Features

The SNP has replaced the Church of Scotland

That’s why its arguments are so impervious to evidence and reason

18 April 2015

9:00 AM

18 April 2015

9:00 AM

The Church of England’s catechism begins ‘What is your name?’ The old Presbyterian catechism favoured in Scotland asked a better, sterner question: ‘What is the chief end of man?’ The difference is telling and, in this general election, illuminates something useful about the differences between politics north and south of the Tweed. Nicola Sturgeon is a populist, certainly, but she is offering something stronger on the side. If England’s election offers a meek choice between Cameron and Miliband, Scotland’s is a faith-based affair.

The answer to the catechism’s question, in these irreligious days, appears to be that man’s chief end is to glorify Scotland and enjoy her for ever. It is not, I think, coincidental that the rise of the Scottish National Party and the decline of the Church of Scotland as the dominant force in Scottish life are roughly coterminous. The kirk was, for centuries, a guarantor and defender of a distinct Scottish sensibility. Today that role has been taken by the SNP.

In other words, the decline of a distinct cultural embodiment of Scottishness created space for the rise of distinct Scottish political sensibility. Other factors — North Sea oil, Mrs Thatcher, the European Union — played a part, but the SNP’s success lies in its ability to persuade Scots that it alone ‘stands up for Scotland’. Real Scots vote SNP; apostates vote for unionist parties. On such basis, an intoxicating blend of nationalism and populism, polls suggest the SNP oculd win as many as 50 of Scotland’s 59 constituencies. Labour MPs are in despair. There are still voters who will tell canvassers they intend to vote Labour; there are many fewer who will do so while looking you in the eye.

In any case, how do you defeat a faith-based party whose voters are animated by quasi-religious zealotry? Labour argue that the SNP’s preference for ‘full fiscal autonomy’ — a kind of independence within the UK — would leave Scotland’s finances with a £7.6 billion ‘black hole’ to be filled by savage spending cuts, tax rises or a combination of the two. Stewart Hosie, the deputy leader of the SNP, says this is ‘irrelevant’.

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Never mind that these calculations are based on the Scottish government’s own figures. Voters don’t care. They say you can prove anything with numbers. One of the unforeseen consequences of last year’s referendum campaign has been that it discredited elementary economics.

The ‘Better Together’ campaign ran an astringent, numbers-based campaign. It found enough ‘unanswered questions’ to carry the day but it implied that, if the numbers were different, the case for independence would be unanswerable. Very well, then, voters are saying, let us believe in different numbers.

This helps explain why, according to YouGov, 56 per cent of SNP voters believe collapsing oil prices are ‘neither good nor bad’ for Scotland. It helps explain why so many Scottish voters are prepared to buy the idea that Scotland contributes more, per capita, in tax revenue than the UK average while ignoring the inconvenient reality that it also receives much more per capita than it contributes. These too are just numbers.

Besides, the idea is that life after independence would be better. In that respect, today’s statistics and forecasts really are irrelevant. The old rules and realities will no longer apply. Anything could happen! And it would all be good.

This is how you construct a cocoon into which no daylight may intrude. Everything agreeable will be even better after independence; everything problematic will be solved. Voters crave change. The referendum campaign offered a bigger, better kind of politics and Scots are understandably reluctant to let their dreams fade away.

Meanwhile, reason can go hang. Alex Salmond bonnily declares that the ‘no detriment’ clause in the Smith Commission proposals means Scotland’s fiscal position cannot be weakened by full fiscal autonomy. Never mind that the Smith Commission proposals have nothing to do with fiscal autonomy and cannot referee a different set of constitutional developments. To disagree with the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon reminded us at the weekend, is to ‘talk Scotland down’.

Politics is now governed by identity and faith. The less British any Scottish resident feels, the more likely they are to vote SNP. Moreover, if you voted ‘yes’ last September it would be illogical to vote for any unionist party this May. The national question dominates all others and, more than ever, Scotland’s political tribes are talking past each other. For both, it is a question of belief and, most importantly, also of justification by faith alone.

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Alex Massie is The Spectator’s Scotland editor, and blogs regularly at spectator.co.uk/alexmassie.

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Show comments
  • Gerschwin

    Finally I get it. Thank you for this, I’ve been unable to fathom the sudden surge of these populist loons. Now I understand.

  • ChuckieStane

    Mr. Massie suggests that those supporting independence are blind to economic reality. As rightly he states, the central plank of the unionists is that Scotland is an economic basket case unable to survive without handouts from England.

    Yet it is this attitide from those that oppose independence that betrays an economic ineptitude as their vision for Scotland is nothing but dependency.

    In the current GE campaign the unionist politicians champion a future for Scotland living off handouts (sorry “pooling and sharing”).

    Those that favour independence want Scotland to stand on her own two feet to develop and grow the Scottish economy.

    Scotland needs to up off her knees and up off her ars e. If we look only to the pitfalls and never the potential there can only ever be more of the same relative decline.

    Deep down those that favour independence know it would be a very hard road but equally they know they have to pitch a positive proposal if the project is to get off the ground.

    • Gerschwin

      But how many SNP supporters also support independence? Surely that’s the nub of it. In Quebec the PQ/BQ regularly poll stirring numbers but never enough when a referendum’s on offer. It always comes down to the same sticking point – an independent Quebec can’t use the Canadian Dollar. Sound familiar?

      • FOARP

        Yup. The Canadian lesson is the one that British politicians hoping to deal with nationalism need to learn from: Canada had the closest of near-death experiences in 1995, but Quebec nationalism is now a spent force.

        • RolftheGanger

          Canada is already a federation.
          Provinces have considerably more powers than Holyrood,
          Scotland is to one end, not enclosed by the land mass of the ten times larger neighbour.
          Scottish political thinking, philosophy and principles and practices are markedly different.
          Quebec is not in an international legal Treaty to share parliamentary government. Scotland is.

          • rollo_tommasi

            Scottish political thinking, philosophy and principles and practices are markedly different.

            Not according to most social attitudes surveys they’re not.

          • Jambo25

            Which is why, no doubt, Scotland appears to be about to elect about 50 SNP MPs.

          • Fraziel

            Its certainly not because they agree wholeheartedly with SNP policy, In fact most Scots profoundly disagree with SNP policy on welfare and immigration , around 70% according to polling.

          • Jambo25

            In a democratic party based system it’s very unusual for any voter to agree with the party of his/her choice. There are lumps (Sometimes large lumps.) of SNP policy I don’t agree with but I still judge the party a better choice than any of the alternatives open to me.

          • Fraziel

            Not according to two large polls in the last year where approx 70% of Scots agree with ukip policy on immigration , support the benefit cap and want welfare cuts. It is a left wing myth that our principles and philosophy are different. They also elected a ukip mep.

        • Alan Price

          Nonsense!…

          • FOARP

            I suppose you’ve got an argument ready that you want to share with us, but it was just too much work to type it all down?

      • RolftheGanger

        False comparison.
        Vastly different geopolitical situation and politics.
        The British equivalent would be Wales.
        Bedevilled by a different language.
        If the Plaid were not encumbered by the emotional baggage of the language, they would also be making better progress, but still beset by a different league of economic problems compared to Scotland’s situation of a rich country being misgoverned by Westminster to appear poor.

      • Alan Price

        This election is about sending Scots MPs to Westminster.

        • Alec

          Good news, there already are 59 of them.

          ~alec

          • RolftheGanger

            Only nominally. Their allegiance, votes and efforts belong to their Unionist parties – not Scotland.

          • Alec

            Yaaaawn. The settled will of the Scottish people is to remain in the Union with Unionist parties.

            Change the record, loser.

            ~alec

        • Gerschwin

          Why is there always an abusive Scots Nat loitering in the shadows? You know what they say about fanatics don’t you? They’re fanatical because a part of them suspects they may be wrong. Have a think about that.

          • Jambo25

            What was abusive about Mr. Price’s posting?

          • Gerschwin

            My dear Jambo I thought you’d passed on to the other side, not heard from you for some time. Now, I seem to recall a lot of aggressive commenting from you pre-referendum, you’re another of these Nats who comes over all reasonable but push a few buttons and a rather nasty anti-English chip on the shoulder quickly emerges. By the way – how did that referendum you were so certain to win work out for you? Just saying Jambo… you talk a good game…but…

          • Jambo25

            So no answer to the question: merely a mild insult. I’ll repeat the question. “What was abusive about Mr. Price’s posting?”.
            Your memory doesn’t serve you well. I never thought that there was more than an outside chance of a Yes vote in the Referendum. I did come to believe, at one point, that there might have been a chance due to the awfulness of BT’s campaign.
            However what I did state on a number of occasions was that the Referendum was a win/win situation for the SNP and Salmond. They would either get independence or, more likely, fail to do that but make the SNP the dominant political party in Scotland. It looks like I was right.

          • Gerschwin

            Steady Jambo, you have the curse of the fanatic.

          • Jambo25

            What you actually mean is the curse of the analytically acute and intelligent. You still haven’t answered the original question.

          • Gerschwin

            Nor am I going to. AP I’m sure can fight his own battles. I will justify my comments to him. Not you. What I always enjoyed about you is that you’re so far up your rear you’re one of the easiest wind ups in town. Good to have you back on my radar. I’ve missed the sport.

        • Janet T-Tremaine

          For what purpose if all they want is independence from Westminster?

      • LoachDriver

        Why can’t Quebec use the Canadian dollar? After all, there are countries in Latin America & there’s Liberia in West Africa (As I’m well aware, having lived in Liberia for 2 years) which use the U.S. dollar.

    • LoachDriver

      An American of more or less Scots descent supportive of Scottish independence it amazes me a land of such a tiny population, barely more than 5 million, has the presumption to seek to assume for itself the role of an independent nation OTOH, there’s the example of Israel, hardly more than 8 million.

