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Saturday, 30 August 2014

Lie back and think of England? For many English people, the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence is a reminder of England’s Cinderella status in the United Kingdom.


On the 28 August 2014, in "The Conversation", Prof Eunice Goes, the Associate Professor of Communications at Richmond American International University (Surrey), published this article:-  

As Scotland decides its future, lie back and think of England

For many English people, the forthcoming referendum on Scottish independence is a reminder of England’s Cinderella status in the United Kingdom. While Scotland and Northern Ireland enjoy a large degree of self-government, Wales has significant administrative autonomy (and is in the process of gaining a wide range of new legislative powers), England is entirely governed by Westminster and Whitehall.

But this constitutional state of affairs is no longer considered acceptable by many English who feel overlooked by Westminster politicians and short-changed by asymmetrical devolution. In particular, English voters seem to resent the fact that Scottish MPs can vote on matters that affect England whilst Scottish issues are (mostly) decided by the Holyrood parliament.

An opinion poll commissioned by the universities of Edinburgh and Cardiff revealed that 62% of English voters agree that, following a no vote, “Scottish MPs should be prevented from voting on laws that apply only in England”. This hardening of attitudes towards Scotland is hardly shocking but what came as a surprise to many is that 54% of voters supported the idea of an English parliament.

Until now the Westminster elite assumed English voters were not interested in self-government. That was a comforting thought to those who believed that the best answer to the “West Lothian question” was not to ask it.

But in reality the English were never given the chance to taste genuine self-government. Proposals for an English Parliament were never contemplated and for good reasons too. As a representative body of the largest and richest nation of the United Kingdom, an English Parliament would dwarf the devolved bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and would reduce Westminster to political and constitutional irrelevance.

The eight English regional assemblies proposed by the last Labour government in 2003 were an unsatisfactory solution too. Those regional assemblies had so few legislative powers that they were little more than talking shops. So it is not surprising that in 2004 voters from the Northeast of England voted no on the referendum that proposed to create what they saw as an extra layer of politicians and bureaucrats.

The 2004 referendum in the Northeast of England put an end to the debate on English devolution, but maybe it is time to revisit the idea of regional assemblies. The result of the Scottish referendum may make it a necessity. If, as the opinion polls suggest, Scottish voters reject independence, the train is already in place for Westminster to grant further fiscal powers to Holyrood. The three main parties have recently given assurances to Scotland about the scenario of “devo-max”.

And as MPs and peers return to Westminster in the coming weeks they will pen the final amendments to the Wales Bill which will grant more powers, including borrowing and taxation powers, to the Welsh Assembly. These two developments will emphasise the asymmetrical nature of devolution and will foment further English resentment towards the non-English MPs sitting in Westminster.

More importantly, the mood also changed in England. English devolution is no longer a cause defended only by fringe groups such as the English Democrats. This cause is gaining some momentum amongst English (and some Scottish) MPs. More importantly, English voters seem to be open to the idea. As Professor Professor Michael Kenny showed in his book The Politics of English Nationhood, Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh devolution, rising mistrust towards the European Union, and the sense of economic and cultural insecurity brought by globalisation have contributed to the rise of an English national identity.

In Westminster, the three main political parties have been aware of the changing mood in England but for a variety of reasons – namely electoral considerations and a fear of stirring the wrong type of nationalism – do not know how to respond to it. The parties of the coalition seem to be in two minds about it. Having abolished the English regional development agencies in 2010 the coalition has recently promised a £6bn fund to boost development in the English regions.

The Labour Party seems less confused but it is equally timid. This spring, Labour leader Ed Miliband made proposals for devolution of fiscal powers to English cities. But they are too modest, too technocratic and do not seem to either recognise rising English national identity or to address the constitutional problems created by Scottish and Welsh devolution.

In fairness, these are not easy problems to solve. Having ruled out big bang solutions like an English parliament, piecemeal proposals such as regional representation in the House of Lords or those made by the McKay Commission leave the fundamental problem of the English question unanswered. But this does not mean that there are no other options.

