Scotland, Submarines and Shipbuilding

As the Scottish referendum approaches the the issue of what would happen to nuclear submarines and shipbuilding continues to exercise many peoples thinking.

The simple fact is that it would be politically inconceivable that either major surface combat vessel shipbuilding and nuclear submarine basing (including the Trident facilities) would remain in Scotland.

Once that has been realised it comes down to practicalities.

Let’s not forget, the facilities and equipment is partially owned by the Scottish taxpayer so any calculation of cost would of course need to take that into account. The practical issue of where, when and who pays becomes the issue at hand.

The independence debate has sometimes descended into foolishness but if the people of Scotland wish full independence then the people of Scotland must face the consequences. Equally, the rest of the UK must respect the wishes of the Scottish people, stop moaning and get on with it.

Whether the remainder of the UK builds naval vessels at Portsmouth of bases Trident at Barrow is detail but one thing is for sure, it will not be in Scotland.

There are many deeply complex issues to resolve but at the end of the day it comes down to this

JCB 640x426 Scotland, Submarines and Shipbuilding

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408 thoughts on “Scotland, Submarines and Shipbuilding

  1. Chris

    TD – ref “Let’s not forget, the facilities and equipment is partially owned by the Scottish taxpayer so any calculation of cost would of course need to take that into account” – equally let’s not forget those facilities (perhaps minus some of the machinery and equipment) would remain in place – the slips, docks, harbours & sheds are not things you pick up and stick on a lorry to go south. I know Salmond expects everything he wants from Westminster to be given for free while charging a king’s ransom for anything he might be forced to hand south, but fair’s fair – the British taxpayer funded much of the Naval/shipbuilding infrastructure as well as the equipment and machinery, not the Scottish taxpayer alone.

    Somewhere along the line the Salmond campaign managed to make out the departing Scots (if he gets his way) are the injured party and they deserve financial compensation from Westminster for the unfair imposition of the costs of independence. How did that happen? Does it need to be writ large that under this (pretty insulting) referendum, Scotland is choosing whether to leave the UK – to depart, to walk out, to turn its back on the UK. It is not, despite the SNP battlecries, expelling England, Wales and Northern Ireland from the Union as foul spongers on Scottish beneficence…

  2. Roders

    Has anyone thought about shifting the nuclear deterrent to a form other than sub launched ICBM?

    Fair does, nuclear tipped TLAM from astute wouldn’t be as effective, but it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than successor, may even allow us to increase the amount of hunter killer subs aswell :)

  3. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Boss – completely agree – but there are a very considerable number of Salmondistas who would give you an argument on that…their position is that we will move the Nukes as instructed and still keep on building warships with them indefinitely…I hope to see it defended coherently in subsequent comments, but with no great expectations.

    The questions I keep going back to is if there is a Crown Base type solution for Faslane? The SNP now seem committed to keeping the Queen, and it is when all’s said and done Her Majesties CASD…it says so on the Boats. :-)

    More seriously – although less probably – could this be the flashpoint for real trouble? What happens if negotiations start and the UK confirm that a currency union or further defence contracts are red-line issues; the UK will only stand behind bank deposits and other financial instruments (ISA’s, Pensions et al) provided by Banks with UK HQs and predominantly UK Operations; the UK Government believe that CASD can’t be moved for ten years, and NATO broadly accept that timetable; and although the UK will back EU membership for Scotland, they have advice at Heads of Government/Commission level that Spain, Italy and Belgium will all resist any fast-tracking and others will oppose the continuation of key opt-outs…

    And then the Salmondista Irredentists turn up in force at Faslane, and some…drunk and exuberant…start targeting perceived “English” targets for vandalism and arson…

    Very Gloomy Northern Boy.

  4. oldreem

    Why not a SBA for Rosyth and Coulport, as per Cyprus? Surely the local employees at least would welcome it. Regarding shipbuilding, although taxpayer owned and subsidised, isn’t it BAE’s call? They would hardly have decided to close Portsmouth unless confident that either a) UKEWNI would continue to place orders in an independent Scotland, and/or b) Salmond hadn’t a hope of winning – and they’d have been rash to go on b) alone.

    P.S. Just seen GNB has commented likewise in parallel.

  5. Not a Boffin

    “Has anyone thought about shifting the nuclear deterrent to a form other than sub launched ICBM?

    Fair does, nuclear tipped TLAM from astute wouldn’t be as effective, but it would be a hell of a lot cheaper than successor, may even allow us to increase the amount of hunter killer subs aswell ”

    Rod(d?)ers – yes. Many times. It’s still b0llocks. Do some reading. Gary Google is your friend.

  6. Observer

    Roders, we actually covered this a while ago. The other alternatives are land based silos and the cruise missile option that you mentioned.

    Land based silos are rather NIMBY facilities (Not In My Back Yard), no one wants a nuclear missile silo near his home and the anti-nuke protesters will have a clear target to go nuts over. Land based silos are also rather prominent, which means that they are vulnerable to a first strike that can leave the deterrent in ruins as opposed to a sub which could be anywhere.

    Cruise missiles, strong objection from a lot of people here. Cruise missiles are really not that fast and agile. An old 1970s interceptor has a very good chance of shooting one down once detected, and these days, you have look down radar. Once that happens, you literally have just handed your enemy a live nuke to toss back at you or at least enough nuclear material to recreate one. ICBMs, while also possible to shoot down, are much, much harder to intercept and require specialized systems. This also means that to replace an ICBM, you need a lot more cruise missiles to try slip one through his defences by saturation with numbers, in essence, you replaced a single nuke with 10s to 100s of smaller ones.

  7. Nick

    Excuse my ignorance, but aren’t the Scottish yards owned by BAe (and neither government in fact). Wouldn’t where the Type26′s are built be a commercial issue for BAe to decide ?

    If politically the rUK government wanted to instruct BAe to move ship building into a rUK location instead of on the Clyde, I would have thought BaE would close the Clyde yards nd require rUK to pay for at least part of the development cost in the non-preferred UK location.

    On the Naval bases, practically the rUK navy would move out and the bases would be closed or used for any future Scottish Navy (or we could lease them back). The SNP might like to claim it can have its cake and eat it (ie we can take the Scottish assets, but not the debt, because we own x% of the government assets in the UK), but this would really be a highly complex negotiation, probably on a point by point basis.

    There would be 2 options surely :
    a) Soviet Union approach – the newco gets to keep all assets on its soil at the point of devolution (technically the Soviet states were independent already) or
    b) Newco Scotland buys the assets from the old government

    If Scotland votes for devolution, some sort of deal needs to be struck either way. Pretending that x% of rUK assets are worth the same as (100-x%) of Scottish assets is only for political consumption. You’d need to market value all government owned assets in the UK and agree what % of UK GDP Scotland represents and then do the calculation to determine of Scotland owed rUK or not. Alternatively, you could just agree an amount/approach (eg x% of total UK government debt).

  8. monkey

    @TD
    Is that JCB (a great British company , my niece works there) all ready started on the new wall , if that’s it in the background a great start !

    On a more serious note , what about the share of things that go bang , on land ,sea or air . Have they stated what, if any thing, they want tanks , ships , planes ? Maybe the Scots will be like Costa Rica and constitutionally abolish armed forces ? as if :-)

    Personally regarding the warship building aspect I hate to say but after the T26′s are finished very little will be built in this country that could not be accomplished at the existing yards in the remainder of the UK. larger vessels perhaps be built in partner ship , say like CVF built as blocks here, fitted out here , then floated over the channel for final assembly in Europe such as Airbus build planes ,Toulouse is Final Assembly and Test , not manufacturing, the bulk of the jobs are spread all over Europe not France.

  9. Chris

    Nick – agreed the shipbuilding is officially a BAE commercial concern, but as a huge percentage of BAE’s work (and that of the predecessor companies) was and is UK Government funded it feels right that UK Gov’t has a say in what happens to it. Although BAE would say otherwise. And as has been noted many times before the EU rules say *either* for security reasons a country may mandate defence work be undertaken within its own borders *or* all contracts must be open to bids from any EU country. There is no let-out for contracts to be between a subset of EU nations. Or so those that know have said.

    Aminor point but a major irritation; there is no such thing as rUK. There is the UK, and there is a subset of it that is deciding whether to leave the Union. UK remains UK whether Scotland is present or absent. rUK was an invention of SNP and seized upon by the media as an exciting buzzword, and is another bit of SNP anti-UK propaganda, being used in the context of ‘the remnants of the UK’ or ‘the residue of the UK’ as if the UK without Scotland would be a shrivelled pathetic little thing. I trust that while we might be sad if Scotland chooses to depart, and we might be a bit subdued for a few months, the new more compact UK would get itself going again just fine. You never know it might even be a bit more feisty and competitive.

  10. Observer

    monkey, they just might abolish armed forces. After all, if England is going to be concerned with area security, they can afford to cut corners and shove all the responsibility to them. Armies and navies are cash hogs built against a threat. If there is little or no threat, the urge to totally cut them out is very strong. Not a nice thing to do, but real life isn’t nice.

  11. Nick

    Chris

    RUK was just a convenient way for me to distinguish the UK, Scotland and the UK post devolution. I think it would actually be clever for the rUK and BAe to keep things as they are (unless you know you’re going to have significant export sales of the T26). If the UK actually moved T26 production then a lot of Scottish jobs would probably go (even if the yards could be successfully commercialized) plus we’d have to pay BAe to build a new facility elsewhere. Leaving things as is, BAe could extract an annual subsidy to keep jobs in Scotland… (reducing the cost for the rest of us).

    On the wider question you pose, I believe that whilst there are considerable efficiencies from scale, there’s an effective limit where the cost of bureaucracy and inertia from size ends up costing more (plus monopolistic behavior is always lurking). I would de-centralize a lot of UK government functions into regional and local government with proper local taxes and make sure central government financing was on a per capita basis. Some central government departments (such as Health, Education, Local Government) should virtually disappear with the threat of local taxes and local tax differences keeping local government to an appropriate size. It would also stop the nonsense of (Central) government must do something, when in fact we know it cant.

    I’d like to see the Mayor of Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle being major elected political figures…

    Cheers

    Nick

  12. Nick

    Observer

    Isn’t that fine – Scotland would just be like Ireland is today. If you think about it, if we didn’t lease back space, then the large sums of cash that having military bases in Scotland brings to the Scottish local economy would disappear and reappear in the rest of the UK. I would bet (and would be interested to know) that there is a defacto transfer of funds into the local Scottish economy as we have disproportionate bases in Scotland ?

    The only thing I can think might be strongly affected on a permanent basis would by the QRA Typhoons and the missile testing ranges (must be others though).

  13. El Sid

    @Roders
    Aside from the ease of interception of cruise missiles (even Spitfires can – and did – shoot them down), the big problems are cost and signalling. The UK doesn’t have a cruise missile warhead so would have to develop one – and by the time you’ve paid £10bn+ for that, nuclear cruise is no longer a cheap option. And no we couldn’t buy in the design for the old TLAM-N, it wouldn’t pass modern safety standards in any case. The signalling problem comes from the perspective of an enemy who thinks you’re trying to nuke him every time you launch a Tomahawk. There’s no way for him to tell that it’s a conventional one, so he assumes the worst and retaliates with instant sunshine of his own.

  14. monkey

    @Observer
    I think your right the canny Scots will have similar service to Eire ,even smaller as no ‘boys out for a wee run’ from over the border to monitor . I think they would be a little heavier on OPV and a light air patrol to protect their extensive sea based assets .In terms of ground forces absolute minimal required ,little more than an RAF Regiment with same duties.They will rely predominately on their neighbours for protection.In any negotiation what Scotland will need in the long term the UK gov needs to keep in the forefront of their mind to shoot down any ridiculous wish list ,, 2 x T45 ,2x F26 ,2 x Astutes (but not the Astute

  15. Chris

    Nick – ref “local government with proper local taxes” – I look forward to welcoming foreign visitors to the Kingdom of Sussex (Official Language: Saxon) providing they leave their weapons at the border and don’t rape the local girls (that means you too, Vikings!). With a levy on access to Sussex National Waters and a tax on access to both Sussex International Port of Newhaven and Sussex International Airports of Gatwick and Shoreham, and strong exports in sheep, beef & rape (the oil seed variety) we should do better than the Picts way away to the north. Obviously the Sussex Reg’t would be reformed as the Army of the Kingdom of Sussex, but we are a bit limited for air & naval power. Goodwood has a Spitfire and a Harvard – they’ll have to do for the Air Force to start with, but sadly we let HMS Cavalier go to Chatham so the Navy will have to be fishing boats with schoolboys wielding catapults fitted fore & aft…

  16. clinch

    @Nick. Apart from the political fall-out of placing a UK warship contract in a foreign yard, a UK Government would also have problems with EU law if it tried to give the work to Scotland. An EU member state can decide under EU law to restrict a contract to a domestic manufacturer if the work is deemed to be of vital strategic importance, but if it opens up the contract to another country then the contract must also be open to all other countries. And if that was to happen I don’t think BAe’s Scottish yards would be able to compete with other yards.

  17. x

    @ Chris

    Why not?

    Iceland population wise is roughly the same size as the region where I live; the Isle of Man’s population is the same size population wise approx as the borough.

    As for trade consider Kentucky has a wider range of global trading partners than many EU states.

    All good fun.

  18. monkey

    @Nick
    My local council took almost 2 years to repave a pedestrianized street 100m long , they first had to relay all the services and put back the concrete reinforcing they removed 5 years before when it was first pedestrianized as ‘only people walking on it they ,it wont be needed’ however the 30 tonne lorries delivering goods in a morning soon trashed that. They then after that laid a nice new stone surface but 85% of the way through discovered it was slightly the wrong grade of stone and so ripped it up and tarmacked it whilst waiting for a new batch from the same supplier in China shipped the right stone.This pattern has been repeated for many years by this city council.
    local councils need less power not more.

  19. oldreem

    If BAE is a company registered in UKEWNI, and future warship contracts (whether build, refit or upkeep) are placed in UKEWNI but BAE chooses to use its facilities in Scotland (wholly or in part), does that create an EU problem?

  20. Nick

    Clinch

    I’m know practically nothing about EU tendering law, but if we designated BAe as our national champion and they built the ships in their wholly owned subsidiary in the USA, then I cant see how the EU could claim there was a problem with the contract. In any case, it really wouldn’t be difficult to write some tendering terms which effectively ruled out the rest of the EU even if you did tender it.

    Monkey – I could tell you the number of times near by roads have been dug up, repaired, redug-up by various different London utilities… Isn’t the real problem that no body really cares who their local councilor is let alone know what they do (I’ve voted in the last few elections and I’m no wiser). My wife’s from France and I know more about her local and regional council….In fact isn’t the Mayor of Toronto better known than any UK local government figure apart from Boris ?

    Doesn’t local democracy only work when its obvious that voting for (and against) the buggers has any effect ? With power (taxes) comes responsibility ?

  21. wf

    @monkey: if the local council income tax spiked by 20% die to their incompetence, people would take notice real fast. Local sales tax, even more….

    The solution to shit councillors is giving them more power and responsibilities.

  22. Ace Rimmer

    My prediction for Scottish independence is that England will get absolutely screwed over at every twist and turn and we’ll end apologising and paying compensation for Bannockburn as well. We’ll sign an agreement to guarantee shipbuilding in Scotland for the next 25 years and subsidising prescriptions and pensions as well, and throw in free air defence coverage for good measure. National debt, bet they start with a clean slate and the remainder of the UK carries the can. Alex Salmond will fight for it, and I have little doubt he’ll get it.

    This is faith I have in London based politicians and civil servants, which is essentially no faith at all when it comes to hammering out a fair deal for Scottish independence.

  23. Desk Jockey

    This whole issue has the potential to become a huge and nasty mess, something the SNP seem oblivious to. As for Clyde being partially paid for by Scottish taxpayers – where the hell did that come from? Clyde is a strategic national asset and funded as such as far as I am aware.

    First point is that moving subs (and a few ships) and the associated weapons storage area from the Clyde would be hugely expensive. We are talking many billions. subs have to remain in UK territory because Trident is a US classified system that they will not tolerate being in a foreign country.

    Removal of the subs from Clyde would not only cost the UK a fortune, it would also economically devastate west Scotland. Babcock reckoned about 10 years ago that Clyde was worth £300m a year to Scotland. That figure is likely to be higher now. The SNP have no alternative plan on what economic activity would replace this.

    The UK Govt would be so angry about the billions of costs to relocate the subs that it would not place ship orders with Scotland out of spite. Add more unemployed Scots to the figures because those shipyards are not economically viable to cope in the commercial ship building world.

    On a wider note. A lot of UK equipment is controlled by US ITAR. Unless the SNP negotiate a deal with the US Govt (who are still sore about Megrahi) damn quick, all US origin equipment will need to go south of the border. On a European note, war ship construction (MARS is not a warship before someone raises this) is limited to the UK under an Article 346 exemption applied by the UK. If Scotland is no longer part of the UK, that exemption cannot apply. Either the UK Govt continues to use the exemption and builds the ships in the UK (Portsmouth, Falmouth etc) or it opens the contract to all and sundry including from abroad. Scottish shipyards will not out-compete Italian or Korean shipyards (to name just two, there are many more) unless they build the ships at a huge loss. The MOD will not fall for that trick again.

  24. TAS

    Roders, how do you tell the difference between a nuclear-armed cruise missile and a conventionally-armed cruise missile?

    You can’t.

    Paranoid dictatorships backed into a corner and facing cruise missile strikes from an opponent who publically admits to owning nuclear tipped cruise missiles are far more likely to do something stupid. The deterrent is ICBM based for one clear reason – an ICBM launch cannot be mistaken for anything else.

    I’m not commenting on the Scotland debate any more – it’s a gigantic waste of time, effort and money.

  25. monkey

    @Ace
    With you all the way on that.
    We couldn’t negotiate are way out of a paper bag. If an Independent arbitrator was appointed, who ? OECD,IMF,UN. The only winners will be Scotland not to mention a lot of international Law Specialist Lawyers on £ 1000+ per hour.

  26. clinch

    @Nick

    Why would rUK want to imaginatively construct some tendering document for the benefit of a single foreign state – i.e. Scotland? Doesn’t make any sense. I was responding to your suggestion that it would be up to BAe alone to decide where the the ships were built. That’s not the case. The only strategic benefit to the UK would be to have them built in the UK and if Scotland vote for independence the UK will not include Scotland.

  27. Nick

    unfortunately leaving the EU would probably be easier. Look on the bright side, a tory government will probably end up doing both simultaneously… should tie up the government for the entire parliament. The country will never have been run so well

  28. clinch

    @Nick. I really don’t see the benefit to rUK of drafting some dodgy contract to ensure that our warships could be built in a certain foreign country – i.e. Scotland. If we were to countenance RN ships being built overseas we might as well get the best deal possible, and that would not be in Scottish yards. If Scotland left, the strategic importance argument would only be arguable if the ships were built in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

  29. a

    There is actually an international convention on How To Split Up Countries – set up after the Czech/Slovak split. It lays down that you get whatever immovable state assets are on your territory, and movable state assets are split in proportion to the population. So if you’ve got 10% of the population you get 10% of the air force’s aircraft. But if you’ve got 10% of the population and all of the air bases, then you get to keep them all – you don’t have to compensate the other party.
    Now there’s no onus on the UK to follow that convention, of course, but it gives a good starting point.

    What happens if negotiations start and the UK confirm that a currency union or further defence contracts are red-line issues; the UK will only stand behind bank deposits and other financial instruments (ISA’s, Pensions et al) provided by Banks with UK HQs and predominantly UK Operations

    This would never happen. Here is a short play explaining why.
    London: “We’re withdrawing our deposit guarantee for all English people who have RBS accounts, because we are upset with the Scots.”
    The 14 Million English People With RBS Accounts: “You’re WHAT?”
    RBS: “Hi. We’ve just had a massive bank run in England and so we’ve pretty much collapsed. As we’re one of the four largest banks operating in England, this will cause a few economic problems down south. We’d like a £15 billion bailout from the English government to stop that happening, please. Or you can have a financial crisis that makes 2008 look like a minor blip. Your call.”

  30. Martin

    @ Chris

    technically there are only two kingdoms in the United Kingdom and if one leaves then by default there is no longer a United Kingdom of Great Britain ( I.e the big island next to Ireland) That said you can call it what you want fire Scotland leaves but no doubt Alex Salmond will expect royalties for the ongoing use of the name.

    seriously though the only chance of Scottish independence in Nigel Farrage. England can’t have its cake and eat it. The only event likely to lead to a Scottish exit of the UK and for that fact a Welsh and Northern Irish one to would be a brexit.

