Features

Secret oil fields! Skewed polls! The Yes campaign is losing the plot

The Scottish referendum battle still has six weeks to run. But right now there's no doubt who's ahead

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

9 August 2014

9:00 AM

 Edinburgh

When the histories of the Scottish independence debate are written, 13 February 2014 will be seen as a crucial date in the story. It was then that George Osborne suggested that no Westminster government, of any party, could countenance a currency union with an independent Scotland. Such an arrangement might be good for Scotland but it would make little sense for the rump United Kingdom. And with that observation, boom went much of the nationalists’ economic credibility.

Osborne and his accomplice Alistair Darling might seem an improbable double act (though Osborne’s record in office bears a passing resemblance to Darling’s plans had Labour won) but together they might just have saved the Union.

In their first televised debate, Darling ruthlessly exploited Alex Salmond’s currency quandary as he stormed to an unexpected victory. You can have a formal currency union, Darling explained, or you can have independence, but not both. Salmond’s ‘blind faith’ and ‘guesswork’ are flimsy nails upon which to hang a nation’s future.

In truth, the chances are that Scots do not want independence at all. They have flirted with the idea but in the end there’s a great difference between flirtation and consummation. With just six weeks until referendum day, no opinion poll has yet put yes ahead.

Actually Darling’s debate victory owed little to any defence of the Union and much to his willingness to assault Salmond’s presumptions. Sensibly, he did his best to avoid mentioning Britain or Britishness, far less waxing lyrical about them. For all the complaints about a lack of poetry from unionists, the truth is that voters are put off by talk of flags, identity and nationality. By contrast, Better Together insiders say, ‘risk and uncertainty’ test ‘off the charts’ in focus groups.


The yes campaign’s focus groups relate the same message, which is why the SNP leadership has generally eschewed tub-thumping rhetoric. A vote for independence is not a Braveheart ballot but a measured evaluation of the national interest. The symbols and trappings of nationalism often actually embarrass the modern SNP. Their campaign was built in three stages. First it would show that Scotland could be independent, then that it should be independent and then, finally, that it must be independent. The first has been accomplished and the second partially achieved but little real progress has been made on the third. Independence works in theory but the public have not been persuaded of its necessity.

In part, this is because the yes campaign struggles to understand why anyone might disagree with it. Nationalists often talk in terms as though unionist voters are simpletons who need to be gently shown the error of their ways. Scots really want to vote yes; they just don’t know it yet. The extent of this wishful thinking can be astonishing. According to the novelist James Robertson, for instance, even English people worried by the break-up of Britain are would-be yes voters. He tells his English friends who value the Union that  ‘If you lived in Scotland you would also be yes voters.’

But many Scots are actually happy, even proud, to vote no. They see a United Kingdom that they think deserves to be defended — a country largely built by Scottish minds and Scottish labour — and wonder why they should welcome the chance to abandon their inheritance. Especially for an adventure that is as uncertain as it seems unnecessary.

But nationalists are so convinced of their cause that, increasingly, they search for reasons to explain the polls’ stubborn unwillingness to reflect their point of view. One Scottish government minister declares herself ‘absolutely convinced’ that the polls underestimate the number of undecided voters. This has become a common complaint in nationalist circles.

I asked a pollster what he thought of that. Response: ‘Bloody hell. Is that their latest theory? I’m not aware of any reason or evidence to think they’re right.’ It reminds me of the mood in excitable Republican circles in the last months of the 2012 American presidential campaign. All the polls suggested Barack Obama would win; therefore the polls must be skewed. A movement arose to ‘unskew’ them, and reveal the picture that was being kept hidden from the American people. Awkwardly, the real votes turned out to match the skew.

Perhaps the polls are wrong in Scotland. Perhaps something will happen in the last six weeks of campaigning to change hearts and minds. But at present the great divide among the six major polling companies is between those who think the no side is eight points ahead and those who think it leads by 15.

But, splutter yes supporters, our canvassing tells a very different picture. Well it would, wouldn’t it? In my own experience, canvassers for the yes campaign will go to any length to persuade themselves that a likely no vote can be filed as ‘undecided’. This is a campaign that loves its arguments not wisely but too well.

There are other signs of nationalist derangement. For instance, the wilder type of nationalist seems convinced that a massive new oil field has been discovered off Shetland but the oil companies, in cahoots with the UK government, have chosen to suppress this information until after the referendum. This is a movement that is losing its mind.

In truth, it is a campaign that has misjudged Scotland. Promising Scots that nothing good about Britain will change but everything bad will disappear insults voters’ intelligence. And the more the SNP attempts to reassure Scots, the more it reinforces the notion that independence is a great leap into the unknown. If it weren’t, there’d be less need for the nationalists’ Project Reassurance.

Equally, the more Salmond stresses Scotland’s prosperity and readiness for independence, the more he inadvertently undermines the need for independence. If Scotland were a poor and miserable place, independence might be desirable but risky. Since it is a wealthy and successful place, independence might be reckoned desirable but unnecessary. Scotland, like Britain, is not perfect but neither is it irredeemably broken and there is no widely felt grievance for which national ‘liberation’ is the only possible solution.

Salmond can be expected to perform better in future debates and the nationalists’ superior ground operation may yet have an impact. Nevertheless, as matters stand, the odds on Scotland voting for independence are lengthening. The Union is not yet safe but it is safer than it has been at any previous point this year. For that, Darling — and Osborne — deserve more credit than they are likely to receive.

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Show comments
  • gilbertratchet

    There was a couple of interesting things that came up in the debate yesterday that haven’t got much press.

    Firstly, Alex Salmond said that for half of his life, he was living under a government he didn’t want (he may have said ‘didn’t vote for’, but without going through the recording I don’t want to go that far asserting that). No-one picked up on it, but he was also saying that for half of his life he was living under a government that he did want. Was that Labour? If so, it’s the first time ever I’ve heard him say something nice about Labour. And is that really a democratic deficit where ‘your’ side only wins half the time?

    Secondly, the moderator pointed out that if Yes wins, the SNP will hold up their white paper as the sovereign will of the people, and say it must be implemented.(In fact, I’m sure they’ll also say it has got more votes than any manifesto of any elected government). Salmond didn’t refute this, so we can assume he agrees with this. My point is: If the white paper is what we’re voting for, and it contains 100% SNP policy and no non-SNP policy, then so much for saying a vote for independence is not a vote for the SNP!

    Sure, Scotland will be free to vote for whoever it wants post-independence, but the terms of negotiation of independence (trading off things like the EU, currency, nukes) will be set by the SNP brandishing the white paper as their mandate.

    • Roger Hudson

      Nationhood is not just about money. A written constitution will be something worth having, the sovereignty of the people indeed.

      • HJ777

        Why are written constitutions better?

        They tend to be less adaptable. The UK ‘constitution’ has proven durable and adaptable where in many countries with written constitutions they have fallen apart and ended with pretty unsavoury governments.

        Your claim is like saying that a civil law system is better than a common law system. Common law systems tend to protect the rights of the people against governments, civil law systems tend to do the opposite.

        • Rocksy

          Exactly. The United States with their Constitution which they wave at every opportunity are constantly stuck with very little opportunity to change ……………such as in their gun laws.

        • J.A. Burdon-Cooper

          Common law systems and unwritten constitutions are more flexible as they can mive with the times. When I was a law student many years ago, the favorite judge fr studebts was Lord Denning, with his concept of “Natural Justice”, which he implemented whenver he could to achieve a fair result. He has more flexibility to do this in a common law system. similarly with an unwritten constitution. Many people who think a written constitution must be best just do not have the understanding of the issues.

          • Tom M

            I might well fall into the last category you mention but it does seem to me the this flexibility argument could just as easily be described as a carte blanche for malicious motives.

          • Kenneth O’Keeffe

            A common law system WITH a written constitution are not mutually incompatible. The US is the obvious example. Ireland another. Anyhow, untrammeled flexibility can give rise to its own difficulties, as you know. Indeed as a former law student, you will also be acutely aware (or ought to be at least) that ‘flexibility’ risks being interpreted as ‘making it up as you go along’. Many of Denning’s decisions, for example, particularly in the area of equity, have since been rejected as having utterly no basis in law – he just wanted to give the ‘right result’ (but only as he saw it) – prejudices and all….not exactly satisfactory either, is it – where is the legal certainty there?!

          • HJ777

            Nobody is saying that there are not arguments either way.

            What is being challenged is the assumption and assertion that a written constitution in necessarily superior.

          • J.A. Burdon-Cooper

            I have to agree with everything you say! I wondered at the time how Denning got away with it, but it was fun! and probably one does need the occasional judge like that. Doesnt alter the fact that a written constitution is not necessarily the answer to all problems – personally I would err on the side of flexibility. Just as there are arguments in favour of common law and civil law systems. There is an element, I guess of Scots and English law moving towards each other. Many of our best judges have been exposed to both – eg Lord Hope, the judge the sherriffs seem to like best. That is just picking up the odd vivem,which may of course be wrong.

    • Dutchnick

      I hate to mention it but I am certain that if we had not had the disproportionately large number of Scottish Labour MPs we would not have had Labour governments which over the decades and been very bad for the whole UK. Even now the Scots get more MP for their vote. As they say for England one man- 0.6 votes.

      • Rocksy

        As a Scot I have to say that the Scots have to be the dumbest electorate on the planet. They could be kingmakers, holding the balance of power between Labour and Tory. Instead, they are predictable and radical Reds.

        • Richard Harrold

          Better radical reds than true Tories…

        • AtMyDeskToday

          In the 2010 GE Labour got 1,035,528 votes out of a total of 2,465,722. So a fair balance of those that are not red or radical.

        • Jim Craig

          The Scottish electorate could never be kingmakers as they are a political and economic irrelavance. None of the main parties need the Scottish vote to perpetuate their power. To think otherwise is the DUMBEST thing you can do. If its radical and red to seek social and political justice then I’m glad to be in that camp

      • alasdair galloway

        actually Scotland made a difference twice – October 74 when Labour got a majority instead of continuing as a minority. Then in May 2010 when Scottish MPs stopped Cameron having a majority. That’s about it since 1945.

        • Wessex Man

          You people become boring, The British Press didn’t call the majority of Scots in the Blair and Brown Administrations ‘The Scottish Taliban’ for nothing they dominated Labour decisions 1997 to 2010! We all know what those years brought.

          Please don’t say I am a bitter ‘little englander’ I will be jumping for joy if the Yes Campaign win the referendum.

          • alasdair galloway

            well thank you for your good wishes, in particular re the referendum. In that event we will both have realised our wish.

          • Wessex Man

            This is so true but you shouldn’t be wasting your time on here you should be out on the streets of Scotland every day knocking on those doors and campaigning!

          • Jim Craig

            Its never a waste of time doing missionery work amongst the ignorant natives

          • Jim Craig

            Those years brought unparalleled growth and prosperity mainly to England. The banking crash of 2008 had nothing to do with them but would have been inestimably worse were it not for the decisions they took. It’s obvious you don’t know what those years brought

          • Wessex Man

            If you believe that the crash of 2008 wasn’t aided and abetted by Gordon Brown and Ed balls with Ed Miliband supplying the tea and biccies you are sadly deluded. Then again I already knew that from your previous comments!

          • Jim Craig

            Again Cro- magnon man is unable to reason and think for himself simply regurgitating myths half truths and innuendo as fact with no evidence a clear case of SELF delusion

          • Wessex Man

            only on your part you old fossil.

          • Jim Craig

            The only thing fossilised here would appear to be Cro-magnon man’s brain

      • Jim Craig

        The statement is factually incorrect. In 65 of the last 67 years Scottish MP’s have made NO difference whatsoever to the type of government formed in the UK.Perhaps a further reason for independence. If it wasn’t for Labour the UK would still be run by those with a POORHOUSE mentality. Make no mistake the benefits you enjoy are directly due to Labour and its socialist pioneers

        • Wessex Man

          Thanks for proving my comment above correct!

          • Jim Craig

            Proving what comment correct?. To date you have yet to provide one valid or lucid comment

          • Wessex Man

            unlike you!

          • Jim Craig

            At least we agree on something at last

    • Alexsau91

      In 2010, despite only winning 1 seat – the Tories won 16.7% of the vote in Scotland, 412,855 votes. While the SNP won 6 seats and 19.9% of the vote, 491,386 votes. Thats a difference of 3.2% – 78, 531 votes. Not such a large difference…. especially when you consider the Liberal Democrats and their 12 seats.

