Features

Interview: Alex Salmond’s game plan for the Commons

13 December 2014

9:00 AM

13 December 2014

9:00 AM

Alex Salmond is losing his voice but that’s not going to stop him from talking — I doubt that anything would, or could. I meet him in the Savoy, after The Spectator’s Parliamentarian of the Year Awards (he won top gong) and he orders a hot toddy — setting out the ingredients just in case the Savoy Hotel is too English to know how to make one.

No one talking to Scotland’s former first minister today would have any idea that his political dream was clearly rejected by Scottish voters just three months ago. He is relishing the SNP surge and the likelihood of his party holding the balance of power at Westminster next year, which he gleefully describes as ‘the favourite’s bet just now’. This prospect has persuaded him to stand for the House of Commons again.

Salmond is in fact more confident and relaxed than almost any politician I have ever interviewed. This is not demob happiness, either — one gets the clear impression that there are several more acts to come in this Scottish play; tellingly, the only opponents he praises are the former Labour MSP Wendy Alexander, who has retired, and Gordon Brown, who is about to.

Three things perhaps explain why Salmond is such a ray of sunshine. First, he’s determined not to give his enemies the satisfaction of seeing him suffer. He describes the famous picture of him sitting glum-faced in the back of a car on referendum night as ‘that ridiculous photo that keeps getting used’. He protests, rather too much, that ‘I was looking at my laptop, the reflection is the laptop, that’s what it is. I was not in the depths of despair, I was trying to read the results on my laptop at Aberdeen airport.’

Second, and more important, is that Salmond believes that while he may have lost the referendum battle, he will still win the war. When I ask him if he expects another vote on independence in his lifetime, he replies, ‘Oh yes.’ He is also confident that there are many who voted ‘no’ who will vote ‘yes’ next time. He claims that upwards of 10 per cent or more of the Scottish electorate were swayed by ‘the vow’, the declaration from the three UK party leaders on the front page of the Daily Record that there would be more powers transferred to Holyrood. He says that many of these voters now think it a ‘great pity that they were brought to that position’.

This explains why Salmond is so determined to claim that ‘the vow’ has been broken — this betrayal narrative is key to the nationalists winning any second referendum. He is adamant that the Smith Commission’s prospectus for further devolution ‘is not home rule, it’s not neo-federalism, it’s not what the vow or what Gordon Brown’s articulation of the vow was’.


The SNP surge has delighted many Tories, because it could cost Labour as many as 30 seats. Given SNP MPs’ self-denying ordinance about voting on devolved matters (such as health, education and policing), the more seats they win, the easier it should be for Cameron to govern in a hung parliament.

But Salmond has some bad news for the Prime Minister: not voting on devolved matters, he said, is ‘my choice. But of course in that position we would, obviously, be prepared to listen to other counsel.’ In other words, the SNP would, for a price, be prepared to vote with Labour on English legislation. He is also quick to list examples (health reform and tuition fees) where the SNP has already defied its own rule.

Salmond says that his SNP colleagues ‘wouldn’t wish me to say what their negotiating position would be’. But like his successor as First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, he is clear that only a deal with Labour would be considered. He is also explicit that Miliband’s poor ratings in Scotland would be no bar to such a deal. He sets out three aims for the SNP in a hung parliament: ‘pursuing the redemption of the vow in full terms, sticking up for Scottish causes, and pursuing progressive politics with allies on things like the living wage or international issues when we have got a lot to say’.

Salmond, who spent so much of the referendum campaign running down Westminster, is keen not to sound like a creature of the place he now seeks to return to. Nevertheless, he makes clear that he ‘always had a great regard for the chamber of the House of Commons because I think frankly if you can’t speak in the chamber of the House of Commons, you can’t speak’. Combine that regard with a clear political opportunity — the prospect of a hung parliament and the chance it offers to advance the nationalists’ agenda — and it becomes easy to see why Salmond wants a second bite at the Westminster cherry.

One man who should be alarmed at the prospect of Salmond’s return to Westminster is David Cameron. Salmond is even more vituperative about the Prime Minister now than he was during the referendum campaign. He is keen to treat Cameron’s comments about English votes for English laws the morning after the referendum as an insult to the Scottish people. He says it shows that Cameron thinks the Scots have ‘our heads zipped up the back’ and that it was revealing of his ‘lack of understanding of the extent and the enormity of what’ the referendum meant for Scotland. But Salmond does accept that under the terms of his white paper, Cameron would be entitled to Scottish citizenship.

Where Salmond turns truly savage is when it comes to Cameron’s comments about the Queen’s reaction to the referendum result. The former first minister accuses Cameron of acting like a ‘schoolboy’ over the incident and that ‘anybody who has any knowledge whatsoever of Her Majesty the Queen would not envisage the words purring down the phone because she is a woman of enormous experience and understanding of the sentiments of her people’. He also hints that the Prime Minister has received a right royal telling off, saying ‘I doubt very much that he’ll ever do it again. I was in Balmoral the day after, incidentally, for an audience.’

Salmond’s oddly strident monarchism even extends to defending the heir to the throne. He says, ‘I don’t think I’ve met anyone with a greater love of Scotland than Prince Charles, or the Duke of Rothesay as we should call him. I know some newspapers get extremely upset and irritated by the messages he sends to ministers and I can confirm he does send messages to ministers. But I can also say I have never been upset about any of them. Most of them sound to me entirely sensible.’

If Salmond has contempt for Cameron, he has just pity for Miliband. He says it was ‘silly’ of the Labour leader to sack Emily Thornberry over her tweet of a house festooned with St George’s crosses. ‘If I’d responded like that to my ministers doing stupid things or to my party spokesmen when I was party leader doing silly things, I’d have nobody left. You just cannot conduct yourself like that. You can’t sacrifice your friends to save your office or your reputation. It’s ridiculous.’

Salmond admits that he did expect to win the referendum. He is also clear about what he blames for his defeat: ‘The YouGov poll and the reaction to it.’ Just 12 days before the referendum, it put ‘yes’ ahead, sending unionists into an overdue panic and Gordon Brown into overdrive. Salmond admits that he underrated ‘the fact that the one politician with any credibility would underwrite the commitment from three politicians with no credibility’.

And finally, he laments the fact that the three party leaders’ declaration appeared in the Daily Record — ‘a newspaper with credibility’ which christened it ‘the vow’. (In truth, ‘the vow’ was simply a restatement of existing policies dressed up in florid language and an ornate typeface.) ‘The impact it had was highly significant,’ he argues. ‘It gave people who were moving towards “yes” an easier option: for change to be delivered, guaranteed, vowed — without the uncertainty of a “yes” vote.’ He says the SNP’s mission will be to make sure ‘the vow’ is delivered. ‘The vow will be guaranteed by the votes of people in next year’s election which I expect will give resounding encouragement to the SNP.’

Many in the UK government thought that the SNP would struggle to survive Salmond’s departure. But instead it is flourishing under Nicola Sturgeon, a politician so popular she can sell out the Glasgow Hydro arena faster than Kylie Minogue. When I ask Salmond to explain the Sturgeon phenomenon, he is keen to stress that she spent her time learning her trade under him as deputy first minister: ‘I was looking at the longest apprenticeship we have got in Scotland and there is an engineering apprenticeship that is five years. Nicola has done seven-and-a-half years.’