    At which point Scotland, NI I and wales would be the successor sate, get to keep trident, have a seat in the UNSC and the Queen would have to leave London and move to Holyrood.

  31. Martin

    @ Monkey

    Its easy to forget that there is rarely even an OPV in Scottish waters today provided by the RN. While the Channel and the Persian Gulf remain well protected by the RN the North Sea has been somewhat devoted of warships as of late.

    sorry should qualify UK warship’s, there are plenty or Russian carriers stalking up the cost of Scotland.

    In fact about the only time we see RN surface ships is after we build them and send them south.

    A lot of people make points here about Scotland being unable to defend itself yet the UK’s current defences are quite frankly a joke. Rarely enough surface combatants to have a single ship on station for the entire North Atlantic. NO NATO contribution since 2009, No Maritime patrol capability and little if any fixed wing Maritime strike capability.

    If the UK can rely on NATO to come to its rescue then why can’t Scotland?

  32. Chris

    Martin – semantics perhaps but I only need one Kingdom comprising a set of geographically segregable peoples to be able to call it United. Unlike the USA where it is definitely United States (plural), over here we have a singular United Kingdom. I would have agreed with you had the proper term been United Kingdoms (plural) where each had a monarch.

    President Salmond of Salmondland, Duke of Salmondshire and Earl of Salmondburgh can puff out as much indignation as he likes but the Monarch is the Sovereign of the United Kingdom even if its northernmost point moves to Berwick.

  33. Martin

    @ X

    The UK is not recognised as owning Rockall and as its an uninhabitable island claims to it can only be made from the nearest inhabited land mass which in the UK’s case is St Kilda in Scotland. despite other countries not recognising the UK’s claims to Rockhall England does recognise it as part of Scotland in the Island of Rockhall act 1972.

    good luck winning that case in court

  34. MONKEY

    @Martin
    Perhaps those Russians are just scouting out their new bases
    From GQ magazines interview with Alex Salmond this May :-
    Putin?
    Well, I don’t approve of a range of Russian actions, but he is more effective than most and you can see why he carries support in Russia.
    Admire him?
    Certain aspects. He’s restored a substantial part of Russian pride and that must be a good thing. There are aspects of Russian constitutionality and the inter-mesh with business and politics that are difficult to admire.
    The Kremlin has met Salmond’s comments with “delight”

    Russian SSBN/SSN @ Faslane ?

    p.s will Scotland become a member of NATO? Eire isn’t.

  35. Martin

    @ Chris

    its semantics and you can call the rUK never never land for all we care. That being said I think given the nearly half the land mass of the Island of Great Britain is Scotland I ink its pushing it abut much to call it the UK of GB.

    it’s like France claiming to be Europe. I think it would have to become the United Kingdom in Great Britain and the top bit of Ireland.

  36. Observer

    So should we start renaming China? :)

    Martin, think the UK tag will stick, out of habit if nothing else. And habit > logic.

  37. Martin

    @ Monkey

    if it were up to me we would give Faslane to the Chinese in return for Edinburgh replacing London as the Remimbi hub of Europe.

    But seriously though if the UK is under such threat why does the MOD have next to no defences in home waters?

  38. Martin

    @ Observer

    No one calls it the UK they call it England, Until Scottish referendum was announced I recon atleast half the people south of Berwick thought Scotland was independent and probably a good deal more outside. after the referendum no matter the decision people will still call it England.

  39. Mark

    Excellent the return of nuclear forces to marham and news f35a’s hurrah for Scotland.

    Now that China has deployed a conventional ICBM how do we tell the difference between a nuclear and conventional one?

  40. monkey

    @Martin
    Re banking hub , depending on tax breaks, regulatory changes etc a shift of some finical houses may happen .
    All ready these major players registered there.
    Lloyds/TSB/HBOS/Scottish Widdows parent is Lloyds Banking Group plc.
    Its registered office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ.
    Registered in Scotland number 95000
    RBSNATWestCoutts parent is The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC.
    Its registered office: 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2YB
    Registered in Scotland no. 90312.
    Standard life PLC (until recently Europes largest mutual life assurance company)
    Its registered office: 30 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH1 2DH
    Registered in Scotland no. 030702.

  41. Observer

    Easy one on the DF-21 Martin. Look at where it’s going to land.

    West Singapore? Any smaller, and we’re going to have individual streets as countries. :P

    “Please show your passport when boarding and alighting from the bus. Failure to comply would mean time in jail once we find enough space for the jail somewhere along the street.” “To accommodate daily travel, passports will now be issued dictionary sized.”

  42. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Martin – Convincing, bar the fact that the big Scottish banks and investment houses are already talking about moving HQ’s and operations south of the new border, albeit quietly…and however it is managed, I cannot see the UK Government standing behind another Country’s financial sector in perpetuity…why would they? Furthermore, with the recent examples of Iceland and Cyprus in mind why would I or any other UK investor choose to leave most of my cash under another legal jurisdiction?

    Surely we would only do so if Scotland’s financial sector – far bigger than it’s domestic market can support long term – remains in some way guaranteed by the UK – and those Guarantees would effectively leave our Treasury footprints all over your management of your economy. What kind of independence is that?

    GNB

  43. clinch

    @GNB. I’ve already moved my cash. Don’t want to join the rush the day after the vote. Pretty much all the financial institutions already have alternative sites lined up south of the border, but I still prefer not to take the risk.

  44. monkey

    Has Dounreay been cleaned up yet ? No is the answer , not till 2039 is it set to be finished (some parts of the site will remain sealed till beyond 2300 ) Who will pay for the next 25 years work on this very difficult nuclear clean up and the long term , the next 300 years , site management ?

  45. x

    @ MArtin

    You sound very angry about this issue. There is an act of Parliemnt that says its our’s, well HMQ’s, which is good enough for me. I am not sure which court you are referring to either. Unless the court has a Vanguard class boat or equivalent to call upon then the court can flan off.

  46. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @x – He does sound a bit cross…do you think he might be an SNP supporter? :-)

    GNB

  47. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @ Martin – Apologies – my 4.32 was an answer to @a, although I think you and he are on the same side…however I prefer to be clear about who I am profoundly disagreeing with… :-(

    GNB

  48. Chris

    Martin – ref “no matter the decision people will still call it England” – perhaps you haven’t toddled south of the border for a while, but it is a much irritating fact that we are not permitted to call our country by its name. Anyone using the E word is instantly judged to be in the BNP and racist from toe to toupée. Much much worse if the term E**lish is used to describe our nationality. Political Correctness decreed that Scots calling themselves Scottish, Welshmen calling themselves Welsh and even those from NI calling themselves Irish (as opposed Northern Irish) was laudable and perfectly justifiable national pride, while those living in E**land if they dared declare they were E**glish were foul bigoted jingoistic intolerant and as I said above racist. Such is the pathetic nature of Political Correctness. We are permitted to call ourselves British, or European.

    Much worse still is to add the qualifier Chr*stian before E**lish in which case the Flying Squad are sent round to throw the criminal in jail for inciting religious hatred. All other faiths are encouraged to be vocal and forthright about their religion as of course the UK is ethnically diverse and the diversity is to be celebrated. Unless the individual is Chr*stian, or E**lish of course.

    You Scots just don’t know how easy you have it….

  49. Fedaykin

    You know it does get rather tiresome when yet another person states “it would be cheaper to base the deterrent on a sub launched cruise missile”.

    Frankly it shows a lack of understanding about what the “Successor” program is. The “Successor” program is NOT about replacing Trident! That has been purchased, constantly updated and is not intended for replacement until the late 2030′s to early 2040′s with a system more then likely derived from Trident.

    “Successor” is purely about replacing the Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines nothing more!

    A TLAM based solution would be more expensive as it would involve developing a new cruise missile and warhead that would offer far less (if at all) deterrent value and seriously undermine our ability to deploy our Attack submarines globally or use conventional cruise missiles without risk of escalation.

  50. Overseas

    What hope inciting an independence movement in the Shetland’s should Scotland secede from the UK? Would make an good location for another Mount Pleasant facility, perhaps on a sovereign base agreement. Can stick a 4 flight of Typhoons out there, a (future) MPA, and there we have it.

    Shetland’s advantage would be then to have control over its destiny, garnering revenue from fisheries, oil and tourism. At the same time a friendly Shetland would enable UK to ‘surround’ Scotland and better control a politically hostile neighbour.

    Re shipbuilding, if BAE want to keep the facilities in Scotland, the UK I suppose could also make a decision as to whether or not (if vessels are going to be built ‘overseas’ anyway) they might look elsewhere in the EU or US shipyards for its units.

    Maintenance and refits can still be done in the UK.

  51. x

    @ GNB

    If we did let that rock go I wouldn’t blame the Irish planting their flag on it the day after independence. :)

  52. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Overseas – I believe that there is such group, although when the idea comes up in these sorts of forums the idea is dismissed as arrant nonsense and it’s protagonists as treacherous stooges of the English by the Salmondistas, which has a certain irony although they generally seem oblivious to it…

    I understand that there is also a plausible Danish claim, which really does add to the gaiety of nations (or at least Gloomies!) :-)

    GNB

  53. Overseas

    @ GNB

    Irony indeed :)

    @ Thread

    These T26′s are going to be around until 2060. If we’re honest the UK only needs 1 functioning (military) shipyard, as the paucity of future orders will render them very quiet places.

    Something I’m clueless about as well is the margin for military shipbuilding. What sort of % profits do the firms get after completion of, say, a £100mn OPV.

  54. Angus McLellan

    @GNB: You can find a group in favour of almost anything if you look hard enough. Perhaps it’s the act of looking that causes them to come into existence?

    In the only poll – an unscientific effort by the Press & Journal last year – to have asked people in Shetland if they would want to be separate if Scotland votes Yes, about one in ten said that they would. Now it’s possible, indeed likely, that adding “stay with rUK” or “join the Faroes/Norway/Iceland/Greenland” options would alter that, but for now that’s it. Further negative evidence might include the lack of signatures on the petition currently with the Scottish Parliament asking for an if-Yes referendum to be held in Orkney, Shetland and the Long Island. When I checked just now, it still hadn’t managed 200 people. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there had been a newspaper, TV or radio show which mentioned your subject for each and every one of those people.

  55. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @A McL – 1 in 10 sounds like a pretty reasonable starting point; UKIP had a 3.17% vote share in 2010, which by my maths amounts to 1 in 30…four years on the position has changed significantly…

    I wonder if Orkney or Shetland have any big lottery winners who can find a smooth demagogue willing to buy them a whole new country? :-)

    GNB

  56. Martin

    @ Chris

    You nation is called England, Your country is called the United Kingdom. No one has an issue with you calling you nation England but it pisses people off greatly in Scotland when people from the UK say England and when you mention it’s not England but the UK they are referring to the say well its the same thing.

    I will clarify my position on the independence debate, Independance would not be my first choice but the UK is a broken institution. Scotland along with much of England has a very different set of problems to the SE or England. Our political system is so heavily waited towards London that it is unsustainable.

    Also English nationalism needs an outlet beyond UKIP and the BNP. I think we need a federal Britain with an English parliament probably in Manchester with much the same powers as a Scottish Parliament. Greater London should be removed from England and become an federal territory with its own parliamentary powers in the hands of the GLC. Westminster can remain as the UK parliament with a reduced number of MP’s.

    almost every other civilised country operates this exact format and it’s an anomaly of UK politics that we don’t.

    This way I believe we can rebalance the country while still allowing London to maintain its international success. This way we can all cooperate on things we do well like the military and we can have our own policies for areas like Education and health where we have differences.

    If England votes to leave the UK then I think the Scottish parliament will call a second referendum very quickly even without an SNP majority would very quickly call a second referendum to leave the UK and stay in Europe.

  57. Martin

    @ X – The court I was referring to is the international court of justice which covers such matters as island disputes. Threatening to nuke a neighbour over an island dispute is hardly the way to go. With an attitude like that we might just have to keep your V boats and only let you have gem back when you are ready to play nice.

  58. Martin

    @ Overseas I’m sure the people of Shetland would be love to host yet another Empty RAF base with a big runway that that may or may not have a plan to defend it, it can join the long list along with Wideawake, MAP and Akrotoni.

    Maybe the politically hostile government of Scotland can inside Cornish nationalist to succeed a join Scotland, It will be like Robert the Bruce’s campaign all over again fighting the English in the Celtic fringe.

  59. Observer

    Martin, don’t think of them as bases. Think of them as potential shopping malls or golf courses. :)

    Anyway, all this hoopla assumes that Scotland would end up independent, which by itself is not a sure thing, so why don’t we just wait and see. Not that we can control the vote anyway.

  60. Chris

    Martin – your vision of a federal UK is interesting and moderately alluring, although being down in the Sarf with my toes in the E**lish Channel I fear government from Manchester has the potential to be as inappropriate as government from London. Gloomy would be able to offer precise information, but I feel the resurgence of the likes of Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia and Northumberland as regionally devolved administrations: http://www.timeref.com/england_C7.jpg – oh look! The Kingdom of Sussex is included – éðelwynn!

    As for Europe, as a free trading zone of autonomous states it has genuine merit. As a slow train crash of nation states slowly becoming subordinate to, and ultimately absorbed by, the all powerful Germany it has no merit outside the Reichstag. The arrogant patronising imperious interference in matters that are of no consequence to the security of greater Europe – things like rulings that ‘suggested’ the Routemaster bus was not up to expected standards of health & safety or accessibility, causing their replacement with god-awful Euro bendy-buses – are unwelcome unnecessary and a burden we can all do without. There isn’t enough room here to type out what a farmer friend of mine has to say about EU rules on farming…

    But be under no illusions, whether formally part of the European Project or a close neighbour, Europe would never be cold-shouldered – much trade both ways, business ties and cooperation across borders, an interest in keeping Europe secure and successful, solvent and viable. International diplomacy should not be run on playground rules – “If your not in our gang, we’ll hate you and we’ll beat you up! Na na na-na na!” – but should be an accommodation of benefit to both sides and with minimal imposition on the way we live our lives. So whether the UK is ‘in’ the EU or ‘out’ makes little material difference on the need to get along with the European nations. And they with us. Are Norway and Switzerland international pariahs for choosing to remain outside the EU? I suggest not; they have engaged with the EU on terms that are appropriate in their view and get along just fine.

    Interesting Martin to compare your views of Scotland being controlled and its laws set by Westminster, a remote city in a different nation (unsustainable, you declare), with the view of the UK being controlled and its laws set by Brussels, a remote city in a different nation…

  61. x

    @ Martin

    I haven’t seen such faith in and naivety about the concept of “international law”, whatever it is, since my first IR tutorial when I sat listening to teens spouting sherbet about the UN.

    That you thought what I was saying was genuine says a lot about your cognitive abilities too.

    @ Chris re Scotland

    I think that many forget that Scotland has had a separate body of law since (and before) the Union long before Labour’s attempt to neuter Scottish independence through devolution says a lot about our collective understanding of the “problem”.

    That the pro-EU side have to resort to inferring anti-EU equals anti-European or using the insult of “Little Englander” (never mind not being able to point to any benefits) says a lot about their security in their position.

  62. Nick

    Chris, Martin

    the only problem with the thesis that real control lies outside the UK or Scotland, is that its not true. UK parliament these days passes virtually no legislation affecting Scotland (unless you count national finance and defence issues) and the Scottish parliament has the ability to spend on different priorities that England and Wales and some ability to raise taxation in its own right.

    As for the EU ruling the UK, nothing happens in the UK unless its passed (as a bill or statutory instrument) by Westminster and relates to issues where we have agreed that the benefits (to us) are greater if we act collectively as the EU. The vast majority of EU legislation being implemented relates to making the single market work on an even playing field across the EU as a whole. Not an easy task and its not happening as fast as it might. However, we have negotiated and agreed all of this “Brussels” law before it even gets to Westminster and have agreed elements that we wont implement (“opt out”) for the things we feel strongly about. Fell free to argue, we don’t do a very good at negotiating (I’d agree), but then you have to focus on getting your civil servants within the European Commission and on the negotiations ie pay proper attention to Europe.

    Martin, I’m from up North (Manchester area), but have spent as many years living in the SE and London. I certainly think the UK arrangements are broken and would certainly like to see regional England governments to dal with local issues (a la NI and Wales) or at least the major cities to have elected mayors like London, to create a non-Westminster focus in English government. There are too many lawyers (failed lawyers) and professional politicians in Westminster for the good of the country.

    Cheers

    Nick

  63. wf

    @Martin and @GNB, perhaps we should cool it a little? We’ve been on the same side for over 300 years after all, and hopefully for hundreds more to come :-)

    @Angus McLellan: I’m quite sure there is bugger all interest in Shetland independence right now. But in the event of a Scottish yes, there will probably be some interest in the former given the massive resources within a putative Shetland’s waters. After all, Sottish nationalism only got it’s big start after the oil arrived, and what’s sauce for the goose and all that.

    @Nick: the “regional government for England” was tried in the last Labour government, and died through lack of interest. It was always more of a way for the left of UK politics to avoid having a Tory run England. If Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get devo-max, it’s only fair England gets the same. What we want to avoid is the current bastardised system where some bits get some powers and some get none, while others get to rule on others while the converse isn’t true.

  64. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Nick – much good sense in that, although in fairness to our various generations of EU negotiators we did secure a whole range of opt-outs they didn’t much welcome…and stymie a range of initiatives we didn’t much care for…so I’m not sure they’ve done such a bad job overall. We didn’t acquire our reputation as a one Country awkward squad by rolling over when the chips were down, and long may it continue. On the broader question I’m all for an EU that maintains free trade (which it doesn’t do consistently) and provides a framework for international co-operation; much less easy about a drawbridge-up protectionist operation inextricably linked to unaffordable social-democratic aspirations that belong in the 1970′s…

    As to a Referendum, we need to have one to draw the poison because in 1975 (and I was there, paid attention and voted…I was even more of a bore then than I am now!) people here thought they were voting for a Common Market…although the idea of Ever Closer Union was out there, but much more in French and German than English. Fortunately my Father spoke and read both and he and I argued passionately before eventually taking different views. He is much in my thoughts today…he went ashore 70 years and few days ago leading a troop of Cromwells…

    On the UK, I am all for a new settlement, but for me the core in England needs to be the City/Regions and some Counties which are real in peoples minds in a way that the standardised Government Regions are not…@Chris’s suggestion about the old Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms would delight me but I am an Historian and like most of us here a little…err…eccentric? :-) Chris has a very good point about Europe needing us at least as much as we needing them as well; true to some extent about our relationship with Scotland, but not so much…this current discussion seems to me to carefully avoid the fact that we outweigh the Scots by ten to one…that will become much more apparent if there is a yes vote and the gloves come off. Just one example…the UK Government currently own most of the Scottish Banks; so post-Independence if our ten directors instruct them to move operations to London during the negotiation period to secure the various customer guarantees their UK business relies on the one Scottish director will have very limited impact.

    What I would say is that whatever new settlement we agree…with or without Scotland…it needs to include measures to integrate the BOT’s with the Home Island on a Falklands Plus Basis; with all those lovely cold, grey and fearsome EEZs in the South Atlantic (some with oil) and we might not miss the ones in the North Atlantic. We also need to leave the door open for other people to join…

    Now turning to Bayeux…that startling example of the vile and selfish nature of the UK and the wider Anglo-sphere…

    GNB

  65. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Just lost a long comment to the Spam Troll – I’m hoping it will come back soon…

    GNB :-( :-(

  66. Martin

    @ Chris

    my suggestion of an English parliament was based on the fact that regional Assemblies have been offered in England and rejected. Maybe an English parliament would strike a big enough chord with the people to get approved. also moving a substantial amount of civil servants out of Westminster to Manchester might help to creat a mega city in the North of England spanning Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool etc that could have sufficient economic density to compete better with London.

    if people want assemblies in Mercer or where ever else then that’s fine to.

    As a for EU rules there are many silly ones but they are usually brought in for a reason I.e. Standardisation to create a single market. its easy to sit on the sideline and pick out individual decisions that make no sense in a very local context.

    The UK. Needs to follow the example of other EU counties and ignore silly rules and work out how to circumvent them or comply in the easiest way.

    Its Westminster that has a passion for gold plating Brussels rules often to fit in with its own agenda.

    The UK seems to expect countries in Europe to conform to its way if doing things rather than adapting its own practices to fit with their’s.

    as for Brussels vs London well it could be argued that cutting London out of that equation would simplify things for Scotland. In a block where Luxembourg has the same power as the UK or Germany its hard to argue that being part if a larger entity some how gets a larger voice for Scotland.