      This is the same story as Nigel Farage, which the SNP threw around when he was chased out of Scotland. “You have no representation – thus no right to speak.” Well hold on… despite having no representation, many thousands of people had still voted UKIP. And case in point, they now have two MEPs in Scotland.

      SNP has a democratic deficit. As if a region that is 8% or so, of the UK population should decide what form the government takes. The South East of England (where I live) didn’t vote Labour… but guess what, we had to bare a Labour government – and didn’t tell Blair that he doesn’t represent us. Worse, than that – they the SNP are racists. If you’re not Scottish somehow you’re ‘different’ ‘It’s them and us’. The English are evil oppressive overlords, the Scots are wee oppressed peasants.

      • AtMyDeskToday

        UKIP… “And case in point, they now have two MEPs in Scotland.”

        Only 1 I believe.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-27575204

      • bobfalfa

        “Worse, than that – they the SNP are racists.”oh deary me…..Justify that comment…..have you had a look at the SNP membership or just look at the MSPs, What are their origins? , not all are born Scots assess all the languages that their oaths where taken in. some are even English in birth .
        So give us a break from all that “Scots are anti-English nonsense”

      • Jim Craig

        Its been ” them and us” for over 1000 years. The 1707 Act of Union was supposed stop that and to be that a union of EQUALS. If the last 300 years has proved anything it has proved conclusively that this is not and never can be the case.As you stated the aspirations and needs of 8% the population will always be subservient to the majority even if that *8% constitutes an nation in its own right. It is not Racist to acknowledge cultural and ethnic differences There is no doubt that historically English rule has been oppressive and no doubt that the union has favoured England. If i consistently do not vote for a political party which forms a government it cannot be said to represent me or my views or have any endorsement from me to form a government. I am now approaching 70 and have never seen a government which represented my views indeed most governments i have seen have been elected on less than 45% of the national vote. How is that considered DEMOCRATIC where is the national mandate to govern

        • Wessex Man

          You need to get out more and clear your wooly old head you miserable piece of s****!

          • Jim Craig

            That’s what I like to see a reasoned argument from Cro-Magnon man who is probably still swinging from a tree

          • Wessex Man

            You don’t know how to enjoy yourself babe! try swinging on a pole dancer’s pole at 2.00am you miserable old git!

          • Jim Craig

            If that’s your idea of enjoyment then Cro-magnon man strikes again

          • Wessex Man

            Yes thank the Lord that you are the other end of the Country you miserable old f***!

          • Jim Craig

            There you go again making assumptions. Two points. Your Implied threat is as empty as the space between you ears and never confuse ambition with ability

          • Wessex Man

            and what threat was that you silly paranoid person you!

          • Jim Craig

            Perhaps a course in the use of the ENGLISH language and logic might make your ill constructed rants more understandable. I might not then misconstrue their meaning

          • HJ777

            Was the English language oppressively forced on Scots?

          • Jim Craig

            No by absorption unlike Old English which was forced on you by the Saxon Invaders. Your original tongue was Celtic in origin. So you were and are basically German

          • Jim Craig

            Perhaps a course in the use of the ENGLISH language and logic might make your ill constructed rants more understandable. I might not then misconstrue their meaning

        • sonny2dap .

          In any democratic nation with more than two parties it is very likely that the ruling party will not have an overall majority represented in the population, as per your own numbers a government gets elected on 45% of the vote meaning the remaining 55% of the vote is divided amongst other parties, so the single biggest party with 45% form an effective legislative majority. the claim I didn’t vote for you so you don’t represent me is infantile. The 1707 act of union is a union of equals Scottish people have the same rights as everyone else in the UK and many of those living in Scotland benefit from greater public spending per head than the rest of the UK. To suggest that Scottish people today are some oppressed indigenous population under the yoke of the English is not only a lie it is insulting to those people around the world who truly are oppressed.

          • Jim Craig

            The representation issue is not infantile it is a statement of fact that goes to the root of the malaise affecting so called democratic politics .The first past the post system is deeply flawed and wasteful with 55% of the populations views, in the example, ignored. As the views and aspirations of that 55% of the population are not represented in government there can be no mandate to govern. Therefore the only fair and sensible democratic option is proportional representation based on the share of the vote given. The difference between the two major parties share of the vote in the UK means they are rarely separated by more than 10 % points of the votes cast. It is the seats won which determine a legislative majority not the share of the vote another anomaly in a flawed system..
            If the union was such a rousing success one would have expected that to be reflected in sustained economic and population growth. Had we had similar levels of growth as the rest of the EU our population should be around 10 to 11 Million with a supporting economy. It is around 5 million and has been since 1921. North of Perth and south of Edinburgh lie two economic deserts without proper road rail or communication networks a situation which successive Westminster governments have failed to address . The English and Westminster governments have had over 300 years to make the union meaningful and bring lasting prosperity to Scotland a fact they have SPECTACULARLY failed to do.

            I do not lie or print falsehoods. Nowhere did I state that Scottish people of TODAY are oppressed by England. What I stated was that historically oppression took place which is an undeniable fact. Today we are merely sidelined and ignored. I would suggest you read the written word before making spurious references to the “truly oppressed”

          • sonny2dap .

            what you wrote and what you are trying to represent are vastly different, you bemoan the lack of travel links etc. as if this is an isolated case, the south west of the UK has exactly the same problem and I’m afraid you do not see movements for independent Devon etc. are the English persecuting other English people? is it a great conspiracy to keep the Cornish and the Scots in their place?

            300 years of union have been a great success or I suppose you would have enjoyed 300 Years of internecine warfare that would have left Scotland a broken husk of a country and the North of England a military garrison?

            bring lasting prosperity to Scotland!!!??? are you kidding me? sorry I forgot about all the malarial starving children walking around Scotland, living in mud huts with no shoes or clothes, no access to medical care, no access to publicly funded housing, no access to publicly funded Schools. Whatever way you cut it generally Scotland is a nice place to live,are there less desirable area’s? Yes just like everywhere else in the world. Do people fall through the cracks? Yes just like everywhere else in the world. Should we try and change that? Yes but breaking up a union of two peoples that has lasted 300 years and causing more cultural division isn’t the solution.

            Historically oppression did take place but why even refer to that in a debate about modern events about modern issues unless you were trying to represent the Scottish as an oppressed people, you may not come out and write “we Scots are oppressed” but the language you use, “sidelined and ignored” and the very fact you brought up “historical oppression” says to me you are trying to build your argument on the very claims you are careful to avoid stating implicitly. My “spurious” reference to the “truly oppressed”, those who do not enjoy the same rights as you and I is there to remind you about reality, as you seem to have departed from it.

          • Jim Craig

            What I say or write is exactly what I mean with no equivocation. What you perceive it to be or mean I do not know. I cannot be held responsible for your lack of comprehension.
            There are and have been movements in Cornwall for decades for independence. The Irish fought a bloody war to gain theirs in 1918. I am all for a federation of states within the UK as alternative to separation. but that is never going to happen. There would never have been 300 years of war. England whatever else it may is pragmatic why else do you think the union came about but it was done on their terms. In short we were sold out by our masters.
            Lasting prosperity means economic investment to protect the population. It is ongoing and essential. If not fought for we will end up in mud huts and yes in this supposed age of plenty there are many children going to bed hungry the length and breadth of the UK.No we didn’t fall through cracks but the inane comment did. The reason for the Yes campaign is simply that we will be better at running our own affairs than Westminster.
            Historical Oppression was in reference and answer to other posts on the subject by the ill informed. I will reiterate NO WHERE HAVE I EVER CLAIMED THE PEOPLE OF SCOTLAND ARE CURRENTLY THE SUBJECT OF OPPRESSION. My claims are clear and concise unlike your meanderings.

          • sonny2dap .

            See even in your response your mask slips, references to being sold out, the comment regarding whatever else England may be, the hyperbole about deals done on English terms, the suggestion that if Scotland’s not independent then people will end up in mud huts, I’ve read your other comments, on this issue, you don’t like English people that is it.

          • Jim Craig

            You really have a problem with basic comprehension compounded by lack of historical knowledge. The Act of Union is succinctly summed up by a Burns poem.
            “But pith and power, till my last hour,I’ll mak this declaration;
            We’re bought and sold for English gold-
            Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!”
            The rogues referred to were not just the English but the Scots nobility, parliament and merchants who signed a treaty the populace didn’t want to pay off debts personal and national.. No hyperbole. Simple fact. There is no suggestion implied or inferred that without independence Scotland’s population would end up in mud huts or we would be there now.
            I have no dislike for the English or any common man.We all have the same basic needs and aspirations.What I take issue with is the class system in all its multitudinous forms which spawns elites who treat the rest of their brothers as cash cows and canon fodder. It is they who make the decisions whose consequences we are forced to live with.

          • sonny2dap .

            “There is no suggestion implied or inferred that without independence Scotland’s population would end up in mud huts or we would be there now.”

            “If not fought for we will end up in mud huts and yes in this supposed age of plenty there are many children going to bed hungry the length and breadth of the UK.”

            two quotes from you.

          • Jim Craig

            If you are going to quote me do it correctly and not out of context to support your spurious allegations What I stated was. “Lasting prosperity means economic investment to protect the population. It is ongoing and essential. If not fought for we will end up in mud huts and yes in this supposed age of plenty there are many children going to bed hungry the length and breadth of the UK” . Nothing implied or suggested that not being independent would lead to the population living in mud huts. The analogy of mud huts and children was yours from a previous post which I was answering.

          • sonny2dap .

            Continuing on in context clearly from your argument lasting prosperity and ongoing economic investment have not been forthcoming from the UK government therefore an independent government would be better?

          • Jim Craig

            Prosperity and economic investment is relative as stated in other posts. We have not benefited through the union to the same extent as England as supposed equals in a union should. Therefore the union can have little meaning to our partner and we would be better off managing our own affairs and direct interests. There are no guarantees in life only opportunities taken or lost

          • HJ777

            “The English and Westminster governments have had over 300 years to make the union meaningful and bring lasting prosperity to Scotland a fact they have SPECTACULARLY failed to do.”

            There is no English government and there has not been one in the last 30o years.

            The union that has not been ‘meaningful’ to Scotland built the world’s greatest empire, now the Commonwealth, and fought together in two world wars and all sorts of tyrants. Scotland is demonstrably prosperous – as is the rest of the UK – through the efforts of the people of the UK. Governments do not ‘bring’ prosperity. It is as if you think you can vote to be better off. Bastiat put it very well: “Government is the great fiction whereby everyone seeks to become prosperous at everyone else’s expense.

          • Jim Craig

            My apologies I had meant to type “English and Westminster BASED governments”.
            The unfortunate thing about the Great British Empire is it largely failed to benefit the Vast Majority of the population that made it great until its demise caused in no small measure by the wars referred to. The rise in socialism unionisation and the Labour party stand testament to that
            Governments do bring prosperity by setting the framework and policy in which capital both public and private may be deployed effectively, So you do vote for those policies which you think will make you better off.
            Prosperity is relative as stated in other posts. We have not benefited through the union to the same extent as England as supposed equals in a union should. Therefore the union can have little meaning to our partner and we would be better off managing our own affairs and direct interests.
            Unfortunately The Westminster government is not a fiction or Scotland would be better off and more properous

        • HJ777

          Your ‘argument’ relies on the unsubstantiated premises that the interests of the people of Scotland are different and separate from the people of the rest of the UK merely because they are Scottish. In reality, of course, Scots have differing interests just as people in the rest of the UK have. You might as well argue that there should be different states for men and women.

          “There is no doubt that historically English rule has been oppressive and no doubt that the union has favoured England”

          An assertion like that is nothing more than an assertion. “Oppressive”? “Favoured England”, “no doubt” – I doubt and refute each of these. You have provided no evidence other than your own assertion.

          And by the way, in a democracy a government does not need the endorsement of particular individuals. That’s the point. If it needed your endorsement then it would not be democratic.

          • Jim Craig

            My argument is not premised on differences of interest but purely on the delivery of the means to accommodate those interests. No where in any of my posts have I ever mentioned referred to or implied that Scotland’s population interests are any different to those of the English population only that the outcome for the English has been better than for the Scots.
            The historical assertions I made I have obviously wrongly assumed were taken as read. But perhaps they no longer teach history in schools. However check up on Longshanks Edward 1 the Hammer of the Scots a name he got for his benign charity and rule. Culloden, Butcher Cumberland, the Highland clearances, the trade embargos leading to the Darien project and subsequent Act of Union. These are not time lined just instances recalled at random.
            You only have to look at the economic growth of Scotland and England to see who the Union favoured. Where is your evidence refuting my claims
            Democracy may not need an individuals endorsement but it should require that 55% of the electorate be represented in government. I attach the definition of democracy for your edification “government by the people; a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.”

