Monday, 9 January 2012

The Gloves Are Off!

David Cameron's outburst on the Marr Show yesterday has the unionists thinking they have the upper hand, or so today's MSM would have us believe, now the No 10 media hacks have had time to spring into action by distributing their press releases anywhere and everywhere. Ms Lamont, leader of Labour in Scotland, has been conspicuous by her absence in the past 24 hours. Labour's response will be interesting - if there is one.

The Scottish government's Referendum Bill may contain legal issues which may only be resolved by the UK Supreme Court, but is Cameron sensible to intrude in such a heavy-handed manner?  Opinions abound in this morning's papers which persist in quoting from the Tory peer Lord Forsyth - because he is said to be leading the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK.

"The idea that we should decide the fate of the UK on the basis of the date of a medieval battle when we are in the middle of a financial crisis and youth unemployment of one in four would be laughable if it wasn't so serious."

How can Lord Forsyth expect the majority of Scots to take remarks like the above seriously, when the very mention of his name takes me back to St Andrew's Day 1996, when he was Scottish Secretary of State. The headlines on the BBC that night included pictures of a solemn Michael Forsyth walking, from Holyrood Palace to Edinburgh Castle, behind an armoured glass vehicle which displayed a lump of stone on a plinth. This oddest of occasions marked the return of the Stone of Destiny to Scotland. Perhaps I should say it marked the loan of the Stone to Scotland because the Westminster government, to this day, insist it belongs in Westminster Abbey.

Along with others far more elite than myself, I have doubts about the authenticity of the boulder and felt bemused when I saw it sitting, absurdly, on a few feet of material in a glass case in Edinburgh Castle. It sybolised the Westminster's control of Scotland and nothing more.

However, now David Cameron has decided to become involved personally, the stakes are higher. Unlike Michael Forsyth's long diminished influence on Scottish life, Cameron has the power to take control of Scotland's future.

The people are no longer impressed by the same old spin such as the Scottish government's timeline for the referendum is adversely affecting Scottish businesses, but many will be slightly irked by the Westminster government 'source' who said:

"We are not going to allow this issue to be decided on the basis of a rigged debate organised by Salmond. It is going to be a fair debate.
"I think it's very unfair on the Scottish people themselves, who don't really know when this question is going to be asked, what the question is going to be, who's responsible for asking it. And I think we owe the Scottish people something that is fair, legal and decisive.

To imply Alex Salmon and his government would rig the debate is invidious.

Will it be a clean fight?  Of course not, but I can hope that supporters of independence keep their opinions free of derisory remarks and remember the idiom 'sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me'.

The gloves are off!


William said...
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Nikostratos said...

the gloves are off??? since when did the Nationalist wear them

Anonymous said...

Great post SR.

I say bring on Mr Forsyth. Let him lead in Scotland right next to the posh rich English man.

Forsyth was a relic and total out of touch 25 years ago. He thought seriously that putting a piece of stone in Edinburgh Castle would get rid of all this nationalism.

Good heavens, that was before he was tucked away in that mausoleum that is the house of lords.

I suspect Camrgoon has made yet another of his foolish, knee jerk decisions, and will live to regret it.

Bring it on, I say. With 38% against independence, 39% for and the rest to play for, in the last opinion poll, I'm all for bully-boy tactics from Westminster.

JRB said...

Congratulations Mr Cameron!

Thanks to your heavy-handed, bullying and aggressive attitude, you have rekindled an aspect of the Scottish character not often seen.

As Scots we are all inherently – thrawn - being told what to do and when to do it goes, very much, against the grain.

You and your ilk at Westminster will now find that, perversely, those Scots previously disinterested in separation and nationalism now want it more than anything.

Thank you Mr Cameron for boosting the SNP cause.

Anonymous said...


Given your desire for certainty about the state of the union between Scotland and England, would you like to call upon your friend, Mr Cameron, to call for a referendum at the same time on the future of England (and the rest of the UK) in another union, which causes far more uncertainty than the whether Scotland should continue to be a part of England.

That of the European Union, which he clearly does not wish to interfere in the ability of the City to make shed-loads of money. Surely the British people have made it clear that they dislike being part of it for entirely different reasons, and feel that they would do far better on their own, in partnership, of course, with the USA.

Britons need to be certain about that too.

subrosa said...

In what way would the debate be rigged William? Postal voting? Naw, that's the action of Labour.

Most Scots have known for some time that the SNP's aim is for an independent Scotland.

As for your final paragraph, you've been reading too many novels.

subrosa said...

We don't need them Niko, I was referring to the Coalition.

subrosa said...

