The Scottish independence debate hots up

If you don’t live in Scotland, you might not have noticed the beginning of the fight back against Alex Salmond’s plans for Scottish independence.

On Saturday, the Times kicked things off with a cover that claimed that independence would threaten university research cash. The UK hands out £3bn every year to universities for various types of scientific research, and there is no reason, says Professor Louise Richardson, the Principal of St Andrews University, to assume that Scotland would be able to “buy in” to that after independence, something that could be “catastrophic” for the universities.

The Saturday Mail had an even more compelling headline. Independence, it said, would be a “risk to your pension”. Steve Webb, the UK pensions minister, told the paper that a good 40,000 people move both ways across our “porous” border at the moment. If National Insurance numbers and pension entitlements are stored in separate places it is going to get much, much harder to keep track of everything (“a pension here, a pension there, National Insurance records here, something else in Scotland”).

The Mail also pointed to the pensions “timebomb” on the way for Scotland – within 20 years, 30% of some rural communities will be in retirement.

Finally, for good measure, the paper noted that Scotland would have a “£4bn black hole” in its revenues if it allowed itself to be dependent on oil. Oil makes up 1-2% of the UK’s tax revenues, but something like 10-20% of the total tax money raised in Scotland (averaging around £6bn).

This would make an independent Scotland’s revenues incredibly volatile – note that the amount raised from oil has been as little as £2bn in some years and as much as £12bn in others.

The Telegraph picked up the same story on Saturday, pointing out that oil revenues are currently on a “downwards trajectory”, such that Scotland could be “billions of pounds worse off by Alex Salmond’s preferred date for the breakup of Britain”.


On Sunday, the Sunday Times joined in with a story about how the uncertainty surrounding independence is “scaring off” European property buyers in Scotland: one would-be German buyer pulled out saying that “I cannot see to invest in a region that may be separated from the UK”.

Finally, on Sunday the Mail on Sunday went all out with the headline “Death of all that is British” and a list of all the things that might be lost to Scotland if the SNP breaks us up. Think “the Royal Mint, MI5, your car tax, the National Lottery, the Met Office, the Royal Mail, the  Student Loans company etc”.

It is quite an onslaught of media attention. But thank goodness for it. For some time now it has looked as though a pro union movement was never really going to get off the ground – despite the fact that the majority of Scots poll as pro union.

That matters, because whatever you think is the right way to go on this one, the arguments have to made properly and openly. If the SNP wins the referendum, even by one vote, everything in Scotland will change. There will be no way back. If I were a member of the SNP I would, I hope, welcome this step up in the debate – much better to go into the referendum with the arguments for and against independence made properly than not really made at all.

  • ohyesjustnow

    where does louise richardson come from? is she scottish by any chance?

  • Joe M.

    I think you illustrate that the coverage has been extremely one sided and it sounds to me like the general rubbish which English owned papers have printed for years. There is no country which has escaped British rule which has sought it’s return. Scotland is outvoted 10-1 in the UK parliament, that alone is an obvious argument for Scottish independence and another is the fact that the Conservatives political philosophy is utterly alien to we Scots. We can do better and I think we can live without MI5!

  • Shinsei1967

    Joe M

    “Scotland is outvoted 10-1 in the UK parliament”

    No it isn’t. Scotland puts forward as many MPs (actually more as it happens) per head of population as anywhere else in the UK. Your comment is as ludicrous as saying Suffolk gets outvoted 120-1 by the rest of the UK.

    “I think we can live without MI5!”

    Really ? Do you actually know what MI5 does. You think Scotland has no serious crime or any threat from terrorism ?

  • Joe M.

    As a formerly independent country we do not need to stay in a parliament where we are outvoted 10-1 and we can choose the more logical option of independence. An English county does not have that choice, we do.

    MI5 spends its time spying on democratically elected politicians and Trade Unions and in the 70’s some of it’s agents attempted to otherthrow the Wilson Government. There are no controls on it and you and I do not know what dirty tricks it has got up to.

    I want my country to have a sane foreign policy which does not include invading others or undermining their democracies or selling arms to despots. I suspect such a policy will leave it less open to revenge attacks by those who resent anglo-American interference in their affairs!

    The point is that we can do better than this clapped out British state and it’s vile treatment of the poor in society to pay for a Banking crisis.

    Trident? Why? Get rid of it and encourage others to avoid nuclear holocaust…

  • BigBlue

    Prof. Richardson is from Ireland, actually.


  • BigBlue

    The SNP support is around 30-34%.

    It won a landslide in 2011 with a 22.85% share of the total vote avaable.

  • Shinsei1967

    Joe M

    You don’t really understand this collective democracy thing do you ? We decide things as a nation of 660 odd MPs all with an equal say in decisions.

    And you argument that you don’t know what MI5 gets up to, that it might have spied on some MPs in the 70s is your argument for getting rid of it. What about the various terrorism outrages it has stopped. No interest ?

    I’m Scottish by the way. Better together and all that.

    You seem to have some twittish ideas that because you don’t like a couple of current UK government policies it makes sense to rip up a hugely successful 300 year union.

  • Alastair bell

    A FORMER US Ambassador has accused Westminster of trying to have it both ways for arguing that an independent Scotland would have to carry its share of UK liabilities such as debt, without inheriting any of the international treaty and membership rights.
    Professor David Scheffer of the Centre for International Human Rights in Chicago has written a legal opinion arguing the UK’s claim to be the “continuing state” in the event of independence, but that Scotland have to bear its share of UK liabilities, rests “on very thin ice”.

    His paper, published on Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish Referendum blog, said: “The Whitehall report is at its weakest when examining the rights of EU citizens in Scotland (Scots are also EU citizens), and even at times with respect to EU membership per se.”

  • Joe M.

    My ‘twittish’ idea is that my country might be better running its own defence and foreign policy rather than having it dictated to by another country ten times its size.

    Perhaps you should imagine an ‘equal’ union between the UK and USA to understand my argument.

    You compare Scotland to Suffolk but Suffolk is not a country. We are and therefore we don’t have to accept the status quo.

    The Conservatives have one solitary MP in Scotland and their attitude towards the poor and unemployed is simply despicable and it is backed up by the British press. Ripping up the European Charter on Human Rights is also quite disturbing. It has been reported in Pakistan as follows: “Britain to exit ECHR to win over white voters”. Lovely!

    You might find this acceptable but I do not. I believe my country Scotland has something of value to offer the World and I also think the British state has a deluded xenophobic world view which quite simply does not reflect the views of modern Scots.

  • Joe M.

    The fact UKIP can get enough support to elect Euro MP’s in England suggests that our countries have very little politically in common. You may not be aware but UKIP wishes to abolish the Scots Government and return its powers to our tiny group of British MP’s.

    Labour are a pale shadow of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats decision to back the Tories will shortly see them wiped out up here.

    I want Scotland to play a part in world affairs and I want our flag to fly at the United Nations. I want our country to compete as itself at the Olympics and I want us to scrap the Trident nuclear deterrent and spend the money on our future.

    I want our country to take our own decisions on benefits policy and on tax and to have embassies across the world. I want us to play a part in shaping the future of Europe. You want us to share in Britain’s economic despair and the hatchet job on the British benefits system planned by the British Conservatives.

    I think we can do better.

  • Malky

    1. If it is beneficial to have some powers as we have now, it would be even greater for our parliament to have all the powers (independence). If some powers are good for Scotland then surely all powers are even better?

    2. It is better if decisions about Scotland are made by the people who care most about Scotland, that is the people of Scotland.

    3. Greater social justice is more easily achievable within an independent Scotland than in the UK.

    4. An independent Scottish government will get rid of Trident nuclear weapons.

    5. We will never again have a Tory government.

    6. We will no longer have to subsidise the UK.

    7. We will remain in the EU while rUK heads for the exit.

  • Dave

    And I want to continue to be subsidised by the rest of the UK, thanks very much. The status quo suits me fine though I do wish the little Englanders would stop agitating against these damned foreigners in the EU.

    I voted against the Scottish Parliament though, so far at least, it hasn’t been the disaster I feared though no doubt, as some not too distant point, it will decide to exercise its tax raising powers.

    My kids have graduated without any fee burden and are now doctors in the British NHS having attended the local state schools. I don’t pay for prescriptions, my wife can take the bus to visit her family 200 miles away; a distance she’d rather not drive and even our rugby team has started wining again.

    Our football is rubbish but we get Match of the Day.

    What’s the big driver for fundamental change other than the permanently disgruntled and naively patriotic?

    Keep sending the money, thanks.

  • RolftheGanger

    The Unionist “fightback” is no more than another round of the usual Unionist FUDDS.
    Fear – “You are all DOOMED. DOOMED. I tell ye!”
    Uncertainty – “what will happen to this or that?” Implication being that it will all instantly self-destruct.
    Doubts -” Maybe the EU will kick you out, or Spain veto your re-negotiations” Horsefeathers.
    Disinformation – Lies, distorted stories and statistics, partial carefully selected biased ‘information’, misrepresentation (eg. defining the independence stance in ways never argued or supported by the proponents), misinterpretation, malicious denigration and other dubious means.

    At which the Divide and Conquer Unionist brigade hare past masters.

    Despite all that, the Empire dissolved, the Commonwealth morphed into self governing independent states, the Unionist parties in Scotland have gone into terminal decline (ONE Tory MP) and we have seen the rise and rise of the SNP Government and the self government cause.

