Politics

The elections no one has even heard of

The EU referendum hogs all the attention, but what happens in Scotland, Wales and London has real political significance

30 April 2016

9:00 AM

30 April 2016

9:00 AM

Britain goes to the polls next week. Yet this has barely registered on the media radar. These aren’t the forgotten elections; they are the ones nobody’s bloody heard of. This is surprising, because they have real political significance. North of the border, the Scottish parliamentary elections will almost certainly result in another overall majority for the SNP. But we might also see something no one would have predicted even two years ago: the Tories beating Labour into second place. In Wales, the assembly elections will reveal whether Labour can hang on to power, but also whether Ukip can establish itself as a political force there. In England, the local elections will be Jeremy Corbyn’s first big test. And across England and Wales, the police and crime commissioner elections will show if the public can be persuaded to engage with genuine localism.

The main reason for this lack of attention is that the EU referendum is consuming Downing Street’s attention; one No. 10 staff member has taken to remarking: ‘I work on domestic policy, so I am feeling a bit lonely at the moment’. Right now, it is also the dominant story for the political press; the lens through which everything else is seen.

But there are other, more subtle reasons, too. When the Blair government first introduced its devolution plan, it was assumed that elections to these bodies would be mid-term verdicts on national government. But Scottish politics is now so distinct from Westminster that few will attempt to draw lessons for the rest of the UK from the results there. This distinction is, in many ways, an inevitable consequence of devolution.

What is more worrying is the lack of coverage of the Holyrood elections down south. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and John Kasich have garnered far more column inches and airtime than Nicola Sturgeon, Kezia Dugdale and Ruth Davidson in the past month or two. For the Union to survive in the long term there needs to be a broad awareness, both at Westminster and among the public, of what is happening in every part of it.


Perhaps the most striking thing about the Scottish campaign is how managerial the SNP’s pitch is. You will look in vain in its manifesto for a big new idea. Instead, it is full of small, technocratic policies. In this respect it is very much reminiscent of New Labour’s 2005 manifesto. The main focus of the SNP is the First Minister. It is her face on the cover of the manifesto and she has appealed to voters to elect her on her personal mandate. All this suggests that we might be past ‘peak SNP’, as the laws of political gravity will soon start to apply again.

The real Scottish battle is for second place. The Tories, particularly those close to the leadership, are strikingly optimistic about their chances of beating Labour. This explains why they are so frustrated that the national government is making things more difficult for them — from the travails of the Budget to Iain Duncan Smith’s resignation, to the row over child refugees. As one ally of Ruth Davidson complains: ‘Every time London opens its mouth, it makes it more difficult for us.’ Indeed, Davidson is running a campaign that is almost completely independent of the UK party: David Cameron won’t even be going to Scotland.

For Davidson herself the stakes are high. She has — as this magazine’s Scotland editor memorably put it — made the Tory campaign ‘the Ruth, the whole Ruth and nothing but the Ruth’, If she fails to become leader of the Holyrood opposition, her enemies in the Scottish Tory party — of whom there are more than her media image might suggest — will snipe at the brand of personality politics which has long been her hallmark. If she succeeds, her authority will be enhanced, as will her influence on the national party.

The Welsh assembly doesn’t have the same powers as the Scottish parliament, and politics is less dramatic there. Indeed, at times, Wales’s main role appears to be to demonstrate what would have happened to public services without the reforms implemented in England. Polls suggest that the slow decline of Labour in Wales will continue; latest figures suggest that the party will lose a couple of seats. Intriguingly, polling also suggests that Ukip will gain a sizeable presence in the assembly.

In London, this is the first mayoral election without Ken Livingstone on the ballot. Shorn, too, of Boris Johnson, the contest lacks star power. Given that in 2012 turnout was only 38 per cent, one wonders how low it will dip this time. Indeed, this expected low turnout is why those close to Zac Goldsmith’s campaign insist the race isn’t over despite Sadiq Khan’s clear lead in the polls.

If Khan does make it to City Hall, he’ll become that rare thing: a Labour politician in power. Many in the party want him to set out an agenda with greater voter appeal than Corbyn’s. Given the mayor’s limited powers this will be hard. While he is not as far from the electoral centre as Corbyn, he is still from the soft left; he ran Ed Miliband’s leadership campaign in 2010. A party that relies on Khan for a more centrist agenda will be disappointed — and far from power.

Turnout, however, will be lowest in the police and crime commissioner elections. Partly this is the government’s fault; despite the Electoral Commission’s advice, it isn’t sending out materials on the candidates to voters. But it also suggests that the public might not be as keen on this kind of local democracy as many had hoped. The Manchester model, where the powers of these commissioners go to an elected mayor, as in London, suggests that this might be a short-lived innovation.

Devolution has proved a distinctly mixed blessing for the United Kingdom. The idea that devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales would encompass reformers whose innovations Westminster would rush to copy turned out to be just a dream. Devolution has also created a dangerous distance between the constituent parts of the UK.

But now the die has been cast, Britain needs to move towards a more federal system. Westminster must remain the Parliament of the United Kingdom, not just the English. If that were to happen, the SNP would have all the ammunition they need to demand another independence referendum.

