Scottish Independence

A quick update on a poll I missed while everyone was recovering from the European elections and the government reshuffle. There was a TNS System Three (or, as they will be known in the future thanks to TNS’s takeover by WPP, TNS-BMRB) poll in the Herald earlier in the week with their latest tracker figures for voting intention in a referendum on Scottish Independence.

Currently 39% (-1 since January) say they would vote NO in a referendum, 38% (-2 since January) would vote yes – so the lead is largely unchanged from the last time System Three asked, though the percentage of don’t knows has risen slightly.


95 Responses to “Scottish Independence”

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  1. I think regional paraliaments in England would solve this issue. England is too dominant a nation in the UK, and it keeps growing. Split it up into regions, under an English senate with the leaders of each devolved region meeting, to elect a yearly first minister of England.
    Why is it the further you get away from London the poorer English people are? Cornwall and the north east. Power is too centralized in London. These regions would thrive with more control of their own affairs.

  2. All the machinations of parliaments are not going to solve the issue. It will be decided by the Scottish people.

    The fastest way to encourage a YES vote for independence is to continue to deny the Scots the right to make their own decision. I encourage our unionist friends to continue with the scaremongering and innuendo about a British veto. It helps considerably.

    A better option would be to convince the Scots that their best choice for a prosperous future is by staying in the union. Tell us what the union will mean for our people and convince us that we are better to stay. If you cannot do that, then step aside and let us get on with building our own future.

  3. How long do you have to off been a member on this site before your comments dont have to go through moderation?

  4. @Doonhammer

    I take offence slightly at your comment?

    Why should the rest of the nation have to appease Scotland and convince it to stay?

    I don’t think Scotland would survive very long on its own if at all.

    And I’m sorry, but Great Britain is a sovereign nation, you can’t just have parts of a sovereign nation trying to break free, just look at Tibet, and even Kosovo, which I deem as a failed attempt.

    Kosovo now floats in limbo and faces an economic crisis far worse than the one which we currently bemoan. Kosovo, yes has acheived self rule, although it has no money no resources, and a small workforce, and hardly any international recognisation (under 25%) and is a member of hardly any organisations, I think they are in the IMF, but that is about it.

    Does Scotland really want to end up like Kosovo,
    In response Doonhammer, I don’t think it’s the rest of Britain that should be trying to persuade Scotland to stay, it is Scotland who should be trying to persuade the rest of Britain to allow it to remain.

    I tell you, if there was a referendum in England, “Should we kick out scotland and leave them to fend for themselves” the result would be comprehensive, whereas at the moment, Scotlands “Do we stay or go” question is on 40% each way.

    Tell me Doonhammer? Why does the rest of Britain even want Scotland to stay??? And before you mention that North Sea Oil, it is recognised internationally as the property of Britain, if you cut off from Britain, you cut off your claim to that oil. In fact, you cut off your claim to anything British, for example, the NHS, University funding, education, you know all the stuff that the British Government gives you money for.

  5. Cogload,

    you are of course correct about the Privy Council. It depends largely on the potential determination of the British State to crush democracy. It’s unlikely that they will try the same murderous tactics used when Ireland voted for independence, but making things difficult diplomatically is certainly a possibility.

  6. Paul,

    You write –

    ‘Re Scotland, the legal situation is subtly different. The Union was not by Treaty but by acts of both parliaments.’

    WRONG – The Union was by Treaty – Treaty of Union 1707. The Acts of Union in both parliaments were the ratifying instruments of that Treaty.

    ‘Yet the Scots made a grave miscalculation. They thought of the treaty as a written constitution, and, even with all the concessions they had obtained, they would not have accepted that an omni-competent had power to abrogate provisions which they fondly imagined to be ‘fundamental and essential’…But the theories of English constitutional lawyers prevailed, and the union has proved to have no more sanctity than any other statute. From time to time attempts have been made to appeal to the terms of union, but always without success. The list of violations of the treaty is already a long one, and always growing longer…The fact is that, contrary to the beliefs and hopes of those who framed it, the treaty of union has proved to be a mere scrap of paper, to be torn up at the whim of any British government.’

    SOURCE: ‘Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation’ by Gordon Donaldson, pp. 58-59, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0.

    ‘If the Scottish people expressed a desire for independence the stage would be set for a direct clash between what is the English doctrine of sovereignty and the Scottish doctrine of the sovereignty of the people.’

    SOURCE: ‘The Operation of Multi-Layer Democracy’, Scottish Affairs Committee Second Report of Session 1997-1998, HC 460-I, 2 December 1998, paragraph 27.

  7. As an Englishman I am thoroughly fed up with the anti-English sneers of our Celtic and gaelic brethren whilst through the Barnett formula paying for the privilege. I agree that it is up to each of the four nations of the union to decide their own destiny, and therefore I would like England to withdraw from the United Kingdom. That should put the cat amongst the pigeons as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can then finance themselves as best they can!

  8. Max, it is unfortunate that you choose to personalize this, but if you are slightly offended or not, that is irrelevant. As a non-Scot, your comments are also irrelevant in the big picture.

    The union is not going to survive by bluster or threats. It will only survive if the partners feel that it is best to continue the union.

