Hugo Rifkind

The real threat to Britain (and it’s not the SNP)

21 March 2015

9:00 AM

21 March 2015

9:00 AM

What a load of mendacious balls everybody talks about Scotland. It’s like a disease. It’s like, you know how they say Ebola probably started in some festering bat cave in Guinea? Well, the referendum campaign was that cave. We had secret oilfields and fantasies about the NHS and endless guff about austerity being done for evil Tory fun, and the VOW the VOW and, dear God, the relief when it ended. Only it didn’t end. Instead it spread. And it set the tone.

People talk now, for example, about an SNP/Labour coalition. As though this would make sense, when they must know it wouldn’t at all. As though Ed Miliband would even fit in Alex Salmond’s pocket, and Salmond (or Nicola Sturgeon, but only Scottish people talk about her) would want him there. As though these were two parties which somehow had aims in common. Only they don’t, do they? Sure, they both veer to the left, but in utterly different ways.

For Labour, it’s because that’s what they are; why they get up in the morning; what it says on the tin; no further questions required. For SNP, it’s more of a strategy. It’s the haircut you have not because it’s getting in your eyes but because you’re going on the pull. This is the party, remember, that the middle classes used to vote for in Scotland, in lieu of effective Tories, to keep Labour out. That whole ‘Ooh, we’re the proud cheerleaders of an avowedly socialist nation!’ routine seems impregnable now, but it only really started during the referendum campaign, and as a quite transparent ruse to woo Labour voters. Sure, they’d been offering free university tuition and opposing prescription charges and suchlike before, but that was straightforward electoral bribery. Bluntly, and much as they may deny it, it’s not a burning passion to go left which has led the SNP to champion independence. Rather, it is a burning passion for independence which has led the SNP to go left. That much should be obvious.


So why would they go into coalition with Labour? If home rule is the aim (and it is), and faux-leftism is the strategy to get there (and it also is, plainly, even if you’d dispute the ‘faux’ bit), why would you want to join a government that showed you could go left within the status quo? And likewise, why would Labour want to go into coalition with the SNP? It would be a frank admission of their own obsolescence in Scotland. Indeed, the more home rule they allowed, the more obsolete Labour would become.

At heart, this is where English Labour unionism comes from; a fear of being utterly up the spout without the Celtic fringe on hand to make up the numbers. I wish it were more than that, but I fear it is not. Find me a Labour unionist who would still be one if Scotland voted Tory, and I’ll find you a person in Scotland who still finds that Tories/pandas joke funny. That is to say, I won’t, and nor will you.

Which is a step up from English Conservative unionism, because that suddenly seems to be nothing at all. Yes, your English Tory will talk the unionist talk, but press him on it — I am belatedly realising — and you will discover that the only Union they’re really interested in is one that has no impact upon them whatsoever. Remember all those decades when there was a Tory PM and almost no Scottish Tory MPs? Remember the way they’d shrug and explain that this was just how a Union works, and that the reverse could as easily be true? Call me a mug, but I actually thought they meant it. They don’t want a partner, these people, but a pet. Indeed, they don’t even want a pet but maybe a Tamagotchi. One you can turn off and leave in a drawer. Which is why, secretly, the Tories are rooting for the SNP and the SNP are rooting for the Tories. Because, unlike with Labour, the SNP and the Conservatives really do have the same big aim: to bring about a time, as soon as possible, where Scotland and England leave each other the hell alone.

So this is where we are. We have Labour being called Tories in Scotland, and the SNP being called Labour in England. We have Tories abandoning unionism for their own self-interest (while pretending they haven’t) and Labour cleaving to it for theirs (while pretending they aren’t). We have the SNP casting coy, come-hither looks at a coalition with Labour, even though they wouldn’t enter one and wouldn’t even be asked to, and are secretly on the same page as the Conservatives anyway. Although not the Scottish Conservatives, who are on another page altogether.

And on the bleak days — which are frequent — I think back to the shivering relief of that bleary, hungover morning in September. Remember? When it looked, at last, as though the people who wanted to break Britain had been sent hamewards tae think again? Suddenly it feels like they were the wrong enemy altogether. It is not the SNP who are the real threat to Britain, for all their swift and startling resurgence. It’s their secret English allies, who are many and various and were hiding in plain sight. And they pretend to oppose the Scottish separatists, and the Scottish separatists pretend to oppose them, but both are giggling behind the backs of their hands. They’re the ones to watch out for. Because they’re just getting started.

Hugo Rifkind is a writer for the Times.

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Show comments
  • Andrew Morton

    Hooray!

  • JonBW

    So maybe the conclusion we should draw is simply that the Union doesn’t make sense for anybody, Left or Right, English or Scots?

    • FOARP

      So vote for independence for a left-wing Scotland (that won’t really be independent, prosperous, or left wing)?

      No, I’m a unionist if I’m anything, before being right-wing, before being pro-or-anti EU, before taking any view on Israel Palestine or whatever the issue du jour happens to be. The fact that the union is good for Scotland, good for England, good for Wales, good even for Northern Ireland, can be seen from the macro-economic stats seen today, and the prosperity and freedom we have built up over centuries before.

      People can talk about independence being inevitable, about how no party has a real strategy on it. They said the same about the UK joining the Euro – remember? Ten years after polling showed 70%+ people thought it would happen (even though they didn’t want it) it still hasn’t happened, and likely never will. It didn’t happen because the sensible weight of opinion ruled it out time and time again, and the same will happen to the Scottish independence.

      The SNP right now are riding a parabola not unlike the one that BQ rode in Canada after the referendum in Quebec. BQ, of course, eventually got wiped out in the last general election, and Quebec independence is as far off as ever.

      • The Bogle

        The BQ being the PQ being the Parti Québecois.
        The point, though, about the PQ is that it never goes away and by threatening to leave the Confederacy secures extra privileges from Canada’s central government.
        That is what the SNP has done. Look at how the British government suddenly promised Scotland all manner of things when, one week before the Referendum on Scottish independence, it looked as it the Yes camp would triumph.
        Blair’s strategy, based on advice from some Scottish MPs, that devolution will kill off nationalism in Scotland at a stroke backfired and Home Rule for Scotland is becoming ever more of a reality.

        • FOARP

          BQ is Bloc Quebecois, as you ought to know if you knew anything about Canadian politics. PQ is the provincial party, not the one that competes at a national level.

          • The Bogle

            Thanks for this clarification. I stand corrected.
            However, you have not commented on whether the BQ’s tactic wins it concessions from central government.

          • FOARP

            It did – until it didn’t. Then they got wiped out in Quebec by a federalist party, and no-longer even have enough seats to qualify as an official national party.

            There’s nothing wrong with making concessions to keep the show on the road – that’s what politics is all about. Happily for Canada, people in Quebec got to the point where no further concessions were needed, nor could any mileage be made by trying to play Quebec off against the rest of Canada. This, of course, after a near-death experience where Canada came within a razor-thin difference in voting.

            By contrast, we’ve just been through a vote where independence was defeated by a 55-45 split (actually closer to an 11% difference than a 10% one due to rounding). Our union is sound, nor can the SNP simply bounce Scotland into independence off the back of the upcoming election results now that they’ve conceded that a referendum was required to do so and that the results will last a generation.

          • The Bogle

            Thank you for all your comments and observations. My knowledge of Canadian politics is significantly enlarged.

            The prospect of an independent Quebec is surely alarming given that it would divide the east of Canada from the west, among other things.

            I suspect that the SNP in the UK will continue to wring concessions from central government and make an even deeper form of Home Rule a reality. Can a parliament for England then be far behind? Perhaps a federation of the four ‘nations’ will become inevitable. Yours works, so perhaps ours would too.

      • JonBW

        I’m English, and I do not want to be part of the UK anymore; I don’t believe that it has any net benefits economically, and since devolution, it is not defensible constitutionally.

        I like the Scots, Welsh and Irish, but I want the same constitutional relationship with them as nations that we have with any other country, i.e sovereign independence.

        We (the English) do not get a say in the future of the Union, and we should.

        • FOARP

          Having a say in the future of the union is not the same as leaving. Why this is even needs to be stated is beyond me, but the SNP seem to have managed to make a bizarre equivalence between the two.

        • Bo Williams

          The English get a say in the future of the Union at every general election. If they don’t want to be part of the United Kingdom vote for English independence parties. The fact that virtually nobody does clearly implies most English people are happy to remain part of the United Kingdom.

          • Brian

            Thats because to all intents and purposes they believe they ARE the UK as could be seen in last weeks sickening anti scottish casual racism. The “don’t let the SNP intrude on English politics” So to those people they are already Independent it seems to me or the wouldn’t be fearing the SNP’s influence upsetting their hegemony

          • Bo Williams

            To be fair there was a heck of a lot of “casual racism” towards the English during the independence campaign. I distinctly remember John Prescott being told to “F___ off back to England.”

          • flippit

            And that’s nothing compared to what was said to Cameron, and David Bowie, & many others.

          • Barry Scarfe

            Although not directly connected to the referendum campaign it was also a sign of the types of people the SNP attract that one of them had a really disgraceful homophobic rant at the Tory leader who happens to be a lesbian.

          • SNP UPRISING

            1 adult in 40 in Scotland is a fully paid up member of the SNP…… This individual was immediately suspended, and will no doubt be expelled in due course.

            Within such a massive membership, more than twice that of UKIP & UK LIB-DEM combined , it would be very strange indeed if a homophobe could not be found.

            I’m quite sure within your chosen party there will be homophobes, sexists, xenophobia & racists……. and I’m sure like the SNP, your party will expel them as they find them…..unless it’s UKIP of course.

          • Brian

            EVERYTHINGS connected to the Rigerendum campaign ……..If your a unionist

          • Barry Scarfe

            Rigged? Are you sure? That is a very serious allegation to make. I know it must hurt to realize sensible Scots saw through the fake prospectus of Alex Salmond and company but it is something else to say that the majority on the day was not so and was actually a majority for the Yes side.

          • Brian

            That IS what I’m saying. The truth will eventually out. There is a report due out soon of an investigation carried out in a part of the country called Argyll and Bute. I’ve read it and its strong stuff. It wont change the result but it does make those Who didn’t believe the reult happy.

          • ProphetZero

            Well, I’m Scottish and I f**king love D Bowie
            so there!

          • Brian

            Patronisers everyone like most of the arrogance I read on here.

          • The Bogle

            And to think that Prescott was born in Wales.

          • Brian

            The old two wrongs make a right argument eh? Your only annoyed because he did what he was told

          • Barry Scarfe

            No one has a problem with people effectively wasting their votes and electing SNP MPs. That is their right. However, the problem arises when said party is blatantly sepraratist AND crucially wants to govern another part of the country that they don’t put-up candidates to stand for. SNP MPs are fine but their having a destructive influence in the governance of the United Kingdom IS NOT. If SNP MPs were to join the government not only would it be totally weird but the fact is their ministers SIMPLY COULDN’T BE TRUSTED to govern as the other ministers could BE TO GOVERN IN THE INTERESTS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AS A WHOLE.