But to everything there is a season, and before Salmond begins his march south to Westminster there is Christmas. Moira, his wife, is keen for them to go to Dubai, with the idea being that he can watch the golf while she shops. The question for Salmond now is whether he can get as good a deal in the Westminster bazaar of a hung parliament as his wife can in the malls.

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Show comments
  • George Smiley

    No questions on the collapse in price of Brent Crude?

    With all the other uncertainties around independence, a newly formed country which would be viewed by the markets as effectively a petro-state, would currently be suffering a very torrid time indeed.

    The Scots had a very lucky escape. That many in Scotland fail to recognise this perhaps suggests a lack of political maturity that doesn’t bode well for a country about to take on more devolved powers.

    • RolftheGanger

      Horse manure. Scotland was not scheduled to become independent till 2016. Please predict the price for that date?

      Also oil is an extra, not a core necessity.

    • MichtyMe

      The oil price rises and falls. However, Scots per capita tax revenues are 99% of UK average, so the oil is a bit of a bonus.
      The big question to be asked is ” what became of the £300,000 million” of oil revenues that the Westminster Treasury appropriated, what walls was it applied to.

  • agdpa

    Please remember that the population of Scotland is eight per cent, thats eight per cent … 8%… of the population of the whole UK.

    • Blindsideflanker

      Indeed, you wouldn’t believe it with all the attention and goodies they are being lavished with.

      • RolftheGanger

        Yeah, a hale whole small percentage of our own tax and revenues, spent back in Scotland.

        • Marienkaefer

          Actually most of what is raised in Scotland comes back via the spending formula, not a “small percentage”.

        • Gwangi

          Nonsense – you get back WAY more than you put in.
          Scotland reminds me of one of these hideous African hellhole countries – no matter how much cash you give them, they still moan and whinge, then blame you for their own incompetence and failure!

      • Catty Erde

        That would be because it is our resources you are borrowing your war loans on.

        • Gwangi

          Your war loans too, love. You are British and Britain is your country. And maybe if you were one of the thousands of Scots employed in the defence industry, you wouldn’t want to be so pacifist eh?

    • robertsonjames

      Given how finely balanced the Tory and Labour positions in England now look, that 8% from Scotland could easily tip the balance decisively and be the difference between Miliband being able and not being able to govern effectively.

      • GUBU

        I suspect Mr Milliband will not be able to govern effectively even if Labour commanded a majority of 100 seats in the House of Commons next May.

        • Nicholas I

          Miliband can manage his finances very well. As can Cameron. I suspect they have the same accountant. Where do they bank? At Rotschilds?

      • Blindsideflanker

        Miliband won’t be able to Govern effectively over England if he has to rely on SNP MPs.

        • robertsonjames

          If it gets him a majority of MPs through the Aye lobby for government votes on the English NHS or the English schools and universities or anything else affecting England alone, yes it will.

          That’s the point of Salmond’s predictable hint about a change of tack by his party. The SNP MPs would actually be willing to make this possible, but only for Labour (not the Tories) and only at a very high price which would be certain to provoke massive English resentment and hostility towards Scotland.

          Lovely, from Salmond’s point of view anyway.

      • Nicholas I

        What’s the difference between Miliband and Cameron? So Scots have the power to shift between ebola and cancer? Oh wait, bad analogy – people can actually survive ebola and cancer.

        • Gwangi

          Or they could vote for the AIDS of the SNP…

          • Nicholas I

            But people nowadays can manage much better with AIDS than an “independent” Scotland would have managed under the SNP. So Salmond, Miliband and Cameron are indeed objectively worse than AIDS, ebola or cancer.

    • RolftheGanger

      A good argument for being 100% of our own country rather than 8 % of someone else’s

      • agdpa

        I agree with you wholeheartedly but most regretfully the Scots voted no in the referendum

      • Nicholas I

        That’s already been debated blah blah blah Scots decided to cling to rotten England rather than set up their own corrupt statelet.

      • Gwangi

        You ARE your own country – Scotland was created in its modern form by being in Union with England and Wales. It has been united with England/Wales since James I in 1603.

        Your country is BRITAIN. You are Scottish (or is it Pictish or Irish or Viking or Anglo-Saxon as the DNA is Scots is the same as the English mostly). And which part of Scotland? – the Highlands have nothing in common with Glasgow council estates, and nor do the Borders or the posh streets of Edinburgh. You are Scottish and British, as others are Welsh and British and yet more Yorkshire and British or Cornish and British. To split the Union is thick thinking personified – can you imagine somewhere like China splitting into little spits of nations like this? Keep your romantic notions to Brigadoon eh?

        The head says the Union works – AND if it is split, half of Scots will be unhappy and Scotland will become the new Northern Ireland circa 1973. Of course, most YES supporters in Scotland are Catholic, lower class and uneducated. AND the WHOLE of the UK must have a vote too – it is OUR country so WE ALL should decide if it breaks apart.

        You are NOT oppressed by the English either – I think you’ll find Scottish landowners did that all by themselves.

        And Scotland gets and have always got a VERY good deal from the Union, actually. It saved your A back in the day, and pays for your health service and care homes now (off English and Welsh taxes).
        And really, all these glorious nationalist Scots battles of the past – just one greedy aristo fighting another using a mercenary army.
        Braveheart has about as much connection to reality as Star Trek. In fact, Star Trek is documentary realism in comparison…

    • HenBroon

      Please remember that in 1707 on formation of this undemocratic biased union that population was 20% of the new UK. The union has been 307 years of resounding failure for Scotland and success for England. An England who had to borrow the money from Queen Anne to pay the bribes to Scottish toffs to sell their country down the river. Scotland immediately became an indebted country as Englands riches soared. The first act was to empty the contents of the Scottish Treasury and cart it down to London. That traffic has endured for 3 centuries.

      • Nicholas I

        Debated tediously for years – Scots decided to keep leeching and moaning, timid wee beasties tha’ they awer,afuhrayed ta rule theymseylves.

      • Gwangi

        Utter piffle. The Union bailed out Scotland in 1707 as it did in 2008 too.
        The real union was way before then anyway. 1603 with James I and way before then to 1000 years ago – you simply cannot pretend you in Scotland are truly an independent nation. What language do you speak, for example? And where does your culture and law come from?

        But yes, far too many Scots on BBC TV and in London. Send em back!

        • Jackson Scott

          Yeah , I bet you’d love to return to the days when Jimmy Saville , a real english hero , was on the BBC all the time would nt you ?

          • Gwangi

            You’re weird. Scottish, are we?

            Scotland does a fine line in peedyfiles – what with all the Catholic priests and drunken closet gays in the shipyards (just ask Billy Connoly).

  • John Carins

    Stop pandering to this dreadful individual. He and his nasty nationalistic socialist party are in the game of destroying the real Union. He is a modern day Guy Fawkes who should go directly to the Tower.

    • The Master

      Honestly, why should Blackpool be subjected to this?

    • Gwangi

      I wouldn’t worry. If he’s as long-lived as his deep-fried-mars-bar-gobbling compatriots, he’s unlikely to make old age (isn’t the average male life expectancy 57 in Glasgow?) Then without slimeball Salmond, the SNP is nothing.

      • Catty Erde

        Ah I see your assumption that Scots hate English people is based upon your own bigotry. No, you see we have these things called brains north of the border.