    You are not going to pressure us into staying, or threaten us, or try to scare with tales of insolvency. Most of our English neighbours would reject your venom. If the English people wish to dissovle the union, we Scots will recognize their sovereignty and wish them well. We will not threaten or insult but negotiate the best future relationship between our two countries. If you feel this the best option, go ahead and demand your referendum, we will not stand in your way.

    As for the oil, your theft is not recognized by anyone. You imposed it on the Scotttish people without our consent. International law is clear and supports the natural resources are the property of the sovereign nation wherein they reside. if Scotland become independent, the oil and other natural resources will belong to the Scots.

    Tony, if the English people voted to dissolve the union, a cheer would erupt from John O’Groats to Lands End. That is all you need to know about your so-called union.

  9. Max,

    If Scotland votes for Independence nations have a simlpe choice they can accept that that is the will of the Scottish people and recognise it or they can ignore a democratic vote.

    Accepting it might give incouragement to those who wish to follow Scotland but not accepting it has far more serious consequences.

    If Governments in democratic nations take a stance that says they can ignore democracy when it is inconvenient then they lay themselves open to domestic attack.

    Sarkozy might not want to acknowledge Scotland ( although like most french politicians I suspect he’d probably be delighted to do so) but the French people would as would the Americans because for the average american for the US not to recognise a legitimate vote for Independence in a Countruy like Scotland would be an afront.

    As to the not being able to survive bit, that is just nonsense. Scotland even without oil is roughly on a par with Denamrk Ireland and Finland and ahead of the Likes of Portugal or the Czech republic. as well as all three baltic republics.

    These states may not be as wealthy as the big four, the UK, Germany france and Italy, but to suggests that staes of that size and wealth can’t survive is economically illiterate.

    If you want to make a case against scottish Independence you will really have to do better than comparisons with Kosovo.

    Oh and oil is recognised Internationally as it lies in British territorial waters where the law of the sea gives us the right to exploit the seabed out to 200miles or to the half way point between us and another country.

    Post Independence that same law will put the best part of it in Scottish territorial waters and unless the likes of Canada want the Russians putting oil rigs off of Baffin Island and the US Cuban rigs at the Florida Keys they will insist of the enforcement of the rules that protect their own resources.

    If you really think that the likes of the US will back Britain against a democratic vote in Scotland you might want to read up on Suez, or indeed look at last weeks stories about Bermuda and guantanemo.

    Final I did an wide search of news web sites and I can’t find a thing about Alex Salmond being silenced in China by armed police or anyone else… any chance of posting a link.

    Peter.

  10. A couple of points. Though I fully support Scottish independence, as do many English people, I would like to make the distinction between a colony voting for independence, and a part of the UK voting for independence.

    Your mention of the US made me think of Texas, where I believe there is now a majority of Mexican-descended population. Suppose for a moment that they decided to vote for independence from the USA. Would the other States and the Federal Government feel that they had a right to have some say in the debate? Isn’t this analogous to the Scottish situation?

  11. Personally I am in favour of the Union. Being a mongrel Brit with English, Welsh and Scots blood – I find English nationalism as distasteful – we now live in a world where pooling sovereignty is becoming commonplace and very much in our favour.

    However you cannot argue with the popular vote however “wrong” a personal opinion is. Like Ulster, if they vote to “rejoin” the south then you cannot stand in their way; if Scotland votes for independance then you cannot stand in their way – however it will be a day that I will regret.

    I am sorry that this thread has become personal and coloured – I think that the SNP vote in the 30’s is strong but would like to see that tested under a full frontal assault at a general election – which may happen if the pro union parties collectively “gang up”. However we live in interesting times.

    My apologies to Cllr Cairns and Agentmancuso if you think I overstepped the further up as well.

  12. PeterB, Scotland is no more a state of the UK than the UK is a state of the EU. Scotland and England are sovereign countries who agreed to be governed by a united parliament and government. When this occurred, they closed their former parliaments and replaced it with a union parliament.

    What can be put together can also be taken apart. The union exists as long as the partners agree.

    The UK can remain part of the EU for as long as it wishes. Would we agree to a proposition that stated once we joined the EU, every member of the EU must agree to vote to the UK to leave? Would any EU member country have joined in those circumstances?

  13. Doonhammer

    I am afraid you are mistaken, England and Scotland are not 2 different Sovereign countries under one banner.

    I am afraid, Great Britain is Sovereign as far as the UN and EU are concerned, and the majority of Britain.

    Apart from different sports teams, GB is always represented as one sovereign entity.

    Great Britain is sovereign, and that is why it is by the grace of Westminster that you have a Scottish Parliament, Scotland is no more sovereign than Cornwall.

    Now one of your arguments is that other countries would recognise a democratic vote in Scotland for independance, if that is the case, please expalin to me why no one recognises South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Negorno-Kerabkh.

    All 3 of these countries/states have their own individual parliaments, and all have had referendums for independance, and all chose independance.

    At the moment, no one in the world recognise Negorno-Kerabkh, and only Russia recognises South Ossetia and Abkazia, but this is only to anger Georgia.

    Also, I am not sure of the situation in Tamil Eelam, although I am sure they may have voted for independace, which was then crushed my the Srilankan military only a few weeks ago.

    So if Scotland wants to be recognised independant, after its own referendum, I am afraid there seems to be a bit of a queue forming. Scotland will have no more claim to independance than Kosovo or any of the other regions mentioned above.

    I am afraid Scotland the brave is no longer a sovereign nation, but in fact, a mere region of Great Britain.

