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Scotland, Submarines and Shipbuilding

QE-Carrier-Module

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

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408 Responses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Very Gloomy Northern Boy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  11. Chris

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

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

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

    Cheers

    Nick

  12. Observer

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

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

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

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

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

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

  17. @ Chris

    Why not?

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

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

    All good fun.

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

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

  20. Clinch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    You can’t.

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

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

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

  26. @Nick

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

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

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

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

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

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

  30. @ Chris

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

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

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

  31. @ Monkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  33. @ X

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

    good luck winning that case in court

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

    Russian SSBN/SSN @ Faslane ?

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

  35. @ Chris

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

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

  36. So should we start renaming China? :)

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

  37. @ Monkey

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

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

  38. @ Observer

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

  39. @ Observer

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

  40. 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?

  41. @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.

  42. 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.”

  43. @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

  44. @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.

  45. 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 ?

  46. @ 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.

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

    GNB

  48. @ 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

  49. 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….

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. @ GNB

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

  53. @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

  54. @ 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.

  55. @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.

  56. @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

  57. @ 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.

  58. @ 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.

  59. @ 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.

  60. 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.

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

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

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

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

  62. @ 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.

  63. 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

  64. @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.

  65. @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

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

    GNB :-( :-(

  67. @ 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.

  68. 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…

  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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’.

  72. 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].

  73. 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

  74. @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).

  75. 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…

  76. “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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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?

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

  81. 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

  82. 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. :)

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

  84. “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.

  85. @ 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.

  86. @ 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.

  87. 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.

  88. @ 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.

  89. 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.

  90. 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.

  91. 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

  92. ‘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.

  93. “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.

  94. @ 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.

  95. 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….

  96. @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.

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

  98. 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.

  99. @ 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.

  100. @ 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?

  101. 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.

  102. @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.

  103. 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…

  104. 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.

  105. 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?

  106. 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

  107. @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.

  108. @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.

  109. @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.

  110. 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?

  111. @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

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

  113. @ 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….

  114. 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.

  115. 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.

  116. @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

  117. @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?

  118. @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.

  119. @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?

  120. @DN

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

  121. 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.

  122. @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.

  123. @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

  124. @ 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.

  125. @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.

  126. @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?

  127. @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.

  128. @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

  129. @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.

  130. 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.

  131. 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)

  132. @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.

  133. @ 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.

  134. [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.

  135. @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 :-)

  136. @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!

  137. 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?

  138. ” are declared homosexuals,”

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

  139. @Angus McLellan & Chris.B.

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

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

    @Monkey
    Re Wales

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

  140. DN

    ‘when if Scotland….’

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

  141. Meant to say Trident replacement will be unaffordable.

    @IXION

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

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

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

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

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

    GNB

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

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

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

  144. @GNB

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

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

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

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

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

    GNB

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

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

    GNB

  147. @GNB

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

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

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

    GNB

  149. @GNB/DN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I am after all Gloomy.

    GNB

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

  153. @ DavidN,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    GNB

  157. @ Monkey

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

    @CB

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

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

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

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

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

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

    GNB

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

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

    GNB

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

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

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

    GNB

  162. @ Monkey

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

    @CB

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

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

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

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

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

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

  165. Sorry GNB, that was for APATS not you.

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

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

  167. Hi all

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

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

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

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

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

    GNB

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

    GNB

  170. @GNB

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

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

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

    well actually.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  171. @ APATS,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  173. @ Chris B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  174. @Chris B

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

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

    From the FT

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

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

    P.S

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

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

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

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

    GNB

  177. @GNB

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

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

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

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

  178. @ APATS,

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

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

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

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

    Ports.

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

    Why is London so large? Economics.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Apologies for the length.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    GNB

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

    GNB

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

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

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

  185. @ Et Al

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

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

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

  187. @ Monkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  192. @Monkey/AM

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

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

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

    GNB

  194. @GNB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I am, however, Gloomy

  196. @GNB

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

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

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

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

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

  198. @X

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

  199. @ APATS

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

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

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

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

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

    GNB

  201. @X

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

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

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

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

  202. @GNB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  205. @ wf – agreed.

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

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

  206. @Angus McLellan

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

  207. @wf

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

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

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

  209. Monkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

  213. Monkey

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    How did the Czechs and Slovaks divi up?

  215. Monkey

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

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

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

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

  217. @Wf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  221. @Simon257

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

  222. Simon

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

    Nick

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

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

  224. can that genie be put back in the bottle or

    Depends on events dear boy, I think.

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

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

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

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

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

  225. @Simon 257

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

    Well apart from huge fisheries grounds, a thriving renewable energy industry which already supports 15,000 jobs and counting. Scotland has 25% of Europes potential tidal energy. 10% of the wave potential and 25% of the offshore wind. Chemicals and textiles are still big industries here, as well as food and drink, agriculture and indeed tourism. The ability to set its own economic policy to suit its own industries would let the Scottish people develop as they wished.

    How does Denmark support itself with almost none of the natural resources Scotland has? Are Scots uniquely too stupid to utilise the resources they have to be a self sufficient independent country?

  226. Nick – I suspect that depends on the various perceptions of equability. Note this is not about equal benefits & contributions, but equitable ones – as it stands Scotland’s opinion appears to be that the oil income is and has always been Scots despite the fact the North Sea oilfields were explored and exploited by UK (and Scandinavia), thus Scottish Oil has been stolen by Westminster and spent on London. Therefore the Scots are losing out. The view looking north appears to be that for a very long time public spending per capita has been much greater in Scotland than anywhere else in the UK despite some equally needy places south of the border, thus the Scots have had it all their own way. Both think the other has taken more than it gives. That probably means the situation isn’t far from equitable at the moment. If after the vote the UK has the same borders, but to keep the Scots from revolting a significant shift in net flow of funds between Westminster and Edinburgh sees Scotland much better off than now at the expense of taxpayers south of the border, there will be disquiet…

    As has been said before, having stirred up a hornets’ nest of Scottish jingoism, it would serve Salmond right to get the independence he craves. It would serve him right for the UK to slam the door behind him as he walked out too. I would wager within six months Westminster would be blamed by SNP for every one of their issues. But while it might serve him right as the disruptive little Eck he is, hurting the Scottish population for believing all the Ra-Ra rhetoric of SNP isn’t exactly fair, is it?

  227. @ monkey

    That wouldn’t apply until 2016. Until then people would have freedom of movement.

  228. I also recall how many strokes Scottish dominated Labour governments have pulled across places like the Isle of Man and Gib’. I am really struggling with Scotland the victim, but we don’t blame anybody especially the English.

  229. @Chris

    Actually public spending per capita is highest in Northern Ireland and a “regional” breakdown in the difference between input and spending per capita sees Scotland sit very high indeed.

    “If after the vote the UK has the same borders, but to keep the Scots from revolting a significant shift in net flow of funds between Westminster and Edinburgh sees Scotland much better off than now at the expense of taxpayers south of the border, there will be disquiet”

    Read about what is actually desired, it is the opposite of this. A further devolution settlement wants greater responsibility for raising and spending money so nobody can argue that what you claim is happening. It is there precisely to prevent what you claim happening.

    Like every other poster here with little understanding of what the issues are you finish with an attack on the FM, very adult. The FM and the SNP are for many Yes supporters a means to an end. The first Government of any I Scotland would have to stand for election and would unlikely be the SNP but they would be elected solely by the Scottish people to serve the Scottish people with policies designed for the Scottish people and nobody else to blame but themselves. That is the attraction for most.

    Personally I think it would diminish both Scotland and the UK and that greater responsibility can be gained through devolution.

  230. @Simon257
    As far as I am aware its in place now for people from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland .Whilst iScotland is outside the EU rules are rules (but of course could be relaxed like we did for the Swiss) .The whole question of Scottish people living in the rUK who choose a Scottish passport over a rUK one would need to be resolved under the same set of rules.
    https://www.gov.uk/tier-2-general
    The same applies for a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa.

  231. @ X

    “I also recall how many strokes Scottish dominated Labour governments have pulled across places like the Isle of Man and Gib’. I am really struggling with Scotland the victim, but we don’t blame anybody especially the English.”

    Since 1945 Scottish MPs have affected the majority party precisely twice, 1964 and 2010. So actually the vast majority of times the strokes you talk about were made by English decided governments.

  232. @TD

    Scottish MPS have only been crucial to the result twice since 1945. In 2010 the Tories would have had a majority of 18 and in 1964 the Tories would have had a majority of 1.

  233. X

    a thought provoking and excellent comment, even If I don’t quite buy into the blame the English bit. Let’s suppose the SNP in 10 years tries that propaganda line (perfidious albion and all that) and Scotland public opinion buys it. They’re hardly going to go to war with us ?

    Surely, it’ll be more like with Ireland post independence – another poor inter-governmental relationship for HMG. I cant see the rest of the UK (England) loosing much sleep,,,

  234. Phil

    I’d take your pov a bit further. Given that Europe has pretty much bankrupted itself twice between 1914 and 1945 and survived an expensive cold war and given up our global pretensions (that created modern Europe in the previous 300 years) for now, we’ve collectively decided to focus most of our attention and $s internally on our current living standard.

    If world events force us out of that complacency in the next 50 years, aren’t we more likely to grow together into a federal Europe ? Regardless of where the UK sits today, I think that if the Euro survives, then a federal Europe must become increasing likely on economic grounds anyway…

    In modern Europe, the UK, French and German governments are used to bossing the world about, each in our own way. I very much doubt any of us are going to give that up any time soon….We can only do this and keep our standard of living by acting collectively ?

  235. @ “APATS

    I’m not taking the p**s, that was a genuine question.

    Come 2020, Wind farms will not receive subsides, so expect to see a lot of idle wind farms come 2021.

    May main concern is that, if this was to happen. And if we were to have a long term Tory Government, Wales may find that itself totally marginalised and ignored. The Labour run Welsh Assembly may decide to take the same path as the SNP. Forget Plaid Cymru. It would be the Welsh Labour Party that would decide to go for independence!

  236. Given that Europe has pretty much bankrupted itself twice between 1914 and 1945 and survived an expensive cold war and given up our global pretensions (that created modern Europe in the previous 300 years) for now, we’ve collectively decided to focus most of our attention and $s internally on our current living standard.

    Europe is not a monolithic organisation. If the independence debate teaches us anything it is that human organisations have many layers of recursion. I chose my words carefully when I said that mechanisms like the EU might be disrupted. That might be from within, or from outside or via some natural event. It might not be a case of the EU versus the ROW. Also, traditionally, states and people’s have been far more willing to pool their external defence in alliances than they have been willing to pool domestic risks in shared public services and policies. It is more likely that a monolithic Europe threatened from outside would become a military alliance before a federal state.

  237. Simon

    no energy production today is bearing the cost of global warming, which has been minimal so far. The bill will come along though. I don’t think its proven to add the flooding bill to global warming ledger as yet, but its a good idea of the sort of cost we’ll all have to pay.

  238. @ Simon 257

    Renewable energy has a huge future and was simply one of the industries I mentioned. I note that you ignore the rest and also my point about Denmark and indeed the rest of my point.
    Scotland has affected the outcome of the UK GE decisively twice in the last 69 years and even then last time we still got a Con/Lib coalition.

    I am not taking the piss either, why should an Independent Scotland with Oil, huge renewable potential, niche industries like food and tourism as well as all the other normal industrial base and a good financial sector be unable when given full control of financial lever be unable to survive when so many other countries of similar size but less natural resources can thrive?
    Are Scots too stupid?

  239. Phil

    I’m not sure that we mean the same thing by federal. For me, federal means that the states look after the domestic stuff (health, education, environment etc) and spend most of the tax dollars and are the primary interest of the population. You can see the NI, Welsh and Scottish governments in this light.

    Federal = everything else. The difference lies with how you pay for it. Collective NATO style defence means that we have produced 3 Eurofighter designs, several frigate designs, multiple weapon systems in competition (and small runs = high cost), when a federal EU would have produced 1 of each, in higher quantities at lower unit cost for (possibly) the same budget as today at centers of excellence across the EU. Even if we choose not to end up with a federal Europe, we’re going to end up with even fewer defence companies in Europe.

    If we don’t federate, surely Europe’s point of view on the world stage continues to shrink as India and China rises further during this century ?

  240. You can see the NI, Welsh and Scottish governments in this light.

    That’s a matter of some debate.

    For me, federal means that the states look after the domestic stuff (health, education, environment etc) and spend most of the tax dollars and are the primary interest of the population

    That’s a theoretical abstract construction of federalism. The reality as we know is far more messy than that and the boundary between state and federal level is a perennial argument in every country where there is this distinction. The EU is an especial case in point with EU law making impacting on every law of the land here. So we’re back to the point that countries and states have in the past pooled, and been more willing to pool external defence well before internal policies and bodies. If the abstract version of federalism existed you’d have more of an argument I think but the reality is the EU is already well amongst those functions you designate as being state responsibility. Now perhaps in the future there will be an external threat that means we collectivise our defence and focus is placed on these rather than internal matters leaving the states by default independent in these matters. But I still wouldn’t count that as a federal Europe.

    If we don’t federate, surely Europe’s point of view on the world stage continues to shrink as India and China rises further during this century ?

    I doubt it for two reasons:

    (a) Europe has never been shy about imposing itself on the world stage and protecting its interests.
    (b) Linked to (a) look at the maps and look where Europe is in relation to the other two powers you mention

  241. @ APATS

    I’m not ignoring the rest it’s that my last reply was my fifth attempt as my IPad continually loses my text as I try to look things up. I gave up trying to write a long reply!