          • SNP UPRISING

            It’s called democracy.

            Remember all that BETTER TOGETHER guff such as “SCOTLAND IS AN EQUAL AND VALUED MEMBER WITHIN THIS FAMILY OF NATIONS”.

            As a result of the unionist NO campaign Scotland is stuck together with the UK within OUR westminster parliament , at least for now.

            Scottish independence is coming, but in the meantime this is how things will continue to work in our so called “family of nations”.

          • Brian

            What your saying is that a supporter of Independence for Scotland like me is unable to participate in governing the UK? Unfortunately I guess its ok if I go on one of your wars and die though eh? Thank You sounds like the end of the union to me well done I’ve been fighting for freedom for my country for years and you come up with the solution in minutes. We mustn’t have any more of this weirdness so will UDI do?

          • Barry Scarfe

            You can elect whoever you want to support. However, the British government should be composed of parties committed to improving the country for ALL parts of it. I seriously doubt if we had SNP ministers or SNP MPs propping-up a Labour government that they would just drop the philosophy of a lifetime and all of a sudden commit to supporting government policies designed to improve the ENTIRE country. In short, SNP ministers and MPs would cause as much trouble as they humanely could for the rest of the country in the aim of getting the rest of the country to tell you to leave.

          • Barry Scarfe

            UDI would be plainly illegal and contrary to the sovereign will of the Scottish people expressed on September the 18th last year.

          • flippit

            That was the case maybe, it’s changing now.

          • JonBW

            Sorry, but that’s not true.
            It implies that no party with a realistic prospect of governing dares to allow the English a choce.

        • Brian

          We have many many english people like you living here in Scotland who don’t want the UK either. Which is why not only are they SNP voters, but they are some of the most committed SNP members and activists I know. T

          • Barry Scarfe

            We English are a funny nation at times. We probably have the word’s highest level of self-loathing and what you have just said is an all too typical example of it.

          • Brian

            Hahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

          • Barry Scarfe

            You obviously didn’t understand the point I was making. It’s called irony, dear!

          • A_N_Archic

            A significant number of you also enjoy being whipped by large ladies in leathers.

          • Englander10

            Self loathing is our main problem. The blame rests entirely with the useless education system run by anglophobic globalists.

          • margaret cliff

            I pray to God, Salmons loses, & does not lead Scotland down the muddy path with Salmonds Ego he is so full of hate for England,Thatcher, he lost the vote remember, he lied about the Oil, what does he care as long as he can destroy UK, my Scottish DNA is shaking , God forbid he alsomsy also destroy Scotland for his Ego, Brian (Alex) not sure who is who sounds the same whole nasty man

          • Dickybeau

            He doesn’t hate. He didn’t lie about oil. OBR used a price 10% below WP. DECC another government department used a price 10% above the WP. Were they lying? To make this about Salmond only shows your irrational hate. There is a significant support for independence right now in Scotland and Salmond, apart from the fact he isn’t the leader, hasn’t developed a machine fir mind control yet.

          • Jim Station

            And where do you get the figures to back up your claim about the OBR? The fact of the matter is that the SNP are trying to hoodwink Scotland into believing it can pay for everything according to made up oil reserves. Tragedy is that if enough people in Scotland are misled by these claims into voting yes, it the SNP tricksters will still have got their way even after their claims are proven to be utter rubbish. Scandalous!

          • Dickybeau

            Figures were quoted by Nicola Sturgeon at FMQ the other day. If they were false, the MSM would be all over them like a rash. But it is the kind of thing you can actually check for yourself without needing to be sceptical about my figures. You might find out what the OBR are using now since they seem rather cagey about it. Having said that, have they EVER had a correct projection on anything? You might also want to look at the recent Fraser of Allander report on the growth of the Scottish Economy despite oil price drop. Lastly, it looks like £12bn of the £30bn cuts announced by the chancellor are likely to fall on Scotland. I wonder how many pennies on tax that will equate to. (Except it doesn’t as that’s just project fear kicking up another gear)https://archive.today/yM02B fraser of Allander as reported by the unionist beeb.

          • Brian

            Scotland could pay for a great many things just by getting VAT to the Scottish treasury instead of Gideon syphoning it to Whitehall. Last year some £11 billion I believe. Gers figures do NOT include Whisky Duty that is allocated to England £3.5 billion last year for Whisky exported from English ports ( Scotland was allocated £500 million from Scottish Ports) So England is the Worlds biggest Scotch Whisky producer LOL You couldn’t make it up. There is a host of smaller little gems that have been carved up for England by Del Boy presumably. For instance the 7,000 square miles of Scottish sea that means the proceeds of approx 8 oil platforms goes to the english figures. Are you getting a pattern of duplicity here? And its been going on for 307 years.

          • Helen N

            Brian can you please supply evidence of what you have just written that does not come from a pro-Independence blog. Much appreciated.

          • Brian

            cheeky bastard

          • Brian

            Scotlands GDP without oil is slightly lower than the rUK by a percent here or there. However with the proper share of oil we would be entitled to under International Law, The GDP is something like 20% higher than rUK. Oil prices are low but could be $200 a barrel by next year. These things have always been cyclical

          • Helen N

            No it won’t be $200 per barrel by next year because Iraq is back in production, Saudi Arabia is maintaining production levels, the US fracking technology leap has substantially decreased costs and widened exploration, etc etc etc so this means there is a huge surplus in the market so basic economics tells you that the price will stay low.
            As for dragging up points made in the discredited White Paper about how Scotland’s GDP per head is a bit less than the real GDP so oil is just a bonus, yes that is where the quotes come from, firstly International Law says nothing about whose Oil it is (well the tax revenues since it is the licenced drillers’ oil) so don’t make pronouncements about the unknown.
            You are filling your head with fantasy economics. It is like spending your first pay cheque of a job you never actually get employed in. Purposeless, but incredibly depressing.

          • Brian

            Helen N defender of truth? If anything I have said has depressed you I am DELIGHTED. Discredited white paper?Discredited by whom? YOU? the OBR? IFS? the British Civil service? the Bank of England? the BBC? or was it some other kiddy on paragon of virtue like Standard life (whose boards incompetence cost me upwards of 10 g’s) RBS Lloyd’s. Corrupt scumbags every one. I’m not a socialist but if ever I became one look to those lot for a goodly part of my motivation. In any case I never even opened my copy I gave it away to a friend and most impressed they were too. That impressed they voted YES like the majority of Scots did in the rigerendum.
            You say Oil WON’T be $200 a barrel? You have no more idea than anyone else. FRACKING???? now I know your nuts. States in the US are busy shutting it down yet its gonna be a game changer for Helen eh? International law WILL say whose oil it is although my wee country would be scrapping with perfidious Albion your corrupt country won’t get away with anything. Despite some traitorous Scots giving 7,000 square miles of our seabed away you can hardly say the Oil is in English waters after all SCOTLAND IS NOT A PART OF ENGLAND and as long as their is breath in my body I’ll FIGHT you for it. You shouldn’t have fought to keep us. it will all end in tears your depressed already and you ain’t seen nothing yet.

          • Helen N

            And ladies and gentlemen, Brian here is a prime example of why one must never drink and surf! LOL!

          • Brian

            Ah sorry I missed this earlier. Beaten by argument fall back on abuse and ridicule. Now where have I seen that before oh I know from traitorous Nawbags for the last two years. Looks like the AYES have it eh judging by the Election results. Loads of people (even world renowned economists) getting taken in by fantasy economics. Oh I know lets call them a cult say the Helen N ‘s of this world. Me? In reply I’d call you a cnut.

          • Mccuaig William

            Donald Dewar and Tony Blair changed the internal sea boundary placing the boundary between Scotland and England all the way up to Carnoustie they could mess around with the internal border as Scotland is a member of the UK this change captured some of Scotland’s oil Platforms They then opened another account called an exregio account to put the revenues from those stolen oil platforms it to it the Scottish people would then think that they were earning less from Nothsea revenues it was a con job When Scotland achieves independence those boundaries must change back to their original position by International Law, Maratime Law, UN and EU law

          • Helen N

            He lied about the oil reserves and inflated the price of Brent Crude to make Scotland appear as though it could increase spending without increasing taxation. Stop trying to be revisionist over the Yes Campaign’s falsehoods.

          • Dickybeau

            Not true. He used a figure used by tthe oil and gas industry. The Department of energy and climate control was using a HIGHER figure. Were they lying? Stop tripping out falsehoods and face the facts. We’re they all wrong? Yes. Even the UK government figure was significantly out.

          • Dickybeau

            He didn’t lie about the price of Brent crude. He used a verifiable industry figure that is referenced in the White Paper. You can check the source. You are the revisionist here

          • Helen N

            A simple google search will reveal that every time the SNP/Scottish Executive produce oil price and production estimates they are universally criticised as being overly optimistic. I was glancing through some just now and say that the SNP had been claiming oil revenue was a “vital part of the Scottish Economy”. That quote came from 2013. So interesting how now Nicola thinks that it is just short change LOL. Not important at all! Oh the joys of being in the SNP! Just winging it day after day!

          • bluebrazil

            Margaret, this is something new for you. . There. That dot before the word “there” Is a full stop. Useful if you don’t want to sound too demented in your contributions.

          • A_N_Archic

            They should vacate ancestral lands that their forebears pillaged, cashed in on or obtained by other sketchy means. Something offensive about Scottish heritage homes and lands being owned and operated by uncoordinated nobs who sound like Oxbridge types with a lisp.

          • Mc

            A genuine serious question: why does there seem to be a disproportionate number of lisping English compared to other countries? Is it a genetic speech defect or a specific English accent?

          • Englander10

            Brian

            We have Scottish and Irish members of the English Democrats too.

          • Brian

            Delighted to hear it. Englander10. If I lived in England I would join them too. If there’s one thing Scotland and England have in common it’s a need to get rid of the Labour Red tories and the Conservative blue tories and their ridiculous hegemony that has brought the UK to the brink of bankruptcy with a debt of £1.7 trillion.

          • Englander10

            Totally agree Brian. I had the pleasure of voting SNP when I lived in Scotland. I found many unionists Labour and Tory supporters were anglophobic! What I learnt about the Scotland UN Committee was amazing. Well done.

        • Gordon Cuthbertson

          “We (the English) do not get a say in the future of the Union, and we should.” That is the biggest load of tosh I have read on this whole issue and I have read a lot

          • Barry Scarfe

            No, it isn’t. So far we have been denied ANY referendum to decide how we wish to be governed yet you have had one on devolution which affected us and also one on complete separation.