  • LG

    On the basis that any independent Scottish government is likely to be a socialist, tax raising, bunch of incompetents (but probably not as bad as the current Westminster incompetents), couldn’t we simply outsource government? Give the Swiss a 10 year contract. They know how to run things.

  • Shinsei1967


    “5. We will never again have a Tory government.”

    This is a demonstration of the stupidity and short sightedness of much independence arguments.

    It wasn’t that long ago when the Tories were the dominant party in Scotland. In 1955 the Tories secured 50.1% of the popular vote.

    You seem to be basing the entire constitutional structure on Scotland, and up-ending a 300 year old constitutional settlement, on the fact that you don’t happen to like the current lot of Tories.

    What are you going to do in the future when the Tories (or a similar party) are back in power in Scotland ? Ask to rejoin a more “socially just” rUK ?

  • MichaelL

    “I want Scotland to play a part in world affairs and I want our flag to fly at the United Nations.”

    Me too, because then you’ll be paying for it, instead of everyone else in the UK. But, I suspect people in Scotland won’t vote for independence, its too easy to take money from everyone else in the UK…

  • Hail The Tripod

    a list of all the things that might be lost to Scotland if the SNP breaks us up. Think “the Royal Mint, MI5, your car tax, the National Lottery, the Met Office, the Royal Mail, the Student Loans company etc” – Surely that’s a pro-independance article satirising pro-unionists. Why would anyone be gutted to not pay car-tax or student loans?

  • Joe M.

    Any party in an independent Scotland will have to appeal to Scots voters to get elected so we will at least be safe from the likes of UKIP
    Scotland is a net contributer to UK economy so we already pay more than pay our way. We can do better than Britain it is as simple as that.

  • Dave

    As I recollect it was a Scottish dominated Westminster cabinet which caused the UK to embark on two invasions of forign countries. So much for Joe M’s dreams of a sane foreign policy. Many english might like to have a foreign policy towards Scotland.

  • Aff

    Independence does not go far enough. Scotland should have its own money, backed by gold get rid of the pound sterling, get rid of the BBC and get rid of the queen. To the third comment who said take the north of england. Yes gladly.

  • Nev

    They should go for it.
    If Murdochs papers are against it, I am for it.
    It will be hard and it will be expensive, but they are a sovereign people and good luck to them. I may move to Scotland.

  • Andrew H

    If a group of people are not happy within the United Kingdom then they have a right to self determination.

    As I see it an independent Scotland could be very wealthy, particularly if they created their own currency and set interest rates that suited the Scottish economy and not that of the South East of England.

    The only contradiction I see with populist independence policy in Scotland is the desire to ditch the current union and join the Eurozone, where the problems of currency, interest rates, and accountablity of policy makers would be arguably worse.

  • Evilbungle

    Personally I really don’t care if Scotland Stay or if they go. If the vote was extended to all people of the Union then I would vote for them to leave but only as that way we wouldn’t have to hear about it again, unfortunatley I doubt that if the referrendum is lost that it will go away.

    My only real fear is that whatever happens the Government in Westminster will do it all wrong, if they stay we will probably hand over larger grants and more powers and if they go we will probably give them all north sea tax revenue but keep 100% of the debt. Because whatever is decided the only real guarentee is that the civil servents in westminster are too stupid to negotiate a decent settlement.

  • Andrew H

    @30 Boris,

    Why are you so upset about this (you sound like a spoilt child who threatens to “never come out and play again” after another child has expressed a disapproval of your toys)?

    People have a right to self determination and to also freely associate with whomever they wish.

    As it stands Scotland is hampered by monetary and fiscal policy that is best suited for London and the South East of England, and are therefore unecessarily dependent on central government in Westminster.

    If they were able to manage their own currency and interest rates Scottish businesses could well see a much needed boost, and with an open border as well as free trade with the remainder of the UK, both nations would be far better off.

    The idea of a rebuilding Hadrian’s wall sounds frankly scary (as well as economically ridiculous) and is reminiscient of the state of affairs that exists between Israel and Palestine.

  • Romford Dave

    “We do things differently. Our culture is different, we have our own language. People ask why I identify myself as Cornish. It’s simply because I am Cornish. We have more in common with Brittany and Wales than the south-east of England but we’re subsumed into English decision-making.”

    A recent comment from Dick Cole, he of Mebyon Kernow fame, but I’m sure equally applicable to Alex Salmond, given a change of location.

    If someone wants to leave is it not better just to let them leave, even if they want to take their toys away with them?

  • Colin Selig-Smith

    Honestly I don’t know what all the fuss is about.

    Do we really think politics matters? We’ve already seen the prime ministers in Italy and Greece replaced at the bequest of the money men. Do you really believe the UK is any different?

    The only thing which really matters is the control of the currency, and Scotland gets the choice of the Euro or the Pound. The situation is the same in either case. No control.

  • Willie H

    What a list and so much of it risible . Of course English readers will not realise that it is all to divert attention from the release of the annual calculation of Government Expenditure and Revenues in Scotland (GERS). A calculation started way back by Unionists to scare Scots, but has now turned into a nightmare for Unionists. We now have access to the truth (as far as Government statisticians can discern).

  • poppy

    There are some very valid opinions being expressed here but honestly I am horrified by the vitriol that is being spouted from both sides. As a Scottish woman, I don’t appreciate the “jocks or barbarian” comments nor do I care for the old chestnut of “lets rebuild Hadrain’s wall”
    This is a highly emotive subject, but I think everyone needs to realise, Scottish Independance will affect us ALL. Resorting to petty name calling is not the way to go.
    I plan to weigh up the evidence before voting, although I am not entirely confident that the SNP are being transparent here. I feel like any unflattering facts and figures are being brushed under the carpet, while they bluster with “National pride” This worries me as it will be my kids that have to deal with the effects of any screw up. That and it will come back and bite Alex Salmond on the backside

  • Highlander

    Interesting debate/comments ? All which flow from the sewerage and bile masquerading as journalism from the daily garbage. Is it any wonder that newspapers are going bust ? The issue for the Scottish people is about nationhood and self determination. We want to create a much better and fairer society similar to the Scandanavian countries who have a far higher standard and quality of life than we have in the UK. We can’t do that within the current political construct. All the mis information churned out by the daily rags does : is to pay homage to Orwells 1984. Scotland wishes to leave the union because the current arrangements are not working for Scotland. Do you really want to know why we want to leave the union, its because……. we can. Don’t worry we’ll leave the lights on for our friends in room 101 when we close the door.

  • UKCitizen

    As with most divorces it is unlikely to end amiably, especially given the character types of most politicians. We will probably be fighting over the record collection for years to come and we will all end up poorer for it.
    It is interesting to note that Scotland considers that it is having the Tory/coalition forced upon it, whereas if you look at the voting demographic of England, you could argue that it has Labour forced upon it, as without its client vote in Scotland the rest of the UK would probably be permanently Tory!

  • SteveBee

    LG’s comment 6 strikes a cord.

    Yes it IS like a divorce – except only one party seems to be driving it and they can have first choice of the spoils. How come Scotland can be the only one to vote on this matter?

    I for one am in favour of the Union. Divorce will be bad for all parties and have we are only just starting to think through the consequences. I will respect the rights of those people North of the Border to have their say – I just hope that if the vote is in favour – they will understand the rest of us will have our say afterwards. Many will want to see it not work.

    I will be withdrawing my business from Scotland. Research grants etc. Do not expect a balanced reaction – like all one-sided divorces the behaviour from the jilted party will be “dog in the manger”.

  • SteveBee

    Well put UKCitizen.

    This could end up like a bitter divorce. It’s a pretty complicated record collection too.!

    And to one and all – is Boris an SNP stooge – is there a clue in his surname?

  • Boris MacDonut

    #45 SteveBee. I use the surname as a joke. I am not Russian either. This was the nickname of our history master at Repton.
    #32 Romford. I am not Cornish either….I just vote Cornish Nationalist when I can. But what one does glean is I have a low opinion of Scots, nearly as low as all the Scots who love their “nation” so much they live and work in Surrey or Canada.

  • SteveBee

    #46 Boris – I was just trying to ease sensitivities. The whole thing is getting a bit tetchy and I thought the idea of a secret SNP plant trying to stir things up might amuse a few.

    Unfortunately its a pretty serious subject and IMO independence will be bad for Britain but even worse for Scotland.

    Apologies for the unintended slight I owe you a Vodka/Whiskey or better a pint of bitter!

  • Boris MacDonut

    #27 Steve. The Scottish depend on England. Are the Scottish therefore in dependence? Let’s vote on it.

  • Jimmyfromlargs

    I actually live in Scotland and work in Copenhagen and travel a lot around Scandinavia.
    1. People in in Scotland need to be ready from 63 percent income tax and this starts from around 30k uk pounds income. Personal income taxes in Scandinavia are incredible ….. Nobody challenges the snp
    2. In Denmark there is a 200 percent tax on all cars. This means a modest car can cost 40 k pounds …..this is imposed by the dk government to protect balance of payments..
    3As soon as independence is announced or proposed there will be an immediate capital flight. If anyone thinks otherwise they are dreaming no one is going to sit around and join a Scandinavian high tax economy it is neither culturally appropriate or acceptable.