          • HJ777

            “You only have to look at the economic growth of Scotland and England to see who the Union favoured.”

            Before the union, GDP per head is generally reckoned to have been about half that of England. Now it is about the same.

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

          • Jim Craig

            GDP per head only shows the relative performance of countries and their productivity not the size or growth of the economy.

          • HJ777

            Eh?

            GDP per head is the only measure to compare the size and growth rate of two economies with differing populations.

          • Jim Craig

            No it is a comparative measure showing the comparative efficiency of the economies but unless you know the population or total GDP of the country you do not know the size of the economy. My contention has been if we had seen growth rates in population and supporting economic investment similar to the EU or England Scotland’s population would around 10 million and therfore the economy would twice the size it is now and no one would have any problem with separtism

          • HJ777

            On that basis, France would also now have twice its current population.

            You are aware that 200 years ago it did have twice the population of the UK?

            I fail to see why the total size of an economy is supposed to be more relevant or important than the GDP per head.

          • Jim Craig

            Not necessarily as power was being transferred to Germany and UK whose populations were rising at a much higher rate than France indicating stagnation. By 1850 Germany had passed France’s total population. 35m UK 27m
            In the 15th century France had 8 times the population of England. However interesting that may be it has little to do with benefits from the ACT of UNION until it is noted that England population was 5 million which has grown 53.9 million to date more than a 10 fold increase. Scotland’ s population at the union was 1 million having grown to 5.23 million to date half the English total. One would have expected had investment and economic development been apportioned equally that Scotland would be supporting a larger population and economy. The size of the economy gives economy of scale and allows monies to be spent in support of its population

          • Richard

            Population growth – maybe the Scots decide that they don’t want to live in an area populated by sour, miserable, moaners like you?

          • Jim Craig

            If you cant reply sensibly with reasoned argument why bother but then that is the modus operandi of the vacuous bigot.

          • Richard

            try this then, Scotlands population may well have been higher if they paid more attention to their lifestyle, smoked less, drank less and went easy on the fast food.

          • Jim Craig

            What has this to do with anything I’ve talked about in my posts.

            We are talking or trying to talk about the economic ramifications of the Act of Union 1707 and who benefited the most.

            If you cant reply sensibly with reasoned argument why bother.

          • Richard

            it has everything to do with your post. Your argument about the lac of growth in population falls down not because of anything the English did to Scotland rather as I suggest, it has more to do with lifespan and the unhealthy lifestyle many Scots have. I wuld have thought the efforts of the UK (led by the English) have done more for Scotland than the other way round. Irrespective, if Scotland has ‘issues’ then they should address them – thats why you have a parliament – stop moaning at the English, we are sick and tired of it.

          • Jim Craig

            My Statement ;

            “One would have expected had investment and economic development been apportioned equally that Scotland would be supporting a larger population and economy”

            The crux of the matter is the unfair distribution of investment not the growth of population per se or its lifestyle. The lifestyle issues have and are being tackled far more vigorously in Scotland than they are in England.

            As regards who did what for whom perhaps you should read

            “How the Scots Invented the Modern World: The True Story of How Western Europe’s Poorest Nation Created Our World & Everything in It (or The Scottish Enlightenment: The Scots invention of the Modern World) written by American historian Arthur Herman who is of Norwegian ancestry. No Scots in his bloodline. Several reviewers of the book found that Herman was successful in proving that Scots did have a disproportionate impact on modernity.[

            Your not half as sick and tired as Scots

    • James Richardson

      Let’s face it the nats have become a bit of a joke – talking of which http://theoccasionalpigeonuk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/an-independent-scotland-could-use.html

      • Keith

        Actually by losing he won paradoxically Darling won the debate but the female vote always tough for eck backed him. The undecided’s went 75% for him. These figures are good. In any case canvassing returns from yesmo tell us we’re ahead.

        • monty61

          Dream on, bud.

    • you_kid

      Clever move, the SNP = Scotland.
      Now, let’s be honest, only you and I know that to be absolutely true.

    • alasdair galloway

      re your second point gilbert, even if we vote Yes, Salmond still has to win the May 2016 election. I will be voting Yes but whether I would vote SNP in 2016 is questionable. We might show our gratitude to him by voting him out?

    • Jim Craig

      The first point is an irrelavance as most governments formed are done so on less than a majority of the national vote. Therefore the majority of the electorate have a government they do not want. Scotland is not voting on the white paper it is voting on the status of nationhood and nothing else. To suggest otherwise is a calumny

    • e2toe4

      Spot on..good points… the ‘We never get the govt we vote for’ line was picked off by Alistair Darling in that (no doubt) ‘One we prepared earlier’ line about not voting for you, but I am stuck with you’ addressed to Alex Salmond…. “That’s what democracy is”.

      The key problem is that splitting up would be so difficult and costly and disruptive, with so many possible unforeseen catastrophic consequences flowing from it, the arguments have to be couched in standard ‘oppression’ language…that just doesn’t fit reality.

      Scotland is no different from England ..apart from some differences that don’t always outweigh differences between Newcastle and Southampton..or Dundee and Edinburgh for that matter.

      The rhetoric seems overblown and hectic because it is…whenever one tries to find a real existing anchor point to which to attach it in the real world we can see with our own eyes.

    • James Richardson
    • James Richardson
  • anyfool

    Sensibly, he did his best to avoid mentioning Britain or Britishness.

    So Darling won by avoiding mentioning the reason for the argument, Fawlty Towers is your new Scottish Parliament.

    • Moderator

      Britishness is dead. Only margins and a few lonely and odd protestants in Ulster, immigrants and their dubious offspring and some confused English folk who use British and English to mean the same thing describe themselves as British. It is a toxic word.

      • The_greyhound

        “Alien” is apparently the new word.

        • Moderator

          Is that what you believe in, Aliens? That would explain a lot.

          • The_greyhound

            No, but apparent the ex-First Minister in waiting does, and wants to talk about them.

            Which explains everything..

          • Moderator

            Fcuk you

          • nicolsinclair

            Another comment that adds absolutely nothing to the conversation.

            Well done, Moderator. you contribute nothing except bile & misfortune. Keep it up – please do – for you will lose the argument.

          • Keith

            Its understandable when you’ve been sexually abused by aliens you tend to have a bad temper.

          • nicolsinclair

            Given your previous comment to me, I am entitled to say – sod off.

      • PQ

        I have always considered myself to be British, as have my Family and almost everyone I know. I am not confused, though very proud to be British, thank you.
        There is nothing toxic about the word and even with your narrow view of the World, you must realise how insulting it is to degrade a people’s identity.
        One of the first things the Scottish Parliament will have to do, regardless of the result next month, is to repair the damage to Scotland’s reputation and relationships caused by the recent racist tosh of some Scottish Nationalists.
        Even if Scotland becomes a separate state, it will still be part of the British Isles, so please show some consideration for your fellow Brits.

        • Keith

          Ah another one living on fantasy island delusionally dreaming that 1956 never came and you didnt become an American poodle ever afterwards. Proud British means subservience nothing more.

          • PQ

            I live in the UK Keith, which despite all it’s faults is still a great place to live and full of interesting, diverse people. Thank you though for quite a good example of what is wrong (and just nasty) with much of the Yes campaign’s contribution to the debate, which seems to rely on belittling others in order to advance itself. You cannot seriously expect to win anyone over with comments like that and you missed my point. The racist rhetoric of some Scottish Nationalists is damaging Scotland’s standing and alienating it from the rest of the UK. Look to yourself.

          • nicolsinclair

            PQ: How right you are.

      • nicolsinclair

        OK: I am one of the “few lonely and odd protestants in Ulster, immigrants and their dubious
        offspring and some confused English folk who use British and English to
        mean the same thing describe themselves as British. It is a toxic word.

        The only thing is that I am not ‘an odd protestants in Ulster, immigrants and their dubious
        offspring and some confused English folk who use British and English to
        mean the same thing describe themselves as British’. tHIS IS A TOXIC STATEMENT. I AM A real TORY voting for status quo.

  • Andrew Hamilton

    It is perhaps worth going back to first principles to nail the “it’s Scotland’s pound as much as England’s” claim.

    We know that the Bank of England as an institution would stay with the rest of the UK as the continuator state. Its assets would be allocated between an independent Scotland and the UK: this is presumably what the YES camp base their argument on.

    However, it is difficult to see how Sterling can be classed as an asset for these purposes: A currency is surely only a consequence of the state it represents. It is a reflection of, and flows directly from, the economic make-up of the state it relates to. After independence, the currency used by the rest of the UK would still be called Sterling but it would be fundamentally altered because Scotland’s economy would no longer be a constituent part of its make-up: Scotland’s independence would have radically changed the nature of the pound.

    Alex Salmond is right to say Scotland has been a part of building up the pound’s reputation and strength. This track record would be reflected in the initial reputation of the new Scottish currency. Viewed from this angle, Scotland would be receiving full value for its contribution to the pound.

    • JimHHalpert

      Since Scotland is only 8.3% of the UK by population and 8.6% by GDP, the change to the UK economy would not be huge. rUK would lose 8.6% of its GDP; Scotland would lose 91.4%.

      There are also the cases of RBS and HBOS. I wouldn’t mention these in the same sentence as “initial reputation”.

      • Moderator

        “Since Scotland is only 8.3% of the UK by population and 8.6% by GDP, the
        change to the UK economy would not be huge.”

        Population is correct but Scotland actucally contributes just over 11% of UK GDP.

        ”The rUK would lose 8.6% of its
        GDP”
        Correct

        “Scotland would lose 91.4%.”
        How can it lose what it does not have?

        “There are also the cases of RBS and HBOS. I wouldn’t mention these in the same sentence as “initial reputation”.”

        You can add in many English banks and I do not remember either bank being called purely Scottish before the crash and how Scottish is Halifax, Coutts, Natwest and etc?

        The UK Treasury, which I guess the UK government will claim sole ownership of, bailed out banks to a cost of £900 billion. This figure is not currently added to UK public debt. As sole owner it will be sole owner of that debt.

        • Richard Ferguson

          And also sole owner of the Bank of England which can turn on the printing presses to eliminate the real cost of that debt. Oh sorry, I forgot, the nationalists don’t want the debt but they do want the currency and their share of the Central bank…?

          Seriously, you lot have lost the plot in recent days.

          • Moderator

            ” they do want the currency and their share of the Central bank.”

            That is the only way to share UK Treasury debt. Otherwise rUK keeps everything – debts and assets.

          • Richard Ferguson

            …and a printing press.

      • Nonsense. Scotland has around 90% of mineral rights on the north sea which is currently under uk GDP.

        • The_greyhound

          They belong to the Northern Isles. The sleazebag SNP would be waving goodbye to them within the decade.

          • More nonsense. The northern isles have never had nation status and probably never will. Scotland has never ceased being a nation, albeit part of a union. Plus, most of the large oil reserves are around the mainland. East of Shetland rigs are on their last legs with very little new investment. Mainland waters have had huge investment recently.

          • The_greyhound

            You post nothng but nonsense yourself, and accuse others of it. Your fatuous and inaccurate claims on the history of the Northern Isles ignore the fact that they are not Scottish sovereign territory, and that the Northern Isles will not consent to being shackled to the delusional tub of lard in Edinburgh.

            The SNP can offer the country a future of broken promises and economic problems for decades to come. All to sate the vanity of one parish pump politician.

          • Moderator

            You talk so much poop that you are awash with it.

          • The_greyhound

            You really aren’t enjoying this week, are you?

            Just think of the thrashings that lie before you..

          • Moderator

            Fcuk you ass

          • Keith

            Shetland independence is a myth support is way less than 10% Orkney isnt any better in any case there no oil for them they are in a 12 mile enclave in Scotland’s waters.

          • It’s all personal hatred with you! Alex Salmond is incidental. He won’t be first minister forever. Also, before the union of Scotland and the rest of Britain, what country was Shetland a part of?

          • nicolsinclair

            Norway?

          • Aye 300 years before!

          • Mynydd

            What would happen if the isles obtained an act of parliament such that in the event of Scotland becoming independent, they would remain part of the UK.