    Also, Scotland is irretrievably British, does anyone in Scotland still speak Scottish, if so please tell me how many?

    Scotland will never be recognised as independant without the rest of Britain’s consent. I am afraid the world works on precedent before democracy, and I am sure many countries would fear the precedent that would be set, if regions could suddenly just vote to split away. For one, it weakens territorial integrity, and leads to a lowering of standing of the country.

    Also, your claim that America would recognise Scotland due to the Scot population over there is nonsense.

    America doesn’t even allow its own states to get independance, and stopped the confederacy of states wanting independance in its tracks all those years ago. If America was to recognise Scotland, people would argue, why didn’t America recognise the Southern States as independant all those years ago.

    Obama is a clever man, and America are very good at international politics, I’m sure they’d prefer Britian to be in one piece, so as to maintain its own stability.

    On a final note, I can’t find the site where it said Salmond received a warning from Chinese Police, although I can assure you it did happen. I believe it was on BBC News, but I don’t know how to find old stories on BBC News, as it only goes back a certain amount of time.

  14. I suspect this is going to end up rather like Quebec – the separatist party will continue to gain support but would fail a referendum.

  15. Well said Wolf.

  16. Max, it is obvious that no amount of factual data is going to change your perceptions. Fortunately, for Scotland, you Kiplingesgue views of the UK and empire died off after the First World War and are only kept alive in the bigotry of those who pine for the days when Scots knew their place and “England expects all to do their duty”.

    Your argument would be belittled by all political parties in Scotland even those who support the retention of the union. Arguments like you have just made only make the argument for independence stronger and the good day come sooner.

  17. Wolf, you may be right but keep in mind that the last Quebec referendum had the independence vote only 50,000 behind, a margin of less than 1%.

    For over 20 years, Canada fought the Quebecois movement with many of the scare tactics and bigotry espoused in some previous posts. After almost losing the vote, they changed tactics and starting asking the quebecois people to explain their grievances and tried to address them. This has not ended the debate but it has strengthened the pro-Canada side.

    It shows that there are two ways to defeat an independence movement. First you can supress it at the barrel of the gun like in Sri Lanka, or second, you can offer a better future.

    Those who choose the scare tactics and bigotry only strengthen the independence movement.

  18. Doonhammer,

    Your last point is pertinent, not just in relation to Scottish independance but also in how the UK as a whole (but mainly England) deals with the BNP.

    John TT responded to my question above suggesting that (a) is inevitable. I happen to disagree.

    If the UK were to withdraw from the EU, a British government would recover control of agricultural and fisheries policy, which would enable regeneration of large parts of the economy in the Highlands and Grampiam regions. That is a prime example of addressing the concerns and grievances of local people. At that point what price the SNP policy of “independance in Europe” ?

    So the point of my question is whether a Tory government which delivered the above benefits would actually do more to rebuild the Union than a Lab or Lab/LD one which allows sovereignty to seep progressively away to the detriment of Scotland’s economy ?

    [Just for the pedants – no EU withdrawal is not (yet) official Tory policy, but of the main UK parties it is the most likely to deliver it.]

  19. I am not British, though my dream is to be one. For the time being I am Greek. I’ve been twice to the UK, once to Wales and once to England. Whenever I breathed British air I felt like in paradise. I loved Britain, I loved the UK due to it’s being a multicultural nation, a nation respecting and loving difference. I don’t know wether you care about a foreigner’s point of view but anyway, here it is. NATIONALISM IS NEVER AN ANSWER TO ANYTHING!.I repeat. NATIONALISM IS NEVER AN ANSWER TO ANYTHING! Everything bad that has ever happened in the world is due to some people having an overinflated sense of self, ego, nationhood etc (e.g. Nazis, Zionism, Serbs etc). Being a Greek I can give you many examples that people have had here since ancient times (“Pas mi Ellin Varvaros- AKA – Anyone not Greek is a barbarian”) and where have such tactics and practices led Greece? To being a voiceless, powerless, and useless nation with no sense of respect for anything different despite being the oldest nation in Europe. The UK is a million times stronger together than apart. To me England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland don’t mean anything. They are just some random uninteresting flags with crosses and x’s. I grew to love the UK, the Union Jack (it’s sported everywhere in the world, on clothes etc, it’s the best flag ever), everything British. The only way forward is through concord not discord, union not dis-union. The only way forward is through constant union (e.g. EU, future global union etc). The only way ahead is by being selfless and by not harbouring negative sentiments and ideas issuing from the ego.

    My personal motto for the UK is [LATIN] “e pluribus unum” (From many, one).

    P.S. I love anything British, hence I love England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland so long as they are part of the UK.

  20. ‘AGENTMANCUSO
    Cogload,
    English Common Law does not apply. Scotland is a separate legal jurisdiction.’

    A point many people forget of course is that it is – at best- only a partly United Kingdom (and never a wholly United Kingdom) with Scotland retaining independence in Law and Education and probably something else. And now, of course increasingly getting further independent powers…

  21. Cogload,

    Informed contributions are always welcome, as is the civility in which your opinions have been couched. Unionism would be far better served were all its proponents of such a mould.

    Unfortunately, boorish arrogance and jingoism are far more typical, as per other contributions here.