          • Gordon Cuthbertson

            Several parts of England were offered devolution and rejected it sometime ago. The matter of devolution to Scotland affecting England is to say the least unclear. If you mean the “West Lothian Question ” I agree that Scottish mps should not be able to vote on issues which do not affect Scotland. This could be resolved by creating an English parliament or changing the rules at Westminster, something mps have shown little enthusiasm for till very recently.

          • Brian

            Barry you haven’t been “Denied” DEAR You’ve never asked or campaigned for one. Or won an election like the SNP did with an Independence Referendum in its manifesto. Thats that odd thing, perhaps not recognised in Engerlund DEMOCRACY

          • JonBW

            Why?

            Because we’ve had a referendum in which English voters have had a chance to give their assent to the Union? If so, I missed it.

            Or because we don’t deserve one? Which would go against evey principle of self-determination and democracy.

          • ProphetZero

            Because WESTMINSTER is and always will be the English Parliament
            The Northerners don’t even care that they are marginalised

            They’re English after all.
            But Scotland always will.

          • Englander10

            No Wastemonster is the BRITISH Parliament

          • ProphetZero

            Er, no it’s not
            84% and all that.
            I’ll be more specific even
            WM is the Parliament of SOUTH EAST England.

      • Chic Thomson

        “The SNP right now are riding a parabola not unlike the one that BQ rode
        in Canada after the referendum in Quebec. BQ, of course, eventually got
        wiped out in the last general election, and Quebec independence is as
        far off as ever.”

        Or like the parabola that Sinn Fein rode in 1918 when they won nearly all the seats in Ireland and then ….

        …oh wait…

        … never mind, forget it!

        • FOARP

          ” like the parabola that Sinn Fein rode in 1918 when they won nearly all the seats in Ireland and then . . .”

          Go on. Finish it: “. . . . tore Ireland apart with a destructive civil war killing thousands, then spent decades in the political wilderness in a country which suffered disasterous political, economic, and social stagnation”

          • Chic Thomson

            … and still there’s no organisation in Ireland agitating to rejoin the UK as far as I am aware.

          • FOARP

            Because once you tear a country apart with civil war, the chunks that remain cannot easily be fit back together. The side of Irish politics hat wanted to stay part of the UK, on the other hand, did.

            Again, is that really what you want? Scotland divided up?

          • margaret cliff

            Ireland was entangled with religion & politics’Scotland,Salmon’s Ego at all cost he will destroy Great Britain,hindsight the oil Scotland would have been bankrupt Salmon knew oil prices deflat & oil in Scotland had problems to expensive,there day gone but Salmon only saw his dream & at all costs drove on, 1,0000’s of jobs will go if Trident goes plus oil jobs, still Salmon will drive on, themes of the guy who fiddled while ? …God help Scotland ,my great grandparents who left to live in England for z better life, will be turning in their graves, if Salmon wins, Lab our has an egosentis leader who needs help to win, God help us All.

          • Brian

            Go on have another try at the Former first ministers name its SALMOND. Your spelling fits in well with the gibberish you wrote though.

          • margaret cliff

            Brian, Salmon are very slipply fish, possible I’m too intellectual for you to understand?!

          • Brian

            You sound it Margaret lol

          • Brian

            Ireland was already divided up by the anti catholic settlements then by encouraging the fanaticism called the Orange Order. England had a civil war and managed ok with the chunks. Or is it just civil wars that suit your argument you want?

          • flippit

            No, because half of it is still already in.

          • Barry Scarfe

            There are quite a few people in the Republic who DO wish to rejoin the United Kingdom if only because that is the only realistic way of achieving Irish unity.

          • Jambo25

            I get the feeling that that’s the scenario that most Unionists would want rather than the scenario that actually faces them.

          • Alasdair Allan

            Sinn Fein didn’t cause the war in Ireland – Unionists did. It was Unionists who were unwilling to accept the will of the whole island and demanded a separate artificial state.

          • Bo Williams

            Sometimes when you start trying to dismantle a union, that has last for over 300 years, against the wishes of nearly half the population it doesn’t matter who caused the war.

          • Barry Scarfe

            Sinn Fein never won the majority of the votes.

          • Brian

            The IRA were stoned by the Dublin people in the Easter rising in 1916 6 years later the country was Independent. I don’t think it will even take another 6 years for Scotland now.

          • Barry Scarfe

            Yes, I know that is what happened in 1916 but the general election result in Ireland in 1918 was an UNEARNT victory for Sinn Fein because though they did win the vast majority of the seats (apart from in what is now NI) they DIDN’T (as far as I know) win the MAJORITY of votes. Thus, the electoral result of that year was caused by the archaic nonsense of First Past The Post. There would have to be another explicit referendum and with a Yes vote to create a new state and Mr Salmond and company no less promised whatever the result was on September 18th 2014 the result would stand for a generation or more. Only Westminster has the power to enable Holyrood to call one. Holyrood has NO inherent sovereignty of its own as it is a DEVOLVED parliament OF Westminster and was created by an ordinary act of parliament which can be changed or repealed at anytime.

          • Stephen

            “UNEARNT victory for Sinn Fein because though they did win the vast majority of the seats (apart from in what is now NI) they DIDN’T (as far as I know) win the MAJORITY of votes”

            You should be ashamed of such an appalling ignorance of the British Constitution. It looks like your abject ignorance is not confined to Irish history.

          • Tom Allalone

            Sinn Fein won 46.9% of the vote Islandwide – but 25 seats were won by them uncontested (because they were in Sinn Fein strongholds) Add in this factor and, even on a conservative estimate, Sinn Fein would have won about 53% of the vote.

            http://www.ark.ac.uk/elections/h1918.htm

            No sensible historian doubts that Sinn Fein had majority support amongst Ireland’s electors in1918, but feel free to believe complete nonsense if it makes you feel happier

          • Barry Scarfe

            Certainly, it is entirely true that the SNP has ONLY ONE REAL PURPOSE TO EXIST which is to smash-up the United Kingdom by any means possible and if that harms Scots in the process then that is a price they are entirely willing to pay.

          • Brian

            Barry you do go overboard with the shouty rhetoric. Smash up the UK indeed. The UK will still exist with Scottish Independence at least until the Bailiffs move in. Scotland should never have been joined in union with a Nation that had tried to subjugate it for centuries previous anyway. It would have been like Angela Merkel paying the Bullingdon boys to encorporated Britain into the German state. It couldn’t happen now but it was different then. Had they had a Referendum in 1707 then it would have been flung out. Believe me when I say this, the Union is OVER the only debate is when. Just imagine Scotland England Wales all running their own affairs whats not to like. You get rid of a Nation of Subsidy junkies called Scotland and Scotland gets rid of the biggest drain on our resources called England win win eh? LOL

          • Barry Scarfe

            If the Union is over why did the MAJORITY vote for it be retained then? There is no need to break-up this country. Having completely separate states on this tiny rock off the coast of Europe is pointless. Anyway, Mr Salmond didn’t want REAL independence because he wanted ‘independence’ in the EU and wanted to SHARE a currency with the country he proposed to break-up. In other words, he wanted the BENEFITS of the United Kingdom like a shared currency BUT NOT THE RESPONSIBILITIES that go with it ie a degree of political and economic union.

          • SNP UPRISING

            The Republic of Ireland is rightfully an independent country, and shame on you for suggesting otherwise.

          • Brian

            Absolutely. Theres NO country who gained its Independence from the British Empire that ever asked to come back either. I think I’m right in saying theres only 22 countries in the whole world who haven’t been invaded under the Butchers Apron. Does that make anyone feel proud?

          • SNP UPRISING

            Well said Brian.. HH.

          • Stephen

            You don’t know much about Irish history. The Civil,War came after the War of Independence, which Sinn Fein won. Partition from the North brought about civil war.

        • flippit

          Yes and look what happened there. Ireland was split in two. Be very careful what you wish for. A lot of SNP supporters still having a go at the no supporters, not to say one day it doesn’t go very nasty.

          • JohnnyD

            Like, maybe another egg gets thrown…

          • Sandilius

            Hm, yes. I can just see me picking up a claymore and thwacking my boyfriend’s Dad over the head with it. Not sure where we’d go for Christmas in the following years, though.

            Think you’re maybe confusing us with something or someone else…

          • Barry Scarfe

            Sadly, it probably will. It’s time the security services took a close interest in this dangerous and very fanatical party. Look at the types of people it attracts! Only the other day, an SNP supporter tweeted an extremely vile and hurtful homophobic tweet to the lesbian leader of the Tories Ruth Davidson. That is the sort of pondlife the SNP has amongst its members and supporters.

          • ProphetZero

            I hope to goodness you are not a UKIPer
            lol

          • Barry Scarfe

            No, I am not. I am too sensible for them.

          • SNP UPRISING

            For once you are right Barry, this individual was indeed “pond life”.

            But then with such a massive SNP party membership of 100,000+ and rising ( that equate to 1/40th of the adult population of Scotland ) the occasional homophobe will slip through the net.

            The SNP of course immediately suspended this individual, and will expel him in due course, as would be expected of such a tolerant, inclusive and progressive party.

      • Paul

        If you compare a country to a human being, then most people can see that you need a certain amount of money to be happy but beyond that other factors come in. That’s why Better together was so uninspiring, money was all they could offer.

      • Englander10

        The UK will only work when England is allowed its own National Parliament. Unfortunately none of the lib lab con will allow it.

  • littleted

    The article begs the question that the Scots are rational towards England.

    They aren’t. And won’t be for generations yet.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      A short reading of Speccy articles confirms definitely any suspicion that the English are not rational towards Scotland. So maybe we need a better understanding on both sides.

      • Callipygian

        I don’t think so. The English think the UK makes sense even though the Scots are like loud babies squalling in the night. The Scots think they are hard-done-by. Where’s the equivalence?

        • AtMyDeskToday

          Put your ignorant prejudices aside and read more and you will gain a valuable insight into exactly what I mean.

        • Wessex Man

          Don’t presume to speak for me or mine or the very many English people I have spoken to, we would be ecstatic to see the break-up of this Union into four seperate entities!

          • Callipygian

            Fair enough.

  • AtMyDeskToday

    As a point of argument this is certainly a big improvement on the junk that Alex Massie writes.

  • smilingvulture

    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

    After May 7th Westminster will be asked the question

  • Molly NooNar

    This is depressingly stupid. It amazes me how people don’t see why Scots are irked and joining the SNP (and abandoning Labour). It isn’t because Scots want independence (though they do want more devolution), it is because they cannot get their interests expressed or represented by Labour. It is because they are sick of being dictated to by Tories in Westminster that they didn’t vote for. It’s very simple. The SNP are a product of the voting system that dominates, the First Past the Post system. If the UK had more representative governments elected and wasn’t so obsessed with hoarding power in Westminster and among a small number of political parties, the SNP would be representative of a relatively small minority in Scotland.

    The answer is to go to proportional representation and to dissolve the national administrations and to hand full power of all local matters to all of the county councils in the UK to determine all of their own needs. Give them the power to make laws, like states in the USA under a proper federal government. Westminster then would only deal with national and international issues.