        • Gwangi

          Nope, it is based on getting endless abuse from SNP Yes campaigners for daring to state I supported the Union and the NO campaign. No much brains on show there – bullies, thugs, bigots, an intolerant mob of rabid nationalists, yes.

          That is why people were frightened to ‘come out’ as for the Union and the NO campaign – the hordes of threatening, bullying, bigoted thugs were there to smash their windows, slash their tyres, beat them up. Most YES campaigners are thick and poor, of course; most NO supporters educated and with the intelligence to know how good the Union is for Scotland.

          I’d say around 25% of Scots are racists and bigots – with an obsessive hatred for the English based on the fake history they’ve been forcefed since birth with their lard pies and deep fried Mars bars (how many Scots realise that the English practically invented all the symbols of Scottish identity from kilts to tartan to the Highland Games eh) Read ‘The Invention of Scotland’ and wipe the scales from your eyes.

  • robertsonjames

    It isn’t hard to see why the SNP, as I’ve been warning for some time, would be willing to resile from their current self-imposed ban on voting on England-only legislation.

    One is that in any scenario where Labour needed the SNP to prop them up at Westminster the former would be likely to not have a majority of English MPs and thus would be stuck with an inability to legislate on non-Scottish matters if their Scottish Nationalist backers did decline to enter the voting lobbies on many of the decisions the government needed to make. Accordingly being willing to vote on all government business, including England-only measures, would in practice be the sine qua non of SNP support for Labour.

    A second reason is that propping up Miliband in this way and permitting Labour to govern effectively in England would maximise the SNP’s leverage when asking for things in return. Another referendum and full fiscal devolution would be the most obvious things on Sturgeon’s shopping list. And given that he’s already knifed his own brother to win power does anyone seriously imagine Miliband would baulk at stabbing England in the back and using a Scottish Raj to govern it if that turned out to be the price?

    A final reason for the SNP’s willingness to vote on England-only legislation is that Salmond has long understood that fomenting anti-Scottish feeling in England, both provoking angry nationalistic responses inside Scotland and even holding out the delicious prospect of English voters actually wanting to expel Scotland from the Union, can only help the cause of independence. And what better way to stir up Scotophobia down south than by ensuring England, which may well have returned a majority of Tory MPs, gets governed by Labour thanks to the SLP and SNP MPs?

    Looking at the current polling this scenario is looking more and more plausible. If the Kippers can get the Tories down below 290 MPs then not only will they have successfully killed off any prospect of an EU referendum (which they worry they’d lose) in the next Parliament and have got Labour into power to cause as much mayhem as possible. They’d also have ensured that England ends up governed by Scottish MPs, with absolutely no prospect whatsoever of anything like English Votes For English Laws coming in. (Of course, it may be that stoking anti-Scottish as well as anti-EU and anti-Labour feeling in England is also part of the Farageista masterplan for supposedly securing a UKIP majority in 2020, but if so it’s an obscure and high-risk strategy for a party that at least publicly claims to be British rather than merely English in its affiliations.)

    • Blindsideflanker

      With the Westminster bubble only having eyes for Scotland they have failed to look at the dynamics of what will take place if Salmond becomes a King maker of a Labour government over England . Apart from English people being really hacked off having a Labour Government which can’t command a majority in England. Can’t understand England, and having to pursue policies of cuts after more cuts in England while at the same time as Salmond extracts more and more goodies for Scotland. Toxic isn’t the word for it

      • GUBU

        I suspect Mr Salmond fully understands just how toxic that arrangement might prove for Labour.

        Having tried, and failed, to persuade the Scots that the union should be abandoned, he’s now turning his attention to convincing the English that they should abandon it instead.

        • Blindsideflanker

          Me too, and with the British establishment’s neglect of England he might just be successful.

        • RolftheGanger

          You miss the point. Salmond did not fail in the slightest (apart from the fact that he did not head the Yes campaign).

          The “Vow” swung a section of the vote won for Yes, back to give the Union a temporary reprieve. One that Cameron promptly squandered to revulsion form Scotland with his blundering into EVEL the very next day. That action triggered the collapse of Labour votes and the quadrupling of SNP membership.

          • rollo_tommasi

            Utter pig swill. YES were NEVER in the lead. One rogue poll that was it…..the bookies were so certain of
            the outcome they were paying out early! There was no mention in ‘the vow’ as you describe of it of devo max whatsoever.

            Though you are correct though as losers you should have got
            nothing.

    • RolftheGanger

      You omit the more obvious, less emotive response, that it simply sinks in that the Union is unworkable and both sides calmly recognise reality and negotiate peaceful resumption of self government. Too obvious and non-divisive, to be worth mentioning?

  • Blindsideflanker

    I note that Alex Salmond is willing to associate himself and the SNP with the IRA , sorry Sinn Fein , but not the Conservative party. Well for all the surface dislike there is of the Conservatives in Scotland, I have a feeling that the protestant Scots and those families with a military connection will be pretty disgusted by that.

    I think the wee fellow who has become convinced he can walk on water has put his foot in it on that one.

    • ”I have a feeling that the protestant Scots and those families with a military connection will be pretty disgusted by that.” … those the ones with the Nazi salutes and burning Scottish flags in Glasgow’s George Square on the 19th to celebrate.. I don’t think anything disgusts those low life vermin.

      • gordonek

        There is vermin on both sides , you neglected to mention Union Jacks were burned in the same place on the 18th .

        • RolftheGanger

          Not accompanied by violent drunken thugs assaulting people, they weren’t.

          • gordonek

            Google ‘ union jack burned in George square 18th sep ‘ you will see that they were indeed a violent bunch .

        • Nah, I was there… didn’t see a Union Jack burnt, that’s an utter lie.

          • gordonek

            Simply Google ‘ union jack burned in George square 18th sep ‘ then please come back and apologise to me and I won’t accuse you off utter denial .

        • The Master

          Unless they were flying on a ship, no Union Jacks were burned.

          • gordonek

            Simply Google ‘ union jack burned in George square 18th sep ‘ and if you are an honourable man you will come back and apologise , or do you believed all yes campaigners in the square that night were angels .

          • The Master

            May I suggest you use either British Flag or Union Flag. A jack is flan off the bowsprite.

          • gordonek

            No apology , your not worth debating with .

      • Gwangi

        They were not ‘Nazi salutes’ you liar – but the ‘hand of Ulster’.
        95% of the bullying, abuse, thuggery, unpleasantness, bigotry and racism in the Referendum campaign came from the YES campaigners, mostly lower class and uneducated council house drunken Glasgow oxygen thieves…

  • Colin

    He has to be elected, first. And, despite the wishes of the Political / Media Complex, the people just might send him packing.

    • RolftheGanger

      “Might, “could” classic Bitter Together propaganda language.

  • GUBU

    It’s good to see that Mr Salmond has recovered from his post referendum deflation and returned to being his old cocksure, mischievous, unscrupulous self.

    However, I sincerely hope we will see his ‘back of the car’ face again on 8 May next year when his much vaunted plans for the SNP tail to wag the Labour dog at Westminster are lying in tatters.

    • RolftheGanger

      Yes, yes, more rejection symptoms from the south.

  • His master plan is to get his 7th public pension then claim hundreds of thousands of £’s in expenses while simultaneously opposing everything from every other party.

    • RolftheGanger

      Judging others by your own mercenary standards.

    • MichtyMe

      The FM pension, donated to charity and in the past other emoluments also. Any information re other political persons?