    As for a pan-Unionist approach between the other parties, there are various practical difficulties, not least that great many Labour voters could be described as ‘soft nationalists’, and would display their horror at any serious pact with the Tories by voting SNP.

    Likewise, many Liberal Democrats are deeply uneasy at the Unionist line being pushed by the party hierarchy, believing it to be a betrayal of the century-old liberal Home Rule tradition.

    And the Tories, as the most ‘Unionist party of all’, are stuck in the electoral wilderness in Scotland, despite rampant success elsewhere. It is probable that the centre-right will only recover serious ground after the Scottish Conservatives have UDI ‘declared on them’ by an English Conservative party playing the West Lothian card.

  22. While I respect Anonymous’s views about Britain staying together, I disagree with the Eu point. Britain is very detached from Europe, and I can’t wait for the day we leave this dreaded union. Anonymous, I feel the only reason you support the Eu is because you can come to Britain whenever you like. SOmething I personally disagree with.

    Cogload, I see you are the first to play the Empire card. I expected as such much sooner.

    Why is someone who believes Scotland is part of Britain and doesn’t have the right to just split away, a supporter of the Empire? As I can tell you, I do not support the Empire.

    Apart from accusing me of bigotry cogload you did nothing to address my points. Clearly yourself and your cause are defeated when you have to resort to insults like you just did, and fail to address any of my points, all of which are valid.

    So, as you seem to have caught Politician fever, an illness that renders the victim completely incapable of answering or remembering a question, I shall only reiterate this once.

    Why have none of the other regions I mentioned (South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and Negorno-Kerabkh) been recognised, despite your claim that most countries recognise a democratic vote.

    Also, can you back up your point about America, supporting scottish independance if Scots voted for it, even though America crushed its own regional rebellion years ago, and has a new clause in its own constitution saying that states cant’t leave, and would be fearful of the precedent it would set if regions could just break away?

    Finally. you accuse me of scare tactics, please explain to me what it is that I have tried to scare you with, indeed I believe it is you using the scare tactics, after every comment pro unionist, you claim that unless we bow down to Scotland they will (illegally) seperate from Britian.

    Understand that England and Scotland are dead. The only thing defining a slight difference, is the law, education, and fact you have your own parliament. 3 minor details that can quickly be dealt with with an Act of Parliament, or a meeting of the Privy Council.

    @Argentmancusco

    I don’t really consider Labour pro-unionist, they claim it however, like all politicians, what they claim and what they do are completely seperate things, Labour proved it wasn’t pro-unionist, when it gave Scotland it’s own parliament, and tried to break England into 9 different regions, thus weakening England’s strength.

    Plaid Cymru is the party FOR Wales
    SNP is the party FOR Scotland
    Labour is the party AGAINST England, why else would they try and break it up? Why else would they use that silly method that a portion of English Tax Payers money gets given to Scotland, why else, give Wales, and Scotland their own parliaments and leave ENgland without one.

    Personally, I would like to see the regional parliaments/assemblies abolished, and see the power devolve further down into the local councils and thus the local people, this would settle it for both sides, this allows the Scottish people to be very much self determined, as they have more control of their local area (all the power the scottish parliament had) and it makes everywhere in Britain equal as there is no longer a system where Scottish Politicians vote on ENglish issues, but English politicians cant vote on scottish issues.

    Also, the complaint that England is too powerful would be gone, as it would all be your local council deals with local issues, and the national parliament would deal with national issues like terror. There would be no problems like we have now, with people believing Scotland has too much power, of if your in Scotland people believing England had too much power, as every council would be equal in its own powers, and continue with the system of every constituency being represented by an MP for the National parliament.

  23. The debate about too much power versus not enough power is a silly one to have. Either a country has the power to meet the needs of its citizens or it doesn’t. The power of the parliament is to serve not to impose. Our MP’s have forgotten that important point as have many on this site.

    How the needs are best met is a question that has evolved over the centuries and will continue to evolve. How we are governed today may not be how we are governed tomorrow.

    Max, you accuse others of insulting behaivour, but you are oblivious to the impact of your words and opinions on others. Your comment that declared both England and Scotland dead is deeply offensive to many. Your self-congratulation and jingoistic pro-British attitudes are insulting and pathetic.

    You argue for the right of local representation but deny that right to Scots to choose for themselves how they wish to be governed and by whom.

    Let me make it simple for you, I don’t give a tinkers damn how you you choose to be governed or by which style of representation, if any, but YOU will not make that decision for me. I am a free man and I will choose for myself. If my countrymen choose the independence path, I will accept it and work to make our country strong so it may serve the people. If they choose to remain in the union, I will do the same. If they choose another path, I will do the same. The real point here is that we will choose our own path and not have it imposed by others.

  24. Max King,

    Please calm down. As Talleyrand would say – “pas de zele”.

    There are many arguments which can be deployed in favour of the Union (just as there are arguments in favour of independence) – but the idea that Scottish independance is dependant on which foreign powers might / might not recognise it is not one of them.

    If Scotland were to negotiate its independance from the UK, then the first “foreign” country to recognise Scotland as an independent sovereign nation will be the United Kingdom (though it may then need to look for a new name since it will no longer be a Union of two Kingdoms).

    Your arguments appear to be based on the premise that Scotland might opt for UDI. While some nationalists may dream of doing so, I do not think that UDI is SNP policy. As far as I know, the SNP position has always been to seek a negotiated separation on the back of clear mandate in a referendum. (Cllr Cairns may wish to confirm). While Salmond may occasionally use confrontation with Westminster as a tactic, this is not a strategic objective.