    I haven’t a problem with wave or tidal energy. But you cannot rely on the wind for Energy. And seeing as the National Grid have just announced that they are going to pay business’s to manage their energy use.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27779815

    We seem to have a problem looming,

  242. Phil

    If you look to the USA as a successful federal state, the state federated before there was much legal difference at a state level (and all inherited a common English legal system). They didn’t really have to spend time establishing a single market and a single legal framework for the federation. So even though states taxes and legal systems vary considerably at a detailed level, the US works (pretty much) as a single market, with a single currency as does the federal government.

    Europe differs as there isn’t a single legal framework, a common market and a common currency as yet. To create that (and it was a British idea after all), a common EU framework has to be created from scratch. Its no surprise that each member state has spend time enacting these common frameworks into law. However, its not reasonable to conclude it will always be like this.

    The EU reform agenda can simplistically be looked at in two ways I think. One is (like free movement of workers) is to iron out issues or problems in how the single market is being created (for example where (allegedly) Bulgarians and Romanian migrants get a free ride from the UK). The other relates to the sort of EU government that is being created to manage the single market. This is Cameron’s public agenda and to different extents is out current political agenda in the UK.

    There is then a wholly separate discussion about whether the “people” want to create a federal EU at all. This is perfectly valid and is seen both on the right and left in European countries and is concentrating Tory/UKIP opinion in the UK. We may choose to exit the train to a federal EU in the next few years, but I don’t think our preoccupation with this should blind up to the trend, nor what it means for the UK on the global stage.

    I suggest the majority probably wouldn’t particularly care either way so long as there standard of living is good and continues to get better. It primarily concerns the political elite because there is no fundamental agreement on how devolved a federal EU should be. Separately, does the EU federation operate at a state level or via elected MPs. The US model would suggest European MPs is optimum, but there isn’t a way for the political elite to be democratically elected as yet. The EU sits at a cusp. We have Euro-MPs (too many ?), but they are essentially powerless and lack a mandate and the EU system works, to use an analogy, by (US) state governor’s thrashing out issues rather than by congress.

    The question for the Tory/UKIP pov, is do we want to be Canada or Mexico or (say) New York or California ?

  243. @ Nick

    I don’t think the Scottish people per se blame the English for anything, but that is the sub-text of SNP’s programme. You can’t say one entity holds you back and then in the next breath say you want to join an even larger entity where your voice will be even smaller. Of course that has to be balanced against how much you view the EU interferers with life in the UK.

    Take fisheries for example. Do you think Scotland will get any better of a deal in Brussels than the UK has done over the years? In any negotiations on fishing the Scots will be represented by the EU. But say you were the Faroes, you would be represented by Denmark who though an EU member would be acting for a territory outside the EU so would get a place at the table.

    Sinn Fein may be a bunch of scallywags but ask them what they think of Irish independence as a province of the EU. Didn’t we have to bail out Ireland to protect our own economy because 80 or so years after independence their economy was essentially a sub-set of our own. And that was a fundamental level not the artificiality of the Euro. Remember when the Irish tried to set their own interest rates?

    As for the Shetlands and Orkney Islands. If them going independent has crossed my mind as a bear of a very little brain it will have crossed the mind of many of the islanders too. And if the SNP’s argument is that Scotland will do well of their oil then it is damned obvious that the islanders would do even better. I think is very arrogant for some to assert that the islanders are some simple benign folk who will put Scotland before themselves and any contrary assertion is nonsensical. Socialists love their noble savages. I think many in Britain would be surprised at the strong lthe small peripheral “British” nations have with each other. Whether it is the Manx, the Channel Islands, and Gib’ with finance; or the Manx, Cornish, and Highlander and Islanders of Scotland with the Celtic Leagure; or all of the islands with the Island games; and many other associations. When peoples meet ideas are promulgated. So how does the idea of the Shetlands being part of Scotland work for them, what benefits them?

    And as I have said here before and got accused by APATS of xenophobia I am not sure exactly what or who a Scotsman is actually. SNP seem to be trading heavily on the Victorian imagined Sotland (tartan, stags, and short bread), skipping over sectarian divisions that are as deep as though make Ulster troublesome to govern, and financed by peoples who are Vikings. I note that 80,000 Scottish Gaelic speakers get their own TV channel, but Scots has no official media outlet. As I said further up the page the SNP may be selling the notion of a socialist idyll but what exactly is it they are peddling? I don’t think the Glaswegian tenement dweller see it as the same way as the chattering classes who shop on Princess Street. (Sarah Lund jumpers and “Why don’t you shop at Ikea?) Of course that is politics isn’t it? Selling a shifting image open to interpretation and not being to clear on specifics…….

  244. @ Nick – If I look at the USA as a “successful federal State” the thing I think about is the terrible and bloody War they fought to get that way, the bitterness and resentment that festered for years afterwards…and the impact on civil rights and race relations that was still far from resolved when I was at University in the Old Confederacy 1979/80.

    That’s why @apats is so irritated with me…but just to be clear I do not believe all who will vote for iScotland are doing so because they hate the English…but I do believe (with some evidence from the Nat-trolls) that some are doing so for that reason, and there may be enough of them for things to turn nasty if it turns out that HMG are not lying, bullying and scaremongering when they say “No £, no shipbuilding”…if CASD can’t be shifted in a couple of years…if the EU functionaries who said “no fast track, no certain outcome on EU membership” are also not lying, bullying and scaremongering…and if Obama’s intervention was – as it might have been – a considered one with NATO/Western Security in mind not a meaningless favour to Cameron…

    GNB

  245. Whichever way Europe goes I think the fact remains that hyper-regionalism (or nationalism depending on where you stand on various places) is given life-support by the EU and by the perception of being at peace and being secure. Remove that perception and small states under threat don’t stand a chance. It may be that they gravitate toward the EU, or if they have a traditional set-up, gravitate back toward that.

    I think even in a globalised world you tend to gravitate to what is close to you physically. Maybe this will no longer be the case in a hundred years time but I think it is so in the near-term.

    I don’t believe Europe will federalise for a very long time since state identities are too strong. Paradoxically the very conditions the EU bring about, enable these stronger senses of nationalism. The preferred model it seems to me, is one that does not involve federalism as a solution (albeit there’s no consensus that there is even a problem!).

    The entire Scottish independence debate is essentially because some people reject the option of federalism.

  246. Could we not move temporary move the Vanguard Fleet to the US Navy’s Trident base at Kings Bay Georgia. Whilst we work things out?

  247. Up to a point @Lord Phil – surely one of the oddest aspects of the current SNP position is that they assert it is a catastrophe for Scotland to be a part of a highly successful 300-year old Union in which they have been a key component and where there is a well worn track for ambitious Scots to the bright lights of the Great Wen and the most glittering prizes of public office or commercial success….but a consummation greatly to be wished to have much of ones public policy decided by Berlin and Brussels, as a part of an “Ever Closer Union” that is a contested work in progress, where there are just six Scottish MEPs, and where as far as I can recall there is no particular track record of the process of change being driven by the small and peripheral states…Luxembourg being the fervently pro-federal exception that proves the rule.

    I am trying to see this as something other than “Anyone but the hateful bloody English” but I don’t find it all that easy sometimes… :-)

    GNB

  248. GNB

    we just had two world wars (or three if you count the Napoleonic war) instead of a civil war to learn the lesson that none of us can dominate Europe. The one thing that does seem to be clear is that in Western Europe we did learn the lesson that working together is better than conflict and that the ill will which followed WW1 has been put behind us. It may not last, buts it’s certainly there today.

    I think you’re right – there is a ultra-nat view of English/Scottish opinion, that the independence debate has allowed to shout loud (but we’ve also found an english nat voice as well). Left on their own, either view could damage anglo-scottish relationship if independence happened and it turned out to be nasty. However, I do think APATS is right, Scotland can survive on its own, continue to be a wealthy country and will end up in the EU regardless of the contrary voices if they vote of independence. It probably will be difficult for the first 10 years, but most of the EU member countries aren’t that much larger or richer and survive without problem.

    Whilst, I do think “better together” is probably a better solution for the UK, it does continually surprise me that the Westminster response (with EU civil service and now USA support) has been so negative in tone, given that outside our own back yard our message has been all about freedom and rights, with Crimea the most recent example. We will all survive this whatever happens.

    I have to say that Devolution of the UK government does seem to be the political trend that has arisen as a result (?) of the ongoing Westminster based centralisation of UK governance since the 1980s. The trend is about perception as much as reality I think, although the social contract which the UK ran on between 1900 and 1980 (1945 Attlee government formation of the welfare state was the culmination of a trend that originated before WW1) is no longer adopted to English politicians with their market fetish.

  249. @Simon 257

    I do not think there would be a requirement to move the CASD in the short term. What people have to realise is that you cannot examine single issues in isolation. The UK would be looking for a base whilst it looks at other options an I Scotland would be looking for a currency union whilst it either formed its own or met assessment conditions for entry to the Euro. NATO defence policy would rather not have a whole the size of Scotland in that precise position so it could look to gain concessions in other areas in return for an eventual ban of Nuclear Weapons within Scotland. Norway already has a similar ban.
    Lots of EU countries making noises in both directions but do they want to lose access to Scottish Fishery Areas and as the Norwegians allow access to EU boats to their waters in return for access to Scottish waters possibly those water as well.
    Even then I am being too simplistic as the Norwegian side of the deal will have other strands as well.

    William Hague summed it up beautifully in his toast to Hilary Clinton when he quoted Lord Salisbury
    “There is nothing dramatic in the success of a diplomatist. His victories are made up of a series of microscopic advantages: of a judicious suggestion here, of an opportune civility there, of a wise concession at one moment and a far sighted persistence at another; of sleepless tact, immovable calmness and patience that no folly, no provocation, no blunder can shake.”

    I tend to say, it is bloody complex and you need to keep the overarching picture in site.

    @GNB
    Last night you talked about states that had broken up in your lifetime. I talked about states that shared the same values not leading to conflict.
    The US Civil war was neither in your lifetime nor between states that shared the same values. They only came to share them in the decades afterwards.

  250. @GNB

    “surely one of the oddest aspects of the current SNP position is that they assert it is a catastrophe for Scotland to be a part of a highly successful 300-year old Union in which they have been a key component and where there is a well worn track for ambitious Scots to the bright lights of the Great Wen and the most glittering prizes of public office or commercial success”
    That is probably the most disturbing part for me as well, that they refuse to acknowledge the role we have played but at the same time it is hard to argue that it is within the Union that we have seen an increase in child poverty, increase in the use of food banks, have Nuclear weapons 30 miles away from our most populous city. Have been involved in Iraq and Afghanistan etc etc.
    Those are the arguments that they use to ask people the simple question “can we not do better?”

  251. @apats – Correct me if I’m wrong, but did you not suggest that Scotland and England do not entirely share the same values, and that the gap is widening?

    And my experience of being at a Southern University in 1979/80 was that Fraternity Row hosted a CSA Ball (Uniforms and side-arms will be worn, I kid you not) and the KKK dished out leaflets on main-street in sheets and pointy hats. That wasn’t decades, it was over a Century…

    GNB

  252. Somebody get the bloody spam monster under control will they! I get spammed every time I try to edit one of my own comments…

    GNB

  253. Phil

    The EU is on a stealth path to federalism. The Euro and the eurozone can only work economically if you run it in a single political and economic entity. That’s exactly why the UK government denied the SNP any chance of a rUK/iSc currency union and forms the essence of Gordon Brown’s 5 convergence tests for the UK joining the Euro (even if this was a fig leaf).

    Unless the Euro fails in the next 5 to 10 years (and it may as there are big icebergs out there), then it increasingly becomes the norm. The euro is already 14 years old; at 25 it will seem like the its always been there. The Eurozone members are on an economic path to a form of federalism and the single market is edging towards a common legal frame work for Europe on all the important matters. Nowhere does it look like they intend to stop. The Eurozone will defacto be a single federal state within 20 years, even if it is’t in name. On today’s trends it wont look like the US though and will be a different thing politically with a notional democratic deficit.

    We have to make up our minds whether we’re in or out politically and sooner or later the inherent problem of having the pound (and economic independence) and the euro based federal convergence will have to be tackled. If we stay out econically, we will loose politically and we’ll become a Canada or Mexico in a NAFTA environment with little say in Europe. The alternative is to become New York state with the EU federation. I dont think (personal opinion) that our ambiguous position of the last 15 years can last much longer.

  254. Gloomy – I had a spate of such. The workaround is fortunately not difficult – when after punching ‘Post Comment’ the big white screen says its spammy, do enough ‘back page’ steps to see the text being edited, copy the lot and give up on the ‘edit comment’ box. Then paste the edited text in as a new comment and post it – in every case I’ve done that the post has been successful – no spammonster gripes.

  255. @ apats – It was a Labour Government of the whole UK that decided we needed nukes, and subsequent Governments of both parties opted for the CASD/Faslane option…no Government that opposed it ever got elected…those Governments who supported it included Scots, and some were led by them…how does that come to be a peculiarly English act?

    On Iraq/Afghanistan my own view is that the first should have been avoided by finishing GW1 before ten years of sanctions hollowed out Iraqi Civic Society and strengthened the Ba’ath and whilst there was a viable home-based opposition…and the second should have been an old-fashioned punitive expedition not a long-term occupation… but we were led into both Wars by a chap born in Edinburgh and schooled at Fettes, leading a Labour Government dominated by Scots…again, why was that a peculiarly English act?