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Show comments
  • Henry Hooper

    The Tories rise to second place is indicative of just how much Labour have fallen..they’re on their death throes in Scotland and until they discover they have principles they will get nowhere. They don’t know what they stand for and neither do the electorate they will have to decide and decide soon – they’ve taken the Tory side (minimal powers) during the negotiations on the Scotland Bill and don’t Scots know it, but they ‘re not listening
    The party of the ‘double-cross’, the Tories, will get their second position based on a just 18% of the vote and the vary capable Ruth has almost solely been appealing to diehard unionists (Murdo Frasers recent tweet about Glasgow Rangers and the Queen being the embodiment of this unbelievably stupid strategy) with continually going on about a second indyref which is highly unlikely to happen….she’s still fighting the indyref for some obscure reason.

    As Frank Field was saying just the other day…”…. I think Scotland is another country and I actually do think we will move to a position where you have independence”

    • Kennie

      Scotland will never be ‘Independent’. Even if they break away from the UK, they will still need to take money from someone. Hence their desire to stay in the EU.

      • MichtyMe

        The UK has a stellar record on cadging. Begged and borrowed £1.5 trillion. Independence? foolish notion.

        • 100

          And the Scots have a stellar record on the pavements of London with a can e Tartan and a beggin,’ bowl

      • 100

        Scottish always tight, deep pockets short arms

      • JoeCro

        Pooling and sharing.

        • Kennie

          Scotland has not much to pool & share. Mainly it exists by going round the world crying and singing about how cruel England is to them and doesn’t give them enough money. If they break away from England what will they then have to moan about?

  • ChuckieStane

    In Scotland the opposition have effectively taken a half-step back from the democratic process.
    Instead of offering themselves as a choice of government they are fighting for second (or fourth in the case of the LibDems). The Conservatives have even expressed their lack of ambition by putting “Ruth Davidson For A Strong Opposition” in place of the party name all over their literature and even on the ballot paper.

    Scottish Labour are a shell party shorn of money, activists, talent and ideas. A victory for the “Ruth Davidson For A Strong Opposition” Party over Labour would be a very minor success indeed.

  • MichtyMe

    Metropolitan parochialism.

    • 100

      Provincial pretentiousness

  • Jambo25

    I cannot speak for Wales but I suspect that in Scotland and London the EU referendum is done and dusted with comfortable majorities for remain assured. Up here hardly anybody, apart from a few Brexit fanatics, cares about the EU referendum. UKIP, despite the publicity given to it on ‘national’ (ie London produced media.) will get no Holyrood seats. It is utterly meaningless up here.

    • ChuckieStane

      Utterly meaningless but Coburn has at least been entertaining, taking buffoonery to stratospheric levels.
      His interview with Ponsonby was the mother of all car crash interviews – utterly, utterly clueless – “I make some of them up” when asked where he gets his figures.

      • Jambo25

        Correct! Coburn is the gift that just goes on giving.

    • HJ777

      Funny that, because you can’t speak for Scotland either.

      • Jambo25

        Oh I think I can on this as nobody puts any odds on their being a eave vote up here: nor does there appear to be much chance of UKIP gaining any Holyrood seats. I note that, once again, you have nothing to add other than insults.

        • HJ777

          Which just goes to show how arrogantly self-important you are about your own opinion that you think you can speak for Scotland.

          And frankly, a deeply unpleasant person like you who is so versed in insulting and smearing people who don’t agree with him really should refrain from complaining about insults.

        • tracery

          There speaks someone who specialises in insulting behaviour. Seems like these academic qualifications (I wonder how real they actually are) of which you are continuously boasting have not enabled you to engage in rational debate.

          • Jambo25

            What has dear old HJ added to this discussion apart from an insult?

          • JoeCro

            Go easy on HJ, he is hurting, he is witnessing the final unravelling of Westminster hegemony.

          • Jambo25

            Don’t worry. He still has lots of fans on here.

  • Sunset66

    The unionist parties put Westminster first as they are only branch offices and have to go into general elections on the basis of the UK manifesto . The Labour Party for decades kidded Scotland on that they would look after their interests but really they wanted to persue their Westminster carreers .
    Ruth can pander to the no vote but she will make no progress with those voters who see the impact of Tory policies in the UK.
    Until these parties have truly independent parties in Scotland they are going to struggle .
    Do you remember the liberals when they were for federalism now they talk of separatists

    Nicola is loved because she is clearly an able politician and the public know she stands head and shoulders above the others
    I myself have moved from one who believed in devolution to independence. The unionists are incapable of reforming govt in the UK yo be fair to all the home nations

    Independence will come

    • Stu

      I for one can’t stand the woman, in fact I’d go so far as to say I hate her with a passion.

      I also know no-one who even remotely likes her, but everyone knows which party are offering the best deal for their vote at the moment, and that’s why the SNP are on such a high. Vote buying in the tradition of Blair and Brown, and the people of Scotland may yet live to regret where they marked their ballot.

      The other factor is the oposition – not a likeable one amongst them, so it also comes down to which of them you dislike the least.

      I’m not even bothering to spoil my ballot paper, no-one here for me.

      • JoeCro

        Direct rule from Westminster will never return. You will have to come to terms with the fact that demands for further powers for the Scottish Government will continue to grow, the British establishment has already conceded far more power than was anticipated.