    Any other approach would be foolhardy because of the extent of disentanglement which would be required. Antagonising the rest of the UK to the point of goading England into obstructing independance may help fuel nationalist demands, but would lead to administrative chaos and could cripple the nascent state before it could establish its own effective fiscal and monetary system.

    .

  25. Paul, in the nicest possilbe way of saying it, and I do mean this nicely but it might sound rude, if so excuse me, I would ask you to check your facts.

    It was Cogload who implied they would go for Unilateral Declaration of Independance, not me to quote Cogload “you will not stop ME”

    Yes they can choose the route of negotiation, but none of the 3 westminster parties support this, so it would be dead in the water. Obviously, if negotiation worked, then everyone would recognise them, however if they were to go for UDI against Britain, they would be stopped in their tracks, I think the rest of Britain has the political clout to stop such a move, and very few countries are willing to accept any UDI, let alone a UDI against the 5th biggest economy in the world, as lets be honest, politicians from other countries don’t get involved if its a big country at stake, they all recognise Kosovo, as Serbia is a LEDC, with little money, army or resources, but no one dares recognise Tibet for fear of lost business with China.

    Plus, UDI is illegal, so try dealing with that.

  26. Max,

    I have reread the thread above but cannot locate the quote you attribute to Cogload.

    In your comments above you have consistently couched the argument in terms of whether the rest of Britain would allow Scotland to leave. That presupposes that Scotland were declaring its independance without the negotiated consent of the UK, ergo UDI.

    As to what the attitude of the Unionist parties would be in the event of a Scottish decision in favour of independance, they are most likley to be in the terms outlined by Cogload in one of his earlier posts above. Sad regret at the outcome but respect for the decision of the Scottish people.

    The battle to preserve the Union needs to be fought before any referendum on independance, not as a rearguard action obstructing the path to separation after the event. Even intimating that this may be so is to hand ammunition to those who would break the Union.

    FWIW – if Salmond were to declare UDI today, he would rightly be rebuffed not just by the government of the UK, but by any other democratic country overseas. It would probably also do more to put back the cause for independance than anything the Unionist parties could currently say or do. But, if he does so after he has just secured a convincing mandate for independance in a referendum, who is to deny him ?

    No democratic government worth the name could do other than to work constructively for an orderly break-up of the Union, even while regretting the task. However, with the best will in the world, that process will be neither easy nor swift.

    On your last point, things may be legal, or not. But that is very different from right or wrong. Issues such as this are not determined by what the legal position is, but by the passion and emotions of the people concerned. The role of the lawyers will always be to find a way to give “legitimacy” to the view expressed.

  27. Paul H

    I believe to join the UN you need to be legally recognised by all 5 of the Security council do you not? I think you do.

    And America wouldn’t allow it for fear of the precedent that one of their states may leave, the South had a mandate which was then crushed by Lincoln and forced to rejoin the union. I hope it doesnt come to that.

  28. Max,

    If, God forbid, the Scots voted for independance, the US would have no grounds for refusing to recognise Scotland or block its membership of the UN. (They may be less enamoured if Scotland declined to join Nato). Doing so is hardly likely to encourage any US state to embark on the path to independance, not even the Lone-Star state.

    Parallels with the American civil war are misplaced. The Confederation was set up because the southern states felt their economic interests were being subordinated to those of the industrial north. Slavery gave Lincoln a moral pretext to launch what was effectively an economic war for the south’s agricultural resources. I am not aware of any grievances that might lead a state to consider leaving the USA today.

    As I said earlier, if we want to preserve the Union, then we need to present positive reasons for Scotland to remain. That includes understanding and addressing any issues which may give grounds for grievance (however unjustified one may think those grounds are). Threatening or bullying is no basis for a partnership – whether the enterprise be marriage, a business venture, or a political Union.

    We may disagree as to means, but I believe we are united as to ends.

  29. Well said Paul.

  30. Well said Paul.

    But America isn’t the only one of the Security Council who could block Scotland, the rest of Britain indeed could, I believe Liberals and Labour would accept Scotland’s breakaway, especially as Labour secretly support it, but I feel a Conservative government is coming in next, with a majority, and they are far more unionst than the other parties, and Cameron being the toff he is, wouldn’t want to feel spurned by Scotland, so would try to regain control and some sense of power maybe by blocking Scotland’s bid if he deemed it an illegal breakaway, say if they resorted to UDI, and I doubt cameron would negotiate to the point of independance, he might grant more powers, but I think he;d insist on them staying in the Union.

    Also, America might veto them due to an interest in keeping Britain stable, and protect the union that they revolted against, but now have a strange fascination with. Then theres Russia, increasingly nice to Britain and America, trying to build better relations, Russia lending Iceland money, so Uk citizens get their money back owed from Iceland, sending their own navy ships to free a British/American ship captured by Somalian pirates. The list goes on. Aswell, doesn’t Russia have its own regions that it wants to keep, it wouldnt want to set a precedent of letting them split, and it would look hypocritical of allowing Scotland and not allowing Kosovo, (IF SCOTLAND CHOSE UDI)
    Then, my favourite, China, do you really believe that after such troubles with Tibet, China would even contemplate allowing a sepertist region to become its own region, and although I have lost the article about salmond being warned in china, because the BBC NEWs doesnt allow you to go back to far, I think that also plays a part,

    So anyone of the 4 above could veto Scotland’s independance claims attempts to join the UN, it only takes 1 to say no and Scotland cant join.