    Merryn is right we need a proper debate and I want to see some facts……not emotional nonsense that are like the scandinavians

  • Chester

    As usual, the need for sensible debate is and has been highjacked by emotion. And again, this plays into the hands of those driving the political agenda because it diverts attention from economic reality. Scotland can no more afford its current lifestyle than the rest of Europe, and particularly the UK. No one has presented independent evidence that Scotland can even survive, let alone prosper independently. And whatever forecasts are presented, they will doubtless ignore the effect of credit money contraction and rising real interest rates on unsustainable debt felled consumption

    I would vote yes if any future scottish govt were forbidden to control more that 20% GDP and issue debt by constitution, but as pigs wont fly, ill save my breath

  • JT

    A debate ‘free of emotion’. That would be wonderful. But then of course ’emotion’ is the Left’s weapon of choice wherever you go. Why would they want a debate focused on facts and outcomes when supposition and motive is so much easier to spin?

    Personally I’m agnostic about Scottish independence. But what does astonish me is that a first world nation can elect a party whose raison d’etre is hatred of another country.

  • aff

    Once again Boris expertly steers the conversation away from anything sensible.

    Boris you tell me you’re not a shill but ALL the evidence points to the contrary.

    Only a few comments have alluded to the fact that real independece would be monetary independence. If we vote yes but are then stuck with the pound or the euro, then nothing has changed and Scotland will NOT be independent.

    Politics is a charade. real power is money power.

  • Ahmed, Helsinkidishu

    We are all sons and daughters of Allah. It is important not to forget.
    Tragic to see a fine nation as Britain tearing itself apart.
    My brothers here in the Islamic Republic of Finland, hope you resolve your differences.

    Peace upon you all and the almighty prophet.

  • Nick

    As an Englishman I long for Scottish independence more than most Scots. And I think it’s outrageous that England doesn’t get the chance to vote for their own independence. We would then be able to stop spending so much of our tax money subsidising commies in kilts, Northern Irish people who say they want to be Irish (like Ireland could afford them).

  • Ebenezer

    I just wish the Scots would vote for independence so that England could return to a government that is not affected by the socialist voting in Scotland. I feel that the left-wing bias north of the border makes our election results non-representative of what most English people want. Why all the fuss about giving them what they claim they want?

  • David Wilson

    I think you are all missing the point.
    Its what politicians do…. get noticed before they get caught out.

  • Nick

    “What is it about Scottish independence that upsets English people so much? The bitter comments sound like spurned spouses.”

    You obviously haven’t bee to England for a time. More people people in England support Scottish independence that Scots do.

  • Nick

    Boris says: “An independent Scotland will become an engine of growth within Europe”

    That’s about the most stupid comment I’ve ever read on the internet, apart from “Cowdenbeath will win the Champions League.”

    Boris, we want Scotland to go, so that we don’t have to subsidise your kids while at the same time paying for our own.

  • propulsar

    The comments above are by and large startlingly ill-informed. Scotlandis not subsidised by UK. It is in fact the opposite Scotland bankrolls the UK. The fact that this appears to be widely unknown by many contributors is a testament ri the diet of lies you are being fed by the media. I would suggest your time would be better spent doing some basic research than posting I’ll informed comments here.

  • Tommy Atkins

    All the wilderness years, of a Scots group of mps running Labour ,
    wrecked the UK. Please vote n get it over with,
    we wont have to pay the Glasgow social security bill, anymore (hopefully)

  • Boris MacDonut

    #59 Nick. Are you confused? Where did I say an independedent Scotland would be an engine of growth? I have a low opinion of Scotland. …….and I am NOT Scottish, despite the comedy name.

  • Les

    I subscibe to this publication for it’s views on Finance matters, I was shocked by the insults against Scotland and the “Idea” that was proposed on how to steal Scottish financial jobs, it was an absolute disgrace.
    You gotta ask yourself , who needs friends like this! I for one will not renew my subscription to assist in anti scottish trash, from what is now not an honest appraisal but totally bias “Unionist” claptrap.
    If this bias was the other way around, you would all be screaming from th rooftops.
    Do not forget, it is proven fact that Scotland now subsidises the South, NOT the other way around, as Westminster would have you all beleive!

  • danfinn

    Interesting comments, don’t like the spats. David @ 56 is quite correct. It’s all about politics. Salmond will leave the sinking ship in a mess just like Gordon Brown did. He may even leave you a “no money left note” if you are lucky.

  • Tony Clarke

    Surely the Scots cannot really seriously think that Scotland can successfully divorce from the UK. The daftest idea of the SNP is to split Scotland from the UK and reapply to the EU. Ludicrous. However, if there is a majority to split Scotland from the UK in the referendum, then they shall have that, and all the losses that go with it. Plus of course, and if the split happens, plenty of anti-Scottish sentiment from the majority of English who will certainly apply their own embargo to Scottish products in everything wherever possible. This will also apply to things like their printing of currency, sterling, and any UK Government payments which will be shut off, some slow, some at speed.

  • Tony Clarke

    #64 ‘Les’
    Far too sensitive mate, finance is about everything, not just nice cosy things that please you. Dont get insulted, there might be some truths in it. Alternatively just shut off from all of life.

  • Kenneth of the North


    Thank you DW. Someone has at last seen the truth of the matter; a political hobby horse used by the vain, adolescent notions of the 18th Century nationalist.

  • PGF

    Very disappointed in the attitude of Dave in your article where he would prefer to be subsidised by the rest of the UK. The jury is still out for me regarding this issue but I was always told to stand on my own two feet and tie my colours to what was right and not just follow the flock. So to live my life as a beggar and depend on hangouts doesn’t seem right to me and if my decision has to come down to this then I will be voting independence.

    Ps: I’m still not sure who subsidises who and it may be the other way around.

  • Mike B

    Why don’t the English get a vote? It affects us and we are the majority. As we, the English, subsidise and prop-up Scotland we should have the right to get rid of the winging Scots. The Scotts have no loyalty to the union, they just want to hang onto our coat tails and take hand-outs from us. They are also over represented in parliament. One person should have one EQUAL vote and the preference given to the Scotts is undemocratic. Of course, the Scotts know all of this, that is why the referendum is a joke. They will never vote for idependence because they know they couldn’t support themselves without massive subdies from England. This, of course, doesn’t stop them from whinging and blaming all of their problems on England. If only they would vote yes and we could get rid of them.

  • M Gill

    It should be England who are having a vote which I think would be overwhelmingly in favour of demanding Scottish independence on the grounds that we have subsidised them enough and there is no advantage to England whatsoever.

  • Rob T

    Two points. The cost of relocating Trident to Plymouth would have to be borne by the Scots, after all it would be they who want rid of it, and that cost would be a severe blow to the new Scottish Exchequer.
    Matthew Lynn is dead right when he says an independent Scotland would have to have its own currency. A UK Government would not be obliged consider the needs of separate country that wants to use the pound; Scotland would welcome to use it but could not expect any support from the UK.

  • Tony Clarke

    #60 ‘Propulsar’, some basic research you say.
    Well of course Scotland has the North Sea offshore platforms. Oil production has been dropping. From Wikipedia… ‘UK oil production has seen two peaks, in the mid 1980s and late 1990s, with a decline ….. has led to Britain becoming a net importer of crude for the first time in decades,…. The production is expected to fall to one-third of its peak by 2020’. So dont rely on oil you young Scots, it will go quite soon. Other energy technologies are now emerging. Meanwhile the UK Govt continues to prop up RBS.

    Overall not a strong position to base an exit on, and why leave anyway? Its not as if you can tow Scotland to a nicer warm climate where there are no English ‘foreigners’. It seems there is a lot of emotion involved with some Scots. We didnt personally kill William Wallace you know, its something that happened a long time ago, ancient history, just get on with life, its never perfect.

  • Gordon Smith

    The article is full of misrepresentation and inaccuracies.
    The OIL production WILL increase to 2 million barrels a day by 2017, (OIL and GAS UK – North Sea Trade body). £100M investment planned already- 30K new jobs created.
    The £4 billion hole was based on 2010 projections BEFORE the change in the North Sea tax regime, which is now again encouraging investment.

    “One of the messages I broadcast regularly, is that the North Sea has a long life ahead of it. .. through enhanced extraction and new discoveries, there is a bright future ahead for oil and gas”
    John Hayes, Conservative UK Energy Minister, Aberdeen, 6th March 2013 (Better Together Group Party)

  • oldasiahand

    Unfortunately, the independence vote has zero chance of passing. The MSM and the great and the good will dominate the airwaves and scare the bejesus out of the bulk of the electorate who are apathetic at best. Salmond was outfoxed on the referendum when he should have been going for the greater autonomy option, which would have passed with ease. Now his dream has been put back for generations.

  • Gordon Smith

    The latest GERS figures (Governments Expenditure and Revenue Scotland – March 2013) Shows Scotland has a GDP 15%% higher than UK ,and subsidises the UK to a tune of £850 / head of Scottish population.

    Yoou won’t see these numbers in the Times or Daily telegraph , but you can be sure ALL those in Scotland will be aware of these before the Referendum.

    And since the polls say , >50% will vote yYES if they see a financial advantage to Scotland – we can anticipate a YES result.

  • Tony Clarke

    #77 Gordon
    In offshore oil and gas terms even £100 million is peanuts.