    • Jackie Dawson

      He has given 1.3 of his salary since 2007, he has given his FM pension to charity and if he gets the second job, he is donating that salary to charity……….do you know anyone else that does that ????..no didn’t think so

  • JohnMcDonaldish

    Lots of very nice British nationalists out and about today I see.

    • I still see your sporting your losing yes avatar, when will it sink in?

      • RolftheGanger

        Still clinging to the pathetic hope that you “won” something?

        • My side did win, Scotland is not nor will be an independent country now be gone you pesky little subject of The United Kingdom.

          • Un-United Kingdom, ran by peadophiles and tax dodgers.

          • Why don’t you use your real name and post that so you can be held accountable for your libel?

          • Pretty sure you can search ‘Werd SOS’ u’d find my real name etc… and Libel? erm… ok, think you will find I speak the truth, as much as people want to bury heads in the sand.

          • OK then tell everyone what paedophile is running the country?

          • Do you REALLY think the Tories just stopped abusing children in the 80’s… like it was a one off party? seriously???? Grow up

          • You are accusing MP’s in this government of being paedophiles so simply give the names since its clear you must be in that particular circle to have that knowledge, sicko.

          • You call me a sicko? while people in power rape children… You clearly havn’t been watching the news, or you are just a Daily Mail reader blinded by their propaganda.

          • Look sicko, you must be within the circle of kidy fiddlers to know about this so what are the names of you’re MP friends?

          • erm… no… Im not in the Labour or Tory party, nor do I have MP friends… after looking at some of ur comments on other things, i’ve noticed you are clearly trolling, so this will be my last message. Enjoy your day trolling all night posting about how much you love UKip, Tories and hate Scotland… that’s all you ever comment about. Peace

          • Look, you said very clearly that this country is run by paedophiles so either admit your lying or give the names of your friends.

          • Barba Rossa

            One suspects Not unlike Glasgow Rangers

          • Nicholas I

            How many of those “pedos and tax-dodgers” are Scottish? And how many, proportionate to their population?

          • Barba Rossa

            the Union is already over…just that the Unionist dont realise it yet…

          • You’re a very confused individual.

          • Barba Rossa

            “Confused” Nae..merely reflective…2 people killed the Union stone dead…Margret Thatcher was the first, as she brought about the rise of the SNP. Alex Salmond made the SNP unstoppable. Nicola wil continue Alexs Good Work….its already over.

          • Chris lancashire

            I don’t have a strong opinion on the substance of your argument with Werd SOS but what I find completely reprehensible and unacceptable is the way in which commenters on this site think it’s OK to fling about accusations of child molesting (and in this case tax evasion). I welcome your attempt to offer the accuser the satisfaction of proving their case in court – always declined of course. However, until somehow a case is brought this type of cowardly behaviour, hiding behind the anonymity offered by the host, will continue.

          • flux5000

            You’re in dreamland.

          • You’re giving new meanings to denial.

          • flux5000

            haha, we’ll see next GE ‘eh? Next you will be telling us the SNP will do badly next May.

          • Even if the SNP win every seat in May in Scotland then they still will not be in government so your ‘wait and see’ claim really does need a bit more thought.

      • flux5000

        It will sink in for you when the next referendum arrives, it will start when Labour get trashed next May…

        • What next referendum is this?

          • flux5000

            It won’t be too long away, perhaps five years. Labour are in for the shock of their lives in Scotland next GE though, and that is where it will start.

          • Its a General Election not a referendum, do try to remember that a referendum requires a majority vote in W4estmister and the SNP can never achieve that and they will not have the Conservatives helping then again any time soon.

          • flux5000

            Which is why I said Labour will be trashed next GE.
            Do try to stop your condescending attitude, it makes you look like a fool…

          • flux5000

            You’re just a tory apologist….

          • I do have to apologise for them permitting a referendum in the first place yes.

    • Ed  

      Which group has National Party in its name?

      • They don’t do facts.

      • RolftheGanger

        National – of and for the nation.

        Nationalist – emphasising aspects of the nation.

        Two vastly different things.
        But you knew that,

        • Ed  

          Sure. Hair, split. The difference is but of degree.

          • Nicholas I

            Yes, Rolfie is trying to say that the SNP are not Nationalists. They are just…Nationists (?)

          • Gwangi

            I thought they were just cnuts…

          • Nicholas I

            Scottish English-Needing Idiots Party backwards?

  • Ed  

    Bit of a slip there, in the 16th paragraph: ‘…the uncertainty of a “yes” vote.’

    Oh, Alex. Whoops.

  • Roger James Michael Sutherland

    A second referendum? Reminds me of the Irish being made to vote again for the Lisbon Treaty after initially voting the “wrong” way. What is the point of having a referendum if the result is going to be ignored by people who can’t take no for an answer?

    If they vote for alleged independence next time, will there be a third referendum offering reunification with the rest of Britain? If not, why not?

    • rollo_tommasi

      Yup. Surely it would be best of three would it not?

      • RolftheGanger

        Again the failure to observe that the flow of support over time is in one direction – towards more and more backing self government. Zero trend the other way.

        • rollo_tommasi

          Rolfy old bean…..the only thing at the moment that seems to
          be going in one direction is the current price of Brent crude and unfortunately
          for you it’s the exact opposite of how your imperious leader predicted!

          Just be thankful you’ve lost the referendum already otherwise
          the mainstream media would have been all over it like a bad case of the clap.

          You’d have been lucky to poll 40%!

        • rollo_tommasi

          Rolfy old fruit…..the only absolute certain direction of travel in this debate is in the price of brent crude! its the exact opposite to the way your imperious leader predicted isn’t it?

          Be thankful it hadn’t happened months ago otherwise the MSM would have been all over it like a rash.

          You’d have been lucky to hit 40%

          • Derick Tulloch

            Just as a matter of factual interest. 75% of those aged over 65 voted No. Applying standardised mortality rates to that cohort we see that 14,000 No voters are No Longer Able to Vote each month.
            Tick Tock

    • RolftheGanger

      A little more thought would have caused the realisation that there is no precedent in world history for any nation to persist in a grossly lopsided “Union” and none have voted to get re-assimilated to their pre-independence overlords.

      • rollo_tommasi

        You’ve obviously never heard of the European Union.

  • Westminster needs Alex, he has gave Scotland a kick up the
    backside in terms of political awareness, and looking at the disgusting Ukip
    rise and disillusion with politics down south, this can only be a good thing. Shame
    the media hates his, because he questions their motive on many issues, and
    knows most are tory owned.

    • wotevah

      Salmond is hated south of the border because he is the oilyest of unctious greasy weasels with not a fraction of an ounce of integrity and supercilious to a degree not hitherto deemed humanly possible to boot. The utterly bizarre phenomenon is that a percentage of Scots seem to have been hypnotised into falling for this oleaginous turd without the merest hint of employing any faculties of discernment as they fell.

      • Catty Erde

        So he is a lot smarter than you then?

  • lakelander

    The Nats got off lightly didn’t they? If they’d won there would have been some explaining to do following the oil price plunge.

    • RolftheGanger

      An extra, not a basis of the economy.

  • English Majority

    To fellow English commentators only:

    Just let this rancid, disgusting situation sink in: The Scots have their own government, a First Minister and they get far, far more money per head than us. Plus; we English are even being forced to pay for their welfare increases. And the Scots get even further money via the putrid, Scottish Supremacist Barnet Formula.