        • Michele Keighley

          If you were that convinced of the purity of you motifs why did you not let England have a vote in the last referendum? From the news I got, there was far more support south of the border than there was north. If that is true, why don’t you support England’s right to have a vote on whether they want to stay in a union with a bunch of people who obviously hate them? You’d certainly get your Independence.

          • JoeCro

            That would hardly be fair on Scotland’s NO voters. The UN guidance is very clear, votes for self determination must only include those resident on the territory concerned. How would you feel if the EU vote was open to all 500 million citizens of the EU. You need to move on from your colonial mindset.

      • rjbh

        Westminster belongs to England.. ‘GB’. ‘UK’ is over it just takes time to realise that is so….Scotland is doing very well under the SNP…Its why many people in Scotland love Nicola and the SNP.

    • 100

      Nicola is loved. LMFAO. inher own lunchtime!!

    • Terence Wilkinson

      The Leader is the “Dae nutting” First Minister. She is only loved among the gullible (and I include the so called political journalists of this magazine in that list). “Independence” would be a disaster because it would be based on a parcel of lies – I suggest you try reading the full White Paper with all the ifs, buts, maybes and facts hidden away in the footnotes.

    • Jonkle

      “Nicola is loved”
      Not a healthy opinion to have of a political leader in a true democracy.

      • Sunset66

        Because she is an able politician head and shoulders above the rest ”

        You missed that bit

        • Jonkle

          That’s a matter of opnion isn’t it, but that’s fine, if that’s what rows your boat, keep on loving her.

  • Chris McLaughlin

    The SNP campaigned very hard for the EU referendum to be postponed until later in the year in order to prevent it overshadowing the devolved elections. No one listened. Cameron didn’t fancy fighting a campaign after a summer of Mediterranean boat people stories. Ironically, that lack of coverage (even in Scotland) probably helps the SNP as the opposition have been unable to build a media narrative.

    It’s interesting to me that in an article about the neglect of the “United Kingdom’s” nations and regions the elections in Northern Ireland didn’t merit a single word’s attention. That speaks volumes about the London media, and how when it really boils down to it, I’ve never merit an Englishman who actually lives in England who cares at all about “The Union”.

    • 100

      You need to get out more

    • Discuscutter

      Northern Ireland isn’t a part of Britain, this article was only talking about British politics.

      • Jambo25

        He wrote “United Kingdom”.

      • JoeCro

        You should tell an Ulster orangeman he is not British, his reaction would be interesting….

        • MichtyMe

          Actually Belfast is not in Britain. It is in the UK of GB&NI, so logically if they are British then folk in Bristol will also be Irish.

        • g1

          He would go on a march..

    • Nick

      I’m English and I care about the Union.But I don’t think we’ve met.

    • Brian Jones

      During my 15 years in the army I met many men from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales who were proud to be British. All this crap separateness is a direct result of Blair trying to buy more votes with devolution, before then there was almost no antagonism. Long may the UK survive for the good of all of us.

      • Jambo25

        My dad left the Navy as a CPO guns at the end of WW2 after seeing a lot of active service. By the end of his life he was voting SNP. He felt little sense of remaining Britishness. Keith Brown is an ex Royal Marine who, I think , saw active service in the Falklands. He is an SNP MSP and Minister.

    • g1

      NI does not reckon in the eyes of London so why not join up with the rest of Ireland?

  • Marathon-Youth

    I am an American and I never heard or read of these elections in any American media outlet I happened to take a look.
    After reading this article I am still unclear as to what these elections are about?

    • 100

      Join the club

    • Nick

      I think they are about electing political parties for local
      government.But I could be wrong because last May we had a similar thing
      called a General Election where we voted for a political party for
      central government but all we got were a load of muppets.

    • Ringan

      One of them is about electing a new Scottish Government. It looms quite large for me, but then I live in Scotland. London has its own parochial preoccupations. The UK no longer really functions as a coherent state.

  • Nick

    I think they are about electing political parties for local government.But I could be wrong because last May we had a similar thing called a General Election where we voted for a political party for central government but all we got were a load of muppets.

    (How did this reply get here?)Whoops!

  • davidofkent

    In politics, there is sometimes a point where doing nothing is a safe option. This is the case in Scotland. Neither Labour nor the Conservatives see any sense in opposing the SNP. They are sensible enough to want to wait and watch while the SNP make a mess of things. When the new powers over finances come fully into force and Scotland is unable to receive all of its funding from rUK (meaning England), the SNP will have to deliver on its promises by asking Scots to dig into their own pockets. That’s when the trouble will start north of the border.

    • Pilsnel Urquel

      Funding from UK means just that – The UK – we all pool together. Most regions of England make a relatively slim contribution apart from the South East and of course our UK capital London.

      Tiresome comments like this one is why the Union is in trouble. I already ‘dig deep in to my own pockets’ to pay tax to the UK HMRC, these are taxes which benefits you.

      The SNP have been in power 7 years already and have made an excellent job of it. Once the new powers come into force. Nothing will crumble. A portion of Taxation will simply be rerouted. Confidence will increase in the competence of Holyrood and yet even more Scots will start to question why we need to stay part of a Union in which we are unfairly tagged as scroungers by our Union partners.

      • Terence Wilkinson

        SNP have made an excellent job? Seriously? Their regime has been a fiasco. Total incompetence. Totally illiberal. Total lies. They complain about any Tory cut in spending while pursuing “prudent” cuts of their own.