          • Keith

            Seriously its a myth unicorns dancing the can can on your front lawn has a better chance of happening. Which part of no support for independence or the UK cant you understand?

            How would they get medical treatment from the UK? They would have to fly to Newcastle.

          • nicolsinclair

            And, they would probably prefer to do so.

          • If they had wanted to do that they’d have announced it by now. Does anyone really think it possible or desirable for Shetland to be independent or remain in the uk?

          • Keith

            and have a sadly steadily declining population which cant pay its pensions

          • Keith

            Clair what a sweet girls she is if never on time

          • justejudexultionis

            That is unlikely.

          • justejudexultionis

            The Northern Isles have been part of Scotland for longer than the union has existed (about 250 years longer). Scotland was independent for seven hundred years before it ever became part of the union.

            SAOR ALBA!

          • The_greyhound

            More of your Irish foolery I see.

            And Scotland wasn’t “independent” in any recognizable sense until the fourteenth century, but no one expects a nationalst to know anything about the history of the country.

          • nicolsinclair

            “Soar Alba” is a typical riposte from the Nats when they have lost the argument. It is designed to show that are ‘real’ Scots whereas most of them are ‘just like us’. What %age of Scots speak the Gaelic? Very small.

          • Craig Millar

            pure nonsense, i think if you visited shetland and spoke to the islanders about how ‘scottish’ or ‘British’ they feel you would get short shrift. They still very much see themselves as Nordic in descent and culture

        • Mynydd

          The mineral rights under the North Sea belong HM the Queen, who licence the Oil companies to extract and sell it on payment of taxes to the UK government.

      • Jambo25

        HBOS was run from London by the wonderful Andy Hornby who thought you could run a bank like you do Tesco (His previous job)

        • Richard Ferguson

          Asda.

          • Jambo25

            I thought he was also a sales executive at Tesco. In any case I can remember my sibling telling me about the e-mails and other communications which were flowing back and forward between Edinburgh and London over the unwise loans and investment policies being forced on the old BoS by the so-called ‘Haliban’ in London. The general ‘Haliban’ answer was to do as they were told or sling their hook.

          • Richard Ferguson

            No, definitely Asda – although maybe as a lad he stacked shelves at Tesco? Centuries ago, I laboured for the investment banking arm of the old BoS in Edinburgh. Say what you like about BoS: it was a well-run, well managed company with some first-class, sensible managers. What Crosby, Hornby and their cohorts did to that institution was a disgrace. That said, there were one or two senior BoS-folk who should take some of the blame too.

          • Jambo25

            I agree and only fear of m’learned friends stops me from naming a couple. The real downfall was, however, mainly engineered by Hornby and friends. Apparently, in the days following the collapse the fairly reliable rumour was that Hornby visited the Edinburgh HQ and required security people to protect him from a couple of other HBoS high heid yins. Thanks for the info on ASDA BTW. The truth is, with the exception of HSBC, I don’t think any of the UK banks covered themselves in glory and even HSBC appear to have been very naughty boys in the USA and other places

          • Richard Ferguson

            Yes, I stopped at naming them too!

          • Jambo25

            Shrewd. I like my house and wouldn’t fancy losing it. I think some of the chaps we probably both have in mind could be very vindictive and probably can afford very good lawyers. Let’s just say that they are all sterling chaps.

          • HJ777

            Whereas you are just vindictive and make unsubstantiated assertions.

          • HJ777

            If your claims are true than what do you have to fear from the law?

            As usual, your claims are dubious and unsubstantiated.

          • Jambo25

            Because not everything which is true can be proven in a court of law. But then only truly adult human beings understand that.

          • HJ777

            Because you are a cowardly liar, more like.

            And truly adult human beings aren’t cowardly liars like you, but are prepared to take responsibility for and defend their behaviour.

          • nicolsinclair

            Ad hominem remarks do not add anything to your argument…

            Perhaps you would consider commenting in your real name? No. Thought not.

          • HJ777

            I suggest that you tell Jambo that since he will not respond to reasonable questions and instead specialises in unjustifiable and unevidenced assertions and ad hominem attacks.

            If he wants to dish it out he has to learn to take it back without whinging about how people don’t treat him with respect.

          • CraigStrachan

            Centuries ago, you say? Would that have been the British Linen Bank?

          • Richard Ferguson

            The very one.

          • CraigStrachan

            Ah, yes. The good old days. (My late father did a fair amount of business there with the late Iain Brown.)

          • Richard Ferguson

            He was slightly ahead of my time. It definitely shaped my views about small places and petty tyrannies. 😉

          • Jambo25

            I remember the British Linen Bank when it was still a general branch bank. My grandad used to come and visit it us each year from the USA and he still maintained some kind of account at the old Bank HQ in St Andrew’s Square He’d go there to change his Dollars and I remember him picking up a wad of British Linen £20 notes: unheard of in 1950s and early 60s Edinburgh. We were more used to the old 10 bob notes in those days. I remember lots of dark wood, marble and soberly dressed men who could count out notes very quickly.

    • stickywicket

      There is no issue from England with the Scots using the pound.

      But there is a big issue with rUK entering into a currency union with the Scots.

      Why would rUK want the BoE to be lender of last resort to those paragons of financial rectitude RBS and HBoS without the rUK receiving their profits?

      And what sort of independence is it for Scotland if they don’t have their own currency and are at the whim of the BoE to set their interest rates, with no representation in Westminster.

      It seems like the worst of all worlds to me.

      However, whatever happens in the referendum, we do need to deal with the West Lothian question.

      • Blindsideflanker

        Indeed, but other than Ian Martin in the telegraph there hasn’t been anybody else in the British establishment , media or political , who has sought to raise the issue of the West Lothian question post referendum and subsequent devo max, and fiscal independence , and any other constitutional goodies the LibLabCon party will heap on the Scots in the next month.

        In fact I think there has been more internal establishment navel gazing about Boris in the last 48 hours than the time the British establishment have spent seeking any answer to the English Question in the last 16 years.

  • James Morrison

    If what you are saying is correct, why has the poll lead for “no” contracted from an average of about 20 points before the Scottish Government white paper was published (last November), to an average of 11 points now?

    • stickywicket

      The article says that the different polls put the “No” lead at between 8 and 15 points.

      The lead may have reduced since last November, but a lead is still a lead.

      It will be interesting to see how the polls look now after the debate.

      • James Morrison

        John Curtice digs into the ICM poll (the one that said Darling won by 56-44) and suggests it won’t have much impact on the polls. Vast majority of people who were decided one way or another thought “their” person won. Of the small number of undecided voters who made up their minds, they split more or less equally.
        http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2014/08/who-won-the-leaders-debate-icms-instant-poll/
        In polling terms the debate was more or less a draw, but it was a missed opportunity for Salmond to close the gap. Therefore a draw was better for Darling, who also had the advantage of lower expectations (“beating the spread” in Americanese).

        • Moderator

          The Nay sayers can get complacent by these English polls. At the end of the day they need to come out and vote. Yes voters are more likely to get out of their homes and vote as votes on change always do.

          • The_greyhound

            Cybernat, desperately rattled.

            You’ve got to feel sorry for the poor things – they have ranted themselves hoarse for years, all to no effect.

          • Moderator

            Britnats like you need yo go hug a UKIP MEP or something.

    • Keith

      cos there is no lead its a myth which if you have access to yesmo canvassing app you would know

  • There is absolutely no chance of a U-turn on currency union in the event that a yes vote prevails. The political risks of doing so from voters in the rest of the UK would be too great.

    • Moderator

      The risk to rUK is very high. Do you realise what sort of financial position the UK government is in?

      • The_greyhound

        More of your economically illiterate twaddle. There is no risk to the rUK. A reciprocal guarantee from Scotland would be practically worthless.

        On the other hand an independent Scotland will be sorely taxed by the absence of a currency union. So much so that, as Massie correctly says, it will preclude it ever happening.

        St George Osborne slaying the repulsive salmond-faced worm. A marvelous image.

        • Moderator

          Fcuk you.

          • The_greyhound

            I assume that was a “memo to self” you inadvertently posted.

          • nicolsinclair

        • nicolsinclair

          Rudeness does not add anything to your argument. If you can’t be polite, don’t bother to comment…

          • Moderator

            P!$s off

          • nicolsinclair

            Thank you ‘Moderator; You make my point precisely.
            “PI$s of is hardly an articulate rresponse.
            Well done.I’m really proufd of you.

        • Jim Craig

          Talking of economic illiteracy St. George Osbourne has cornered the market in that.Of course there are risks to the UK if it is broken up to say otherwise is stupid. That’s why Westminster is so worried about a YES vote. Taxes may rise but that would happen on both sides of the border in the absence of a currency union

    • James Morrison

      Although I am a nationalist, I think this is correct. If there is a yes vote, the media and perhaps more importantly UKIP would demand that the three parties stick to their pledge. It would become a 2015GE issue. Any attempt to row back on it after 2015GE would stir echoes of Clegg and student fees. Unless Salmond was offering something very good in return, I can’t see how they could justify it.

      That said, the Adam Smith Institute said the other day that Scotland’s best option would be just to use sterling unilaterally.

      http://www.adamsmith.org/news/press-release-an-independent-scotland-should-keep-the-pound-without-ruks-permission/

      • Keith

        NO CU no debt forget it its not legally our debt we dont have to pay it

        • Richard Harrold

          Not true, no CU Scotland still gets saddled with its share of the national debt…

        • nicolsinclair

          With the possible break up of the UK, then it IS partly our debt. We ‘earned’ it as part of the UK and we will need to assume responsibility for a negotiated part of it however that may be determined…

        • Ian McKellar

          But if you take that attitude, the UK Government would be in its rights to refuse to cooperate in matters vital to Scotland such as HMRC not collecting or furnishing details on any tax due to Scotland or the DWP not advising the Scottish Government of Pensions and Benefits that may be due.

          In addition do you think EU countries would be willing to admit a new member state with a proven record of defaulting on its debt especially those with their own Separatist movements

        • TheFlyingOx

          Article 40, Section 1 of the Vienna Convention on Succession of States:
          1.When part or parts of the territory of a State separate from that State and form a State, and unless the predecessor State and the successor State otherwise agree, the State debt of the predecessor State shall pass to the successor State in an equitable proportion, taking into account, in particular, the property, rights and interests which pass to the successor State in relation to that State debt.

          • Jim Craig

            Yes vote would be partial succession of states not a universal succession and as such there is no obligation in international law requiring the successor to assume any portion of the public debt of the ceded partner

    • Keith

      they’re Tories the risk from business will be too great not too

    • nicolsinclair

      It’s a Nat pipedream that will not come to pass.

      • Wessex Man

        That’s why the Fat Controller’s face is always bulging! I often wondered!

        • Jim Craig

          What’s that inane comment supposed to mean?

      • Jim Craig

        Unfortunately you are probably correct. But if the status quo remains Scotland will continue to be an economic backwater.

    • Jim Craig

      Not true. If it is expedient and in England’s power broker’s interests they will do exactly what they have always done and take the route which gives them maximum advantage irrespective of the wishes of anyone else.

  • lakelander

    ” …in the end there’s a great difference between flirtation and consummation”

    Apposite. Thank you.

  • Damaris Tighe

    “there’s a big difference between flirtation & consummation”: true, & for this reason I doubt if & when there is a referendum on our membership of the EU there will be a majority for leaving, as much as I’d like there to be. The status quo always seems the safer bet as well as, for the majority of voters who’ve lived within the EU & its avatars all their lives, the devil we know. Same applies to Scottish independence.

    • Pro_bono_publico

      Damaris, most Euroskeptics don’t want to leave the EU. They just want to reclaim British sovereignty. Much power and authority has been conceded to Brussels that ought not to have been given.

      • No1important

        Oh I want to leave the EU and will vote such, can’t leave Europe that’s geography.

      • No1important

        Oh I want to leave the EU and will vote such, can’t leave Europe that’s geography.

  • The_greyhound

    Show me a nationalist, and I’ll show you a liar. In the case of the SNP, an utterly unscrupulous liar. The desperation of these weirdos and inadequates means that any and all bald lies will be employed in pursuit of their largely pointless goal. Salmond’s public admission that he hasn’t a clue what to do about the currency won’t stop these hucksters continuing to assure the least educated part of the population (the SNP’s preferred target audience) that all’s well on the currency front, just as with other economic issues about which the First Minister lies so glibly.