  67. Chris

    Martin – ref regional assemblies – I suspect one of the reasons they went down like lead balloons was that somewhere in Brussels a civil servant arbitrarily cut the UK into eight (plus London but that’s always a special case) on boundaries he assumed were rational. I don’t think there was any effort made to accommodate residents’ notional sense of place. Hence Bedfordshire & Hertfordshire suddenly became East Anglia where I’m pretty sure they hold themselves Heart of E**land, the issues in Oxon are very different from those in Kent, the needs of Cumbria are much more aligned to Northumbria than to Cheshire etc. Strange to note the 7th Century partitions seem more relevant and rational than those of the EU administrators 13 centuries later…

  68. TAS

    Just what we need, another body of politically-ambitious bureaucrats with nothing to do but argue the toss over one tiny aspect or another of irrelevant policy whilst the big decisions are delayed, avoided and generally procrastinated over.

  69. Nick

    TAS

    true, but its not like it works today either. I wouldn’t trust any politician at Westminster to do what’s right for the North West at a slight expense of London or the City for example. The rise of UKIP reflects this tension I think, even though UKIP is itself the Eurosceptic part of the Tory party politically, but Farage himself has captured the national mood of England outside London right now, just as Salmond has for Scotland.

  70. Chris

    TAS – so glad you agree…

    There are a very large number of people who aspire to do nothing with their life other than instructing others on what they ought to be doing*. Its not my desire at all – there’s plenty of stuff to do myself without resorting to worrying what others might be up to. We now have Professional Politicians – hideous! There ought to be a law that forces all those that want to govern aspects of society to have spent time working at grass roots in their chosen field. In other words the Home Secretary would need to have a year or two in prison or police service, the education secretary service in schools/universities, the business skills minister would need business skills (!) and the defence secretary time in uniform. How can any of these individuals claim adequate – much less superior – judgement over matters in their area of authority? How on earth can a prospective MP learn all they need from a degree course?

    Looking back a century as far as I can make out MPs had to have worldly experience before they were considered electable – seems blindingly obvious to me.

    * I should clarify that by this I did not mean ‘wife’.

  71. Nick

    Chris

    I think its best to avoid thinking about the Rotten Boroughs and the pre-1835 voting system for parliament. The UK has actually has less than 100 years with the current electoral system (1928) and many of the MPs before 1918 reflected a narrow part of society even if there was a higher proportion of properly experienced men than today.

    Surely, what your really suggesting is to separate the administration of government from the body which holds the administration to account (parliament) ? [unfortunately the US experience doesn't seem that appetizing right now].

  72. Nick

    X

    we don’t pay MPs now (66k or 131k PM), so we can hardly expect to call upon the best and brightest talents…just the power hungry wannabes

  73. monkey

    @Martin
    From the people who brought you the Scottish Parliament Building for 129 MSPs @ £414 million , that’s £3.2 million per MP ! . Good Luck Martin .
    We have to many MPs @ 650 , that 1 per 100k of population but yours works out at 1 per 40k of population (in addition their are another 59 sitting in Westminster voting on laws which don’t affect Scotland) , your population received £1300 per capita per year in NHS and educational spending over the English (there I have said the E word ) , there are no tuition fees for Scottish students studying in Scotland for their first degree (on average English students leave University with over £20k of debt).
    Will Scotland be better off without the Barnett formula?
    It seems only the labour party here are pushing hard to keep Scotland as they will lose 41 seats in Westminster and the ruling government seem to be saying if you stay we will let you have SOME of the powers you will get if you vote yes but you do vote yes you get ALL of them (only 12 seats lost and 6 SNP swing voters gone too).

  74. Sparsh

    It seems you British chaps are having some trouble with this Partition thing.

    Perhaps we in the ex-colonies can send a few bureaucrats to help straighten things out…

  75. S O

    “The other alternatives are land based silos and the cruise missile option that you mentioned.”

    Surface warship-based Trident
    Trident on custom railway car
    Trident on custom semitrailer
    Trident on (imported) very heavy truck
    Containerized Trident on rail, semitrailer or ship
    A400M-launched ballistic Missiles (drawn out of ramp y braking chute, vertical in launch pallet prior to ignition)
    Erectable (recertified Trident) launchers behind conning Tower of SSN or SSK
    smuggle-able small and radiation-insulated warheads

    The PRC has no dependable SSBN or ICBM force and doesn’t consider ist nuclear deerrent to be insufficient.

  76. Chris

    Sparsh – awfully kind of you, but we seem to be able to find vast numbers of home-grown ineffective bureaucrats thanks.

    There was a sum done I think by an IBMer about the effect of connecting computers in parallel networks. This was before the days of fast buses or object oriented code or the likes. What the expert determined was that adding an extra computer increased the speed of overall throughput until the number equalled five. Thereafter the computers spent so much time synchronising and moving variables between themselves that adding extra computers slowed the total throughput.

    The same applies with bureaucrats.

    More than five trying to make any form of decision is hopeless – much hot air and argument and official investigations and inquiries and reports to be written and then read, but no decision. Ever.

    UK has over half a million of these bureaucrats. This from 2009: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/philipjohnston/4284070/British-bureaucracy-is-growing-out-of-control.html

    EU adds more than 150,000 more. This from 2008: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/2535295/EU-bureaucrats-outnumber-British-army-two-to-one-say-campaigners.html

    The next Official Decision is expected in third quarter 2037, barring unexpected incidents.

  77. Sparsh

    Chris,

    We promise to send a Cyril Radcliffe rather than the vast legion of bowler hatted Humphrey Applebys that you so dread. A few weeks and Radcliffe sahib will have this Partition thing done and dusted.

    P.S. It seems my attempt at making a joke fell flat on its face. I though the idea of Britain’s ex-colonies parachuting bureaucrats in to help it with Partition would be sufficient but apparently not.

  78. monkey

    Sparsh lets hope we don’t have the same problems with our Partition as you did :-) and for that matter when we Partitioned Ireland. By the way who actually owns Berwick-upon-Tweed?

  79. Chris

    Sparsh – your humour was clearly understood – apologies if my somewhat dry response came over with any less humour in return…

  80. Gloomy Northern Boy

    Welcome Sparsh Sahib…we tend to be a bit slow on the uptake, as well as old and cranky (or in my case Gloomy)…I always use smilies for any attempt at humour the dry side of outright slapstick…and although I’d guess you will have worked it out already, when some of our number start making rude remarks about Elephants they are not referring to the noble pachyderms to be found in your part of the world… :-)

    GNB

  81. Observer

    SO, big difference between something 1/4 the size of the main continent on Earth and a little postage stamp sized area in comparison that is the UK, no? And part of the deterrent is the capability to withstand a first strike and still return fire. All but one of the suggestions you made are not survivable to a first strike (the sub being the exclusion) and even that is simply the SSBN deterrent repackaged. And you want anti-nuclear activists a target to focus on? A land based ICBM transporter is VERY prominent on the roads in the UK and will cause civil unrest, unlike Russia where they could park it in the wilderness God knows where and no one but the unit will know. Individual country, individual circumstances.

    Sparsh, think some might interpret that as an act of war worse than a regiment of tanks crossing a border. :)

  82. as

    A quick on the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain and England Explained

  83. Chris.B.

    “There ought to be a law that forces all those that want to govern aspects of society to have spent time working at grass roots in their chosen field.”

    “Looking back a century as far as I can make out MPs had to have worldly experience before they were considered electable”

    “we don’t pay MPs now (66k or 131k PM), so we can hardly expect to call upon the best and brightest talents…just the power hungry wannabes”

    Contrary to popular belief most (but not all) MPs do have extensive experience in the real world. Look at Robert Jenrick, the new tory MP for Newark. An experienced solicitor, former managing director of Christie’s Auction house, owns a bunch of million pound+ properties. Pretty successful guy really. Indeed, it’s estimated that around 90% of all MPs are – quite literally – wasting their time in Westminster. They could be earning a lot more in the private sector if they weren’t tied down by being an MP.

    The salary is not the problem. The value of being an MP is in the perks, which are potentially enormous.

    A conservative led government results in lower taxes, especially the large cuts at the top end. For a multi-millionaire like our Right Honourable Mr Jenrick that 5% cut off the top rate is the equivalent of more than his annual salary as an MP. Protecting his property portfolio from a potential mansion tax is worth the same again. So propping up a Tory government can potentially be worth in excess of £250,000 to him annually, assuming that he actually pays all the taxes he owes.

    Meanwhile a number of MPs have made a killing (before getting caught) having their mortgage payments paid by the plebs. Some have been caught but not had action taken against them despite using taxpayers money to spruce up and support second homes which they then sold for a profit in excess of a £500,000. And let’s not forget that a good number of MPs have private property portfolios, which is why you’re unlikely to see any kind of strong action taken against rogue landlords and their high rents, because a lot of them are MPs.

    You might also have noticed that the NHS has faced increasing privatisation over the last decade, and will for another decade to come. This I’m sure has nothing to do with around 1/4 of all currently sitting MPs (including many seniors) having ties to private health care firms.

    Speaking of ties, not sure if you heard about George Osbourne’s best man making a mint out of the Royal Mail sale? Or the fact that the lady at the treasury in charge of clamping down on offshore hedge funds is married to a chap whose day job is, er, to manage offshore hedge funds?

    Still though, there’s always people like the Right Honourable Francis Maude MP, the Cabinet Office minister and Paymaster General, who are looking out for the little guy! After all, Mr Maude is working hard to make things more efficient in government and to turn around those sloppy civil servants by promoting the use of expert external services and advice from the likes of Ernst and Young, KPMG, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte and Bain & Company Holdings Ltd. Which of course has nothing at all to do with services that they donated to him as “support in the capacity as an MP” of £21,105, £145,458, £100,498.04, £79,411.12, £9,750, and £40,831 respectively.

    A lack of experienced MPs is not the problem. Not being able to attract “the right sort of candidate”, people who have been high flyers in business etc, is not the problem. The problem is the opposite; it only attracts (and through control of party candidacy, only allows) people who are high flyers and their myriad connections into the fold. The whole thing is one big gravy train that puts White Dee from Benefits Street and the Afghan government to shame.

    Until there are more rigorous controls put in place as to what outside interests MPs can hold while still in office and who they can take money from – directly and indirectly – you will continue to see governance that favours tinkering around the edges for the benefit of a few as opposed to any kind of system that is first and foremost designed to run the country in an effective and efficient manner.

    None of the current parties seems at all interested in this, and that includes the Greens.

  84. Martin

    @ Chris

    You make a valid point, I think one of the issues in the UK is that English nationalism is broken. England is relatively unlike in being such a large nation in Europe, Most other similar sized nations in Europe were formed through federations like Italy and Germany or like Spain with a patch work of different regions.

    The issue with Britishness for many Scots, Irish and Welsh is that it tends to get hijacked by the English as a replacement for their own nationality.

    I should also say that despite the f**k up of the parliament building the Scottish parliament has worked wonders for Scotland. There has been an entire host of projects like a second fourth road bridge, Edinburgh tram, rail electrification and now a dual carriage way to Perth that we would never have gotten under the old System not to mention maintains free university places.

    England will never break away from the London centric view of government while that government is sitting in Central London and the North of England in particular desperately needs help.

  85. Martin

    @ Monkey

    its worth remembering that the Barnett formula exists for a reason. Scotland contains around 8 % of the countries population but close to 40% of its land mass. If we are all part of the UK then why should the responsibility of providing roads and railways hospitals and schools in the highland’s and islands fall solely on the people of the central belt of Scotland. Especially when considering that those vast sparsely inhabited areas give the UK government the ability to claim vast tracks of the Atlantic and North Sea that contain oil and gas.

    Take the example of the A9 dualling to Perth which at £3 billion is a larger per head investment for Scotland than HS2 is for England. It’s also worth remembering that there is now the Barnett squeeze which will gradually remove the Barnett formula.

    Not doubt the north of England gets screwed by the Barnett formula but I can bet that any budget cut from Scotland won’t make it to the North of England but will instead end up in cross rail 2- 3 or some other nationally important project that lives inside the M25 in the nation of London.

  86. Obsvr

    London is a global city, perhaps the only one in Europe. To the folks oop north, get used to it, stop being a bunch of whinging wankers. That said I understood that some mid & north England cities are starting to get their act together in a regional sense, at least that’s what the The Economist reported a few weeks back.

    My understand also is that the people of Orkney & Shetlands, who are norse and not part of the tartan celtic mafia, are almost wholly opposed to being part of an independent Scotland because they reckon they’ll be totally screwed. Would said tartan mafia let them have a referendum? (Falls off chair laughing)

    Regional devolution in England would have one essential pre-cursor, a proper Independent Commission Against Corruption on the lines of HK and NSW. That might even reduce the enthusiasm for such devolution, the snout & trough combo temptation could lead to all sorts of embarrassment and even being a guest of Her Maj.

  87. Chris.B.

    @ Martin

    “I should also say that despite the f**k up of the parliament building the Scottish parliament has worked wonders for Scotland. There has been an entire host of projects like a second fourth road bridge, Edinburgh tram, rail electrification and now a dual carriage way to Perth that we would never have gotten under the old System not to mention maintains free university places.”
    – If you’re referring to the Queensferry Crossing then proposals were first made in the early half of the nineties but rejected by the local government. It’s only when they realised that the Forth road bridge was knackered that the Scottish Government suddenly took an interest in it. If it had been left to the evil minions of Westminster then far from never getting it built, you would have had the bridge for almost twenty years by now.

    Nor was the Edinburgh Tram system the product of the saintly Scottish government, who it should be pointed out tried to kill the whole scheme off and have subsequently spent almost a decade sticking their nose in. That project is now estimated to come in three times over budget, if and when it’s finally completed, despite not matching the original plans. The rail electrification scheme is also being downsized, funnily enough though none of the bits that connect to Edinburgh are being scrapped.

    What was that you were saying about being controlled from a distant capital that only has its own interests at heart?

    “If we are all part of the UK then why should the responsibility of providing roads and railways hospitals and schools in the highland’s and islands fall solely on the people of the central belt of Scotland”
    – Because that’s what you wanted. You wanted a devolved parliament with control over all these matters and the ability to raises taxes to do so. Now you’re complaining because you’ve been given exactly what you wanted? I so hope you guys vote for independence. It’s going to be bliss not having to look at Alex Salmond on the TV every other day, or hearing about how much better Scotland thinks it can be on its own, while watching the slick bastard sell you all down the river for his own personal gain and glory.

  88. oldreem

    Point 1: Assuming that Scottish independence doesn’t happen, wouldn’t the “us and them” problem (real or imagined) be reduced if Westminster MPs were double-hatted as MSPs, AMs or MLAs? They could meet in their devolved assemblies say 1-2 days a week or one week a month, while English constituency MPs dealt with equivalent English devolved business. You’d then get a better sense of perspective at both ends, while dumping the 3rd XI. MPs are under-employed at present, largely rubber-stamping EU directives or grandstanding. With MEPs there are now 3 types of MP when 40 years ago we had only one. And we can’t double-hat MPs and MEPs because of the EU voting rules.

    Point 2: It’s many posts back since anyone mentioned submarines or shipbuilding; this thread is in danger of giving digression a bad name. The biggest and perhaps most costly aspect would be re-locating Coulport – and where? Common sense dictates an SBA, exclave or long lease.

  89. Chris

    Chris.B – ref King Salmond of Salmondland – this is another of those happy if rare cases where we entirely agree – hoorah! For those of us (non-Scots) who are distant observers of events Scottish, it has been plain as day for years now that the drive behind independence is the SNP, the drive behind the SNP is Alex Salmond, and the drive behind the man himself is personal prestige and status. (Contentious Statement warning!) Somewhat like the Blairs – the drive behind New Labour ultimately was the goal of President Blair of Europe – the need for the Blairs to be able to look the President of the US (and First Lady) in the eye as supreme beings of an equivalent sized state. (Contentious Statement over.) In the case of the UK Government of the late 90s/noughties, it meant elaborate generous spending of cash that was borrowed, stealth taxes (like the one that created the pension crisis and will leave a generation deprived of the pension they carefully planned for) and undertaking aggrandizing projects to gain international kudos for the PM/ministers whether in the UK’s interests or not. (OK *now* the Contentious Statements are over.)

    Why would you expect the leaders of a reborn newly independent nation state to do any different?

    There have been muted offers of additional benefits to Scotland as sweeteners to hold the current form of UK together, but clearly offering benefits to Scots that are not available to any other citizens of the UK goes against the grain at Westminster; as well they should. Particularly when there is already a bias: http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/public-spending-per-head-in-scotland-revealed-1-3197170 So there seems to be a reluctance to (for want of a more diplomatic term) bribe the Scots into a No vote. But this to a degree is l suspect because the Westminster hoard are unwilling to sell the ‘better together’ message that hard at a personal level – if they promise vastly greater overt benefit to Scotland and the vote is No to independence, then the UK as a whole has a greater bias to regional spending than it would like or would want to justify, on top of which Alex Salmond still appears the Scottish hero for forcing all the extra benefits from south of the border. If on the other hand the ‘better together’ campaign remains low key with limited promises of sweeteners, if the vote is No the cost is moderate, and if the vote is Yes to independence then the new President/Laird/Eck or whatever title he bestows upon himself will have to come good on his promises, which I am quite sure the UK Treasury have calculated are unaffordable and based on exaggerated assumptions. Whether the vote is Yes or No in the short term Salmond comes out the winner in the eyes of the Scots (and he knows this) but in the case of a No vote the headache down the line is Westminster’s (and the UK taxpayers’ too) whereas in the case of the Yes vote the headache down the line is Scotland’s own (tempting to say Scotland’s Forever…).

    Outside the border of Scotland I’m pretty sure the view is that the UK remains better off as is. That means both Scotland and all the other parts of UK each remain better off. That was stated in words of one syllable by President Obama for example. The EU has said Scotland would need to apply for membership as a new independent country, with all the negotiated conditions that would bring. SNP says they don’t know what they are talking about. Westminster has said retention of the Pound without fiscal unity is untenable and Scotland would have to change currency. SNP says they don’t know what they are talking about. Businesses currently based in Scotland but operating across the UK with specific benefits gained from Westminster have said they would move headquarters south to retain Westminster’s support. SNP says they don’t know what they are talking about. NATO has said a newly independent Scotland would not automatically be a NATO member, not without making the same sort of defence commitments that other similar sized states have to make. SNP says they don’t know what they are talking about. And under EU rules the UK cannot hand defence contracts to Scotland as if they were still in the UK. SNP says they don’t know what they are talking about.

    As I noted in a comment earlier the independence referendum is somewhat insulting to those south of the border; there are impacts to the E**lish, Welsh and Northern Irish that are effectively dismissed as irrelevant and of no consequence to the Scots, which is at the least a selfish view. Moreover despite the blatant hostility in the SNP campaign (which pulls hard for justification on the glories of victory at Bannockburn and resentment of the defeat at Culloden to the point where the E**glish are depicted as evil tyrannical b*stards that will always try to suppress the poor wee Scots into slavery), the mood from south of the border has been anything but hostile. All along the non-Scots UK voice has been of quiet reason – come on chaps, don’t do anything rash, there’s a good thing going here that ought to be valued and preserved etc.

    But hey. Salmond and the SNP have said they don’t care what anyone else thinks; they don’t care what detriment the separation might cause to anyone south of the border, they don’t care if the UK is damaged or disadvantaged, they just don’t care. At the same time Salmond and the SNP say the trading relations with those south of the border will be as strong as ever, that the peoples of E**land Wales and Northern Ireland will beg to be allowed to trade with Isolated Scotland, but on Scottish terms of course. Salmond and the SNP have also said they will keep the British Pound and EU membership and NATO membership , and don’t care what the controlling organizations say to the contrary. Salmond and the SNP say they will keep all oil revenue and have lower taxes and higher public spending and a vibrant shipbuilding industry. Feel free if you all want to vote Yes to all these wonderfully empty promises.

    There was an earlier populist party leader that promised the people of his nation “what they needed most, encouragement. He gave them heaps of vague promises while avoiding the details” – and that didn’t end well.

  90. Simon257

    You can trace the rise in modern Welsh Nationalism direct to the decision by Parliament, through a private members bill which was sponsored by the City of Liverpool, thus using an Act of Parliament to bypass Local Planning Authorities. This lead to the Daming of Tryweryn Valley and the destruction one of the few wholly Welsh Speaking Communites which was Capel Celyn. 35 of 36 Welsh MPs voted against it, the 36th didn’t vote. It was passed nonetheless. The reservoir opened in 1965, a year later Plaid Cymru won its first Parliamentry seat when Gwnfor Evans wonder Carmathen seat.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tryweryn_valley

    Parliament can still do this and refuses to transfer the right of final decision to the WA in Cardiff.