        • The last NINE years have been anything but a fiasco. What came before from your unionist cretins in their “Executive” was one long series of embarrassments, the biggest of all we are having to pay for … I.e. PFI We pay through the nose for 40 years for shoddy buildings which are already falling down. This scheme was started by Tories then renamed and deployed by Labour and Liberals, despite warnings from the SNP and others. In 2007 the outgoing Lab/Lib “Executive” handed back £1.5 BILLION to Westminster .. apparently unable to think of anything it could usefully be invested in. Pathetic from start to finish. Your vermin parties are unlikely to ever return to a position of trust in Scotland for a very long time.
          You’ve clearly got a big chip on your shoulder.
          Time you grew up,as I said before.
          You’re now living in Scotland, so you’re as welcome as a new Scot as everyone else.
          The SNP is not your enemy. Why all the hate ?

          • Terence Wilkinson

            “Cretin” and “vermin” are words that indicate hate. The Religious Hate law failed in its first public outing, the Forth Road bridge closure was due to neglect, the Named Person scheme, the merger of the police which most likely contributed to the awful car crash incident. The list of incompetence is a long one. You have an Environment Minister who is unable to answer questions on two of the most controversial issues in that area. You have an Education Minister who cannot give an intelligible answers to simple questions. You have a payment system that is failing to pay farmers. Labour were turfed out of office at Holyrood for less.

          • JoeCro

            It must be difficult for British Nationalists to witness the unravelling of their country, anger is an understandable reaction to the ascendancy of the SNP and their goal of self government for Scotland.

            British Nationalists perhaps feel the very fabric of their country is being ripped apart and they are impotent in preventing the end of Westminster hegemony.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            Your logic is flawed. “Independence” in a monetary union will not lead to “self government” because the most important economic policy tool will be decided by outsiders. Also Scotland’s deficit will also have a major constraining effect. In simple terms the SNP are selling you a lie. I would suggest you have a long look at what has been happening in the Eurozone.

          • JoeCro

            Do you think devolution has gone too far?

          • Jonkle

            Who are these “British Nationalists” that you speak of ?

          • MichtyMe

            So, the closure of the bridge was the SNP? not that it was an old bridge carrying a traffic load greatly in excess of its design capacity. The party on becoming the Government tenders for a new crossing which the opposition branded a vanity project.
            A 111 call reporting an abandoned vehicle to which the police do not respond adequately becomes Government incompetence and turfed out of office.
            Naw you need mair than stuff like that.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            It happened on their watch did they not? Or was it all Westminster’s fault?

        • JoeCro

          Which of the the opposition parties in Scotland would have done a better job?

        • Pilsnel Urquel

          Fiasco. That would be a something like a Tram project nobody wanted that killed businesses and ran ridiculously over-deadline and over budget.

          Incompetence. That would be like using PFI schemes costing taxpayer 50x actual cost and leaving the state with absolutely nothing.

          Illiberal. Would be suggesting that governments not people should decide on a referendum for the future of our country.

          Incompetence. Would probably not include creating a successful new borders railway, on time on budget. Or ignoring calls of ‘vanity project’ to build an essential new forth-crossing, on time, on budget.

    • Rodric Selbie

      Sorry the UK are in 1.7 trillion of debt and England makes up 85% of the UK, that makes England the most subsidised Country in the UK, you guys couldn’t subsides my local Ice Cream shop….Time to get over yourself…

      • Terence Wilkinson

        And how would Scotland be able to afford independence with a 10% of GDP deficit? Without its own currency? It is time for you 45ers to get over yourselves, grow up and read economics text books instead of fairy stories.

        • Jambo25

          How does the UK with £1.7 trillion debt?

          • Terence Wilkinson

            It is doing what all countries with their own currency and a debt problem do: print a load of money. In effect the government is creating virtual money allowing it to buy its own debt. Also as debt is not the one phenomenon but actually the aggregation of deficits going back 100 years, the U.K. Government has been able to replace older more expensive debt with new cheaper debt. For all the talk of “austerity” this has allowed the government to pursue an expansionary fiscal policy (that is run a deficit) in line with Keynesian thinking. Countries in the Euro zone are unable to do this and so must tackle their debt problem through spending cuts and tax increases. The result is massive unemployment (see the article celebrating Spain’s fall in unemployment to just over 20%). An “independent” Scotland, according to the SNP, would either remain in Sterling or join the Euro. In either case Scotland would have no control over arguably the most important economic tool.

          • Jambo25

            Scotland is not Spain; no matter how much Unionists wish it. Incidentally, the UK has about the highest trade deficit in modern history, a depreciating currency, appalling productivity figures, slowing growth and rising unemployment. Not exactly a success.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            The latest unemployment figures show it was down again. The media and politicians always panic about depreciating currencies as they seem to think a “strong” currency is proof of their political virility but a depreciating currency should boost trade. Further is not much of an issue while inflation is low. Global economic growth seems to be slowing due to China, while growth in the Eurozone is still pretty much stagnant so Britain’s slowing growth needs to be placed in context. Productivity is historic problem in the UK (pretty much every economic history book I have ever read on the subject complains about it) but putting barriers in the way of people getting higher education (as the SNP are doing by subsidising middle class people who are able to afford private schools) will certainly not help.