As the Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael recently suggested there is a “logical conclusion” to this constitutional conundrum. That logical solution is federalism and English regional assemblies. He may well be right.


Click here for the original >>> http://theconversation.com/as-scotland-decides-its-future-lie-back-and-think-of-england-30993


My response to her was:-

Dear Professor Goes,

Re: Your article “As Scotland decides its future, lie back and think of England”

I was interested to read your article and would thank you for your mention of the English Democrats.

The IPPR opinion polls suggest that all our hard work and expense in now distributing over 30 million leaflets and attendance on numerous television and radio interviews is beginning to pay off.

I do however very strongly disagree with your final remarks. Alistair Carmichael’s reported comments would be outrageous for any Scot to call for the dismemberment of England.

His neo-colonialist comments neatly show the very reason why the demand for English Independence is growing. Support for it now being greater than support for the status quo – 19% to 18%. That is a far greater proportion of the population of England than voted for his Party!

Yours sincerely

Robin Tilbrook

Chairman,
The English Democrats

Prof Goes seems to be an internationalist Far-Leftist, if this is to be believed >>> Beeb Bias Craig: WHO'S LEFT OUT? http://beebbiascraig.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/whos-left-out.html

.... the far-left Portuguese writer Dr Eunice Goes.....The lovely Eunice thought that "the public at large are not too bothered" about (immigration)....Eunice Goes .... wholeheartedly ... sung the praises of mass immigration. Gavin Esler intervened at this point to back up Eunice, saying "I've conducted some public meetings and ordinary members of the public have said precisely that, our health service could not exist without people who are migrants." When Saul raised the point that many people think immigration has been "excessive" and that the UK is a rare example of a country that doesn't know how many immigrants it has, he was leaped on by all and sundry, including.... Eunice (who) had a few angry goes at him too. Ah, the old rallying cry of the Left against the Right: "Shut up!!"
*
Incidentally, for regular viewer of Dateline (if there are any, other than me and Martin at B-BBC!), the role usually provided by French lefty Marc Roche was this week taken by Eunice Goes, who said "most of the Conservative MPs who will come to parliament on May 6th, they are not urbane, metropolitian guys like David Cameron. They are, most..many of them, climate change deniers, homophobes, xenophobes and supporters of the death penalty." Yasmin Alibhai Brown loved it and laughed uproariously. That's the quality of commentator they have on Dateline!

Thursday, 28 August 2014

ENGLISH DEMOCRATS’ VERDICT ON 2ND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE DEBATE - Darling defeated!

yes Darling but not for England!

Our Press release on the debate which is on iplayer here >>>
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04g1w4s
What did you think?

ENGLISH DEMOCRATS’ VERDICT ON 2ND SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE DEBATE - Darling defeated!


Robin Tilbrook, the Chairman of the English Democrats, said:- “Thanks to the BBC, watching this  debate was very informative for any Englishman. Seeing Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond debating was often somewhat like watching two Scotsmen arguing about how best to pick English Taxpayers’ pockets!” The opportunity to see this debate is bound to pour further fuel on English resentment, particularly with Alistair Darling's cavalier and increasingly desperate (and stuttering) promises to filtch yet more money from English taxpayers in order to bribe Scots to vote NO!"

Robin also said:- “Alex Salmond clearly won this debate for his vision of "Team Scotland" but I expect the effect on many English viewers will be to make even more English people determined to end the unfair Barnett Formula if the Scots vote NO. This would then reduce the British Government spending on the average Scottish family by over £6,000 per year!"

"Even in mid April, when the recent IPPR research was done, 56% of the English already agreed with the statement:- "Levels of public spending in Scotland should be reduced to the levels in the rest of the UK" (click here to see the evidence >>> The English favour a hard line with Scotland – whatever the result of the Independence Referendum - Wales Governance Centre - http://sites.cardiff.ac.uk/wgc/2014/08/20/the-english-favour-a-hard-line-with-scotland-whatever-the-result-of-the-independence-referendum/). Now that figure will be even higher and English people will be even more resolved!"