    As to the question of food banks I have spent over thirty years being paid to try to sort out areas where they are emerging, and I can tell you for free that effectiveness in fixing those problems is no more likely to be found in a cuddly, caring socialist than in a hard-nosed Tory bastard…the whole thing is a hell of a lot more complicated than that, and in my long experience chucking money at those problems doesn’t solve them.

    I might add that if child poverty is defined as being a fixed percentage of the average family income…which it is…it can only be solved either if everybody is paid practically the same…or those paid more are so few in numbers that they don’t significantly affect the average. That’s just basic mathematics…

    GNB

  256. APATS

    i think there is an inherent contradictory weakness in the SNP’s arguments. The current devolution gives Scotland pretty much all that they want economically, although I suspect there is some marginal value from being independent for the UK, by focusing the economy on Scotland alone (but why then a currency union ?). Part of their problem is that the independence argument is mostly one of perception and the economic justification is pretty weak and full of holes (hence lets avoid the currency issue, the EU issue etc).

    The real route issue is hatred of Thatcherism and the Thatcher message (no society etc). Whilst we continue to argue about the extent of the gain/loss we took, there is definitely a strong school of opinion that the 1981 recession was made worse by monetarism and that the UK’s Industrial base suffered more than it needed (Germany kept it’s; so why could we ?). The job losses and real unemployment was greatest in Scotland and the North and least in the S East and London. Worse there was no democratic mandate to do this to Scotland (or the North) and that legacy continues to haunt UK politics and the conservative party today.

    Scottish opinion has drifted from Labour to SNP since devolution created the Scottish parliament, for Scottish political reasons, which has allowed the SNP to turn a minority issue into a referendum of sorts on the UK as a whole.

  257. @ GNB
    “@ apats – It was a Labour Government of the whole UK that decided we needed nukes, and subsequent Governments of both parties opted for the CASD/Faslane option…no Government that opposed it ever got elected…those Governments who supported it included Scots, and some were led by them…how does that come to be a peculiarly English act?”

    I never claimed it was, I merely stated that it happened within the Union and that over the last couple of decades the Scottish position against it has hardened. There have been votes amongst Scottish MSPs and MPs that show they are against it and polls that show the people are. Now the people are being offered a chance to get rid of them following a Democratic vote.

    Again Iraq happened within the Union and people here show far less enthusiasm for that sort of thing. Your big mistake as it has been from the start is trying to turn it into an anti English thing it is not. It is the UK that took us into Iraq and people up here realise they would have far more influence over preventing a Scottish Government following similar Foreign adventures.

    “As to the question of food banks I have spent over thirty years being paid to try to sort out areas where they are emerging, and I can tell you for free that effectiveness in fixing those problems is no more likely to be found in a cuddly, caring socialist than in a hard-nosed Tory bastard…the whole thing is a hell of a lot more complicated than that, and in my long experience chucking money at those problems doesn’t solve them.”

    So you have been failing for 30 years and the Union has had 300 years and they are only getting worse. Is it any wonder that, lets try and sort this ourselves when we have the tools required is a popular call.

    “I might add that if child poverty is defined as being a fixed percentage of the average family income…which it is…it can only be solved either if everybody is paid practically the same…or those paid more are so few in numbers that they don’t significantly affect the average. That’s just basic mathematics…”

    That is the Government definition happily used as an excuse by people, of course if we did not have the second most unequal distribution oif wealth in the western world it may help. Howver sevral charities have completed studies using real figures on what a family needs to survive and raise a child and poverty is increasing massively on this scale as well. You can hide behind definitions but the fact is we have more food banks, more zero hour contracts, and more children living in poverty.

    All on the Unions watch. Not Englands, not Scotlands but the Union. Is it any wonder that being given the tools to take responsibility for and tackle these problems within their own country resonates so loudly. No more being able to blame Westminster or Tories or anyone but front up take responsibility and get on with because we have had 300 years of the current system not doing so.

    Now personally I believe the way forward is for Scotland to raise its own taxes and spend on its own Health and Welfare and Infrastructure whilst contributing towards UK Foreign and defence and diplomacy. So called devo max but many think the Union has had its chance and has blown it.
    They do not hate the English but have simply decided that it is better to stand on their own two feet make the decisions within their own borders and have nobody to blame but themselves.

  258. @ Nick

    Of course the SNP economic argument is full of holes, so is BT scaren tactics. They represent left and right of arc in a Political campaign. The reality is that after some extremely complex negotiations and compromises from both sides economically Scotland would be little changed. There is little doubt that gaining control over things as simple as CT and APD would make a difference to Scotland but both have been refused.
    Scotland once voted a majority of Tory MPs to Westminster but recent years have seen the attitude displayed towards Scotland see us with more Giant Pandas than Conservative MPs. An I Scotland would actually offer a great opportunity for centre right Politics to return because it is brand that is toxic.
    What the referendum will be decided upon is whether the people of Scotland want decisions affecting Scotland to be made in Scotland and whether they get the levers they want to shape the society they want.

  259. The Eurozone members are on an economic path to a form of federalism and the single market is edging towards a common legal frame work for Europe on all the important matters. Nowhere does it look like they intend to stop.

    I don’t think that course is as straight as you say but I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree. My original point was that the EU and what-not allow the pooling of risk at intra-national level which means some in nations like Scotland and Wales feel they can de-couple from the Union. They’re not just jumping out of the airlock. Why being part of the European Union and not the Union on Great Britain is better for Scotland is an interesting question.

  260. @ Nick

    Could be that the Germans were manufacturing decent products and we were manufacturing crap?

    And lets not forget that recessions just don’t come from nowhere. Do you really think Thatcher came to power and just chose to close down British industry on a whim? Think of it this way; the party of small government and business owners chooses to shut down businesses and make many dependent on the state so increasing its size. Doesn’t make sense does it? I am sure NaB will pop up and speak with great affection about UK shipbuilding of the era and its ludicrous employment practices.

    As for Thatcher and no society that really is 1st year politics degree red brick uni’ crackers and Stilton.
    This is what she said,

    “I think we have gone through a period when too many children and people have been given to understand “I have a problem, it is the Government’s job to cope with it!” or “I have a problem, I will go and get a grant to cope with it!” “I am homeless, the Government must house me!” and so they are casting their problems on society and who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women and there are families and no government can do anything except through people and people look to themselves first… There is no such thing as society. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.’

    Society isn’t a discrete thing so it has no agency. Individuals do have agency. And how they act to help themselves and others is what makes society. Being right wing she believed society had a bottom up structure, that does not preclude hierarchy, actually it is probably what brings it about.

  261. @ Phil

    “Why being part of the European Union and not the Union on Great Britain is better for Scotland is an interesting question.”

    Probably because we already contribute to the EU through the UK, we area already subjected to EU regulation within the UK and we could cut out the middle man. The EU does not yet take all the tax money away and money from all our resources and give us back a handout which it tries to control how we spend and so far at least it does not control economic levers such as CT and APD.

    On a more serious note there are quite a few in Scotland who want out of the EU but see it as one step at a time.

  262. @apats – The Union made us one of the richest and most successful societies on earth; one of the first to achieve universal suffrage; one of the first to establish free education for all; one of the first to provide old-age pensions; one of the first to introduce universal health care…

    In the midst of that it managed to secure human freedom twice – or three times if you include Napoleon, four times with the Cold War…

    It also remains a highly popular destination for both economic and other migrants, presumably because it provides safety, freedom and the possibility of success…

    It has not yet become paradise on earth, but then nor will iScotland…and it is certainly not a basket case because the failures of the welfare state have allowed the emergence of some areas of complex multiple deprivation in which some families can’t cope…and there is absolutely no certainty that iScotland will do any better on that front, certainly not enough to walk away from the rest of it…

    As to “You have failed” that’s straightforwardly offensive – you haven’t the faintest fucking clue who I am, what I might have done or how successful it was…or indeed what I might still be doing for the greater good…we are talking politics here, not individuals. You might call my use of Salmondista petty, but as I have made absolutely clear it was not a reference to you, or indeed most likely to vote for iScotland…that remark was starightforwardly bloody rude, and unworthy of this site…

    Fuming Gloomy

  263. Guys, why don’t we wait a few more months before breaking out the claymores and muskets? For all we know, the vote might end up 99% no, and we would have spent all the time, effort, energy and angst over nothing.

    “Much Ado About Nothing” should have been about politics.

  264. Phil

    Life wouldn’t be as interesting if we all thought the same.

    I suppose at the root of my opinion, is that once you take a path, even if it wasn’t what you thought it was, you generally end up at the destination even if you wander off the path along the way. The Maastrict treaty put us all on this path and we will arrive if we don’t turn back or find a new path.

    So far, the argument in much of Europe have been more about the course (switching to a naval description) and not the destination. The UK has always been a laggard on this course and has yet to make its mind up on the desirability of the destination. The question is whether the rest of Europe is going to change destination or make a detour to a refueling station on the way. I think the next 10 years are critical. After that, if Europe doesn’t change direction nowish, then the discussion is more about speed than anything else.

    I absolutely agree with your final paragraph and I consider the Scottish question relates more to Thatcherism’s legacy and perception than economics.

  265. Guys, why don’t we wait a few more months before breaking out the claymores and muskets?

    Never!

  266. @GNB

    My calendar Tells me that it is 2014, food banks in Scottish inner cities are running out of food. We have spent Billions in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the lives of many fine service personnel and have Nuclear weapons on the Clyde. Child poverty, zero hour contracts and wealth inequality run rampant.

    “and there is absolutely no certainty that I Scotland will do any better on that front, certainly not enough to walk away from the rest of it”

    Is it any wonder though that being offered the opportunity to tackle it yourself with you own decisions and utilising your own resources has rang a bell with so many people?

    I will apologise for my remark but I am a hard nosed military person and if I had been tackling something that is growing every week and had been doing so for 30 years i would be unhappy.
    I should not have made a remark that you failed but the system you are constrained within clearly has and I think you are being a little bit presumptuous in your withering statement that we could do no better.

  267. I am coming rather late to this somewhat ‘lively’ debate and so will just throw out a few thoughts.

    1. I believe that there is an EU regulation which says that financial institutions must be based in the country where the majority of their debts are. That would mean that most of the Scottish institutions would need to relocate.

    2. About the impact of Scottish Labour MPs on Westminster:
    In February 1974 Harold Wilson had a majority of 4 (301 – 297). I can’t find a summary of how the Scottish MPs were spread but I would be surprised if they did not affect that result.

    3. About there being no threshold which a Yes vote would have to pass. There was one in the 1979 devolution referendum
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_devolution_referendum,_1979
    and it was very contentious. I recall there being lots of angry comments about, amongst others, ‘dead people voting no’. That is anyone on the electoral role who has since died being implicitly a no vote.

    4. I recently read an opinion piece* saying that the Scottish people were being done a disservice as they only get one vote. If they vote Yes then a deal is negotiated and they have to accept it, no matter how bad they might think it is.

    The author illustrated the somewhat ‘pig in a poke’ nature of the vote by pointing out that the financial ramifications (one of if not the most important issues) filled only half a page of the c. 140 99. in the Yes manifesto.

    The author went on to say that therefore the logical thing for the rUK negotiating team to do was to give away close to nothing, because their Scottish counterparts did not have the option of walking away.

    * In The Week (http://www.theweek.co.uk/) so I cannot remember where it was originally published

    5. @APatS you say
    “Like every other poster here with little understanding of what the issues are you finish with an attack on the FM, very adult. The FM and the SNP are for many Yes supporters a means to an end.”

    Obviously personal attacks are rarely constructive. However Alex Salmond is, IMO, the indirect author of some of this by his manner and by what he says. Even by the low standards of politicians he comes across as arrogant, dismissive, rude (especially to the English) and with a tenuous relationship with the truth. Reacting to his words with abuse is not mature or helpful but, again IMO, somewhat understandable.

    Via the media he seems to be not so much the main as the only spokesman for the Yes campaign and so I think it also understandable that dislike of him subs off on the overall Yes campaign.

  268. food banks in Scottish inner cities are running out of food.

    Yet there’s no reason why anyone shouldn’t have enough money to feed, clothe and shelter themselves.

  269. @ Phil/Observer

    The funny thing is that I oppose Independence but can see the reasons why it has gained such support. When your family can barely feed itself who cares about WW2, when your local A&E unit gets shutdown people do not want to hear about millions being spent on long lead items for SSBN replacements or reminded of events hundreds of years ago.
    The referendum should have been a non event but thanks to the clueless negative campaigning of BT it may (hopefully not) become a damn close run thing.

  270. That’s all very Daily Mail.

    If you’re family can’t feed itself the blame lies squarely at your feet. Less Sky TV, no sofa on credit and more trips to Lidl methinks. Maybe an independent Scotland will somehow solve the fecklessness of some people but I doubt it very much.

    As for A&E closing, NHS is devolved.

  271. @ Phil

    Unfortunately welfare reforms, late payment of benefits and suspension of benefits has seen many more people forced to use them mate. Of course the 51% rise in use of food banks has nothing to do with welfare reforms the Government will tell you.

  272. @apats – Accepted…and my whole point was that the system has problems, but chucking money at them will not solve them, and nor will sloganizing, campaigning or grandstanding…and as far as I can see the SNP prospectus is “we will spend more than those hateful English bastards…on x,y and McZ”…and I did not say you could no better; I did say you could not guarantee it…not least because the Edinburgh Parliament already has powers that they could use to do things differently, and they have preferred to have this argument instead…and their main prescription is more dosh, which has not worked so far…

    GNB

  273. @GNB

    Whilst I think there is too much sloganisng and grand standing it is hard to argue against wanting to take full responsibility for problems you see in your back yard.