  • Richard Young

    Commentators keep telling us what horrors might happen.Under Labour we saw what did happen and under the Tory coalition what is happening.

    • Farage’s Fried Chicken

      The Tories never ruled in Scotland, you Libdem troll.
      They just allocated funding.

      • RolftheGanger

        Our beef is that they rule Scotland with no democratic mandate – from outside.

        • Farage’s Fried Chicken

          Change the system then if you don’t like it, you kipper troll.

          • RolftheGanger

            Scottish self government supporter. Wait three weeks!

        • Alec

          “Our”? Are you the Queen? Or Margaret Thatcher?

          You are in the minority. Even your off-the-cuff polls don’t give you a majority. It’s you who’s trampling over the majority view from last year.

          ~alec

          • Jambo25

            So the present government got a majority of votes and seats in Scotland?

          • Alec

            It has much more than that your choice.

            ~alec

          • Kennybhoy

            You know as well as I do Maister J that the Scottish Tories are as badly served by FPTP as the SNP.

            “For the umpteenth umpteenth time hereaboots…

            I Kennybhoy, being the Coffee House Returning Officer for Scotland, declare the votes cast in the General Election of May 6th, 2010 to be as follows.

            Labour: 1,035,528 votes = 42 seats
            Lib Dem: 465,471 votes = 11 seats
            SNP: 491,386 votes = 6 seats
            Conservative: 412,855 votes = 1 seat

            Under PR the division of seats would be…

            Labour: 24
            Lib Dem: 11
            SNP: 12
            Conservatives: 10
            UKIP: Maybe 1
            Greens: Maybe 1

            By way of comparison the same phenomenon exists down in Yorkshire and the Humber where a two per cent difference in electoral share gives Labour pushing twice the number of seats as the Conservatives.”

            And, I may be wrong, but I suspect that FPTP may be the rock on which many nationalist hopes are dashed this May…

  • RolftheGanger

    Havers.
    Smells of desperation.

    Traditionally, the West of Scotland Irish Catholic vote was solidly Labour. Now large elements are SNP. For proof, one only has to look at the massive slide in the No vote in Labour strongholds in the referendum and the “tsunami” (their term) hitting Labour, now down to 24% in TNS and shifting to SNP now up to 52% So much for the attempt to make out that there is some hidden sectarian basis to SNP and self government support. SNP members and branches exist right across all geographical, social and cultural strands of Scottish life.

    How about Occam’s Razor. The old Unionist parties are as stale, dated, past their functionality as Westminster and the entire Union system. The enthusiasm is thrown into sharp relief simply by the utter repugnance of the dead alternative choices. Release of stuck energy accounts for the flowering of desire an determination for change, renewal, life, hope, ambition and collective aspirations, In place of power for power’s sake, grubby behaviour, ever lower standards and atomistic individualist greed.

    In certain ways, all politics is a matter of belief. No one has a time machine to scan in advance the future outcome of one or a set of policies. Alternatives are preferred for many reasons. Not least core fundamental principles of Western civilisation. Such as freedom to democratically elect one’s own collective choice of government. And not have it over-ridden by the different choice of a ten times larger neighbour.

    The end of the two party system has been predicted for decades. Hardly surprising that the emergence of a viable alternative option (at least in Scotland) has lots of people galvanised to support and enthuse about it.
    Fundamental principles embraced by self government supporters such as the constitutional doctrine of the sovereignty of the people of Scotland are however not just belief. The principle was upheld a year or so ago by the UK’s Supreme Court, in the Axa judgment.

    The figures quoted are NOT the SNP Government’s figures. They are published by that Government but are created by the UK’s ONS. And in my view “created” is the right term for them. Does anyone seriously believe that a Unionist establishment fighting to retain hegemony over Scotland would willingly hand the SNP a set of figures favourable to the self government cause? The Westminster record in dealing with Scotland is one of deceit and bad faith.

    Voters do not care about Unionist scarey figures for the simple reason that Westminster has lost all trust and credibility. The Social Attitudes Survey had 72% of the electorate distrusting Westmoinster and the same number trusting Holyrood ot manage Scottish Affairs – back before the the blizzard of fear,lies and deceit unleashed to stem the tide, temporarily. It is most unlikely that Westminster credibility was improved by that farce.

    Since Scotland does not receive oil revenues which go straight to the south, it is not to difficult to see why Scottish voters are none to influenced by a temporary set back which despite Unionist hype the Pricewatehouse report points out has only slowed the growth of the oil industry. Lower prices help other industries, swings and roundabouts.

    The Vow promise of “extensive new powers was ‘sold” on the basis of being “a modern form of Home Rule (internal self government) and being equivalent to “DevoMax” both equating to FFA. No Unionist party or leader disowned these descriptions. So Unionists can try but will not get away with having it both ways. Either, as declared, Smith delivers the promised “HomeRule/ DevoMax” FFA,or it does not, they were liars and Scotland is being cheated.

    Self government is about democratic control, Power and taxes back where they belong, in Scotland. Identity is Unionist deflection tactic and a losing one at that.
    Full marks for a fertile and active imagination, Bur this is a turkey of an argument which is not going to fly.

    • ChuckieStane

      I hope Rolf is wrong is smelling the introduction of a sectarian element by Alex. The playing of both orange and green cards in a unionist divide and rule attempt has been a distasteful tactic. Thankfully if has failed miserably with independence attracting support from every section of society.

      However, Massie’s central comparison with the Church may indeed have parallels with today debate.
      The ferocious defence of the presbyterian system through The Killing Times by the Covenanters was a ground-up movement fighting against episcopacy – a system being imposed from London. The town hall meetings. debates and arguments of the referendum campaign follow the traditions the Scottish church with committees, debate, disruption, argument and dispute. It no coincidence that the union and labour movements first grew in area of Scotland where the traditions of involvement of the common man in the education, debate and organised committees were strongest.

      The three keepers of the flame of Scottish nationhood – the Church, Law and education were fiercely guarded by Scotland from the Union negotiations right though the height of the British Empire. That flame has never been extinguished regardless of any legalistic assertion by Crawford and Boyle.

      • Clive

        “…a system being imposed from London…” is a bit subtle in 1680

        In fact a putative independence ‘Yes’ vote would revert Scotland to the governance situation it was in in 1680

        • RolftheGanger

          It was far from subtle, absolutely brutal.

      • Alec

        I hope Rolf is wrong is smelling the introduction of a sectarian element by Alex. The playing of both orange and green cards in a unionist divide and rule attempt has been a distasteful tactic.

        See here:

        http:premier.org.uk/content/view/full/468383

        e ferocious defence of the presbyterian system through The Killing Times by the Covenanters was a ground-up movement fighting against episcopacy – a system being imposed from London.

        The Scottish Episcopal Church pre-dates the Union of the Crowns, even Henry Tudor. It is not part of the Church of England, and in fact the first Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the Americas – Samuel Seabury – was ordained by the SEC because, otherwise, he’d have had to swear allegiance to King George III.

        It was a response to attempts in the 13th Century to by Canterbury and York to absorb the newly emerging Kingdom of Scotland, when the Bishops petitioned Rome and were made a direct Daughter of Rome: hence why, to this day, the SEC doesn’t have Archbishops.

        ~alec

        • ChuckieStane

          Alec,
          Not to diminish your earlier history of the SEC, my point was to compare the uprising of the covenanters against the interference of the (then London based) Stuart Kings in the affairs of the Church of Scotland with today’s situation.

          Opposition to the king as spiritual head of the church, the imposition of the Common Book of Prayer and the appointment of Episcopalian curates to Scottish churches were the central cause of resentment and anger leading to the uprising. In an era before communism or socialism, there was a strong sense of equality, mutual support and class consciousness combined with a hatred of landowners and aristocrats.

          Much later, Keir Hardie’s role as a lay preacher combined with his founding role in the Ayrshire Miners Union and the Scottish Labour party in the 1880 is well known unlike the 1816 rally in Kilmarnock protesting against the voting system and in support of representation for working class people that resulting in Baird and Hardie being jailed for publishing copies of their speeches.

          This contunous tradition of grassroots activism was highlighted in 1926, the year of the general strike, when communist miners erected a monument to James Smith, a covenanting martyr at Gallow Law in Ayrshire. The earlier anti-establishment sentiments clearly struck a chord.

          Whilst the current independence cause is (thankfully) entirely secular, it is undeniable that echoes of these previous struggles can still be heard.

          • Alec

            Whatever. My “earlier history” of the SEC refutes your claim. It is the oldest Church in Scotland with its episcopal tradition. It not the CofE: if anything, it was Presbyterianism which was an imposition helped along by the Cromwellian forces; with the episcopal tradition in Scotland being a response to an earlier attempt to exert control over Scottish affairs.

            The CofE was not controlled from London (i.e. those durty Englush busturds). There was a Union of the Crowns at the time (with Scottish monarchs on the Throne) so it hardly is surprising there were attempts at central control.

            Your claims are ahistorical. Your assertion that Scottish civic society is more questioning/grassroots/etc unlike the deferring English is utter nonsense with more than a hint of quite nasty racism. You clearly haven’t heard of the Tupperware Riots of Basingstoke or Flower Arranging War of Lower Little Snoring if you think CofE parishes are docile.

            Massie made not mention of Mackerel Snapperism. What he did was assert that SNPism is faith based with reference to the dominant denomination in Scotland. The first – and thus far only – people to mention it was you and Rolf the Ganger: my guess as a polemical trick and open deceit to project Salmond’s sectarian arson onto others.

            Keir Hardy Shmier Hardy. You might as well refer to the Methodist and other non-conformist tradition in England and Wales. Furthermore, he was not one of yours… he did not support independence or even the degree of autonomy now held by Holyrood.

            ~alec

          • ChuckieStane

            Sorry to read you are so bitter.
            I never mentioned anything about the English and certainly would never call any nationality “busturds” (??). Charles I was born in Dunfermline (which I assume you know is not in England) but his adminstration was based in London. Again I never mentioned the CoE – still keep making it up if it keeps you happy.