    • The Bogle

      Unlike Westminster with its first-past-the-post system of winner takes all, a mixed electoral system that in part included proportional representation was put in place at Holyrood to prevent the dominance of one party. Despite this, the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) gained an overall majority in the 2011 election and pressed ahead with holding a referendum for Scottish independence in September 2014.

      • Molly NooNar

        You’re right up to a point, but I would still suggest that PR is a relatively young system and of course, it is operating in a place where the established media still ignore new comers (new political parties) in favour of the old guard. The same is true in the UK, for example, were Ofcom rejected giving the Green’s a place in the TV debates or recognising it as a major party (despite it being the 3rd largest political party in England and Wales) to present party political broadcasts and so on. The regulators and the countries institutions are firmly opposed to change and to shaking up the status quo.

        But perhaps you are right, changing the voting system alone may not necessarily produce the representative governments some people think it might.

        • The Bogle

          The irony was that the SNP won in 2011 despite the voting system, not because of it, yet it was as if tactical voting was at stake and not conviction voting. In May will Scottish Tories vote Labour to keep down the SNP surge, as James Forsyth hinted two or so weeks ago?
          Inasmuch as the present government is a coalition one and the next one seems likely to be, you may find that people will shift away from the two major parties and coalitions become the norm. In which case, would PR follow, as you hope?

          • Chris McLaughlin

            “The irony was that the SNP won in 2011 despite the voting system, not because of it”. This is a regularly repeated error, the electoral system benefited the SNP in 2011, rather than hindering it.

            In the “Scottish Constitutional Convention” (i.e. Labour/Liberal stitch-up) which conceived the workings of the Scots parliament the LibDems of course wanted PR elections so they could always be a kingmaker in coalitions and so in government for ever. The Labour party wanted first past the post (or disproportional representation as I prefer to call it) as they thought that would keep them as the majority party in government for ever. In the end there was a compromise and the majority of seats would be disproportional representation, with a PR bit as well to even out the worst of the FPTP anomalies.

            Basically disproportional representation works against you if you have less than 35% of the vote, but once you get over 35% it works very much for you. In the days when the SNP polled 25% disproportional representation hurt them, but once they broke through they could secure 53% of the seats in 2011 on the strength of only 45% of the vote.

            If you look at the disproportional representation component, the SNP won 75% of the FPTP seats on 45% of the vote, going from 21 to 53 seats. In the proportional part of the election, which is supposed to correct imbalances from the FPTP section, they won only 13% of seats despite winning 44% of the vote and dropped from 25 seats to 16.

            Had the entire election been completely FPTP the SNP landslide would have been even greater, and if the election had been entirely PR they would have only managed to become the largest minority party. The SNP didn’t win “in spite” of the voting system they won because of it, because more than half the election is contested under disproportional representation rules.

          • The Bogle

            Thank you for taking the time to explain this.
            There is presumably no likelihood that a fully PR system could be introduced at Holyrood, is there? If so, that would, barring a freak majority vote for one party, ensure permanent coalitions at Holyrood, would it not?

          • Chris McLaughlin

            Total PR is unlikely, the elections to Holyrood are conducted under the terms of the Scotland Act, which is a piece of Westminster legislation and would require a Westminster government to amend. There probably would be a majority in Holyrood for completely PR elections. The SNP are historically pro-PR, but now they are the biggest party in the land would have the most to lose. All the other parties would stand to gain from PR, even the Tories and now Labour who are both traditionally opposed but who now both face the reality of minor party status in Scotland.

            Complete PR would probably make coalitions certain for ever, but some recent polls have put the SNP over 50%.

          • The Bogle

            Thank you.
            It will be interesting to see whether from the next general election onwards, coalitions will be the form of future British governments despite FPTP.
            If Scotland were to continue to gain more powers, is it possible that it might ask for an amendment of the above Westminster legislation in favour of PR; perhaps in the teeth of opposition from the SNP? (Now that would be ironic.)
            Assuming Scotland were to gain her independence – a huge supposition – would the SNP disappear overnight as its goal would have been achieved.

          • Chris McLaughlin

            Holyrood might ask for PR, all Scottish council elections use single transferable vote, so it’s not out of the question. But I’m not sure it’s a major priority for the SNP, who as I have said, don’t really need it any more.

            Before the referendum I heard people say they would vote “No” because they hated the SNP. I replied that the SNP would be far less likely to survie a “Yes” vote than a “No” one. The caricature of the SNP as loony lefties which is so common in the English press is utterly uninformed.

            The SNP membership and vote is admittedly broadly centre-left, more left than UK Labour for sure, but not far left, not Trotskyist. In fact the SNP has historically realized that one of the biggest road-blocks to independence is the under-performance of the Scottish economy. They are arguably the most pro-business party in Scotland today. Within the activist base the party definitely leans left, especially among the younger members who are so numerous. However within the party you will find everything under the sun from the free-market, centre-right so-called “tartan tories” Scottish Labourites get so exorcised about, all the way to old-fashioned Bolshevist trade unionists. The English media seem completely unaware of the fact that the party’s origins lie in part in a break-away faction from the Cathcart Unionist (i.e. Conservative) party in Glasgow. The SNP are a disparate group bound together around the independence question, in the event of actual independence there is no more reason for this slightly artificial unity, and no more need for the SNP. I suspect the party would either fade away entirely or the more rightist tendency would leave to form new patriotic Scottish conservative party.

          • AtMyDeskToday

            Good post! I’m a firm liberal on private and personal matters, but to the right of the Conservative party on just about everything else (OK, I don’t understand their vile fixation with going back to tearing foxes apart). I’m also a fully paid up SNP member that voted yes and will do again given the chance. I had exactly this discussion with a senior SNP activist and pointed out while voting SNP now, that post-indy my vote would switch to whatever Conservative alliance emerged. He was completely at ease with that, saying simply…at least it will be your Conservative party, made up of conservatives who have the interests of Scotland prime in their mind. Give me that any day.

          • Chris McLaughlin

            I’m a conservative too, but an SNP member since my teens. I was even convener of my local constituency party for a while. The English Conservative party of which Ruth Davidson leads the Scottish franchise is not a conservative party at all. It is an elitist regional nationalist party of the south east of England which cobfuses Thatchrtism for conservatism. It’s lunatic anti-Europeanism isn’t in any way conservative. Neither is a £27,000 tax on middle-class educational attainment.

          • The Bogle

            If I read your perceptive post correctly, I infer that as the SNP’s raison d’être is an independent Scotland, those for whom that is a desirable goal will support the SNP until it is achieved and then they can revert to their traditional parties.

            What I do not understand is why the SNP talks of an independent Scotland in Europe (i.e. the EU), when membership of that organisation means an ultimate loss of sovereignty and independence.

            What saddens me is how devolution has produced a sense of grievance among some in England who feel cheated by not having their own parliament and who have become hostile towards Scotland. This will only get worse is a future UK government does not resolve the West Lothian question.

            Should the Union not sunder, then perhaps a federation of the four ‘nations’ be preferable.

          • Chris McLaughlin

            “If I read your perceptive post correctly, I infer that as the SNP’s raison d’être is an independent Scotland, those for whom that is a desirable goal will support the SNP until it is achieved and then they can revert to their traditional parties.” – Exactly!

            As for Europe, it is the English Conservative party which is exceptional. Every mainstream centre-right grouping on the entire continent understands that free markets are good. And that the creation of the biggest single market in the history of mankind, allowing the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour is to be celebrated. It will help underpin the future prosperity which is necessary for freedom. The fact that the English conservative party is so exceptional and nationalistic in this regard is one of the reasons it fails so badly beyond England’s borders.

          • The Bogle

            The problem with the EU – it is not Europe – is that it aspires to become a united, federal political entity that requires its members to relinquish their sovereignty. It means exchanging Magna Carta for the Napoleonic Code.

            The euro, which Scotland would be obliged to join as an aspirant to EU membership, is an economic means to a political end. It should have been introduced after political union had been achieved, not before if it were to work successfully.

          • Chris McLaughlin

            I disagree, I think that’s al in your imagination. No-one gives a bleary-eyed f*ck about Magna Carta and most educated Europeans have never even heard of it. (It is also largely irrelevant to the legal history of Scotland by the way.)

            Poland hasn’t joined the Euro yet and that doesn’t look likely any time soon, so there’s no reason to imagine Scotland would. The core Euro group has bigger problems to worry about than new entrants. In any event, I am positively in favour of the Euro. A common means of exchange is the natural evolution of any common market and was the next logical step in the mid 90s when the idea was conceived. The Euro overall has been an enormous success which since its launch in 1999 has appreciated against the pound. The economic problems in southern Europe are less severe because of the Euro than they would have been otherwise.

          • The Bogle

            I was speaking symbolically and meant exchanging our legal system for a foreign one. Magna Carta is as much a symbol as the much vaunted Arbroath Declaration. I was disappointed by your recourse to foul language.
            The euro prior to political union is a bad idea. Outside the euro, which Greece and Italy should never been allowed to join (but the rules were bent out of political expediency,just as they were for Germany and France with the Growth and Stability Pact), the PIIGS countries could have devalued their own currencies and escaped the misery that plagues them. The high level of unemployment caused by euro membership is a curse in many EU member states.
            Within a politically united EU the euro could have been introduced and massive payments of money could have been transferred from the wealthy member states to the poorer ones.
            The euro has both appreciated and depreciated against the pound. Having our own currency is one major area of national sovereignty that the UK has preserved. Being part of a common market is a good thing, but being part of a federal superstate is not. The EU is not the USA, which has a common demos and the means to defend itself.
            The EU’s imperial dreams – Cameron foolishly spoke of a Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals – are a danger as we can see with its meddling in the affairs of Ukraine.

          • Chris McLaughlin

            Overall the long term trend from its beginning in 1999 until now is that the Euro has at least held its own against the pound, and until quite recently had substantially appreciated against it.

            The rules were bent for Greece and Italy, and then ignored when Germany and France were having their problems. I suspect that lesson has been learned, at least for the present generation.

            The idea Greece or Italy’s problems could be solved by currency devaluation doesn’t hold water. Devaluing your exports is only of benefit if your economy is export led, as then your exports become cheaper on foreign markets. However modern developed world economies generally don’t export very much. (There are exceptions such as Germany, South Korea, Japan.) Greece and Italy export very little so devaluation doesn’t help much. Also in a globalized economy imports become more expensive which drives inflation.

            This is one of the reasons why the argument that the single currency equates to a loss of sovereignty is bogus. Devaluation simply isn’t worth very much to an economy like the UK which exports very little. In fact we import so much such a policy may actuallly be harmful in an economic downturn. The UK’s biggest material export is North Sea oil and gas, which is traded in dollars anyway, so it makes no difference what currency the UK or an independent Scotland would use. Moreover the experience of Black Wednesday proves that governments the size of the UK simply do not possess the power to set the value of their currency. The wealth of the state is dwarfed by the power of the forex markets. There is very little sovereignty to give up with currency union, which is why the smart governments in Europe have decided to form a currency union and pool what remaining sovereignty they have.