    Yet, they still have full power to interfere in and direct English affairs. Pro-immigration, pro-multiculturalism Scottish politicians have huge power in the government.

    And, despite the fact they have all this, they’re still viciously opposing the extremely moderate English Votes for English Laws.

    As well as this filth situation, we English are already viciously marginalised by the immigrant-majority city of London, and an increasingly foreign political class.

    I now DESPISE the Scottish people.

    • RolftheGanger

      You are right to be disgusted with e current constitutional shambles.

      But a victim of British government myths. The “more spent on Scotland” myth only applies to identifiable expenditure (and ignores that much of that money is not actually spent in Scotland – just stuck on our bill) The non-identifiable and capital expenditure expenditures are heavily slanted to London and the SE. Which more than outweighs the faked “subsidy” to Scotland.

      • MichtyMe

        Yes, some expenditures are classified as “national” ie London Crossrail” and Scotland is presumed to benefit, so a proportion allocated.

        • Derick Tulloch

          Whereas the entire 273 mile length of the A9 is treated as ‘local’ so the Scottish Government has to find the money for 100% of it. Yet we pay 9% of the cost of ‘national’ roads and infrastructure. Scotland paid for 100% of the Commonwealth Games, London paid for zero percent. But Scotland paid 9% of the cost of the Olympics.
          Every time the books have been opened in the last 120 years Scotland has been found to be subsidizing the rest of the UK. ‘Pooling and sharing’ is all very well, but it only seems to go in one direction.
          There is a perfectly simple solution to this, or rather two.
          1 Independence
          2 Full Fiscal Autonomy aka Devomax, where Scotland raises all taxation and remits a block grant to London for shared services such as defence and foreign affairs.
          I support option 1, but could live with option 2.

    • Catty Erde

      You are welcome to apply for English Independence, however we in the UK will not sanction your use of the pound and we reserve the right to frack your property and take out loans on your resources without your consent for the purposes of war with whomever we please.

      • Gwangi

        All people in the UK should have the right to vote on whether the union breaks up NOT JUST the noisy Scottish people.
        And yes, at present Scotland gets far too much – in effect, the English and Welsh are subsidising the Scottish NHS and care system while their own one suffers. Time to give ALL nations of the UK a fair deal – the Scots are whingers extraordinaire. The only people I know who whinge more are the Africans – who get trillions of us for decades then blame us when they mess up their countries. Oh well, maybe the scousers could whinge as much. But hey, the Scots are fatter so just sound more unpleasant.

        • Catty Erde

          We would be very supportive of English Independence, you would have nothing left to bitch about and could pay for your own wars.

          • Jackie Dawson

            Id vote for that too…….English Independence……you want it guys…….go for it…..

        • Jackie Dawson

          But you got your “Better Together” so stop whinging and cough up…..give Scotland exactly what she wants….you wanted “Better Together”….you got it…so cough up……..

        • Liz

          Need to get your facts right. You don’t subsidise us – we subsidise you. One of the main reasons WM didn’t want us to become independent. Seriously ask yourself why they would choose to keep Scotland if we’re the burden we are made out to be. Regarding the African countries – maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that Britain (among others) went into their countries and basically stole their natural assets. We give money to these countries as a guilt sop instead of ‘fair’ trading with them thus perpetuating the ‘third world’ mentality.

    • Mark Fletcher

      What? All of us? Even the nice ones? Scotland is a great place to be. You really must come up and stay awhile. The clean air and sparkling water will refresh you. Think of it as a nice holiday before you have to return to your own personal hell-hole.

    • eck o

      Dry your eyes ya dick.

    • Nicholas I

      How come Salmond didn’t seppuku himself in shame?

    • abystander

      So no more love bombing then?

      Thank God!

    • Barzini

      There’s no higher expenditure in like for like cases – ie urban areas in Scotland and urban areas in England……

      What makes expenditure higher in Scotland on a per capita basis is the fact that Scotland is large (one-third of UK) and has a very low population density (only 5.2 million people)…..

      It costs more money in per capita terms to have roads in the highlands, it costs more money in per capita terms to have a postal service between Orkney and the mainland, it costs more money in per capita terms to make sure people living on the islands have access to a first class health service…..

      It’s to our credit that we do this……

  • carl jacobs

    There is no divine law that says Scotland must remain indissoluable. If Scotland wants independence, then let the constiuent parts of Scotland decide whether to go with Scotland or remain with the UK. That’s the only way this works for Scotland anyways. The new nation must have broad support across the whole country. Independence cannot be a project of the urban Proletariat and the nomenklatura who govern them.

    It wouldn’t take too many defections to render the Scottish enterprise non-viable, and it would be politically difficult for the SNP to refuse these terms. And the campaign for Union thus focuses not on the vote total but on the results in the constiuent parts.

    • MichtyMe

      And England also I presume, some local Islamic Emirates perhaps?

    • Jackie Dawson

      Its one split of two countries, not areas, There is no constituent parts….

      • carl jacobs

        There are 32 councils in Scotland. There is no reason the vote in each council shouldn’t be considered a separate vote on independence. If the citizens of Council X desire to stay in the UK, why should they be dragooned into this new Socialist worker’s paradise simply by a large majority in Glasgow and other major cities? Scotland needs broad support to make to make this work. Fifty percent + 1 is a recipe for disaster.

        • Derick Tulloch

          As though speaking to a small and rather dim child:
          Have you forgotten what happened the last time you tried Partition? Now go and play with your toys

  • somewhereinthesouth

    So the SNP will ,via coalition with Labour, blackmail us to give them more… [ and of course thereby another step towards independence despite its being rejected in the referendum ] ….
    T hey already have higher public spending via the Barnett formula than the rest of us, a first minister, control of their legal system, education, highways, and the NHS and are to be given full control over airports taxes, income tax .They will of course will want more {a seat on the Monetary policy Committee at the BoE, control of corporation tax? Less spending cuts in total and even fewer in in Scotland , VAT control , a veto on the outcome of any referendum on the EU, and Faslane closed in 10 years – its anybody’s guess but it wont be much good for taxpayers or the UK economy ].
    Labour oddly are offering the least to Scotland via devo max proposals but of course will want to break England up into regions to avoid complete loss of control and a separate English parliament. So it looks like an unholy alliance between these two is possible and indeed likely if Labour emerge as the largest party , since both are left wing statist left wing parties. Meanwhile the value of “their ” oil is collapsing so the “lost” revenue to the Treasury will have to be made up by hard strapped English taxpayers who will have to pay up.[ If they’d won independence the falling oil prices would have been disastrous for Scotland].

    The prospect of the SNP holding the balance of power in a hung parliament in May is truly horrendous for any one who pays English taxes, as tax rises rather than spending reductions that will be a big part of the deal to allow Labour to gain power at Westminster . The SNP are to the left of Labour and will want to resist spending cuts even more than Miliband [ who apparently will make ” sensible” cuts – whatever that means] and of course they will hardly want to put the interests of English taxpayers first. We can therefore expect Labour’s the homeownership tax to be extended and thus to fall on lower value homes … most of which will be in the South where Labour is weak… The prospect of such an alliance alone should be a reason for English voters not to support Labour or UKIP at the polls.

    • Jackie Dawson

      Its strange when the shoe is on the other foot, you cry for your own, but think of no one else.