          • Alec

            Sorry to read you are so bitter.

            You cannot tell me or anyone else what to do, you pathetic middle-class nobody.

            I wouldn’t have mentioned the religious history in Scotland had you not come out with your ahistorical and irresponsible claptrap.

            Episcopacy is not a ‘London’ imposition on Scotland. Scottish civic society is not more towns hallsie than England.

            You and Salmond are sectarian arsonists.

            ~alec

          • Kennybhoy

            “…you pathetic middle-class nobody.”

            Duh? get a grip man! 🙁

          • Jambo25

            The oldest Church organisation, in Scotland, is the Catholic Church or did you forget that?

          • Alec

            Can you not read? I outlined the resistance of the Scottish Church in the 12/3th Centuries to being absorbed into the Sees of York and/or Canterbury.

            The RCC remains under the governance of archbishops unlike the SEC. It’s a separate institution.

            ~alec

          • Jambo25

            You didn’t write the magic words Catholic Church though. There long before its less legitimate successor; Anglican Episcopalianism.

          • Kennybhoy

            Did ye no think tae tell when John Knox himsel
            Preached under your branches sae black
            Tae the puir common folk who would lift up the yoke
            O the bishops an priests fae their backs?
            But you knew the bargain he sold them
            An freedom was only ane word,
            For the price o their souls wis a gospel sae cauld
            It would freeze up the joy in their hearts!

          • Alec

            I didn’t think I had to, you thick thug. I assumed people who had a modicum of intelligence with an ability to think critically and laterally would be able to contribute without needing everything spoonfed to them.

            And you’re done it again. You introduce a topic or claim, then berate others for claiming they had. You are a deceitful person, but you also are not very bright… so I’m unsure if you are deliberately lying, or tying yourself in knots. Probably both. As always.

            You are not here to make a valid point. You are pursuing me across multiple threads with the outrage of a foul-tempered reactionary at someone who DARES resist him.

            As always, you are the toxic relative no-one wants to admit to being related to.

            […] less legitimate successor; Anglican Episcopalianism.

            Racist cretin. Religious bigot.

            ~alec

          • Jambo25

            I’m not Catholic though. I’m a member of the Church of Scotland . I still think you an unpleasant, foul-mouthed, insulting bigot and I merely comment on your views when I come across them

          • Alec

            Just how thick are you? I didn’t say you were. Again, introducing new claims and assertions then insisting they’d been there all along.
            Confused, ever changing argument does not always indicate confused thinking, but it often does.
            ~alec

          • Kennybhoy

            “It is the oldest Church in Scotland with its episcopal tradition. ”

            I forgive you Alex. lol 🙂

          • Alec

            Thank you, Father.

            ~alec

          • Kennybhoy

            Apologies!

    • Gerschwin

      Yes, but again how many SNP voters also back independence? If it’s not 50%+1 then all of this is academic.

      • Chris McLaughlin

        Ashcroft’s poll after the referendum said 80% of those voting SNP in 2011 voted “Yes”. As did 31% of Labour voters, 23% of LibDems and 2% of Conservatives. One explanation for the surge in membership and support for the SNP is that these pro-independence minded folk who have hitherto voted for Unionist parties have moved over to the SNP, or at least some of them have. Support for independence has always outperformed support for the SNP, the polling data going back to the 80s proves that.

        My view is that the constitutional question is the last big question left in British politics, so the electorate has now divided down those lines, with the SNP being the winners of that realignment and the Unionists the losers. Labour has completely accepted the Conservative economic agenda on nationalization, council houses, trade union law, employment law, tax, etc. The Conservatives have accepted a leftist social agenda on the family, marriage, gays and abortion. So what exactly is the left-right divide now? I think you can reasonably say very little. This is also why in England UKIP is on the up, because they offer a different conception of the political divide and offer a real political change.

        • Gerschwin

          ‘Support for independence has always outperformed support for the SNP’ I don’t doubt it, but I’m not convinced a rerun of the referendum tomorrow would see 52% or more vote for independence in line with 52% the SNP currently register in the polls. When it comes down to it the same arguments will always come up – currency, EU membership and pensions. To that the SNP don’t have an answer and that’ll be enough to lose them a referendum. When the economy does turn around, that is genuinely turn around for the man on the street and not the suit in the bank then I suspect the SNP will slip into the night along with the rest of the anti-austerity bandwagon. Time will tell.

          • Chris McLaughlin

            Me neither. And I doubt the SNP leadership are stupid enough to risk another referendum so soon, as I think many people would find that thoroughly annoying, not to say dishonest. What I could foresee is a referendum in ten year’s time. Given that the “No” side are heavily weighted towards older voters there appears on the face of it to be a built in demographic trend to “Yes” as the “Yes” side won the referendum if you exclude the over 55s. “Yes” only need a five percent swing to reverse the result.

            Two things definitely COULD happen: 1) In the event of an EU referendum, if Scotlnd votes to stay in and England voes to leve then there will be some form of constitutional crisis. The SNP can, and should, make sure that there is one in such a circumstance. 2) If the SNP win the 2016 Holyrood election they put a referendum on full fiscal autonomy/devo max in the manifesto. That would be a very clever move, because not only is it a staging post to independence, the next logical step from devolution; but many of the Unioinst party voters and leadership are on record as supporting such an arrangement and would probably support it in a referendum campaign. The “No” side from 2014 would be fractured rather than unified, and it is very difficult to see such a referendum proposition losing.

        • John Mitchell

          I think that you make an interesting point on the main political parties and how on social issues there has been convergence.

          I’m not convinced with UKIP and their own socially conservative credentials seeing as the libertarian motive is to keep government out of people’s lives. Some libertarian Republicans in the United States for instance would be open to relaxing the laws against the criminalisation of drugs and on gay marriage ‘it’s an issue for the states’ which in a federal system such as the United States makes sense, even if the answer is not very clear.

          I still believe that there is a difference in emphasis on social issues as there is on economic. I agree that the divide is much reduced though or can be perceived in that light.

          As for your points on the SNP, I don’t agree. The constitutional question to me is a question from the sidelines that deviates from the main issues that the country is facing such as the economy, living standards or defence which are all important issues at this election. Granted, some people will vote in this upcoming election as either nationalists or unionists but I am personally reluctant to do so because this is an election and is not another referendum although I do realise that different voters will have different intentions.

    • rollo_tommasi

      The ‘Vow’ made no difference to the vote. Firstly the vow made no mention of home rule or devo max. It said extensive new powers and also stated that the barnett formula would continue. The University of Edinburgh’s Scottish Referendum Survey based on 4,500 voters said it accounted for 3.4% of no voters. You pedal this myth repeatedly like a parrot.

      On panelbase over 54% do not want another vote within the next 5 years with another referendum ranked 19 out of 23 in list of priorities via Ipsos Mori.

      As for the figures if they don’t meet your point of view then easy just rubbish them. The GERS figures are created by the Scottish Government and underpinned the economic case for Independence if they are so inaccurate then why produce them? The fact is Scotland runs a 5% of GDP deficit gap to rUK without the “bonus” of oil; with oil at 0.4% the gap is 4.6% or £7.6bn. See Kevin Hagues excellent article

      http://chokkablog.blogspot.co.uk/2015_03_01_archive.html

      Rolf the ganger is a prime example of what exactly this article is about. As he doesnt even live in the UK and has no vote. His only concern is the abolition of the British state. If the figures are correct then who cares? would make no difference to him whatsoever,

      • RolftheGanger

        Lord Ashdown’s exit poll results – 27% influenced by the “Vow” contradicts your assertions.

        • rollo_tommasi

          So you believe a former Tory peer???

          His was far smaller sample size and the findings weren’t reflective of any of the polls carried out.

          • RolftheGanger

            So you disparage a poll, because it contradicts your lies.

          • rollo_tommasi

            You’ve disparaged my more recent poll in favour of a Tory one. Oh the irony!

            Only one poll ever had YES in the lead and that was within the margin for error. You are talking absolute guff mate.

      • Jambo25

        Which is why we are about to get approximately 50 SNP MPs according to the polls.

  • maraismarais

    Good article Alex and accords with much of what Matthew Parris says today .

  • davidofkent

    The SNP and Ms Sturgeon are merely peddling the populist message. It is an age-old methodology. Because of North Sea Oil, Sturgeon and the others can persuade the Scots that life will get better when they are able to manage their own affairs. Without North Sea Oil, the idea of independence would fall on stony ground because few nationalists even would believe that the money will grow on trees. I suspect that many Scots are now (with an oil price of around $50 to $60 bbl) able to see that Scotland receives a huge subsidy from England and that being joined to a population of 64 million can be quite reassuring. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if Scotland became independent tomorrow, but I feel sure that the Scots would mind when they had to dip into their own pockets to fund their own public services and pensions.

    • RolftheGanger

      Standard Project Fear propaganda rubbish. Misrepresentation, false logic and plain wrong assertions.

      • maraismarais

        Project Fear , your answer to anything you can’t answer .

      • davidofkent

        Oh really! In that case, I hope you will be demanding a new referendum as soon as possible. I’m entirely neutral on that account.

    • Chris McLaughlin

      Don’t remember a single Unionist talking about the oil price when it was $145 a barrel.

      • davidofkent

        And your point is what?

        • Chris McLaughlin

          My point is that there have been good long times when there’s been money to burn, and sensible governments manage mineral wealth in such times by first paying off national debt and then building up sovereign wealth funds, which: A) makes good economic sense in the long run because it saves fortunes in interest payments. and B) provides room for manoeuvre when commodity prices fall.

          But no Westminster government has ever done that, instead they’ve spunked the money up the wall on jam today, and said bollocks to tomorrow. The reason why Scotland has a deficit in the event of low oil and gas prices is not because these commodities are insufficient, but rather because they have been systematically mismanaged and squandered over decades. UK debt interest alone is more than £45 billion a year (about 3% of GDP) which is considerably more than the entire defence budget. That’s my point.