    On a side note two small terrorist groups were formed because of what happened at Tryweryn:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudiad_Amddiffyn_Cymru
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Wales_Army

  91. DavidNiven

    ‘The biggest and perhaps most costly aspect would be re-locating Coulport – and where?’

    Holyhead/Anglesey in North Wales. There is also Bawdy on the west coast that used to be a base for the US MPA, and is now home to the Royal Sigs.

    The Scottish are entitled to 8-9% and nothing more, if the politicians let themselves get fleeced at the negotiations afterwards then that will be the biggest threat to the rest of the union. The Welsh have been getting scraps for decades while Westminster tries to keep the Scottish happy and I for one do not want my kids and Nephews and Nieces who are just about starting out in life with jobs and apprenticeships to be paying tax for an agreement they have had no say in. If the Scottish want to go then fine but I’m not paying for a divorce they want.

    Stop worrying about the Scots and look to the rest of the union, a few good jobs in Wales would be a welcome import from the English who at the moment just seem to send their heroin addicted scousers.

  92. Chris.B.

    “Chris.B – ref King Salmond of Salmondland – this is another of those happy if rare cases where we entirely agree – hoorah!”

    Drinks all round. We just need someone rich enough to pick up the tab. Maybe Mr. Salmond can convince the landlord that he will pay for our drinks as well out of all the oil wealth.

  93. Simon257

    @ DN

    About two years ago Carwyn James, the current First Minister did say that he was open to the idea of the SSBN fleet moving to Milford Haven. Of course he would be looking for massive sweetners in return.
    The old RNMD facility is still in place.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNMD_Milford_Haven

    At the moment you have the bonus of Brawdy which is shortly to close, the Castlemartin base is close to hand, so to is the Penally Training Camp.

    From Milford Haven, a Vanguard can be in the deep waters of the North Atlantic faster than it could from Devonport or even Faslane.

    The downside is the Pembroke to Rosslare Ferry sailing pass and the LNG Facility. If the Murco Refinery were to close http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-27499869 the area would be hit hard. The Welsh Assembly would expect Billions in return.

  94. wf

    You do get the impression Salmond is trying to sell a Darien :-)

    There was a BBC drama about the same that tried to pretend it was all the fault of the English….

  95. DavidNiven

    @Simon257

    The reason I suggested Anglesey is due to Wylfa nuclear power station ( due to be retired ) having already been there and so the nuclear issue will not be a problem with the local population, plus there will be some trained nuclear technicians available for employment.

    RAF Valley could be used to host some Merlins for sub protection in the vicinity.

  96. The Other Chris

    For information, Horizon Energy (Hitachi, I think) are looking to expand Wylfa with Advanced Boiling Water Reactors.

  97. DavidNiven

    That’s a bit on and off at the moment, plus permission for a large biomass station has been granted. One of those watch and see deals I think.

  98. Martin

    @ OBsvr

    do you have any reference or reliable evidenc for the people of Orkney and Shetland not wanting to be part of Scotland?

    @ Chris B

    You confusing the Scottish government with the SNP. edinburgh trams were a Scottish government project started under the Previous labour liberal government before 2007.

    As for the queensferry crossing there have been promises of that since before I was born and it never materialised.

    Also if you read correctly I was not complaint about having a Scottish parliament. Indeed I along with most Scots that don’t want independance would be happy with scrapping the Barnett formula and having full fiscal autonomy.

    But if the UK treasury wants the oil revenue off the norther Scottish coast then dam sure it has to make a contribution to maintaining that sparsely populated part of the country. I can’t see why you would not get such a simple economic argument.

  99. Martin

    @ Obsvr

    I lived in London for several years and loved it. I think its an amazing city and something for the entire UK to be proud of. However can you explain the financial and economic rational of having the civil servants that make decision on health care and education as well as transport and benefits for people in places like barrow and Liverpool based in the heart of one of the most expensive cities on earth.

    London has half a dozen transport projects with price tags well north of a billion either finished recently or on the go.

    The government was on,y able to scrounge together a meagre £600 million for the Northern Hub rail project. what’s the rational for that?

  100. Observer

    Martin, because their office is in London? :)

    The people making the decisions are centralized. You can go stay somewhere else, but if you really want to influence decisions, you need to go to where the brains are or you risk becoming ineffective.

    I’ve long been a fan of the concept of roving agents without portfolio, they gather the information and perform little troubleshooting tasks and feed recommendations back to HQ. Most of the time, I see staff being overloaded doing their own jobs, so any “care and concern” tasks tend to be shuffled off and the customer/patient gets ticked off for being ignored, but the reality is that the specific staff has his own job, and any “extra work” is going to make his own workload jam up. Independent agents would help troubleshoot those little problems without being stuck behind a desk where so many “customer service” staff end up.

  101. Fedaykin

    @Martin

    Been plenty of articles certainly in the national and local press:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/shetland-orkney-and-the-outer-hebrides-demand-independence-referendums-of-their-own-if-scotland-votes-yes-9217514.html

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2014/mar/24/will-orkney-shetland-join-micronationalists-independence-vote

    http://www.shetnews.co.uk/features/scottish-independence-debate/

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2014/mar/24/will-orkney-shetland-join-micronationalists-independence-vote

    I did notice the comment sections of those articles has the usual rather tetchy crowd of “Yes” campaign supporters.

    There was all a petition lodged with Holyrood about an independence referendum for the Islands in the event of a yes vote:

    http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/GettingInvolved/Petitions/islandgroups

    Ironically I got back last night from a business trip to the Highlands staying in Wick. Wick Airport is a bit of a chuckle, at least they haven’t taken up the habit of every small regional airport of adding “International” to their name. They could do with a cash machine on the other hand, arrived and dropped my hire car keys in the drop box then went to the cafe. Whereupon I realised they had no Chip-n-pin reader, the girl in the cafe said I could go to the local Tesco as the airport has no cash machine, unfortunately that is not in practical walking distance of the terminal as it is on the other side of the airport. The girl handily said I could drive there quick enough….sigh

    Luckily I had some change for a tea and sausage roll.

    Hey ho, had a lovely week and got to see some nice sights like Dunnet head and sampled the local Whiskey.

  102. Chris

    Martin – totally agree London gets far more than its fair share of benefits, although Scotland’s total population of 5,327,700 looks quite meagre against London’s 8,308,369 – and that’s just the population of the Greater London Area, the total for the Metropolitan Area is almost double that. So you could say London is a state 50% to 200% greater than Scotland. But that would be rude.

    I fear London is a metropolitan entity that mirrors the greedy bankers – those bankers have convinced themselves (easy) and some others (surprising) that they *need* to pay obscene salaries and bonuses ‘in order to attract and keep the best people’. *Cough* cartel *cough*. But as a parallel London has awarded itself vast budgets to modernise and streamline and redecorate ‘to retain its place as the most prestigious city in the world’. Almost any amount of money is considered reasonable for projects inside the M25. Those inside London only look inward. The rest of the country is there merely as a trinket; somewhere to buy an estate in for occasional gin-soaked weekend get-aways, before scurrying back to the city literally paved by gold.

    In my youth I would go into London just for the fun of it. Then it became somewhere to meet friends and go for entertainment or a meal. Then it was only significant events that would drag me past the M25. I stay away as much as I can now. There are much nicer places to spend time.

    But this is a defence site, so let’s consider; if London has three times the population of Scotland, and the wealth per capita (based on income figures) is 50% higher than Scotland, and the public spending per capita is double the UK average, why doesn’t London own and man its own defences? It does seem very keen to keep as much wealth to itself as it can, while expecting the rest of the nation to protect it from harm…

  103. IXION

    As northern English resident with an office in Carlisle city centre, I have to put up with the Scots coming down and playing baggpipes every f*cking day in the summer! But what follows is definatly not coloured by trying to work whilst ‘The Campbells Are Comming’ bounces of the glass of specsavers and echos down English street.

    If the Scots vote for independance, frankly EU, NATO, Economy… it will all work out on the end. Some bad, some good, some unforescene we should all chill. But politically UK govt will have to play hardball in negotiations.

    (To get party political for a moment if Labour win then I will bet a pound to pinch of chinese excrement that they will totally fuck up and UK will be bankrolling Scotland for EVER! AND I suspect they will use it as an excuse to ditch the deterrent.)

    If Scotland goes independant, and assuming a competant UK govt. (ROFLMFAO).

    Nucs wil Have to come south
    There will be no more Navy ships built in Scotland.

    I suspect on many counts the economy of the north and Wales will get quite a boost. UK govt will have to fund the infrastructure and that will bost local economy. BTW always thought Milford Haven good place for subs. Cant have a nuclear deterrent without a base… Regardless of how broke we are. Likewise politically impossible to build warships in Scotland longterm.

    Unfortunatly I suspect Scots wont vote for independance.

  104. DavidNiven

    I have a question regarding Scottish independence and defence.

    If the Scottish vote for independence will this mean the unilateral nuclear disarmament of the British Isles?

    If Salmond expects an extortionate amount of money for the continued presence of CASD will this not drive up the cost of replacement, and the same for having to move the subs to another location. Will the general population be willing to pay for the enormous total cost of the nuclear deterrent if they are being asked to sacrifice other services to pay for it. One thing is certain and that is the defence budget cannot pay for the replacement and large rent/relocation combined.

    Also regarding Milford haven, is it not too busy a port to have our subs there as well?

  105. Observer

    Ok, I’m officially crazy. When I looked at the map of the UK today, all I could think of was “How should we drain the Irish Sea”. :P

  106. Simon257

    @DN

    Only Oil And LNG Tankers and the Ferry use Milford Haven, no other Freight passes through these days. If the Murco refinery was to close, it would become quiet. If Wales lacks one thing it’s is a Container Port. If Port Talbot Steel works was to close the Welsh Assembly plan to turn the Deep Water Harbour into one. But Tata are in the very early stages of planning to build a new wharf in the Harbour for the export of Steel Slabs and Coils.

  107. El Sid

    @martin
    The only time a question has been asked officially was the 1979 referendum, where the Northern Isles were much the most against an assembly – 72/73% against, compared to 60% against in the Borders and ~50% against in the rest of Scotland : http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=GGgVawPscysC&dat=19790303&printsec=frontpage

    Also suggestive is the SNP’s performance in Holyrood elections up there – 20% in 2003, 16.6% in 2007, 12.1% in 2011.

    I think you protest too much about transport infrastructure – the A9 was massively upgraded in the 1980s/90s by the UK, particularly in the far north, and has been dualled in dribs and drabs since then. If anything under Holyrood there seems to be an emphasis on high-profile projects in the capital at the expense of outlying areas – sound familiar? Danny Alexander holds the UK purse strings and has been complaining that he’s given Scotland an extra £1.4bn for transport infrastructure but A9 dualling keeps getting pushed back and back – I think 2017 is the latest start date? Sounds like a classic case of moving big projects to the right in order to make the books balance.

    If you’re going to start counting Thameslink 2000 (the clue for original end-date is in the name…) and M25 widening in your list of project – they’re mainly for the benefit of the Home Counties rather than Greater London, so you should be adding in a population of 8.7m or so on top of London.

  108. Angus McLellan

    @David Niven: When the MoD looked at sites for Polaris in the 60s Holyhead and Fishguard didn’t make the shortlist. Fishguard was rated as “rather exposed. Just feasible if northern breakwater developed. Considerable dredging required. No site for RNAD jetty”, while Holyhead was “more exposed than Fishguard. Dredging required. No site for RNAD jetty”. [Reports quoted in Chalmers & Walker, Uncharted Waters, p. 108]
    Milford Haven was “an ideal spot” according to some. Professors Chalmers & Walker point to the refinery as an insuperable obstacle, but that’s not the only opinion on offer. In his evidence to select committees Francis Tusa appeared to see that as a plus. But then Tusa’s approach to rebasing Trident is “can do” rather than the usual “can’t do” exemplified by the MoD, CND and Chalmers & Walker. As for any suggestion that Trident could replace the commercial activities at Milford Haven, that looks like another Tryweryn scheme in the making.

  109. ChrisM

    If there is a “yes” vote Salmond will be spinning about-faces all over the shop.
    Bet you there would be an
    “Evil, Imperial, Westminster has blackmailed us into accepting [keeping all those lovely jobs at] Faslane as a temporary [boot that date until after my retirement] Sovereign Base Area in return for not blocking our entry to the EU, NATO, letting us use the pound for a while [boot that date til post retirement too] and keeping shipbuilding on the Clyde”
    As to the EU rules, if Scotland order [pick a low number, some of which might later get binned as Scottish finances go poo-shaped under all the Salmond spending] T26s then surely as a joint programme the two nations could claim a security derogation from having to compete the contract and still build in either country?

  110. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Thread – On the localism question it is worth observing that by about 1900 practically all Town, City and County Halls supported some equivalent of a Watch Committee, Medical Officer of Health, School Board and Dole Office as well as the public services that are still provided from them today; and those officials and committees supervised local, long-established and constantly evolving patterns of public, charitable and private provision that were integrated with the communities they served…not delivered by fiat from on-high. And because of those responsibilities local government attracted men of real stature like Joseph Chamberlain of Birmingham…who quite frankly knocked Boris and his Bikes (or indeed Ken and his “Rainbow Coalition”) into a cocked hat. Furthermore there were light-touch national inspection arrangements like the HMI’s in Education which are still more valued than new-fangled lunacies like OFSTED…and as a pre-war Liberal, it is highly likely that Beveridge anticipated a further development of that well established approach.

    What they got was a Labour Government in thrall to the state planning that had won the war…and to the Five-Year Plans of Uncle Joe Stalin…and nationalised all those local provisions confident that “the Man from Whitehall knows best”. A 70-year experiment to test that thesis seems to me to prove that he very obviously doesn’t in most areas.

    I’m voting from the first party who recognises that and proposes a u-turn; and if UKIP want a hand with their manifesto they know where to find me… :-)

    GNB

  111. monkey

    On an economic side
    North Sea oil in numbers’
    40bn barrels extracted
    24bn ‘could’ remain (depending on investment by the oil companies)
    That’s 30-40 years of production maybe remaining
    £41bn to £57bn tax revenue predicted by Scottish Government between 2012-13 and 2017-18.Thats between £8.2bn to £11.4bn per year. Of that revenue £1bn per to be put into a wealth fund similar to Norway’s (which now stands at £500bn and the fund now owns around 1% of all the world’s stocks and shares).
    At this level the tax income per capita for Scotland works out at about £1300 to £1800.Not insignificant but I doubt RollsRoyce and Bentley will be ramping up production over and above Salmond’s pre-ordered for him and his cronies.
    However from Whitehall a 38% fall in oil revenue predicted by Office for Budget Responsibility by 2017-18 due to production fall and the fall out from fracking etc hitting prices (any thoughts on why Whitehall is dragging its heels on fracking in England? Expect a decision in late September :-)
    The OBR predicts oil tax revenue will drop from £6.7bn this year to £4.1bn by 2017-18.
    If revenue from oil was meant to be the driver behind Salmondland he needs a new advisor.Perhaps he was taking his figures from that other great Scot who knew how to run an economy Gordon Brown or the other great Scot Tony Blair (born in Edinburgh)
    http://www.ifs.org.uk/images/obs/revenue_shares2.jpg

  112. Chris.B.

    @ Martin,

    “You confusing the Scottish government with the SNP”
    – Aside from the fact that independence is likely to leave you with SNP control for a good while, it doesn’t matter what shade of government it is. Your argument is that the Scottish government is all sweetness and light compared to Westminster and does the absolute best for Scots. Except of course when it doesn’t.

    “As for the Queensferry crossing there have been promises of that since before I was born and it never materialised.”
    – … Because the local government kept telling Westminster to get stuffed, they know best etc. And then oops! Can we have that bridge now?

    “But if the UK treasury wants the oil revenue off the norther Scottish coast then dam sure it has to make a contribution to maintaining that sparsely populated part of the country”
    – Why? Because they elected to live in the arse end of nowhere? A small amount to help them out isn’t out of the question, but there is no reason why money should suddenly be poured onto Scotland.

    How much money did you guys pay to the English in the 1700′s to gain access to the English empire? How much money did you send south on a regular basis to offset the fact that a lot of shipbuilding was done in Scotland? Can we have the British (-Scottish) state contributions to the exploration of the oil fields back please? Also, prior to the discovery of oil the UK government still invested heavily in Scotland, so can we have all that back please?

    No? Of course not, because it’s absurd, as is claiming that just because the oil happened to be off your part of the coast that you should get some massive lump sum for free education etc. Still, with any luck you boys are leaving soon and your oil is on the way out, whereas England on the other hand has just stumbled across a very large quantity of natural gas. Of course if you guys do chose to stay then I’m sure you’ll understand and have absolutely no objections to us keeping all those profits down in England….

  113. Chris

    So to summarize:

    Scotland remains in UK but with greater fiscal responsibility* (Martin) which means the bombers remain in Faslane & BAE build RN ships on the Clyde (if they must…)
    E**land devolves power to new ‘Local/Regional Assemblies’ (Martin)
    E**lish administrative regions use boundaries broadly aligned to those of the Anglo-Saxon England heptarchy (Chris)
    Westminster’s powers draw back to genuine matters of state (outward looking) while Regional Assemblies deal with internal matters (Martin)
    Local Government resumes the structures of pre-1945 (Gloomy)
    Local and National Government Officers require strict anti-corruption control (Chris.B)

    Or.

    Scotland votes for independence (no-one advocated this?)
    Bombers move to West Wales – either Anglesey or Milford Haven (DN/Simon257)
    BAE either drop UK RN shipbuilding or move shipbuilding back to Pompey (that’s what the other thread decided)
    E**land devolves power to new ‘Local/Regional Assemblies’ (Martin)
    E**lish administrative regions use boundaries broadly aligned to those of the Anglo-Saxon England heptarchy (Chris)
    Westminster’s powers draw back to genuine matters of state (outward looking) while Regional Assemblies deal with internal matters (Martin)
    Local Government resumes the structures of pre-1945 (Gloomy)
    Local and National Government Officers require strict anti-corruption control (Chris.B)

    What could be simpler?

    *This bit concerns me – as has been found in Euroland one currency spread over several different fiscal territories is bad karma – a common exchange rate needs a single fiscal policy to regulate it. The desired full fiscal autonomy for Scotland would by default mean a separate Scottish currency, or else there would be hellish tension between the two regions as has been seen between Greece & Germany. Hence ‘more responsibility’ not ‘full autonomy’ would be the limit. In my opinion.

  114. All Politicians are the Same

    Sad to see the extreme views on either side come out on here. Some sound like they are from the comments page of the Daily mail whilst others sound like they are from a yes scotland propaganda leaflet. The simple fact is that of course the UK would be weakened by Scotland leaving. We are stronger together but at the same time.
    Scotland has the resources in both people and material to survive as a small country that is pretty indisputable it would neither become Abu Dhabi rich or Albanian poor, both sides simply like to post the most extreme figures they can get their pet economists to produce but most importantly.
    It will be decided by the Democratic will of those eligible to vote, I have served throughout the world to uphold that right and whatever the Scots choice it is and has to be theirs to make. To suggest otherwise is a total affront to the principles of this country and those that have defended them.

  115. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Chris – A masterly summary bar the fact that if Counties like Essex or City/Regions like Gloomyville take back Health, Education and Social Security…and raise revenue via the HMRC Local Office…with a precept to Whitehall for Defence and Foreign Policy, Home Office, Inspectorates, Treasury/Banking&Business Supervision, and National Infrastructure. The regional functions need to be limited and can probably be best delivered by joint local/national planning committees.

    As to the English democratic deficit if Scotland stay put (and I hope they do) we establish an English Grand Committee to deal with all England-only legislation up to final reading, and agree a convention that although all MPs can speak at that stage, they will not vote unless representing an English Constituency…and the UK Government only appoints Ministers that have a whole UK brief “as of right”; Ministers supervising the English Health, Education and Social Security Inspectorates or holding the ring in respect of Regional Planning Committees must undergo Grand Committee Confirmation Hearings.

    So, the Universities, Professions and Trades set the bar in respect of qualifications and syllabus; Gloomyville LEA delivers it in partnership with schools and colleges; and HMI collects and publishes outcomes and rigorously inspects delivery of them…nobody has the job of developing policy initiatives, especially not for social engineering purposes…

    Shall we just give up and form the Think Defence Party…or become the Think Defence Tendency in one of the established ones? :-)

    GNB

  116. DavidNiven

    @Angus McLellan,

    That’s a shame about Holyhead, we could do with the money.