  274. Of course the 51% rise in use of food banks has nothing to do with welfare reforms the Government will tell you.

    Oh I am sure it is linked. But something had to be done. They’ve not gone far enough by half.

  275. @Phil

    Should we aim for a 100% rise in people needing food banks or cut to the chase and shut them down and just let them beg?

  276. X

    That’s a debate we’ll probably never agree on. For example if many British businesses in the 1960’s had invested in technology and management skills rather than status quo, would the 1970s oil shock have hurt so much. ? We were desperate (it seems to me) to join the EEC by 1965 after our original idea (the Commonwealth and our previously untouchable export markets) had panned out (we could have joined the predecessor EEC in the 1950s as a founder if we had wanted) and De Gaull kept us out until the 1970s.

    Could we have engineered a more continental boss/worker management environment in the 1970s. If the Unions had been just a little less confrontational, would the Shirley Williams reforms we missed out on in the 1974/9 Labour government have smoothed the passage to industrial reform in the 1980s ?

    Its easy to see why we have no major British owned car manufacturers any more (for example), but its also clear that British managers and workers are as good as any, given the volume of cars manufactured in the UK today (a post war record if i recall correctly). What changed ? Could in be long term financial investment and training ?

    As too your specific points:

    – we did end up shutting down British industry though. we are still paying that price today. Osbourne’s strategy for government has mostly failed (the 30 % devaluation in the currency hasnt lead to a renaissance of UK manufacturing as we seem to have forgotten how to finance manufacturing, focus on R&D, tax incentivise manufacturing, which is how we lead Industrialisation in the 1800s). Plan B is a debt financed bubble (which the BoE will shut down just after the 2015 election).

    – we still collectively look to the Government to action things, even if we know it cant (or wont) and we stubbornly stick to the out of date concept of society and social provision

    – inequality of wealth has widened since the 1980’s more in the UK than just about anywhere else in Europe.

    – the 1990’s and 2000s were financed by debt; we are over-paying ourselves and over-valuing our assets, whilst Germany (hurt as much or more than the UK in the 1980s) has invested in jobs and financial discipline.

    The UK doesn’t have amongst the highest level of Government, Personal and Corporate debts (over 400 % of GDP) by accident. We are going to have to pay this bill sooner or later surely ? Any idea how ? I’ll vote for you if you do and it sounds plausible. I haven’t heard a Labour, Liberal or Tory plan so far.

  277. @ Food Banks

    If you lean to the left, Foods Banks are a disgrace and shameful. I see them as a shining example of people helping others who are less fortunate. Something to be proud of. It would shameful if people and organisations did not donate to food banks. Charity begins at home, after all. We as a people don’t think twice in donating ,when their is a natural disaster somewhere in the world. So what’s the difference?

    I can’t help feeling though that some people are taking advantage though. Do organisations actual check that a family is in genuine need or do they just give food boxes out, to any Tom, Dick or Harry!

  278. @APatS

    GNB said: “I might add that if child poverty is defined as being a fixed percentage of the average family income…which it is…it can only be solved either if everybody is paid practically the same…or those paid more are so few in numbers that they don’t significantly affect the average. That’s just basic mathematics…”

    You replied: “That is the Government definition happily used as an excuse by people, of course if we did not have the second most unequal distribution of wealth in the western world it may help.”

    The fixed %age (60%) definition is an international one that has been around for decades.

    Under the last government (that had a goal of reducing poverty), actual poverty rose whilst relative poverty fell. Because the only measure was getting people over the 60% line, people focussed on that and provided less help for the people on, say, 50% and so those 50% people slipped down to, say, 45%.

    After the 2008 recession, poverty on this measure fell, because median incomes fell. The poor were no better off but fewer of them fell on the ‘wrong’ side of the 60% line.

    In Ireland, where there were massive cuts in many people’s wages, the number of people in relative poverty dropped dramatically.

  279. If I asked “What are food banks?” you guys are going to kill me, right? :P

    Just joking, I get the idea in concept. It’s just wholesaling for a specific group of people.

  280. And nothing to do with the utter mess the current government inherited after the country was run for 13 years by two PMs who happened to be, um, Scottish. There was a surplus in 1997, where did it go?

    An independent Scotland within the EU would still be weighed by the same regulations. A Scottish economy without its own currency wouldn’t be independent either. As I said way up the page look at Ireland’s attempt to set its own interest rates within the Euro.

    There is a myth that prior to 1948 that the poor died into droves; there was no safety net. That’s horlicks.
    Actually everybody died because medical science was decidedly primitive. What got most through illness was warmth and food and not access to a doctor. Today if you ask anybody local government and they will allude to socialism by inference (even if not deliberately). Local government has become a byword for inefficiency and waste. Yet the Left’s grasp on local governance is only recent. It was business men who built and laid the foundation for modern local government. Civic pride. And even business men who contributed towards the charities that provided the social safety net and local cottage hospitals. The idea that welfare automatically means socialism is a deceit. If Scots were any different to the rest of the UK, brighter, more caring, and better entrepreneurs then there is nothing stopping the great and good of Scottish business putting their funds into state hospitals. There is nothing stopping them. I could donate to my local hospital right now. So why aren’t the rich of Scotland doing so? They probably are in fact doing so. The Scottish NHS is a devolved entity. A Scot gets 1.5 more spent on him that any other citizen in the UK. If 50% spending more can’t solve the problems then what can? The Scots have all the freedom they want already to run their country as they see fit so without independence then Scotland should already be better off. The only power Edinburgh doesn’t have is total control over tax. How is more tax going to solve their problems?

  281. @ Phil

    You accuse me of being Daily Mail and then write this “f you’re family can’t feed itself the blame lies squarely at your feet. Less Sky TV, no sofa on credit and more trips to Lidl methinks. Maybe an independent Scotland will somehow solve the fecklessness of some people but I doubt it very much.”
    Whcih could be a daily Mail headline, how dare people have problems or issues, how dare they need support from the system. How on earth do you know they have sky? so no sofa on credit, sit on the floor, no your place poor! Phil has spoken.

    @JBD

    I think your post illustrates perfectly why the 60% definition is rubbish. Unfortunately using real figures it has also been expanding massively along with things like welfare reforms and zero hours contracts.

    @X
    “A Scot gets 1.5 more spent on him that any other citizen in the UK. If 50% spending more can’t solve the problems then what can?”

    In 2012/13, public spending per head in the UK as a whole was £8,788. In England, it was
    £8,529 (3% below the UK average). This compares with:
    • Scotland: £10,152 (16% above the UK average)
    • Wales: £9,709 (10% above the UK average)
    • Northern Ireland £10,876 (24% above the UK average).
    Among the English regions, public spending per head was lowest in the South East at £7,638
    (13% below the UK average) and highest in London at £9,435
    If you are going to BS try and do it with facts would you like the figures when what is put in is counted as well so the net expenditure?

    From a CEBR 2011 report

    In the UK there is considerable variance in tax receipts as a share of GDP between regions – from Northern Ireland where tax is only 27.7% of GDP to London where tax is 45.2% of GDP. These differences are about half the variances in public spending as shares of GDP. But for some taxes the regional differences are huge. The bulk of Stamp Duty Land Tax is paid in London and the South East. The 50p income tax rate is also largely a London and South East tax.

    But the taxes and public spending reinforce each other. So whereas in London tax exceeds spending by 10.3% of its GDP, in Northern Ireland spending exceeds tax by 39.3% of its GDP.

    To standardise this, you need to subtract the total deficit which on this definition (a few small items are excluded so it is not completely comparable with normal PSNB numbers) is 10.0%.

    So London provides a net subsidy of 20.3% of GDP. Northern Ireland receives a net subsidy of 29.4%, while Wales receives a subsidy of 26.0% and the North East 22.2%.

    Interestingly in the light of the independence debate, Scotland receives no net subsidy. Using the Aberdeen University split of the oil and gas revenues (which gives Scotland 83%) the oil and gas revenues exactly cancel out the fiscal transfers from the non oil sector.

  282. On food banks.

    People have to be referred to them by social workers, health visitors, Citizens Advice Bureau, housing officials, etc, and people are limited in the number of times that they can use a food bank.

    They are a stop-gap to help people over a short-term problem. One very common short-term problem is the state system (of which APatS seems to think so highly) not being able to respond in anything like a timely fashion.

    There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people using food banks since May 2010 because this government made the compassionate decision to allow DWP offices (e.g. JobCentres) to issue food bank vouchers.

    The previous government (rather heartlessly IMO) was asked (post 2008) to let them do that and refused.

  283. Whcih could be a daily Mail headline, how dare people have problems or issues, how dare they need support from the system. How on earth do you know they have sky? so no sofa on credit, sit on the floor, no your place poor! Phil has spoken.

    I worked at the coal face in welfare and benefits for nearly ten years. When I grew up my family were on benefits and I see the welfare reforms worrying my Dad sick. I know what I am talking about when I talk about welfare. I know precisely how much money people get, I know how it is worked out and I know there is enough and that plenty of families get by. It is not supposed to be easy but neither is it designed for people to starve. What people don’t get is that there are lots of feckless people who live in areas where anti-social behaviour and welfare dependency have been normalised. They for too long were insulated from the difficulties and insecurities of life and as long as they didn’t rock the boat they’d get their fortnightly giros and never worry about having to pay the rent or even fill in a form themselves.

    Welfare dependency destroys people, families and communities.

    Now I don’t agree with everything they are doing – I think expecting people over 45 to change their habits is asking too much and just causes misery, but every other bastard out there who isn’t sick, who isn’t studying and who isn’t caring and has been on welfare for years needs a good shake.

    The whole idea of the “bedroom” tax is to target benefits more intelligently. The papers would have you think that its a case of taking the cut. But what has happened is that the Discretionary Payments scheme has more money than ever, it is just a case of having to apply for it and you aren’t guaranteed to get it forever (you know, a bit like a job).

    And none of it was a Tory idea. I read the options paper in 2009 which detailed Universal Credit etc

    So yes, I do believe that feckless people are going to food banks because they spend the money on Sky and on sofas. And I do believe that there are people with mental health issues and substance abuse problems using them – but what you pay them, when you pay them and how you pay them won’t help those types of people. The only thing you guarantee if you keep shovelling free money at them is that they won’t change and we have to deal with the consequences of it in terms of crime, in terms of low educational achievement and poor economic performance. And that’s before we get into the human misery these people and their children suffer.

  284. @JBD

    Do not mistake the system we here for what such a system could actually provide in terms of a safety net. It is not about this or that Government it is about Government in general. The fact that we are proud that our solution is to issue vouchers for a food bank is shocking.

    the old saying goes “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But if you give him a fishing rod, you feed him for a lifetime”. Well give him a food bank voucher he will just come back for more, sort out his problems he may begin to have a life.
    I have spent a fair bit of time on training teams and there is a reason we always try and “train the trainer” abroad.

  285. How on earth do you know they have sky?

    I forgot to mention – because I used to look at bank statements and nearly everyone had it. Anecdotal of course, but it is my experience. Used to do house visits too, didn’t matter how big a dump I visited there’d be the flat screen. Some people simply cannot budget and spend all their money on shit. Until people wake up to this and realise not everyone is hard fucking done by, then the problem will just worse and worse. The more money saved by not paying money to bastards the more money can be spent to help people who are sick, who care and who have just lost their job through no fault of their own.

  286. x

    you can blame Gordan for a lot, but before 2008, UK government debt under Blair/Brown was very comparable to the previous Government. What you’re really saying is that the dependence of the Finance sector for tax income, the bank bailout and how Brown decided to try and keep the UK out of recession (cutting VAT for 1 year example) was his mistake.

    I would agree that reliance of finance sector (a Tory idea from the 1990s) combined with too much emphasis on job creation via Government was a mistake, but if think its really debatable to claim the current mess is entirely Labour’s fault, when Osbornes cure hasnt cut government borrowing yet and the reduction in government jobs hasnt been replaced by full time non-government jobs. Unemployment is lower than in the 1980s, but part time employment is very high as well. I’d love to know what real unemployment is if you placed part time workers onto a FullTimeEequivalent basis.

    Try starting here on debt levels for some historical perspective. You’ll see even right now isnt that bad by pre-1970’s basis (all that WW1 to WW2 debt)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_British_national_debt and here
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_national_debt

  287. @APatS

    I agree that the 60% definition is stupid. However I notice that you did not pick on the point that the last Labour government (whose ideals seem to correspond with your vision for Scotland) brought about an increase in real poverty by focussing on relative poverty.

    “Unfortunately using real figures it has also been expanding massively”

    Evidence please. And not from a charity that is involved in this area please. Sadly many large charities have become essentially corrupt. Taking state money to lobby the state to give them more money. In that scenario making teh problem that they deal wioth seem as big as possible is in their interests.

    On a different blog (but about income inequality) one commentater said
    “You have a problem with poor people being too FAT?!!?” -Time Traveller from 19th century

    Phil made some pertinent points and you did not address them you just abused him. Some of the problems that poor people have are of their own making. If you are poor and can’t afford a sofa then don’t buy one on credit as that will cost you a lot more in the long run. What is wrong with sitting on the floor?

    “zero hours contracts. ”

    Which more than 2/3 of the people on are happy with. Why is that necessarily a bad thing?

