real significance to Westminster re: independence. Thatcher bankrolled her bankrupting and corrosive ideology with Scottish oil. So successful was she that many people even use her lexicon of thought without realising it – witness your apologist piece for a corporation like Amazon. 
    Where was one of the first places that Chancellor Bullingdon Oik turned the overnight tax screw? It’s too important to them to give up without a virtually inevitable nasty fight.
    This is pure fantasy and scaremongering of the lowest order, to try and imply invasion from England on Independence.
    So parts of the McCrone report are fantasy and scaremongering of the lowest order? I didn’t imply the potential use of force, the McCrone report did. 
    If I thought that the Velvet Divorce theory had even a smidgeon of credibility about it,  I’d be far better disposed toward voting for independence.
    The Velvet Divorce is one extreme, Sudan is another. I chose Sudan because it’s more relevant in a sharing of resources scenario.
    Of course we wont end up like Sudan. But from a historo-cultural-social point of view, I’d like to see you do one of your essays on why the achievement of independence would be like the Velvet Divorce. I fail to see it from your argument posted here.
    How about it? I enjoyed your piece on the Darien schemies.

  47. Longshanker

    I want Scotland to be a nation precisely so that we can be more outward-looking and interact with other nation states on an equal basis. 
    So, on that basis, do you think that helping inflict a Murdoch media monopoly on England would have been viewed as internationalist and outward-looking? 
    I think it would have been selfish and insular and reflect the negative side of Nationalism. What do you think?

  48. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy)


    “The Velvet Divorce is one extreme, Sudan is another. I chose Sudan because it’s more relevant in a sharing of resources scenario.”

    You chose Sudan as a comparison because you felt that a Third World Country with no other resources or capabilities to speak of other than oil, and decades of violent ethnic war was a better fit to Scotland???

    That says more about your world outlook than the realities of Scotland.

    The Velvet divorce is the ONLY example of an advanced state voluntarily splitting into two new states. This is the only relevant precident we have, so it makes sense to learn from that process as well as looking at independence situations elsewhere.

    Regarding the Oil, it accounts for about 5% of GDP for the UK as a whole. Obviously it is more valuable to an independent Scotland, but it is not valuable enough to the rUK to risk international sanctions that would affect the other 95% of their economy should Scotland decide to be independent. To imply they would is indeed scaremongering of the lowest order.

  49. Arbroath1320

    Thanks for the heads up Macart.
    I did stick a link up on their Midlothian story when it was the top story. As I am STILL on the naughty step it took a wee while but it got up, eventually.
    I think if I were to post about the site again I would be accused of advertising or something and any chance I had of moving off the naughty step would be rather forlorn methinks. 😀
    I have no problems though if you want to link to it on their latest story. As they say, you can never have too much of a good thing.

  50. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy)


    Oh and on another note, I cant see wher in the McCrone report it says “Invade Scotland on Independence”. Strange that, although I did see a line where it says;

    it is hard to see any conclusion other than to allow Scotland to have that part of the Continental Shelf which would have been hers if she had been independent all along”

  51. Macart

    Also gave the heads up to a few friends in my line of work who may be interested. Here tae help bud. 😀

  52. Morag

    Longshanker, I think mainly that what you bring up is irrelevant.

    In an independent country, we should primarily be looking out for our own economy and interests, within normal parameters.  Self-sacrifice to save others from themselves is not called for.  So, I would want our politicos to try to attract business that was going to benefit us, without too much hair-shirting about other interests.  Obviously I don’t mean encourage child labour, or exploitation of third-world workers, but insofar as facilitating a takeover that might produce a monopoly in another country, I’m easy.  Let the other country look out with its own monopoly regulations.

    This is a bit like saying, oh don’t become independent because that will make it easier for the Conservatives to win in England.  It is up to the English voters to decide whether or not they want a Conservative government, and we should not be interfering.

  53. Angus McLellan

    @Scott: As long as Trident remains – and it’s not going to leave on day one however much we all wish it would – we’ll be looked after by the MoD about as well as today. The MoD used to have superpowers where planning was concerned, but those are long gone. Work to replace Faslane – easy – and Coulport – not so easy – will have to go through the usual planning process. And then, for Coulport-on-the-Channel, there will be an endless series of reviews and appeals. Some of the road- building projects get held up for years.

    So whether Westminster wanted to or not, it would have to take a big interest in Scotland’s security until Trident left. And Rosyth, where £5 billion worth of aircraft carriers are being welded together, is fairly important too. Like Stephanie Flanders said, everything changes after the vote is in. That’s an important message to get across.

  54. Longshanker

    @scott minto

    “The Velvet Divorce is one extreme, Sudan is another. I chose Sudan because it’s more relevant in a sharing of resources scenario.”
    You chose Sudan as a comparison because you felt that a Third World Country with no other resources or capabilities to speak of other than oil, and decades of violent ethnic war was a better fit to Scotland???

    Sigh. Re read the quote. You chose a positive extreme, I chose a negative one. Choosing either is just as pointless or as relevant depending on your view. I don’t care about Sudan in this context, I was merely using it as a vehicle to highlight how comparisons can be pulled out of a hat and have relevancies tacked on to support arguments made. Raise your game. It’s flagging.

    Oh and on another note, I cant see wher in the McCrone report it says “Invade Scotland on Independence”. Strange that…

    You’ve obviously missed it. Understandable. If you really want the actual quote referred to, I can post it for you. But I thought your MO was being on the ball. Your eyes are elsewhere in this instance. 

  55. Longshanker

    So, I would want our politicos to try to attract business that was going to benefit us, without too much hair-shirting about other interests

    I take that to be a yes. So long as our alleged short term interests are served, it would be okay to inflict a potentially dangerous monopoly on another country. A deal, incidentally, upon which the CIA epithet of ‘blowback’ would have quickly become self evident.
    Faustian pact material indeed. I’m genuinely surprised and dismayed by your answer Morag. It virtually contradicts the idea of internationalism.
    Jimmy Reid’s idea of internationalism was more along the lines of international solidarity. I fail to see the solidarity in what you have said.

  56. Morag

    And I fail to see the point of volunteeting to act as sacrificial lamb for a larger and more powerful country, to “save it from itself”.

    I seriously doubt such altruism would be reciprocated.

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