Robin continued:- “At least however the BBC actually broadcast this debate outside of Scotland unlike the ITV debate which was only broadcast in Scotland! The BBC and Glenn Campbell also did a much better job of hosting and chairing the debate”

Finally Robin stressed:- "The outright abolition of the unfair Barnett Formula is now a near certainty if Scots vote "No". Scotland's voters will therefore shortly be faced with a stark choice between that certainty of a reduction in their living standards or with the uncertainties of being their own masters in an independent country. As an Englishman I am very jealous of their opportunity. If I was faced with that choice I would choose freedom any day! I say that the future of England should also be in the hands of the English Nation"

Robin Tilbrook
Chairman,
The English Democrats

Monday, 25 August 2014

Scotland ‘should not take on UK debt’ unless it can keep the pound says leading economist

Professor Sir James Mirrlees

Scotland ‘should not take on UK debt’ unless it can keep the pound

Yes campaign’s economist plots way ahead if Westminster refuses to share sterling

In this article by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, in the Daily Telegraph today 25.0.14, the usual British line that the UK will continue as RUK if Scotland "leaves" is still being peddled. However if you ignore the blatant RUK nonsense then this article also illustrates why England would be bettter off independent from the near bankrupt UK too.

Here is the article:-

An independent Scotland should walk away from its share of the UK’s national debt if Westminster continues to refuse a sterling union, one of the Yes campaign’s leading economic gurus has advised.

“Britain inherits the debt,” said Sir James Mirrlees, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and a prestigious figure on Scotland’s Council of Economic Advisers.

“It is hard to see how Scotland can take on the debt unless there is a full currency union,” he told The Telegraph. “This is implied by the hard-line taken by Westminster. It is Scotland’s bargaining position.”

Crawford Beveridge, chairman of Scotland’s Fiscal Commission Working Group, warned last week that any such move would be “morally difficult” and likely deemed a “default” by credit ratings agencies.

Not even the Baltic states entirely repudiated Soviet-era debts in the early 1990s, even though the Soviet occupation of their countries was never recognised by the West. It would be hard for Scotland to invoke the “doctrine of odious debts” – where debts run up by despotic regimes can legitimately be reneged on – under international law. The Czech and Slovak republics divided the Czechoslovak debt on a pro-rata basis after their “velvet divorce”.

Sir James said Scotland could continue to use the pound as legal tender inside the country if necessary, whatever London decides. “No country has stopped its currency from being circulated in another state that I know of,” he said.

He suggested that Edinburgh could equally issue a Scottish pound that is pegged to sterling and backed by a currency board along the lines of Hong Kong’s model. But, in his opinion, neither option, if forced upon Scotland, would entail any obligation to take on UK debt.

Sir James said this clash can be avoided. He believes the common sense option for all involved is to agree on a co-operative union. The British themselves would enjoy a “non trivial” benefit from being able to use their own coin in Scotland. “The easiest transition would be to keep using sterling for five to 10 years,” he said.

All three parties in Westminster say they will oppose a currency union after independence, insisting that the eurozone crisis has revealed the perils of trying to share a currency with separate fiscal policies. Sir James played a central role in First Minister Alex Salmond’s Fiscal Commission earlier this year in drafting plans for a future currency. A former Cambridge professor, he is now professor-at-large at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

He said the eurozone currency experiment has gone badly wrong – and has previously called for the weaker Club Med countries to withdraw – but insists that a UK-Scottish currency union would be a different animal. “The risks have been greatly exaggerated,” he said, speaking at the Nobel laureates’ gathering in Lindau, Germany.

Sir James said the English and Scottish economies are closely interwoven, like Germany and The Netherlands. There is little danger of an “asymmetric shock” for Scotland alone, though he acknowledged that declining oil revenues are a “little worrying” and might force fiscal cuts. However, he appeared to suggest that this would be outweighed by the benefits of eliminating the entire public debt, freeing up interest payments.