Tris, there are posh, rich Scots folk as well you know. :)

Yes I think he's opened a can of worms now and there's no way back for him. Stupidly he's made this public announcement and will have to carry our his promises, or he'll look foolish.

subrosa said...

He's most certainly boosted it JRB. It will be interesting how his words develop into actions.

pa_broon74 said...

Also, William.

AS at the SNP 2011 Conference said quite categorically in his speech that the SNP would be arguing for nothing short of full independence as and would offer a yes/no question.

It was only in answer to polls that suggested some people might favour 'devo-max' that they (the SNP) would be prepared to include it on the ballot but OTHERS would have to make the running for it. He said it clearly and concisely and, indeed, since May last year, the SNP have stuck to exactly what they said they'd do in terms of the referendum.

I wouldn't trust Cameron and Westminster to offer a fair referendum, not a chance.

Its true to say the SNP won't get a resounding yes to independence at this time but that is because the propaganda and years of brainwashing by the british state needs further undoing, time will reveal the truth of this situation between Scotland and Westminster.

And your statement about nationalists having a hatred for the English is utter mince so not worthy of a response.

A lot of people are talking as if there are two parties to this union, there's actually three each with its own interests and needs: Scotland, England and the 'British State'. I'll let you figure out who has what agenda in their collective heads.

William said...
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Key bored warrior. said...

"The Nationalists will probably object because of their pathological hatred of the English. It really highlights the sheer lunacy of that party that they will be outraged at an independence referendum in Scotland - the very reason for their existence."

It is precisely the kind of babbling we see in the above statement that has rendered the unionists impotent, they are reduced to ancient hackneyed scaremongering play ground rabble rousing and look increasingly desperate and frightened.

When challenged of course they are never able to back up their lies with proof. Just as the lie that "all this uncertainty is putting of companies from investing in Scotland." never ever gets stated with actual proof.

Of course there are companies that will not be investing in the new independent Scotland and that will be the foreign Nuclear power companies who are desperate to cash in on the promised Klondike of decades more subsidy from a UK government who if they had their way would force Scotland to build new nuclear for supping England. (Ooops I mentioned the E word, there goes that pathological hatred again.)

It was suggested by me some time ago that it would be poetic justice to have the referendum vote on the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn, it was on The Scotsman forum and a bit of a wind up, I am so glad the MSM have picked it up and ran with it.

Labour called the last referendum on the 11th September 1997, for devolution. now if my memory serves me correctly that was the 700th anniversary of another famous battle when the Scots routed the English, in the first of the wars of independence which we won.

The Battle of Stirling Bridge was a battle of the First War of Scottish Independence. On 11 September 1297, the forces of Andrew Moray and William Wallace defeated the combined English forces of John de Warenne, 6th Earl of Surrey and Hugh de Cressingham near Stirling, on the River Forth.

Have a nice day you all.

William said...
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Oldrightie said...

It's a sad business. Confrontational politics are just about manipulation. Setting tribes agin one another is more Afghan and Iraqi than British.

My fervent Unionism is illustrated here

When she asked why they risked torture and death to save her the answer was "Because we're British".

The EU love this break up idea, makes their desires easier to accomplish. Somebody else talked of divide and rule last week. How apt the Scots seem hell bent to help them.

Key bored warrior. said...

William William, calm down dear, who mentioned Glencoe and crofts are you hearing voices?

Massive trading blocks. What next? New World order, one world government, population control,who will we be paying our taxes to on Williams World?

Go and lie down in a dark room and play some soothing music, not that Wagner stuff that gets you so upset.

JRB said...
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JRB said...


I would refer you to the Crofters Comission

FYI - There are still some 18,027 working crofts in Scotland with more than 33,000 people living in these crofting households.
The amount of land under crofting tenure covers some 800,000 hectares, which accounts for over 25% of the agricultural land in the Highlands and Islands.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

So the passive lion has mewed!

I'm fairly sure that's exactly what the rampant lion has been waiting for.

As to the timing, you have to wonder what the 'powers that be' believe the position of the UK will be in 2014/15 that induces them towards an earlier test?

Is it just vanity to ensure the diktat of Westminster maintains its precedence, or real and benevolent concern for the well-being of the Scottish people within the UK 'family'.

I'll leave the reader to sort that one out since I've no desire to be branded as a pathological democrat.

Personally I find its more difficult to evaluate Westminster's democratic 'concerns' than that of squaring the circle, to more measuring the volume of a burst bubble.

Instances, such as the cancellation of carbon capture projects, the re-routing of pipelines and boundaries et al. And, especially when the first mentioned is followed within a week by a £1.8 bn investment in Petro Bas for exploration way down South America way, somehow don't equate with true concern.