  • Chris McLaughlin

    First of all I dispute the figures, and I’m a small “c” conservative and the furthest thing in the world from a leftist loony, and whether you like it or not the UK government has a decades long history of cooking the books on the independence question, such as deliberately concealing the value of North Sea oil and gas. That’s a historical fact which no one disputes. The facts are there in government papers, all you have to do is some Googling. So you can’t be too surprised that many Scots simply don’t believe the numbers.

    But let’s say the numbers ARE correct. In that case isn’t it a disgrace? Isn’t it an absolute outrage that more than three centuries of political union have produced such an unequal state of affairs? Isn’t it terrible that Scotland’s economy cannot support its population? Isn’t it outrageous that the other citizens of the UK have to subsidise it? And if that all is true, why are the Unionist parties so keen to hold on to Scotland? After all they could find somewhere else to park their subs if they really tried.

    I think you can very reasonably make the case for saying that if the figures are correct that is MORE of an argument for ending the Union, it would offer the Scots an opportunity to put their house in order and stand on their own two feet. Given that nations should ordinarily plan in the long term, the short-term costs of reorganizing the state would be an acceptable exchange for long-term self-sufficiency.

    I also think that Unionist commentators such as Mr Massie fail to understand how much their (exaggerated and often fraudulent) economic rhetoric concerning Scotland being a hopeless basket-case IS genuinely believed in England. Most especially by the centre-right voters who have traditionally been the Union’s biggest supporters. They increasingly would like to see Scotland cut adrift and are quite happy with the SNP surge. Their theory is it allows them to keep more of their tax-pounds and gives them a better shot at an overall Tory majority in Westminster elections.

    Perhaps Messrs Massie, Nelson et al should consider that these sort of arguments DAMAGE the integrity of the Union in the long term, not only in Scotland, but in England too.

    • ChuckieStane

      Indeed, Scotland’s supposed inability to support after 300 years itself is a dreadful indictment of the union. The glee with which Scottish unionists maintain this line betrays, if nothing else, a lack of irony.

      • Alan Price

        …and lots of stupidity…

      • Josh Cook

        All countries on planet earth have places that cannot support themselves independently or who wouldn’t do as well on their own.

        To ignore that and see it as an indictment of nations and the union in particular, rather than the whole point of their existence in the first place is utterly and I think rather intentionally delusional.

      • eric45

        As a Scotsman, I fear it is more an indictment of the calibre of the people currently residing in the country and the poor standard of education they receive. If we produced highly qualified and skilled people, companies would relocate here in flash creating the type wealth many of us desire. So, instead of blaming “London” they should get off their a*s and demand the politicians improve the failing education system such that the young can compete effectively in the labour market (and hopefully rid themselves of their sense of entitlement and injustice). Our geographic location and language alone should give us a great advantage over other countries.

      • James Morrison

        It betrays nothing but the burden of posessing a “Colonised Mind”.

    • John Carins

      It should not be about “them and us”. We are all British on these Islands and that is the Unionist cause. Your “blog” simply adds to a sad sense of division when there needs to be a case for reinvigorating the Union. The Union has proved successful let’s not throw away the gains because a minority thinks that it’s a good idea.

      • ChuckieStane

        John, I commend you for injecting a rare positive tone to the unionist message and for recognising that the union needs reinvigorating, however, the dissolution of the union is an idea that is now all but inevitable.
        The ties that bound the union are weakened beyond holding and a new relationship of friendly cooperating neighbours offers the best way forward for all sides

        • John Carins

          I think the simplest way for the Union to be made more relevant is for the UK to leave the EU. I suspect that you will say that many Scots want to remain in the EU but I’m afraid that many Scots do not or could be persuaded that sticking to the Union is better than trusting foreigners in Brussels.

          • Peter Thomson

            We send MEPs to Brussels, we send civil servants to Brussels, the EU employs a load of UK citizens in many different roles across its organisations – are you saying these people are all now foreigners because they ‘work’ for Brussels?

          • John Carins

            A wee bit sensitive. The people you speak of are a minority as their are 28 countries that make up the EU. If we were not in the EU (the premise of my argument) then these people would be by definition be foreigners. The word “foreigners” is not offensive.

          • melat0nin

            “foreigners in Brussels”

            Dear me.

            Even if I subscribed to that line of thinking, which I don’t, the rich boys working in the City running the country from behind the scenes are every bit as foreign to me as any European bureaucrat.

          • John Carins

            You are over sensitive. The word “foreigner” is used to describe and not to be offensive. Perhaps you have been exposed to too much PC and it has addled your ability to question.

          • melat0nin

            Thanks for the ad hom.

            But anyway, what is it about foreigners (as described) that is untrustworthy?

          • John Carins

            Not a problem. I never said that these foreigners were untrustworthy. The use of the word “trusted” here is to imply that our own or even Scotland’s Independence would be compromised. Again, I detect a rather sensitive and semantic nature?

          • melat0nin

            You’re accusing a lot of people of over-sensitivity. Rather than attacking others, perhaps it’s worth being more considered in your choice of vocabulary — it’s unlikely we are all being “semantic”.

          • John Carins

            Very good. I suspect it is not the choice of vocabulary but more the way that you the reader wishes to interpret the comments. I hope that I have clarified to you that I do not find foreigners untrustworthy.

          • Charles Patrick O’Brien

            Those foreigners that came to the British shores like the Saxons,the Jutes the Angles etc,is the first that should leave for they have refused to become British,and caused so much trouble from day one of their arrival.

          • Kennybhoy

            lol

          • Jambo25

            Trouble is, many Scots, like me, prefer the EU top the present UK.

          • John Carins

            Yes, I find that very disturbing and irrational.

          • Kennybhoy

            Indeed. Deeply so.

          • Barry Rainey

            why the uk has bled us dry

          • Jambo25

            Why? We don’t generally get the level of insult and hatred from Europeans that we get, increasingly, from English contributors on forums like this.

          • Kennybhoy

            Aww diddums! Did the big bully Engnat Southrons hurt poor wee Jambo’s feelings? 🙂 But seriously. You base your preference for the Europeans over the English on the antics of a bunch of loons in a fracking internet forum?

            FFS Maister J grow some! We here in the coffee house forum, like most such forums, are a bunch of sel-selected and self-reinforcing loons baying at the moon! We do have our more serious moments I will grant but generally we are most assuredly not reflective of the population at large! I think you might be taking this, and yersel, a bit too seriously man! Oh God my sides hurt! lol 🙂

          • Jambo25

            Its a matter of taste. I prefer German speaking Europe to southern England. Mind you I’d probably reverse that if the bulk of England consisted of East Anglia and Shropshire.
            As for me, well you know how I react on these forums to insults. I can dish it out with the best of them.

          • Kennybhoy

            “I prefer German speaking Europe to southern England.”

            A telling preference. I try hard not to think in such general/collectivist terms about large, heterogeneous populations. And I would not swap the history of any part of these islands for that of Germany and Austria.

          • Iain Montgomery

            Because of course no independence supporter has ever insulted anybody, never mind fellow Scots who don’t follow the one true faith.

          • Jambo25

            They appear not to have done as much in this respect than the wonderful people who use the London based MSM to routinely attack and insult Yes supporters. Nor do they reach the level of swivelly eyed, froth flecked apoplexy that a few of the real Unionist nutters who post in the Scotsman do.

          • Kennybhoy

            “Nor do they reach the level of swivelly eyed, froth flecked apoplexy that a few of the real Unionist nutters who post in the Scotsman do.”

            You spend far too much time on teh internets Maister J! lol 🙂

          • John Carins

            “Europeans” don’t give a “toss” that’s why! Scotland would be an irrelevance on its own in the EU. Your “independence” would be irrelevant..

          • Jambo25

            Perhaps we’d like to be a small, insignificant country minding our own business.

          • Kennybhoy

            Care to elaborate on this Jambo?

          • Jambo25

            My reply to John Carins.

          • fluffnik

            The EU has utility which trumps anything the sclerotic and corrupt UK can offer.

          • John Carins

            The opposite is true.

          • Kennybhoy

            Utility, in any benign sense, and the EU are not words which belong in the same sentence. And you really think that the EU is long for this world?

          • Rebel Druid

            I have to admit I’ve never been able to understand the cognitive dissonance involved in being a Eurosceptic Unionist. Any argument you can make for leaving the EU can be made for Scotland becoming independent.

          • John Carins

            In simplistic terms I would agree with you. However, in historical, cultural, political, economic and social terms the EU does not compare to the British Union. Secondly, at least the Scots got a referendum on the issue. We are still waiting for a referendum on the EU.

          • Kennybhoy

            “…the EU does not compare to the British Union.”

            Elaborate please.

            My apologies Maister C. That was meant for Jambo.

          • John Carins

            No problems. lol

          • Charles Patrick O’Brien

            We had a referendum I remember voting in it,this is the first referendum on the union in 307 years not a good comparison for another EU referendum is it?

          • John Carins

            I think that you have got your facts wrong.

          • James Miller

            The same way as I’ve never understood how you could be pro-independence and pro-EU, but there you go.

          • Charles Patrick O’Brien

            The foreigners in London are the worst warmongers the world has ever seen,Brussels I think is more inclined towards peace.The union is finished and the quicker we separate the better.

      • Jambo25

        I only have a vestigial sense of Britishness. I am Scottish.Most Scots appear to be the same. If there is to be a sense of Britishness then it will have to be reinvented. Good luck with that.

        • John Carins

          At least you are honest. When you say most Scots then I would have to disagree. The “yes” side did lose the referendum. I suspect that those who voted “no” had more than a “vestigial” sense of Britishness. .The fact that you admit to a vestigial sense is a sign that all is not lost with you and others of a similar disposition. Tides do turn.