    Little wonder that the majority of people north of the border loathe salmond, the SNP and the rancid independence campaign.

    • Jambo25

      Which is why the SNP are still well in the lead for the polling for the next Holyrood elections.

      • The_greyhound

        And got, what was it? ten percent of the electorate to support them in May this year.

        It’s odd that the SNP do so well in opinion polls and find real votes so hard to come by, wouldn’t you say?

        But in any event the SNP won’t even exist in 2016. Its disintegration is scheduled to begin on 19th September.

        • James Morrison

          1. The SNP won the European election in Scotland. In the middle of its second term in government.
          2. Saying the SNP won’t exist in 2016 is the kind of wishful thinking that Alex Massie is accusing the yes movement of.

          • The_greyhound

            The SNP did not win the Euro elections in May. This pygmy pygmy-led party of pygmies garnered just 400,000 votes out of an electorate of 3.9 millions. There are today as many Tories and Ukippers in Scotland as there are slack-mouthed halfwits buying salmond’s counterfeit coin.

            The Scottish Nasty Party loses in September, and survives? What will its continued be for? It will have as much purchase on the future as the Referendum Party, another fringe outfit bought by another millonaire.

          • James Morrison

            1. If the SNP did not win the 2014 Euro election in Scotland, who did?

            2. Do you have any polling evidence for saying that there are as many UKIP or Conservative supporters as SNP?

          • Wessex Man

            go online and surprise yourself.

        • Jambo25

          They were the largest party in the Euro elections in Scotland and are the largest party in Scottish local government. The last poll on voting intentions for the Holyrood parliament gave them a double digit lead over Labour.

          • The_greyhound

            You wish.

            Three by elections, all of which show a massive fall in support for salmond’s flakes (and one seat lost to Labour), followed by the drubbing salmond took in May. Read what polls you please. The SNP can’t win elections, and are accordingly toast.

          • Jambo25

            You aren’t just seeing ‘Castles in Spain’ but furnishing them and moving in.

          • nicolsinclair

            I seem to recall that the SNP got the vote in ‘The Gathering Place’ with only 23% of those entitled/registered to vote. Some mandate + no mandate at all. However, to be fair, that is not the fault of the SNP but the bloody Scots voters who would rather watch telly than stretch their legs to vote.

            The great unwashed…

          • Keith

            Am I the only one that thinks this mans delusional?

          • ChuckieStane

            Two hours gone and no upvotes so it would appear you are.

          • Jambo25

            Tell you what Keith, rather than just sitting there throwing insults go on-line and check the statements in my posting. They are all accurate. If you can find things I’m being delusional about come back and tell me. Go on: knock yourself out. I await your research work with interest.

          • nicolsinclair

            NAW!

          • Wessex Man

            there’s one Keith, I agree!

          • nicolsinclair

            Unfortunately, we are represented by second rate politicians/county councillors.

          • Jambo25

            Possibly but it still doesn’t invalidate the facts I laid out which people like greyhound and Keith object to.

      • Mynydd

        Why is it you believe polling for the next Holyrood elections but do not believe polling for the referendum?. It can only be wish full thinking or just day dreaming.

        • Keith

          He doesnt believe it cos if you have the yesmo canvassing app you know the polls are hollyhocks for example I have seen polls say that in Edinburgh yes was 15% behind no when its 8 points in front. Thats on a canvas of 14,000.

        • Jambo25

          Who said I don’t believe the referendum polling. I’ve been quite clear for well over a year that I expect a ‘No’ vote. You can go back and check my postings if you want. I’m sure you have the time. Can I ask you why ?you have to go into attack mode without doing basic checking beforehand

      • HJ777

        According to Salmond, the SNP won a majority of votes in the last Holyrood elections.

        Under 50% apparently constitutes a majority in his eyes.

        • Jambo25

          And that had what to do with my posting. Once again: get professional help.

          • HJ777

            I don’t need professional help to deal with thoroughly nasty pieces of work like you.

          • Wessex Man

            You are a saint to put up with all the s*** thrown at you by this lot!

          • nicolsinclair

            As I have said above, ad hominem comments do your cause no justice whatsoever…

          • Jambo25

            As opposed to HJ who on another thread being run on the Spectator called me a mental and physical cripple and expected that my wife had partially cut through my spinal column. You’ll forgive me for repaying him in the same coin. Perhaps before you intervene in something like this you might wish to do some background checking. Dear old HJ has a rich history of insulting me and others he doesn’t agree with. I’ve now come to the conclusion that there is no point attempting to be polite towards people like HJ and others.

          • Wessex Man

            I saw the exchange of comments you refer to AND HE DID NO SUCH THING!

          • Jambo25

            Read the Steerpiken article on Kris Akabusi and Friends and once you’ve seen the posting from dear old HJ that I referred to you can come back and tell me how he did no such thing. It’s on the screen in black and white. Come on, if its so obvious I’m sure you can find quotes to prove me wrong.

      • nicolsinclair

        Proof, please. Such statements need to be backed up with facts.

        • Wessex Man

          Er recorded votes by the Electoral commission.

    • Moderator

      Salmond said Plan B is a Scottish currency…the answers are there if you care to listen.

      • The_greyhound

        No one could hear that for the sound of the Scots audience booing him.

        Besides, he won’t have a choice of a new currency if he reapplies to join the European Union. It’s the Euro, or nothing. I wonder why the SNP is so reluctant to mention that?

        • Moderator

          The Euro may be more attractive after pounding that Pound Sterling will get after a Yes vote:

          “the government’s own figures show that by 2017, the interest bill on all this debt will top £70 billion. That’s £70 billion the government will have to find, every year, just to pay the interest,never mind the principal.

          That’s equivalent of our entire Defence and Education budgets… put together. And every penny of it will go to servicing the mountain of debt Britain has accumulated. You don’t have to be an economics graduate to see Britain is flat broke.

          The simple truth is, if interest rates were at their normal rate of
          5% – instead of the extremely low 2% they are at now – there’s no way
          Britain could ever repay its debts.

          In fact, at normal rates of interest we’re already bust. Not just ‘in over our heads’, but six feet under.

          It’s simple maths. If interest rates moved back towards their normal 5% level, our cost of borrowing would almost triple.

          That would mean the government would be forced to find a huge
          sum of money, every year, just to pay our interest bill. A return to the
          kind of eye watering tax rates seen in the 1960s and 70s – when rates
          peaked at 83% – would be almost inevitable.

          In short, Britain would change radically.”

          http://moneyweek.com/endofbritain/

          I highly suspect that the market will demand immediate interest rates rises for UK bonds and gilts in the event of a Yes vote, plunging the UK into an immediate recession and the collapse of the housing market, esp in London and the SE of England.

          It will affect Scotland of course, but not to the same degree.

          • Doctor Mick

            Not sure where you get this “normal” level. There is no such a thing as a normal level of interest rates. The markets will have already built into the rates what will inevitably happen – a NO vote. Remember also, that some of that debt is Scotland’s.

          • Moderator

            According to the UK government all UK gov debt is owned by the UK Treasury. Scotland has no debt as it does not exist as an independent country. If it chooses to take a share it will come at a price.

            Do not bother with the old ‘default on debt’ crap. You cannot default on debt that is not yours.

          • No1important

            I don’t think that is correct there are UN rules governing succession states including the treatment of most assuredly some of debt will belong to an iScotland and refusal to take it could stop iScotland being recognised as an independent country.

          • Keith

            The treasury have said they will be responsible for the debt end of story.

          • Jambo25

            You can start by looking at my reply above and then you can check out what was written and said at the time of a putative CU between rUK and an iScotland came up. Unless rUK was very careful it would put itself in the situation where it wouldn’t be just the main

          • No1important

            You are living in cloud cuckoo land, the rules cover exactly the scenario of how assets and liabilities are divided. rUK can not be a sole successor state nor could it own all the assets and liabilities, in such a scenario iScotland would own absolutely nothing, not a single bit of infrastructure or any public property, nor would it be a state. You really will believe anything just because it is what you want to hear. The Emperor had no clothes, neither does Salmond.

          • Jambo25

            Unless you happen to be well qualified in Public International Law or something similar I’ll think that professors Bell and Scheffer are slightly more trustworthy.

          • No1important

            Well fortunately I expect on September 14th you won’t get a chance to find out how deluded you are, you’ll just be disappointed, however if you do get to find out how deluded you are then you’ll just be disappointed. Either way good luck.

          • Jambo25

            Its September 18th actually. I expect a ‘No’ vote. Always have.

          • No1important

            My apologies but 14th, 18th I expect you will still be disappointed.

          • Jambo25

            Did you read what I wrote?

          • nicolsinclair

            Your statement is open to debate.

          • Jambo25

            I don’t think it is. HM Treasury has already committed UK and rUK to guarantee British borrowing. Essentially, if Scotland went independent repayment of UK borrowing would be the legal responsibility of HM Treasury at Great George Street. Scotland would probably take a proportionate share of debt but it would have to be done by agreement between rUK and the new government of an independent Scotland.

          • Keith

            Have you got a Walther ppk a cyanide pill and lots of petrol for when that doesnt happen the NO I mean? None of the debt is legally Scotland’s

          • nicolsinclair

            Not a helpful reply. It adds nothong to the debate.

            Part of the debt is most certainly Scotland’s. I would have been earned whilst we were members of the UK therefore part of it is ours to pay.

            Don’t you understand this basic fact?

      • CraigStrachan

        That’s not what he said the other night.

        • william martin

          Please try and keep up

          • CraigStrachan

            So hard to keep up with Alex Salmond, as he never gives a straight answer to anything.

          • william martin

            I f you have studied and listened to politicians for years none of them give a straight answer they usually answer a question with another question
            Sorry but Salmond does not have monopoly on that

          • CraigStrachan

            I tend to find it’s best not to say “Yes” to someone who answers a question with a question instead of giving a straight, factual answer.

          • william martin

            So if they all answer a question with a question who are you going to vote for Nobody
            Maybe better that way

          • CraigStrachan

            Yup, when in doubt, do nowt. There’s plenty of doubt around Salmond’s scheme for independence, so best to just say no.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      Care to tell us what your magic potion is for Scotland’s ills? We both know that past Labour administrations at local council and Edinburgh level comprehensively ruined Scotland. The Conservatives have no chance whatsoever of forming a government in Edinburgh. So, do tell us, what are you actually advocating post-referendum and a no result? I kind of suspect you’re a Labour troll, but I’m open to persuasion.

      • The_greyhound

        Unlike the idiot SNP, I don’t traffic in magic potions. Because, you probably didn’t know this, magic potions do not exist.

        The alleged failures of Labour are neither here nor there. I do not see a comprehensively ruined country about me. It clearly has problems (which hasn’t?). But the incompetent and corrupt SNP “government” has done no better, and has been liberally squandering my money on salmond’s irrelevant personal vanity project, while neglecting its actual responsiblities in office.

        I kind of suspect you’re just another identikit cybernat troll, but I’m open to persuasion.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          You certainly traffic in recycled mindless insults. That’s that settled then, a Labour troll. I’m still waiting for your answer to my question, but then I doubt you know any answers, and I reckon it’s unlikely I could persuade an idiot like you of anything.

        • Keith

          When the SNP arrived in power in 2007 they were astonished to discover that the civil servant were surprised at being told what to do. Apparently Labour hadnt been running the country for 8 years it was them. So the SNP was Scotland’s first real government

          • Jambo25

            I can testify to that second hand. One of my pals is a civil servant working in finance. Swinney was/is the first person he worked for who really got a grip on what’s going on. The man has the charisma of a tea bag but a razor sharp mind.

    • Keith

      Eh the better together have never ever told any lies now have they? In my lifetime the biggest lies told to Scots always came from the unionists. Like reject devolution and we’ll give you something better that was a hoot!