  • CraigStrachan

    Clearly Alex is a Westminster man at heart.

    • Jackie Dawson

      Alex is a wise man, he has been to Westminster before….he knows the dance

      • CraigStrachan

        Yes, I believe he spent almost a quarter-century there before. And would be happy to spend as long again, no doubt.

  • Brian MacIver

    So many ‘conspiracies’ SNP, Tory, Lab, UKIP. Political Parties seek to survive, to develop and thrive. That is their goal. It is WE the electorate who decide. So all of these fearful ‘situations’ of collusion, and double dealing result from our Vote.
    UK politics is in a bit of a state. Neither the SNP, nor least of all Salmond, have pitted the Scots against the rest, nor caused English Nationalism. It was already there. The anti-Scots rhetoric finds permissible expression if directed at SNP/Salmond but it was there anyway. The paradox of Scotland being called ‘scroungers’, yet having the UK PM come on bended knee to plead with the Scots to stay was, to say the least, confusing. To have three UK Party Leaders, like Three ‘Kings’, bearing gifts and an ‘Elder’s’ vow bewildered the Scots yet further!
    Salmond, was consistent. Scottish independence was possible, and preferable, Socially, politically and economically. He is going to Westminster, neither to break it, nor support it, but to take advantage of the situation. No different than Nick Clegg a few short years ago. Salmond is smarter than Clegg, he will exact a fair price yet not sell his soul [Scotland won’t let him! We hold his Nicola hostage]
    The blessing he may well bring to the UK government is a wake-up call before all of the UK, including Scotland is destroyed socially, and economically, by Tory austerity or Labour phony largesse. And, he will not let the UK sleep walk out of the EU to the strident tunes of the Pied Piper of Farage!
    We are all British, the fact that some of us want independence is not a threat, it’s an evolution. There comes a time when cousins leave home, with their family’s blessing not their rancour.

  • Gwangi

    Salmond is a bigoted and backwards nationalists who wants to create division and shatter a union that has lasted and succeeded (for Scotland’s benefit too) for 300 years and 400 if one considers the royal union. Really, Scotland is no more different that England than Yorkshire, Cumbria or Devon are from Kent. The hateful racist bigotry of some Scots knows no bounds.
    So why not allow independent enclaves? Glasgow, Dundee and other SNP areas can be independent – whereas those people in he Highlands and Islands, the borders and Edinburgh, and Aberdeen who want to stay part of the UK can do so. I mean, look how well it worked in Yugoslavia…
    Makes just as much sense as splitting the union in the name of petty Scots nationalism.

    • Catty Erde

      No thank you I do not wish to live in a shire and your comments indicate an incredible lack of understanding of the problem.

      • Gwangi

        No they don’t and your post is just meaningless – typical SNP blather then. But at least you’re not chucking stones or breaking windows or intimidating pro-union people with threats of violence this time. The Pro-independence lot are a rabble, a mob and seething ball of twisted bigotry – you HATE the English, admit it! Racist!

        • Catty Erde

          Again a bit inane. It has nothing to do with hating the English. Don’t you understand economics or politics?

        • Mark Fletcher

          Scotland is lovely and I must say very peaceful. I’ve never witnessed a rabble, a mob or a seething ball of twisted bigotry. The English are lovely too – we all think so. You should come up – but do leave your baseball bat and prejudices behind. You will not need them here.

        • Jackie Dawson

          Your a bit of a sad character, independence was nothing but Scotland wanting to spend her money in her country. end off

    • paulus

      Thats not a bad idea, I think it can be a longterm solution to an intractable problem. Fiscal autonomy for the regionsof Scotland. The Islands have oil, the east have finance , the highlands have tourism and the west coast hve their hands out. They will all start fighting with each other if they are forced or manipulated into some sort of Faux nation, esp if it all goes tits up as it will do.

      Scotland has never been a nation state in any meaningful sense..it was a clan based society.like the middle east. If we dont devolve power down to a regional level it could be mayhem.

      • Mark Fletcher

        I do think you are on to something here but perhaps we need to recast it somewhat: the islands are beautiful and have whisky and delicious seafood; the east is beautiful and has finance, farming, fishing; the Highlands are beautiful and have tourism and sparkling water; the west is beautiful and has nuclear weapons and an increasingly angry and frustrated population. It is perhaps just as well that those same people believe so much in a democratic process.

        • paulus

          Oh this sounds interesting, they have nuclear weapons do they..I thought as soon as they gained autonomy, they were sending the nukes back to England.

          As for your second point that they believe in the democratic principle, it appears not , as they were over whelmingly beaten in a once in a life time referendum, a referendum where the other regions voted overwhelmingly: No. It appears the nuclear armed soviet republic of brigadoon and Glasgow. Wont accept autonomy and peoples decision to say No.

          • Mark Fletcher

            Yes, nuclear weapons a-plenty and right on my doorstep! a bit pointless really if we can’t actually use them. Can’t use them. can’t at the moment remove them, they cost a total fortune…….
            You will, one day, need to find another home for them though on your own doorstep. Good luck with that and may you sleep easily in your bed. Yes, we do believe in a democratic process and things are remarkably progressive in these parts despite what you may like to believe. You also believe that ‘they’ were ‘overwhelmingly beaten’ and that the referendum was ‘once in a life time’ but that is just you crying inwardly, I would suggest. The reality of the current situation is not what you want it to be and there is a growing inevitability about what is to come. It will undoubtedly take a while for people to see it and accept it. Things are far from static you see. Things are moving on apace. I once visited the Soviet Union – how very run-down, nothing like the vibrancy and warmth of Glasgow. Brigadoon – well, that’s just another fantasy. Scotland is great, you know. No need to be terrified of it going its own way. No need to insult it. No need to pander to ignorance.

          • paulus

            We,, thats the whole point of having a deterrant, you dont use and at 2% its cheaper than actually having to go to war. Although the inferrence in your comment may see Berwick edinburgh and Aberdeen county council scurrying around for a supplier as nuclear armed Glasgow decides to throw its weight around.
            Progressing, progressing where, its only a word pertaining to the dynamics of motion, its seriously out of context to apply it to a socio-economic structure that harps back to failed marxist utopias.
            The settled will of the Scottish people is not my parlance… its wee Ecks. The people voted overwhelmingly to reject your faux brand of soviet scotland, esp when they realised its whas they who had to pay for it.

            Unfortunately, for you schooled in marxist dogma and the inevitable historical progression of your great leap into the mind set of soviet Glasgow, reality is going to set in very soon.

            A majority of the people voted against independence and their wishes are being totally ignored.Im confronting you with reality and you with wishful thinking is not going to change it.

            I hate to blow your bubble but wee Eck is either an absolute baboon or he deceived you,he linedyou up to fight on ground you couldn’t win on. He had two years to prepare and within fifteen minutes the entire basis of your position was destroyed. Betrayal or baffoonery, you decide.

          • Mark Fletcher

            Paulus your comments about councils tendering for nuclear weapons was very amusing. I chuckled. I’m glad you too are beginning to see how bizarre the whole nuclear weapons thing is! You will have to take them back though. Perhaps one day you will welcome them in to the care of a council near you. I do hope so. With your beliefs in MAD (it lives on in your heart, doesn’t it) and your preoccupation with all things Soviet, are you not just more than a little stuck in your thinking – it is really all a bit 1959. In Scotland, our political thinking has moved on. Keep up at the back there, Paulus!