  31. Max,

    As I have explained above, I think you are barking up the wrong tree in terms of anyone seeking to block Scottish independance post facto or who may not recognise an independant Scotland

    The legitimacy of an independant Scotland will derive from the size of the majorty in favour of independance in any referendum. What other countries care to do is their business, but no “democratic” country is going to refuse to recognise a Scotland which has “won” its freedom via the ballot box and through due legal process. Once Britain has formally recognised Scotland as a separate state, there is no reason for any other country to refuse recognition or seek to block its access to any multi-lateral organisations.

    As to the reaction of the UK government, it matters not which party is in power or who the PM is. However much one may regret such a decision by the people of Scotland, the responsible course for the government is to manage the division in an orderly and effective manner.

    It comes back to what action Unionists should be taking now to address the concerns of the people of Scotland in order to persuade them of the benefits of the Union, and that separatism is undesirable.

    Note – that action does not include blocking or delaying a referendum, that merely plays into the hands of separtists. It is about listening and understanding; identifying and addressing problems; alleviating fears about loss of identity; and in so doing, demonstrating that the Union delivers real tangible benefits.

    The SNP hope that a Tory government after the next election will remind Scots of the fears and loathing which Labour whipped up north of the border in the 1980s. Their greatest fear however is that a Tory government will reveal that Scotland’s woes are as much to do with weak and corrupt Labour local administrations in the central belt as any deliberate oppression by Sassenachs, and that a responsive Conservatiove & Unionist Party really can deliver positive change on both sides of the border.

    On a philosophical level, it is worth noting that Fear is a weapon which feeds one’s enemies, while Hope is a tool to win converts. Fear only works while the wielder is strong. Hope works best when the wielder is weak.

  32. Paul h

    I think you misundestood me.
    My point is that if Britain didn’t allow the referendum, if Salmond hosted the referendum even though he has no permision, as it is illegal to just declare yourself independant without consulting the rest of the Union, no one would recognise Scotland, obviously if Britain said, “ok go ahead, have a referendum on the issue” and then “ok you want independanct take it” then the rest of the world would recognise it, just like everyone in the world recognises Montenegro after it asked permision for a referendum to leave and was granted it, Kosovo wasn’t granted it, so that is why 75% of the world doesn;t recognise Kosovo, depite its 99.5% mandate, as the Government of Serbia didn’t authorise it so it is illegal.

    If Scotland tomorrow was to hold a referendum, and Scotland said yes, Gordon Brown (I doubt he would) could refuse to allow it citing it as illegal. Cameron would almost certainly do this, Cameron won’t allow us a vote on Lisbon treaty, do you really think he;d allow Scotland to just split from a country he was running.

    Scotland can;t get independance without the rest of Britain’s consent, as it is not the Scots who own Scotland, its the Brits who own Britain, I have the freedom to go and live in Scotland if I want, I am entitled to go anywhere in Britain as I am British, if you want to blockade a bit of it off, then you have to consult either myself in a referendum or my government.

    This is one of the reasons that Serbia doesn’t allow Kosovo, there are Serbian Orthodox statues and buildings located in Kosovo, which the people of serbia should be able to visit at any time, but by declaring independance, and puting up borders they have taken away the Serbs freedom to visit a part of their own country.

    I am British so am entitled to go to any part of Britain, again if you want to change that, you need the consent of people in a referendum or from my government. Any other action is illegal.

  33. Max,

    In order for Scotland to have a referendum, there would need to be a legislative framework to conduct this. The SNP cannot do that on its own (though that could change if they won an outright majority at the 2011 Holyrood election), so any referendum would have at the least implicit support from the unionist parties. Since, whoever instigated it, the Unionist parties would presumably actively campaign for a vote in favour of Scotland remaining in the Union, they could then not simply reject the result if it goes against them.

    It is a moot point whether any legislation on a referendum would have to be passed through Westminster or could be done at Holyrood. But then again, legal technicalities cannot be used to deny democratic desires. If Holyrood passed a motion requesting a referendum, do you seriously think the Government at Westminster would refuse to allow one ? [They could of course take the opportunity to frame the question and timetable in a way to best support the Union but that is a different matter.]

    Please don’t keep referring to the Serbia / Kosovo example. It really is not relevant in the context of Scotland. Kosovo was a Serbian province in which ethnic Albanians eventually grew to be a majority. That is more akin to the Irish population of Merseyside declaring UDI.

    As to your comments about Lisbon, I think you misunderstand the reality of being leader of the opposition. Mr Cameron can no more give us a referendum on Lisbon today than he can give us a general election. Only the PM can do that, and Mr Cameron is not (yet) PM. Once he is, he will have to deal with the situation as he finds it, which may not be as he would wish it. There is a world of difference between being able to say – “I do not want to make the change proposed” and “I wish to reverse a change that has already been implemented”. This is true for any form of constitutional change, and is why Blair is culpable for his incompetent tinkering which has left our country’s constitutional architecture in such a mess.

  34. Paul H

    Stop talking to me like an idiot please. I show you respect so may I ask for the same respect back.