    • Jim Craig

      I’ve rarely read such a pointless ill informed piece of invective ridden trash. All Nationalist are all unscrupulous liars and desperate weirdo’s untrue and not supported by any evidence. The Goal whether you agree with it or not can never be considered pointless. It has a very clear and defined point. Salmond made NO “public admission that he hasn’t a clue what to do about the currency”. He merely stated that the GBP is Scotland’s currency as well as Englands and a union is negotiable irrespective of NO CAMPAIGNS current stance. It is the NO’s who are showing desperation on this front. Where is your evidence that the SNP’s preferred target audience is the least educated in society. Judging by the drivel espoused here who are you to determine any ones level of intelligence or education?. All is or will be well on the currency front irrespective of a currency union and if you don’t have the wit to work it out ask any decent economist. What economic issues did the first minister lie about?. Alex Salmond still enjoys an approval rating far in excess of Cameron,Milliband or Clegg so where is your evidence he is “loathed ” north of the border

  • Roger Hudson

    The whole Scottish independence debate has been subverted by a silly spat about economics, which is only a minor element of nationhood.
    I am currently sweltering in the heat of the Croatian summer, two days ago was ‘Dan Pobjede’, victory day, commemorating the victory 19 years ago when operation Storm finally kicked insurgents out of Knin and chased them off Croat soil. Croats know what nationhood is, what love of homeland is, it’s not a petty issue of currency value.
    I might note that Croatia changed its currency from the Dinar to the Kuna on independence , a Kuna is a Pine Marten. Perhaps Scots should have ‘thisles’.
    ….and Scotland long a province be a Nation once again.

    • The_greyhound

      Another troll assuring us that we can live in a cave and chew on turnips.

      You didn’t mention that Croat Dinar, introduced at parity with the Yugoslav Dinar on independence collapsed to one seventieth of its value during its three year existence.

      Economics, SNP style eh?

      • Roger Hudson

        Jugoslav, there is no ‘Y’.

        • The_greyhound

          In English, Yugoslav is correct.

          If your point was tell us that living standards will fall after independence, I think we knew that, though it is of course refreshing to hear a nationalist tell the truth about the economy for a change.

          • nicolsinclair

            Sorry. Posted before saw yours,

        • nicolsinclair

          Jugoslav: That is Yugoslav in English,

  • Jambo25

    Sorry but I must have missed that increasingly hysterical tone. Most of he really violent language surrounding this debate seems to come from the No side.

    • The_greyhound

      The SNP’s pitch is seldom not hysterical, but now comes with a new added and utterly bizarre ingredient – we are being told the currency doesn’t matter, or is merely a point of detail. It’s a nice question whether salmond has less economic credibility than Hollande. One could be forgiven for thinking that salmond has decided to throw the match deliberately, conscious as he must must be that he has no answers to the crunch questions about this, European union membership, the budget deficit, pensions, Nato membership and a host of other issues.

      • Stephen Green

        You could be right about Salmond throwing the match but I suspect that, like Brown the Clown before him, the stress is all too much for him and it’s time for the men in white coats to step in and gently lead him off stage.

      • Keith

        Actually in the debate currency doesnt matter pensions and the economy score much higher. Dont lose sight of what the voter is worried about.

        • FF42

          Somewhat true. A currency union was never going to happen. The only thing that has been lost is the credibility of the SNP Government/Yes Team. They just thought a currency union was what concerned voters would like to hear.

          I don’t think the economy is being properly discussed. Some say the effect of independence on the economy is unknowable. Long term, that’s correct, I think. No-one knows what will happen and by then we will have been independent for ages so no-one will be thinking about it.

          However, short-term there’s compelling evidence that the Scottish economy will tank following independence. That’s to do with extricating ourselves from the highly integrated UK market that is the mainstay of the Scottish economy to an economy that is entirely export-led. As the collapse of the first will happen quickly and the growth of the second slowly, if at all, the difference will show up in a truly awful unemployment rate. Funnily enough even though the NO team mention this as one of their five points, they don’t spell out the consequences.

          Medium term we will be trying to get back to where we were when started, just leaving the long term to forward, possibly. Many of us will be dead by then,of course.

  • karl

    There was a time, when good people were outraged by injustice, no matter their faiths, or politics. There was a standard of decency for which millions fought, and died.
    We inherited the world borne out of their suffering, and sacrifice. The world where it was written into law, that the government provide for the welfare, and common good of the people whom they were entrusted to serve. The welfare state was brought forth, not as an act of charity, but as an affirmation of our demand to be human. To care.
    In the entire history off our nation, the welfare state was our finest hour. For that was what the heroes of the world wars fought, and died for. For us, and all our children. In the space of 4 days this insipid “coalition” of rogues killed that law. The government, no longer has a legal obligation to provide for the people. The welfare state IS dead the UK is just another corporation now. Want proof? our own poor are dependent on food banks. There is no legal obligation on any level of civilian authority to provide for them.
    The UK, Serves no specific purpose beyond the preservation of the elite. 70% of our laws are defined by the European parliament, its foreign policy, and defense dances to an American tune. The remainder is Scots law, and the Westminster cabals hold on social security, and fiscal policy. If you intend to vote NO, in the coming referendum, then you are the fool, the elite believe you to be. If you want to preserve your humanity, then stand up for the “Common weal”. If history proves anything. It is that you will inherit the country you create. The UK is over.It has reverted back to the 1930’s. the poor cut off, and the spoils divided among the elite. The future is Europe, and the right to choose what country we want to live in, and like our own grand fathers, and mothers, make it happen. Wake up, you have slept, and dreamed that you were free.
    Oh, and BTW, you’ll still be paying more or less the same levels of tax in the BTUK, but the poor and unproductive. will be abandoned. I doubt they will all lie down. If you do decide to become the better together people. Then get used to this. I hope you have the stomach for it in Scottish cities. Westminster will of course protect you from
    us, by taking away the last of your rights, and institute draconian laws against the “terrorist” poor
    All you people, indigenous, or no that have made Scotland your home. Bear this in mind. Your vote is not just a number. It is an historic power. How you yield that power will determine the fate of the poor, and vulnerable among us. It will define, the values of a nation, both within, and without. You are the most important people in Scotland. Please remember who we are, and how we got here. How many of our forebears would love a vote, and how would they cast it?

    • nicolsinclair

      Jeez, Karl. Too long. If you can’t reply in shorter, don,t bother.

  • CraigStrachan

    Osborne’s choice of a date 7-months out from the referendum to make the position clear was actually an act of some respect and courtesy to the Scottish government and the Yes camapaign. It allowed them ample time to make alternative arrangements, and adjust their arguments.

    Too bad they didn’t use it wisely.

    • william martin

      If Scotland goes independent the Oil and whisky exports are removed from the balance sheet the UK pound sterling will have devauled plus Westminster will go UKIP Tory coalition with UKIP holding the balance of power

      Best of luck with that one

      • CraigStrachan

        Yes, independence is a very risky proposition all round.

      • CraigStrachan

        Yes, independence is a very risky proposition all round.

      • El_Sid

        But since most of the oil and whisky is foreign-owned, most of the foreign currency earned by the oil & whisky exports is immediately exported as dividends to shareholders, so the net effect to the Scottish balance of payments is far less, only about 10% of the headline figure – see http://www.scottisheconomywatch.com/brian-ashcrofts-scottish/2013/04/sterling-and-scottish-independence.html

        On the other side of the coin, consider industries like cars, where the UK is a net exporter but Scotland would be wholly dependent on imports.

        UKIP’s going to struggle to win a seat, let alone hold the balance of power.

      • CortUK

        Already priced. Don’t you know how markets work?

  • justejudexultionis

    ‘hysterical’ – lol

    What a strange understanding of the word you have, Mr. Massie.
    If you look at the FT Scottish independence poll tracker, you will see that the yes campaign is doing just fine and that it is still quite possible for us to make up the deficit before polling day. We’re not worried, but you should be.

    SAOR ALBA

    • The_greyhound

      The other halfwits were explaining how salmond won the encounter on Tuesday, and how Scotland didn’t need a currency anyway. Perhaps you would like to explain how even the weather will improve after independence. It’ll be at least as credible as any of the other nonsense you write (in English, no one bothers to translate your Irish tosh)

    • nicolsinclair

      Same comment to you as above. Can;t be bothered to repeat it.

    • CortUK

      I see no ships!

      Hilarious.

      The Yes vote is tracking worse than the result in 1979.

  • Scott Reed

    I am confused about something. Did Alex Salmond imply in the Scottish Parliament that Scotland’s debts should be paid not that they will be paid?
    Also is he confused about what a currency is? He kept saying the pound is an asset like gold in the vault or state owned real estate or oil fields or whatever.
    This US dollar I have in front of me says Federal Reserve Note and this note is legal tender for all debts public and private. Then signed by the Secretary of the Treasury. It’s just paper with a promise.
    Very worrying that the leader of the Scottish government is so cavalier about this.
    I am an American and wish the Scottish people the best, whatever your choice.

    • FF42

      Not paid; confused; worrying. Thank-you for your best wishes. If my countrymen are misguided enough to vote for this disaster, we will need them!

    • Keith

      Scotland doesnt have any debt it belongs to the UK we dont have any borrowing powers we arent a US state.

    • HJ777

      Salmond is engaged in a cynical exercise to fool the more gullible members of the Scottish population.

      He doesn’t believe his bluster any more than you or I do.

  • Mukkinese

    “Osborne’s record in office bears a passing resemblance to Darling’s plans had Labour won” on current spending LEVELS, yes, but let us not forget Labour are less likely to reward the rich at everyone else’s expense and Darling delivered a growing economy to his successor Osborne, who then immediately caused growth to stop and gave us eighteen months of flat-lining. So not that like it would be if Labour had won…

  • william martin

    Darlings time in office as Chancellor Not very good Labour failing to be voted back in
    Brown Darling combination Disaster for the voters

    • nicolsinclair

      And, what has that to do with Scotland?

      • william martin

        It is like when you buy a pure breed dog you want to know its pedigree

        Wells thats Darlings Pedigree and by way contrary to what he says he is English born in London another porky by dear Alistair

        • nicolsinclair

          And I have a daughter born in Germany but that doesn’t make her German. In fact, she is registered in Edinburgh so she’s a Scotswoman.

          So, your point is?

  • The ever so slight difference being that, in American elections, the Democrats cheat and commit vote fraud on a significant scale (dead voters, illegal voters, non-citizen voters, bribed voters, ‘losing’ ballots suspected not to be favourable, retarding the absentee ballots of armed forces personnel, occasional intimidation outside polls, and keeping polls open past the deadline for closure are their preferred methods and means). So when you say ‘the real votes’, they were indeed real — up to a point.

    • nicolsinclair

      What about the ‘dodgy’ postal votes?

      • ukfred

        Scotland has been a Lie-More stronghold for a generation: voter fraud,it’s what Lie-More does best.

    • william martin

      Please do not compare the Scots to Large mouth Yanks or should be a w instead of a y

      • I would definitely recommend that you spell your name William not Yilliam.

  • disqus_X0PDEWMqMH

    This article is like a ‘Independence for Dummies’ publication.If Salmon’s arguments are ‘leaky’ the No ship shares the Titanic´s destiny. Let the Scots be. Just because they have their own house next door doesn´t mean they’re going to stop loving you (as people, NOT necessarily government). Grow up or start your own revolution.

  • alasdair galloway

    ” One Scottish government minister declares herself ‘absolutely
    convinced’ that the polls underestimate the number of undecided voters.
    This has become a common complaint in nationalist circles.
    I asked a pollster what he thought of that. Response: ‘Bloody hell.
    Is that their latest theory? I’m not aware of any reason or evidence to
    think they’re right.’
    What did you expect the pollster to say Alex? “Blimey they’re on to us. We’re going to be shown to be fools on the 19th of next month”
    There are two things that this rejoinder misses. First of all, all the mass canvasses done by RIC show a considerable lead for Yes. Even factoring in that canvassing is seldom wholly accurate, the actual intentions would need to be inverted to get anywhere near to what the polls suggest.
    Secondly the methodologies of the polling companies have been optimised round party elections. This isnt a party election. Yet they persist for instance with the same weightings etc.
    A cynic, unlike me, might argue that this was consistent with the Union narrative of “of course we are going to win”.

    • The_greyhound

      You forgot to mention the secret oilfields. That always adds tremendous weight to nationalist conspiracy theories.

      • alasdair galloway

        I dont suppose you can be bothered looking – you lot arent interested in facts – but have a google for “eocene fan” – DECC geological reports on the oil and gas potential off west of Shetland and the west coast.
        Any chance of someone apologising for the lies we got told in 1979?

  • cambridgeelephant

    What you seem incapable of realising Mr. Massie – and I am English and have no vote on the matter, although I am far from a Salmond fan – is that if ‘Yes’ gets 40% of the vote – and I think it’s highly likely they will – Salmond will declare a moral victory and the issue will fester.

    Only if Salmond wins or if he loses in a humiliating – sub 25% – way will the issue be resolved.

    We’re on course for the worst of all worlds and with Cameron already promising yet more powers and concessions – indeed everything short of Faslane’s closure seems on offer – Salmond can bide his time and wait for the next referendum in 10 years time.