          • Barry Scarfe

            I certainly hope we get PR not only because electoral outcomes should be determined by how much real support a party has and not, as at present, on how popular they are in particular places in the country but because having PR could help to bring the United Kingdom back together by reducing the dangerous electoral deserts which FPTP has created for the Tories in Scotland and for the Labour Party in large parts of Southern England.

            My favourite system is the one they have in Germany: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_system_of_Germany

        • paulus

          Funny enough I did support federalism in Scotland in order to avoid a vote , but what we have seen is the emergence of a spiteful,racist, homophobic party, where sectarianism has re emerged into a Nationalist guise.

          Pork barreling by the SNP has seen a 100million pound cut to the most deprived ares in Glasgow all because it voted Labour.. incredible , not since the Orange ascendency have we seen mainly catholic communities being excluded.

          Racists to the English, sectarian to Catholics and homophobic to decent people; Stories about old women being spat on and old a soldiers being manhandled by sturdy brutes for voting No, sounds nothing like a United Scotland.

      • Barry Scarfe

        Yes, it was but Holyrood’s system of PR is not as proportional as it should be and the reason why this is the case is because the list members are not equal to the number of MSPs elected in the constituencies and those list MPS are divided into regions. To change this, the number of MSPs elected on the lists needs to increase to match those in the constituencies and perhaps one or two regions should be done away with. The SNP got a majority BUT THEY DIDN’T EARN IT in that they only had 45% of the vote.

    • Jambo25

      Not going to work. There should certainly be far greater devolution away from London but the idea that it would be possible to abolish Holyrood and the SG is simply out of touch with reality. The answer will be a very loose federation or confederation of the home countries with a federal/confederal parliament to look after defence etc. Alternatively, it’ll be a full break up.

      • Molly NooNar

        Well, that’s only my opinion of what I think would work well for a federal government. It would be truly devo max and is the approach I would like to see happen in England certainly, rather than an English parliament.

        Scotland and Wales can keep their assemblies if they prefer them, but personally, county councils is the way I would go.

        • vieuxceps2

          But a federal system would mean a parliament for each of the four countries and the one in England wold be the English Parliament,the only one lacking at the moment.Welcome to that say I.

          • Molly NooNar

            It wouldn’t. The power to govern would transfer to the county councils in England under my idea (there would be no need for a national parliament in any country, except a UK one). In Scotland and Wales if they chose to keep their national assemblies, their county councils would remain exactly as they are now with the powers to govern given entirely to the national assembly to do with as they saw fit.

    • Brian

      Way to sensible though can’t have that. Had Lloyd George and co had the vision to do something similar in Ireland a hundred years ago I think this would have cured a lot of the ills that ultimately befell us all and caused many deaths. Federalism is also what Scotland was promised in the infamous “Vow” and it stands to reason if this isn’t forthcoming that there are grounds for a further referendum. Hopefully under the control of the Holyrood Parliament the next time which might prevent another rigged vote.

  • The Bogle

    “There’s ane end of ane auld sang,” declared Lord Chancellor Seafield to mark the Union of the English and Scottish Parliaments in 1707 and the end of Scotland’s
    sovereign independence. Reading Allan Massie’s pessimistic article (Divided
    we fall, 28/02/2015) and Hugo Rifkind’s above makes me ask: How long will it be before another Scot utters these words to mark the end of Westminster as we know it?

    • greggf

      Well the end of FPTP as an electoral system should be a lively topic after this next General Election, but changing it may only be possible by closing Westminster (and enable Scotland and England to leave each other the hell alone).
      York must be a better candidate for England’s parliament…

      • The Bogle

        York would be a good choice. However, if the UK were to survive Westminster could serve to administer British matters. However, perhaps London could become a city state in its own right independent of England.
        Then again, there is the EU’s master plan for a federal European superstate in which the UK becomes divided into 12 EU regions, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland preserving their territorial integrity and England being balkanised into nine regions.
        PR, as we know from voting in the EU elections, is the characteristic of those elections and some PR already exists at Holyrood.

  • Mc

    I’m afraid that after I had the misfortune to look at Rifkind’s extraordinarily childish tweets, I have even less time for his infantile, pseudo-intellectual articles.

  • dougthedug

    “…the SNP and the Conservatives really do have the same big aim: to bring about a time, as soon as possible, where Scotland and England leave each other the hell alone.”

    Hugo’s political insight as always leaves me stunned and the Conservatives in coalition with Labour in Scotland fighting shoulder to shoulder to stop Scotland leaving must obviously be a false memory.

    • FOARP

      The loneliness of the unionist is a strange phenomenon: there’s more of us, we have a referendum to prove it, but we don’t club together, wear stickers declaring ourselves to be members of the “55”, all join the same party etc. etc. I guess this is the only plausible explanation for why people might forget that, actually, we won, and actually, we’re the majority, even if we don’t all vote the same way.

      • Jambo25

        I think its that lots of No voters were ‘provisional’ or ‘contingent’ No voters. In other words voted No and will go on voting No up until independence starts to look as safe as continuing the Union. Then they’ll jump ship and vote Yes. I get the feeling that there aren’t all that many enthusiastic Unionists in Scotland now.

        • FOARP

          You mean they voted “no” based on demonstrable reasoning and not out of pure ideological reasons? Yes, if the union actually made things worse for Scotland then no doubt support for independence would be higher – but the fact is the union is good for Scotland.

          • Jambo25

            I’d say that a lot of people voted for safety first but without any liking or enthusiasm.

          • orkers

            You mean like a bed of nails or an incredibly prickly woolen onesie on a hot summers day?

          • Robert O’Riordan

            …and at the end of the day, a Yes, may be still be the best result all round which makes all the previous dire warnings of final cataclysm ring very hollow and appear cutely pathetic; I wonder how “they” will play any European Referendum. Is this becoming a less likely event just as an eventual fourth and perhaps even final Scottish Referendum appears to be increasingly likely…?

          • Barzini

            Without blanket media control (not a single pro-indy newspaper or TV channel) and a last minute government bribe (Devo-max), it would have been a Yes vote…..

          • Paul

            Why do you assume to know why over 2 million people voted the way they did? Do you have some special insight into the minds of all those voters the rest of us are not privileged enough to have?

          • Barzini

            You don’t think the fact that there wasn’t a single newspaper or TV channel in favour of independence had any effect?

            All that was needed was a 5 percentage point swing – in this media age you don’t think blanket anti-media independence coverage didn’t play a key role?

          • Helen N

            Dream on.

          • Barzini

            You don’t think the fact that there wasn’t a single newspaper or TV channel in favour of independence had any effect?

            All that was needed was a 5 percentage point swing – in this media age you don’t think blanket anti-media independence coverage didn’t play a key role?

            Along with a last minute government bribe?

            I’m not arguing in favor of the Nats by the way, just stating an obvious fact….

          • Rank Bajin

            You’re deluded. You’ve bled us white. We’re off. Good luck with the kleptocrats.

          • FOARP

            Scotland voted No – remember?

  • John Brocklehurst

    Nice rhetoric, but honestly – this is total bollocks. I am a political cynic but I am convinced David Cameron means what he says about preserving the Union, as do the vast majority of other Tories.

  • Auldreekie

    This is loopy, but I suppose it has the shock/horror aspect which sells it as an article.

    English Tories don’t really want Scotland to be independent, because the UK which they control – in or out of government – would lose an enormous amount of international prestige and influence. Without governance of even the island of Britain, the pretence of being a big player on the world stage could not be sustained..

    • The Bogle

      Good point, and what would Scotland’s standing be as a small country with a small population on the fringes of Europe?

      • AtMyDeskToday

        We don’t need “standing” backed up with WDM’s that bankrupt the country and cannot be used other than in Armageddon. Give me Singapore, or Luxembourg or similar any day.

        • The Bogle

          Even an independent Scotland would be nothing like Luxembourg or Singapore.

      • Barzini

        About the same as Ireland’s, Sweden’s, Norway’s, or Denmark’s…..

        Countries that all have higher GDPs and living standards than Scotland (or the UK)….

        • The Bogle

          Ireland virtually bankrupted itself in 2008 and has undergone years of pain and high levels of emigration. Norway is not in the EU. Just by becoming independent will not make Scotland like those countries.

          • Barzini

            Even after these years of pain, Ireland has a higher GDP per capita than the ‘UK, the country also consistently ranks higher than the UK in quality of life surveys….

            Being Ireland with oil would hardly be a disaster….

            That’s the worst case scenario…..if Scotland got it right it could potentially become Sweden or Denmark with oil…..

  • Callipygian

    That much should be obvious.
    It isn’t.
    Leftism is such a betrayal of freedom and prosperity to true liberals that I would need a stronger case to take your word for it — ‘obvious’ or not.

  • JoeCro

    A lot of confusion in the article between a one-off referendum and a general election. The referendum was a unique event that brought about some unlikely alliances, now we are back to politics. Would a true conservative really be happy to see the back of Scotland?- they surely must understand how weakened the rUK would look to the rest of the world if that were to happen.

  • Jean-Claude Cameron

    When the biggest scare story the Tories can come up with is a Labour/SNP coalition, and that coalition has been officially rejected by both Labour and the SNP, then what’s left of that sorry campaign?

    The bitter truth is that pocketcameron (see avatar) is alive and well in the pocket of … (well, see avatar).

    The Tories stand for nothing on Europe.
    Labour do, UKIP do, the Tories don’t.
    You either sort that one out or pocketcameron will get his comeuppance.

  • John Symon

    Amazing! This article couldn’t be more wrong if it tried. Hugo Rifkind would appear to have never met anyone from Scotland, read any Scottish history, read a Scottish newspaper or used the internet.

    • JoeCro

      I think his father is Scottish.

      • justejudexultionis

        There are plenty of people living in Scotland who don’t really belong or who claim to be Scottish but only such in name. I’m thinking in particular of all those idiots educated at social-engineering institutions such as Gordonstoun, Fettes, Loretto etc. Those are your real quislings. Their allegiance is to London, not Scotland…

      • ItwasBlairwotdunnit

        Indeed, but for a few quid, he can be anything you like…….

    • Hugo Rifkind

      I was born there, grew up there, lived there until I was 22, and go back about five times a year. Hope this helps.