          • JoeCro

            Free further education is a vote winner, it is a popular policy.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            Just because it is popular does not make it right. Poorer people are less likely to attend university than in England. If I were 18 again I would not be able to go to university. Anyway it is not “free” education as the tax payer pays for it. As a tax payer I would prefer that my money went to pay a grant to someone from a poor background rather than go on the fees of someone from a well off background. It is strange that middle class people can afford school fees for their children but not their university fees.

          • JoeCro

            Means testing for education would cause resentment in those who have to pay. The middle classes make an enormous contribution in taxes, why shouldn’t they reap some of the benefits.

          • JoeCro

            Did you pay for tuition? How does not charging point people off?

          • Jonkle

            Free further education is worthless without jobs at the end of it.

          • Jambo25

            Our “jobs miracle” has simply been firms going in for factor substitution. Cheap labour for capital goods . That’s one reason why UK productivity is so awful.

          • Jonkle

            “firms going in for factor substitution”
            Examples please.

          • Jambo25

            Those UK firms which hire cheap Labour rather than buy up skilled capital goods. Otherwise why do you think that the UK productivity figures are so bad. We have lower levels of capital investment than our main competitors.

          • Jonkle

            Who would they be then ?

        • Rodric Selbie

          KEY FACT ABOUT GERS 1

          Scotland has been part of the UK for 308 years. It’s had its own parliament for just 5% of that time. Even now, almost all key economic levers – taxation, welfare, immigration and many more – are directly controlled by Westminster, as is a huge chunk of “Scottish” spending. If the economy is a mess, 95% of that mess happened on the UK Parliament’s watch.

          UK governments of all political shades have had 300 years to get Scotland into a healthy shape. They’re now telling us that they failed spectacularly in that responsibility, but that it’s somehow Scotland’s fault, so we have to leave them in charge to fix it. Maybe if we give them another 300 years they’ll get it right.

          KEY FACT 2

          GERS was deliberately designed from the outset by the UK government to make Scotland (and the non-Tory parties) look bad.

          This fact was revealed in a leaked memo from the Scottish Secretary to the Prime Minister. But when Labour came to power in 1999 they did nothing about it, because they thought they’d control the Scottish Parliament forever no matter what, and therefore it couldn’t really hurt them. It would, however, still help to make the SNP and independence look bad, which suited Labour fine.

          KEY FACT 3

          The “£15bn black hole” in GERS screamed across every newspaper this week is a fallacy, because the target balance of a government is not zero.

          Almost every country on Earth – except for a certain oil-rich nation of 5m people bordering the North Sea which isn’t Scotland – runs a deficit. Governments don’t operate like households, which at some point have to balance the books and pay off their debts. Under normal circumstances governments always run a deficit because that’s how you create growth.

          In 2010 the UK’s deficit was a bigger share of GDP (11%) than Scotland’s is in the latest GERS figures (10%), but nobody said it proved the UK wasn’t a viable independent country, because most people aren’t self-hating morons desperate to portray their own nation as a financial basket case. As long as the deficit isn’t ALWAYS that high you’re fine, and Scotland’s is usually much lower.

          KEY FACT 4

          GERS – by the universal agreement of everyone except Unionist politicians and the Scottish media – has no bearing whatsoever on the finances of an independent Scotland.

          That’s a fact which just can’t be repeated too often.

          To name but one extremely significant example, an independent Scotland’s balance sheet would be massively affected – to the tune of billions of pounds a year, a huge chunk of the deficit – by the details of the independence settlement and in particular how much UK debt Scotland agreed to inherit.

          It’s highly unlikely, for all sorts of reasons that we’ve explored in detail on Wings previously, that this would be a straight per-capita share, and a more realistic figure – half that or less – would instantly reduce the deficit to a degree that would have, for example, more than balanced the drop in oil revenues this year.

          When Ireland gained independence from the UK, it negotiated an agreement which gave it none of the UK’s debt whatsoever. If Scotland – which has a very strong negotiating position – were to do the same its “true” deficit (see Fact 3), even in a very bad year like 2014-15, would be almost wiped out at a stroke.

          KEY FACT 5

          GERS is also totally irrelevant in the context of independence for a second crucial reason – the entire point of independence is to NOT keep doing everything in Scotland the same way it’s been done in the UK.

          Scotland’s needs, strengths, weaknesses and priorities are different to those of the UK in all sorts of fields. Despite obvious similarities it’s a fundamentally different kind of country – much less densely-populated, with different industries and demographics and a different idea of its place in the world.

          Unionists desperate to use GERS to rubbish an independent Scotland’s finances sometimes admit its flaws, but defend it by saying it’s the only data we’ve got to go on. That’s like saying you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow so for want of anything better you’ll base your plans around your horoscope in today’s Daily Star.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            Been reading fairy stories again? Try reading a proper book on economics about why deficits of 10% of GDP are indeed a problem especially if you have no control over your currency (see Greece, Italy, Spain etc). Meanwhile the SNP claim they can turn Scotland into a Socialist paradise with all the “free” stuff you can want but in reality would have to pursue real austerity. So you are being sold a pig in a poke. Meanwhile in office in area after area the SNP spend less than the evil Tories but call it prudence

          • Terence Wilkinson

            So let’s say that England used the Euro as s template for monetary union and set a limit on deficits of 4% of GDP, how would you reach that target? 6% of GDP is a lot of austerity.