The National Institute of Economic and Social Research estimates Scotland’s share of the debt to be £143bn. The UK authorities have announced that they would stand behind these liabilities in order to reassure markets – and will even stand behind RBS and Scottish-based banks temporarily – but this is intended to be a holding action, not a settlement.

Debt repudiation would cause the UK’s gross debt ratio to jump by seven points to 98pc of GDP on the Eurostat gauge. Critics say it would be an inglorious way for Scotland to begin its life as a sovereign nation, poisoning relations with its chief economic partner.

Use of sterling in the face of British opposition would leave Scotland without a lender-of-last resort in a crisis. Sir James said this is manageable if bank support is restricted to high street operations, excluding the global arm of banks such as RBS.

Sir James has equally radical views on taxation, though they are not specifically aimed at Scotland. He proposes “negative taxation” or subsidies for the West’s poorest workers to shield them from low-wage competition from Asia. He also endorses a top marginal tax rate of 100pc for “very high incomes” on the grounds that some people will continue to work regardless, specifically citing tennis players. This may come as a surprise to Scottish tennis star Andy Murray.

Click here for a link to the original article>>> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11054359/Scotland-should-not-take-on-UK-debt-unless-it-can-keep-the-pound.html


Below is what Wikipedia says about the Professor. Who do you believe - him or Ambrose from the Telegraph?


Sir James Alexander Mirrlees FRSE FBA (born 5 July 1936) is a Scottish economist and winner of the 1996 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He was knighted in 1998.

Born in Minnigaff, Kirkcudbrightshire, Mirrlees was educated at the University of Edinburgh (MA in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in 1957) and Trinity College, Cambridge (Mathematical Tripos and PhD in 1964 with thesis title Optimum planning for a dynamic economy), where he was a very active student debater. One contemporary, Quentin Skinner, has suggested that Mirrlees was a member of the Cambridge Apostles along with fellow Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen during this period. Between 1968 and 1976, Mirrlees was a visiting professor at MIT three times. He taught at both Oxford University (1969–1995) and University of Cambridge (1963– and 1995–).

During his time at Oxford, he published papers on economic models for which he would eventually be awarded his Nobel Prize. They centred on situations in which economic information is asymmetrical or incomplete, determining the extent to which they should affect the optimal rate of saving in an economy. Among other results, they demonstrated the principles of "moral hazard" and "optimal income taxation" discussed in the books of William Vickrey. The methodology has since become the standard in the field.

Mirrlees and Vickrey shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Economics "for their fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information".

Mirrlees is also co-creator, with MIT Professor Peter A. Diamond of the Diamond-Mirrlees Efficiency Theorem, developed in 1971.

Mirrlees is emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He spends several months a year at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is currently the Distinguished Professor-at-Large of The Chinese University of Hong Kong as well as University of Macau. In 2009, he was appointed Founding Master of the Morningside College of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Mirrlees is a member of Scotland's Council of Economic Advisers. He also led the The Mirrlees Review, a review of the UK tax system by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

His students have included eminent academics and policy makers Sir Partha Dasgupta, Professor Huw Dixon, Lord Nicholas Stern, Professor Anthony Venables, and Sir John Vickers.

Monday, 18 August 2014

We must choose our words carefully - Letter:- Western Daily Press (Bristol, England) - Friday, August 15, 2014

We must choose our words carefully

Letter:- Western Daily Press (Bristol, England) - Friday, August 15, 2014


I have just watched Andrew Neill’s programme on the BBC about the implications of Scottish independence for “the Rest of the UK” I am not a lawyer, but the constitutional legal position has been explained to me by a solicitor with expertise in constitutional law, and it seems fairly straightforward.

Wales and England were united in a 16th-century Act of Parliament under which, constitutionally, Wales became part of England.

The Kingdom of England (E) and the Kingdom of Scotland (S) were united by the Act of Union of 1707 as the United Kingdom of Great Britain, (G), with a single parliament, (the British Parliament) in Westminster.