Questions have been raised over the 'legitimacy' of a Holyrood referendum as opposed to a Westminster version.

The argument is the first would be advisory and possibly subject to legal challenge while the second would not because it is instigated by Westminster. Hardly a levelling of the playing field and you have to ask - since when was the Law given legitimacy to query, interfere or proscribe the result obtained by a democratic mandate?

As to the Devo Max proposition - it was not introduced by Salmond nor has it been referred to other than as a side issue for very sensible reasons. The main one of which it is blatantly rhetorical for the sake of division. Westminster, hoping the problem will disappear accuse Salmond and the SNP of not revealing their strategies or the case for independence yet apply the same obfuscation to the solution they offer?

Surely, while we all want to know the reasoning and purpose behind the inner temples of independence it's only reasonable - some might argue required - for the power that argues for its superiority and legitimacy to define exactly what it means. Is it Devo Max - Min or merely as little as it can get away with?

JJ said...

To say Alex Salmond would rig the vote is disgraceful...he is a canny politician yes...but also an honourable one.

English Pensioner said...

Who are the Scots who are going to be allowed to have a say? All those persons currently on the electoral rolls in Scotland can hardly be called Scots, didn't someone once say that there are far more Scots outside than within Scotland?
My son-in-law was born in Edinburgh, as was his sister. He is working down south because there was no work in his field in Scotland, his sister is working in Australia. Both would like to return home if the opportunity arose. Surely they should both have a say in the matter? My wife had a Scottish grandfather and her late uncles served in Scottish regiments, should she have her say?
What about the English, now resident in Scotland? I know quite a few. Probably they would vote to remain part of the Union. Then there is a further question, if Scotland is independent, will all these Scots outside the country be able to claim Scottish nationality?
I support the idea of a referendum, but the question of whom should vote could be quite contentious - I would suggest only those who were born in Scotland, whether resident or not.
And from the English position, I trust that on independence, Scotland will take a proportionate share of the National Debt, shall we say based on the Barnett formula for current funding!
There are a lot of questions which should be answered before a referendum, not afterwards.
I fully support the concept of referenda on any significant issues, and there is hope that this one could give us English our independence, but I still feel that the Scots will vote against independence once questions, similar to those that I've posed, start getting answered.

Anonymous said...

Oh I know there are posh people in Scotland, SR: I'm one of them. And I know about the rich ones too. Most of my family are. :)

But the point is that it's not rich Scots that are telling the Scots what is good for them, it's rich Englishmen.

Malcolm Rifkind pointed out that one of Mrs Thatcher's problems in Scotland was that she was a bossy woman, and worse she was a bossy English woman.

He grasped the fact that that went down badly in Scotland. He says he used to cringe when she came here and used the phrase "we in Scotland"...

Well we all know what happened to the Tory vote when she was in charge...

William said...
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Brian said...

Thee's an awful lot of heat and smoke generated when what's needed for all parties is clarity and coolness. Reading many of the comments, it appears to me that part of the problem is that many character traits are shared by Scots and English - likes repel but opposites attract. History is important to define a nation, but instead of looking back at battles for justification, wouldn't it be better to look forward to a better future for both countries?
Sorry for ending with a fly in the ointment but allowing the never used SVR to lapse was an obvious bit of politrickery - mightn't independence involve higher taxation like Ireland and wouldn't a test have given a better idea of what might happen post referendum?

pa_broon74 said...


"Key bored warrior, you must be half-asleep. China, USA, India, the EU. The world is about numbers now. Markets. That's where the money and the power is."

USA? A fiscal basket case, China? Heading for a similar crunch as we had in 2008 (read Golem's blog.) The EU? enough said. And India? A huge GDP that is thoroughly rubbished when worked out on a per-head basis (it goes from number 3 or 4 to 120th-ish in the tables by the per-head measure.

Small countries? Norway, doing quite nicely. Finland and Sweden, all stable and sitting pretty in terms of quality of life. Even Iceland, the so-called centre-point of the 'arc of insolvency' is on the come back. Ireland despite it's woes still has a higher quality of lfe than all the countries you mention.

As for who gets to vote? That is a tricky one that boils down to practicalities. Its easy to check who's been living here for a set period of time regardless of country of birth, plus it has an inclusiveness I find appealing. I do think the diaspora should be considered but I'm not sure how that could be worked out.

I do know that refering to incomers from Gdansk or Lagos as being 'clowns' fills in the blanks nicely about where you're coming from though.

To date, while some commenters supporting the SNP mightr have been enthusiastic, comments from the SNP have been cool and clear, to me at least. There seems to be a lot of people deliberately getting the wrong end of the stick then using flawed information to inflame the debate, the idea of devo-max being an SNP idea being the main misperception springs to mind.