    The ‘enhanced methods of extraction’ includes the very welcome new ‘heavy oil’ Mariner and Bressay platforms being designed in London, to be fabricated elsewhere than Scotland by the way. However, even with this great addition to the oil extraction inventory in a few years time, the overall picture of oil extraction from the North Sea is downwards……not upwards

  • Les

    Unfortunately the general UK public are being told lies and most of them believe, everything they read and hear to they are so sure it is all true.
    Tell me why Scotland should stay with the UK?
    Please don’t say “because you love us” huh.!!

    Trident, stationed around 20 miles from our largest city, we did not want it, it was as usual forced on us. Westminster says it cannot be stationed in the South of England, because of the population around a proposed area.
    Tough luck then for the people of Glasgow, who, are apparently expendable.
    There is just too much of this stuff that the UK public at large don’t know and most do not really want to know.
    Well, this is Scotland’s time, although through the BBC and UK owned press, they try to cheat us every day. They could give lessons to Putin.

  • Colin Macaulay

    Last week’s GERS report, provides empirical evidence that Scotland can afford to look after itself – even in an emergency – better than by handing over all its money and entrusting itself to the “charity” of Westminster. And that’s why the No campaign is pulling out all the stops in a desperate and comical attempt to distract people’s attention from the facts. Scotland’s fiscal deficit is manageable for a small country with major resources. Sadly, as MoneyWeek enlessly point out, HMS Westminster is heading for the rocks!

  • Tony Clarke

    It would be quite sad if Scotland left the union, even though there are a number of people there filled with hate. But if you must go, please go. England can manage well without Scotland, I dont think the reverse is true.

  • Nigel

    I am a Scot and have lived in Scotland for 65 years. However, whilst for decades I was proud to call myself a Scotsman, I cannot but now be ashamed of what Scotland has become over the last five or so years under the dictatorship of the SNP, and embarrassed to be regarded as Scottish..

    The country I once loved has become a laughing stock in the world and the policies pursued by the two fish; SALMOND and STURGEON, are beyond reason and any economic sense. Justice and the rights of criminals are put in preference to those of the victims, with a soft touch approach to every crime. Take for example the freeing of the mass murderer Megraghi.

    If there is a vote for independence, I for one will vote with my feet and get out of this backwater as quickly as possible and seek to live in a country that at least has some semblance of economic reality. That country will be England.

  • Colin Macaulay

    Thanks Tony – I don’t think it is a case of “must go”. However the society that Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and now Cameron have foisted upon us – is not one that we’ve relished. I’m sure that we shall work in partnership with rUK and Eire and the EC and the UN – on all matters of common cause.
    Nigel – if a majority of the electorate vote for and are happy with a political party – and that party then wins a majority of the seats for a few years – before the next general election – How on earth does that make it a dictatorship? Dennis Healey might have termed you a bit of a “Silly Billy”.

  • Kenneth of the North

    I wonder what the situation would be had the very considerable amounts spent on foreign immigrants in England been sent instead on redeveloping Scotland?

  • JT

    UK National Debt – how Britain owes over £1 trillion

    It’s a truly frightening figure. Why is the world’s sixth richest country so deeply in debt?

    Every year the UK runs a large budget deficit. The Government spends more money than it can tax, so we plug the gap by selling bonds to investors at home and abroad. These bonds – known as gilts – have to be repaid in full, with interest. Added together, our unpaid loans make up the UK’s national debt.

    Right now, that debt is growing violently. The Government forecasts it will soar to an eye-watering £1.5 trillion by 2016.

    Scotland can take a large slice of this with independence. How much do they want it?

  • Colin Macaulay

    Just our share – of the assets and the liabilities.
    A fair deal – externally brokered – to ensure impartiality and compliance with international law?

  • Tony Clarke

    #87 Colin
    Well as you say, ‘the society that Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and now Cameron have foisted upon us’ , so what. We in England have had the same thing foisted on us too. Its called democracy, but most of us didnt vote for them.

    You should think more about the long term and how a UK split would affect Scotland, and it would be adverse for sure. Dont rely on one industrial sector, oil can go up and down, in due course maybe like coal.

  • Peter

    I would be delighted if Scotland became independent.

    It leaches billions out of the English economy with no discernible benefit in return.

    Sadly I think most Scots know this in their hearts, so there is not a cat in hell’s chance of them voting to go it lone.

  • Les

    have thought it through?
    I did not think so, for such an action may effect English companies who sell all kinds of stuff here, they may actually find that it may rebound son them, and they sell a lot here.
    Also in doing so would undoubtedly encourage smaller Scottish suppliers to ramp up production, and expand our own food industry and increase jobs. You will probably not have heard that Scottish produce is in ever greater , and growing demand across the world, with recent records being set. Scots would want to remain friends and to work together where mutual benefits are there to be got. So you are suggesting that throwing the toys out the pram will encourage such coordination?

  • Kenneth of the North


    Nigel, I would like to say that you have restored my faith in Scotsmen but I can’t since I have spoken to many imaginative, broad minded and clear sighted Scotsmen (and ‘women) already. If the Yes vote wins it will go poorly for Scotland if you and your ilk leave since looking at the bigoted membership of the SNP, Scotland will be in certain need of people like you.

  • Sue

    With all the chuntering about money, does the political outcome matter?
    If Scotland no longer exports dozens of Labour MPs south to Westminster, does that mean the English get to rule England and the Scotts rule Scotland. That sounds quite fair to me.

  • Yan

    I too don’t want to see a break-up of the UK. But if that’s what the Scots want. Just do it! The person most responsible for our current debt is a Scot (Mr G Brown) with a Scottish educated PM in the wings. Scotland goes – good. We lose a load of free-spending Labour MPs. Scots – pay your own student fees. Just go. go. go. And good luck with your new leaders. What a shower they are. You’re welcome to them. I really – until now thought that Scots had some sense, but the Scottish parliament hasn’t taught them a thing. A fiasco. Who paid/pays for it? Well, soon it will be the Scots without the English……. Dig deep!

  • Propulsar

    I am very disappointed at the level of debate here. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read “whinging scots” or claims about how the basket case economy of Scotland relies on handouts from the UK.
    Scotland is part of the UK at the moment and we do not get hand outs from the UK indeed Scotland contributes in the region of £800 anually more per person to the UK economy than the rest of the UK.

    We can only hope that the standard of comments improves as at the moment it is at the lowest level of nothing more than name calling.

  • Propulsar

    An independent Scotland, with oil reserves, would become the third richest country in the EU in terms of GDP per head. That’s what we’re being warned about at the moment.

  • Les

    Do not take seriously all the scaremongering put out by the “Unionist Conspiracy” in all the news papers or the BBC, or this publication either.
    Have a think and ask yourself if all this negativity for Scottish independence were actually true. We would be handed Independence in a heartbeat.
    It is manipulation of the facts to STOP Scots going Independent, that should tell you all you need to know.
    Please think about that, and you will see through the daily rubbish that is being put around, not for the good of Scotland of course, but for UK vested interests.

  • Tony Clarke

    Onwards and forever Upwards for Scotland then. If you feel that its the best for you and yours, and for your children, then best do it, with our blessing. The English reaction to a split wouldnt be very good and certainly would be lasting. Its not that I am commanding it be so, it just would be.

  • Jack daw

    Well Winston I’m sure your fellow countrymen from the North of England would be pleased to have some insight into what you southerners actually think of them, which brings me to my next point in Scotland there’s no southern, northern divide, we’re all Scots TOGETHER! To all my neighbours in the North of England why don’t you ask to be classed as another region within Scotland, I’m sure you would be included and valued more than Winston and his like minded southerners appear to value you.

  • les

    T. Clarke
    I can see a better future for my grandchildren, of that I have no doubt.
    However, one thing I want you and the others negative posters to clearly understand. That it’s most DEFINATELY not because we are anti English, we have no problems with the English people, I have many English friends, and good people they are.
    However, Westminster politicians are the ones causing a divide that need not be there. Please, you really need to see the truth of what goes on, then you would fully understand the real situation.
    Like in England there are some in Scotland also who are outspoken. However, if Independence comes as I hope it will, you will see that the most of Scots are not anti English, just PRO Scots.
    Just for a moment, think about all you hear, what is truth and what is not. Try here if it is not censored for some truths you will not want to believe.

  • Tony Clarke

    That is utter nonsense. I have northern connections in England and even a few in Scotland. Try to keep to the topic Jack.

  • John

    A lot of the arguments put forward for independence are just an extension of the brainwashed diatribe against the much maligned conservatives. The continual branding of them as “Tories” is very offensive in this day and age.
    30 years of comprehensive socialist brainwashing has convinced the weak minded that all conservatives however young and liberal are horned children of Thatcher, and money and benefits are an entitlement growing on government trees appearing from heaven.
    Nothing said here will do any use convincing them, and when the money runs out after independence and Scotland goes down like Greece then they will still continue to blame the other British for all their ills.
    Really we need realistic thinking as well as new political blood in this country.

  • James H

    The Scottish parliament,with its Nationalist majority, and the coming referendum,are a result of the force of the case for Scottish independence.
    They would not have been conceded by the UK Govt. otherwise.The argument has been won.
    This situation was postponed for 20 years by the rigged referendum of 1979.
    The majority of the Scottish electorate will be made aware of this and will vote YES notwithstanding the tactical scare propaganda ,the only option remaining to the UK GOVT.