The United Kingdom of Great Britain became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland through a further Act of Union in 1801. With the partition of Ireland in 1922, we were left with the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.

For Scotland to leave the UK, it would be necessary to repeal the 1707 Act of Union. From the moment of that legislation’s receipt of Royal Assent, there would be no more United Kingdom. (E+S=G ergo G-S=E.) The British Parliament would have no constitutional validity and the British Government would also cease to exist.

Since the union of Ireland, in 1801, was with Great Britain, once Great Britain ceases to exist, so does any union with it.

So, any talk of “the Rest of the UK” is codswallop.

Scottish independence (bring it on!) will mean the dissolution of the United Kingdom and any negotiation of the terms of exit will have to be undertaken by representatives of England, as the former British Government will have ceased to have any mandate.

Clive Lavelle

Weston-super-Mare English Democrats 


Here is a link to the original >>>
http://infoweb.newsbank.com/iw-search/we/InfoWeb?p_action=doc&p_topdoc=1&p_docnum=1&p_sort=YMD_date:D&p_product=UKNB&p_text_direct-0=document_id=(%2014FB8976864149B0%20)&p_docid=14FB8976864149B0&p_theme=aggdocs&p_queryname=14FB8976864149B0&f_openurl=yes&p_nbid=S6AR60NXMTQwODM2MzU2MS42MzE3OTI6MTo4OnJmLTE5MDcy&&p_multi=WDP1

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Leading historian says - "Yes to Independence!"

Leading historian says - "Yes to Independence!"

Just consider these quotations:-

"The Union of England and Scotland was not a marriage based on love. It was a marriage of convenience. It was pragmatic."

What about the present?

"From the 1750s down to the 1980s there was stability in the relationship. Now, all the primary foundations of that stability have gone or been massively diluted."

The alternative?

"Devo-max" would merely prolong a running sore. "If more powers are granted, many English people will be unhappy; they're already unhappy about the Barnett formula."

The solution?

"Only through sovereignty can we develop a truly amicable and equal relationship with our great southern neighbour."

All these remarks are just as pertinant from either side of the Border!

Here is the whole article:-
 

Scotland's leading historian makes up his mind: it's Yes to independence


The marriage with England was based on convenience, not love, says prizewinning author Sir Tom Devine. Now it is time to split
Scotland's leading historian has delivered a major boost to the campaign for Scottish independence with the announcement that he will be voting yes in the forthcoming referendum.

The eagerly awaited announcement by Sir Tom Devine, made in an interview with the Observer, will provide much-needed support to the pro-independence campaign, which has seen support for a yes vote stall in recent weeks.

Neither side in the campaign has openly courted Devine, but each has been eager to receive the endorsement of a man who is considered to be Scotland's foremost academic and intellectual.

The professor of Scottish history counts several senior figures on both sides among his friends, including Gordon Brown, the former Labour prime minister and now a driving force of the no campaign. Last week he also shared a platform at the Edinburgh book festival with the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond. The latest news will be welcomed by Salmond, who was perceived to have performed below par in the recent televised head-to-head debate with Alistair Darling, leader of the no campaign.

In an exclusive interview, Devine said that at the outset of the campaign he had been a firm no supporter, though he had favoured a "devo-max" arrangement with extra powers devolved to Holyrood. He had been persuaded by what he believes has been a flowering of the Scottish economy in a more confident political and cultural landscape. "This has been quite a long journey for me and I've only come to a yes conclusion over the last fortnight," he said.

"The Scottish parliament has demonstrated competent government and it represents a Scottish people who are wedded to a social democratic agenda and the kind of political values which sustained and were embedded in the welfare state of the late 1940s and 1950s.

"It is the Scots who have succeeded most in preserving the British idea of fairness and compassion in terms of state support and intervention. Ironically, it is England, since the 1980s, which has embarked on a separate journey."

He also analysed the progress of the Union since its birth in 1707 and the reasons why it had worked for both countries, but why he believes it is coming to a natural end. "The union of England and Scotland was not a marriage based on love. It was a marriage of convenience. It was pragmatic. From the 1750s down to the 1980s there was stability in the relationship. Now, all the primary foundations of that stability have gone or been massively diluted."