      • JohnnyD

        Dazeythinker here Hugo. We’d a chat on twitter the other night and you said ‘I’d love to see them in coalition at Westminster. For me, that’d be the very definition of a functional union.’
        That was the SNP you were talking about. Changed your tune? SNP say they would never form any coalition or work with the Tories, ever, not ever. Pretty clear on the point. So why are you trying to get them into bed with the Tories in the above piece? Who would benefit from that notion? SLab of course. Nice try.
        Reading the comments here, many of them hysterical bouts of scribbled norovirus, shows that this general election is without many of our familiar pillars of reference. People are not so certain about the choice between Labour or Tory. I’d say they’re more in bed, getting off on how much they despise the SNP upsetting the cosey status quo. It’s not black and white any more because Scotland speaks up loudly for itself and boy people in the comfy seats of the establishment are rattled enough to actually have to start dealing in the mucky detail. Who knows, is democracy actually waking up? Now that’s a scarey thought, for some.

        • Barry Scarfe

          The problem with SNP ministers in the British government would be COULD they be trusted to work for the interests of the ENTIRE United Kingdom? On the evidence, I would say that is a non-starter. I very much doubt SNP ministers would just dump the philosophy of a lifetime as soon as they got hold of ministerial red boxes.

          • JohnnyD

            I don’t believe snp have asked for ministerial or even a coalition arrangement. They only have to represent Scotland’s interests at WM. If they have the numbers to prop up a Labour government then Scotland has for once a strong voice. It’s not about breaking anything. It’s about getting us a better deal.

          • Barry Scarfe

            No one has a problem with them providing a strong voice for Scotland provided it isn’t so strong that the interests of the rest of the United Kingdom are not damaged and thus risking the breaking-apart of the United Kingdom which Scotland voted to stay-in.

      • SNP UPRISING

        Then why do you talk our country down ?

        • Hugo Rifkind

          You may be forgetting that the SNP is not Scotland. As fans of the SNP so often do.

          • SNP UPRISING

            Well, not quite, but by a country mile the SNP do represent the views of, and give a voice to, a massive proportion of Scots who are disgruntled with , or utterly reject , westminster and it’s “toxic” ways.

            When you ridicule the legitimate views of 43-50% of the population who are looking for a better way, then yes, you are talking the country down.

            Although a British nationalist yourself, and more than happy to pull the unionist party line of your employer, you should at least recognise the legitimate reasons for this country being so alienated from the Westminster system.

    • AtMyDeskToday

      That didn’t fly well.

  • Leo McKinstry

    I would be able to take all this guff about Unionism and patriotism more seriously if the political class, cheered on by a host of metropolitan commentators, had not conspired to undermine our national identity through the twin ideologies of mass immigration and multi-culturalism. According to the official figures, no fewer than 624,000 foreigners settled here last year, a total that is more than 10 per cent of the entire population of Scotland. Identity politics (we now learn this morning that dear old Radio 2 is deemed “too white”) and the process of Islamification are far greater threats to our nationhood than Caledonian separatism.

    • justejudexultionis

      Islamification is indeed a far greater threat to our culture than Scottish separation. However, all of the major parties, and our culture in general, are being held to ransom by the Islamists and their multiculturalist allies.

    • James Jones

      I would only like to add –

      “Labour betrayed us for an international socialist ideology. The Conservatives betray us for a globalist capitalist ideology.”

  • Diggery Whiggery

    And of course the SNP and their ‘secret English allies’ have their eyes firmly fixed on another union, the European Union. What’s the point of having a union within another union is what the SNP says and what the Tories think. Labour will ask the same thing once they’re excluded from Scotland.

    In the meantime a union that has worked reasonably well for 300 years will get dumped in favour of one that has never worked and no-one, whether they be Scottish, Welsh, English or Northern Irish, will end up living in a free, self-governing country.

    • Arron Blue

      The only reason the union survived for over three centuries was because of the British empire. The empire is finished; the union is now redundant.

      • Diggery Whiggery

        I’d agree but that goes for any artificial political union. To stop the people within them from looking inwards and focussing on their contradictions, political unions have to expand and export them.

        The EU is doing and will continue to do the same thing. Far from being a project for peace it will end up a project of militaristic conquest. Instead of wars between countries we’ll have wars between continents.

        The one thing I would say however, is that there was a kind of geopolitical pragmatism in the formation of the UK. There is the same geographical pragmatism inherent in the wish for contintental Europe to unite. Unfortunately for Europe it’s not on an island.

      • vieuxceps2

        In reality,it was the English Empire from which Scotland benefited hugely by having access to the trade it offered.They filled their coffers with great skill and energy. All gone now,so they want to go too. Well,let them.

    • justejudexultionis

      The so-called ‘union’ of 1707 was really an annexation of Scotland by England.

      • Diggery Whiggery

        No it was a union agreed by elites on both sides of the border over the heads of ordinary people. You’re surely not claiming that the Scottish aristocracy was majoritarily against the move. They did what was in their interests at the time.

        Fast forward to today and what is the expansion of the EU due to? A surge of public demand for expensive, centralized, remote & undemocratic government or the successive annexing of previously independent, sovereign states through agreements of an elite class, over the heads of ordinary people.

  • Arron Blue

    The sooner this debilitating union is finished the better for all the people of the islands.

    • ColinPowis

      But the majority of Scots want nothing to do with your daft fantasies about indepenDUNCE

      • Barry Scarfe

        The majority of Scots sensibly saw right through Alex Salmond’s patently false prospectus for ‘independence’ – an independence which would have resulted in an ‘independent’ Scotland being governed NOT by the evil English of their crap Holywood Braveheart myth but by our cousins in Germany via Brussels. Also, sharing a currency with the nation you had just left isn’t a sound basis for REAL independence.

        • Brian

          pish

  • Salmondnet

    When the Tories said “it works both ways” it did. That was when much of the governance of Scotland was not ring fenced and outside Westminster’s remit as it is now. Clearly these things do not and will never again work both. ways Mr Rifkind seems constitutionally (geddit!) unable to grasp how devolution has changed the political terms of trade for the whole of the UK.. For the many of us of us who want Scotland to go there is no secret conspiracy. We really do. Further, we want the Scots to close the border firmly behind them (if they don’t, we will).

  • SimonToo

    What can one say to a man in the grip of that dark tea-time of the soul? You array dark and true facts, and see them as complete and as leading inexorably to a pessimistic conclusion. Just give it time and the eclipse will pass, and the clouds will lift once again.

  • ColinPowis

    The more the nationalists crow , the more they sabre rattle , the more they prance and strut …the more the electorate in England become nauseated and fearful ….Salmond is a ready made bogey man ; a Shakespearean villain
    Indeed , this is exactly the catalyst that we conservative minded folks need to spook those crucial centrist voters out of the complacency …metaphorically speaking , it’s like putting a ravenous fox in the hen house and then expecting the hens to remain sanguine and non chalant

    HAAHA …it’s the witless SNP who are going to provide Cameron with his majority

    • AtMyDeskToday

      Not so witless, some of us think that’s a good thing.

  • Kevin McDonoügh

    There comes a point when all you can do is shake your head
    and sigh.

    The weight of the misinformation, and the amount of people
    missing the point about why the Scots are moving in their droves to the SNP,
    just seems so overwhelming that it’s hard to know where to start with any sort
    of reply. But we shall try and go over a few points one last time and here’s
    hoping…..

    Firstly, the SNP aren’t coming down to Westminster to start
    chopping people’s heads off in an ISIS inspired rage to try and get
    independence, despite what the English media would have you believe. They
    accept that the result was a No vote. It’s funny how we (the yes voters) have moved on to focus on Westminster but it’s the No supporters and their supporters in the media who keep constantly bringing
    independence up.

    Yes ultimately that’s what we want, for a whole host of
    reasons, but what the English media (and much of the Scottish) can’t seem to wrap their heads around is that’s not what this May is about. For now, for good or
    for bad, we’re in the UK and we have to make the best of it. And that starts with, actually for once, having some say in what happens.

    We spent the whole referendum campaign being told how loved
    and important we are, how we were a valued part of the UK and should have a
    strong voice at Westminster. But low and
    behold, when we call your bluff and actually do just that, then oh my god the
    sky is falling down! We will NOT have control
    of parliament in any real fashion, obviously your 500-odd can easily out vote
    our 50-odd any time they choose. But we will, for the first time in a long time
    have someone with some measure of power that actually cares about
    Scotland. I mean, politicians coming
    down to Westminster and fighting for the rights of their constituents instead
    of just doing whatever is good for London and the south of England and big
    business and their own pockets? How dare they!

    (Except, that’s what they’re SUPPOSED to do!)

    Then we have EVEL, the Tory grab for power and attempt to
    sideline the large cohort of Scottish Labour MP’s so they can get their own way
    in parliament. Except that with Labour’s big reveal during the referendum meant
    that they took care of that themselves anyway, and they killed their own
    Scottish MP’s when they showed us what we all kind of knew all along: they are
    now a centre-right party at best who have long ago ditched their leftwing roots.

    There was a detailed report and examination of all of the
    things that were voted on at Westminster, and which parts of the UK they
    applied to. I can’t remember the exact figures off the top of my head but there
    were 400 and something votes looked at over the year. And out of that vast number, do you know how many were TRULY English
    only? 8.

    Yes, eight, that’s not a typo.

    A whole host of them were UK wide obviously, but the vast
    majority of the rest still ad impact on the various regions of the UK. Because Westminster still controls the money, remember: Pooling and sharing! And again all during the referendum we were told that was a good thing.

    So when the English vote on their NHS for example, while
    those powers have been devolved to the Scottish parliament, the overall money
    we have to spend is still controlled by Westminster. So any changes in the
    English budget have a direct and substation effect on the resulting share that
    Scotland get’s to spend. So of course the SNP, or any other Scottish MP from
    any other party, has the right to vote on their budget.

    Also, while we’re on the subject of money can we put to bed,
    once and for all, the notion that Scotland is somehow subsidised by England, or
    that the Barnett formula is so grossly unfair and again the English media likes
    to trot out. Scotland is a much less densely populated area than England, obviously, with a much bigger percentage of people
    living in rural areas. There are more people in greater London than in the
    whole of Scotland. Now when you’re providing services to people, this is much
    easier when they’re densely populated and living in towns and cities. Running
    roads, power/telephone/gas lines, providing hospital care, schools, etc etc is
    all much more efficient in big cities. More money simply has to be spent in Scotland to give people the same level of services as in England.

    So yes we receive a little more in tax per head than the English,
    but the thing is we pay far more as well! Almost all of the figures released from the
    UK government, when they compare tax income from different regions in the UK, simply miss things out!

    Corporation tax, oil/gas revenues, VAT, duty on whiskey and
    fuel……depending on exactly what figures your looking at a variety of these
    things are just lumped together as “UK tax” and not attributed to Scotland.
    This information is (should!) be in the fine print of the study but who looks
    at that?

    It’s a categorical, undeniable and proven fact (that Labour
    were forced to admit in the Referendum though I’m sure the English press didn’t
    want to report it) that over the last 30 years Scotland has paid £222 TRILLION more to the UK than it has
    gotten back. Not chump change I’m sure you’ll agree.