  • RodR

    Has there been any indication yet of how much of the National Debt Scotland will need to take – it has been built up for all of the UK (and quite a lot spent in Scotland) – hence Scotland needs to take and service its share if they do head off independantly.

  • les

    Well I was trying to be sensible about things as I see them, but clearly you are and want to be consistently negative, with no room for compromise. Well, so be it.
    Like all the other doom and gloomers, your thinking will be overtaken by events.
    Just try using some of the grey matter, before you make rash statements.

  • Highland

    It looks to me that the majority of the views expressed on this site are in favour of independence. Thanks for all your support. Please lobby your politicians to ensure it happens.

    Alba Gu Brath

  • Tony Clarke

    We shall see what happens. I hope one or other of you Scots try to look at the real facts and weigh up the pros and cons properly before ye rush off! Bye.

  • les

    T Clarke
    Hold on, you have not told me just why you would wants us to stay.
    Guess that is just too hard to explain, as your leaders of propaganda will never really tell you! They just want their dirty work done.

  • Jeremy R

    I am astounded by the anti-Scottish comments by fellow Englishmen. Given the political choices facing us here in England, if I lived in Scotland, I would have voted SNP, andfor independence. All the predictable scare-tactics are being employed by a London based media to protect its empire from the ‘threat’ of Scotland going it alone.Yes, there will be problems along the way, but tell you what Scotland, will THRIVE on its own. Edinburgh will have a 20 year boom – new company HQs, embassies, moving civil service functions, media etc as it becomes a fully fledged European capital. Oil and gas will last a lot longer than expected, and there is a good living to be made from tourism, high quality food and drink, inc whisky. By getting control of tax, Scotland can cut Corportaion tax to Irish levels and bring in foreign investment to another English speaking country that will be more European/internationalist than England. And remember, it has only 5 million people to provide for.

  • Romford Dave

    Why would anyone in Scotland agree to taking on a share of UK debt if they’re no longer part of it?

    Wishful thinking on the part of some, the most you can expect from someone giving you the finger is a doubling of it.

    Break ups never end amicably and judging by some of the name calling, this separation has precious little chance of ending on good terms.

  • Tony Clarke

    I’m just saying bye to those who want to leave. But you need me back you say, so here I am to help you understand.

    From my side, I’m not against the Scots. I certainly dont like the illogical arguments trotted out by the SNP. Do you know the oil is a diminishing resource? It does seem to me that the independence case is built on oil production. Am I right you think that oil sales will carry the Scots through? You might be right for some Scots but only for a few years.

    Unity is strength and disunity is weakness. Its best for us on this island to continue as one country and not for one section to split off for selfish reason.

    The terms of the breakup would include allocating the Scottish share contribution of the present UK deficit and the Scots share of the prop to RBS. Those would be the initial terms, after that it would be treated as a separate country to the North that the rest of the UK would not assist without some benefit in return.

  • Boris MacDonut

    #115.Tony. Ah the Oil wealth. Perhaps Scotty land can become another Venezuela. Salmond can cast himself as another Hugo Chavez. Man of the people, helping the illiterate and poor in the shantytowns and ghettos to buy petrol for 5p a litre. What they might do with it I don’t know, sell it to the English at 25p a litre and spend it all on Thunderbird sherry and shortbread I guess.

  • Highlander

    I think that what everyone forgets Is this is not about money. Personally i think we should have a statue to Maggie in Scotland becos she set the heather alight in Scotland. As far as I am are concerned it was you guys in angerland that were rioting in the streets of London not us haggis bashers as some of you might suggest. I’m am sick of the now defunct labour shill in Scotland and the only route of the last Tory MP in auld Caledonia is a via a uni
    cycle-path to Westminster. Our two great nations are choosing different futures I wish you nothing more than success and friendship.

  • Doug

    I was born in Scotland, worked in England and now live – retired – in Australia. My NI pension was ‘frozen’. I do not get cost of living increases. This is, of course, outrageously unfair. However, I don’t see why retirees living in an independent Scotland shouldn’t have their pensions frozen, too. The very thought of that should cool the ardour of those wanting independence.

  • Tony Clarke

    Come on you Scottishers why cant you come out with an assessment of the fors and againsts? All we get from you is we wanna leave! No logic and dreams of being an offshore haven! Very funny if it wasnt so serious…for you that is.

  • Jeremy R

    Boris, yes I do relish another “tax haven” – it would do us (I mean us citizens as opposed to Government) a power of good to see genuine tax competition that only a land border can bring (yes, N Ireland has one, but Westminster alternately hates it or forgets it is there). It will force both London and Edinburgh to think about the taxes across the border – it will be alot harder to charge the highest fuel duty, highest APT in Europe, maybe even alcohol duties, but also income tax. Cross border shopping, in every sense, is good for us, introducing some market competition Bring it on…

  • Revealer

    If Scotland has a referendum on independence then why cannot the English have a referendum on independence?

  • Jeremy R

    Oh, and I forgot to mention (do not laugh) Scottish financial services. Just about every meaningful pension provider, insurance company as well as major Banks are headquartered in Scotland. There is NO reason why they should move south of the border after independence – we are supposed to be in a European single market after all. Scotland has so much apart from oil and gas going for it. I bet that within 10 years GDP per head in Scotland will be well ahead of English levels

  • Highlander

    We will start small and after many years of repression and servitude money a mickle will mak a muckle.

  • Les

    Regarding your latest drivel, just tell us why we should stay, I guess it may be for oil revenues, it maybe just to keep Trident out of England.
    It may be a myriad of things, like maybe losing seats on some of your cherished institutions.
    It maybe that we will no longer be involved in illegal wars if we leave.
    Fact, did you know that in wwI , of all the UK casualties 18% came from Scotland, who had around 9% of the population at that time.
    So, there are certainly much more of these sorts of things.

    Over to you, why do you want us to stay? Whats your case.
    Or perhaps it is just jealousy because you cannot do anything about your own lot.

  • Boris MacDonut

    #124 Les. Scotland responds to pound signs. Greed. Scotland joined the Union after the failed Darien adventure, to get access to English colonial markets. Now they want out as they bizarrely think they’ll be better off financially. Pure selfish.Pure Scottish.
    England simply wanted to ensure no Catholic got hold of the Scots crown. After centuries of two faced betrayal that passed as Scottish political history from 1200 to 1700 I guess England though they were easier to deal with inside the tent… wrong we were.

  • Tony Clarke

    Honest Les, (and Jeremy) you must be kidding. Look – you need to carefully assess what could be lost in independence! You say – nothing!

    In any situation you have to take careful stock of what you may gain and what you may lose. If you dont want to tell us, its OK, but dont fool yourself, and get ready to lose things you didnt even think about.

    I reckon Scotland would be best to stay in the UK because to be one unified country island is better for defence. I reckon it would be a selfish act for Scotland to break the bond just for a quick scottish pund. Interesting history about Scotlands brave soldiers, and of course appreciated. I wasnt around in WW1.

  • Highlander

    Boris, you’re really getting oan ma groat. If you knew anything about dosh it disnae cost much tae print hunners ae the stuff tae buy hunners ae stuff that the Scotsman invented bank known as the BOE issued as gilts. Effter we take control oor ain ile we’ll awe be millionaires jist like the Wiemar republic.

  • les

    Boris Donut
    I do believe that you think the English are Saints, you make me laugh. I freely admit that there were treacherous Scots just as there were treacherous English. Remember when Scotland was bought from a few landowners who lost money, they were enticed by payments and favors from England.
    The Scottish people never were asked, those who signed had to run for their lives as the population became aware of what was going on. Riots spread across the land, it was not in any way acceptable to the population.
    Hence the song “bought and Sold For English Gold” So do not talk about Scots being selfish, the English are absolutely no better and history may say much worse.
    So cool your rhetoric, until you examine your own history.

  • Tony Clarke

    Les Jeremy & Highland Groat
    sorry you have totally failed to explain away your temporary and ill informed greed for oil money! Let me assure you, ye will ha non of et. Its just an illusion ye ha bin takin in bee. How much of the oil money do you get at the moment? You will receive the same amount no more than that, after independence.

  • Les

    Independence is a good thing for Scotland. It is not simply about money as you and your friends here -old Donut there for example!
    We Scots have a different culture despite centuries of the English ( call them British) trying to eradicate it.
    We are more socially minded with a fair deal for all our people, unlike the UK who is recognized as one of the most unequal countries in the world.
    We have our own education system, we look after our own laws, and our own National Health. We have a strong separate identity.
    We have invented very many of the greatest Inventions ever.
    We excel at engineering, building bridges etc.
    We have good soldiers ( did you know 2/3 of the SAS are Scots.
    SO why would Scotland not want to go our own way, be responsible for our own destiny be it good or bad, it would be our choice. With the differences in ideology, we have to go our own way. Not just for money, but of course it helps.

  • Boris MacDonut

    Hatred and resentment drive the Scots. Once independent they’ll only have themselves to blame. They always cite a few good soldiers and a couple of decent engineers.
    Another fact . Britain’s’ two greatest Victorian builders were French; Isambard Brunel and Auguste Pugin…….not Scots.
    The greatest Scottish construction is their belief that their ills will be solved by leaving the UK. They won’t, but we will at least be shot of them.

  • James H

    I am encouraged to see that you have almost stopped your flippant comments about Scotland and the Scots.
    However,Brunel was born in Portsmouth and Pugin in Bloomsberry.As an Englishman you should be proud of your Fellow Countrymen,s achievements.I look forward to your measured comments on the main subject-Scottish Independence.