    @APATS,

    ‘It will be decided by the Democratic will of those eligible to vote’

    I agree, they either stay or go by will of the people. They are however only entitled to a percentage that represents their population, no more or less. As I have said earlier the children in the rest of the union should not pay for Scottish independence.

    Does a yes vote signal the affordability of a nuclear deterrent for the rest of the union?

  117. All Politicians are the Same

    @DN

    Totally agree the division of assets would have to take place on a % of the population basis but an i Scotland would be entitled to the same EEZ as other European countries which in real terms means its zones would border Norway/Iceland and the RUK.

  118. DavidNiven

    @APATS,

    If the EEZ is that large then it is, I’m pretty much in the opinion of if they vote for independence we just shake hands follow the rules and go our separate ways.

    But what does it mean for the deterrent? the defence budget will not be as big for a start, can we still afford it without completely hollowing out our conventional forces?

  119. All Politicians are the Same

    @DN

    Hopefully full cooperation between an i Scotland and the RUK would offset some of the lost revenue but it may not be affordable.

  120. as

    The option not one wants is partition like Ireland or India.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Partition_(politics)
    All or none is currently the only solution.

    The Scottish nationalist would not like the idea of a kingdom of Northumbria as it would lose most of southern Scotland. It would stretch from the Humber in the south to the Firth of Forth in the north.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northumbria
    Breaking England into smaller independent units would be interesting.

    Welsh nationalists are about 20 to 30 years behind there Scottish friends. So building the base in Wales is a risk in the very long run. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_nationalism

    Basing the deterrent in northern Ireland has obvious draw backs. There are not very many suitable sites in England.

  121. DavidNiven

    @APATS

    If that is the case do we lose our seat on the UN security council and does our standing in Europe drop as we are no longer the nuclear and conventional military we once were?

    @as

    Welsh nationalists will only gain traction if you keep treating Wales as the poor man of the union, lets not forget that the industrial revolution was in part built on our coal and miners. Maybe Scottish Independence will force the politicians to properly re-balance the economy in stead of saying it as a sound bite, while still relying on house prices and the financial sector.

  122. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @David Niven…loss of CASD would certainly raise questions about our UNSC Seat, because that seat guarantees an unshakeable majority for the West…so our enemies (that is, practically everybody) would want to have the discussion even if there are no rules covering the position. In my view we would in consequence be under intense pressure from our key allies to find a way to maintain the status quo…which would in any event be in our best interests because the veto provides enormous leverage at the UN when the chips are down.

    Just to quote the obvious examples it prevents a binding resolution to hand over those Islands down south or that Rock a bit along the coast from Algeciras, which would otherwise be on the table pdq…and with the way things are going in this increasingly resource-hungry century, the Sea Lion Oilfield and our Antarctic Claims could well come in handy…as might the ability to close the Straits of Gibraltar. :-)

    GNB

  123. Chris.B.

    @ APATS,

    No doubt that Scotland could survive on its own, but it’s going to require some belt squeezing to do it. I just worry that people in Scotland are not being given the full facts and that Alex Salmond is going to sell his people down the river in the long run for his own personal vanity.

    Personally I have my fingers crossed that they’ll vote yes, just so that the whole issue can be done and dusted, and because selfishly I think the UK would be better off and that we might even get an independent England which I think would be better for us in the long run.

  124. Angus McLellan

    @David Niven: “… do we lose our seat on the UN security council … ?”

    So down to four permanent members, but in that case how can France possibly remain? And then there were three. That seems too few.

    Giving someone else the seat then? Again, what about France? And whether it’s one or two countries need added, who is added? India perhaps? That’d go down well in China. Japan? That’d go down even better. Germany? If the Germans are the answer then we’re asking the wrong question.

    I can’t see that any of the other permanent members have an interest in changing things and the Russian precedent is hard to miss.

  125. DavidNiven

    @Angus McLellan

    ‘but in that case how can France possibly remain?’

    Why not? would the fact that we have gone mean France has to leave as well?

  126. Angus McLellan

    @DN: France and the UK (with or without Scotland) have much the same population. They have similar-sized – that is top ten, bubbling under – economies. They possess broadly similar military capabilities, of which power-projection rather than a nuclear deterrent seems to me to be the most distinguishing feature. If you were going to go to the bother of removing the permanent seat from one of the pair, there would certainly be voices calling for the other to go. And if you wanted to adopt GNB’s line of thought, France’s 11 million square kilometer EEZ – second largest in the world – represents a lot of potential ill-will lurking below the surface.

  127. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @A McL – I agree that it’s a moot point as to the balance between history, GDP, expeditionary capability and nukes in determining who’s in the UNSC and who isn’t…but I would much sooner the French tested the water by giving up their nukes first. :-)

    GNB

  128. DavidNiven

    @Angus McLellan

    Yes but they would still be the one with nuclear weapons and a G8 economy, we would not have nuclear weapons, and possibly not a G8 economy.

  129. Observer

    Oh be serious, your economy is in bad shape now, but that was because of the little time bomb from overly creative fund managers in the US, there is nothing structurally wrong with the UK’s economy, it just needs a little time and TLC to recover.

  130. DavidNiven

    So a drop of 250 billion from the Scottish economy will not lower us down a little? how far down the table is the 9th member? (Russia does not count as they were only invited to be polite)

  131. Angus McLellan

    @DN: But why would a Scotland-less UK not be in the G8?

    The UK, without Scotland, is considerably bigger than that of Canada and larger than that of Italy by a greater (if you use PPP measures) or lesser (nominal GDP) degree. On other measures (say GNI, aka GNP, which is perhaps more meaningful), the UK’s lead is even greater and the effect of removing Scotland is reduced.

    Anyway, the G8 is a club. And like any club, if you’re name is not on the list, you’re not getting in. It’s not just the BRICs who haven’t been invited. On GDP, Mexico and S. Korea are also larger economies than Canada, and Mexico sometimes comes out ahead of Italy too.

  132. Chris.B.

    @ DN,

    Losing the Scottish economy would leave us basically in the same spot internationally as far as GDP is concerned, fighting it out with Brazil. The difference would be a blip in the grand scheme of things.

  133. Angus McLellan

    [My reply to DN's 17:48 seems to have gone wandering. I'm not redoing it, so this is a reply to DN's 18:19 only.]

    The smallest G8 economy – Canada – comes 13th in the IMF’s listing based on purchasing-power parity (see Wikipedia here). Canada’s economy is smaller not only than the four BRICs – much, much smaller in the case of India and China – but also significantly smaller than South Korea and Mexico. All of these except South Korea are also larger than Italy. Using the IMF figures (I’d prefer OECD ones, but then I’d have to do some work), in order for the rUK economy to be smaller than that of Italy, removing Scotland would have to reduce UK PPP GDP by $500 bn, and to come out smaller than Canada that rises to $800 bn.

    Calculations of Scotland’s GDP have a higher than normal degree of uncertainty , but for our purposes I think we can take it as certain that the upper bound for per capita GDP cannot much exceed 120% of the UK value, which (conveniently) works out as 10% of total UK GDP. Reducing the UK’s GDP from $2390 bn to $2150 bn would have a minimal impact in terms of rankings. France would have moved from 9th to 8th and the smaller, streamlined, Scotland-less UK from 8th to 9th.

  134. wf

    @APATS: you’re diving off the deep end a bit methinks. If you want to hear the real nasty tendency, try tangling with a few cybernats. Partially by design, they make it clear that they are less pro-Scotland than anti-English: it has an effect.

    Scotland can indeed thrive as an independent country, but not being run in the way either the SNP or the Scottish Labour party would like. This disconnect will cause a disaster if we see a Yes vote. As I have made clear previously, I’d like to see a federal UK, but built on it’s constituent countries, not regions kept to a specific size for the benefit of specific political interests.

    @GNB and @Angus McLellan : tee hee :-)

  135. monkey

    @DavidNiven
    Re Wales
    Don’t forget the Welsh Parys Mine Company dominated world copper production just at the time the RN needed a ‘copper bottomed’ fleet during the cousins grasp for Independence ,France (1778), Spain (1779) and the Netherlands (1780) declared war on us as a matter of convenience and then on to fight the Corsican midget at the turn of the century. A local lawyer,Thomas Williams , was approached with the mines rediscovery in March 1768, the records show that a local miner, Roland Puw, was rewarded for playing a big role in discovering a big copper ore deposit near the surface of Parys mountain.
    He was given a rent-free house for life and a bottle of brandy for his efforts!

  136. DGOS

    Surely if money is to flung around then Barrow could be good for both surface ship construction and as a base .I think that the big hall was built for frigate construction with capacity for four. I did watch the big tanker built but missed launch into Walney Channel. There are locally good tales about tight timings for launch across channel . shipwright foreman watching withy and counting seconds!

    Plenty of room for additional housing – schools are problem though. The whole Furness peninsula is pretty secure are with easily controlled access. Good rock formation close by for underground stores.

    The dock entrance could surely be fully rebuilt – it was heavily repaired recently to allow Astutes out but still looks rough – too tight for carriers. However we have nice new lift to lower vessels into water – not nearly so much fun. Made up by torpedoes being launched in direction of Morrisons car park!!

    I understand Walney channel good up to dock entrance kept well dredged.

    On subject of MP’s do we know how many are ;- first generation immigrants , second generation immigrants, married to non UK born nationals, of dual nationality, with children of dual nationality, fathered illegitimate children, have overseas business interests, are declared homosexuals, consider the can degrade secure areas for their own convenience , etc etc in other words how representative of the UK population at large?

    Or am I just a sad old man?

  137. Observer

    ” are declared homosexuals,”

    I don’t think Lebensraum means what you think it does. :P

  138. DavidNiven

    @Angus McLellan & Chris.B.

    The G8 is a club and like all clubs you can be asked to leave, when you are no longer useful. Our standing in the world will deminish (to a varying degree) with the loss of the Scottish economy. Trident replacement will be in my opinion affordable, and how many Astutes will we able to eventually build and maintain? the second carrier will be sold off, if they can get a buyer in my opinion.

    When/if Scotland leave the union we can no longer strut about the world talking of punching above our weight. Other economies will overtake us quicker than previously believed, and we will need to use our diplomatic and soft power to a greater degree to influence world events. It is not all doom and gloom but just a reality we will need to adjust to if we lose Scotland.

    @Monkey
    Re Wales

    There’s a lot that Wales has provided to the union, which gets forgotten about by the rest of the UK. Maybe we need to start shouting louder and offer a vision, as oppressed people to the outside world like the Scottish nationalists have been doing for the past few decades. ;-)

  139. IXION

    DN

    ‘when if Scotland….’

    Where do I sign?!!
    just poppingbover the border to vote yes. If it means UK stops acting like a sad old drunk. Then im all fro scotish independance.

  140. DavidNiven

    Meant to say Trident replacement will be unaffordable.

    @IXION

    I agree, if it happens then maybe we can take a sober assessment of our selves and hopefully we will be forced to re balance the economy. There’s plenty of natural and renewable resources to the West ;-)

  141. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @David Niven…Scotland represents at most 10% of GDP (and diminishing because of the oil)…losing it still leaves us in the G7 and growing (most quickly in England)…tipped by some to put ourselves permanently ahead of France by 2020 and breathing down Germany’s neck by 2030.

    As to CASD, even it’s worst enemies claim it will cost three billion a year for thirty years, less than ten percent of the projected defence budget which is itself less than 2% of GDP…and a tiny fraction of Health, Social Security and Education. There are choices to be made, but the sums involved in respect of CASD and defence are comparatively so small that there is nothing in them that is self-evidently “unaffordable”…and the Government that loses Scotland will have at least as much incentive to assert “all is well…the UK is still firmly in business” as wander about Cassandra-like proclaiming “we are all doomed”.

    Over the longer term, big savings south of the border on not needing to provide infrastructure in those big empty spaces…as somebody pointed out earlier Scotland is over 60% the size of England and has just 10% of the tax-base…as well as a population that is disproportionately old and in poor health…demanding, as I understand it, much increased immigration year on year to keep on looking after them.

    Juicy employment prospects south of the border, what with the relocation of defence work and banking and financial services…and the fence… :-)

    GNB

  142. All Politicians are the Same

    @GNB
    You forgot the costs of actually moving the Trident facilities which are going to be huge and the fact we are building a replacement which is expensive. There are many who do not think we can afford to do it now without hollowing out conventional forces to dangerous levels never mind with a reduced GDP and extra costs.

    What people like yourself fail to realise is that the scots would not want Independnece to become a “mini Uk” or England. They have a far more socially caring attitude North of the Border and would rather spend money on free prescriptions and social services than Iraq, Afghanistan and Trident. They abhor the mini super state that London has become and the threat of the economy returning to boom and bust fuelled by bankers and house prices.
    They have huge natural resources both in Oil, which forecasters dispute depending on which side you are on but with proven reserves the same size as Norways and further exploration ongoing, it is always going to go further amongst 5 million people than 60 million. Not to mention wind and wave resources. they are generally more pro european and far less right wing, look at the relative UKIP vote.
    They could undoubtedly be successful but by doing so both an i Scotland and the RUK would definitely be diminished which is why further devolution allowing more responsibility for raising and prioritising expenditure in domestic areas whilst remaining part of the Uk is the preferred choice of the majority, hopefully.

    Do not make the mistake of believing the figures put out by either side as they are the left and right of angle.

  143. DavidNiven

    @GNB

    If Scotland leave, then we lose 10% of our current GDP (what was the loss to our economy from 2008?), which will mean that the defence budget is smaller as it will be 2% of the then current GDP. There is no way you will persuade the electorate to pay for both moving and replacing Trident out of any other budget than defence and it will be unaffordable, the same goes for running the second carrier, and 7 Astutes.

  144. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @apats – I have not factored in the costs of moving Trident because they are not known, but however big they are they will not be more than a fraction of Health, Social Security and Education…small enough to be a choice for Government, not an unbridgeable gulf; but yes, that is an opinion not a fact.

    As to Scotland, I also understand what they aspire to be; however I think there is good reason to expect oil revenues to diminish, UK defence contracts to cease, and a banking and finance sector the overwhelming majority of whose customers are in a foreign country to move a large part of their operations. If Iceland and Cyprus taught us nothing else it is that comparatively small Countries cannot stand behind banks with a customer base many times the size of their population; the exception that proves the rule being Switzerland, but the World only needs one of those…I therefore think that there is more reason to doubt the SNP prospectus than accept it wholesale.

    Finally, there seem to be three camps. One, mostly inhabited by Salmondistas is drooling at the prospect that their independence will destroy us because for some reason they hate and resent the English…one hope that the outcome will force us to become good little European social democrats akin to an offshore Belgium…and mine believes that after a period of difficulty the UK will adjust and go forward much as before…albeit with a deeply hostile and antagonistic northern neighbour.

    In the end, none of us will convince the others because we are thinking about what we want, not what we know…and my personal hope is that we never know because when we all wake up September 19th it will be the Salmondistas feeling a little queasy because the Unionists have won. :-)

    GNB

  145. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @David Niven…I am not sure you need to persuade the Electorate, provided that the political class adopt a joint view that they want to run much the same Country as they ran for office in not a radically different one…in current circumstances is any party going to go to the electorate advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament and the possible loss of the UNSC Permanent Seat and win? Can’t see it myself.

    You are talking about what you would hope will happen as though it is what inevitably will…which is in fairness the general tenor of all these debates from all sides…

    GNB

  146. DavidNiven

    @GNB

    At present the opinion polls show that the vote will be pretty close. If the situation arises that no one in England seems to want to countenance, and Scotland leaves, what are the planning assumptions?. Salmond seems to think that he can have his cake and eat it and Westminster have not aired any plan for fearing that it would encourage a yes vote.

  147. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @DN – Haven’t a clue, but my preference would be for us to behave like the unmitigated bastards that the Salmondistas insist we all are…so Cameron and Osborne are just the men for the job. :-)

    What seems to be overlooked is that although the momentum is with the SNP at present because they have asked the question, that position is reversed the day after a yes vote…when the fact that we are ten times bigger suddenly has great traction. Obvious example being banking; the UK Government owns most Scottish Banks whose customer base is largely in the UK…what cards has Scotland to play to prevent us from simply telling the CEO’s to pack up and move south if the want adequate guarantees to sustain the confidence of those customers?

    GNB

  148. All Politicians are the Same

    @GNB/DN

    ” mine believes that after a period of difficulty the UK will adjust and go forward much as before…albeit with a deeply hostile and antagonistic northern neighbour.”

    What a load of bull. of course the RUK would go on but with a neighbour who has decided it wants to follow a model aligned far more closely to the Swedish/Norwegian/Danish model than the UK one. Are they hostile and antagonistic? A tiny minority of Scots fit into that hate England outlook. you seem to ascribe to yes voters. The overwhelming majority who will vote Yes do so because they want a change of direction and they see Scottish politics growing apart. the SNP are a means to an end and even they actualy have numerous English born MSPs and ministers.

    Cyprus has a population just over 1 million, Iceland one of 320,000, Scotland one of 5.3 million. Now Norway with a population of just over 5 million, Denmark 5.5 million, Finland with 5 million or indeed Austria with 8 million do not seem to be doing too badly. You make the classic error of thinking that an I Scotland would try and run a low skills service based boom and bust style economy based around property prices and a super hub like London.
    Following a Yes vote they would be free to elect the party they chose, elected by Scots and serving Scots. That is the view of the majority of Yes supporters but thankfully the minority overall.

    As I said I am not a yes supporter not because I do think Scotland could be successful but because I truly believe both parties would be diminished in an increasingly fraught and dangerous world. What saddens me is when intelligent people seem to thin k it is a choice between leaving and becoming super rich or super poor depending on what rubbish figures you believe. It would be about doing things differently, a solution that could be achieved by further devolution within the UK frame work.

    You are aware that the banks would be part of any split of assets vs liabilities and as Scottish people would still need banking services and the banks you refer to are riddled with debt and owned South of the Border anyway then surely that would simply offer a chance for a new fresh approach based on sensible community banking.

  149. Simon257

    Just to go back to CVF maintenance, their is a MOD facility on the South Coast, which is on a Deep Water Channel. Which you could build a brand new Drydock, with excellent Road/Rail links and is twenty minutes from Portsmouth. Plus I would bet that it would require minimum dredging. That place is Marchwood

    http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/resources/images/1460747.jpg?type=articleLandscape

    Their is farmland to the immediate South of the Port, where you could build a new Drydock and maybe even a Frigate Factory?

  150. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @apats – I have no good reason to believe that HMG are lying about sharing the pound or stopping warship production in Scotland; I have good reason to believe that the Scottish Banks are too big to be supported by their population, and many jobs and possibly HQs will need to go south pretty quickly to retain customer confidence in respect of UK Government Guarantees; it is at least plausible that Salmond is exaggerating oil revenue now and in future; and although CASD can be moved I don’t think it will be done in a few months…and if Scotland really does want to join NATO I think they would be unwise to make a deal-breaker of any delay.

    Which means if the SNP win it will be on a false prospectus…for which they will blame not the Salmondistas or their own choice…but the English…

    As I said, “deeply hostile and antagonistic”…do I want that to be true? No…do I think it all but inevitable? sadly yes…

    I am after all Gloomy.

    GNB

  151. monkey

    @All Politicians are the Same
    Do you think they may follow a Eire model , obviously learning their lessons from their property implosion ,strict property price controls for one ( the sealed bid method they presently use helps stop gazumping at least ). Introducing a low corporation tax model could attract considerable inward investment @12.5% for trading income and 25% for non-trading income. It attracted much criticism as being an ‘unfair’ advantage (mostly by the French) , that in itself tells you something but has been copied by many new EU members some going as low as 9%. Doing so may affect their negotiations to enter the EU .Here’s one to UKIP supports , should they even try? Same for NATO , what is the benefit of being a member ,again Eire isn’t , whose going to invade them or challenge their overseas territories ? (they have none) . Us ? They have an opportunity to write their own destiny without others still telling them what to do.

  152. Chris.B.

    @ DavidN,

    “The G8 is a club and like all clubs you can be asked to leave, when you are no longer useful. Our standing in the world will deminish (to a varying degree) with the loss of the Scottish economy”

    – Not really. Like I said, the UK minus the Scottish economy barely moves on the International scale. We continue to scrap back and forth with Brazil for our spot. I know Salmond has this grand dream that by leaving the UK Scotland is going to soar off into the distance and the UK is going to stumble along, but the reality is the UK economy will barely notice the difference. If shipbuilding is returned south, a variety of businesses relocate south as they have announced they would, and without having to share natural gas revenues with Scotland, the forecasts would suggest that the UK will grow faster without Scotland on board than with.