          • Kennybhoy

            Well said.

          • Charles Patrick O’Brien

            Scotland lost when YES for independence lost,the lies that were told to make a lot of people vote no should be held up and admitted to because its the guys in Westminster that lied along with their civil service their Bank of England lied,the No,s won on a basis of lies,that is not democratic,but only need to get 5.4% to change their minds.

          • John Carins

            You sound very bitter. Reflect on the fact that many of the “guys” in Westminster have been Scottish. A break up of the Union will hurt Scotland more than England/Wales. Moreover an England without the “socialist” Scots would probably prosper at a greater rate and be more likely to leave the dreadful EU. So I’m not dying in a ditch to keep stupid wee Scotlanders. On the other hand I welcome the benefits of the Union and its sense of cultural cooperation.

          • Jambo25

            62% of Scottish respondents to questions in the 2011 Census saw themselves as Scottish only. Another 18% saw themselves as Scottish first and British only secondly. An awful lot of No voters are what I would call ‘contingent’ Unionists. Only remaining so due to the Yes side’s inability to answer all their economic questions. If or when those questions are answered that 55% of No voters will largely vanish and very quickly.

          • Kennybhoy

            “No voters will largely vanish and very quickly.”

            Tomorrow belongs to you…?

          • Jambo25

            I leave that kind of fascistic behaviour to the Union Flag waving thugs who came out of the woodwork during the Referendum campaign.

          • Kennybhoy

            Utterly mindless, but that is the sort of behaviour rational souls have come to expect from that educationally and morally challenged horde. I have the scars and the nightmares to testify to it. They probably cannot spell fascist. Such behaviour is alas commonplace on football terraces throughout the world and, again alas, will always be with us . We should remember them in our prayers.

            More deliberate, thoughtful and sinister by far were the actions of your Edinburgh West branch. Presumably these charmers are somewhat mair “respectable” than the Orcs in George Square and elsewhere…? The comparison that springs to mind is that between the SA and the SS/Gestapo. Between drunken street thugs and the secret police.

            And the thing is, swift public condemnation and and presumably , remedial action aside, this utterly sinister behaviour finds echoes in measures advocated and implemented by the SNP in Government. Aye, such may be different in mere degree from many similar such throughout Britain and the wider West. But still. What brave new Scotland do such envisage…?

          • James Morrison

            Horses do bolt.

      • James Morrison

        I am NOT British.

    • Janet T-Tremaine

      Talk of independence for Scotland is underlined by the fact it wants to be independent. If that is so then it must be a clean break and have its own banks, money, and government responsible for ALL of its services. In other words, not a brass penny from the rest of the Union.

      • scotcanadien

        We don’t want nor need your money. We’ve been subsidising you for years, only you are too brainwashed by the English press to know that and too dumb to do your own research.

        • Arbuthnaught

          That is completely starkers. The last line of the articles sums it up quite nicely: By faith alone……. The cash subsisdies run North, believe it or not. There will be huge fall in living standards if Westminster’s cash is withdrawn. The last job on earth I would want is chancelor of a newly independent Scotland. North Sea Oil is winding down and will not even come close to making up the difference. You can count heads and you can count pounds per head spent north of the border. It is not about English press this and English press that.

          • scotcanadien

            Says a reader and faithful believer of English newspapers.

          • Incoming

            well you are reading them if I was you I would stick two reading Canadien papers and stay out of Scottish affairs

          • Arbuthnaught

            It is not about “English” news papers. It is not about the messenger but the message. It is about the substance of the points made. No independent outside observer would say that Scotland is not subsidized by GB. Sorry, but that is the way it is. This is something that is measureable. It is not an opinion such as I don’t like this song. Pounds per capita can be quantified and counted. This is what the article is about. Some folks just won’t listen. If you want Scottish independence fine. Just don’t say that more tax funds flow South than North. That is nonsense.

          • scotcanadien

            You mean that’s the way it is in your universe. Read the FT sometime you might find you learn something about fiscal and economic matters.

          • Arbuthnaught

            I do read FT, WSJ and Economist as often as I can. WSJ for 30 years how about you?
            Do you live on a different planet? Are we talking about the same Scoutland? One more time with feelings. English taxpayers subsidize Scotland.

          • scotcanadien

            And one more time with even MORE feelings Scottish taxpayers subsidise England.

          • Arbuthnaught

            Just wait till the subsidies go away and then we will see. It will be just like Greece. In order to make a go of it post indepence, the rotten Labour councils would have to go and social spending slashed. We will see how that goes down. While I don’t think the world needs another small, nonviable nation, I would like to see Scotland go independent just so the crutch would be taken away and they would be forced to reform and stand on their own two feet. We will see.

          • scotcanadien

            Scotland doesn’t get subsidies. Scots subsidise you lot. Who the fuck do you think pays for all the white elephants you build in London?

          • Arbuthnaught

            Originally I opposed Scottish idependence. Now I favor it whole heartedley. It will be a stiff dose of reality. When you need a job, and want Samsung to build a chip plant in Scotland, why should they build it there as opposed to somewhere else? It will be built somewhere else if they have to carry all the social programs and school drop outs of the left and deal with rotten Labour Councils. No companies will move to Scotland if they are treated a chickens to be plucked for the welfare state. You will have to follow the Irish model and trim back social spending. reform education and quit paying for every school drop out that can not carry himself. BTW I am not “you lot.” I live across the pond, have Scottish ancestry and my family has been Presbyterian since the Scottish Reformantion. But we are not the decadent type of modern Presbyterians.

      • Steve Bowers

        Excellent stuff, you keep the debt, we’ll keep everything Scotland generates, income taxes, oil revenues, Crown estates, revenue from all the London based supermarkets and shops, every single penny raised in Scotland to stay here, it’s a deal, where do we sign up ?

    • Sheumais

      Don’t just dispute them, prove them wrong. Here they are in stark reality, but if you know better, please produce your argument : http://chokkablog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/explaining-76bn-ffa-black-hole.html

      If you lived where I do, you would be aware no-one is to blame for Scotland’s economic performance but Scotland itself. The oil boom, largely concentrated upon Aberdeen, could easily have spread elsewhere had unionised labour not made it impossible. Multinational businesses, such as Ford, were dissuaded from opening plant here by union activity and the only remaining business of the three for which the city was famous only remains because no unions are allowed.

      I have no time for Cameron and his cronies, but the nationalist cause thrives on malice and is potentially far more damaging. Perhaps journalists have served us poorly in describing reality, but the thoughtless assumption that Scotland should just go it alone is an insult to anyone who takes government responsibility seriously.

      • Chris McLaughlin

        Repetition isn’t an argument. I don’t trust the source (i.e. the UK government) because they have deliberately lied in the past to play down the oil money and to undermine the independence case in general and the SNP in particular. See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCrone_report

        The Scottish oil business is the least unionised in the developed world, far, far less unionised than the Norwegian sector and Norway has come out far better than Scotland has. There is almost no union power in the North Sea whatsoever.

        • Sheumais

          “The Scottish oil business is the least unionised in the developed world”

          You’ve not read what I said properly.

          • nae a belger

            I have to confess that I read it as Chris did first. Too many commas for my old mind..

            However I suspect you are partially right as regards the failure of heavy industry in the Central belt.

          • Sheumais

            I’ll try to get my commas under control. It’ll be a struggle, but I’ll try.

      • Charles Patrick O’Brien

        More of the oil jobs are in the South-East of England than in the north sea and Aberdeen combined.

    • mikewaller

      There is nothing particularly surprising about Scotland struggling to support its population at present standards of living. Much the same is true of most of the UK save only for London and the South East. Same is true in large parts of Europe, we having given up most of out technological edge to much lower cost economies. What has shocked right of centre Southerners is that they have been used to seeing Scotland as the sensible one which did largely stand on its own feet (the oil obviously helped in recent years) and were alert to teh new facts of life. Yet it too is now caught up in the throws of Mad Celt Disease. This is a terrible illness, the key symptom of which are a total blindness to the perfect storm the West is now heading into coupled with a belief that provided you stick a Soltire on top of it, anything is possible. It isn’t and it wouldn’t be.

      As for Trident, the proliferation of nuclear weapons and Mr Putin’s antics make it insane to give our own up now. However, what we suspect is going on is an tacit adoption of the Irish strategy: England spends the money and takes the risks and the Celts sit snug as a bug in rug behind. Not very edifying.

    • Cymrugel

      well said sir.

    • http://batman-news.com/ Whizjet

      Hear Hear Hear!

    • greggf

      “Isn’t it terrible that Scotland’s economy cannot support its population?”

      She wants a bailout……!

  • Stewart Kerr Brown

    This from the man that dismissed a whole audience at a debate in Scotland as stupid because of their views on fracking amongst other things…elitist journalism at it’s worst….

  • Iain Paton

    Same drum, banged in a slightly different way. Are voters really so stupid as claimed, or are they simply fed up of decades of broken promises by self-interested cliques?

  • smilingvulture

    I’m atheist voting SNP

  • hoddles

    Is the Thames running red with blood yet?

    • ChuckieStane

      That was his dad in a truly bonkers aberration.

      • hoddles

        Good god, there’s two of ’em.

        • ChuckieStane

          Top marks for the Glasgow Empire Mike and Bernie Winters reference!

  • hoddles

    Meanwhile, the IMF tells us that Massie’s beloved Tories’ figures just don’t add up.

  • Guest

    All the London parties are banging on about FFS leaving Scotland with a £7.6bn “black hole” then surely that means the rest of the UK is £7.6bn better off??!! So why are they not supporting FFS?! Surely for the benefit of the rest of the UK, that’s £7.6bn taken straight off their deficit…Are they being thick?

  • http://garve.scott-lodge.com Garve Scott-Lodge

    It seems to be a tactic in this election to make the question of FFA as complicated and messy as possible. But it really isn’t.