          • Rodric Selbie

            Could we get one thing clear here, Westminster has been in deficit and debt for the last 40 years and that debt sits at 1.7 trillion. England make up 85% of the UK population therefore are the most subsidised Country in the UK, you guys couldn’t subside my local sweet shop never mind setting limits on deficits…. Just back in 2010 the UK was in 11% deficit of GDP…..

            Scotland doesn’t run her own economy Westminster does and they have failed, should we let them have another 300 years to get it right LOL

          • Terence Wilkinson

            So what is current Nat policy on the currency? If it is still to join a monetary union with someone, anyone, we are meant to believe that an “independent” Scotland will be able to run whatever deficit it likes, spend whatever it likes and undergo an economic transformation without control over the most powerful economic policy tool. The key fact is that the UK has control over its own currency and has a central bank. If needs be it can print money to pay off its debt. Italy, Spain, Greece etc cannot do this so are locked in a cycle of real austerity from which there seems to be no escape. Also I think it somewhat rich that a support of a party that likes to parade its progressive credentials (without actually doing anything to scare their better off backers) is criticising the UK for running a deficit. I seem to recall your Leader demanding more borrowing and spending during the last Westminster election (but of course, of course, she did not know that this would scare the English into voting Tory. Of course she did not know). The reality is that the SNP’s case for “independence” is a busted flush. The economics of their case are a mixture of wishful thinking and lies. On the one hand the White Paper admitted that Scotland would have a huge deficit but on the other promised ever more spending. Throughout the Western world countries are struggling with the result of such policies. All Western countries are struggling to find an answer to the dilemma of affordable Welfare while populations are aging. But I do find it instructive that the SNP no longer cite Europe as an example of an alternative as much as they used to.

    • Michael W

      Cloud based cuckoo land…

    • JoeCro

      Once the financial benefits of union are removed the main reason for union from a Scottish perspective no longer exists and independence would quickly follow.

  • Jojje 3000

    The Scottish devolution will eventually reach a point where Scotland may join the EU by their own decision. And the EU won’t reject that application.

    • Terence Wilkinson

      And why would Spain and other countries with their own separatists agree to this?

      • Jojje 3000

        Because Spain is not planing a Spexit, which makes the UK and Brexit a unique case.

        • Terence Wilkinson

          But if Scotland were allowed to join the EU it would set a precedent for Catalonia. Before you know the EU would splinter into a 16th century pattern and make the EU even more unwieldy than now.

          • Maureen Luby

            No, it wouldn’t, they are two very distinct cases.

          • JoeCro

            Smaller states would be easier to control than larger ones. A confederation of small European states with a common currency, foreign policy etc sounds quite attractive.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            in light of the Eurozone crisis and the recent immigration problems that the European Commission would agree. From the outside the decision making processes have not looked unified or smooth.

          • JoeCro

            The migration crisis demonstrates the need for more EU integration not less.

          • Jojje 3000

            Vey much so.

      • It’s high time you grew up and cut out the pathetic pejorative terms. “The SNP are liars” according to you. What….all 116,000 of them ? Let’s hear your evidence.

        • Terence Wilkinson

          Here are some examples:
          EU membership. The SNP “government” spent about £30m in an attempt to keep the truth about their “legal opinion” out of the public domain.
          They also said they would accept the outcome of the referendum but instead continually talk about a second one.
          During the Referendum they claimed that only independence could “save” the NHS despite it being a devolved issue and so the SNP “government” are entirely responsible for the tiny increase in spending and the well documented problems in the NHS in Scotland.
          They lied about being able to retain Sterling post-Independence. You may remember Salmond shouting at Darling about this in one of the debates based on a story in The Guardian and citing an unnamed source.
          Their White Paper was specific about the price of oil and they claimed that no-one predicted the subsequent collapse in the price of oil. Funnily enough I was called “crazy” when I made that very prediction when America and Iran signed their deal. It turns out that the laws of economics do indeed triumph over wishful thinking.
          The SNP claim to want to cut Scotland’s deficit but then publicly oppose any “cut” in spending. Of course when they cut spending it is merely “prudence”.
          Finally independence itself is a lie. As Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland have discovered independence without the ability to control your money supply is a mirage. On the one hand the SNP demand to leave a very successful economic, social and political union but then say they want to to remain in a monetary union with the very same oppressors they want to be rid of, and they want to join the EU which is dedicated to ever closer economic, social and political union. Even George Orwell would find it hard to keep up with their Double Think.

          • Maureen Luby

            The Unionist parties are the ones who have talked about independence ad nauseum since September ’14. The White Paper was not about oil.

          • JoeCro

            You need to move on from the referendum. The Scottish Parliament will shortly wield powers that would have been unimaginable 10 or 15 years ago.

          • antoncheckout

            You have to hope that they will use the powers. So far, they’re still at the stage where, when a major Scottish bridge needs repair, the SNP still rant on about what a disgrace it is, forgetting that they already have
            a) the obligation to repair the bridge, and
            b) the power to raise taxes to do so.