Devine received a knighthood in this year's birthday honours list for "services to the study of Scottish history". One newspaper wrote: "He is as close to a national bard as the nation has."

Devine is the author of 34 books and holder of all three of Scotland's most coveted prizes for Scottish historical research. His analysis of the issues at play in the independence campaign is forensic. "We now have a proper modern history of Scotland which we didn't have until as late as the 1980s. We have a clear national narrative underpinned by objective and rigorous academic research. This wasn't always the case."

Devine also points to what he calls the "silent transformation of the Scottish economy", based on the metamorphosis in manufacturing from heavy industry through de-industrialisation to a more diversified model. "Our economy is now based on some heavy industry, light manufacturing, electronics, tourism, financial services and a vibrant public sector which provides sustainable jobs.

"We have a resilient economic system and reserves of one of the most important things for an independent estate: power, power through the assets of oil and also through the potential of wind energy. In this, Scotland is disproportionately endowed compared to almost all other European countries."

Devine, who is from a working-class family of Irish immigrants, is fiercely proud of his ethnicity. It is a theme that informs much of his research and figures prominently in his writing. He believes the emancipation of the Catholic Irish in Scotland has also contributed greatly to a more robust economic model. He is scathing about the views espoused by George Galloway and some others that Catholics in Scotland would become more vulnerable in a smaller country. "This is nonsense. George, as usual, is talking rhetoric. None of those assertions is based on any academic understanding or knowledge."

He also cites the enhanced reputation of Scottish higher education and research, with four Scottish universities among the world's top 200. "We get 16% of the UK's competitive funding despite having only 10% of its population. If we can apply this research to industry and the economy, Scotland will have a head start in the future which will all be about brain-intensive industry. That adds to the potential resilience of the economy."

He now says "devo-max" would merely prolong a running sore. "If more powers are granted, many English people will be unhappy; they're already unhappy about the Barnett formula. Only through sovereignty can we develop a truly amicable and equal relationship with our great southern neighbour."

Devine believes the union served an important purpose and has now simply run its course. He believed it united citizens on either side of the border from the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 until the dawn of Thatcherism and that the cornerstone of the union and its main pillars have either crumbled or become rotten.

He cited the loss of empire and the dilution of Protestantism as a unionist ideology and the primacy of European markets over English and imperial ones. The loss of 12 Scottish regiments since 1957 had loosened military ties," he said.

"There's also the weakening influence of the monarch and the absence of an external and potentially hostile force which once would have induced internal collective solidarity, such as fascism and the Soviet empire.

"When you put all of these together, there's very little left in the union except sentiment, history and family."

(Click here for the original >>> http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/17/scottish-independence-tom-devine-yes-vote-referendum-alex-salmond)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

My verdict on Andrew Neil's "What's at stake for the UK"

My verdict on Andrew Neil's "What's at stake for the UK"

Mainly a good effort and worth watching but Neil avoided the constitutional law consequence of Scottish Independence on the dissolution of the UK. He also failed to interview ANY English nationalists.

Mr Neil fully confirmed that the only argument that Unionists appear to have for maintaining the Union is to enable our leaders to strut their stuff on the "World Stage" and to"Punch above our weight" there!

This is thin stuff indeed to justify maintaining such a hubristic pantomine of Great Power status as the UK which, since the end of the era great power politics, has been a persistent drag on the English Nation.

The United Kingdom State is expensive, incompetently authoritarian and vain-gloriously addicted to its great power status whilst draining the wealth of England with its vanity projects, its international interventionalism and its failure to focus on the best interests of the English Nation.

Here is a link to the BBC2 programme:- BBC iPlayer - Scotland Votes: What's at Stake for the UK?
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04dr69k/scotland-votes-whats-at-stake-for-the-uk

Below there is an article by the highly respected and fair-minded Scottish Journalist, Iain MacWhirter, which is also worth reading:-

Time to stop opprobrium that is heaped on Scotland

Thursday 14 August 2014

Iain Macwhirter 

'Never go below the line', friends tell me.