    From the SNP’s point of view, if we can’t have independence (yet) then the next best option is for Holyrood to have control of everything it reasonably can. Which roughly equates to the idea of FFA.

    It’s an aspiration – it’s not a definite plan, not least because neither Labour nor Tories have any intention of introducing it, so it can’t happen.

    SNP voters are not ‘mad’ or ‘blind’ to the ‘black hole’, because the black hole is irrelevant in two ways.

    1) As mentioned above, FFA can’t happen in this parliament, as neither Labour nor Tories will vote for it.

    2) The 7.6bn is a single year’s figures. Some other recent years haven’t featured a ‘black hole’. If FFA ever happens, its viability will depend upon the figures then, not now.

    The problem with this argument against FFA is that it’s the same negative argument used in the referendum, and the simple counter to it is: if Denmark, Austria, Ireland, New Zealand and scores of other small countries can manage their affairs, why is Scotland incapable?

    • rollo_tommasi

      Using numbers gathered in one year? There are 15 years’ worth of
      GERS numbers are you suggesting the IFS have only looked at the most
      recent year? That would be remarkably shoddy work from a highly
      respected think tank.

      Actually what the IFS is doing is recognising that the underlying trend excluding oil & gas is remarkably consistent over the last 15 years.

      No-one is saying Scotland is incapable of managing it own affairs only there would be massive gap in its finances currently smoothed out by the barnett fomula. For a party committed to ending austerity in order to get people out of poverty this is staggering contradiction.

      • http://garve.scott-lodge.com Garve Scott-Lodge

        I’ve not been able to find a report of £7.6bn on the IFS website. However there is an article from the 11th March which says:

        “Our projections suggest that if Scotland were fiscally autonomous in 2015–16, its budget deficit would be around 4.0% of GDP higher than that of the UK as a whole. In cash terms, this is equivalent to a difference of around £6.6 billion. To put this in context, we project government spending in Scotland to be £68.8 billion in 2015–16, and onshore tax revenues to be £53.7 billion.”

        So the IFS is talking about 2015-16 based on current projections. It’s not saying it’ll be the same the next year, or in five years or ten.

        The SNP’s aspiration is to get more control of our economy in order to boost growth and deal with the expected (but long term) reduction in oil revenues as part of the economy.

        So what we know is that there would likely be a large funding gap to be filled in 2015-16 if we had FFA, but that it’s irrelevant because we won’t have it then.

  • Kelly Garrett

    All the London parties are banging on about FFA leaving Scotland with a £7.6bn “black hole” then surely that means the rest of the UK is £7.6bn better off??!! So why are they not supporting FFA?! Surely for the benefit of the rest of the UK, that’s £7.6bn taken straight off their deficit…Are they being thick?

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Alex this reads like it was written by your father.

    Surely not?

  • Leithalyak

    I think Mr Massie has confused “faith” with “trust”.

  • scotcanadien

    What an absolute load of twaddle. Full of lies, nonsense and misconceptions.

    “One of the unforeseen consequences of last year’s referendum campaign has been that it discredited elementary economics”

    Particularly when the discredited economic statistics are produced by anti-Indy think tanks and Government bodies and spun by a Unionist supporting and unquestioning media.

    Scots know shite when they smell it. And by fuck Massie throws plenty of Unionist shite around.

    • Alec

      Scots know shite when they smell it.

      Hence your being defeated last year.

      ~alec

      • scotcanadien

        Were we defeated? Doesn’t feel like it to me since you lot are doing all the whining and moaning.

        • Alec

          Yes, you were done sideways with the double-ribbed condom.

          ~alec

          • scotcanadien

            Is that some sort of perverted English custom…similar to buggering children?

          • Alec

            Is that some sort of perverted English custom…similar to buggering children?

            What a unpleasant comment. And odd.

            ~alec

          • scotcanadien

            Not half as odd as yours re fucking someone ‘sideways’ with a double ribbed condom…whatever that is? Is that another English homosexual invention?

          • Alec

            No, humiliation through sexual activity is a common theme. And you were completely rubbered.

            Your comment was filthy which managed both racism towards the English and your lot’s unending preoccupation with child sex-abuse.

            Is that another English homosexual invention?

            You did it again! Now with added homophobia. You filthy old man.

            ~alec

          • scotcanadien

            I’m actually a young fella and you’re the one being ‘rubbered’. You do seem to have a predilection toward the sexual. And as everyone knows but you, or are you hiding your head up your ass to avoid facing facts, it is the English who are being chased up for child abuse over many many years.

          • Alec

            There are very few things left which you do not joke about. And child sex-abuse is one of them, especially when it has a racist and homophobic undertone

            It’s you who’s the streak of human effluent who sees sexual desire towards children in every comment, no-one else. I would tell you go to **** yourself with steel wool but you’d need a nervous system to feel that.

            You are a disgusting person.

            ~alec

          • scotcanadien

            “It’s you who’s the streak of human effluent who sees sexual desire
            towards children in every comment, no-one else. I would tell you go to
            roger yourself with steel wool but you’d need a nervous system to feel
            that.”

            Now has that been written by an English paedo or not? I leave you to judge dear reader.

          • Alec

            Yes, it’s to express my unalloyed disgust towards you, you dirty, dirty old man. Small wonder you hide behind a moniker on the Internet… say this sort of thing in someone’s face, and the response would be immediately and memorable.

            ~alec

          • scotcanadien

            Be willing to meet you anytime you ‘hard’ internet warrior you. And “Alec”is that an alien alias? Do you have another name? I am anonymous because I don’t want gutter dwellers like you and your friends in the D Heil and D Torygraph visiting my home. Why are you anonymous?

          • Alec

            Yaaaawn.

            Disgusting person.

            ~alec

          • Kennybhoy

            Jesus wept…

      • justejudexultionis

        Losing a battle is not the same as losing a war.

        • Alec

          Battle? War? Maybe this is why you lost… the quiet majority are squaddists and political thugs who see things in terms of conflict.

          ~alec

      • Jambo25

        I pick up the smell each time you post.

        • Alec

          Yaaaawn. You’re a grubby little man with no personal standards. I wouldn’t be on a blog I utterly despise… it’s the sign either of someone with no meaning in his life or a lout who turns up only to disrupt.

          You’re the blogging equivalent of the belligerent drunk who stands on street corners shouting at people.

          ~alec

          • Jambo25

            And there was me thinking that disliking you was a sign of culture and taste.

          • Alec

            I don’t give a stuff what you think of me.

            ~alec

          • Jambo25

            Just as well as I suspect my view might be quite common.

          • Alec

            Yes, there are a lot of wash-out National Front nose-pickers whom I couldn’t care less if they dropped off the face of the Earth, or carried on with their night-time – and increasingly daytime – libations like you and the pie-chomping munter, Peter A. Bell.
            ~alec

          • Jambo25

            It appears to be time for your Largactil again.

        • Kennybhoy

          Who from? Alec or yer man scotcanadien?

          • Jambo25

            Alec of course.

          • Kennybhoy

            That is one highly selective olfactory organ you have there Maister J. But then as I recall from the days no’ so long ago when, for example, poor allymax frequented this forum, you obviously subscribe to some version of the old revolutionary “no enemies to the left” credo…

          • Jambo25

            Oh there are SNP supporting headcases as well. However, on sites like this it’s the Alecs of this world who are particularly poisonous.

  • Leithalyak

    On the eve of the opening of Holyrood Mr Blair and Mr Dewar moved a maritime boundary between Scotland and England, to England’s advantage. This had no effect on British territorial waters, no effect on British fishing or the treasuries income. I simply ask why bother moving the boundary?

  • Drew Macleod

    Bottom line: British/Westminster politics is a stinking corruption ridden cesspool. In Scotland we have the chance of something different and we are grabbing it with both hands. The biggest difference after May 7th will be that the people speaking for Scotland will have an overwhelming mandate to do so!

  • http://weourselves.com/ Christian Wright

    This from the extreme Unionist who went on a jihad to save us all from the break-up of Britain. Yet when asked repeatedly by me and many others to articulate his positive substantive case for Scotland remaining in union with England, this McHadi journo couldn’t do it.

    For Massie, Unionism is an article of faith – full stop. He believes in it . . . because he does. He cannot offer a rationale.

    Consider dear boy, that the eye sees not itself but by reflection. If you want to find a swivel-eyed quasi-religious political fanatic with blind faith in a cause, you need look no further than the nearest mirror.

    • rollo_tommasi

      An article of faith is doing something full when you know full well it to be not in your interests.

      FFA autonomy is not in Scotlands interests hence why the SG want to put it off as long as possible.

    • scotcanadien

      Excellent reply. Why don’t you do as I have already done and post it in a PIC in a tweet for wider circn. When I posted my earlier comment here to Massie in a tweet I was immediately attacked by fellow traveller ‘journalists’ and the POUTY lunatics. Kinda tells you who are really the sect members.

  • Fae Queen

    Finding it hard to think of a misconception, fable, twist or insult that’s missing from this article.
    None of it applies to myself or to any other SNP supporter I know. Fifty-plus years of evaluation is not blind faith, nor is the use of one’s intellect.
    Chris MacLaughlin hit the nail on the head with the first comment. Even if we all accepted the UKGov/parties assertion that we ARE a drain, that we ARE subsidised, we’d all then have to admit it’s UKGov rule that got us there, and that’s a great big non-faith-based logical reason for UKGov to support our aim for an alternative.
    We, however, won’t wait for that ‘road to Damascus’ moment to hit UKGov/parties, immersed as they are in the holy waters of self-delusion.

  • David Scott

    It would be interesting to see whether Sturgeon and Salmond would be for a United Scotland or for a federated Scotland.
    Should Scotland’s provinces have more devolved authority to run their own affairs rather than be run by out-of-touch Holyrood?