  • Les

    ts, the clean air?
    Jesus pondered, Stroked his chin and gave the disciple a wry look, and said……………… have you met the neighbours!

    Funny eh, I guess you will like that LOL

    Jokes aside Boris old chap “We always quote a few good soldiers”, you obviously do not know your history at all, or maybe you do but are so anti Scots that you cannot accept the truth. Without the Scots there would have been no Empire. Not just in the forces, but in the admin, governing and creating, Scottish influence has been huge. That will be in your history books.

  • Highlander

    I think that what everyone forgets Is this is not about money. Personally i think we should have a statue to Maggie in Scotland becos she set the heather alight in Scotland. As far as I am are concerned it was you guys in angerland that were rioting in the streets of London not us haggis bashers as some of you might suggest. I’m am sick of the now defunct labour shill in Scotland and the only route of the last Tory MP in auld Caledonia is a via a uni
    cycle-path to Westminster. Our two great nations are choosing different futures I wish you nothing more than success and friendship.

  • Greg

    Let them have their independent Scotland or give us an English Parliament

  • Greg

    I used to be proud to be British, I used to be a Royalist, I used to vote Conservative… I’m not a Scot but I really can’t understand why Alex Salmond wants to keep the Royal family… or the pound…

  • Daniel

    I fully support independence for my country. I live in the north of Scotland and years and years of westminster rule has done nothing for us up here in terms of infrastcture. The amount of money that leaves this tiny part of Scotland every year and goes to London is worth over 27billion, but even before devolution successive westminster governments would not invest in a proper roads programme up here and it is throttling industries, so we cannot possible be worse off under home rule. Word of warning to all the mainstream media, cut out all the negatives and focus on some positives, because I can assure there are plenty, and regardless of the outcome of the vote you may find that you’re papers don’t sell so well and the BBC will never be forgiven

  • HuggieBear

    On the one extreme a scary blend of socialism and Braveheart and at the other Essex man as usual being rude about anyone that doesn’t look the same and live next door. Both arguing for Scottish independence ? Quite amusing.
    Thankfully the vast majority in both Scotland and England are opting for a quiet and dignified common sense.
    Do we really want two lots of civil servants around the world sorting out passports? Do we really want to forget all about our common history and “Britain”? Do we really want to dismantle all our common infrastructure? Do we really want the French looking on in delight ?
    One stick is easy to break. Two sticks tied together are harder to break. In our hearts we know we’ll stay together and continue to be one of the strongest little islands on earth.

  • Tony Clarke

    Short term greed for oil money is driving the Scottish independence cart. Selfish motives and a future problem when the oil stops flowing or when the oil demand drops. The flow will probably stop first. I would expect the North Sea may have about 30-40 years of life, in a linearly decreasing fashion. So there may be a gain to a Scottish Exchequer, say 10 years after paying Scotlands share of the UK National debt and all of the RBS propping cost. Dont expect the Joe average Scot will see any oil money though.

  • Highlander

    If you want sensible answers to some of the more important and serious questions surrounding the independence debate go to and click on the top left link which will take you to the fact sheet.

  • Robin McHood

    @ 153. HuggieBear – You are right of course the only thing that will guarantee a split is the idiots like son of Donut and his ilk, a sorry misinfomed ill-educated bunch who understand nothing whatever of the Scots psyche.
    Our two countries have contributed much to each other over the last 300 years through bad times and good. What is causing the damage to that relationship now is the group above some who have studied some history, but only apparently that support their bigoted misguided point of view.

    Now a few home truths for these southern morons.
    1 – Scotland does NOT exist because you are supporting us, we have always contributed at least our fair share and much of the time more than that.

  • Robin McHood

    2- You tell ANY Scot he cannot do something and believe me he or she will do it just to spit in your eye. Inumerable last stands on behalf of Britain and inumerable inventions stand testament to that, so please go on telling us we can’t manage with out you and you will soon relearn that lersson to your cost you pitiful pipsqueaks.
    3- The whole concept of a United Kingdom came about through deliberate skulduggery by English financiers conspiring to bankrupt Scotland to force us into a Union. However that backfired on you and, guess what, you ended up with a Scots King, not an English one.

  • Robin McHood

    4- Scots in general believe in a socially cohesive nation where we try and look out for each other unlike the South Eastern code of screw your neighbour out of every last penny you can. Please dont hold up the banking crisis or RBS as a counter example. This was wholly caused by in the heart of the South East by English idiots schooled in the ridiculous concepts of that most English of PM’s, Margaret Thatcher, who believed that trickle down is a valid concept. Well we all know where that one led..

    So you want us out of the Union, well that’s fine, sink back into your swamp of dog eat dog nastiness, I’ll be glad if I just dont have to listen one more time to your nonsense.

  • Robin McHood

    I was all for a Union continuing on a Devolution Max concept where we dealt with Scottish items in Scotland and all other matters as a United front… Not anymore you’ve finally persuaded me to vote for an Indpendent Scotland..

    And by the way we DO have our OWN currency you numbskulls, its called the Scottish pound, with its own notes and at present tied to the value of sterling, but that needn’t continue…

    Bye Bye…..

  • Ideology v Reality

    As as Scot, living in Scotland who served in a Scottish infantry regiment, I’m certainly a ‘patriot’ but the stream of delusional, wish-list ideologies of many pro-separation Scots on here is as depressing as it is baffling.

    Changing our constitutional arrangement does not guarantee any policy outcomes whatsover. Who knows who will lead Hollyrood in the years and decades ahead and what they will deliver?

    And as for the blind belief that Scotland can manage Scotland better, have a look at the building of Hollyrood and the on-going disaster that is the Edinburgh Trams project. Two of the most spectacularly badly managed public spending projects in recent history.

    I’ll take today’s reality over tomorrow’s dreams.

  • Dr H T Aly

    Great Britain has the best demographics with its growing young population in Europe and projected to reach 85 Million in 2035 and becomes the largest European country and its beautiful capital: London attracting the highest financial investments and deposits from all over the world and its rich dominanat England has the highest number of Global Pharmaceutical companies second only to Germany. Great Britain will continue to prospore without small Scotland. All British establishment will continue to function exactly the same way without small Scotland. All Global Industrial companies such as Siemens and also Global motor companies that have already invested heavily in Manchester, Lincoln, Hull, and many other successful English cities will continue to invest in Great Britain without small Scotland. The wealthy Arabs will continue to invest in London and other English cities and companies of Great Britain without small Scotland.

  • Jeremy R

    Ideology v Reality – i think you will find that there are no guaranteed outcomes whichever way the independence vote goes. And as a Moneyweek subscriber I am surprised by the touching faith you show in the clowns you run the ‘United’ Kingdom from London, as we slide towards bankuptcy. Independence does not necessarliy mean SNP government, all the ‘Unionist’ parties will still be around, quickly embracing the new reality, working for the benefit of Scotland alone. Yes, theEdinburgh tram project (opposed by the SNP) was a fiasco, but so was the English NHScomputer system that cost billions, the disasterous e-borders contract with Raython. Worse, in England it seems virtually impossible to build any meaningful infrastructure at all ow, due to political cowardice and nimbyism – runways, motorways, railways, power stations, leaving a terrible legacy for the next generation to pick up. Scotland will not have this problem

  • Jeremy R

    Perhaps those who in Scotland who are swayed by the argument that Scotland will be poorer outside the UK ought to ask themselves why it is that Westminster will fight tooth and nail to keep you in the UK, yet the long-suffering people of Northern Ireland would be dispatched without so much as a second thought? Two reasons only: MONEY (oil money), and a submarine base that has been stuck out on the Clyde because it is considered too dangerous and controversial to site it south of the border. Northern Ireland has neither. So forget the misty eyed nonsense spouted by Westminster politicians, it is old fashioned greed and power, not romantic attachment at play here.

  • Peter

    nd proper for both sides. I hope both the UK and Scotland prosper while standing on their own two feet. After 400 years of Union that there continues to be a resentment on both sides of the border is probably a very good reason for Scotland to seek independence. The bilateral sneering remarks about how the future will be better after separation shows a want of compassion in either direction. I hope these are unrepresentative of either population. These remarks and those by Alec Salmon that Scots will be 6th wealthiest in the world per capita against England at 34th doesn’t help, even if it’s true. This just inflames the yah-boo-sucks juvenilia of the debate.

  • Tony Clarke

    #165 Peter
    there are quite a few valid comments also, apart from the insults, which are generally are only of low quality like a belch by lowbrows.

    Overall, it would look to be obvious that this island would be best as one coherent country. It does seem however that there is a lot of bitterness North of the border, for historical reasons and ‘outwith’ living memory. Its not best to make decisions based on such strong emotions, but this seems that Scots may wish to do just that. What a pity, as it will likely be a one way ticket, to the loss of England and a few years after that, to Scotlands loss also.

  • James H

    165 Peter
    read all the posts-much more resentment on the against-I think.
    2 points.The union of the crowns 1606,when James6 0f Scotland became James1 of England in succession to Elizabeth1 of England.
    The Scottish parliament continued until 1707 when it was suspended by The Act of Union.
    The political union is 300 years old.
    Are you suggesting that Scotland,s First Minister does not fully inform the Scottish electorate before they vote in the most important referendum in British history?