  288. @ Phil

    The welfare reforms themselves were not so much the issue as the feckless way they have been introduced. The bedroom tax has led to people taking their own lives and was described by the UN as a “breach of basic human rights”.
    You know it makes it a wee bit more difficult at the coal face operationally to put our views and standards across in certain countries when we are introducing policies that are described as such and have led to direct loss of life.

    even then it is not the policy or the idea but the total inability of anyone to implement it properly or look at things on a case by case basis.

  289. One has to wonder if post the Scottish referendum ( whatever the result) there is not an English backlash against the Union.

    We have seen a disturbing rise in popularist politics in the last few years, dystopian i know, but possible.

    Also What would our defence needs look like in a Europe dominated by nationalist politics around the edges, even edging into and destabilising the relationships between core Western European nations.

  290. @JBD

    Myself and Phil have had far more serious “discussions” than this one :)

    Well if you will not accept the evidence from the people who have done the studies because you believe they might be corrupt then will you at least admit that your previous post perfectly illustrated how useless the current definition is as it has no base line.

    “What is wrong with sitting on the floor” really in 2014 you are happy living in a society that forces people to sit on the floor and consider zero hour contracts a success as only 33% of people on them do not want to be?

  291. Why should people be sat in four or three bedroomed social houses when there’s a waiting list for young families that is effectively forever in length? Why should non sick, non-caring people have security of tenure over and above working people? I am sure some people have done themselves in over it but how many more will never now be allowed to get themselves in the position where they sit at home all day and rely on state hand-outs and become depressed? Some people have deep, deep problems and damning a change because some vulnerable people have killed themselves is a ridiculous argument. The whole system is designed to help vulnerable people, should it never change? Should it not re-assess who should considered vulnerable from time to time and how they are helped?

    If you knew anything about benefit payment rules you’d know that every change has the following safeguards: (a) transitory protection, (b) easements, (c) and targeted extra help to help those still in trouble after all this. I’ll give you three guesses as to what class of people get the best protections mind, clue, they tend to vote more…

    So the bedroom tax has a number of safeguards, there is also the DHP scheme which allows authorities to target families still in need and who are suffering hardship because of it. But those DHPs are not permanent anymore, why the hell should they be? They are there to help people transition into the new rules.

    Now I agree, expecting people who have been allowed to wallow on Incapacity Benefit for 25 years to suddenly go and find work, especially in depressed areas of the country is pointless and therefore cruel. But everyone else in my book is fair game.

    The elephant in the room is that bastards exist in the system and don’t give a fuck. We’d spend the classic 80% of our time dealing with the 20%, of which about 10% were hardcore losers and shits. You spend all that time and money in dealing with people who won’t fill in forms because “I can’t read or write” and who throw chairs around waiting rooms when they don’t get precisely “what I is entitled to” and you can’t spend it on people who are newly redundant and frightened, on people who are terminally ill and need help, on people who are sick, in pain or people who care for such people. That is a terrible, terrible thing. I’ve got no time for non-conditional or functionally non conditional welfare schemes because they are the single most destructive man-made inventions outside of explosives.

    The system exists to help the vulnerable. Every time a scally is treated in the same way as a vulnerable person the system fails and human misery results. It is an injustice.

  292. @APatS

    “Do not mistake the system we here for what such a system could actually provide in terms of a safety net.”
    So are you saying that a Labour government dominated by Scots may have produced a bad situation but a Scottish government with a strong Labour component would be wonderful? That seems to be what you are saying.

    “It is not about this or that Government it is about Government in general.
    I have no real idea what you mean by that.

    “The fact that we are proud that our solution is to issue vouchers for a food bank is shocking.”
    Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I will assume that you don’t know that food banks only give short term help., three visits in X (6? 12?) months. As well as food they give guidance to where people can get more, longer-term, help.

    You seem to be saying that if a neighbour had a sudden problem you would not help him but would say that there should be a better state safety net, even if the sudden problem was their social security payment being stopped.

    What food banks are is people helping people.

    To pick up on the fishing idea. Someone who goes to a food bank gets enough fish to let his family eat whilst he, say, mends his nets and can then go fishing again.

  293. @APATS: “The bedroom tax has led to people taking their own lives and was described by the UN as a “breach of basic human rights”?

    You’re not helping your argument there. After all, if a small cut to benefits that are effectively paid for an indefinite period is a breach of yuman rites, then what the fuck are sawing off the arms and legs of those that disagree with you? Even more basic?

  294. A+E closure……. Throw away comments on this…… Upset me

    There is only one reason an A+E would close and that is the patient throughput is not there to safely sustain all the services in a hot DGH. To close an A+E you must make a rock solid case that you are unable to safely sustain key services on that site, at which point an A+E becomes so unsafe as to need closing. Some of the key issues involve paediatrics, complex emergency surgery etc. As treatments such as thrombolising strokes, primary angioplasty and the evidence for level one trauma centres becomes more pressing many more A+Es will become classes as less than optimal. The fact is a lot of centres are keep open due to pressures from the public, politicians and pressures groups who do not want to hear the argument that for emergency medicine big is beautiful.

  295. Today in The Scotsman (that’s a newspaper)
    “Audit Scotland found that the number of patients waiting longer than four hours in A&E almost tripled from 36,000 in 2008/09 to around 104,000 in 2012/13.”
    Later
    “Scottish Labour’s Neil Findlay MSP, said: “This report shows that our hospitals are simply unable to cope with the growing pressures they face, when combined with the cuts to staffing and beds which have been imposed by the SNP.”
    Then
    “The Scottish Government said significant improvements had been made in the first year since it launched its £50 million action plan for emergency care.”
    £50m for £5m people equates to £10 per head ! By the way that’s £50m over three years.
    Will Scotland be better off?
    The whole article http://www.scotsman.com/news/health/patients-waiting-longer-in-scots-a-e-units-1-3402245

  296. @Phil: “Why should people be sat in four or three bedroomed social houses when there’s a waiting list for young families that is effectively forever in length? Why should non sick, non-caring people have security of tenure over and above working people?”

    Because council houses were not primarily built to alleviate housing problems. They were built to ensure politicians of a certain stripe could lock down majorities.

  297. @ApatS

    I see that you totally ignored
    “You have a problem with poor people being too FAT?!!?” -Time Traveller from 19th century

    I take it that you accept that fat poor people is rather a contradiction in terms but one that we see very frequently.

    “Well if you will not accept the evidence from the people who have done the studies because you believe they might be corrupt”

    Sadly I think that most big charities are demonstrably corrupt. Until they were forced to disclose the salary bands their staff were in, it was common for there to be numerous senior staff on >£150,000 (even >£200,000) salaries plus numerous perks.

    The people conducting studies always affects the results obtained. So one has to be, at the least, suspicious of a charity getting results from a study that allows them to lobby the government for more money.

    “then will you at least admit that your previous post perfectly illustrated how useless the current definition is”
    No I won’t ‘admit’ anything. I *stated* that the only consistent national measure of poverty is useless.

    “really in 2014 you are happy living in a society that forces people to sit on the floor”
    So when, in your book, would it have been acceptable to think that?

    If you say that you don’t have date then you are actually saying that you don’t have a rational argument you were just playing tricks with words.

    “and consider zero hour contracts a success as only 33% of people on them do not want to be?”
    You listed zero hour contracts as a thing to be universally condemned. If most people are happy with them who are you to say that these contracts are bad?

    Also, I suspect that more than 33% of people don’t want to do lots of jobs (dustmen, sewage cleaners, abattoir workers, etc) but they do them because they want to put food on their children’s table.

    If you don’t like a zero hour contract job, get some qualifications and get a better one.

  298. @ Phil

    Note my point about it being the implementation not the idea, you can list the supposed safeguards but there are far too many stories coming out for them to have been implemented properly. It is also extremely embarrassing to have that UN report hanging over us.

    @JBD

    What I am actually saying is that many Scots want to have the chance to take charge and control the system. To be in full charge of its funding and to have the decisions made in Scotland for Scotland. I never mentioned Labour at all. It would be up to Scots who was in charge and indeed what they may even be called. Democracy.

    “Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I will assume that you don’t know that food banks only give short term help., three visits in X (6? 12?) months. As well as food they give guidance to where people can get more, longer-term, help.”

    9 visits a year actually and the fact they are so well established they need regulating is shocking.

    Of course I would help my neighbour but i would be angry at the situation that allowed it to develop not triumphant I could help.

    @wf

    I did not write or commision the report, its existence is however a fact and it makes it a little awkward when we are out there telling other peoples they are abusing human rights funnily enough.

    @ Jonathan

    A classic example of what should happen but in reality it is about money and more and more centralisation of services.

    @JDB

    Of course there are fat poor people, should they be given less food, there are also poor people dieing on our streets from malnutrition, guess they offset each other.

    Zero hour contracts have attracted condemnation from people far cleverer than me but a quick question, how do you feed yourself whilst you study to get a better job?

  299. Phil

    would anyone disagree with you ? (not many). The question is how do you target that minority (small I think) without hurting the majority ? Is the government doing that ?

    Do you really think that the current government’s motivation is purely as you describe or is it that it has an ideological position that state help isn’t the solution and that welfare benefits are morally wrong ?

    Think about it, why do we pay benefits to workers (family tax credit etc). Is it because we subsidise Companies to hire people on low wages to maximise their profits while the State picks up part of the cost. I would argue work is better, but salaries which reflect the true cost of living are better than subsidising low pay.

    Why does the Government allow certain foods to be full of hidden trans fat, salt and sugar when its clear that the end result is higher levels of heart attacks, diabetes and cancers ? Could it be that ideologically free markets and low food cost translating into corporate profit where the cost is picked up by the state by tax to pay medical costs is better than effective regulation ?

    Do you choose to tackle the effect or the cause ?

  300. @TD

    The Texans won their freedom in the end. Maybe not the best analogy.

    I expect there to be a lot of right wing views on a defence website, sometimes I regret my day job of ensuring they have the freedom to have a go at me :)
    Maybe a quick burst of military rule is needed.

    On a serious note I do believe we should aspire to have a society where nobody needs food banks, zero hour contracts are illegal and that rather than accept a sticky plaster over the symptons we should be attacking the cause!

  301. JBDG

    surely if the cheapest food is the least healthy, you shouldn’t be surprised that the poorest are the least healthy ? What cause and effect do you prefer to explain why the poorest people are often the fatest ?

  302. Hardly surprising that there’s plenty of stories when millions of people are being affected by a change. Vulnerable people can respond very badly to change even if it’s clearly for the better. And the entitlement losers kick off constantly anyway and portray themselves as hard done by.

    The implementation by central government wasn’t particularly bad actually. Obviously housing benefit is devolved to local government so how they implemented it is likely to have been varied amongst 408 actors.

  303. @APatS

    “I never mentioned Labour at all. It would be up to Scots who was in charge”

    And of course, previous voting history would give us no guide whatsoever would it?

    “9 visits a year actually”
    As I said, ” three visits in X (6? 12?) months”, so X equals 4. What point are you trying to make?

    “Of course I would help my neighbour”
    But you think that someone who is in full-time work should not buy some extra food when they do their shopping and drop it off at a food bank so that a volunteer can give it to someone who has been let down by the wonderful state safety net that you seem so proud of.

    “but i would be angry at the situation that allowed it to develop”
    What on earth makes you think that those who work in and support food banks are not angry?

    “not triumphant I could help”
    And you have just that up out of thin air. Noone has said anything about feeling triumphant. Glad that a family has food rather than being hungry, maybe.

  304. @ Phil

    It is not clearly for the better in so many cases.
    i think one of the biggest issues with the bedroom tax was the lack of suitable properties to move people to.

    HMG figures show 660,000 tenants to be affected and that 420,000 of those households contain at least one person with a disability. There seems to be very little concept of moving people with disabilities, the cost of adapting another property or the shortage of suitable smaller bedroomed houses/flats.

    i will not insult you by listing the countless stories but it has not been well handled however well intended.

  305. @APatS
    “I do believe … zero hour contracts are illegal”
    So your view should overrule that of the majority of people on zero hour contracts? How deomcratic.

    @Nick
    “surely if the cheapest food is the least healthy”
    Except it isn’t. Simple food cooked from fresh, seasonal, ingredients is cheaper and better.

    However many of the people that are being lumped into the poverty category live chaotic lives and don’t plan ahead, so they don’t shop and cook, they buy ready meals & takeaways. Full of fat & sugar.

    Even if the cheapest food was full of calories, then the correct answer is to eat less of it so that you don’t get fat. That saves you money to spend on other things, or to put aside for when a problem happens.

  306. To clarify a point, the national health services of England and Scotland are to completely different organisations, funded differently with NHS Scotland having a per head budget of over £2100 year. NHS England only gets around £1900per head,with NHS England managing by far the most complex health system in the UK. Any and all problems in the Scottish Health System are caused by Scottish politicians and a Bloated Scottish health system that has never needed to modernise. England has the worst funded health care system the western world, but luckily just about the most efficient, even if the choice agenda keeps trying to bugger that up.

  307. @ Nick

    Post WW2 the trouble with British industry was that the good parts were always weighed down by the (mostly nationalised) bad parts. I would go look at the figures for manufacturing for 1979 and 1990. You will find that though manufacturing is small part of the economy it was doing much better (ie making more money). Go look again for the same for 1997 to 2010. Something that is often said here and I wholeheartedly believe is that the death of British manufacturing is greatly exaggerated; often by those belong to the organisations that help to kill the large nationalised industries. We build some wonderful stuff. We build some innovative stuff. I think perhaps there are times when we don’t capitalise on our innovations. And I do worry that EU trade missions are staffed by blonde haired sausage eaters with odd accents……..