    Scotland has a decent economy and will do well for itself I think, but don’t be confused into thinking that the loss of Scotland will somehow represent the loss of a third leg on a stool. It will barely register on a global scale.

    @ APATS,
    “What people like yourself fail to realise is that the scots would not want Independnece to become a “mini Uk” or England. They have a far more socially caring attitude North of the Border…”

    – There’s really no evidence to suggest that Scots are somehow this saintly body of people. More people in the UK (-Scotland) vote for non-conservatives than they do conservatives in General elections. Meanwhile there are still a good number of Scottish conservatives, a fact which Salmond does his best to hide (at the recent Euro elections, SNP; 389,503. Conservatives; 231,330). Scotland on the surface appears slightly more left leaning, but it should be noted that some interesting polls were done recently of confirmed UKIP voters to figure out where they stand on a number of issues. Almost three quarters of them supported greater investment in the NHS, wanted the railways re-nationalised for the public good and desired higher taxes for the rich.

    Be vary careful when taking Salmond’s “wee eck holier than yoos’” attitude.

    “They abhor the mini super state that London has become”
    – Not that I’m a great supporter of London, but the reality is that it’s fairly normal for a global capital city. The problem is not looking at London as being a “mini-super state” but in viewing Scotland as anything other than a regional entity. To Salmond it’s a nation state with the a vision. To the rest of the world its just a colder East Anglia, but with less farms and more hills.

  153. DavidNiven

    ” mine believes that after a period of difficulty the UK will adjust and go forward much as before…albeit with a deeply hostile and antagonistic northern neighbour.”

    I think you are attributing words to me that I have not said.

    Lord West and Salmond were both on the Andrew Marr show this morning. Lord West stated that an Independent Scotland would be a big threat to the nuclear subs and make our defence as a whole harder to achieve, Salmond stated when asked that he would like to see the subs go within a Parliament.

    What plans have we made other than crossing our fingers, have we secretly been asking the Americans if they would host our subs until we have made the necessary arrangements? or are we just hoping that a no vote will be the outcome and we will not need to find the money?

    If the Scots go that’s their choice but hoping that they won’t and not making any plans is stupid. At the moment the polls are showing a yes vote at 46%, the yes and no voters have (IMO) already made up their mind it’s the undecided that have not and they will vote with their heart on the day, and yet we still seem to not have any plans if they narrowly vote yes.

  154. Observer

    Might I point out that no one really wants the UK’s UNSC seat? If anything else, that is the main reason the UK will probably keep it. The US and UK votes Yes, Russia and China votes No. Russia and/or China votes Yes, US and UK will vote No. We can simply automate the job. The Security Council is basically the UN Job Security Council.

  155. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Observer – you are forgetting the French; easily done I know, but in current circumstances might Russia and China prefer to change the rules in their favour by signing up one of their pals? Knowing as they do that Western politicians and electorates will go to great lengths to try to secure UN support for their activities…I should have thought that the opportunity to capture the UNSC Security Council and make the whole operation into a pro-Authoritarian Government Forum would be all but irresistible.

    Bear in mind that the Western advantage in permanent seats is the only thing that holds in check the ant-Western majority in the organisation as a whole. How would things go down your way if China got UN backing to resolve all it’s territorial disputes in it’s favour by any means necessary? :-(

    GNB

  156. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Monkey

    I think it would fall somewhere between an Irish and Scandinavian model. Corporation tax and ADP would both definitely be reduced and the onus would be on inward investment and developing a higher skilled economy.

    @CB

    Ref the European election results and your selective quoting of figures in an election where right wing and anti European parties generally do well. In Scotland 70% of those who voted, did so for either the SNP, Labour, Lib Dems or the Green Party. 70%. Whilst in England more than 50% voted UKIP or Conservative. there are more Giant Pandas in Scotland than Tory MPs. I am not saying that Scots are holier than anyone but they are different and that could be attributed to a number of factors including the fact that their lower levels of immigration have not yet seen concentrations large enough to affect traditional patterns of life and thus provoke a response (such as the rioting and voting patterns down South.) For gods sake the level of sectarianism shown in some areas of the central Belt certainly shows them capable of it.
    However at least analyse rather than personalise towards Salmond. Whom many of my yes leaning friends :( see as nothing more than a means to an end.

    London is more than twice as large in population terms as the next largest city in Europe ! We have London as the most populous and then Birmingham at 18th, the Italians have 4 in the top 20. The Germans have 4, the Spanish and French 3. It gets even worse if we look at top 40 or 50. average London house prices are more than twice the UK average. UK economic policies are dangerously skewed towards London at the cost of the rest of the UK. it has the highest level of public spending per head in England, not some rural area where you would expect services to be more expensive to provide.

    “To Salmond it’s a nation state with the a vision. To the rest of the world its just a colder East Anglia, but with less farms and more hills.”

    now that is simply insulting. It is insulting to an ancient nation state that entered a Union 300 odd years ago, it is insulting to Scots in general you see them led by some sort of cult personality and it is insulting to the huge Scots disapora that is all around the world from the Americans in their kilts at the rugby in Houston last night to places like Nova Scotia, Australia, New Zealand and many other former and non former Commonwealth countries.
    I have been lucky enough through work and an interest in travel to have visited every continent on earth and lived both in Scotland, England and on the Continent. If you really believe your statement is true I suggest you try and travel some yourself.

  157. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @DN – Not intending to, and I have no idea which camp you would put yourself in…or indeed if you might be in a different part of the forest altogether. My only point is that however large, the cost of relocating CASD is not so great that we couldn’t do it if we chose to, and I believe for various reasons that we would make that choice. As to time-scale I think we will have a view on that, and are likely to be supported by NATO in it, so if Scotland really want to join they will need to fall into line even if it doesn’t suit them.

    Personally, I think their real defence plan is not to bother in any serious way…provided they can blame the English and thereby secure another term in Government and further widen the emerging rift that will become the border; but that is a personal view, no more…

    GNB

  158. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Observer – you are forgetting the French; easily done I know, but in current circumstances might Russia and China prefer to change the rules in their favour by signing up one of their pals? Knowing as they do that Western politicians and electorates will go to great lengths to try to secure UN support for their activities…I should have thought that the opportunity to capture the UNSC Security Council and make the whole operation into a pro-Authoritarian Government Organisation would be all but irresistible.

    Bear in mind that the Western advantage in permanent seats is the only thing that holds in check the ant-Western majority in the organisation as a whole. How would things go down you way if China got UN backing to resolve all it’s territorial disputes in it’s favour by any means necessary? :-(

    GNB

  159. Observer

    Gloomy, no I didn’t forget them. Not that their presence makes any difference. And as for China and Russia getting hold of the UNSC, so what? It doesn’t come with any firepower they don’t already have, and sanctions are more of a voluntary thing than a requirement for the issuer, which would be a tad embarrassing for them to declare sanctions against XYZ and no one else bothered to implement. It might slow down an intervention consensus, but it won’t be the first time countries have intervened without UN mandate.

    The UN won’t be the first bureaucracy where the lower mechanisms are more important than the upper ones.

  160. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Observer – So a UN Resolution that China could help itself to whatever it fancied would have no impact? I think we need to agree to differ on this one…

    GNB

  161. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Monkey

    I think it would fall somewhere between an Irish and Scandinavian model. Corporation tax and ADP would both definitely be reduced and the onus would be on inward investment and developing a higher skilled economy.

    @CB

    Ref the European election results and your selective quoting of figures in an election where right wing and anti European parties generally do well. In Scotland 70% of those who voted, did so for either the SNP, Labour, Lib Dems or the Green Party. 70%. Whilst in England more than 50% voted UKIP or Conservative. there are more Giant Pandas in Scotland than Tory MPs. I am not saying that Scots are holier than anyone but they are different and that could be attributed to a number of factors including the fact that their lower levels of immigration have not yet seen concentrations large enough to affect traditional patterns of life and thus provoke a response (such as the rioting and voting patterns down South.) For gods sake the level of sectarianism shown in some areas of the central Belt certainly shows them capable of it.
    However at least analyse rather than personalise towards Salmond. Whom many of my yes leaning friends :( see as nothing more than a means to an end.

    London is more than twice as large in population terms as the next largest city in Europe ! We have London as the most populous and then Birmingham at 18th, the Italians have 4 in the top 20. The Germans have 4, the Spanish and French 3. It gets even worse if we look at top 40 or 50. average London house prices are more than twice the UK average. UK economic policies are dangerously skewed towards London at the cost of the rest of the UK. it has the highest level of public spending per head in England, not some rural area where you would expect services to be more expensive to provide.

    “To Salmond it’s a nation state with the a vision. To the rest of the world its just a colder East Anglia, but with less farms and more hills.”

    now that is simply insulting. It is insulting to an ancient nation state that entered a Union 300 odd years ago, it is insulting to Scots in general you see them led by some sort of cult personality and it is insulting to the huge Scots disapora that is all around the world from the Americans in their kilts at the rugby in Houston last night to places like Nova Scotia, Australia, New Zealand and many other former and non former Commonwealth countries.
    I have been lucky enough through work and an interest in travel to have visited every continent on earth and lived both in Scotland, England and on the Continent. If you really believe your statement is true I suggest you try and travel some yourself.
    take 2

  162. All Politicians are the Same

    Any permanent member of the UN permanent security council can veto any motion. Even if all the others support it.

  163. Observer

    Exactly APATs, which is why everything logjams at the higher levels. And Gloomy, that is also why pronouncements from the UNSC don’t count for squat, because most of the time, someone vetos anything of importance. And there is a big difference between a UN resolution and a UNSC resolution. UNSC resolutions are a joke. UN resolutions mean that a fair fraction of the world supports it. Big difference.

  164. DavidNiven

    Sorry GNB, that was for APATS not you.

    I can see Salmond being able to keep the nuclear powered boats and saying it is part of NATO commitments. I cannot see him being able to keep the deterrent in Scotland for longer than is absolutely necessary, he has put too much political capital in the issue to go back on it regardless of NATO.

  165. monkey

    @All Politicians are the Same
    Re their economic model you are probably right , the oil revenue , power exports (they produce more electricity than they use which will only increase as they go for green generation),a higher skilled economy generates higher salaries perhaps in the resurging Silicon Glen with companies such as Semefab . If they stay out of the EU they will have the option of setting up migration restrictions such as the US , Canada and the ANZAC’s have restricting it to the people with the skill sets they need or if they opt in having a dispensation such as Malta negotiated.

  166. Nick

    Hi all

    One thing that has been mentioned above, is Oil. Whilst it takes 5 to 10 years to get a major offshore project going, the tax regime you choose to operate makes a big difference to the economic case for the development. You may not have noticed, but whilst Norway taxes oil revenue rather highly on a global basis, it does give very decent tax breaks in the early stages, which has encouraged a lot of exploration and some really large discoveries. The UK is not as “generous”.

    An independent Scotland is likely to take a longer term view of Oil exploration than the UK for the obvious reason that its much more important % of the Scottish economy than it is of the UK (and there is a lot more practical engineering expertise sitting in Aberdeen than in the rest of the UK). Its rather like the argument over the 50 % tax band; take a short term hit to have a higher overall tax take down the line.

    On the banking side, its true that RBS, HBOS generate considerable profit from the casino end of the business, but most of these jobs are already London (or overseas) based; loosing them wouldn’t hurt Scotland as much as you think at the practical level. The insurance/pensions sector would though.

  167. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Nick – It’s the insurance/pensions business I have in mind, along with retail banking…the first is built around the UK Tax settlement…the second relies on the UK Deposits Guarantee…I think it highly unlikely that the UK Government will stand behind either unless they are regulated and to a large extent located in the UK…or that most people will think it wise to leave their cash under the regulation of a foreign power.

    I would expect the Scottish Banking System to be very much reduced in scale during the negotiation period, and I struggle to see that there will not be big job losses…not least at Lloyds who are also a Scottish Bank with a very big stake in the UK retail and mortgage markets…

    GNB

  168. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Nick – Just my point – a lot of the processing work on insurance, pensions, mortgages and retail banking are in Scotland – but most of the customers are elsewhere in the UK – bearing in mind the links between these tasks and the Deposit Guarantee Scheme, the UK Tax System and Banking oversight I struggle to see how that position can be maintained indefinitely…and bear in mind Lloyds is a Scottish Bank as well as RBS and HBOS

    GNB

  169. All Politicians are the Same

    @GNB

    A quick word on bail outs and international banking. A few facts to start with as they help.

    Lloyds are not a Scottish Bank. Lloyds banking group who own HBOS have their HQ in Gresham street in London. (not in Scotland). They are 25% owned by HMG. Underneath but solely owned by lloyds we have Halifax Lloyds and TSB who operate in England and the TSB and Bank of Scotland who operate in Scotland. They all come under the multinational umbrella of Lloyds who are registered in England.

    you said “I think it highly unlikely that the UK Government will stand behind either unless they are regulated and to a large extent located in the UK…or that most people will think it wise to leave their cash under the regulation of a foreign power.”

    well actually.

    RBS who are another multinational group but who are registered in Scotland but own Nat west and Coutts and Ulster Bank as well as Citizens Group in the US. Hence why the by far the biggest bail out money for RBS came from the Federal Reserve, due to their US interests.

    you will no doubt be interested and surprised to find out that the Uk bank that received the biggest bail out has its HQ at 1 Churchill Place Canary Wharf and is called Barclays, it received bail outs from the Fed Reserve of over £500 billion because it had exposure in the US and that is where its defaults would have hit hardest.

    The same with Fortis that was jointly bailed by Belgium the Netherlands and Luxembourg.

    What the crisis actually taught those of us that bothered to study it was that Banks are international entities and the money to save them came from where their exposure lay as that is where the chaos would occur, not where they have a name plate above a door.

    So what would actually happen is that Independence would see the ideal opportunity to separate some of these entities with Nat West, Couuts and ulster bank remaining with the UK whilst RBS went Northas its own brand similarly, Lloyds would lose BOS and retain Halifax with TSB an interesting case. scarily enough the brands are already doing this although they have a complex management structure.

    My uncle who is way up in HBOS divides his week between Edinburgh, Leeds and London most weeks. Ask him if HBOS or Lloyds are a Scottish bank then sit back for a lecture and a half.

  170. Chris.B.

    @ APATS,

    “Ref the European election results and your selective quoting of figures in an election where right wing and anti European parties generally do well”
    – Alright then, at the last general election almost 1 in 5 Scots voted Conservative (412,855 people). Aside from the seat they won they came second in 15 of the seats, especially prevalent once you get outside of Glasgow and Edinburgh. In England more people voted Labour than the entire population of Scotland. More people voted Lib Dem than the entire population of Scotland.

    Scotland is certainly more left leaning in its voting trends, but this idea that England is full of racist bastards who hate the poor and Scotland is a wonderful paradise of inclusive, caring people is a myth.

    “However at least analyse rather than personalise towards Salmond”
    – You still think he’s in this for anything other than himself? The fact that he’s a politician is the first clue that he’s got his eye on his own future and not the peoples. Besides, all we see of the Independence debate is Salmond. Normally on TV telling some body like NATO or the EU or the Bank of England that their negative warnings are irrelevant because everybody is going to act in a way that benefits Scotland, even it means acting in a manner that is detrimental to themselves. The fact that he does this with a straight face is the only thing I admire about him.

    “London is more than twice as large in population terms as the next largest city in Europe!”
    – Actually the Paris metropolitan area is larger. Globally it’s smaller than a lot of places like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, about seven cities in China, Sau Paulo… blah, blah.

    “UK economic policies are dangerously skewed towards London at the cost of the rest of the UK. it has the highest level of public spending per head in England, not some rural area where you would expect services to be more expensive to provide.”
    – Which economic policies? If it’s banking and legal you’re refering to then that does represent a massive chunk of our economy, as well as being a big (and growing) area for places like Manchester and Leeds. You’re right that there is probably too much spending (not sure as they really need one cross rail, let alone two, or HS2) but then it is a huge city. More than 10% of the UK population (and almost 20% of the English population) live within the metropolitan area. It’s a huge earner and a global hub for business.

    And if you think Scotland isn’t going to be very Edinburgh-centric then you’re kidding yourself. Already Edinburgh is eating the lions share of non-oil related Scottish investment. Part of the problem, both in Scotland specifically and the UK outside of London as a whole is that locals can never seem to agree on what they want and put together a decent plan to present to government.

    The Tyneside area would probably benefit massively from an underground rail connection to bypass traffic crossing the river. But nobody seems interested, so the chances of it happening are slim. If Manchester and Liverpool could stop bickering and trying to undermine each other they could make an exceptional case for being treated collectively as one “city” that would (or should) attract government investment like there’s no tomorrow. That would mean doing things like shutting Liverpool’s airport to focus on Manchester as a hub, but they’d never agree to it.

    Can’t invest money if people don’t have a plan for what they want and how it’s going to help the economy.

    ” it is insulting to Scots in general you see them led by some sort of cult personality “
    – Perhaps Salmond should spend a bit less time on telly then and let some of his other ministers come to the fore. At the minute it looks very much like one man and his country.

    “If you really believe your statement is true I suggest you try and travel some yourself.”
    – There are lots of people from East Anglia who live all across the world. That means nothing really. Half the world seems to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, but ask people some general questions about Ireland and aside from Guinness, river dance, Leprechauns and clovers you draw a lot of blank faces. The reality is Scotland is a small nation with an indeterminate place in the world. Salmond seems to think it’s going to be some sort of global power house that will change the shape of International politics to fit his ideals. But really it’s clout will be significantly limited. The irony is that by leaving the UK he’ll make “Scotland’s” international voice weaker, not stronger.

    Still, at least he’ll get to shake hands with a few world leaders and pose for the cameras, which is about all he really seems that bothered by.

  171. Chris.B.

    “you will no doubt be interested and surprised to find out that the Uk bank that received the biggest bail out has its HQ at 1 Churchill Place Canary Wharf and is called Barclays, it received bail outs from the Fed Reserve of over £500 billion…… What the crisis actually taught those of us that bothered to study it “

    – You clearly didn’t study it hard enough. The Federal Reserve didn’t bail out Barclays. It issued loans to them and other banks, designed to keep cash flowing in the markets. It’s basically another form of quantitative easing designed to benefit the US, but not quite, if that makes sense. A very different thing however from a bank bail out. Not that pro-independence papers have let that stand in their way.

    See what I mean now about the pro-independence camp leading your people down a very dangerous path? In the desperation to break free from London they’re apparently prepared to sell the Scottish people whatever it takes to get the job done, regardless of how risky that is in the long term. At this stage you appear to be your own worst enemies.

  172. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Chris B

    “In England more people voted Labour than the entire population of Scotland. More people voted Lib Dem than the entire population of Scotland.”
    ]how many more people live in England, lets use percentages. In 2010 80% of Scots who voted did so for the SNP, Labour or Lib Dems. 17% voted Tory. Meanwhile South of the Border 455 of those who voted did so for the Tories or UKIP. I never ever claimed that as you say “England is full of racist bastards” you said that. I even offered an analysis of why i do not think that Scotland votes right but you chose to ignore that.

    if you read my posts you will see I say on several occasions that Salmond offers one side of the arc whilst the better together campaign offer the other side. both are as wrong as each other, I offer a realistic middle ground as to what may happen, the middle ground most Scots actually believe

    “London is more than twice as large in population terms as the next largest city in Europe!”
    – Actually the Paris metropolitan area is larger. Globally it’s smaller than a lot of places like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, about seven cities in China, Sau Paulo… blah, blah.

    Actually the paris metropolitan area is the 2nd largest in Europe after the London one but simply in city size London is nearly 4 times larger in terms of population than the next largest. London is very close to NY, over twice the population of LA and 3 times that of Chicago. scary is it not considering the US has a population of 320 million and we have one of 60. London has 2 million people less than Sau Paulo but Brazil has a population of 200 million. it makes the Chinese top 10 who have a population of 1.4 Billion.
    blah blah blah sounds better if you had your facts right.

    So local governments limited powers are their fault and not the fault of the Uk Government who after all should not bother to look outside the M25 and actually care about their constituents. The Edinburgh trams are being paid for through the council and major infrastructure projects like the second crossing A9 dualling are not for Edinburghs benefit.

    “There are lots of people from East Anglia who live all across the world. That means nothing really. Half the world seems to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, but ask people some general questions about Ireland and aside from Guinness, river dance, Leprechauns and clovers you draw a lot of blank faces.”