    Ofcourse I know Cameron isn’t PM yet, I NEVER suggested he was, I jus mentioned, that he wont give us a referendum, Ken Clarke has said that much on Daily Politics Show, so do you want to say the same comment you just made to me to Ken Clarke.

    And the only reason you dont want me to use Kosovo is because it proves my point, you need the governement to give permission, Salmond can go ahead if he likes, BUT WITHOUT GOVERNMENT APPROVAL IT MEANS NOTHING.

    Now let me clear any things that you may try and twist, I know that if they allow a referendum then they would have to abide by it, but why can’t you seem to grasp the fact that, the government might say no to a referendum in the first place.

    Salmond asks, give us a referendum, the government says no, just like they are currently denying us a referendum on the Eu, and shall continue to do even when Cameron is in power.

    You don’t have to grant an area a referendum, otherwise, I could say I want my road to have a referendum on independance, and if a majority of us agree, you’ve got to let my road be an independant country.

    Also, if you dont like the Kosovo example, South Ossettia, Abkazia, and Negorno Kerabkh, all are areas who want independance, have had a referendum and got independance, but no single country in the world recognises them, because the Government didnt allow it.

    Can you see that now Paul???

  35. Anthony,

    The Independence and Scottish polls seem a bit out of date equally the calculations on the GE predictor.

    I know the Scottish page isn’t a huge priority nor should it be on a Uk site, but if the trend the Scottish polls are suggesting is correct then a loss of seats by Labour to the SNP in Scotland could well have an impact on the size of any Tory majority in an election.

    I think that starting with a Scottish predictor but eventually adding a series of regional predictions and then creating a UK prediction by agregating the regional results might ultimately be more accurate.

    Peter.

    Peter.

  36. I agree with Peter, the G.E. results in the Scottish dynamic might well dictate hung parliament or governing majority.

    Given especially that the polls are moving in opposite directions than the UK wide polling data anyway (given that the UK pollign suggests a Liberal recovery at Labours expense and in Scotland their polling range seems to be; with a few rare exceptions; somewhere around 11-14%)

  37. Max,

    The fundamental difference between all the examples you cite and Scotland is that in all these cases they are provinces seeking independance from the country of which they have formed a historic part.

    Scotland is not and never has been a “province” of anywhere. It was a sovereign nation state which willingly joined with another sovereign nation state to create a new united sovereign state. If it no longer wished to be a part of that union, it can and should revert to being an independant sovereign state.

    Please note that the case of Scotland is different from that of Wales (effectively conquered by England in 12th century) or Northern Ireland (a Province of Ireland, itself subsumed into the United Kingdom, which declined to follow the rest of Ireland into an independant state).

    It comes back to my core point. If one wants to preserve the Union (as I do) then the case in favour of the Union needs to be put clearly and positively in advance of any referendum in a manner which either renders a referendum unnecessary – because the demands for it abate – or secures a victory for the Union in any such referendum.

    Focusing one’s efforts on how to block any decision in favour of separation after it has been democratically expressed is like planning trip-wires in the stable-yard instead of ensuring an ample supply of oats hay and water in the stall.

  38. I would akin it more to barricading the door, the horse cant get out at all.

  39. Max,

    Fine. But what’s the point of owning a thoroughbred if you don’t allow it some exercise ?

    Look after it well, and it will be happy to stay.

    Cage and constrain it, and it will fret and underperform.

    We cannot force the Scots to remain reluctant members of the UK. That way we all waste our efforts on dealing with perceived gripes and grievances from both sides of the border.

    We need to show Scots why it is in their interests to be actively engaged in advancing the Union for the benefit of all Britons – as Scots nobly and ably did for pretty much all of the first 300 years after the union.

    The support for independance has only emerged in the past 30-40 years since Labour managed to gain a stranglehold on Scotland’s electorate – then has taken its support for granted.

    Only the Conservatives can rebuild that lost trust by demonstrating that Scotland’s concerns are being listened to, understood and acted on. There is clear evidence that Annabel Goldie (affectionately known as Aunty Bella in Scotland) is doing just that, but it is not a quick or easy task.

    Preserving the Union may now be a race against time, but it can only be won by engaging with Scoland’s electorate and promoting support for the Conservative & Unionist party. Labour is discredited and the LDs appear impotent. So, the more Tory MPs are elected north of the border, the safer the union will be.

    I say that not just because I am a conservative unionist, but because it is also a necessary antidote to the potential for little Englanders who push the view that Britain would be better off without Scotland to gain traction within the UK government.

  40. Hi.
    I rarely look at myself as English, I see myself as a British citizen who lives in the UK, but I still see the other nations in the union as they are; Nations. I hope right down to the bottom of my heart that the union never breaks, we have too much progressive history to just throw it all away! This in my eyes is not evolution, it is the complete opposite. In this day and age the world is not made up of petty kingdoms, every country is on the world stage so why become less as a world power just to satisfy a few over inflated egos. No country will benefit from this split and would undermine our status as a world power.

    Look at what we have achieved with the union. we created the greatest empire the world has ever known, we have touched every corner of the globe.

    We kick started the industrial revolution and have invented machines and devices that have changed the world!

    Our culture is known across the globe and are recognised as a potent world power! On the same level as countries many times our size.

    We have stopped many a dictatorship together Napoleon, Hitler, kaiser Wilhelm just to name a few.

