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Saturday, 29 October 2011

Independence for Scotland advances!

The Financial Times is a paper that often produces carefully considered and thought provoking analyses of news items. Here is a good example.

Most media outlets failed to notice the significance of Alex Salmond's latest political masterstroke. In one fell swoop his shift to a "Devo Max" referendum option will split the opposition to the Independence option and provide a classic Causus Belli against Westminster when that august body of deep thinkers rejects it!

Little England: Britain sleepwalks towards break-up
By Philip Stephens October 24, 2011

Alex Salmond addressed the Scottish National party’s ?annual conference the other day. Few beyond Scotland will have noticed. That is a pity. As David Cameron’s Conservatives resume their obsessive debate about leaving Europe, Mr Salmond is advancing Scotland’s departure from Britain.
North and south of the border with England, the SNP leader is a grown-up among adolescents. Alone among Britain’s party leaders, he has the confidence and guile to change the political weather. As Scotland’s first minister he is running rings around unionist opponents in Edinburgh and Westminster.

Mr Cameron is comfortable in 10 Downing Street. Labour’s Ed Miliband is settling in for what could be an uncomfortably long spell as opposition leader. Nick Clegg has lost the haunted expression he wore during the Liberal Democrats’ first year in coalition. These are not leaders, though, who rewrite the terms of political debate.
Mr Salmond is in a different class. You don’t have to like or agree with him to acknowledge he has recast the argument about the 300-year-old union binding Scotland to England. Will Scotland still be tied to its southern neighbour in, say, 15 years hence? I wouldn’t bet on it.

At the very least, the SNP is leading Scotland to self-rule in all but foreign affairs – an autonomy comparable to that enjoyed by Catalonia. Many will think this is no bad thing – for the English or the Scots. But surely the relationship is worthy of serious discussion across Britain? It would be curious were the union to sleepwalk towards break-up.

Unionists are doing their best to assist Mr Salmond. The voting system for the Edinburgh parliament was designed to prevent the SNP from ever winning a governing majority. Mr Salmond has now secured just such a position. The electoral checks and balances failed to anticipate the self-destructive capacity of the unionist parties.

The rot began to set in for Conservatives, of course, during Margaret Thatcher’s heyday. But the big failure since has been the Scottish Tories’ unwillingness to adjust to devolution. Decisions about health, education and welfare – things that matter to voters – are now taken in Edinburgh. Tories invite the charge of irrelevance by talking about nothing but the union.

Labour has been laid low by hubris. Gordon Brown saw Scotland as a personal fiefdom. It sustained Labour’s (disproportionately Scottish) politicians at Westminster. The party’s best and brightest from north of the border would not waste their time in local politics when they could play on a British stage.

Unsurprisingly, Scottish voters have woken up to the insult. Why should they back a party that treats their parliament as a parish council? Even now, leading Scottish Labour figures such as Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander prefer opposition at Westminster to a shot at the top job in Edinburgh.

The Lib Dems are paying a price for throwing in their lot with Mr Cameron. Mr Clegg wants to show that the party can shoulder responsibility at Westminster. A noble ambition. But there are better ways to win friends in Scotland.

None of this is to deny Mr Salmond’s achievement in taking nationalism from the margins to the mainstream of Scottish politics. Not too long ago much of polite society in Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen saw the SNP as a collection of leftish cranks. Now it has begun to look like the party of the establishment.

This is not to say the business and professional classes have embraced separatism. My Scottish friends always draw an important distinction. They can vote for the SNP in Scotland while backing unionist parties in British general elections. Mr Salmond cannot be sure of winning if the choice posed in his promised referendum is a straightforward one between the status quo and independence.

Now, though, we know that there will be a third option. Mr Salmond used his conference speech to throw his weight behind a three-question plebiscite – with the third option providing for what is called “devolution max”. The implication is that the return to Scotland of full control over the economy, spending, taxation and borrowing would represent a moderate third way.

It would be nothing of the sort. Devolution max would put Scotland on the threshold of independence. It would demand a rewriting of the constitutional settlement that would inevitably leave many Scots asking why not independence. The fact that such an arrangement is presented as a “sensible compromise” speaks to Mr Salmond’s political genius in reframing the debate.

For many in Mr Cameron’s party, however, it seems that severing ties with Brussels is more important than preserving them with Edinburgh. Before they know it, the sceptics may find themselves demanding England’s rather than Britain’s departure from the European Union. Perhaps they will call themselves Little Englanders.


  1. Robin spot on with your last few paragrpahs.the unionist parties up here dont actually see that they will be doing some of the SNps work!