    • antoncheckout

      It would delay it considerably. The EU has already pointed out, emphatically and at length, that an independent Scotland would not be able to join on the coattails of the UK it had left, but would need to apply for several years, during which its economic and political fitness would be carefully examined.
      As with the mad idea of ‘sharing the pound’, the SNP’s stubborn unwillingness to listen, learn, accept the truth and adapt to it, does not give confidence in their ability to manage a fully independent economy.

      • MichtyMe

        The dissolution of the UK would not result in Scotland leaving the EU. The EU has no procedure for the exclusion of a territory even if it wished to do so.

        • antoncheckout

          The EU has already contradicted that idea. Scotland would be an independent state, not a territory. It would exclude itself from the EU by leaving the UK and becoming independent. Barroso made all that very clear. So did Juncker. Scotland would join the queue for accession.
          And Scotland’s accession to the EU would be vetoed by Spain.

          • Antoine Bisset

            Barroso and Juncker. A couple of clever, right-minded men, of great integrity, and joint rulers of the EU. (Or, it may be, just self opinionated self-seeking politicians with axes to grind who may vanish in a month or a year.)

      • Jojje 3000

        ‘Sharing the pound’ is probably not on the table, Scotland simply use the Euro.

      • Antoine Bisset

        Actually, this is just poker, or mind games. An independent Scotland would be welcomed in the EU within 24hours. Anyway, as we are all citizens of the EU at the moment, we would not have to join. This, like the currency issue (non-issue), is simply baloney, a scare story to frighten the children.

    • Stu

      Assuming that the EU remains in existence for much longer!

  • Brus MacGallah
  • John P Hughes

    There is quite good coverage of the Scottish elections in the ‘Telegraph’ and the ‘Times’. The BBC news programmes are not so good on the subject; the BMA strike and the Hillsborough Inquest verdict and its aftermath have driven them off the front pages in the last week but it is certainly not that case that ‘no one has even heard of’ them. The Welsh Assembly elections have not been properly reported by the same papers though. The quip is more fairly applicable to Wales.

  • gavin

    So the London-centric media ignore what is happening outside London? Well, no surprise there!
    This partly explains why devolution occurred in the first place, the total disinterest in life outside the Westminster bubble by the media and the political elite in all Unionist parties—they have now reaped their reward—Scotland having been in economic and population decline for more than a century–but who knew?
    Davidson is largely an invention of Tory Central, having been parachuted into Holyrood as other were elbowed aside, and jerry-mandered into the leadership having been a Tory party member for a whole two years.
    I thought Cameron had made Westminster the official English Parliament two years ago?
    The Unionists have three Scottish MPs, but dozens of Peers. Not one SNP Peer, as they believe in democracy as their “Big Idea” !

    • Vieuxceps2

      “the oficial English Parliament” -Westminster? Good God No! We have as yet no English Parliament, nor will we have until the Chamber hans only MPs i it from English seats. The sooner the better say I.

      • JoeCro

        An English parliament elected via PR with powers equivalent to Holyrood would be an interesting prospect, I think they would find controlling spending within the limitations of a block grant challenging.

        • Vieuxceps2

          A block grant? The Englsh Parliament would have the revenue of England. Who dare deny us that?

          • JoeCro

            There would be a large hole in England’s finances. The Macworld have to be covered with UK borrowing.

          • Vieuxceps2

            “UK borrowing” WhenEngland is independent with her own Parliament,there won’t be a UK. In any case where would ths UK money come from? NI,Scotland or Wales?

          • JoeCro

            What would England do without a currency etc etc..

          • Vieuxceps2

            Currency? Pounds sterling,last time I looked. What will Alba use?

          • JoeCro

            The pound belongs to the UK, if you leave the UK you leave the pound.

          • Vieuxceps2

            Ah,that was wee Eck’s big mistake wasn’t it? Only applies to Scotland of course .Ask the Bank of England.

          • Antoine Bisset

            An independent England could use the US dollar. Like Panama..

          • Vieuxceps2

            No need. We have the pound sterling. You could no doubt use the same currency,but you can only guarantee it with the Scottish banking system. Not a magnet for investors ……

          • Antoine Bisset

            Ah, the naked truth as regards attitude and understanding. But not reality.
            There is this concept of society, and currently that society is the UK, not just the Duchy of Pimlico.

          • Vieuxceps2

            With a free England and no UK your sarky words become meaningless.

  • Terence Wilkinson

    Personally I am sitting out these elections. The SNP are liars whose “movement” is like a cult. Labour are a mess and led by someone who is out of their depth (that could apply to Labour in any part of the U.K.), the Conservatves sold out No voters because Gordon Brown is a panic merchant (I am not happy that the SNP who victimise Unionists now get to spend my money. I am not even a real Scot is their eyes, so why cannot I choose to send my money to Westminster?), the Lib Dems are irrelevant and UKIP are a joke. In sum I think none of them are worthy of my vote.

    • OldPete

      Rubbish!
      SNP x 2

      • Terence Wilkinson

        Scottish unemployment is up. The Scottish economy is struggling (where would we be without England’s generous subsidy?) Scottish NHS spending has increased by a far smaller amount than in England despite Scotland’s well known additional health issues. Poor kids have less opportunity to go to university. Their Environment Minister could not answer a question on fracking. The litany of failure is a long one and any other party would be quite correctly punished at the polls.