    • Peter Thomson

      The answer to your question is moot until Labour’s rotten boroughs across Scotland are cleared out of the Labour jobsworths and party hacks which infest them, hoovering up massive expenses and other perks sitting on boards of ALEO’s such as Strathclyde Transport … according to Police Scotland Glasgow’s Labour run council contributes around £2 million a year to known Glasgow gang front companies which are used to launder drug, protection and prostitution money.

      One of the Glasgow gangs chief enforcers, Louis Rodden, turned up at one of Mr Murphy’s campaign fund raisers in 2010 because he liked to hear Dr Reid speak. According to Mr Murphy’s then election agent it was ‘OK, cos aabody kens Louis’. The lady election agent had been a recent chair of Strathclyde Police Authority. Associates of Rodden owned a hospitality box at Celtic Park close by the one frequented by Murphy and Dr Reid.

      Anyway the current system of local government has been put in place by Westminster so are you saying Westminster is ‘out of touch’, if so, on that we can agree.

      • David Scott

        I think both are out of touch but Holyrood’s is more culpable.

        I was, in context, positing a future debate not a present one.

      • David Scott

        Saying Westminster is out of touch – as is Holyrood.
        Westminster has an easier track record to ‘attack’.
        You think SNP-run councils aren’t on a racket too?

  • Peter Thomson

    A bitter article from a bitter man who has woken up to his worst nightmare, winning the battle to keep Scotland in the Union (just) but losing the war for the hearts and minds of the people of Scotland.

    Now he is seeing his trusted ‘Better Together’ allies in the shape of Murphy’s Labour branch office in Scotland being humiliated not just by the polling figures but by Labour’s actual leadership in London. Mr Massie is no fool, he and many others who understand the real status of the UK Parliament’s unwritten constitution know the constitutional impact of a majority SNP MPs representing Scotland at Westminster, this has to do with representing the considered will of the people of Scotland, a considered will which, even in the lurid and confusing by-ways of Westminster, is paramount – according to the UK Supreme Court.

    30+ SNP MPs and it matters not a whit which of the two Tory parties are in 10 Downing Street as UK wide legislation will not pass go without SNP support, as the sole representatives of the considered will of the people of Scotland at Westminster. EVEL is dead in this scenario without FFA for Scotland.

    The constitutional reality is EVEL will require two new Acts of Union as under the Treaty of Union it is the inviolable right of all elected MPs to the UK Union Parliament to vote on all matters which come before the House. (Erskine and May). Two new Acts of Union agreeing the EVEL proposition would have to be passed by the recalled sovereign parliaments who were signatories to the original Treaty of Union. In effect delivering the result the ‘Yes campaigners’ were seeking in September 2014 as being recalled, why would the two separate sovereign parliaments wish to end themselves?

    EVEL is, as evil does … no amount of Mr Massie’s gainsaying will change this reality.

  • Jeanne Tomlin

    What horror! People in Scotland voting for a political party that espouses putting the needs of its constituents first. How DARE they! They’re obviously mad as Mr Massie has been so kind as to point out previously.

    “Labour argue that the SNP’s preference for ‘full fiscal autonomy’ — a kind of independence within the UK — would leave Scotland’s finances with a £7.6 billion ‘black hole’…”

    Of course, no nation on earth borrows to deal with a black hole. The UK certainly doesn’t have a £1.56 trillion national debt.

    Oh. Wait.

  • justejudexultionis

    The SNP are the best thing to happen to Scotland for fifty years. And the best thing to happen to the UK too.

    SAOR ALBA

  • justejudexultionis

    The Sawney Bean of Scottish Toryism strikes again!

  • AtMyDeskToday

    Massie’s attempts at journalism are becoming quite entertaining, desperately sad for a grown man, but entertaining nevertheless.

  • Páll Thormod Morrisson

    Written like a true unionist, a breed that may not know much of what’s going on in Scotland, but prepared to say whatever falsehoods it does cleave to with skewed conviction and authority. Any more ‘rivers of blood’ predicted? The voice of unionist hysteria and loathing.

    • Kennybhoy

      “The voice of unionist hysteria and loathing.”

      As opposed to?

      • Páll Thormod Morrisson

        level headedness and pragmatism?

        • Kennybhoy

          You mean like scotcanadien above?

      • Páll Thormod Morrisson

        Oh just noticed youre a Labourite. Lost cause then and my last word on the matter.

        • Kennybhoy

          I am a Labourite? rotfllmfao!

          But seriously. Nothing in my Disqus history supports your ridiculous contention. You on the other hand are an evasive, nay cowardly, wee keech! 🙁

  • Auldreekie

    A bit of a strained argument – but I can see what he is driving at.

    There is a fundamental problem for the Union. The dominant UK culture, attitudes and values, which have been promoted unquestioningly by UK governments and institutions, have been those of whatever poiltical and social trends have been popular in England and controlable by the English establishment: and Scotland’s long tolerance of this English dominance has now come to an end. No more.

  • michael boyd

    Alex always misses the point: I, like many others i suspect, do not think that overnight a Scotland in charge of its own finances or independent will be a success. It will be however a country which has the potential to determine its own destiny. The St. Andrews based historian T.C. Smout once wrote a paper querying whether or not Scotland is a dependency of England? I suspect it isn’t, but if it is-blame must surely lie with our overseers! Let’s get away from the myth that when Scotland entered a Union with England in 1707 it entered the ‘promised land’. It didn’t. In fact, it took nigh on 80 years for Scots to make ends meat?

  • http://calum.scot/ Calum Carlyle

    I’ve seen so many of these crazy straw grasping opinion pieces attempting to explain why those crazy Scots are flocking to the SNP. After all the SNP CAN’T be popular because their policies make sense so it must be some other crazy reason… musn’t it? To those of us who do “get it” it’s astonishing that these London journalists and politicians who rarely talk to real members of the public much less leave their favourite bars and private apartments can’t figure out that people just want to vote for something other than what the establishment tells us is our only choice.

    If anything it’s the austerity/nuclear deterrent/we know best position offered by Labour/lib dems/Labour that resembles a faith based position. Every person intending to vote SNP has come from another party, after all. It’s the opposite of tribalism, these people have alll actively decided to support the SNP for specific reasons, unlike the generational support for Labour or the Tories (or even the liberals) based on nothing more than a vague understanding of their supposed ideology.

    But unless they get out there and walk a mile in the voters’ shoes, these journalists will never understand that.

    • cartimandua

      Because they have been bribed with “free” University, prescriptions, and social care. All paid for by the poor bloody English who don’t get those things at all.

      • http://calum.scot/ Calum Carlyle

        Don’t be silly. Those things are paid for by the Scottish government out of their own budget. That budget comes to us as part of the “block grant” which is actually financed by taxpayers in Scotland anyway.

        If, however, this is what so many English people actually believe, presumably because they can’t face the truth, that the UK politicians are a bunch of philandering corrupt profiteers, then why don;t you al stop moaning about it and go for English independence? It would be an enormous step towards England regaining a positive sense of its own identity apart from anything else.

  • Andrew Leslie

    You’ve hit an interesting line, Alex, and one I’ve been pondering. You don’t need to look to the Kirk though, you need to go a wee bit further back to Calvinism, the Covenanters, and salvation by faith…
    The facts are – as various people have pointed out – that in approach to political issues – immigration, tax, Trident, etc – we are not that different from England. We should probably be voting Tory. Yet we consistently vote differently.
    Could it be that we vote out of guilt and faith, and not from self interest?
    In which case, the numbers are indeed irrelevant.

  • Dan Fearon

    Calm down Massie, otherwise even more people are gonna mistake you for that “Rivers of Blood” Allan guy.

  • Jo90

    SNP are impervious to evidence and reason because like the NSDAP, the SNP are National Socialists.

  • carl jacobs

    Scotland doesn’t want anything from Great Britain! It wants to be independent!

    Well, except for that whole currency union thing. Scotland wants currency union with the UK pretty bad. It wants access to the BOE as lender of last resort and continuing access hard currency. Otherwise Scotland will have to use the Pound with neither guarantees on monetary policy nor cash reserves. Alternatively, it could print its own currency and watch it plummet like a brick dropped from a plane. All things considered, Scotland would much rather keep using the Pound in a currency union – but without any political restrictions. Scotland wants Britain to provide this service because … well, because it would be fair or something.

    And Scotland wants military ships. Where it will get the personnel to man those ships can’t really be said. Presumably crews from the Royal Navy would have to be dragooned into an exciting new career in the nascent Scottish Shore Patrol and Whale Protection Flotilla. And planes. Scotland wants planes. Not that Scotland could maintain them. And Regiments. And boots and bullets. Not that Scotland needs them since it has no intention of deploying them. And intelligence cooperation. Not that Scotland has anything to offer. Scotland deserves all this consideration because it used to be part of the UK. It’s only fair, after all.

    It might be said that Scotland wants total independence – except when it doesn’t.

    • cartimandua

      It sounds like a sulky teen. Gimme the money but let me decide what to do.

    • JoeCro

      The Scottish share of UK defence spending is over £3 billion annually. That is a tidy sum, a credible self defence force could be had for £2 billion a year giving an immediate saving of £1 billion a year.

      • carl jacobs

        That isn’t how this works.

        You don’t just say “Let’s spend two billion a year.” Scotland needs to:

        1. Decide what mission its military needs to perform.

        2. Determine the capability necessary to complete the mission.

        3. Determine when that capability is required.

        4. Create a plan to purchase the necessary capability in terms of personnel, equipment, and logistics within the required time frame.

        5. Execute the plan.

        So what would Scotland’s military need to do? That’s the prior question.

        Well, one thing Scotland doesn’t need is a large army (relatively speaking), because one thing Scotland won’t do is deploy its army to fight. A large army is therefore just wasted money thrown after vanity. Scotland doesn’t need all those regiments no matter how attached it might be to the tradition. About the only mission Scotland could credibly claim for its military is coastal defense. What it then needs are planes and ships. Those planes and ships have to be able to survive in a modern fight. That’s expensive. If you send men to engage the enemy without the means to fight a modern war, they will die before they ever see the enemy, or even know he is there. The modern battlefield is incredibly lethal for the unprepared.