  2. Every country in the world is dedicated to the advancement of thir own people EXCEPT ENGLAND.
    We need IMMEDIATELY to let Salmond know that, Yes, the Scots can 'go-it-alone' provided WE dont pay a farthing towards helping them to do it, SUSTAIN it or, what is more important MAINTAIN IT!
    What is clearly required is for the English to tell Paliament that we want them OUT, not on their timescale or terms but on OUR timescale and our terms - surely there are 100,000 English voices to be heard applauding the Scots break-away? The time to 'gird our loins' is NOW - Before he tricks his way into making US pay for his costs of independance or bailing him out when he becomes UNSTUCK.

  3. What, Paul Austin, makes you think the Scots will become unstuck? They are a hard-working and canny race. They will not mind if their living standards dip a bit for a period.What is going to happen in England under present policies is that taxes are going to have to go up meaning living standards go down.Meanwhile Cameron with no loyalty to England continues to pump millions of useless third-world freeloaders into the system. It's hardly believable that this CRAZY policy is being continued.

  4. Scotland’s independence can only lead to English independence. But I agree we should not be burdened with there economic failure, especially as the offshore decommissioning phase of the oil platform removal is taking place as we talk now. Example NW Hutton Field decommissioning is now completed with its topside unit being relocated to Russia White Sea, by whom BRITISH petroleum (BP).

    How long is an oilfield is expected to last before the Scottish revert to either traditional engineering, fisheries, agricultural or new industries? We are paying for this ludicrous Euro Zone bailout, and yes even Europeans are known as hard-working and canny race. Do we have to pay for Scottish independence bailout after funding the Euro Scam from Brussels; because like all industries in the British Isles, industries do die leaving desolate communities that need funding, and Scotland as had its experiences with its shipyard closure.

  5. Mr Tillbrook why doesn't your party campaign for English independence?

  6. We don't need to campaign for English independence because Scotland and probably Wales will likely get it first. That would effectively make us independent. What we need to campaign for is an English voice in the political arena. England and Englishness have been downplayed for far too long with our great men being 'exposed' by politically motivated revisionists.It is about time England became a great place for the Ethnic English not just for the millions of free-loaders from the rest of Planet Earth.

  7. Frankly, describing people in Scotland as hard working and canny is misleading, not to mention beside the point, considering their economy relies on subsidy from England and without England they would be bankrupt, anyone notice that the biggest banks, the most bailed out banks are the two Scottish ones? Does Scotland produce enough money in its own economy to be fully independent? Of course it doesn't, the attempt to develop a banking industry to support Scotland has failed miserably and left England with their massive debts, yet again, anyone remember Scotland joining the Union? Look it up, they bankrupted themselves trying to take control of Panama, bought wigs instead of shovels and had to come cap in hand to England. Go on be independent now if you like, but please do it honestly, not a word in Alex Salmonds' vocabulary, I doubt if Scotland can be fully independent, but I wish they would be, I would rather my taxes are spend on educating my children and grandchildren rather that the children of people that hold me in contempt.

  8. English patriots who want an English Parliament would be best advised to negotiate a deal with Alex Salmond along the lines of "We'll support you if you support us".
    I don't really mind if Scotland does get full independence, but the numpties who call themselves 'unionists' ought surely to realise that the best way of preserving the union is to move to a federal system of governing the UK, whereby each nation within the UK has its own parliament with all powers except for foreign affairs and defence, (and maybe revision of legislation from the four national Parliaments) handled by a revised House of Lords, where the British Prime Minister and the British cabinet would be answerable to members elected by members from across the whole of the UK. This would at last give a proper modern role to the House of Lords. In order to assuage Celtic sensitivities, this newly invigorated second chamber should be peripatetic, meeting in each national city every quarter: there is some precedent for this. Parliament used to follow the monarch around Britain in olden days.

    Ah well, one can only dream: the Unionists establishment will destroy the union far more effectively than Alex Salmond!

  9. Salmond's shennanigans are a deceit. The scotch so called nationalists already have the power to call a referendum and raise taxes too, but they don't. For one, they know they would lose, and the reality of having to raise the burden of tax and not be able to blame the English just wouldn't fit the narrative. The faux nationalism is a laughable conceit evidenced by the fact that it is treated postively by the establisment and the media. It is an intenationalist social Marxist shibboleth. Prospering only on the institutionalised anti English racism that pervades Scotland in general and the policies of the scot nats in particular, ant pleases the EU as it helps destroy the Union and destabilise yet another once sovereign nation.