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

About The Author

Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

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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…

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 :)

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.

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.

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.

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.

Simon257

For dry docking a CVF would a Floating Drydock be a solution:

http://grandbahamashipyard.com/facilities/drydocks/

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).

@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.

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.

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.

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

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).

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.

@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

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…

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.

@ 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.

@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.

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?

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 ?

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.

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.

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.

I wouldn’t let them have Rockall for a start.

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.

@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.

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.

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

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.

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.”

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.

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?

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.

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

@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.

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.

Observer

So should we start renaming China? :)

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

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?

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.

martin

@ Observer

How about West Singapore :-) We could welcome King Lee to take the Throne

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?

@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.

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.”

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

Observer

They do have a point you know Martin. Messy.

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.

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 ?

@ 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.

Gloomy Northern Boy

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

GNB

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

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….

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.

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.

@ GNB

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

@ Observer

Observer

Oman doesn’t count does it? It has a coastline.

Overseas

@ Observer

Not too well explained in the vid. This does a better job.

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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: comment image – 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…

jedibeeftrix

very much agree, Chris.

@ 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.

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

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.

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

Gloomy Northern Boy

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

GNB :-( :-(

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.

All for ignoring CAP, CFP……………..

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…

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.

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.

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’.

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].

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

@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).

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…

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.

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.

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.

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?

Chris

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

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

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. :)

as

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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….

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.

The Other Chris

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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…

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.

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?

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

Simon257

@ Obs – Drain the Irish Sea

A very very long time ago their was a land called Doggerland, the British Isles are what’s left of it. The Straits of Dover were the original mouth of the Rhine!

http://log.doggerland.net/2010/10/21/a-hypothetical-landscape/

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.

DavidNiven

@Simon257

Cheers, do they not still dredge for aggregates there?

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.

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.

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?

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

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)
comment image

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….

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.

All Politicians are the Same
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.

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

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?

All Politicians are the Same
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.

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?

All Politicians are the Same
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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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.

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

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.

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.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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 :-)

@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!

ArmChairCivvy

Thanks Simon257,

Even Noah got explained through the aspects of Scottish independence (referendum)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burckle_Crater

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?

wpDiscuz
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