        I have no doubt that a Scottish military force would exhibit the discipline and professionalism inherent in other Western forces. That isn’t enough. The Scottish gov’t needs to buy the (expensive) capability that will make those forces effective. I don’t think Scotland will do that. I don’t think it will create (read that “pay for”) anything more than a pro forma military fit only to provide honor guards for visiting dignitaries. If Scotland breaks away, I think the UK should just keep in British possession any military installations it considers necessary for defending the British Island. Scotland isn’t going to build anything capable of replacing either the Royal Navy or the RAF. In effect Scotland will simply defer the defense of the Island to England and free-ride. Forfeiting sovereignty over those installations is the price it will have to pay.

  • JonBW

    What happens in Scotland is a matter for the Scots, a nation I like and admire.

    However, I’m afraid that it is time to recognise that what is happening there, in combination with devolution on the present model, means that the Union cannot be defended any more.

    Last night’s debate showed that the English are not getting a fair deal: the debate was heavily biased to the Left because of the inclusion of the SNP and PC (and the incomprehensible exclusion of the Ulster Unionists).

    English voters are likely to choose a Right of Centre Party to govern them and then face a Left-leaning coalition because of the choices made by the Scots and Welsh. That isn’t democracy.

    The Union is no longer compatible with democracy or a fair deal for England.

    • cartimandua

      The Welsh are stuffed by Barnett. They wouldn’t vote with the SNP.

  • cartimandua

    Yes indeed the SNPs figures don’t add up and should they leave the union the EU wouldn’t have them (and England could leave).

  • henryGrattan1800

    Tories are finished in Scotland for ever and Labour to follow

  • rod robertson

    The tragedy in this pathetic article is that Mr Massie actually believes the keech he has written.
    Like so many of the right wing fraternity from Scotland he believes poverty is a lifestyle choice.
    That foodbanks are an abuse by drug taking .alcohol fuelled scroungers only.
    All of course own flat screen TVs and have credit accounts at Wm Hill.
    He believes that anyone can if they choose get a high paying job ,a nice house in a nice district and be as conceited and arrogant as himself.
    He truly believes that Westminster is all seeing ,all powerful that the very mention of being English /British will impress any Johnny Foreigner
    He believes that UK is still an important player in world politics while ignoring the reality.
    Ask yourself when was the last time any country called on UK to be the honest broker?
    Indeed when Taliban wanted to talk peace terms in Afghanistan they spoke with Americans and specifically insisted Brits kept out of all talks.
    Of course the US agreed and treated the pathetic little Brits as the unimportant little bitches they are.
    Massie is one of the Scottish cringe mob based in London that is happy to slurp at the table with the big important conceited London boys.
    In return for these scraps he will play the archetypical Scot laugh at jokes about Scots being mean ,drunks ,aggressive ,playing the card that it is of course not his class which models itself on the English toffs.
    It is hose working class Scots ,especially the ones of Irish descent,and European immigration.
    In other words Mr Massie is a self loathing Jock ,a man that hates his country of birth and will happily talk it and its peoples down just as long as the “Establishment” accept Alex as one of them and not one of those ordinary Jocks he so loathes.

    • cartimandua

      Scots are second fattest in the world after the USA. There are a lot of Scottish addicts and alcoholics. The victim narrative would make my late Scottish granny turn in her grave. Where is the historic high levels of education innovation and sheer effort Scotland used to have?
      England supports the rest of the UK and is one of only 2 net contributors in the EU.
      Give up the unfair Barnett and live within your means. Scots wouldn’t be so keen on the nats then.
      You don’t even own the oil tax revenue and you are liable for massive financial debt. I would love you to leave the UK. The EU wouldn’t have you and then England could get out too.

  • Charles Patrick O’Brien

    Scotland is a net exporter of food,England a net importer of food,which country is richer?,Scotland has a hydro system that runs at less than 30% of ability.We have oil and gas on shore as well as in the north sea,on our part of the continental shelf,we also have oil with the boundary of the Hebrides inner and outer.If anybody thinks that Westminster’s elite would support us out of the goodness of their heart than they need a mental health check up.Does anybody think that the Falklands “war” was fought to keep a few sheep farmers under the Union flag at such a great expense because we all held those islands dear? no there was oil found there and Westminster knew it right from the start,its the same old ideal greed!Scotland has for many years supplied men for the armed forces,and food for the tables of all of the UK,Scotland is a rich country with poor citizens because there are too many idiots who want to believe in their political party too stupid to realise that the party only wants them when its voting time,kept in poverty and under educated so as not to question the orders from on high.

    • cartimandua

      If Scotland were wealthy it would not need the unfair Barnett. The truth is Scotland doesn’t own all the oil revenues and even if it did it wouldn’t even cover NHS costs even before the oil price crash.

      • JoeCro

        Scotland is one of the wealthiest parts of the UK.

        • cartimandua

          Then they could quit whining and they don’t need the unfair Barnett. If Scotland gets more decision making it will be with austerity max because Barnett will go.

          http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-barnett-future/

          We are NOT responsible for Scots being second fattest to the Americans in the world and all the poor health that leads to.

  • Michael Hance

    The truth is that the oil price doesn’t make any difference to Scotland at present any more than it has in the past 40 years because the revenues have been accrued to London and continue to be collected by the Exchequer there. That after 40 years Scotland is unable to point to any material benefit from oil demonstrates how poorly this country has been managed by unionists. Our neighbours across the sea shelter behind a US850bn oil fund while the Norwegian government pursues an expansionist economic policy. ‘Pooling and sharing’ leaves jobs in Aberdeen vulnerable but otherwise do we even notice whether the price is $50 or $100?

  • Cymrugel

    Well I suppose its a change from the line that the SNP are a cats paw of the RC church.

    The trouble with this sort of analysis is that it reduces the people of Scotland to a two dimensional stereotype.

    They can’t just have tired of a two party system that is simply not representing their interests – no -they are all narrow minded nationalists, resentful of England the fount of all reason and common sense; that favourite unchallengeable assertion of the right wing with no argument – can’t win at the polls? the voters have no “common sense” you see.

    The SNP aren’t a highly organised party offering policies people approve of and hence winning elections in two different electoral systems. No- they are the successors of the kirk – never mind that the dour Calvinist stereotype in question hasn’t existed for half a century or more – its the Scots so any old stereotype however threadbare will do.

    So its not just that the UK parties are a pack of pencil necked professional wonks who seldom set foot outside London, have little interest in anything much further than 20 miles from Westminster and are so out of touch with voters that monster raving loony outfits like UKIP have a chance of actually winning seats – no its the development of new faith based political values that just don’t engage with the common sense approach that if all is well in London you needn’t worry about having no job and no house while living in Aberdeen or Manchester.
    Its all such a pity.

  • CharlesPtwo

    Oh Dear,
    It all flies over my Head now! Quit simply I see a Link on FB and ‘click’ through out of a passing interest that is always snuffed out in the first Paragraph or so of the same laboured contentions by either Messrs. Massie, Nelson etc. (I do not extend the Courtesy to the execrable Mr. Young) and realise I’ve read it all before!

    Invariably, the content is the febrile ramblings of Journalists who chose up sides on the Basis of who was winning when they ‘Joined Up,’ it was most certainly not out of conviction, but who now find the Wheels have come off the Bandwagon and they are stranded in a No Man’s Land of Shifting Sands, the eternal Verities of Extreme British Nationalism are being swept away and the Dole Queues, they so harshly derided, beckon to them with little cheer!

    Weep your tears, rend your garments, and beat your breasts, though you may, where you lot are headed, it will be a ‘Buyers Market’ and ‘The Year of the Short Corn’ is upon you!

  • John Andrews

    The British establishment generated the tartan delusions by refusing to put devolution max on the ballot paper and then making The Vow in a moment of panic. This made Scots believe that the tougher they talk the more they get. Reality will dawn when the Barnett formula is no more, their currency is run from Brussels, 55% of Edinburgh’s residents are born outside Scotland and there is no green belt separating Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Precambrian

    Nationalist and Socialist.
    Not a combination of words with a particularly sparkling history…

  • Hugh_Oxford

    The SNP competes with the NHS as the national religion in Scotland. Although it doesn’t have to be a conflict, as the NHYES campaign attests.

    The idea that there would be more health, wealth, happiness and social justice outside the Union is one of those offensively risible ideas that Yestacy induces in its users.

  • Suriani

    The Scots Kirk was once the bedrock of Unionism. It served the British state well in assisting in the anglicising, provincialising, marginalising and cultural constraining of Scotland, still one of most underdeveloped and underpopulated countries in Europe. The SNP is no cult. The Scots have simply seen through the British myth and returned to their senses.

  • huw

    let the troika begin! #snpplaidgreen!

  • Precambrian

    Why do Scottish nationalism and English nationalism have such a different image?

    • Suriani

      former on the left, latter on the right maybe?

  • Nick Dunne

    What an incredibly specious argument. Scotland may at last be getting away from the dead tory hand of presbyterianism, that Kirk that colluded with the clearances, and reinforced the intellectual and spiritual subjugation of the people. Get away from the mysogynistic, homophobic, sectarian and racist past through a diverse independent and secular social politics.

  • http://www.twitterendum.mobi/ The Designer

    The SNP following are a VERY vocal group… but perhaps the meek will inherit Scotland

  • http://www.twitterendum.mobi/ The Designer

    The SNP following are a VERY vocal group… but perhaps the meek will inherit Scotland

  • Spock Puppet
  • prompteetsincere

    SNP: The Church of Scotland NOT at prayer.
    CoS: The Labour Party AT prayer.
    “Coterminous”.

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