    The No win will be utterly Pyric.

    • The_greyhound

      Salmond may not last out next week, let alone the next ten years.

      You fail to appreciate that the only future the nationalists have to look forward to are decades of internal feuding and blamng each other. Because, you see, they are frigging nutters.

  • Julian Gibb

    Who was this article aimed at?

    You dismiss the grassroots campaign without any concept of tipping point taking place right now.

    No one is claiming that the polling companies are faking data. YES activists are merely pointing out that their models are invalid as regards the referendum (designed for political election).

    Low weighting of lower social classes – assuming low turnout/ low registration
    Poor correct across the range for a high turnout 80 percent
    Assumptions on voting intent based on voting pattern (party vote?)

    It is much closer due to the errors.

    However I will be delighted if your article makes NO voters complacent.

    • The_greyhound

      You can also tell the nationalists are getting desperate by the number of times they post their pitiful assertions of growing support. The Weirs’ crappy little independence campaign went nowhere, the SNP is toast and salmond a laughing stock.

      We appreciate that loony nationalists are good at getting their vote out, but note that these flakes got just 400,000 in the nationwide ballot in May this year.

      Most of the noise coming from the SNP this week is a death rattle.

  • Jim Craig

    Any step change is a leap into the unknown. Osbourne as chancellor is an economic illiterate and therefore his analysis has no validity whatsoever. No doubt his master Cameron will tell him what to think and say next. Darling so called truth regarding a currency union is far from it.
    If the union was such a rousing success one would have expected that to be reflected in a growing population supporting economic growth. What we find is from 1707 to 1801 the population remained static at around 1 million. That hides the fact that the population from 1707 to 1750 dropped over 35%. It took from 1801 to 1921 before the population reached its current level of around 5 Million which again has remained almost static to the present day. England and Wales have seen their population grow from around 9 million to 58 million from 1801 to the present day.Who has benefited from the union ? Had we had similar levels of growth as the rest of the EU our population should be around 10 to 11 Million. So who has benefited from the union ?.
    North of Perth and south of Edinburgh lie two economic deserts without proper road rail or communication networks a situation which successive Westminster governments have failed to address and have indeed made a bad situation worse The Borders account for 2.1% of the Scottish population and the highlands 7.1% of the Scottish population. Who has benefited from the union?. Certainly not Scotland. The separatist From the YES campaign can’t fail to do a better job. The English and Westminster governments have had over 300 years to make the union meaningful and bring lasting prosperity to Scotland a fact they have SPECTACULARLY failed to do

    • Wessex Man

      Scotland was broke, bankrupt, bombazzled and without hope when rescued by England with the Union!

      • Jim Craig

        You are correct for once Scotland was broke but you have to ask yourself how it happened which you clearly haven’t. It was the Darien project which bankrupted Scotland through English double dealing and treachery which ensured the collapse of the scheme. This was done to ensure the royal succession and make sure Scotland would not crown its own King. But even in its perilous financial state the majority of the population rejected the union. There were riots all over Scotland. Marshal law was introduced as a means of control. The English paid Equivalent payments to cover losses and bribe the Nobility.This led directly to the Jacobite rebellions. It was as always and in everything done to promote and protect England’s position with no regard to the aspirations of the Scottish population. Nothing has changed in 300 years. Burns put most succinctly
        But pith and power, till my last hour, I’ll mak this declaration;
        We’re bought and sold for English gold-
        Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

        • Wessex Man

          I see, despite documents from the time of the Darien Scheme held at The University of Edinburugh including recently deposited papers from the RDS also held at The Unversity of Strathclyde an Southampton, which completely refute you arguments and fairy tale above! It seems you have plenty of time on your hands, I suggest you read up on the history of The Darien Scheme before throwing lies around about the English yet again!

          • Jim Craig

            The documents to which you refer but obviously not read, do not refute or even mention skulduggery.but are in the main records of the inception set up and commercial trading of the Company of Scotland which became the bank RBS not RDS. They only mention the commercial reason for failure not the political shenanigans which went on before during and after the formation of the company. The company was set up by William Paterson a governor of the BOE by patent of King William. Half the capital was raised in England and Hamburgh. Because England’s East India company complained after losing 20% of its value William co-orced the the investors in England and Hamburgh to divest their interest which were taken up in the main by Lowland Scots. At the same time the English company was urged to beat the Scottish company to Darien. This was an insult to Spain which controlled the area. William later forbade any colony or ship to offer sustenance help or trade with any of the Darien colonists. As the main sea trading nations were England and Spain and the Darien project was a trading entity it was doomed to failure by English political opportunism. No lies just simple hard facts

          • vieuxceps2

            Just like to add to your reply to Jim Craig about Darien that the venture itself failed because of bungling and dissension among the Scots themselves,apart from the presence of Spanish forces intent on outing them. Of course, we English can repeat this ad nauseam without in the least shaking the conviction in Scotland that it was all England’s fault.It always was, always is.I grow weary of their childish self-delusion.

          • Jim Craig

            No doubt the Darien project was not managed well but neither was many of the East India Company’s ventures but that company survived, What is also worth repeating ad nauseam is the FAILURE of the English to ever accept the responsibility for their countless duplicitous actions in the pursuit of power and that is not a delusion that is fact

          • vieuxceps2

            Scotland had one shot at colonisation and bungled it tothe point of bankruptcy. England,I think you’ll find, established the largest empire in the history of the world, one in which you people greedily filled your boots.
            There’s never a question of England avoiding blame for what we did wrong as you and indeed many English academics are only too ready to remind us,even when it’s not justified,so great is your resentment of our success.Your reply is sadly typical of the Scotch mindset”.OK,we were at fault-but SO WAS ENGLAND”. That seemingly makes it all right,doesn’t it?

          • Jim Craig

            I cannot believe you just posted such tripe. I’ve heard of rewriting history but this is ridiculous.
            It was not and never was an English Empire. It was a British Empire, The GREAT BRITISH EMPIRE comprising England, Wales Scotland and Ireland. The unfortunate thing is the people who made it Great saw little return for their blood sweat and tears. Far from greedily filling their boots most lived in varying degrees of poverty and squalor in industrial towns the length and breadth of the country. Rural working conditions particularly in Scotland and Ireland were dire which all helped swell the ranks of the armies which made Britain great. Scotland, Ireland Wales and Cornwall’s greatest exports were its people. The success was not England’s alone but that is the English mindset and the cause of resentment. The point made re Darien debacle is simply that England’s deliberate actions ensure its failure.

          • vieuxceps2

            Never was an English Empire? Then how did your bold Darien men send a ship to the English colony of Jamaica to beg for help?(Duly refused of course).When was Jamestown Virginia founded?Pilgrim Fathers?Roanoake?All with their problems I agree, but not turned out badly have they?
            Came the 18th century of course and in you plunged,trading and slaving like mad,content to be apprentices and make your fortune in another’s orchard.You were very good empire builders once you were shown the ropes. As Johnson said to Boswell, “Much may be made of a Scotsman,if he be caught young”
            The failure of the Darien Venture was yours and yours alone. Spare me the frenzied ferretting for factoids to support your opinion.If truth hurts your pride, perhaps lose the pride and live with the truth instead?

          • Jim Craig

            Your statement specifically referred to the ” greatest empire the world had seen” This was not solely and never was ENGLISH invention although your inventive use of history would try and make it so. James Town was founded by James V1 of Scotland a Scottish king and settlers. Hence the name. By 1670 Glasgow was the main import centre for Virginian Tobacco. The Pilgrim Fathers had recorded links with Scottish presbyterians who settled in South Carolina and New Jersey 1640 -1670. Scotland settled Barabados in 1626 and other parts of the West indies over next 200 years. Then of course there is Nova Scotia and Canada as well some other failed colonisations. The Great English Empire is a figment of your imagination. I do not need to ferret for facts.
            THERE ARE NONE SO BLIND AS THOSE THAT WILL NO SEE NOR NONE AS DEAF AS THOSE THAT WILL NOT HEAR

          • vieuxceps2

            English Empire-Established in Queen Bess’s era. Never called “Great English Empire”. Ever. But thanks anyway.
            Jamestown (one word)-Named after James 1st of England.
            Glasgow main import for Virginian tobacco.So? Check Bristol and Liverpool.
            Pilgrim Fathers had “recorded links with Scottish presbyterians.My my, recorded links? Not sex I hope?
            Scotland “settled Barabados (sic)..and ..West Indies Yes mostly as slave-owners,hence the prevalence of Scottish names among Caribbeans today.Burns narrowlyavoidedtaking up an overseer’s job there but preferred to become a tax-gatherer at home.
            Nova scotia et al-Yes,all settled by loads of Scots as part of the Empire developed from the original Elizabethan foundation, mainly following the Highland Clearances when their Lairds ousted the poor devils in favour of sheep.
            As you say none so blind etc. etc. so I will write no more on this matter.It’s not of any real importance, is it?

          • Jim Craig

            James 1st of England was James the VI of Scotland. Same man you numpty. The rest of your drivel isn’t worth replying to. You lost the game now taking you ball home

          • vieuxceps2

            So James 1 and James V1 were the same fellow? Good job they were both homosexuals then,might have been awkward at bedtime otherwise……

          • Jim Craig

            James V1 of Scotland was the son of Mary Queen of Scots and became King of Scotland on her death. He was also the nephew of Queen Elizabeth 1, Good Queen Bess of your glorious English empire and became King of England on her death and was known as King James 1 of England. The union of the crowns in 1603. Look it up in your history books you absolute ignoramus

          • vieuxceps2

            Good Lord Jim,I learned those facts some 60 years ago.,at school.Are you devoid of all humour?

          • Jim Craig

            Not really your posts have provided much mirth for the whole family as none could believe what they were reading

          • vieuxceps2

            The whole family.eh? Ah, I wondered what happened to Sawney Bean……

          • Jim Craig

            Probably ate your brain.

          • vieuxceps2

            “probably ate your brain” and improved your family’s IQ.

          • bobfalfa

            Just a small point
            “Your reply is sadly typical of the Scotch mindset”.
            The correct word is Scottish, Scotch is a drink or an egg
            And if you’re talking about pre 1707,I think you’ll find England was in the same position as they needed the Scots money to fund whatever they wanted to do after the 1690 Battle of Beachy Head,

            Let us not forget that England was a bit of a war monger at that time in history

          • vieuxceps2

            Yes,i know that the PC word is Scottish but if Boswell,Burns and Scott were happy to use the English word Scotch then who am I to argue?

            The reason for the drink being called scotch is because it comes from Scotland and not from Ireland where it is called Uisquebaugh or some such.In fact weall owe the Irish for the gift of this tipple.Not sure about the scotch egg,think I’ll pass on that.

          • bobfalfa

            it is not PC it is good English, I’d be happy to see where Burns used it,
            If you consider Burn was conversant in two Languages English and Scot (that is not to be confused with Gaelic)
            If you trawl through the Scottish Parliament site, selecting Scots (and it is hard going till you get into it). I doubt you’ll find the word Scotch, what might be confusing is the title

            “Scots Wha Hae” which is constantly spoken as “Scotch Wha Hae”, I have to say I didn’t post as a slight, I am just fed up with Scotch being used as an insult mainly in the Torygraph and Granda,.
            Personally I’m not too interested in Burn’s poetry I’m interested in his politics and philosophy or outlook

          • vieuxceps2

            Burns wrote,I read “The appellation of a Scotch Bard is by far my highest pride.” As well as :”Is not the Scotch phrase Auld Lang Syne most….impressive”
            The reason I use Scotch in lieu ofScottish is that I think it presumptuous of anyone to dictate what others call you. Thus,a German who insists on being Deutsch would rightly be swiftly disabused of his error. The English word for what pertains to Scotland was Scotch until they pouted and dmanded their own word, rather like the Deutscher fellow.
            I must confess that although I know little of Burns’work,when in company with strongly Caledonian persons I take delight in referring to the man as “an adequate provincial poet”.Apoplexy and profanity always follow.

          • bobfalfa

            “I must confess that although I know little of Burns’work,when in company
            with strongly Caledonian persons I take delight in referring to the man
            as “an adequate provincial poet”.Apoplexy and profanity always follow.”