    You really believe that because it is so not true. same with Scotland.

    The irony is that by leaving the UK he’ll make “Scotland’s” international voice weaker, not stronger”

    I totally agree with this statement, well the voice may be louder but both Scotlands and the UKs will be less effective.

  173. All Politicians are the Same

    @Chris B

    ” You clearly didn’t study it hard enough. The Federal Reserve didn’t bail out Barclays. It issued loans to them and other banks, designed to keep cash flowing in the markets”

    It gave them money to prevent them reneging on US debts.
    From the new statesman “The Federal Reserve has released details of more than 21,000 transactions after being forced by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act to disclose which institutions it had bailed out in the financial turmoil since December 2007.
    The data reveals that British-based banks accounted for $1 trillion (£640bn) of the money the Fed issued to prop up the financial sector.
    Barclays took the biggest chunk of bailout money, borrowing $863bn from the Fed. Almost half of the money came in overnight loans thought the Primary Dealer Credit Facility, a programme intended to help banks dealing in US Treasuries.”

    From the FT

    “However, news that banks such as Barclays of the UK, Switzerland’s UBS and Dexia of Belgium borrowed billions of dollars at favourable terms from US authorities may further anger critics already enraged about the Fed’s rescue of Wall Street.
    We’re talking about huge sums of money going to bail out large foreign banks,”

    From the Guardian
    “A recent audit of the Federal Reserve confirmed that the U.S. taxpayers provided a whopping $16 TRILLION in secret loans to bail out U.S. and foreign banks and businesses. According to a February 9th Bloomberg article, in 2009 every mortgage in America only amounted to $10.5 trillion! The amount of money stolen from America
    was enough to cover every home loan in the country.
    Read more at http://guardianlv.com/2012/07/federal-reserve-barclays-and-the-biggest-financial-scandal-of-all-time/#lFxU7z3pJv29323Q.99

    P.S

    I am opposed to Independence and dependent on a possible Operational commitment will either vote No in person or by proxy.

  174. A Different Gareth

    On the subject of subs: Might they lodge with the French for a bit? We are after all supposed to be best buddies now.

    On the subject of UNSC seats: The French would not be daft enough to give theirs up. I am less confident that UK representatives would be similarly stout of mind. The EU might be interested in it and it would be a massive feather in their cap. If such a thing were possible could half imagine Westminster trading that for (ineffective) EU reform.

  175. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @apats – I don’t doubt the accuracy of your analysis…but I do doubt if employment in retail banking/household financial services in Scotland will be anything like as great after independence as it is now, because that employment will be serving a population one tenth of its current size, not the whole of the UK…as you quite rightly observe the Banks and other Financial Institutions have already started quietly re-arranging their deck-chairs along those lines…

    GNB

  176. All Politicians are the Same

    @GNB

    “I don’t doubt the accuracy of your analysis…but I do doubt if employment in retail banking/household financial services in Scotland will be anything like as great after independence as it is now, because that employment will be serving a population one tenth of its current size”

    No it will not it will still serve exactly the same amount of people. Banking is cross border, multi national and multi institutional. You really must live in a strange world where an independent Scotland would see its banks cast from this sort of market whilst international banks would continue to trade in Scotland as if nothing had happened?

    There is no rearranging of any deck chairs, splitting the banks would see a shift of jobs as each bank had to have individual capacity to conduct what are currently shared tasks. So jobs would move both ways but BOS would get more jobs back whilst RBS would lose some South. Net gain pretty inconsequential one way or another.

    like most points raised by one side or the other the reality as per usual lies somewhere in between. Never in human history have i seen so many intelligent people suckered into the propaganda from one side or the other.

  177. Chris.B.

    @ APATS,

    “how many more people live in England”
    – Lots. The point being that there are more than twice as many left-wingers in England as live in the whole of Scotland and whom outnumber the right wing voters by a fair margin, which refutes this notion that somehow England is the bastion of heartless arseholes. Which brings us to…

    “I never ever claimed that as you say “England is full of racist bastards” you said that”
    – Actually that’s a paraphrasing of Alex Salmond and the SNP. One of his critical arguments, one that’s been picked up by most yes voters, is this notion that somehow people in Scotland are vastly different politically to the rest of the UK, usually spun as the idea that Scots voters are more caring and welcoming because they vote left wing, whereas England is full of pricks because some people vote Conservative, while also trying to play down the notion that anyone in Scotland is conservative minded.

    “blah blah blah sounds better if you had your facts right.”
    – Unless they’ve changed the boundaries for what constitutes the metropolitan area since the last time I checked (which in fairness happens more than you’d think) then London was at something like 9 million, Paris is 12 million, Chicago was a little over 9 million, Los Angeles is something ridiculous like 16 million, and New York is 20+ million.

    This really isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just economics. People move where the money is. Look at the growth of cities pre-industrial Britain and post-industrial. Think of New York, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles, Houston, London, Sydney, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Barcelona, Venice, Genoa, Athens, Istanbul, Mumbai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo. All at various times hugely important cities, most of them still are, and what do they all have in common?

    Ports.

    Trade centres, where the flow of goods and people attracted yet more money and more trade. Urbanisation is not a uniquely British condition, it happens everywhere inevitably. And it gradually becomes a self perpetuating cycle as more people creates more demand, which creates more jobs, which attracts more people, and so on and so forth. Except that over time some things become less valuable or less economical, like mills or ship building, while some things like finance, insurance and legal services become more valuable.

    Why is London so large? Economics.

    “So local governments limited powers are their fault and not the fault of the Uk Government who after all should not bother to look outside the M25 and actually care about their constituents”
    – So how would you like it to go?

    Local gov: Give us money!
    Central gov: What for?
    Local gov: Stuff!
    Central gov: What stuff?
    Local gov: Stuff! Give us money!
    Central Gov: But why?
    Local gov: Wah it’s not fair! Gives us money!
    Central gov: What will you do with it though?
    Local gov: Build stuff!
    Central gov: And how much will “stuff” cost to build?
    Local gov: Don’t know, don’t care!
    Central gov: Well let’s look at it logically then, how much value will “stuff” add to the economy?
    Local gov: No idea. Give money now!
    Central gov: Ok, new idea, how about you fuck off and come back with a plan?
    Local gov: Wah, you never gives us money!

    Which is the primary problem that most local governments have, in that they complain about not being given any money, but when pushed to explain what they would do with the money can come up with no answer other than “not spend it on London”. Or you end up with Colchester councils genius plan to spend £25 million on a Visual Arts Centre that rarely has any art in it, not least because it was designed by an architect who was clearly drunk at the time that he drew up the plans and as such contains very few areas where art can actually be displayed, leading to a situation where bugger all people actually visit it.

    To give the Londoners a smidgen of credit they at least are capable of developing coherent plans of what to spend the money on, how much this would cost, and how this would result in some kind of tangible end benefit, as opposed to just complaining about a lack of funds.

    “The Edinburgh trams are being paid for through the council and major infrastructure projects like the second crossing A9 dualling are not for Edinburghs benefit.”
    – A good chunk of the money for the trams now comes from the Scottish government, not least since it’s nearly three times over budget, another ringing endorsement for local government. The second crossing isn’t for Edinburgh’s benefit? Odd, considering it’s just over a mile down the road and is designed to speed up the crossing of the firth of Forth, making it easier for commuters and other traffic from the north to reach, er, Edinburgh. The A9 dualling I’ll give you, that being designed to stop people getting killed.

    “It gave them money to prevent them reneging on US debts”
    – They had no real problem with US debts. The problem was the money supply drying up. The clue is in the title ‘Primary Dealer Credit Facility’. Barclays being one of the Primary Dealers. It required them to hand over assets (which is where the similarity to quantitative easing comes in) as collateral for the loans (which is where it ends) that ultimately have to be repaid, and in many cases were short term (that’s another aspect of it, something called the Term Auction Facility).

    A lot of this, in the case of all the British banks, was done through American subsidiaries and is designed to palm off illiquid assets to the Fed in exchange for cash that can be pumped back into the economy to keep it moving (which is where the quantitative easing analogy comes back in). Conversely a bail out in the sense of the bail outs we saw here often requires no asset transfer and no repayment (just a bung of cash in other words) and is usually done to stem the flow of cash out of the bank from people withdrawing deposits (which is what happened to Northern Rock). The main difference being that without government intervention Northern Rock, RBS, Lloyds TSB would have gone bust, while the Fed’s scheme was designed to stop the American economy going bust (the banks would have survived. Until the cumulative shit hit the fan at least).

    Be careful what you read in the papers, funnily enough they have agendas and need to sell copies. Notice how the Guardian and New Statesman articles you brought up went into outrage mode and talked about bailouts etc with no opportunity for an exclamation mark spared by the Guardian. The Financial Times – targeted at people who know the system – just dryly reported about favourable loans.

    The main point being that neither the US nor the UK government is going to guarantee the deposits of a Scottish bank. If it goes down, you’re fucked.

    Apologies for the length.

  178. Nick

    The “bail out” was extremely complicated and is in fact still going on today in the both the US and Eurozone (we call it quantitative easing though). Simplistically, there were several different issues. For example, one related to the insolvency risk to the banking sector (due to loans between banks and mortgage providers/insurers – AIG and FannyMae/FredieMac especially). Another was to increase liquidity in the inter-bank lending markets (moving flowing between banks) and a third was the need to rebuild equity reserves in the banks themselves.

    The various bail out schemes addressed these elements separately. I can think of 6 elements of the top of my head:

    a) Forced mergers of weak banks with stronger ones
    b) Direct purchase of the banks shares and the federal US mortgage providers, Insurance (AIG) and motor industry (or raising new investment from existing or new shareholders eg Barclays)
    c) Financial institutions selling high risk assets for cash (the US scheme was called TARP if I remember correctly)
    d) FED/BoE providing cheap loans secured on specific assets. The amount of money provided by various governments and central banks
    e) Government guarantees (both explicit and implicit)
    f) Government bail-outs (in the Eurozone)

    So far as I can see, each country bailed out the banks based in their territory, regardless of ownership (the US bail out of AIG and FannyMae/FredieMac also distributed a lot of cash to various banks, which would otherwise have lost money on their loan balances – a good chunk of this cash went to US operations of UK owned banks). The UK and Dutch governments respectively bailed out UK/Dutch elements of Icelandic banks). The logic for doing this was simple; the damage to the UK and US economies from letting local subsidiaries of foreign owned operations go down far exceeded to cost of the bail-out.

    I see no reason to assume that the UK government wouldn’t bail out a Scottish bank to the extent of its UK operations regardless of independence on the same principle. This doesn’t mean that Scottish banks with sizeable UK operations wouldn’t have to be regulated by the Bank of England though. HSBC was forced to move its head office domicile from HK to UK when it took over Midland bank for example. That didn’t mean that HSBC lost its HK/China business.

    I think you could expect the Scottish based banks post independence to be treated the same way. Please remember that profits are generally taxed where earned, not where the Company is domiciled (but that is a different issue). The effect on Scottish based jobs or tax receipts would be quite small in practice. To make things worse, it is always possible that independent Scotland would end up using the Euro in the medium term anyway and Scotland could use the Irish approach with low Corporate tax rates and special deals to keep head quarters domiciled in Scotland.

    The more interesting question relates to currency union or not I think. If you assume there was a currency union with the UK, independent Scotland would be no worse off that any of the smaller countries in the Euro zone today; the UK and Scottish economies are actually closely aligned and integrated (think Netherlands/Germany rather than Germany/Greece) right now so the risk isn’t as large as seems to be talked up. Even if Scotland ended up using the Euro in 3 to 5 years post independence, the real cost would mostly be borne electronically and for UK tourists changing money. Inconvenient, but not the end of the world (just think what the low number of Scottish pound notes you see in England tells you about the amount if cash moving across the border).

  179. monkey

    Re Financial Houses
    Their biggest concern is currency union , if their is no currency union they may be based in a small country which has limited financial reserves to stabilize its currency against currency speculators. For instance from the Federal Reserve Bank.
    “On October 23, 1997, a massive speculative attack took place against the Hong Kong dollar. Interbank interest rates soared into triple digits, and one-month interest rates hit 50%. Although high interest rates successfully repelled this initial attack, it turned out that “Black Thursday” was just the beginning. Major attacks also occurred in January, June, and August of 1998. The prolonged period of high interest rates took a serious toll on Hong Kong’s economy, which is heavily dependent on the interest rate-sensitive real estate and financial services sectors.” Its does not mention the role the PRC took in stabilizing the situation , a phone call from the head of The Bank Of China Dai Xianglong gave them an unlimited credit line as it was in China’s best interest to preserve what would be theirs again in 1999.
    In Oct 2008 Russia promised $5.4 billion to bail out Iceland , why bail out a NATO member? The answer was in exchange for base’s on the island. In the end the IMF bailed them out ,so crisis over.
    Just to reiterate from an earlier post:-
    Lloyds/TSB/HBOS/Scottish Widows parent is Lloyds Banking Group PLC.
    Its registered office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ.
    Registered in Scotland number 95000
    RBSNATWestCouttsUlsterBank parent is The Royal Bank of Scotland PLC.
    Its registered office: 36 St Andrew Square, Edinburgh, EH2 2YB
    Registered in Scotland no. 90312.
    Standard life PLC (until recently Europes largest mutual life assurance company)
    Its registered office: 30 Lothian Road, Edinburgh EH1 2DH
    Registered in Scotland no. 030702.

    I think Scotland being allowed to keep the Great British Pound is our biggest bargaining chip.

  180. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Monkey
    “Lloyds/TSB/HBOS/Scottish Widows parent is Lloyds Banking Group PLC.
    Its registered office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ.
    Registered in Scotland number 95000

    that is the office of Scottish operations. lloyds banking group are 25 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7HN . Registered in England and Wales no. 2065.

    The Scottish operation is wholely owned by Lloyds banking Group registered in London.

  181. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @Monkey – Hardly, as we seem pretty clear they can’t…so if there is to be a change of mind the price will be high…and the only thing I can think of that is big enough is Faslane. Bearing in mind the fact that for some of the SNP that is the real prize, with the hope of our disarming in consequence the cherry on the cake I struggle to see even Salmond selling that one.

    I go back to the fact that for most of the post-war period the SNP were planning a neutral socialist republic…in private have they really moved as far as Salmond insists they have?

    My own suspicion is not, but once the die is cast it will be hard to turn back the clock even if the reassuring prospectus currently on offer fails to materialize…blame us for the pound and the shipyards, the EU for not bumping them up the queue, NATO for backing us about CASD…a kind of tartan-clad Venezuela beckons methinks…

    GNB

  182. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @monkey – I’m with you – the Lloyds Registered Office – the one that as far as I know defines it’s Nationality – is the one on the Mount, so presumably it is Registered as a Company in Scotland…

    GNB

  183. El Sid

    Per their annual report :
    “Lloyds Banking Group plc was incorporated as a public limited company and registered in Scotland under the UK Companies Act 1985 on 21 October 1985 with the registered number 95000.

    Lloyds Banking Group plc’s registered office is The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ, Scotland, and its principal executive offices in the UK are located at 25 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7HN.”

    That works whilst Edinburgh and London are still in the same country and subject to the same financial regulator. Realistically, in the event of independence, they’d have to choose one or the other. The 32.7% shareholder might have a view on that.

  184. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Et Al

    The location of the registered office has a lot to do with allowing Bank of Scotland to continue to issue Bank notes whilst owned by Lloyds Banking Group. Make no mistake where all group level decisions and meetings are carried out from and where the registered office address would dispensary to in the event of an I Scotland.
    Note it occurred after the merger and crash.

    Clydesdale Bank has a registered Office in Scotland despite being owned by the national bank of Australia. The diffreence being they have not integrated services in the same manner HBOS and LLoyds have.

  185. monkey

    Its a shame Lloyds had to take on HBOS. Shotgun marriages rarely work !
    Without the massive bad debt burden brought over with Halifax’s huge mortgage book Lloyds would have been in a strong position to take advantage of fire sales their competitors around the world were having RBS sold off its lucrative Worldpay processing division (retaining 20%) they did get £2bn for it though which meant we had give them less.

  186. All Politicians are the Same

    @ Monkey

    Unfortunately Lloyds would have to have taken extra funding had they not taken over HBOS.so were in no position to make acquisitions. The whole HBOS merger thing was a disaster as Halifax did not have a clue about how to be a bank and the division of responsibilities was muddled though it is far worse now.
    My Uncle spends his time looking after project managers who work for him in Edinburgh, Leeds and London as well as attending meetings in London because Halifax do not seem to be able to do VTC and his boss never ventures outside the M25.

  187. monkey

    If Scotland goes Independent and they refuse us basing facilities there for whatever reason , intransigence , cost , etc could we approach the Icelanders re Naval Air Station Keflavik for a forward base for MPA (we could use the C295 from there) and a response squadron of Typhoons. We did after all help them out of their financial crisis to the tune of £1bn’
    The British banks have to pay annually three equal £363m payments to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.The payments fell due because the FSCS was unable to recover the full amount owed by the estates of Icelandic banks Icesave, Heritable Bank and Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander. So it was decided the British banking sector had to pay the compensation.
    At present the base is in pretty much in mothballs having been shut down by the Americans in 2006
    from wiki
    “The base offered a wide variety of recreational services which included bowling, swimming, gymnasium, theater, social clubs, a Wendy’s restaurant, and hobby centers. Other services included a Navy Exchange, commissary, bank, credit union, hospital, beauty shop, tour office and morale flights to the rest of Europe and the United States. Golfing was available in a nearby community.”
    At present the Canadians,Germans, Norwegians, Danes, Portuguese, French or Americans take turns in deploying aircraft there to protect this relatively unarmed member of NATO.
    Perhaps RAF Ballykelly could be reopened for the same purpose ?

  188. Angus McLellan

    @monkey: I have never heard anyone from the SNP suggest that sharing bases with, or giving them to, the RAF would be a problem. Why would it be? On the other hand, I have read people from the other side of the fence (in the Telegraph if I’m not misremembering) pooh-poohing the idea that the RAF might want such a base.

    I tend to agree with the naysayers as I can’t see why the RAF would need to use Lossiemouth for Typhoons. As for imaginary C295s, an imaginary base would do for those.

  189. monkey

    @Angus McLellan
    Re the bases neither have I but who knows, a back up plan would nice when at the negotiating table and a ridiculous rent is being demanded for Lossiemouth.
    Re the C295 I know we don’t have any or any other sort of MPA capability apart from a C130 and some binoculars as discussed on other threads but the gap between the bases I mentioned is about 800 miles operating from both with a limited range plane such as the C295 MPA (the biggest criticism layed against proposed Nimrod replacements) should adequately cover the GIUK gap. In a shooting war Keflavik would be restored to full service anyway so why not now.

  190. Angus McLellan

    @monkey: Rent? Perhaps I am being unduly cynical, but I cannot see a hypothetical request for the RAF to retain Lossiemouth as a base falling through as a result of disagreements about rent. I’d go further, I wouldn’t expect the word “rent” to be mentioned in talks on such a matter.

    Here are some base political facts. The MP for Lossiemouth (and Kinloss too) is the SNP defence spokesman, Angus Robertson. I’m quite sure he knows just how long it would take to create even the small air combat forces mentioned in the White Paper. The constituency MSP is the cabinet minister responsible for DEFRA’s equivalent in Scotland, Richard Lochhead. Neighbouring constituences include those represented by Alex Salmond to the east and the energy minister, Fergus Ewing (who has Ft George in his constituency). to the west

    In comparison, after a Yes vote Leuchars would have few political friends of any importance where it matters. It has a LibDem MP and its MSP is a SNP back-bencher about whom even I know nothing.

    For these reasons, I think that any proposal to maintain Lossiemouth as a UK military base, or indeed the Qinetic sites in the Hebrides and Galloway, would be pushing at an open door. Very different indeed from the case of Faslane and Coulport.

  191. All Politicians are the Same

    @Monkey/AM

    Keflavik is also the site of the main civilian airport. So the flight facilities are fine. Yes NATO rotate round an Air Policing deployment there. Similar to the one that covers the Baltic States.

    If Scotland became Independent and remained in NATO then given its position there would need to be a form of Air defence which is currently supplied by QRA(N). Thgat may well see at least initially an air policing role by the RAF from a Scottish airbase and perhaps shared responsibility going forward.