  • Reg

    I don’t think, for one moment, that the Scots will vote for independence. They may not like us southeners very much, but they won’t want to tear themselves away from the financial teat of Mummy England. We here a lt about Scotland the Brave and Bonnie Scotland, but in practice, a large proportion of the population can’t wait to get away.

  • Yorkist

    Shame there is not rational debate on this important topic. The decision is about nationhood. There are reputedly as many Scots living outside Scotland as inside it, but they don’t get a vote. How can the residents of Scotland disenfranchise so many people? If the vote is successful who will give them a passport? Who will pay their stae pension? Who will follow Alex S? If the Scots get enthralled by independence then Nigel Farage could lead them through the following step.

  • dougnechtansmere

    The suggestion that the debate needs to be based on substantive issues is self evident. Unfortunately you won’t get that from the UK media, least of all the Daily Mail.
    All you will get is a long succession of scare stories which are unfortunately aimed at the gullible and ignorant. That will mean no mention of the GERS financial reports, no mention of the McCrone report, no mention of oil industry projections, no mention of how international surveys consistently place Scandinavian countries at the top of the world league for living standards (and the UK near the bottom for lack of equality), no mention of the relative probity and accessibility of the Scots parliament. All you will get is one-eyed twaddle.

  • Ken

    If Scotland does vote for independence will they take their share of the National Debt ?

  • Tony Clarke

    If the Scots vote for independence they will be obliged to take their pro rata share of the National debt plus the full cost of their own Bank RBS bailout, as part of the agreement to split. It might not be too bad for them. The scottish pound would not be linked to the English pound anymore, good/bad, dont know. Defence installations would be moved south because the SNP dont like defence, a few things like that.

  • grunebird

    If Scotland becomes independent and stays in the EU we won’t need passports to visit. If it does not stay in the EU, passports will be necessary won’t they?
    I wish we had a Salmond (although I don’t like what I’ve seen of the man, cosying up to Donald Trump) pushing for England.
    By the way Murdoch comes from Scottish Presbyterian stock who went to Australia. You can have him back any day!
    The Press base comments mostly from Press Releases by this or that lobbyist group nowadays. Hardly any real journalism.

    Myself, I am more worried about being forced to stay in the EU.

  • James H

    with the American nuclear base at the holy loch situated within 25 miles of Glasgow.In the event of nuclear war with USSR ,which was a real possibility-remember CUBA,this base was their priority first strike.Now we have Faslane nuclear base even closer to Glasgow.
    3.The Scottish pound is not linked to the English pound.It is the same pound with different pictures.Both are regarded as pounds sterling-British pounds.

  • James H

    162 H Tally

    The term Great Britain is an abbreviation of Greater Britain.This is comprised of Scotland England Wales & northern Ireland.
    You appear to think it means great as in “fantastic” or “superb” etc.
    It,s the first time I have seen Scotland with the prefix “small”.Wee Scotland-maybe, but never small.

  • Boris MacDonut

    #175 James H. No. Great Britain refers to England, Wales, Anglesey, Scilly ,Isle of Wight, Orkney ,Shetland and the Hebrides. It specifically excludes N ireland, and the self governing Channel Isles and Man.
    Small is a poor epiphet for Scotland. I would prefer insignificant.

  • Tony Clarke

    #174 James H
    Hello old chap, are you feeling grumpy? Why?
    1. The negotiation will of course be based on a fair pro rata split of the deficit and the bank that is Scotlands baby RBS. We wouldnt want an unfair split. I would suppose you also prefer fair dealing?
    2. Proper defence should include a reasonable choice of weapons. Nuclear is one of them. You get much more radiation each of you, from the granite and argon ground gas. A significant constant dose.
    3. Scottish pounds are printed under licence from the BOE, ie its done under licence from London. When you split off you could continue to use Bank of England pounds and your Scottish ones, and new printings of the Scottish pound would be at different rate, higher or lower, not pegged as same as Pounds sterling.

  • Tony Clarke

    2.I meant to say Radon gas, not Argon.

  • Romford Dave

    Huggiebear, you’re letting your own prejudices cloud your judgement.

    Because I use a nom de guerre doesn’t mean I’m from Romford or even called Dave, just as I assume you’re not a jive talking black dude who makes a living as a police informer in California.

    Nothing in what I’ve written was either for or against Scottish independence, just an observation that it ill behoves anyone to insist on people doing something that they don’t want to do.

    Or do you consider a reminder to Boris that the leader of his favoured political party demands pretty much the same as the SNP demand, is an endorsement of their views?

    If that’s enough for you to besmirch the good people of Essex, then you need to travel a little further than just the edge of the village.

  • Boris MacDonut

    #183 Davy Romford. You allude to my support for Mebyon Kernow, that is nothing like the SNP. I am not Cornish and do not live in Cornwall. I simply vote for them when I can as the least worst option. They are anti Nuclear and left of centre and propose a regional assembly for Cornwall, not independence. MK promote the language ,literature and history of Cornwall but their 55,000 strong petition for a referendum on Cornish devolution was ignored by Blair in 2001. MK does not campaign for an independent Scotland, so I fail to see how it is “pretty much ” ( awful Americanism), the same as the SNP. That said. I fully support the SNP,they want s Scotland seperate from England, I do too.

  • HuggieBear

    Yo Romford dude,
    You are very correct….I was inadvertently drawn in to the silly stereotyping , probably need to stop reading all this crap . I actually agree with you (and some of my best friends are from Essex,or at
    least they might be if I didn’t get a nose bleed every time I stray more than 6ft from my croft).
    I think the point you are making is that you can’t force anyone to be married against their will. The point I am making is that in reality nobody sensible either side of the ‘border’ wants a divorce anyway because the whole idea is so daft.
    We need something to unite around….lets hope for some crazy ,intrusive legislation from Euroland that forces the English to only drink Spanish whiskey or something?

  • Romford Dave

    At least we could still drink to the greatest mack of all, even with the Spanish imposition…

  • Iam A. Teapot

    I say, Lets get rid of the Scots and Welsh and Irish. The English will be much better off without these benefit dependent parasites. Let them pay for their own flippin’ prescriptions and university degrees….

  • James H

    193 Iam a teapot

    Healh & Education are controlled by the Scottish Parliament..

    We already pay for them but are free to consumers.

    No university tuition fees & no prescription charges.

    That has been achieved already with Devolution.

    Roll on Independece!

  • Boris MacDonut

    #196 James H. You’d better rebuild the walls of Striling Castle then fella,cos we ain’t letting you shelter under our nuclear umbrella.

  • Robert

    As an Englishman who has lived in Scotland for 42 years I am opposed to splitting up the UK which I have always regarded as one country. I have a Welsh aunt, and Irish aunt and my Grandfather was born in Glasgow. I moved to Scotland in 1971 and married a Scot and have 3 sons born here. What concerns me is that whatever happens now Scotland will be the poorer If the decision is close (say less than two to one) then the loosers will be very resentful and there may be violence.
    I for one would retain my British nationality and live in Scotland as an ex-pat.

  • James H

    199 Robert
    If there is violence post referendum I am confident it will be severely dealt with by police and courts.The courts will hand down maximum sentences to deter others.
    The 1979 referendum on devolution when Scotland voted 52% to 48% in favour was denied by the Cunnngham amendment
    There were 1,230,937 resentful voters for years afterwards.
    Yet here was no violence.

  • Colin Selig-Smith

    Well this is contentious subject.

    Yet… Do you think Greece is still a country? Yes? Wrong. Ireland? Wrong. These were indeed nation states but gave away their sovereignty. They now have policies imposed upon them and have lost the right to self determination.

    Greece and Ireland are now no more than provinces of the European Union. In exactly the same way, both Scotland and England are little more than provinces. People need to grow up a little and look at the reality of what they are rather than the rosy nationalism they have been spoon fed since birth.

    Whether you are in a province of the United Kingdom or the European Union you still have no right to self determination.

  • Highlander

    201. Colin

    No right to self determination is that so ! In response to the outcome of the Falkland islanders referendum The prime minister has said that he believes in self determination, funny that ? I expect that Boris will claim that the prime minister is a Scottish secret agent.

  • Willie H

    I am not shocked that there are a great many outspoken bigots in England, however, I am shocked that they read this magazine! For those who are seeking to understand what is actually happening, however, they should consider the following.

    There are two ways Scotland can leave the UK.

    A. Scotland can rip up the Treaty of Union of 1707-8. We split the assets (nuclear subs, tanks, aircraft, shares in the Bank of England and other nationalised companies, etc) and obligations (including treaties, debts, etc) and England tries to hang on to the UK’s prestige (seat on the UN Security Council, etc).

    B. Scotland as a “province” of the UK, leaves the UK. As a new country, Scotland inherits no debts and no obligations. Scotland will have no international treaty obligations and needs to negotiate entry to EU etc.

  • Willie H

    English readers are anticipating B, because this what is best for them. However, it has always bean my assumption that A will prevail, as that is what is most expedient for Scotland. As the date of the referendum gets closer, and it is now on the horizon, and the outcome becomes less certain, the pressure on the UK Government (or should that be the English Government?) to cut a deal will mount. Can they get the Scottish Government to cut a deal to leave quietly via route B and take some of the debt and assets, or do they risk route A?