They mean don't look at the comment sections on UK newspapers if you want to retain your sanity. But you would think the liberal Guardian would be an exception. After all, it is the organ of the thinking classes and supports constitutional reform and self determination for all nations.


Not this week it hasn't. There has an been an air of jeering triumphalism as the Yes campaign appeared to founder on the rocks of opinion polls.


"Salmond and Sturgeon are just mouthy, groggy pub drunks who think they can make a point into fact by screaming it the loudest..." was one typical comment under a report on Mr Salmond's continued insistence on currency union. Others celebrated "the demise of the Yes campaign [which] is setting up to be a must-watch bonfire of some preposterous vanities". "Can we delay the referendum for a year and watch Salmond's mental breakdown play out in glorious tartan Technicolor" said another.


The personalisation of the campaign, as if independence was just about Mr Salmond's personal vanity, is typical of much conventional journalism. But what is jarring is the widespread assumption, even, it appears among many Guardian readers, that Scotland has been living of English taxpayers money and finally been found out.


"The sound of bleating and mewling was so loud coming from your end that we paid out just to shut you up ..." said one correspondent demanding an end to Scottish subsidies. "They could always form their own Dollarisation Union with Panama and Zimbabwe", said another. "Scotland soon to be known as 'Greece of the North'."


Well, everyone's entitled to their views and these are moderate compared to the vituperative ejaculations in the English red top press's comment section. (Just don't go there.) And we had better get used to it as I suspect it is going to become worse as we get closer to the referendum. The mood in Westminster is changing from one of anxiety that Scotland might actually mean it, as when the polls began to narrow in the early spring, to a confidence that Scots have bottled the referendum.


This is being followed by a sense of indignation that the UK has been put through this whole business in the first place.


That certainly is Nigel Farage's take on things. He inevitably featured prominently in Andrew Neil's documentary Scotland Votes on BBC2 the other night. "We see this man Salmond, on the telly", said the Ukip leader, "his supporters are rude about us, they don't like us, they don't support our football team ... " Along with other interviewees in the programme he said there would have to be a reckoning after a No vote, not just on the West Lothian Question but on finances. No love-bombing here.


I have considerable respect for Andrew Neil as a broadcaster, and have no complaints about his documentary, despite his long hostility to devolution, independence and the Scottish chattering classes. Just a pity the BBC in London would never let a non-party political Yes supporter of comparable broadcasting clout like, say, Lesley Riddoch, loose on this subject. It would make riveting television for a start. But I digress.


Scotland Votes was very much an establishment view of the dangers of Scottish independence for the UK. It avoided currency and economics and stressed Britain's diminished footprint in the world if Scotland left, ejecting Trident; rather as if Scotland's only real contribution to the UK has been as a repository for weapons of mass destruction. Neil's thesis is that Britain is yet to wake up to the implications of losing a third of its landmass, five million citizens and all its nuclear weapons. It would no longer be a "great nation - a significant figure on the world stage".


But many of his interviewees - Tory and otherwise - clearly did not take the threat of independence very seriously. They were more concerned with what Neil called the coming "constitutional revolution" if and when Scotland votes No. Now, optimists believe this will involve greater powers for Holyrood, some form of democratic decentralisation to the English regions and even full scale federalism. And I hope they are right - I really do.


However, the first issue on Westminster's mind is clearly not federalism but curbing Scotland's over-representation in Westminster and our alleged feather-bedding through the Barnett Formula. A succession of voices this week has been spelling this out.


The former Tory leadership candidate, John Redwood, in his McWhirter Lecture (no relation) to the Freedom Association called this week for an English parliament within Westminster with Scots excluded. Another former Tory leadership challenger, David Davis, said Scottish over-representation was untenable. There will have to be either a reduction in Scottish MPs or - more likely - a move to exclude them from votes on exclusively English issues.