Also, what was the 'SVR'? Just curious.

subrosa said...

William, the SNP have never stated they wished to introduce alternatives, they've always stuck to the Yes/No question.

Salmond mentioned, not too long ago, that if the unionists wanted another question, he would be flexible.

You say 'Scotland continues to suffer political and economic flux'. A wee bit irony there William. Aye it's true that we've suffered from both all my life but you can't blame the SNP for it all - no matter how much you'd like to. :)

Immigrants are in all countries. I once lived in England and other countries so I have been one myself.

On the dotted line William, on the dotted line.:)

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

Scottish Variable Rate (on income tax)

subrosa said...

Thanks for your contribution KBW. Excellent.

Have a nice evening.

subrosa said...

It was Diane Abbott who said that last week William and she was speaking about the white British.

subrosa said...

Oh Crinkly, you will be labelled as a pathological democrat no doubt. :)

Thanks for adding to the debate with such sensible points.

subrosa said...

I would qualify that slightly JJ, he's one of the more honourable. They're few and far between.

subrosa said...

Interesting views EP and I also find that one of my family was - due to circumstances - born in England, which I suppose makes them English although they have a long list of Scottish ancestors on both sides.

The sensible way though is for the folk on the electoral role I suppose, but it is something which will be debated further.

The logistics would be a nightmare if all diaspora were involved.

subrosa said...

I know you're posh Tris. :)

I hate to admit it but one of my bridge partners thinks I'm bossy. So much so that many think he's my husband and he never corrects them. Needless to say I've had a word with his wife. :)

It wasn't her bossiness that upset her colleagues, it was because she was a woman who managed to control some very strong-minded, opinionated men.

A breed apart I say. I'll tell you how Meryl Streep depicts her once I've seen the film.

subrosa said...

William, if you don't attend the party you don't get the drinks and winks.

subrosa said...

You can end with as many flies in ointment as you like Brian.

Don't forget, it was the Lab/Libdem coalition who let the SVR lapse. The SNP just continued it.

Anon said...

An independent Scotland could be as happy, peaceful and wealthy as Switzerland.

- Aangirfan

subrosa said...

It could well be Aangirfan although we need to up the skilled workforce by better education.

Apogee said...

Hi SR.Did it strike you as odd that when a large part of the UK population want a referendum to get us out of the EU,Cameron suddenly offers Scotland one, seemingly as long as its within 18 months. Do we have an attempt at confusion and misdirection , in the hope that neither will actually happen, and hope that the failures will all be blamed on that old scapegoat, A N Other,and not on the real culprits, the Coalition Government ?

subrosa said...

It did strike me as odd Apogee but I put it down to 'diversity'.

Michele said...

Key bored warrior

I am really delighted that you may be linking this referendum to the Battle of Selkirk Bridge/Bannockburn or whatever - that'll humiliate the English and what a party that will be!!

In fact, I am so excited about it I'm offering my fellow English people a chance to emulating another world breaking Scottish Innovation : Let's return the favour; we can break out the booze on the following dates:

Date Claimers:
3rd January - Battle Of Falkirk - 1746
16th April – Battle of Culloden - 1746
27th April - Battle of Dunbar, 1296
19th July - Battle of Halidon Hill - 1333
22nd July, - Battle of Falkirk - 1298 (in retaliation for Wallace’s victory at Stirling Bridge
5th August - Battle of Otterburn - 1388
12th August - Battle of Dupplin Moor - 1332
22nd August - Battle of the Standard - 1138
2nd September - Battle of Dunbar - 1650
9th September - Battle of Flodden - 1513
10th September - Battle of Pinkie - 1547
14th September - Battle of Homildon Hill - 1402
17th October - Battle of Neville's Cross - 1346
24th November - Battle of Solway Moss - 1542

If we both start polishing up some more ancient battles we can stay drunk for a full year. What's not to love?

strapworld said...

Subrosa, I have said before that Scotland should have Independence if they voted for it. BUT I also said that in the matter of leaving the UK ALL of the UK should be asked if they agree.

But I am afraid that the future is not going to be bright for Scotland alone. Like your football it will always be third rate.

You may be world champs at curling but that, sadly, emphasises how boring some of you can be.

Good luck to all my friends in St. Andrews consider applying for your visa's to visit England.

subrosa said...

We have to agree to disagree on this strapworld. Why should another country vote on my personal matters?

We'll be rated by the effort we make to succeed and that won't be third - unless at football. :)

Visas? Now you're getting silly.

subrosa said...

Michele, although your comment is for KBW, I have to say it's great.

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