  • Boris MacDonut

    #204 &205. Willie. When we had Scotland shackled to us 1707 it was bankrupt. The English took on their debts which were approx 4 times those of the English Crown. So I suggest you offer to take 80% of the debt back. I’m sure most Englishmen will happily let you take a lot less debt if you’d just hurry up and go.
    Where Scotland is concerned i’m afraid I andy many others exhibit some bigoted responses, but it is all the fault of the whingers north of Hadrain’s wall. If just a handfull of them had an ounce of reason i’m sure we would be less cross.

  • James H

    205Willie H

    Very true,pressure on the UK govt.will be enormous as R-day approaches
    Even more pressure on unionist Scottish MSP,s .Being on the winning side will increase their chances of election in a fully independent Scotland.

    Stand by for defections from the No campaign.


  • Boris MacDonut

    #201 Colin. The sooner Scotland is governed from Brussels , Strasbourg and Berlin the better.

  • Andrew H

    @208 Boris,

    Better for who? It may suit your warped ideals, however people should be free choose what contracts they make and also live by.

    p.s. How, given the on going economic havoc in Southern Europe, can you stand by such a ridiculous statement.

  • Ladysaver

    I was born, brought up and educated in Scotland. Like many Scots, I came south because of work and ended up settled here. I love Scotland, still have family there and go back whenever I can. But the drive for independence baffles me. I haven’t heard a single SNP argument that seems compelling. Salmond appears to be a very clever snake-oil salesman who has picked up support in the same way the Lib Dems have in England – people are fed up with the other two main parties. I do not believe real support for independence is strong and yes, it’s high time the counter arguments were properly aired. Despite the noise, when push comes to shove I believe Scots know which side their bread is buttered and separation will not happen.

  • James H

    212 lady saver
    Read all the posts on this site and judge for yourself the merits of the views expressed by those for and against
    Since devolution in 1999 the Scottish parliament has made a significant difference in the lives of Scots here are 5 that have probably helped most families
    1 Free personal care for the elderly.
    2Free university tuition fees
    3.Free prescription charges.
    4.Free bus fares throughout Scotland for those over 60.
    5. council tax frozen at 1997 levels.
    These have been financed by Scottish tax payers.I believe that with Independence much more can be achieved.
    Go to the SNP website to see full details.
    On BBC Scotland radio today David Curtis stated that support for independence stood at 40%

  • James H

    212 ladysaver
    correction 5. for1997 read 2007

  • LG

    #215 james H, I am a Scot and i am actually in favour of independence, in the hope that it will change the mentality you display. Free sweeties for all, financed by the taxpayer. Do you really think this wont lead to tooth decay? Maybe if Scotland was independent we would start to display some sense of responsibility and self reliance. Pay our own way, be a proud nation again. I despise your notion that lots of free stuff paid for by someone else is a reason to vote for independence.

  • James H

    217 LG
    These are not means tested, they are available to all tax payers.
    . The vast majority of people who benefit from these measures are tax payers.
    They already “display some sense of responsibility and self reliance” but unlike you they are happy to see these benefits accrue to those who do not pay tax due to unemloyment or disability.

  • Willie H

    212 Ladysaver

    You should not trust a word that is said in mainstream media regarding Scotland and Independence. Alex Salmond is to my mind the most democratic politician in Scotland if not the UK. His party was elected with 45% of the vote, because his government has proved to be very effective. The economy is growing faster than the UK, crime is at 1974 levels, spending in key areas such as health and education are being maintained at around pre crash levels. Its not snake oil!

  • Steve K

    I’m Scottish born and bred and live here. I know of no-one who wants Independence. I have a distrust of all politicians. The recent deal that Cameron has struck with Salmond to allow 16 year olds to vote is laughable.

    Whilst there are some very bright and articulate 16 year olds out there – it makes me shake my head to think of decisions being made over which we as adults have no control.

    Salmonds contention that he speaks for ‘The Scottish People’, is ludicrous – I’m one of those people and he doesn’t speak for me… Who he does speak for is himself and a group of ego driven ideologues who live in a world of their own.

    More of the silent majority need to speak up – ‘we are stronger together’.

  • James H

    Steve K

    Well, you know one now—–Me.

  • James H

    The opponents of Scottish Independence have been resoundingly trounced on this blog and have been been brought to a stuttering silence.
    Despite this they they have began the same debate on another blog and have posted the same old derogatory comments about Scotland & the Scots as before in lieu of argument.
    Support for Independence in Scotland now stands at 40%.This means that the SNP have 15 months to convince less than 20% of those currently against ,and Independence is won.
    The Scottish electorate want to be convinced and they are open to logical argument.
    I have no doubts whatsoever that they will vote YES and achieve Independence in 2014.

  • Boris MacDonut

    #222 James H. Scots independent by 2014. Let’s hope so. If you lot leave the union I’ll eat two Haggii in one sitting.

  • James H

    223 Boris Donut


  • Northernlass

    It is no use the English slagging off the Scots, or the Scots slagging off the English. Our histories and families are so intertwined we are not really all that different or culturally separate. All that would be separate in an independent Scotland would be the territory north of the current England/Scotland border. Would Scotland be better off as an independent nation? There is only one way to find out, and I for one think that is an experiment too far. We have devolution, and there are many things we can do differently in Scotland if we want to. The rest is up for negotiation, little by little. And if it doesn’t work to do things differently then logically there could be a way back. But independence is once and for all, and may consign Scotland to the wastepaper basket of history, and it will be up to those not yet born to sort it out. And I expect any young Scot with get up and go will do just that (they have been very good at that in the past).

  • Boris MacDonut

    My goodness. The censor has removed 62 posts from here. Rendering much of the thread unintelligible.Perhaps MW could explain the criteria for removing nationalist posts and leving unionist ones untouched.
    I for one will be ecstatically happy when Scotland depart the union.

  • Highlander

    @170. Boris – I agree the censorship is Really quite disgraceful. If we are going to have a sensible debate it should at least be carried in a fair and balanced manner. Moneyweek’s behaviour merely confirms the one sided manipulation of what the public is being allowed to see and hear. on that note, you’ll probably like the headline in the telegraph today namely “Suporters of the union must ensure Alex Salmonds ambitions for independence are not just defeated, but buried” . What about all the voters in Scotland who voted for Salmond should they be “buried’ too ?
    I think you’re going need a hellava lot of shovels.

  • Boris MacDonut

    #171 Highlander. If after reading my posts you get the impression I am a unionist, then I have failed.
    I am pro -independence for Scotland because I want them out of the union.

  • Highlander

    Boris – I don’t think anyone even if they had a pea for a brain would suggest your a unionist not even JAmes H whoes reciep seems to be working just dandy.

  • Pgibby

    Proud Scotsman , but we stronger together. Oil profits! How is oil going to pay for everything? New army ,navy and Raf. Prisons ! 3bn a year just to rehouse re-offenders. Time salmond laid out all the facts.
    Surely we don’t want the euro and no NATO.
    Salmond no be happy till he gets a statue in St. Andrews square.
    Come on Scotland , he wears tinted glasses and wants to keep the ball to himself like a wee bairn!!!

  • Pgibby

    Stronger together! Alex Salmond is delusional

  • James H

    174 & 175 Pgibby

    two points.1.Oil is not going to “pay for everything”.All revenues and taxes raised in Scotland will be at the disposal of the Scottish Govt.These will greatly exceed the pro-rata share of U.K. revenues & taxes allocated to Scotland by the Westminster Govt.,at present,using the Barnet Formula.The Barnet formula specifically excludes Defence Spending.
    2.Your comment “Surely we don,t want the Euro & no Nato”
    SNP policy is to REMAIN part of NATO and NOT join the EURO.
    You are very ill-informed.

    • Peter_C

      Mr Cameron said he would campaign to keep the UK together, as he congratulated Mr Salmond.

      He said: “I passionately believe in our United Kingdom, so I congratulate Alex Salmond on his emphatic win”.

      “But on the issue of the United Kingdom, if they want to hold a referendum, I will campaign to keep our United Kingdom together, with every single fibre that I have.”

      Yet Mr Cameron refuses to go head to head……

      Prime Minster of the whole UK (which includes Scotland) against The Scottish duely elected First Minister in a live TV debate on the Pro’s and Con’s to independence or remaining in the Union with England

      As usual when it comes right down to the nitty gritty the UK Prime Minister David Cameron shows utter contempt for the Scottish people and of course he shows “Cowardice” by taking the easy option to say…….

      ” it is a Scottish decision and should be left to the Scottish people to debate the Pro’s & Con’s”

      So Mr Cameron why make your bold statements above if you do not have the courage and conviction to carry out your commitment to Scotland and the Scottish people!!

  • Peter_C

    What’s in it for Westminster?
    There must be something and it’s not an overbearing need to look after the Scots so what is in it for Westminster?

    Why if Scotland is such a burden on the Westminster treasury , why is Westminster so much wanting to keep Scotland in the Union?

    Why did English Westminster MP’s agree to the Barnett formula that would give Scotland £1,000.00’s per head more than the English?

    How does Westminster square this the the English people?

    Perhaps it maybe that Westminster has more hidden secrets like the McCrone report, what more is being hidden?

  • Hal

    Scotland will vote for independence, its only a few months ago since we were derided as “Subsidy Junkies” no more it seem. now we even pay our own way,…no we actually put more in the kitty than we get out.

    who needs Westminster, for sure, it’s not Scotland.


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