I must say I find it hard to disagree with this on democratic grounds - though this "in-and-out" solution, as it was called in the days of Gladstone and Irish Home Rule, is not as easy as it looks. It is often difficult to define what is an exclusively "English" Bill even on devolved issues. "English" measures, like the various higher education Bills under Labour, often have implications north of the border, and involve Scottish taxpayers' money.


This is why we need a proper written constitution, federal parliaments and a new upper house or Senate in Westminster based on regional representation. But don't hold your breath.


As always, Boris Johnson has spoken the mind of most of his Tory colleagues. "Alex Salmond has been thrashed in these debates" he said this week. "But for some reason we are promising the Scots more tax raising powers. There's no need. What has England ever got out of this devolution process?"


As mayor of London, Mr Johnson should know that a colossal amount of public spending has been poured into London infrastructure - more than all the other regions of Britain combined according to the Institute For Public Policy Research. But he has long argued Scotland gets more than its fair share of public spending.


He is clearly after the Ukip vote, both on Europe and Scotland. As he edges closer to the centre of the Tory party power, Bullingdon Man will have a big say in the post-referendum world is ordered. He will be leading the non-conciliation party, which includes MPs of all political denominations, in seeking to cut Scotland's cloth after a No. And he may strike a popular chord with English voters who think Scotland, its independence bluff called, should be appeased no more.


The historian Patrick Hennessey told Neil that many English voters think negatively. "Scots have done nothing but whinge for a generations, you can hear them say, all we hear is a constant drizzle of complaint." The solution is for Scotland to have proper fiscal and economic autonomy and, as I say, there are optimists who keep telling me this is definitely on the cards. I really don't see it short of a Yes vote in the referendum. But in or out of the Union, the drizzle will have to stop.


(Here is a link to the original >>>
Time to stop opprobrium that is heaped on Scotland | Herald Scotland
http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/time-to-stop-opprobrium-that-is-heaped-on-scotland.25023400)

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

England can’t speak up for its interests The spectre of over population is already a stark reality for England’s inhabitants.

 

England can’t speak up for its interests 

 Another letter by a member in the Western Daily Press (Bristol, England) - Saturday, August 2, 2014. What do you think?
 

The spectre of over population is already a stark reality for England’s inhabitants.

Due to the so-called UK government’s crass NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) subservient English councils and JCS bodies, bullied by Westminster, are destroying our countryside.

Westminster and its self-seeking UK parties, due to 1999’s devolution, have no political authority outside of England in local government, so it can only desecrate England’s countryside.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) predicts “that if immigration and population trends continue as they are the UK population will be 132 million by 2100” with England’s population, being 85 per cent of that in the UK, rising to 111 million.

England’s current 53 million people generate a density of 407 people per square kilometre (ppsk) making it already the third most densely populated country on earth after Bangladesh and South Korea – this density will rise to 850 ppsk with 111 million people.

Immigration, an issue of “numbers”, is England’s greatest concern for over 95 per cent of immigrants, purported to come to the UK by Westminster, actually come to England.

Immigration debates on BBC Question Time are elementary and always end in a squabble over racism when the real issue is “numbers” yet no politician says the obvious “we have too many people in England”.

Preposterously the only conclusion they ever reach is to “to build 300,000 houses annually (in England) each year for next ten years – when England is already Europe’s “Bangladesh”. If France had a density of 407 ppsk its population now would be over 200 million and not the current 65 million.

Typical current “ppsk” densities in European countries are Germany 231, France 120, Italy 202, Spain 94 etc yet all face similar ageing, demographic problems.

However, like all proper democracies, they have national governments who protect their national interests – not so in England for we have no “national” governance.

Surveys show over 80 per cent of England’s inhabitants rightly say their country is already full and a density of 400 ppsk must now be a maximum for a sane stable and sustainable environment – England is already facing the spectre of over population.

Westminster and its remote self-indulging UK parties are not building “Jerusalem” in England’s green and pleasant land, they are erasing it.

R A Hopkins

Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

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