    We stood shoulder to shoulder against the threat of murder and Nazi dictatorship and yet again together we stood firm.

    This is just to name a few, could we have done this alone i think not.

    Lastly how are any of these seperate countries possibly going to sustain themselves money wise? all four countries are going to be &*?! poor and seen as some back drop on the world stage aswell as seeing our countries drift into obscurity in the back pages of history.

    I’m not sure what Scotland is going to do for money, that oil won’t last forever and they can’t make any real money anyother way. I seem to recall that IF Scotland gained independence they would join the EU… That doesn’t make sense to me, swapping the economic, cultural and historical values of the so called “dictatorship” union for a real dictatorship that WILL steal your or our oil and will make a good 90% of your laws. It is madness!
    It is up to Scotland if they want to stay or not but I think it would be a huge lapse of judgment that will benifet no one.

  41. I agree with Paul. The best way to deal with this is to sort out the problems at the source. Scotland obviously feels left out and unwanted in many ways and the MP’s need to persuade the people of Scotland that nationalistic suicide is not worthwhile. I love Scotland, it is beautiful, the people are great and I believe it is a important part of the union. You just have to look at the union jack, the very foundation of that flag in Scotland with it’s blue and white.

  42. The union jack is recognised the world over and it is a shining beacon to all that shows what it is to be a multi-nation union and what it is to be multi-cultural union! This is something people should be proud of, not hate.

  43. In all of Max King’s examples, he doesn’t mention Montenegro, which recently became independent of Serbia with full acceptance. He also ignores the fact that Taiwan, despite its extremely limited recognition, is most definitely a functionally independent country and a successful one at that.

    Both RJP and Max King have talked about the positive recognition of the UK worldwide. But this is inaccurate. Many people see Britain, like America, as an unwanted imperialistic force. This has increased greatly in recent years due to the government of both countries approach to the war in Iraq. The UK has for a fews decades now become a second-rate power, not a potent world power.

    Scotland is certainly not going to go without money. Whether its economy will get better or worse, on the other hand, is a valid question. And I think Scotland will follow Ireland’s example in getting better.

    On a Conservative government making the problem better:
    Conservatives have never had a high percentage in Scotland. The only parties to ever be the major party in Scotland are Labour and, since 2007, SNP. And it doesn’t look to change to the Conservatives any time soon. There have already been several governments of the UK that were Conservative though but these were rarely popular in Scotland.

    On the EU being a dictatorship that makes 90% of your laws(RJP):The UK is already a part of the EU. Does that mean that 90% of UK law is made in Brussels? Because that’s wrong. There are many things on which the EU doesn’t have laws. These things are either dealt with at a Scotland(e.g. age of marriage) or UK level (e.g. military).

    On the UK stopping dictators:
    Well, they didn’t do anything to stop Augusto Pinochet, who was helped into power by America. And going back to the 19th century or further gives countless examples of abuse by the British Empire.

    Anonymous:
    Greece becoming “voiceless, powerless, and useless nation” (I find that’s exagerration in any case) is more to do with the military might of the Ottoman Empire of the time than because of Greeks being nationalistic. How is loving Britain any less nationalistic than being Scottish nationalist?

    And governments like those of Stalin are hardly caring much about nationalism. Doesn’t make them any less evil.

    I don’t see independence as about negative sentiments but about a country deciding for itself whatit wants to do.

  44. Filling in the gaps … This is a dull contribution but, for the sake of maintaining full and updated records, the % breakdown from the 2006 SSA survey on the Scotland constitutional options question is as follows:

    Scot not in UK or EU – 11%
    Scot not in UK in EU – 22%
    Scot in UK with tax power – 50%
    Scot in UK and no tax power – 7%
    Scot in UK, no parliament – 10%

    (Weighted and percentages rounded)

  45. Anthony,

    This is from an SNP press release.

    The SNP’s Depute Leader and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has
    welcomed the results of the TNS-BMRB (formerly TNS System 3) poll
    conducted for STV’s Politics Now programme which shows that the SNP would boost their number of seats at Holyrood to 57 – an increase of ten.

    The results of the poll are:

    * Constituency result (with change from 2007 in bracket)

    SNP: 39% (+6)
    Labour: 32% (0)
    Tory: 12% (-5)
    LibDem: 11% (-5)
    Other: 7% (+5)

    * Regional result (with change from 2007 in bracket)

    SNP: 39% (+8)
    Labour: 29% (0)
    Tory: 10% (-4)
    LibDem: 12% (+1)
    Green: 5% (+1)

    Projected Number of Seats:

    SNP: 57 (+10)
    Labour: 43 (-3)
    Tory: 11 (-6)
    LibDem: 15 (-1)
    Green: 3 (+2)

    Q1 Since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999 do you think it
    has achieved a lot, a little or nothing at all?

    A lot – 20%
    A little – 53%
    Nothing at all – 15%
    Don’t know – 12%

    Note:

    The results of Q1 can be compared with a MORI Scotland poll question
    commissioned by ‘Politics Now’ in September 2004 to mark the opening of
    the Holyrood building. The wording was the same:

    Since the Scottish Parliament was established in 1999 do you think it has
    achieved a lot, a little or nothing at all?

    A lot – 8%
    A little – 49%
    Nothing at all – 36%
    Don’t know – 7%

    Peter.

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