    As for poverty is that gap the rich getting richer or the poor getting poorer or a bit of both? As a kid I lived in a poor household. I live in a semi-rural area that was once had pits. My grandfather was a miner he forbade my dad and uncle following down him down the pit; “You can’t buy daylight!”, he would say. Both my dad and uncle are electricians/electrical engineers. In the 70s my dad worked 6 days a week, sometimes 60 hours per week, for nowhere near the same pay as a pit electrician who would spend most shifts asleep and then spend his days doing electrical work for cash in hand. Growing up miners’ kids always had the latest thing, first to go on foreign holidays, etc. What brought it home to me how different our living standards were compared to that of miners’ families was during the 84 strike. A miner’s wife came on TV complaining that she hadn’t given her kids meat that work and they were surviving on chips. Chips were the staple of my diet, perhaps sausage and bacon at weekends, and a cheap joint once a month. When they got made redundant they all had big payouts, they all have good pensions that are still more then many earn, and many claim all they can for everything from white finger to knee problems from kneeling in water. Complete horlicks. Now admittedly some of them did invest their redundancy payments in little business so they did create jobs. Most of these are run though by people they have hired in, while they spend their days on the golf course moaning about Thatcher. But looking back there were few real cases of poverty.

    I was involved with an inner city youth group for over 10 years and there were some poor kids but abject poverty was rare. And if a kid went without say food it was more due to poor parenting as young Phil points out further up the page. But kids going hungry and cold because a parent was unemployed due to lack of a job isn’t something I came across. On the two large council estates from where most of our kids came working the benefit system was common. There were those who both worked the system and worked! And many worked cash in hand part of the year, say coming up to Christmas. Work shy? Only that they didn’t work in recognised jobs, it was a unstructured black jobs market. What did impact on that job market was the influx of East European and this has probably meant some of tipped into poverty. Of course the government can only budget for what it can measure. Another factor if you want to look at poverty figures and something I have no direct t experience of is non-European migrants. Bangladeshi and Somalians are especially poor. Labour let a few million of them in they will skew your figures for the gap between rich and poor.

  308. If people genuinely can’t move then they can claim DHPs to tide them over until they can. And one can counter by asking about young families stuck in expensive, unsuitable accommodation because old Doris feels entitled to some bricks and mortar that has three bedrooms in it.

  309. @JDB

    Do not confuse voting patterns with Scotland as part of the UK with what would happen outside of it. It would be a unique clean slate with full powers on offer and parties would have to adjust to this. For instance there is definitely room in Scotland for a centre right party to do better without any affiliation to the English Tories.

    The point i was making is that when a society accepts the need for food banks to become such an established part of it that they require regulation we should be looking at the society not the regulation.
    The cause not the plaster is what we should aspire to.

    In Scandinavia they are looking to set up food banks to distribute food that businesses would otherwise fling out to help the homeless and the poor as well. Not because they have GPs referring them or a huge need but because it will help even more and cut food waste. Why should we not aspire to reach that level?

  310. JBDG

    if only life was that simple. Where would supermarket profits come from if we all ate simple things and learned how to cook. The lifestyle advertising we get daily to buy ready meals, spend our free time doing something else but cook etc. Consumption is king. Its not just the poor though is it ? 1/3rd of the UK’s population is a diabetes risk

    But the UK is one of the wealthiest places on earth (top 15 globally on any measure), why is it that any one is “poor” even by our current definition ? Surely by design, neglect and indifference ?

  311. On the subject of food & health (not digressing are we?) it has been stated by nutrition experts many times over that the general population was at its most healthy through the period of rationing in the 1940s. Meagre allowance of bought food, little high salt high sugar high fat processed food (except Spam obviously) supplemented by whatever could be grown at home or on allotments. Result: no chance of binge-eating, the ration balanced the diet really well (everyone would eat the rationed allowance – if you wanted to be picky you’d go hungry), the home grown food was fresh and nutritious *and* to grow it involved a serious degree of digging hoeing weeding picking etc – exercise that couldn’t be avoided. You have to wonder, now there is a medical bow-wave of overweight people, why HMG hasn’t considered breaking out the ration books again…

  312. @Phil

    I would move Doris, remember I agree with the principle but do not think it has been anywhere near correctly implemented. I would not move or charge a couple who live in a 2 bedroom house but due to one being disabled and the other a carer need the 2 bedrooms for a specialist bed in one room. Just one example.

  313. @APaTs

    Sorry to disagree on A+E closures, but I am very well qualified in this area, having spent 10 years as an emergency nurse at all grades and then be the next 4 years being responsible for the patient safety and risk management of a commissioner of healthcare purchasing the healthcare of over a million people. I have never seen, heard of or been involved in the decommissioning of services other than those that could not be justified on safety and efficacy grounds, My registration, train and moral compass would not allow anything else, what sort of individuals do you think end up running the NHS ?

  314. “i think one of the biggest issues with the bedroom tax was the lack of suitable properties to move people to”

    I remember when Right to Buy was bought in. Our local councillor, a Labour chap of, wait for it, Scottish extraction **, was on the local radio and in the new local paper shouting out about how wrong it was. Didn’t stop him being the first to buy his council house. He actually made sure his paperwork went through first just in case the perfidious Tory government collapsed. Lots of miners in the village bought their councils houses too; when they moved on to better class of house (not my words) many of them kept them for buy to lets and many are now housing Polish families whose bread winners work in the distribution centres that replaced the pits.

    ** He campaigned against the last local state grammar school too, seeing it a class victory when it became a comprehensive. All his kids though went to the local independent grammar school. I was offered a scholarship to that very school but my dad thought we to poor. It wasn’t the fees obviously as they would have been paid for, it would have been the wealth gap between our household and that of my fellow pupils.

  315. @ Jonathan

    back to 2008 and reality.
    “The cancer expert who shaped the future of the Scottish NHS last night attacked plans to halt the closure of hospital accident and emergency departments.

    The cancer expert who shaped the future of the Scottish NHS last night attacked plans to halt the closure of hospital accident and emergency departments.

    Professor David Kerr, whose blueprint received cross-party support two-and-a-half years ago, said the health service would be “paralysed” by the U-turn driven by the SNP Government.

    His comments came on the eve of a crucial board meeting when NHS Lanarkshire will vote on its plans for the future of Monklands Hospital in Airdrie. Emergency services were due to be downgraded but a scheme has been drawn up which would maintain the current level of care.

    Last week, NHS Ayrshire and Arran agreed to keep the A&E at Ayr Hospital in another reversal triggered by the election of the SNP.

    Mr Kerr said: “Although the recent decisions taken to overturn the Lanarkshire and Ayr health boards’ emergency care plans takes no-one by surprise, given the political exigency, they mark a sorry retreat towards the status quo. We seem to have returned to the completely outmoded concept of health planning that dogged Scotland’s NHS for so long, concentrating on bricks and mortar and abandoning any serious attempt to build an integrated service fit to meet the huge challenges posed by Scotland’s ill health.”

    At the end of the day the Politicians decide what happens.

  316. @X
    “Our local councillor, a Labour chap of, wait for it, Scottish extraction”

    You do realise that throughout this whole thing I have never ever played the race card whilst others have continually referred to people being Scots. Makes me sad actually.

  317. @APATS Re the bedroom tax
    My best friend had a brain haemorrhage leaving him unable to remember the last 5 mins and so unable to work. The state stepped in and gave him and his wife and two children an adapted 4 bed home. His children have grown up and left home and he has subsequently died of a further brain haemorrhage leaving his widow still there .
    Despite many pleas to her local council to be relocated she is still in a 4 bed home now paying this Tax as she herself is unable to work due to the pressure of helping her husband needing 247 care. She started her requests 7 years ago.

  318. @ Monkey

    The idea was good but the implementation and indeed assessment was totally substandard. It is not rocket science to identify those likely to be affected and then see what options exist to move them. Unfortunately it may as well be :(

  319. I would not move or charge a couple who live in a 2 bedroom house but due to one being disabled and the other a carer need the 2 bedrooms for a specialist bed in one room. Just one example.

    For which they can claim DHPs and for which cases the Government has provided extra money precisely to target people in those scenarios.

  320. @Phil

    Why then do we continue to hear the horror stories and have the UN telling us we are breaching human rights. You can sprout what is meant to happen but something somewhere is not happening?

    With my Ops planning background I ask why? Staff problems, were they given enough training? Was responsibility delegated down far enough to allow them to be made within the correct time frame?

  321. APaTs

    Yes that is what I said earlier, it’s almost impossible to decommission a service even if it’s justified, due to the public, pressure groups and politicians. What I said is that the NHS English or Scottish do not decommission unless it’s justified by safety or efficacy grounds, we do fail to decommission all the time due to the above, your argument was the NHS decommission A+E services to save money, which I refute and ask you to evidence your statement. As you kindly evidenced mine.

  322. APATS your staff training should be telling you then that the outcries are because the plan is being implemented. As I have said you can’t implement big changes in benefits without a lot of shit being thrown everywhere and a lot of vulnerable people getting very worried.

    Planning and preparation for this was instigated before the rules became law and money and guidance was released in the year beforehand. Benefits administration is devolved to 408 local authorities, so as I have said, I imagine implementation was varied.

    I’m not spouting what is meant to be happening, I am spouting what is happening. Extra funds being released and a workforce under immense pressure from 20% of the claimants so they can’t help or signpost people correctly all the time. It’s a case of he who shouts loudest gets served first in this situations. Also, housing associations and charities have a big role to play as well.

    The money to claim DHPs is there. The guidance on how to use it is there. People are using it and the rental restriction is in force. Also, news, restricting the rent of benefit claimants goes back to 1982 when HB was created.

  323. @ J

    You said “My registration, train and moral compass would not allow anything else, what sort of individuals do you think end up running the NHS ?”

    I said it was the politicians that decide.

    In my example it is the Professor no less and eminent Medical professional that recommended the closures and the Politicians that reversed them for purely vote winning reasons.

    They decide what happens and it is not for the reasons you outline.

  324. @ Thread – oddly, I agree with @apats about the kind of society we need to be, but with @Phil about many of the issues. I am, as it happens, the Director of a Housing Association that owns about 2000 properties in some of the tougher corners of Gloomyville…the kind of place where we occasionally find a pool of blood so big that the person who lost might well have died, but no victim and no subsequent missing persons report. We are a good Housing Association, as most are…we organised ourselves to avoid people losing their homes through the spare room supplement (which is not a tax, but a reduced remission of rent met by Housing Benefit)…we do family support, benefits checks (to make sure people get enough), courses on financial management, healthy eating and cooking all manner of good stuff. And the people who do that work report in on what they have achieved, on an anonymised case-study basis…and I see those reports, so I see the numbers raw…what people get, what they spend it on before and after we work with them, all that stuff…and Phil is largely right, if understandably cross because he comes from the 90% plus of families who manage to lead a decent life on exactly the same basis and right next door to the ones who don’t. And I say again, we will not get to the kind of world @apats wants…the kind I have worked bloody hard for thirty years to make for some of the people some of the time…the kind that I’d guess most of you want…by just throwing money at it. We have tried that, and it doesn’t work. Not for us; not for iScotland, not for anyone…because the issue is a moral as opposed to a material one and if it is solved it will be by little platoons of people in the places that need fixing…not by any Government of any sort wherever located.

    And certainly not by one seeking an iScotland because a bit more money on this, that or the other is going to fix it…the problem is more difficult than that, and in my view more likely to be solved by this United Kingdom operating at its best…as I believe we still can…but not fractured, broken and racked with introspection as it will be on both sides of the Border after a yes vote…

    End of sermon.

    GNB

  325. It is not rocket science to identify those likely to be affected and then see what options exist to move them.

    Precisely what was supposed to happen. How effectively local authorities did this I cannot know. But I know it was done.

    “Data sharing
    14. Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services
    etc.) Regulations 2012 – consequential amendments have been made to
    the data sharing regulations that allow for information to be shared
    between the local authority and registered landlords for the purposes of
    identifying claimants who may be under-occupying and informing those
    who are likely to be affected. These were laid in Parliament on 11 June
    2012 and are intended to come into force on 2 July 2012. ”

    All local authorities were to work with their registered social landlords and identify affected people. They were then to contact each of those affected by the reforms at the same time as briefing and working with third sector bodies.

  326. by just throwing money at it

    I remember you saying you were a Director of an RSL.

    I couldn’t agree more. I’ve always said it is not how much you spend on welfare, it is how you spend it that matters.

  327. X

    No disagreement on UK manufacturing from me; what’s left now is often the best because it has had to be to survive. There just isnt enough of it. There are extremely many reasons why. Amateurish management, lack of real R&D spend, poor boss/worker relationships, the wrong exchange rate for much of the 1980s to 2008 , government indifference and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    So why did Leyland, once the world’s largest car manufacturer, end up disappearing, but car manufacturing in the UK has never been so good. Why couldn’t a UK company turn Jaguar into the success that Ford and Tata have. What do we lack that they don’t ? Its not design, management skill or worker motivation as all are largely UK sourced today ?

    The original promise of the welfare state in 1945 was to provide support for working people if they got in trouble, whether due to health, unemployment, some other cause and to provide the pension that the poorer were unable to save for. Home fit for heroes was the attitude. I don’t think that was or is wrong.

    But we did go wrong after 1945, but it wasn’t obvious until the late 1960s. We suffered through the 1970s (which the oil shock made much worse) with mass unemployment and inflation. We thought and appear to have fixed the problem between 1985 and 2005, but that era was Oil and debt fueled and post 2008 its obvious that we didnt fix anything at all.