    • Jackie Dawson

      The union is over, the divorce is just to be finalised, we are only arranging the furniture and who gets the pets. Scotland is gone….Two countries are splitting not areas……

  • Terence Wilkinson

    This is the most sickening political interview I have came across since Blair’s love in with Michael Parkinson. Recent months would suggest that Forsyth is a closet Nat, but how could any decent journalist let Salmond away with his English votes for English laws as an insult to Scots? The ex-First Minister wants Scottish votes for Scottish laws but wants to deny England the same privilege? He also wants to return to Westminister despite campaigning on the basis that Westminster oppresses Scotland. He is an even more blatant bag of contradictions than Farage. And what about that stunt he pulled with the English flag? If Cameron, or worse, George Osborne pulled a similar stunt Salmond would lead the charge of the offended. So come James either come out as a Nat and take a job on their new paper it start writing some balances articles on the SNP.

    • Mark Fletcher

      O come now Terence, you mustn’t feel sick. Reading about Alex Salmond is really such a tonic! I think you misunderstand his motives and that is what is causing the dyspepsia. I thoroughly recommend a visit to Scotland. Everything, not just its well-educated and tolerant populus, seems so much brighter up here. Nor should you feel afraid to come out of your closet,

      • Terence Wilkinson

        I live on Scotland and would not give that Chancer Salmond house room. Also I am part of the 2 million who Forsyth wants to silence or ignore on the basis of opinion polls. So James why do we bother with elections if the outcomes are so easily ignored? Why not go the whole hog and have elections decided by a YouGov panel and save the parties the expense and bother of holding elections?

        • Mark Fletcher

          By all accounts, Terence, Alex is a very nice man and excellent company – I’m sure he would be perfectly pleasant to you. I don’t think for one minute that you could be silenced or ignored either. Look at us – we are having a lovely conversation! Sadly for you but happily for me the results of elections don’t last for ever. I think you are very fearful of what the next series of elections hold in store.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            He may be nice in private but it is his public persona that interests me more. As for the next elections I am not fearful but unlike James Forsyth I look at the results of elections not the results of opinion polls. Take the seat that Salmond wants to contest. It is in a supposedly SNP heartland area but is actually a four way marginal. So while the opinion polls say Salmond will win, I wonder what will happen is say 1000 Conservative voters vote tactically in this seat. What if 1000 Labour voters do the same? The Lib Dems would win. These are similar totals to the number of people who are asked their opinion by pollsters. Opinion polls are not handed down by God on tablets of stone. Elections in which millions cast their vote are a bit more definitive I would say.

          • Mark Fletcher

            You are right, Terence! His public persona is amazing. What an impact he continues to make. Wouldn’t it be a dull old world if all politicians were Eton-educated members of the Bullingdon Club? Opinion polls are little snapshots but they are fun to look at and think about. Even you get excited about them – I just tend to take them with a pinch of salt.

    • Jackie Dawson

      You wanted “Better Together” you got it. EVEL, yes SNP didn’t vote on it, however Cameron/Milliban/Clegg after stating they would stay OUT of the referendum came up with their paid PR machine and interfered, so really all gloves are off now. SNP should vote on EVEL as they interfered with Scotlands vote. Get used to it, get used to paying for it.

      • Terence Wilkinson

        So the Prime Minister of the UK should have said nothing during a vote about the future of the UK? Was his participation an insult to Scotland too? Please explain to me why English votes for English only laws is an insult to Scotland when there are Scottish votes for Scotland only laws, Welsh votes for Wales only laws and Northern Irish votes for Northern Ireland only laws? Basically what Salmond and other bigots want is for no Englishman to have any opinion on Scottish affairs, while Scots should not only be allowed an opinion but should actually have power over English affairs. Is that not insulting to the English?

        • MichtyMe

          Power over English affairs? The H of C is 85% English and Celtic odds & sods 15%, there is EVEL and Westminster, a de facto English Parliament.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            Look at what Salmond says: he floats the idea that the SNP could hold the balance of power and resume voting on English only laws. But of course he wants more devolution for Scotland. So while Scottish MPs would hold the balance of power in England, in his fantasy, English MPs would have even less power in Scotland. Does this sound consistent? It is about as inconsistent as his referendum cry of “Westminster ignores us but we want to keep the currency because thru will listen to us more when we leave”. This man is a divisive charlatan.

          • Catty Erde

            No, you have a perceptual difficulty with reality. What Alex would like is not to have to deal with English matters and devote himself to his country. Since people were too short sighted to allow him to do his here, he now has to ensure that the Westminster charlatans do not shaft Scotland the best way he can. He is an enormously talented politician, of course, which is what apparently scares you.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            Shaft Scotland? Oh dear another one of Salmond’s brainwashed clones. The reality is that we have a democratic process for passing laws in the UK. Before the Smith Conmission reported they complained it was not going fast enough despite the fact that they have not used all the powers currently available to them. Once the report came out the SNP immediately said it did not go far enough despite the fact they lost their referendum. Meanwhile the price of oil is plummeting. If you had bothered to read the full White Paper you would know that Scotland was unable to afford all their promises – with the current price of oil we would be the new Greece. But here is the thing: the SNP know that their promises are hollow but they will say anything to get what they want. They are single issue obsessives.

  • Jackie Dawson

    Scotland and England are two different countries we want different things, we want to make different decisions, but its like living with an abusive partner who want let you go, but after the abuse keeps telling you they love you. They have a problem and need help. England is an elephant and its crushing Scotland. Scotland needs to go,, as easy as…….get over it.

    • carl jacobs

      Except the defense policy of Scotland will be “Let England do it.” The monetary policy of Scotland is supposed to be “Use English money.” The economic policy is supposed to be “Tax the life out of everything in sight on the assumption it won’t move to England. Oh, and sell oil.” The acquisition strategy is supposed to be “Get the English to give us stuff… and people to use it.” The foreign policy is supposed to be “Join the EU with English help. And the UN. And maybe NATO if we hold our nose.” Scotland doesn’t seem to be going very far. It reminds me of a teenager who wants his own place even as his parents pay the bills.

      Very little of what is listed above will happen. The very first reality that will be experienced if independence succeeds is a massive capital outflow as everyone with sense moves his assets away from the grasping and soon to be poor Scottish Gov’t. Quickly to be followed by an outflow of skilled labor following the capital. There is no viable state here. You can’t create one out of wishful thinking.

      • Barzini

        Come on, I’m a fan of the Union – even if it’s mostly for its glorious history as opposed to its current state……

        Whether Scotland would be more or less well off independent is certainly debatable…..

        However, these claims that it would be some kind of banana republic are just insane…..

        Scotland would basically be Ireland with oil. Ireland is a great country and even now has a higher GDP than the UK….

        The fact that Ireland and Scotland are far less affected by mass third-world immigration than England are also major plus points which will become more evident over the next few decades…..

        I’m not trying to argue one way or the other, just trying to point out that these scare stories are simply ridiculous and just end up creating even more division…..

  • abystander

    From 2001 to 2014 there were 3,600 divisions on legislation in the Commons.

    In all but 24 of those the result would have been the same had no Scots MPs voted.

    Thus in 99.4% of votes , Scottish votes made no difference.

    In 99% of votes the UK vote was the same as the English MPs only vote.

    In 24% of votes the UK vote was the same as the Scottish MPs only vote.