  192. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @A McL – Bearing in mind the likely row about and cost of relocating CASD…and about warship building…are you sure the UK and Scottish Defence establishments will really be on such cordial terms as to share facilities? Or indeed that the Salmondista Irridentists will tolerate the hated English on “their” Bases? Having read what slender information there is available in Salmond’s 700 page blockbuster, I don’t detect much meeting of minds on foreign or defence policy to be honest. I forget the exact phrase used in respect of CASD, but it suggests that they consider anyone supporting the UK position on CASD to be little better than a genocidal war criminal….I remain staggered that they (claim) to want to join NATO, which is when all’s said and done a first strike nuclear alliance…

    GNB

  193. All Politicians are the Same

    @GNB

    Let me help you it says “Trident is an affront to basic decency with
    its indiscriminate and inhumane destructive power”

    Do not agree with the first sentence the rest is pretty correct. Your continued use of the world Salmondista simply makes you look petty by the way. I have many friends who will vote Yes because they want Scotland to decide its own future but hate Salmond. He has no chance of winning any election to form the first Government of an I Scotland and I would actually not expect him to stand.

    NATO reserves the right to use Nuclear weapons first simply because if they ever remove that phrase they will not get it back. Having worked in NATO roles i can tell you that using nukes at all is pie in the sky thinking these days. after all you outmatch any possible conventional proponent by a huge margin.
    Quite a few NATO nations actually ban Nukes from their territory but the likelihood would be a phased withdrawal over 5 years or so in return for a something like a temporary currency union.

    An I Scotland within NATO occupies an important strategic position and yes the simplest option would be military cooperation, remeber the vast majority of an I Scotland military are going to come from UK forces, especially among Scots who have done 15 years plus seen the world got shot at and the medals to prove it and fancy staying in the Defence business at “home”. So there is an immediate connection.

    The minorities like to make noise be it the “daily mail reading little englanders who think it is 1814 not 2014″ or the “Anyone but Engkand it is all westmonster fault muppets” but the reality is they are irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.

  194. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @apats – thanks for the reminder – and just to be clear I use the term Salmondista as a shorthand for those at the truculent end of the SNP…to distinguish them from other Scots who might vote yes without being so obviously bad-tempered and anti-English about it. It seems to me a more elegant term than Nat-trolls, or whatever else they get called…

    Can’t claim to share your belief that all will be sweetness and light after a yes vote however – I am expecting it to be bloody unpleasant if not actually actively dangerous.

    I am, however, Gloomy

  195. All Politicians are the Same

    @GNB

    “I am expecting it to be bloody unpleasant if not actually actively dangerous.”

    Why? You actually sound like you want it to be? Why on earth should it, what reasons would the vast majority have we would all still have friends and relatives throughout the Islands, the members of the armed forces would know each other and have worked together. One country would have taken a slightly different more Scandinavian style direction. Both would be western Democracies, both would support the same standards of fair trials, human rights, freedom of speech and the press etc etc.
    You are way way way off here and yet cannot explain why.

    We are not talking about breaking up somewhere like Sudan with massive religious differences here. Have the Czechs and Slovaks become hostile, is it actively dangerous?

  196. x

    ” One country would have taken a slightly different more Scandinavian style direction.”

    Is that how it is seen up there? A yes vote and they will be on the way to being another Norway, Sweden, or Denmark? Really? Gosh that is something. Never thought of it that way. I just thought it would be like having another Eire but one to the north and an Eire if they had the Ulster. But another Norway? Wow that’s a leap. That’s put a whole new spin on it for me.

  197. All Politicians are the Same

    @X

    Maybe you should read about it a bit more, then it would not be a whole new spin. because it has been discussed for months if not years.
    Basically Scots want to prioritise spending on social care, health care, improved public services. they are in favour of using money for ensuring that the elderly have free care and that prescription charges are minimised. they are less in favour of Nuclear weapons and elective Foreign wars.
    Note my use of the word “slightly and more” then compare it to your phrase “another Norway”. see the difference?

  198. x

    @ APATS

    I am familiar with socialism thank you. Today on Sky every yes voter banged on about the danger of a privatised NHS like it was tantamount to the HMG setting up euthanasia facilities.

    And I am familiar with Scandinavian politics. I am just surprised to see the Spirit of 44 mixed with pickled hearings because there are differences between what I will term old Labour and the Swedish model. I just wondered which view of the future was being sold to who and whose votes will be buying it. I can’t see die hard Glaswegian Labour voters going for the reforms the Swedes brought in a while back. Perhaps it is you who need to do some reading on Scandinavian politics and governmental systems?

    Personally I don’t care if they get independence or not as long as whoever is doing the negotiation on our side doesn’t hand over blank cheques and assets to Edinburgh in a panic of guilt and desperation. It is interesting up to a point I suppose, but if they vote to go my world won’t stop turning, I think it is generally a non-issue hereabouts. It is important to the Westminster Village but heck look at the number of Scots in our government and media. As you point out there will be no violence and we will just jog along. But I think one or two must be wondering if their positions are safe within the London establishment. Luckily for them the English are mostly past caring.

  199. Gloomy Northern Boy

    @apats – Because I don’t think the Scots are being sold an entirely honest prospectus, and if it fails to materialise they are likely to be looking for somebody to blame? Because it will cause the rest of us immense cost, and may significantly diminish the UK in ways as yet unanticipated and we may not much care for it? Because breaking up a generally highly successful 300 year-old union may well have unintended consequences? Because in my lifetime, the break-up of long established states has very much more often gone badly than not?

    Questions, rather than certainties – but then I’m Gloomy, not Dr Pangloss…

    GNB

  200. All Politicians are the Same

    @X

    Socialism is the equal distribution of poverty, i would not call the Scandinavian, high skill, high tax high service economy socialism in any way.
    The NHS was one of the bastions of this country yet you treat its sell off as a good thing. Who cares if those too porr cannot get treatment, you obviously do not.

    I do not need to do any reading because I will refer you back to my words of “slightly and more”, i have also had the benefit of spending a lot of time in Sweden when my brother lived there. I suggested a move towards, you as normal attempt to seize and misrepresent.

    You make the classic mistake in assuming that it is a move towards either Old Labour or a mini UK, it would not have to be either. I assume you refer to the 2013 Sweden National reform module which i am actually very familiar with and which is going to cost the Government its job at the next election.

    There would be no blank cheques just an honest and fair division with several things negotiated to both sides advantage. I cannot help wonder what GNB envisages though.
    Think he pines for an inner Uk border and daring escapes from those wild celts :)

  201. All Politicians are the Same

    @GNB

    “Because I don’t think the Scots are being sold an entirely honest prospectus, and if it fails to materialise they are likely to be looking for somebody to blame?”

    Let me rephrase that less politely for you. what you are saying is that in your opinion the Scots are falling for Alex salmonds wild lies and when it is not some sort of Nirvana they will turn nasty and blame the English?

    have you possibly even for a minute stopped to think that most Scots realise that Salmond and BT are both miles away from reality and the truth lies somewhere in between? That maybe they are actually intelligent people who are not brainwashed and would immediately turn on their friends colleagues and neigbours? That are voting on principle and are clever enough to make their own decision without believing either sides BS.

    “Because it will cause the rest of us immense cost, and may significantly diminish the UK in ways as yet unanticipated and we may not much care for it?”

    yes it will diminish the UK but we will get over that because that is what western democracies do Gloomy. Well the vast majority of us anyway at this point i am not certain about you.

    “Because breaking up a generally highly successful 300 year-old union may well have unintended consequences? Because in my lifetime, the break-up of long established states has very much more often gone badly than not?”

    OK list me the Democratic western states that have broken up peacefully via the ballot box that have gone on to have the sort of issues you imply.

    The places you allude to have had prior violence and divisions along political, ethnic and religious lines. I have probably been to most of them with work .

  202. Red Trousers

    I think the Scots are canny enough to know for themselves, and (I believe) that when the push comes to shove on September 18th that about 60% of them will side with the union. It won’t be very close.

    I also suspect that Wee Eck knows that, and indeed may even see that as a slightly more preferable result. He’ll get Devo Max out of it, and not have to put his own personal reputation too much on the line. He’ll be able to point to a fight cunningly fought, and still remain First Minister.

  203. wf

    @APATS: I think @GNB is making the perfectly defensible point, which you yourself agree with to a degree, that Scotland is proportionally more of a consumer of welfare and social services than England, something that has been subsidised via Barnett and implicitly the oil, and as you point out, they want this to continue. Under independence, or devo-max, this is unlikely to be possible with the oil revenues and the tax base of Scotland alone, leading either to a beneficial rejigging of priorities or, more likely in the short term, blaming the English. There’s a reason why the latter don’t want the Scots to get the pound you know, because when Wee Eck’s new model socialist state goes belly up, we don’t want to be blamed for it.

  204. jedibeeftrix

    @ wf – agreed.

    @ RT – “I think the Scots are canny enough to know for themselves, and (I believe) that when the push comes to shove on September 18th that about 60% of them will side with the union. It won’t be very close.”

    Likewise, my money is broadly on a ~60:30 split when the day comes.

  205. monkey

    @Angus McLellan

    I agree with you very much I am afraid on “I’d go further, I wouldn’t expect the word “rent” to be mentioned in talks on such a matter.” I bet my bottom dollar the morons they send north to negotiate on these matters will have money the last thing on their mind and will agree to all sorts .Money is predominately what this site is about in many ways , discussion and idea generation of how to spend a very limited budget.
    Re developing a small combat air force , the least they can do is defend their own air space with a squadron of Typhoons we could handover , Iceland have an excuse their population is smaller than most UK cities @324,000.As for ground troops a visit to Celtic Park and Ibrox on any given Saturday should yield an Army bigger the UK’s !

  206. Nick

    @wf

    I doubt the economics are as clear cut as the propaganda (from either side) claims. The problem of deintegrating government spending and tax generation is a complex issue at the nest of times, especially when its never been tried before. It will take at least 5 years (I think) after independence (if it happens) to get a decent understanding of the stand alone financing for iScotland. Managing the Scottish economy for Scottish needs rather then for the current UK’s needs will probably turn out to have a bigger difference that it appears. Scottish government bureaucracy is largely in place already and overseas presence can initially be limited to a few key locations (whered the Scottish government probably already has a presence in one form or another) and there will b a saving for them not having to pay their cut of rUK government costs. I would also argue that Defence spending for iScotland could adopt a similar capability path.

    I doubt that the Scots are likely to blame the rUK for making a mess of independence if it happens – the SNP will probably carry the can. The rivalry for the majority on either side is no more than that between the UK and France these days.

  207. Chris

    Nick – “The rivalry for the majority on either side is no more than that between the UK and France these days” – crikey! That much??

  208. Nick

    Monkey

    If Scotland wanted to have immediate air defence capability of day 1, wouldn’t a Typhoon squadron be rather expensive ? As a longer term process, they might be better of getting hold of a less expensive solution (UAE has some late generation Mirages or ex-Swedish Gripen for example).

    I would have thought a basic MPA and OPB capability plus a small ground self defence force generated over a 5 to 10 year period would be reasonable end game for IScotland. The problem for the UK is that we don’t really have any surplus equipment to hand over as part of any independence deal surely ?

  209. wf

    Actually @Nick, I would aver it’s all too clear. Government spending is primarily NHS, pensions, education and social security in that order, and Scotland spends above the rUK average in all of these as well as being disproportionally reliant on state employment.

    Personally, I’m all for devo-max for all the constituent nations of the UK. The dash of cold water it would administer would do us all good.

  210. monkey

    @Nick
    Re the Typhoons.
    I am not sure I would want the cost burden of running a squadron of Typhoons if I were First Minister (how much is that by the way anyone? Including airfield cost say the new RSAF Lossiemouth.) However if it came to it surely Scotland has a right to a proportion of the UK,s defence material? They after all have been paying their taxes too. Again though despite Scotland’s very creditable contribution to Britain’s Military History I would go the way of Eire (same contribution – ducks head and waits for fallout , I have foot in both camps with parent from one and grandparents from the other). I would stay out of the EU and NATO being like Puerto Rico is to the US ,all the benefits but none of the bureaucratic BS / tax burden at least until the countries internal adjustments are made.

  211. Observer

    monkey, we get that they have a right to the material, but you want to bet that they would take all the advantageous items while avoiding the liabilities? As you already pointed out, one example would be the Typhoons. Should they also not take some of the problems as well? Or is it going to be “What is good is mine, what is crap is yours.”?

  212. Nick

    Monkey

    Rationally, it should work something (very simplistically) like this in value terms to reach the financial settlement on independence:

    Lets say Scotland is 8% of UK GDP, and the 150 (say) Typhoons owned by the UK are worth (government accounting book value) are worth $50 million each (on average). The Scotland has $600 m share in the Typhoon assets (roughly 12 planes). iScotland either takes the planes or uses the value against acquiring its own assets.

    Lets say the Scottish Parliament building is worth $300 million on the same basis. RUK owns 92 % of $276m

    In order to get all government assets in Scotland transferred to iScotland, then in value terms, Scotland has to hope that 8 % of the rUK government assets are worth as much as 92 % of Scotland government property.

    Of course it wont work like that in practice, Scotland will just claim government assets and liabilities in Scotland (which is reasonable based on Geography), but claiming anything based in rUK just isn’t going to happen. The settlement arrangements can take years to work out if the SNP demand a full financial reckoning. This is the real cost of independence I think.

  213. monkey

    @Nick
    My other half and her similarly qualified colleagues will be rubbing their hands with glee , she’s an accountant and will have just finished her Masters at Durham in time for the result. PWC/KPMG/EY/Delloitte are probably hoping for a yes vote then :-)

    It will be a bit of a nightmare that will probably spill over into legal disputes so plenty of work for those called to the Bar (not the pub, Barristers ) even whose Law has precedence will be fun Scotland’s or rUK statutes ?

    How did the Czechs and Slovaks divi up?

  214. Nick

    Monkey

    I forget who, but one of the posts towards the top explained the legal mechanism used by the Czechs/Slovacs. I think that was a bit simpler given the relative size of the economies was much more similar, it was also just after the end of the Soviet era and there was a lot of political goodwill in both countries.

    I think Scotland has the potential to be thornier problem; I expect there’s a killing to be made in the legal, banking and financial consultancy and valuation businesses unless it was a hand shake deal….

    I think the odds on it happening are 60:40 against right now. The English politics of it are fascinating though.

  215. Observer

    When I saw someone posting iScotland, I couldn’t help but think “Wow, Apple really gets their hands on everything!”. :P

  216. All Politicians are the Same

    @Wf

    “which you yourself agree with to a degree, that Scotland is proportionally more of a consumer of welfare and social services than England, something that has been subsidised via Barnett and implicitly the oil, and as you point out, they want this to continue. Under independence, or devo-max, this is unlikely to be possible with the oil revenues and the tax base of Scotland alone,”

    The economics are actually quite complex as a lot of Scotlands contribution including a lot of oil revenue is not credited to Scotland. Even then in many years Scotland puts in more than it gets back, despite UK economic policy being set to suit the SE alone.

    The point you miss as do most is that an I Scotland would not want to be a mini UK, it places a higher value on social welfare and services and but also places a far lower priority on foreign wars and Nuclear Weapons, it would be allowed to shape its own economic future and direction. make its own priorities that would see it have nobody to blame for its problems than itself.

    “hen Wee Eck’s new model socialist state goes belly up, we don’t want to be blamed for it.”

    There is nothing socialist about looking to have a higher skilled higher waged economy that is prepared to meet its social responsibilities.

    Nick sums it up nicely “I doubt that the Scots are likely to blame the rUK for making a mess of independence if it happens – the SNP will probably carry the can. The rivalry for the majority on either side is no more than that between the UK and France these days.”

    England gets the blame now because it can enforce a Conservative Government on Scotland and set economic policies that do not suit whilst refusing to devolve things like APD and CT. Regardless of how Independence went England would not be able to be blamed any more.

  217. monkey

    @Observer and Nick
    re iScotland , I all ready own the rights ,Apple can make me an offer if they like ;-)

  218. Nick

    I hesitated to raise this thought before, as it seemed like the wrong forum, but….

    Given Devo-max isn’t a game changer, but a slight extension of what’s happening today, what happens to the UK assuming the Scottish vote is to continue status quo ?

    a) How does the SNP go forward without the reasonable prospect of independence, given its support base outside the Nats proper seems to be down to Scottish negativity regarding the Labour parties accommodation with SE England and the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote; and

    b) Given that there is a vocal minority of English nats, who appear to relish the end of the UK, can that genie be put back in the bottle or – more likely [ are there long term consequences for politics in the UK ?

  219. Simon257

    If you take the Oil/Gas and Financial Industries out of the question. What other major industries does Scotland have to support itself?

    Whilst if Scotland decides to go their own way. What would happen if a lot of Scots decided to come south of the Border, following their Jobs! Not everyone North of the border, will be willing to take the risk of living in Salmand’s Utopian Society!

  220. monkey

    @Simon257

    They would have get a work visa first , the employer would need to sponsor them for a Tier 2 (General) visa.

  221. Nick

    Simon

    Agriculture is pretty big. Beef and Salmon are the most obvious, but fishing is a major sector in general (a lot of shell fish in Europe is fished in Scotland). Whisky production is a small employer, but a big export earner.

    Nick

  222. x

    APATS said “The point you miss as do most is that an I Scotland would not want to be a mini UK, it places a higher value on social welfare and services and but also places a far lower priority on foreign wars and Nuclear Weapons, it would be allowed to shape its own economic future and direction. make its own priorities that would see it have nobody to blame for its problems than itself.”

    So the majority of Englander is clamouring for the NHS to be dismantled? I mean how much a higher priority can we here in Cruel England put on social welfare ans services? As for priority on wars wasn’t it Labour Party dominated by Scots at all levels that took us into the Sandbox? Or do Scots only become warlike when they are elected to Westminster? Surely what shape’s a countries economic future is its businesses coupled with government policy? It already has a separate education system so surely any blame on a lack of vitality with the economy rests north of the border? Reminds me of an Irish chap I saw reviewing the papers on Sky once belittling the English because he was able to get a job in London because he was better qualified without once thinking if the Irish system was so good why was their no job back home for him where he could contribute to the Irish economy. (Nor did it cross his mind that there was a job here not because of his qualifications but because our economy was large enough to generate more jobs in his sphere than there were persons to fill them. Stupid PR person.) In fact most of what the Swedes have done with their economy can already be achieved within the parameters of devolution as they already exist. Prior to devolution the Scots already had a lot of control over their own affairs and one of the UK’s leading parties has been dominated by Scottish politicians and yet we are to supposedly being lead to believe that Scots were disenfranchised. The myth of Scottish Labour MPs being a built in bias is just that a myth and the West Lothian Question an interesting thought experiment but to stretch that to a nation in virtual captivity is a long stretch indeed. Scotland outside the Union would have been another Ireland. In financial terms they may get less out than they put in, with a deficit we all do anyway. But holistically for over over three hundred they have done pretty well out of the English.. We want independence, but can we join the EU?, we don’t wars but can we join NATO?, can we keep your currency?, any mutterings from the Shetlands and Orkney Islands about their oil and fish are just mutterings and should be ignored because the polls say this and the polls say that, and any poll that disagrees with us is wrong. What a laugh! As I said above I don’t really care if they do leave the Union. All I am concerned about is who ever handles the divorce from our side doesn’t hand them they ask for in a fit of panic and guilt. Co-opting school children to vote and no thresholds smacks of confidence too. And if it does go wrong despite assertions here of magnanimity Westminster and the UK will be blamed without a doubt. In times of crisis peoples always externalise the threat and blame. Phenomena like German and Japanese war guilt are rare. It is always the other who is to blame.

  223. Phil

    can that genie be put back in the bottle or

    Depends on events dear boy, I think.

    The machinery of the modern state, argue many, and I agree, has been and primarily is still concerned with delivering public services which pool risk.

    Times are relatively good and so we are prepared to believe we can get away with a smaller pool and/or, and this is crucial, we believe we can pool risks via non-state mechanisms – NATO, the UN, the EU and so forth.

    By having access to such entities we can pool external risk and increasingly, the risks state public services are designed to manage. We can get away with indulging in nationalism and believing small states can lead happy lives in a risky world.

    If and when the world becomes more dangerous, if these intra-state mechanisms and bodies are disrupted, I imagine we’ll see a collective return to the idea of a united island. In the meantime, in a relatively peaceful world we can, at the moment, believe and desire that states of only a few million can be fat and safe.

    If we look at the states we now envy and wish to model ourselves on, we see that 70 years ago they were nearly all conquered. Those that weren’t would have eventually succumbed. I believe realism is a law of the universe, but that we can mediate this law using mechanisms like NATO, the EU etc. But disrupt them and the strong will do as they will and the weak will suffer what they must.

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