    Some government service jobs (education, health, basic administration, regulation etc) are absolutely necessary. Did we create too many others – probably yes to reduce mass unemployment – BUT Austerity and the current boomlet is just another sticking plaster while we rearrange the deck chairs.

    I think politicians (Osbourne included) generally know the permanent solution is more manufacturing, more high tech a less finance and government based economy, but none of them have actually seriously tried to put the environment in place to make this happen. Its too difficult, too slow, too uncertain etc.

    How long can we afford to delay biting the bullet ? Just what is the price of getting total UK debt down from 400 % of GDP to something more reasonable ? Austerity balances the government budget by 2020, but it doesn’t reduce the debt burden by one penny (in fact its still growing today). What balances the UK population’s budget and how does the UK corporate sector as whole survive through this restructuring. The fundamental issues aren’t being addressed at all so far as I can see. If the UK doesn’t address this, surely we get poorer.

    by the way, didnt we join the EEC to help fix the mess we got ourselves into in the mid 60s to mid 70s. Do we need to beg to join the Eurozone to fix the debt problem in the 2020s ?

  328. @GNB

    “And I say again, we will not get to the kind of world @apats wants…the kind I have worked bloody hard for thirty years to make for some of the people some of the time…the kind that I’d guess most of you want…by just throwing money at it. We have tried that, and it doesn’t work. Not for us; not for iScotland, not for anyone”

    Nobody suggest an I Scotland would just fling money at it, it is about looking for a different approach, why should we not aspire for the sort of Social Democracy that exists in Scandinavia? Unfortunately Scots realise that to prioritise money for this would mean taking it from elsewhere and that would be much easier to achieve outside the UK.
    The biggest problem that the BT campaign and indeed you have is that nobody has bothered outlining how the UK would go about addressing the huge issues raised by the referendum campaign, instead they have concentrated on history and scare stories. Therefore you end up with about 40% of the population who think “we could not possibly do any worse”and we want to aspire to be so much more.
    I can only hope we get a decent Devolution offer and scrape a no vote despite rather than because of the BT campaign.

  329. Do you really think that the current government’s motivation is purely as you describe or is it that it has an ideological position that state help isn’t the solution and that welfare benefits are morally wrong ?

    Everything is an ideological position at the end of the day. Nobody I know in Government or in Opposition has said that benefits are morally wrong. And I sincerely believe that nobody on the front bench on either side thinks that. But what is morally wrong (in the most fundamental sense since it is an injustice) is people being rewarded for doing nothing constructive and being rewarded for doing so out of the pockets of those of us who give up our time and labour for remuneration.

    They get time, and they get remuneration. That is morally wrong.

    They’re getting grapes and we’re getting cucumber.

    Think about it, why do we pay benefits to workers (family tax credit etc).

    To encourage people to work because otherwise why would any sensible person give up a finite resource (time) in exchange for money when they can keep that finite resource and still receive some sum of money. Nobody sensible would. I wouldn’t.

  330. @Nick – So we need an expansion of high-tech manufacturing out-with London and the south-east…err…build more ships…and get FRES sorted out…and the A400M MPA, stand-off bomber and gunship…and an immensely sophisticated recce unicycle for @RT… :-)

    GNB

  331. Phil

    i don’t disagree about your diagnosis (i might quibble about just how prevalent the workshy is), but government subsidising jobs is a sticking plaster not a solution, as at the end of the day we are paying the majority of that subsidy through tax (and the debt element really belongs to you and me so we own that too).

    Subsidised low pay jobs is better than no jobs, but would paying a bit more to Starbucks or McDonalds for that coffee or burger not be a closer fit with what you propose ? I would argue the cost to you or me (the working majority) will be pretty much the same and we wouldn’t be funneling UK tax to generate overseas profits.

    This is very simplistic I know, but I think it is at the core of having a low pay economy. If we want to subsidise screw driver assembly here in the UK to create low paid jobs, lets do it another way and try and make it temporary solution.

    Surely most of the service sector where low pay predominates today, doesn’t create wealth, but recycles existing wealth around the economy. Would we be really poorer if we ended low pay ?

  332. @ Nick

    Where did we go wrong?

    I don’t think we put much emphasis on technical training as we could have. There was no (widespread) technical equivalent of the grammar school; look at Germany, again. :( Secondary moderns didn’t quite fit the bill. And that isn’t to say all secondary moderns were poor schools; far from it. Unions priced apprenticeships off the market. Why have an apprentice when you can have an experienced mate for a fraction more who will be more use.

    It is easy to blame management for being complacent because they were. But to bring innovative products to market you need a decent secure income. Look at how Skoda have built the brand over the last few decades. Yes I know they are part of VW but they are a good sample. Currently their model range mirrors the VW range but at the start they didn’t they started with the small car. They gained consumer confidence and now they have a complete range. Once you have a secure income you can innovate and widen your product line. It can be a bit disheartening when you looked at a British company’s history and saw what they were prototyping and testing in the past but couldn’t bring to market for want of money. The trouble is British customers voted with their money in a way that French, German, or Italian customers wouldn’t. Look at cars in the 80s. On a UK street you would already see a wide variety of models from a wide variety of manufacturers. But in France the cars would be French; even if they were crap as BL’s finest crap. Even though Renault ran up debts they still had some income from the captive French market. (Free market anybody? No? OK. ;) ) It pains me to say it but sometimes protectionism may be a good thing under (certain) circumstances.

    And last HMG seemed to throw money at failures and cut funding to things that would make money. Easy I suppose with hindsight to say that one. They are doing the same again now with HS2 instead of investing in broadband technology etc. etc. It might be just me but joint ventures never seem to work out for us but only our partner nations. As I said that could be just me………..

  333. GNB

    it does piss me off to hear the excuse we cant afford it, when clearly we can, but choose to spend on different priorities. Why is it we allow Apple to generate $4 billion pa in UK sales at what must be a huge profit margin, but not pay any UK profit tax at the low corporate tax rate we have (the lowest in the G20). This is a choice too, and that $400 million could be spent on us and not given to Apple and its shareholders. Apple would still sell here either way at the same price point. We right the tax rules after all.

  334. i might quibble about just how prevalent the workshy is

    I’ve never argued there were millions of them (seen estimates of about 200,000 complete scum bags).

    I have argued they take up most of the time, energy and resources of staff to deal with them. They’re not even paid that much money directly, but they cost us a lot indirectly.

    I don’t particularly like the idea of Tax Credits but good luck getting a Government that will impose extra financial “burdens” on SMEs.

    My main beef (clearly!) is with scum bags, their state sanctioned hedonism and their concentration and consequent normalisation of deviance and apathy. I believe that has repercussions for us all in very fundamental ways, far greater than some billions of Tax Credits.

  335. X

    Yes, but at the core there is a common theme – lack of long termism (city trading has made this worse) and government incompetence. Was (is ?) government too unskilled and amateurish or do we select the top executives from too narrow a base.

  336. Phil

    I read that there was 20,000 (i think) families with multiple kids where neither parent worked (or had any intention of working). This is 20,000 too many and as you say, no doubt it takes up too much civil service time, but the financial cost alone isn’t that material to the UK government.

    If we spent 40k pa each on the 200,000 you identify that would be about 8 billion pa, or c1 % of total government spending or perhaps 8 % of the non-pensions benefit spending (and a chunk of that spending is on civil servants
    themselves). Fixing the scumbags, won’t fix the system.

  337. Money directly spent is very little. We agree. It’s the indirect costs. The cost of several kids doing exactly the same as dad and often getting involved in crime. The cost of those kids affecting classes and draining resources from other kids trying to learn. It’s all the people employed to support them, the ‘customer’ and the fact they can then support others in more need than them.

    Fixing the systems will reduce the scumbags if done properly. You save very little in direct costs but the country becomes a better place.

    It’s all too political to happen of course. And the amoral bureaucracy created to administer the system is in many ways it’s own worst enemy. A wicked problem I believe is the term.

  338. @x – From the middle Victorian period until the late 1950’s the UK had large numbers of owner/managed SMEs…often with a core family shareholding supplemented by long-term employees who gradually bought in to the Company over years, finally joining the Board and then selling on to their successors at retirement. Those Companies might have driven innovation in the 1960/70’s but the whole system was knackered by the inflation that ran wild during that decade…leaving those shareholders struggling to manage and in no position to hang on when some “Engulf and Devour Inc” monstrosity bought them out and asset stripped them in the 1970’s.

    My father Gloomy Senior almost fended off that result in the case of the Company we were linked with for a 100 years, but the strain killed him before he could persuade enough of that group of active capitalists to refuse the offer on the table from a cash-rich American giant; who effectively bought the market and the contracts but shut down the firm…

    @Phil/Nick – From my experience the numbers are about right, but you under-estimate the cost massively…one son of one such family can readily cost the rest of us £1M by the time they get to twenty five and are dead by overdose or motor accident, banged-up for a longish time, or moving on to less publicly expensive activities like full-scale fiddling; mind you some are full-on gangsters by then, and containing them costs even more and can go on for another thirty years. Worst of it is I could take you for a stroll round the two or three estates that export practically all the crime in the Gloomyville City/Region…and the odd road where 90% + of the Households are “known to the Police”

    As to the numbers of public servants employed keeping a lid on this stuff, it quite frankly beggars description…makes the cost and numbers employed in Defence look like a modest national hobby as opposed to a serious business…

    GNB

  339. @Phil – the term you are looking for is “the Wicked Issues”, although you must have got your grounding in this as long ago as I did to still remember it! :-)

    GNB

  340. @ Phil,

    “To encourage people to work because otherwise why would any sensible person give up a finite resource (time) in exchange for money when they can keep that finite resource and still receive some sum of money. Nobody sensible would. I wouldn’t”
    — Because the money on offer is very low, excluding the handful of cases that make the papers about people with ten kids etc. There’s a reason people on unemployment benefits don’t live in grand houses or drive flash cars. The JSA now is something like £72 a week. Most apprenticeships are worth more than that. If you have any ambition of driving anything more than a second hand banger or living in a house larger than that typically provided by the council then work is the only answer.

  341. @ GNB

    There are lots of reasons. But the company is its workforce. And odd as it sounds the bosses are out numbered! :) Informal power structures within companies are often the equal of the formal structures. Leaders can fail to bring about change simply because the masses don’t want to change.

  342. There’s 99 days left to turn APATS and Martin into Yes voters, so please, everyone, don’t burn yourselves out.

  343. GNB

    I absolutely agree that the same number of problem families out there, disproportionally cost the state (and the rest of us) a fortune. However, that cost is still small compared to the total spent. The do what the government wants to do, cut government spending each year by a large enough amount that we reduce net government debt appreciably (which wont start to happen until after 2020), spending cuts have to target the majority of claimants. These are not special cases or Phil’s scumbags on the whole.

    For the ordinary family, the social compact is that we pay around 40 % of our income in various taxes in return for the state providing health care, education, law and order, defence etc If the government doesn’t provide those services, then why should we pay for them. We are consumers of services that we (broadly) pay for.

    We end up with a moral dilemma for the (eg) problem families. Do we deprive the kids of their parents by taking them into social care/adoption in the hope that we avoid perpetuating the situation, break up the crime ridded estates, police more effectively etc etc and to try to balance the various different rights against each other to reach a compromise that society as a whole agrees on. To me, too much of this is hidden from sight and the balancing is done in secret. So when a child dies due to parental neglect, we blame the social workers who should have spotted the abuse and dealt with it instead of apportioning some blame to ourselves for creating the environment in the first place. Adjusting for pensioner savings, we choose to live in a society where the top 10 to 20 % by earnings own as much or more than the remaining majority put together. This is not an attack on wealth (or it needn’t be), but a question of what is the best distribution of wealth for society to function as a whole.

    One of the core issues for the independence debate is this very issue. Scotland as a whole it seems believes that the distribution should be more even than it is (very Scandinavian or Germanic), whereas London and the SE of England appears to be happy with the status quo (at worst) or wants the distribution to increase more (which is what is actually happening).

    This is Thatcher’s legacy, even if its not what the Tory’s actually wanted and was forced upon us to a significant degree. The % of high paid/skilled manual labour employment (traditional working class/union class if you prefer – engineering, miners, ship builders etc) has declined. The low pay working sector (retail and some services) has risen and the distribution of wealth has shifted in response. At the same time, social mobility has declined – my route into the professional sector (working class to Grammar School to University) is disappearing and nothing is replacing it.

    This is collectively our (UK) national choice. Its not a pre-ordained fact. The success stories we have (auto, pharmaceuticals, finance) proves we have the capability to be world class and the slightly different choices taken by other European societies, who faced the same problems (Germans, Dutch would be the best choice) reinforces the idea that traditional industries could have survived on a larger scale in the UK if we had wanted it (its not as though any of these sectors are dead, we still produce steel, build ships, mine coal in the UK). It is official UK government policy (“rebalancing the economy”) after all. It seems we have decided that we can no longer live on debt, which means that house price hyper-inflation we have become addicted to must end as well.

  344. @Nick: as per EU rules, Apple may incorporate in any EU country. It chooses Ireland, partly because the rate is low, but mostly because it allows all sorts of revenue to be exported offshore. If you want more money out of Apple, leave the EU.

    I think the most pernicious factor in the current law (all EU administered) is that a national company is screwed compared to the multinational ….

    @ Angus McLellan: indeed! But we’re mostly on UK issues now.