    But that money is in the past, it’s spent and we can’t get
    it back. And the funny thing is us Scots are a generous bunch and we’d have
    happily paid it and subsidised our English brothers and sisters if we felt
    things were fair, and that we were getting an equal return from it.

    However this general election voting ramp up has shown that blatantly
    isn’t the case, and the love bomb that was detonated on us by Westminster as
    part of the referendum campaign, as this article points out, was really a smoke
    bomb, designed to hide the true feelings that we should be in the union as long
    as we be quiet and do what we’re told.

    But vote against the joint LabCon party line of austerity,
    austerity, austerity; we can’t have that can we? What if people begin to realise there’s another way, god forbid a better way?!

    Because the deficit seems to be the ONLY thing on their
    minds now! And we’re All In It Together!
    But just ignore than banker’s bonuses have risen by 60% odd since 2010 while
    people’s wages have stagnated and in real terms dropped substantially in the
    same time. Just ignore the huge rises in child poverty, huge rises in food
    banks, huge rises in income equality. Just ignore the fact that while
    unemployment has ‘technically’ fallen, that’s been through a mixture of
    zero-hour contracts and low paid service industry jobs and not any sort of increases in sustainable, fulfilling, rewarding careers or jobs. We’ll just ignore then, because they’re all inconvenient facts, and the recovery is working. Honestly.

    But for who, exactly? The Tory’s have missed EVERY SINGLE
    ONE of their financial targets during this recovery process. Except that despite
    all of these slashing and damaging cuts, rather than lower the deficit they’d
    increased it. And added more to the national debt than all Labour governments
    COMBINED!

    And if you don’t want to look at (or believe) recent
    history, let’s take a look further back. Because although the national debt is
    pretty high just now at 44% of GDP and Westminster would have you believe it’s
    the single biggest issue worth looking at, it’s not the highest it’s ever been.

    The average through out the 20th century was
    actually 88%. And it peaked at nearly
    250% just after WWII. Puts our current
    debt a little more into perspective!

    Now, yes they were unique circumstances, but the important
    thing wasn’t how we got into that situation, it was (as now) how we got out of
    it again: by investing, not cutting.

    The government didn’t slash costs, it invested in the Social
    Security system and the NHS. It put money towards building works and public
    projects, and it kick started the economy!

    Tax was also higher, but people were happy to tolerate that because they
    could see what it was doing for the country and feel the benefits from it. Over
    just a single term in government one party was able to spend more, yet drop the
    debt level from nearly 250% to below 180%.
    After that they took a little longer to pay off the debt and get the
    country back to zero again, but there was an important balance between managing the country’s finances and taking care of the real everyday people living
    within it. It was the biggest period of
    both rising living standards and lowering inequality in our history.

    Then it stopped. Right wing, capitalist politics began to
    take over both the US and UK in the very late 70’s and into the 80’s, and
    everything was reversed, inequality sky rocketed. Big business took over and
    regulations were modified and removed until businesses and banks were able to
    run riot and get us into the position we are in today.

    With labour promising to continue the Tory’s damaging,
    economy killing cuts that are fuelling the rich while destroying the living
    standards of everyday people, the alternative that they historically provided
    needs to be instead supplied by someone else.

    If only there was a party in England who were campaigning on
    these kinds of issues, saying they would pay off the debt at a slower rate and
    invest in our people. Yes it’ll take a little longer to lower the deficit and
    pay off the debt (which a lot of people, including many so called reporters,
    need to realise are two different things!) but living standards will rise and
    real people will feel the benefit, feel our economy is actually improving like
    we’re so often told it is.

    To us it doesn’t matter which colour the PM wears, the red or the blue. Vote for this one to keep that one out, or vice versa. in the end, neither of them care or have any interest in supporting Scotland or doing anything of benefit for it’s people so who cares! However there is a party that we can vote for who do. And as much as they’re vilified as the party who wants do destroy the UK, the funny think is they may show the rest of the UK that there is a viable alternative after all and be the ones who save, if not the institution then its hard working, every day people!

    • Well said.

    • Scott Mcauley

      Nailed it

  • flippit

    Can’t win with Scots. They’re massively supporting a party that is committed to independence because no amount of devolution is ever going to satisfy, whilst we poor sods in England don’t vote for nationalists but vote largely for one or other of the parties committed to the Union. And now they’re really offended, no-one’s doing enough to support the Union!

    • Dusty

      The two main parties you speak of are committed more to themselves than the good of the union.
      The sooner you in England realise this the quicker we can move on and build a new union with a democracy that works for its subjects rather than the other way around.

  • Barry Rainey

    aye us scot nats are giggling wi the unionist we pretend to hate,great article ya muppet

  • Mccuaig William

    I gave up reading this Bullshi*t

  • Newmania1

    When a London Scot starts banging on about how Conservatives are insufficiently unionist ( when the truth is quite the reverse ) what we are really reading is this:
    “Oh please sir , don`t make me have to go back to that cold dreary thin lipped blue veined mean Pictish Gulag..boo hoo boo hoo”

    There there, Hugo I am sure there will be many outlets for your witty take on something or other .The Pittenweem, hairy arse competition , ( dads only ), or perhaps ” Good Morning Skye!” the lively radio show packed with folk music and local banter …honestly it won`t be so bad and none of your “Mrs McSporrans cat stuck up a tree puts me in mind of the crisis of Liberal politics ” Ye`are one of the wee people noo , laddie…

    I believe the low road is the one usually recommend , (toodles)

    • justejudexultionis

      ‘Pictish Gulag’ – priceless, but surely you are confusing Scotland as a whole with Peterheid?

  • global city

    how come nearly all Scots ‘nationalists’ do not understand the consequences of ever loser political union? i think they must be stupid.

  • misomiso

    Completely agree Hugo. Osborne’s (more than Cameron’s) complete disregard for the Union is one the greatest sins of this Tory Government. It seems the entire political class’s vision for the UK is us split apart within a Federal EU.

    And it pains me to bring it up but your Dad has played an integral role in the disintegration of the Union with his Pro European views. Anyone with a tiny bit of Common sense should have realised that the country would never be able to stand two political Unions.

    But it could all have been so different had Cameron backed Murdo Fraser and a seperate Scottish Unionist Movement to squeeze the SNP from the Right and not leave Labour to fight Nationalism on their own.

  • davidofkent

    IMHO, England is every bit as fed up with Scotland as Scotland is with Westminster. The sooner this union is ended the better.

  • Charles Patrick O’Brien

    I often wonder if anybody realises that Scotland’s King James VI,unified the crowns to make a United Kingdom and became King James I.of the one united kingdom .That was the first union,the second was a manipulated unpopular political union.The political union is the one we wish to dissolve,one step at a time.The United Kingdom was a union between Scotland and England and was about the the Union of Crowns.

    • Peter Thomson

      Sorry Charles your knowledge is clearly shaky – we still have two separate crowns sharing one head courtesy of the Claim of Rights (England) 1688 and the Claim of Right (Scotland) 1689 – Churchill’s fudge of 1952 allows the monarch to style herself Elizabeth the Second of the UK but in Scotland she is properly entitled Elizabeth, Queen of Scots – a fact Scottish post boxes recognise only having ER (no II) on them.

      Funnily enough Elizabeth is not sovereign in Scotland because the considered will of the people of Scotland is sovereign – she is Queen because the Scots say so and could stopped being Queen of Scots if the Scots decide she is getting above herself and ask someone else – as a list of Kings and Queens kicked off the Scottish throne, since 1328, clearly demonstrates.

      For full details as to the actual constitutional situation pertaining to the UK’s Parliamentary Union I recommend perusing McCormack vs the Lord Advocate, 1953, before Lord Cooper. His reading of the considered will of the people of Scotland being paramount was most recently upheld in Axa et al vs the Scottish Parliament by the Supreme Court who found against Axa et al because the bill of the Scottish Parliament reflected the (paramount) considered will of the people of Scotland and could not be set aside.

      Then again I would not expect a ‘hurrumphing’ Tory to be aware of what the constitutional reality of the UK Parliamentary Union actually is and that it is based on the fallacy that Scotland was ‘subsumed’ by England in 1707 which Lord Cooper clearly established is incorrect and was accepted as such by the Lord Advocate on behalf of the UK Parliament.

      The biggest problem for the UK’s unwritten constitution is the premise of the ‘Crown in parliament’ which is not recognised by Scots Law and constitutional practice and will be sore tested if the SNP hold the majority of seats from Scotland after May 8th and therefore will be entitled to represent the paramount, considered will of the people of Scotland at the UK Union Parliament.

      Whether a Tory or Labour Government is in power after May 8th, to get any UK bill, act or statute which will impact on Scotland passed, they will need the support of the SNP in that situation.

      So suck it up Charles, your world of smoke and mirrors is coming apart at the seams.

      • Newmania1

        I don`t think anyone objects to the SNP being consulted over issues that affect Scotland . Unfortunately with health,education,
        the environment and local government fully devolved and more to follow , the case for consulting Scots on anything else has
        disappeared .
        I think many of the English genuinely don’t understand why it is the SNP want to stick their noses into our business. They claim what we do affects them, well it affects Ireland as well. Thats life for a small weak country. With great independence comes great irrelevance

        We already have an over representation of per capita of MPs an over funding of Scottish Services and in general an over
        representation of what is a very small part of the UK by virtue of the whole invention that is “ Scotland “ ( a dubious concept form the start)

        Let me give you a couple of examples of where ‘Scotland’ is over indulged Take rugby:

        We play against Scotland by tradition, but why? We ask “ Will Scotland beat England “ in the press but actually London could beat Scotland, the South East could easily beat Scotland
        and the only reason there is any illusion of competitiveness, is that the Scottish team is packed with people who are actually English but qualify in a hangover from the amateur era . Left to its own resources it would be equivalent to let us say the East Midlands, they could give Yorkshire a game, but not England. It would be unsafe for them to try with fully contested scrums .

        Or take the reputation of Scottish poetry which rests on a parochial comic turn. Were he English his name would scarcely crop up there are many local minor poets at least as interesting the general public have long since forgotten.
        I feel this engorgement of what is a couple of counties rather than a country is the root of the problem but its done now .

        I`m sure we have all been bored to tears by tediously self adoring Scots oblivious the bar clearing around him …..“I`m great me
        ya see ,,…the thing aboot me is Aim just grate …etc..hey cum bark here yoo …” Recognize the scene ?

        Essentially that’s what is happening now; the bar is clearing .The
        other 65 million are bored with the braying 5,000,000. In political terms this means an SNP backed administration would be impossible as is a Scottish PM or Chancellor. London Scots will either have to become English or cease to express views on matters that don`t concern them .Whilst we have an interim of over-lappping boundaries Scottish MPs may vote on the budget , for now, and foreign affairs ( although if they uniquely will not contribute fully to defences I wonder why). That’s it.