    Source is the House of Commons Library.

    ooh diddums, the poor, hard done by English.

  • Nicholas I

    I guess Scots “don’t do shame”. Or at least the SNP doesn’t. Or at least washed-up former SNP leaders who should slink off and find a hole to hide in and fade away don’t.

  • abystander

    Many would agree that we now have a constitutional shambles.

    And who delivered this mess?

    Why no less a triumvirate than Cameron, Milleband and Clegg, the three amigos.

    Remember all that stuff during the referendum campaign from the unionist hacks about how independence would mean uncertainty?

    Well, watcha got now?

  • Blindsideflanker

    Labour have published their solution to the constitutional obscenity of the West Lothian Question…..

    “Hilary Benn and Sadiq Khan back proposals to allow English MPs exclusive rights to scrutinise and amend legislation applying only to England”

    http://centrallobby.politicshome.com/latestnews/article-detail/newsarticle/we-need-to-give-english-mps-a-greater-say-over-english-laws/

    Oh whoopee, that is really fixing their constitutional mess. Not! .

  • Terence Wilkinson

    One last thought on this article. James do the math. If the “SNP Surge” is real and not just a figment of UKGov’s imagination and they do win 30 seats from Labour, will not Labour then have to win an additional 30 seats in England, on top of what they already need to win to become the largest party and create the conditions for Salmond’s balance of power wet dream (I seem to recall him expecting this to happen before the last General Election too). Unless there is a “Labour Surge” in England (doubtful) any SNP success is more likely to benefit the Conservatives than Labour. Therefore will Labour be able to play the “A vote for Salmond is a vote for Cameron” card.

    • Peter Thomson

      Nope because Labour = Tories after the Better Together Campaign in Scotland. Hence a vote for Labour is a vote for the Tories in the Scottish electorates’ eyes.

      Murphy as ‘Scotch’ Leader confirms ‘Scotch’ Labour as a right wing Blairite Party. As are the increasingly shrill tweets by senior ‘Scotch’ Labour players, such as Michael Kelly ex-Labour Provost of Glasgow, about the need for Labour voters in Scotland to vote Tory where the Tories have the best chance of ‘stopping’ the SNP. In the meantime, once loyal ‘Scotch’ Labour councilor’s are suddenly deciding than can no longer hold with the rightward swing of ‘Scotch’ Labour and are defecting to the SNP.

      Once Murphy has been shoe horned in as ‘Scotch’ Labour Leader, the current trickle will become a stream.

      The electoral reality is Scottish Labour MPs have secured a Labour majority at Westminster only once since 1948. The electorate of England decide the sort of government the rest of us in the UK get by a long way.

      • Terence Wilkinson

        Would you prefer a deal with Sinn Fein like your leader?

        • Peter Thomson

          The same Sinn Fein your leader Uk leader Cameron was negotiating with in Belfast on Thursday and managed the next to impossible of getting the DUP and Sinn Fein agreeing that Cameron was just trying to bribe the people of Northern Ireland with their own money.

          The same Sinn Fein leadership Mo Mowlam negotiated with to secure the current peace in Northern Ireland and once she had successful achieved a peace, the parasite Blair then took all the credit for all her hard work.

          It appears the British Government is dealing with Sinn Fein on a daily basis ….. your point is just exactly what?

  • Peter Thomson

    Two results in local elections on Thursday both gave the SNP an overwhelming majority with the Westminster parties squabbling over the crumbs.

    The current lead the SNP have over Labour for Scottish Westminster voting intentions is 23% (45% / 22%) with the Libdems trailing the Scottish Greens who are now closing in on the Conservatives in third place on 18%. UKIP is in the group ‘others’ with the SSP and the Monster Raving Looney Party on 2%.

    You would not know it, because the BBC edited them off their YouGov graphic yesterday, but the English Greens are also polling higher than the Libdems in England.

    The message for Nicholas is the Scots do not do ‘shame’ because there is nothing to be ‘shameful’ about but in the light of Cameron’s self evident contempt and his Union treaty breaking EVEL plan. There is a lot of scope for a sense of betrayal and anger as No voting Scots see the ‘federal powers’ Brown wittered on about, going down the plug hole in an inept Smith Commission homeopathic style dilution of the cobbled together ‘Vow’ where power does not actually exist, only the idea of a power.

    Gerry Adam’s put Cameron’s attempt to bribe Northern Ireland with its own money this week as such a ‘pathetic piece of empty politicking as I have heard in a long time’ which sums up Westminster pretty accurately where ever you are in the UK.

  • HenBroon

    Some of your readers are unaware that it has been SNP policy to not vote on English only policy for a number of years. As it has been not to allow SNP politicians to become Lords and snuffle at that trough.

    The thought of Alex Salmond back in Westminster with over 40 SNP MPs fill me with joy. Shiver have been seen running round Westminster looking for spines to run up. Scotlands independence is now inevitable.

    “The impact of removing Scottish MPs from the records of historic Commons divisions is also estimated. Of approximately 3,600 divisions to occur between 26th June 2001 and 26 September 2014, 22 (0.6%) would have concluded differently had the votes of Scottish MPs not been counted.

    The note also compares, for each division since 2001, the lobby in which the majority of MPs per constituent country of the UK have voted to the lobby in which the majority of UK MPs voted.

    In the current Parliament the lobby in which the majority of English MPs have voted has coincided with that of the majority of UK MPs for 99% of divisions. The majority of Scottish MPs has coincided with the majority of UK MPs for 24% of divisions; that of Welsh MPs for 26% of divisions.”

    http://www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/SN07048/england-scotland-wales-mps-voting-in-the-house-of-commons

  • John Andrews

    As with a failed marriage, the English should politely ask the Scots to leave. They can have the Euro, mass immigration and massive debts from over-spending on social services. England will need good border controls, perhaps like the US-Mexican border.
    The Scots should also remember why the marriage is failing: they hate the ‘Bloody Sassenachs’. They never forget Bannochburn or Flodden. You find this hatred on SNP-supporting websites. I knew it as a child in Scotland. My Glaswegian father-in-law’s company moved him to Southampton. He was brought up to hate the English but amazed that, because he was Scots, he was far more popular in England than ever he had been in Glasgow.
    If Scotland gets another referendum, the English must hold a simultaneous referendum on English independence. Many English people don’t want to subsidise whinging meanies. Nor do they like having to pay fees for university places which other Europeans can have for free.
    As a great man declared, on another subject ‘Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!’ (Oliver Cromwell 20th April 1653.)

  • Donna

    Surprisingly a lot of English men have moved/migrated to Scotland. Just shows how beautiful of a country Scotland is. 🙂
    And by English men they love staying in Scotland probably more than living in England.

  • mikewaller

    Given what has happened to oil, it is clear that Scotland has just had a very narrow squeak. To demonstrate their appreciation of this, could not the SNP just shut up for a bit and give us all a rest? I feel physically nauseous whenever Martin McGuinness and his fellow murderers come on the air saying that they need more of our money because, for some unaccountable reason, NI did not do so well as did other parts of the UK in the latter part of the 20th century. Continuing to get endless self-serving nonsense from Scotland really will be the last straw.

  • mixodorians

    If I was Salmond and the SNP I would happily create holy hell in Westminster. If the only way Scotland can be free of the English is by upsetting all the nasty faced, permanently resentful, mean spirited knuckle-dragging English supremacist morons in England then you go fella.

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