    @APATS: I’m not sure BT and others really should be getting heavily involved with policies, that instantly makes it impossible for the coalition it is to stop arguing. It’s also irrelevant since just about everything is devolved and so a Scottish Parliament matter anyway. BTW, are you in favour of lots of private schools and cutting off unemployment benefits completely after a year? The Scandinavians are, and so am I :-)

  345. Wf

    Regardless of the country of EU origin of the company in question trades through, there are tax residency tests that are applied by and written by the UK government (which no doubt hasn’t caught up with e-retailing).

    The trick is to have the UK shops (in this case) charge a fee to the Irish company for the cost of providing the services of selling the goods. This is a ‘arms length transaction using transfer pricing rules. Basically cost plus X% (where x is between 5 and 15 % typically). The tax “fiction” is that goods/services are provided by the Irish company and have that company make the profit from selling the goods. In Apple’s case there is a sweet heart deal relating back to Apple setting up a screw driver assembly plant in Cork (which shut years ago when they moved it to Hungary I think), where Apple got a 0% tax rate. Amazon and Google do something similar I believe. VAT goes through a Luxembourg company, so the sale side is probably more complex than it appears, but that’s the whole point.

    The trick is to persuade the HMRC that the legal form represents the physical reality, rather than saying the whole point of the shops/e-retail system is to avoid tax via gaming the residency rules. I’m not sure the extent that Its the “EU’s” fault is correct. Like with “health and safety” and “Human Rights” legislation taking the blame, it is a convenient excuse for poor management to hide behind.

    Anyway, if in doubt tax it and let Luxembourg and Ireland take you to court for breaching EU rules.

  346. @Nick: yes, the “sales agent” ploy, where the local company is merely taking a tiny cut of the sales of the Irish company. My company uses that now. Unfortunately, under EU law there is no way you can actually attempt to tax it: our French sister company keeps being raided to no effect :-)

    Google have moved on to a new scheme where they don’t even bother with the sales agent ploy. I daresay they will get away with it. Regarding retail, that’s another ballgame because there are physical assets in play, that’s why Amazon declares it’s sales go via Luxembourg, where the VAT rate is 3%. Euro rules again…

    I’m sorry, it really is EU law. We signed up for single incorporation, just like freedom of movement etc. Advocating us behaving like the French where we try to ignore the law we don’t like is even worse than complying, since if there’s one thing we do have, it’s a reputation for applying our laws fairly. Lose that, and we are in real trouble, and not not just in the field of corporate law, and IMHO the biggest single problem with the EU is the way in which fiddling the system is encouraged.

  347. wf

    Undoubtedly a distortion of the single market by allowing different tax rates to apply within Europe. Even if you didn’t want to force countries to apply a common tax rate, you could make all intra-EU transactions (like VAT) to be calculated at a standard rate. It is harder to solve the profit tax point, but the transfer pricing rules are pretty much the same everywhere in the EU (western world even) so it wouldn’t be impossible to have a go at that either. Tax havens like Luxembourg wouldn’t like it.

    Even so, tax residency and transfer pricing rules could be used to (part) address it. If you’re going to argue that you’re resident in Luxembourg for VAT, make sure the goods have to be dispatched from Luxembourg and not a UK warehouse (or that having a UK warehouse means the your EU or US company automatically must have a branch tax domiciled in the UK and rigorously apply transfer pricing law).

  348. wf – I once had discussions with an MD (or PDG to be more accurate) of a French division of a big European defence company. After business completed, over a fine lunch, I asked what effect the EU regulations had on business in France. He was very relaxed about them; “Those we agree with we implement, those that would be to our disadvantage we don’t. Its as simple as that.” On returning to the UK I talked this approach over with a friend who has a sound grasp of the French language and culture. His view was that it was entirely understandable and logical. When the EU makes up a new rule it is issued as a Directive. In English parlance the term Directive is equivalent to an order; a law; compliance compulsory. The term Directif in French however is equivalent to a suggestion, guidance, an aspiration*. Consider what the UK position over EU decisions would have been, had they been issued as EU Guidance, not EU Directives.

    The cynic in me can’t help thinking the choice of terminology was intentional, knowing the different strength of meaning in the UK compared to other states…

    *The French Larousse dictionary offers the following definition for Directif: “Qui tend à donner des orientations précises, une direction très ferme, en laissant peu de place à la spontanéité” – or if you prefer “That which tends to give clear guidance, a firm direction, leaving little room for spontaneity”

  349. wf – I once had discussions with an MD (or PDG to be more accurate) of a French division of a big European defence company. After business completed, over a fine lunch, I asked what effect the EU regulations had on business in France. He was very relaxed about them; “Those we agree with we implement, those that would be to our disadvantage we don’t. Its as simple as that.” On returning to the UK I talked this approach over with a friend who has a sound grasp of the French language and culture. His view was that it was entirely understandable and logical. When the EU makes up a new rule it is issued as a Directive. In English parlance the term Directive is equivalent to an order; a law; compliance compulsory. The term Directif in French however is equivalent to a suggestion, guidance, an aspiration*. Consider what the UK position over EU decisions would have been, had they been issued as EU Guidance, not EU Directives.

    The cynic in me can’t help thinking the choice of terminology was intentional, knowing the different strength of meaning in the UK compared to other states…

    *The French Larousse dictionary offers the following definition for Directif: “Qui tend à donner des orientations précises, une direction très ferme, en laissant peu de place à la spontanéité” – or if you prefer “That which tends to give clear guidance, a firm direction, leaving little room for spontaneity”

  350. @Nick – big part of the issue of numbers is the vast quantity of in/out transactions…taxpayers getting child benefit they are also paying for, a pension they have paid for, or using the NHS and Education “free” without really registering that they are in fact paying for it…the friction in all those cases sucks a lot of cash out of the system and it is easy to argue that the loss of the contributory principle has created a class of bureaucrats who think of themselves as doing people a favour, and people who are actually paying customers who get used to being treated as powerless supplicants…

    Seen as essential to keep the whole society engaged with paying for those who don’t contribute…but very costly, and in some senses at the root of stuff like the mid-Staffs hospitals shambles.

    GNB

  351. GNB

    I know its impossible for anyone to tell just how much tax we are paying and how out share stacks up against what we are getting back. Does that matter ? Hasn’t it always been like that anyway. Are we so selfish now that we can only pay for what we are getting back ? We have no problem paying for insurance even if we never make a claim. My schooling was free, so why should I mind paying towards education even though I don’t have any kids.

    As was stated above, we spend about 2,000 pa on each child in state education on average. The private (public) sector fee would be, what 5,000 pa at least (up to 35,000 pa at the top end) for exactly the same qualification (much smaller class sizes of course). If you don’t want the state to pay for welfare collectively, then we either take out insurance or only pay for things we use (at a higher cost more likely. Even if salaries and running costs are the same, you need to add 25 to 50 % profit margin for private provision. Do we seriously think that state organisations are that inefficient (when we look around our own offices, are we that much more efficient). We ended up with the welfare state, because we thought things should be fairer with equal access for everyone to the same common service. It never stopped you from paying extra for a better service if you wanted to.

    The argument is that the government is too big and spends too much money. In some ways it does. How can any of us appreciate what 700 billion pa looks like ? Instead let the government be administered regionally and let your local council tell you it raised, 15,000 from you and that spent 2,000 of that on 50,000 children in school this year etc. Let it publish spending by your council against spending in every council. Even if most of us don’t care, you can guarantee someone will check and see whether your council is spending more or less than your neighbours or the average. Local devolution of most ordinary government spending back to local councils is the only way to break the cycle isn’t it ? So that you and yours can challenge your professional administrators (councilors) – which could be a private management sector company under a 5 year deal – on their value for money.

    Lets have discussion round the water coolers that my council charges 26 % local tax while yours only charges 22 %. Make government personal to each of us, in a way that PAYE, NIC and VAT never will be. Lets have the Mayor of Manchester slug it out against all contenders each election.

  352. @wf
    “BTW, are you in favour of lots of private schools and cutting off unemployment benefits completely after a year? The Scandinavians are, and so am I :-)”

    The average unemployment benefit in the Scandinavian countries is over £200 a week from the state payable to everyone over 20 looking for work. That can be topped up if they have joined a voluntary scheme up to 80% of their wages. After between 350-450 days it can be stopped but only because the person is enrolled in a Job and development guarantee) labour market programme which pays them and gets them back to work.
    They do have many Independent schools that receive funding from the state at the same level per pupil as state schools. So Independent schools similiar to the English experiment rather than what we would think of as a “private school”. They also get a crazy 12 months paternity leave :(

    “just about everything is devolved and so a Scottish Parliament matter anyway”

    Devolved matters
    agriculture, forestry and fisheries
    education and training
    environment
    health and social services
    housing
    law and order (including the licensing of air weapons)
    local government
    sport and the arts
    tourism and economic development
    many aspects of transport

    Reserved matters
    benefits and social security
    immigration
    defence
    foreign policy
    employment
    broadcasting
    trade and industry
    nuclear energy, oil, coal, gas and electricity
    consumer rights
    data protection
    the Constitution

  353. @APATS: my points still stand, since:-

    – in Sweden, if you refuse to take a job or training course they think you should, they will cut off the unemployment benefit
    – Swedish schools that take their vouchers are allowed to make profits (very unlike English free schools for example)
    – Education and Health are the majority of the budget. But I’m happy for the UK’s constituent nations to have Social Security budgets added to their powers :-)

  354. wf APATS

    schools

    Isn’t this part of the old fashioned thinking we need to get away from. So long as we set a fixed amount of money per student, a strict national curriculum/exams and perhaps one or two other things (maximum class size or pupil/teacher ratio or a minimum success standard), why should any of us, left or right thinking care who owns the school, whether it makes a profit or much of anything else. We are so fixated in the political argument on how things are run that we’re missing the essential – quality of teaching.

  355. @wf

    You have now explained your points properly, before you alluded that unemployment benefit was simply ended after a year.

    “Swedish schools that take their vouchers are allowed to make profits (very unlike English free schools for example)”
    They are not allowed to charge pupils, any profit has to be from private donations. So you initial post trying to liken them to privately funded UK fee paying schools is way off.

    Imagine spending the most on educating your population and making sure that they are healthy? Hardly a bad idea.

    UK spending goes Pensions, Health, Welfare and hen Education.

  356. @ Simon 257

    Good on her, got fed up with those Euro Lottery winners self financing the yes campaign.

  357. @ APATS

    As she is probably one of the most influential people of the last Twenty Years or so through her writing.
    I wonder if her words of wisdom will have an effect on the 16-18 year olds who are going to eligible to vote? How many kids have heard of Sean Connery or been influenced by Mr Connery, compared to Ms Rowling. I bet Mr Salmand choked on his coffee when he found out.

  358. @ Simon 257

    She has always been an out spoken critic of Independence so her views are well known but nice to see her put her hand in her pocket.

  359. @Nick: absolutely agree. I don’t care who runs the school, just that they educate to the correct standard. Provided it’s not including “Bombmaking for Teenagers” :-)

    Incidentally, if you look at the money the DFE spends in England and divide it up on a per student basis, it’s much the same as what saps like me pay on private schooling…

    @APATS: yes, those Swedish schools indeed cannot charge more than the state spending per pupil. As I per above, that’s unlikely to be a problem. The Tories 2005 manifesto suggested the same system :-)

  360. @Nick: absolutely agree. I don’t care who runs the school, just that they educate to the correct standard. Provided it’s not including “Jihad for Teenagers”. Incidentally, if you look at the money the DFE spends in England and divide it up on a per student basis, it’s much the same as what saps like me pay on private schooling…

    @APATS: yes, those Swedish schools indeed cannot charge more than the state spending per pupil. As I per above, that’s unlikely to be a problem. The Tories 2005 manifesto suggested the same system :-)

  361. @ APATS

    That’s very true. She has put her money where her mouth is. Very Refreshing. Now all they need now is to get the Big Yin on board!

  362. Re Tax and how not to pay it were ever you are in the world – highest earners in their position in 2012(latest data I can find) , but what is their job?
    1. Peter Oppenheimer, Apple $68.6 million
    2. Safra Catz, Oracle $51.7 million
    3. Patrick Pichette, Google $38.7 million
    Answer Chief Financial Officer – i.e. Accountants
    Are any of these company names familiar ?
    Lets hope Scotland doesn’t become a new Tax Haven.

  363. APATS said “Imagine spending the most on educating your population and making sure that they are healthy?”

    Interesting phrasing.

    Nick said ” We are so fixated in the political argument on how things are run that we’re missing the essential – quality of teaching.”

    The trouble is the two things go hand in hand. Quality is as much about the material as the execution. When you say “quality” I think you mean the latter not the former. Further I would say cultural context plays a large part too; I mean culture in its broadest sense encompassing everything from politics to religion to gender politics etc. You can separate maths out of culture (and by extension physics and chemistry, and engineering things that deal in a broad sense absolutes), but everything else be it language studies, humanities, or even art is influenced by culture. Education is programming a mind to influence its thinking. If you believe state and religion should be separated then logically you should also believe state and education should be separate too. The state should reflect the thinking of the people not the reverse. As Phil said above the state is about collectivised risk mitigation. That is risk to the people and not the state. The people and their government, not the government and its people.

  364. x

    ie

    Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth.

    Abraham Lincoln

  365. @X

    “Education is programming a mind to influence its thinking.” I personally feel that education is freeing a mind and giving it the powers to explore the world it lives in. No matter who is responsible for education under your view they will have an agenda, now do I trust a Democratically elected Government to set a curriculum that is as free as possible of programming more than an unelected company with its own agenda, hell yes.