            Nothing worse than the patriot abroad, Yes I’m from Ayrshire and learning Tam O’Shanter and and other stuff bored me , it was much later I learned of his life that is more interesting where he was radical and ever so slightly subversive that being curtailed by his employment as an “Excise Man”

            I always find it amusing that there are Conservative Burn’s Suppers

      • william martin

        Dream on

    • The_greyhound

      What a load of nonsense.

      Have you even visited Scotland?

      You certainly seem unable to describe the country’s history or present condition.

      The only thing authentic in your post is the cringing whingeing victimhood, the badge of every nationalist loser.

      • Jim Craig

        I am a Scot born an bred The analysis presented is correct and I note as usual your post is devoid of fact.I did not attempt to describe the country’s history only the facts pertinent to my argument which you clearly haven’t the wit to challenge. I lived in Brightons and worked in Falkirk, Stirling, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Kirkintilloch,Galashiels and Cowdenbeath. My wife is from Forres and we still holiday there and have done so for the past 30 years so I do have extensive knowledge of Scotland and its present condition unlike you. There is no cringing or whining just a simple statement of FACT all of which are easily checked. If you have nothing constructive to say why make the post at all. The Greyhound is a sight hound but judging from your rant you would be unlikely to survive in the wild as you can’t see past the end of your nose.

        • The_greyhound

          You are a ranting loon, and none of your specially coined “facts” will bear the least scrutiny. I don’t care about your biography. You have clearly learned nothing wherever you have been.

          Your wholly unbalanced and irrational commitment to a wasteful and pointless self-indulgence merely confirms your lack of credibility and poverty of intellect.

          Now go and whinge your idiocy somewhere else. Decent people are done with the nationalists and their bitter peevish self-pity.

          • Jim Craig

            I suggest you get someone look up the definition of RANTING and LOON and explain it to you because the written word is clearly beyond your comprehension. I think you will find you fit the bill admirably.
            One thing I have learnt in my travels is to spot a close minded bigot such as yourself. It has been my mission in life through dint of reasoned argument to help these impoverished souls. Unfortunately this usually leaves them howling apoplectic inanities because their bigotry will not allow them to see the light.
            In your case “decent people” is a bit of an oxymoron with emphasis on the MORON

          • Jim Craig

            I suggest you get someone look up the definition of RANTING and LOON and explain it to you because the written word is clearly beyond your comprehension. I think you will find you fit the bill admirably.
            One thing I have learnt in my travels is to spot a close minded bigot such as yourself. It has been my mission in life through dint of reasoned argument to help these impoverished souls. Unfortunately this usually leaves them howling apoplectic inanities because their bigotry will not allow them to see the light.
            In your case “decent people” is a bit of an oxymoron with emphasis on the MORON

    • Simon_in_London

      The Scottish elites certainly benefit, but mostly by moving to London and running the UK from there.
      I’m not sure if population growth is a great metric – mass immigration to England has increased GDP, but I don’t think it has done much to benefit the indigenous English, especially not the ordinary non-elite ones. An independent Scotland *might* benefit Scots, but it’s hardly guaranteed. And policies focused on populstion growth through immigration certainly won’t.

      • bobfalfa

        “but I don’t think it has done much to benefit the indigenous English, especially not the ordinary non-elite ones” Totally agree London does not benefit the NW and NE nor for that matter central England..
        A seriously big worry for EWNI if we’re for the off, is Boris Johnston him as a prime minster will wreck everything but London
        An Indy Scotland will benefit Scots
        The population growth strategy ? Not instantly but I see where the idea has merit , if you’ve spent 5 years at uni in Scotland and like it you might want to stay , there are a couple of YT clips where that is being expressed by folk from outwith Scotland ,And why stop them.
        I believe “oor lot” legged it at the “Irish Tattie famine” to Scotland , Incidently I’ve never thought of myself being Irish or indeed British only as being Scottish , and fully expect anyone who is English or Welsh to be just that, to be British seems a bit false

      • Jim Craig

        The only metrics which work for sustainable economic growth are population/consumption/productivity. Mass immigration was used by Gordon Brown as a means of wage control either by design or accident.However once consumption and productivity rise to meet demand there will be substantial gains for the population
        There are no Guarantees in this world only opportunities taken or missed.

  • Mukkinese

    No such entity are rUK, nor will there ever be.

    If Scotland becomes independent there will be Scotland and the U.K., right now there is just the U.K.

    • Simon_in_London

      UK was formed through the Union of England (inc Wales) with Scotland. Then it added Ireland. Without Scotland it’s England (inc Wales) with Northern Ireland, which is a pretty minimal union considering how devolved NI is.

  • justejudexultionis

    Nothing like a bit of hyperbole, eh, Alex?

    There is nothing that rUK can do to stop an independent Scotland from using the pound.

    SAOR ALBA

    • CortUK

      No-one said Scotland can’t use the pound. What they’ve said is you can’t have a currency union.

      Is strawmen and false dichotomies all you Nats have? You just keep posting that comment over and over again, day after day. Either you are too stupid to know the difference, or too dishonest to debate the facts.

      If Scotland votes yes, you will be using the currency of a foreign state, which will set your interest rates and dictate your entire economic and fiscal policies.

      “Free Scotland” my ass.

      • ukfred

        Even a donkey would know better than to vote for an “independent” country that did not have control of its own monetary policy.

        • Jim Craig

          I take that includes all countries in the EU none of which have overall control of their monetary or economic policy allowing them to act independently

          • ukfred

            That is why Germany is taking over the rest of the eurozone: the Euro works for Germany and everyone else has to follow and let their economies be damned, as in Greece, Italy,spain and Portugal already and before soon France.

        • Simon_in_London

          The Republic of Ireland pegged to the £ for nearly 70 years, as I recall. That presumably had support, though IMO they should have floated their currency much sooner.

        • william martin

          HE HA

      • Jim Craig

        Your initial statement is factually incorrect and a lie . All major political figures and parties opposed to the YES campaign have stated that Scotland cannot use or will not be allowed to use the pound in the event of a YES vote. They have then gone on to state there will be no currency union on offer despite stating 18 months ago that it would be in the best interests of all parties. The stupidity and dishonesty lies with them and people like you who continue to propagate the lie. Scotland does not need a currency union and can continue to use the GBP unilaterally with no affect on its economic budgetary or fiscal policy.

        • Simon_in_London

          You could use the pound unilaterally, but you’d probably be better off going to a floating currency within a fairly short time. Anyway, just don’t adopt the euro!

          • Jim Craig

            Open minded on the subject. Simply depends on market reaction to the options

    • FF42

      You’re talking about Alex Salmond’s hyperbole, of course

  • Peter Stroud

    No doubt Salmond will do the decent thing and resign: if there is a NO vote.

    • Jim Craig

      Why should he?

    • bobfalfa

      Why?
      The SNP manifesto was if they got a majority within the parliament to have a referendum on Scottish Independence in the second half of the parliamentary term.
      They got that and are doing what they said , sticking to manifesto pledges! that is an unusual concept, and the SNP wants 86 other cases taken into consideration M’Lud
      Maybe Westminster should try it just once
      As folk have post here on many occasion the referendum is not about the SNP or AS
      I see it as about a change for the better

    • william martin

      Scotland will not do without Salmond there is no other in Scottish Government fit enough to run a bath never mind Scotland

      Panic set in westminster with Salmond because he is a political street fighter
      they are frightened from him

  • celtthedog

    After spending months anticipating a Nationalist victory, Massie finally looks at the polls and bingo!

    At no point has this contest been even half as close as the Romney Obama one — and it still won’t be come the referendum.

    The Scottish Nationalists will lose. They will lose by double digits.

  • william martin

    Vote Yes on 18th

  • Fenman

    What is needed is an emotional plea by an English public figure to tell the Scots we want them to stay, that we are kith and kin and all part of the Great British culture and history. United we stand, divided we fall. And keep all sordid mention of money out of it.

  • william martin

    If you remove Salmond and the SNP out of running Scotland who is left better than Salmond in the Scottish Government No – one
    Vote Yes 18th

  • FrankieThompson

    “Bloody hell. Is that their latest theory? I’m not aware of any reason or evidence to think they’re right.’ ”

    The problem is that the polls in Scotland are not quite as accurate as the UK ones seem to be, strangely enough. In the run up to the Scottish general election in 2011 the polls got the first preference votes pretty much spot on, but were a whopping 9% out on the regional vote for the SNP.

  • Adam

    They hushed the oil revenues in the 1970s. Can we trust them now?

  • DaveyP
  • ayrshireman

    Whilst reading all these strange comments regarding the possibility of
    Scotland ‘winning’ it’s ‘Independence’ I started to think about the future of
    Scotland and what I, as a Scot, wanted going forward. The obvious and very fundamental question
    which nobody seems to be asking is who rules Scotland now, Independence from
    whom?

    Scotland is part of a Union which originally came about when
    the Scottish king took over the throne of our larger southern neighbour, but
    the use of the word independence by many people in the media at the moment suggests
    that somehow we have no say in that union.
    The reality is that four countries make up the United Kingdom; Scotland,
    England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and the whole is governed for the common
    good by the UK parliament which sits in Westminster and is made up of
    representatives from all four countries.
    Therefore we are partly governed by ourselves and we contribute to all the
    big decisions which affect ourselves and our closest neighbours.

    Why do the separatists want us to believe that we have no
    say in how our country is run?
    Furthermore, why do they want us to believe that we are ruled by England? Why is it that Northern Ireland or Wales are
    never mentioned in this debate, even though representatives from these two countries
    are voting on issues which affect us in exactly the same way that the
    representatives from England are? It is
    easy to use old rivalries between England and Scotland from the 1300s to fuel
    this idea, and the location of the UK parliament is often used as evidence that
    Scotland is ruled from outside.

    So why does the UK parliament sit in London as opposed to
    Edinburgh, Cardiff or Belfast? When we
    hear about the union we seem to be directed strategically to the union of 1707
    because that is the most likely to stir up the type of feelings which would
    further the agenda some would like to push, but the original union between the
    countries was in 1603 when James VI took over the crown of England to become
    James VI and I of England, effectively a Scottish take-over of England. Although when this happened the seat of government
    could have been anywhere within the UK, King James found it easier to rule the two
    countries from London rather than Edinburgh.
    When the union of parliaments was proposed 100 years later it made sense
    for this parliament to also sit in London.
    Had Edinburgh been chosen as the location for the new combined
    parliament in 1707 would we be talking about Scottish ‘Independence’ now? Those who understand what a union is would
    simply see Edinburgh as the location of the UK parliament, and those who don’t
    would believe somehow that we ruled England; also it has to be said there would
    be a few separatists in England who would today want independence from Scotland!

    Ultimately, does the location of the UK parliament within
    the UK really matter? I believe it does matter
    to a few people, even to the point that it gives the impression to some that we
    are ruled by whichever country hosts the parliament. Ask yourself why England does not have its
    own parliament when the other three countries in the union do? I have asked this question of some English
    people and they answered that England did have its own parliament, referring to
    the one in Westminster, i.e. the UK parliament, so it looks like south of the
    border there are people who are just as blinkered by location as we are. Compare this to the comments you hear from people
    in various countries of the European Union who seem to think they are ruled by Brussels,
    if we had a referendum on leaving the European Union would we be calling it UK
    independence? I think not.

    Not being the kind of person to fix things which aren’t
    broken, and having a very logical mind uncluttered by the romantic visions of
    history, whether real or imagined, I’m finding it difficult to see what is
    broken in our country which would be fixed by breaking away from the union. I’d like to hear some sound economic reasons
    for leaving the UK, I’d like the separatists to explain why Scotland wants to
    break away from Northern Ireland and Wales, and if they cannot give reasons
    then explain why are they not advocating English ‘Independence’ to use their own
    phrase. Further I’d like them to
    explain why they are so intent on leaving the union with their three closest
    neighbours and yet at the same time are so desperate to remain or re-join the
    European Union. Surely this makes no
    sense and is simply a contradiction in one sentence. It sounds like a daft question to ask, but do
    the separatists understand what a union is?

    One thing to remember is that Scotland has a say in the
    parliament of one of the most important and respected countries in the world, if
    we leave the union we would end up being a small republic on the edge of Europe
    using the Euro which the rest of the EU only know about because we produce
    whisky, when was the last time you heard anything about Finland for example? If you are a person capable of ‘independent’
    thought let’s refer to this referendum correctly as a referendum on leaving the
    Union with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
    If you are not then just watch Braveheart, believe everything in the
    film is what really happened 700 years ago, paint your face blue and
    head down to the polls with your kilt on shouting FREEDOM!!

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