        I also wonder if one of our suffering Northern Cities might not wish to take over the “Edinburgh” festival, Newcastle ,is a much more
        vibrant City ,for example and would greatly benefit . There is something unpleasant about the middleclasses decamping to an all white theme park set in the 1960s for mating rituals anyway

        So thats it really , I enjoyed your stuff about who did what when . or whatever it was

        • Peter Thomson

          Fine – you really have no comprehension of the arrogant twaddle you have posted … have you?

          The UK is a Parliamentary Union between two nation states …. if the English do not want to keep the UK Union, get yourself organised with a referendum and end the Union. I would suggest that should be of more of a priority than an in / out EU Referendum.

          The problem you face is the City of London and the ‘British Establishment’ will not allow you to have an ‘End the Union’ referendum – first up is Scotland, with 9%, of the UK population provides 25% of Sterling’s foreign exchange income – take oil out and that drops to 20% of Sterling’s foreign exchange income. You can then take out the Crown Estate monies from Scotland, plus oil and gas licenses, extraction, landing, tidal power licenses and other income from the North Sea and developing Hebridean fields. The knock on costs to London and the SE for their subsidised energy costs will impact on London and its travel infrastructure. The ‘Sweaty Jocks’ are more important to Westminster and the City than they will ever admit, hence the millions spent by the Tories and their backers to win the No vote in September.

          Cameron thought No would win by at least 60:40 the 55:45 was far too close for comfort hence the panic ‘Vow’ created by Gordon Brown, much trumpeted in Scotland a couple of days before the referendum vote and signed up to by Cameron, Clegg and Miliband which the SNP are seeking to be met in full rather than the damp squib that is the current Scottish Devolution Command paper. Even Labour’s mouthpiece in Scotland the Trinty Mirror ‘Record’ can not hide the increasing tide of public opinion in Scotland there needs to be another referendum and soon. The Sunday Herald announced today the SNP membership has now passed 100,000 members which means around one in four of Scottish voters are now members of the SNP.

          If you wish EVEL then you will need to recall the English Parliament from its temporary suspension …. but the Tories do not wish an extra layer of ‘Government’ even though the current UK fudge is on its last legs. The reality is a recalled English Parliament as good as ends the Union.

          The Tories have to decide – do they want a UK Parliament, run on their beloved FPTP basis which is now likely to give an estimated 50+ SNP’s a high level of leverage at Westminster over bills, statutes and acts of the UK Parliament (whether the Tories or Labour form a UK Government after May 8th) or EVEL and end the Union.

          Cameron and Miliband are standing on the edge of the abyss they hoped to avoid with a No vote in September do they jump or take a step back?

          • justejudexultionis

            Great post. Most informative. The union seems absolutely shafted whatever happens.

  • Innit Bruv

    How’s Sir Malcolm doing????

  • Hugh Mair

    the big lie from SNP is labour were in bed with the Torys, when in fact,
    in the Scottish parliament it was the Torys who kept a minority SNP administration on power

  • Hugh Mair

    I know a number of yes voters who chanted slogans voiced opinions of ‘ yes campaigners’ to the word! Only a few who were willing to enter into a reasonable measured debate during which they were willing to listen to the opinions of others – all of a sudden, no matter their background no voters became thick, scardy cats and traitors and were shouted down at every turn – wasn’t a pleasant experience. It became evident that natural caution whilst listening to vote seeking politicians was thrown to the wind —- oh well such is life.

  • James

    Westminster is merely a council office of the EU – once we’ve been forced into giving up our sovereignty Scotland will be given more power to run it’s own council precisely how the EU wants it to be run.

  • WTF

    The real threat to Britain is the one which liberal fascists and our governments are in denial over and and refuse to confront.

    Forget about the SNP and the break up of the union, forget about Putins postering and even forget about the control freaks at Brussels, by far the worst and imminent threat we currently face is the one thats buried in our midst. Farage was right to state there is a 5th column of Islamic extremists in the UK out to destroy us and I’d add hate pedlars & killers as well. Their motivation to kill us, convert us or run a Islamic mafia style protection racket has nothing to do with our military involvement around the world or Israel protecting its citizens from terrorists like Hamas.

    For nearly 1500 years Islam has been waging a cultural was of dominance against non Muslims whether Christians, Jews, Hindus or Sikhs to name just four ethnic groups that have fought the hordes off trying to subjugate our way of life.

    Wake up Cameron and the rest of you, unless you act now, there wont be a country to run unless you become Jihadists and convert !

  • SNP UPRISING

    So talking about Scottish politics is like a “disease, like Ebola from a festering bat cave”.

    The views of Unionist MSM bigots like Rifkind always help to give a boost to the numbers of people considering voting SNP.

  • Robert O’Riordan

    hashtagheseemstobeabitoutoftouch

  • Ernekid

    What a load of old shite

  • thorthane

    Scottish politics is a claustrophobic and unhealthy place where three identical factions jostle for position. This must be the result of a nation’s belief that it is the victim of an outside aggressor. The solution is to let it grow up by taking responsibility for itself.

  • Sean L

    None of the main parties tell the truth about anything. Ditto all journalists with the exception of Moore, Liddle, Littlejohn, Hitchens.

  • SNP UPRISING

    Unionist britnat columnist Hugo Rifkind has never even attempted to “tell the truth about Scotland”, which he belittles at every opportunity.

    Thankfully 47-52% of Scots can see straight through the unionist agenda of the British MSM and will vote SNP in GE2015 for a better Scotland.

  • SNP UPRISING

    Unionist journalist Hugo Rifkind has never “told the truth about Scotland”, which he belittles at everything perceived opportunity.

    He is no better than THE SUN and THE GUARDIAN, who feel it’s quite justifiable to publish disgustingly sexist, xenophobic and even openly racist articles and cartoons in furtherance of their unionist, anti-SNP, anti-Nicola Sturgeon and anti-Scottish agendas.

    • JSC

      As illustrated, it’s an interesting development I think, that the SNP have successfully convinced a significant proportion of Scotland into believing they’re a different race to the rest of the UK, superior and yet unjustly oppressed.

      • SNP UPRISING

        Then you are just highlighting your ignorance of what is happening in Scotland.

        The wish for independence has absolutely nothing to do with “race” ( incidentally I don’t even recognise that word , I use culture ), this is about westminster being alien to the majority of Scots, and our utter rejection of it and it’s toxic ways.

      • SNP UPRISING

        If you are struggling to understand why I’ve referred to much of the British MSM as xenophobic / racist then I’ll give you an example.

        THE GUARDIAN recently published a cartoon showing Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond , whilst dancing in kilts of course, discussing their coalition demand for……”INCEST”.

        Put simply , DISGUSTING BRITNAT RACISM !!!!

        • JSC

          I saw that cartoon, so how is that racist? Which race is it insulting? Alex Salmond has been known to wear a kilt as have / do many (Scottish) “BritNats”.

  • Well, of course all that guff about the SNP and their left wing governance of the past EIGHT YEARS being just a ploy is so cosmically dumb it would be career-ending for any serious journo.

    However, what stops me dismissing Hugo as just a cognitively-challenged marginal wordsmith, is this insight:

    ” Yes, your English Tory will talk the unionist talk, but press him on it — I am belatedly realising — and you will discover that the only Union they’re really interested in is one that has no impact upon them whatsoever. (emphasis added)

    That is surely crystal from the reaction of all those britnats who fought tooth and nail to keep Scotland a part of the Union yet who now are apoplectic at the prospect that the sweaty socks might actually look to participate meaningfully in it.

    Oh, and I’ll give Hugo a gold star on his jotter for the Tamagotchi reference.

  • Englander10

    Too many blame the late Lady Thatcher for the 1979 devolution failure. It wasn’t her that blocked it is was Labour.

    A London Labour MP (later defected to SDP) put the threshold requirement in the referendum. Although 52% of Scots voted in favour of devolution in 1979, the Tories failed to come up with a satisfactory alternative.

    Devolution was actually brought about through international pressure due to the work of the Scotland UN Committee, not Labour. The UK head its membership of the Council of Europe threatened in 1997 so the new Labour government implemented devolution. They knew what they were doing but in the process they denied England and the English opportunities for national self determination.

    Whatever happens now, Scotland is heading for independence within 5 years or less while England has very rapidly started to re assert itself but hasn’t got the means to channel it (No Parliament).

    The Richard III funeral showed how patriotic we English still are considering the amount of multicultural brainwashing and diversity thrown at us. We are a nation about to be reborn. Scotland has led the way. Thank you. SNP and good luck. Stuff the bitter MSM they just want us English and Scots to snipe at each other.

  • justejudexultionis

    If the unionist parties had been serious about keeping Scotland in the union they would not have spent the last forty years governing almost exclusively in the interests of the City of London and south-east of England. The economy and culture of south-east England and Scotland/north of England are fundamentally different and, it would now appear, ultimately irreconcilable. Thatcher, Blair, Cameron et al. may just turn out to be the greatest assets to the patriotic cause of Scottish separation since Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun.

    The SNP represent the first serious challenge to centralised Westminster power since the Easter Rising and Red Clydeside. Long may this highly overdue popular revolution continue! May it extend its reach across the whole of Wales, Cornwall and the north of England!

  • James

    Scotland receive £1200 per head more than the British – hardly unfair. These scroungers ought to be grateful instead of using islamic victim tactics. The country needs to grow up.

  • runningdog

    All the Scottish unionists have moved to England.

  • Al Golagnia

    Who in their right mind thinks that Labour is a party of the Left?

  • Terry Field

    So who does not know about Scotland?
    Who does not know about:
    1 Fried Marsbars and the local fine dining humourfest
    2 The feudal land ownership setup
    3 The small educated professional class
    4 The resentment that runs like the burns.
    5 The desire to take as much as they can from the rest of the Island
    6 The vast short-lived proletariat who suffer and believe their opressors to be their protectors
    7 The enormous areas of nothing much peppered with grey severe towns
    8 Rab C Nesbit

    What have we been denied?
    What more must we grasp?
    Aaah yes.
    The shortbread, the White Heather Club, the haggis and the neeps and tatties.
    Nuff said?????

  • mixodorians

    Seems we are now living in a parallel (and childish) universe where what could be interesting or ironic (if true) is considered fact. It is like reality itself is being moulded by spoiled brats.

  • BOBMAC

    Guys the reality is you are bankrupt without Scotland,we know it,the politicians know it ,they certainly dont love us. more and more of us want rid of a sleazy,corrupt government.
    With a population of only 6 million, access to decisions would be easier, and more honest,dont you wish you had that?

  • shaunthebrummie

    anything that saves England from scottish interference and keeps scots like the riffykind out is good in my book.the sooner we are rid of the anti English parasites the better….and when it comes make sure we send those on benefits..in prisons..hospital..in English regiments and in the newly conceived English armed forces……back to scotland..wales and n.ireland..and a mile deep minefield as well as wall and proper border posts..I.D.cards…etc…………..then the de-celtification of England can begin….and boy will that be fun..

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