        • Maureen Luby

          The Scottish economy is not struggling. Our NHS is in a far better condition than anywhere else in the UK.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            Do you deny that Scottish unemployment has increased? North Sea production is down. Business investment according to a recent report is also down. Just sayings things are fine does not make it so. It is also a fact that NHS has increased by far less than in England. That is an objective fact not a subjective assertion.

          • MichtyMe

            Fact. North Sea production increased last year by about 10% and further increase is expected in the next few years.

          • Terence Wilkinson

            And yet the industry body expects further job losses and continued retrenchment.

          • MichtyMe

            The industry is cyclical, it has boomed in recent years. World consumption of hydrocarbons will continue to increase. About half the activity of the industry in Scotland relates to the supply of materials and services globally. In February this year Total brought into production the Laggan-Toremor project which will supply double Scotland’s gas requirement for decades. The industry still has a long and great future.

          • Antoine Bisset

            Even so. And the profits go in tax to the Exchequer and to the shareholders.
            Currently the oil business is a UK asset, so why do so many British commentators rubbish it?

          • Vieuxceps2

            More significant,why do so many Scots claim this UK asset as their own?

          • Antoine Bisset

            Because it is. Scotland is in the UK, thus any national assets of England and Scotland are UK assets. If Scotland left the Union then these assets would remain with Scotland. The Treaty of Union is between two countries, it was not (officially) a conquest, nor an absorbtion like the Anschluss.

          • Wee Mental Davie

            You Pacific Shelvers are so out of touch with reality.

          • Back to the asylum Davie…your carer is wondering how you escaped.

          • Kennie

            Thanks to the English tax payers.

        • JoeCro

          No doctors strike in Scotland. The performance of the Scottish health service is better than the English health service. Doing more with less funding is a positive not a negative.

          • Kennie

            “The performance of the Scottish health service is better than the English health service.”
            Do you mean they kill fewer people?

          • Sunset66

            Well the southern health board in England with one thousand unexplained deaths isn’t doing the English NHS reputation much good . The chief executive still hasn’t resigned. She truly is special

          • AWoLsco

            “Do you mean they kill fewer people?”

            No . They just do it more cheaply and efficiently so that the likes of Phillip ‘Barrow-boy’ Green, secret agent Bob Maxwell( original name Jan Ludvik Hoch (born June 10, 1923, Slatina-Selo, Czechoslovakia—died November 5, 1991, at sea) and Alan, shit-on-a-blanket, sweety Sugar, can afford luxury yachts and planes.

    • JoeCro

      If you don’t vote, you cannot complain about the outcome.

    • Kennie

      They speak well of you too.

  • Tamerlane

    Everyone’s heard of them it’s just that only very, very bored people take an interest in local elections and the Scottish thing is well… a Scottish thing.

  • Wee Mental Davie

    The bad news – the SNP will win again for another term. The good news – they really are so pathetic as a government, due to the poor standard of their MSP’s, they will continue their downward spiral of failures. This is bound to accelerate as their abysmal policies take a further poisonous effect on the indigenous Scot. This will be their last overall victory in Scotland and their destruction can’t come soon enough.

    • James Chilton

      You could be right about the “poisonous effect” of SNP policies on the Scottish people. But it doesn’t follow that they are heading for defeat next time. Nationalist sentiment can sabotage rational calculation.

      • Wee Mental Davie

        I reckon it will become so bad, that all the converts will “revert”. Remember another full term of incompetence can’t be suppressed this time. The vile SNP have peaked. You wait and see.

        • AWoLsco

          “The vile SNP have peaked. You wait and see.”

          People like you, turncoats and traitors, have been saying that for the last 50yrs…..but the independence movement, at least among true Scots, just gets bigger and bigger.
          The only thing that will halt it, is the unending stream of English dead-beats, third-raters and incompetents being used to fill key positions in Scotland, and thus ‘Anglify’ it.
          Of course to a selfish, grubby, consumerist, empty-headed little parasite and economic gypsy of no fixed address,…… like yourself,…… this will be ‘good news’.

          • Jonkle

            “People like you, turncoats and traitors”
            So, do you regard all Scots who oppose the SNP and independence as traitors ?
            This seems to be what you are implying.

          • AWoLsco

            “do you regard all Scots who oppose the SNP and independence as traitors ?”

            What an absolutely stupid question.
            Of course they are traitors, the vile ‘enemy within’…and one day they shall pay. No-one insults Scotland and gets away with it.
            Everything said and done, is being recorded in the black book.
            This is not some twee, intellectual parlour game like ‘snakes and ladders’ or ‘housey-housey’ where all shake hands, knock back a tincture or twain, and are all jolly good pals afterwards.

          • Jonkle

            Who is “Scotland” ?

          • AWoLsco

            “Who is “Scotland” ?”

            There’s a long answer to that ….and a short one.
            Seeing as this is not a place for free intellectual discussion, but more a propaganda outlet for jews, banksters, freemasons and mammon -worshipping satanists, then I’ll give you the short answer……..

            “It isna Inglisland(Engerland).”

          • Jonkle

            Try again.

          • AWoLsco

            “Try again.”

            No. It’s your turn.
            Pray tell us of your own great religion, philosophy and all-encompassing weltanschauung, that you so often hint at….but never divulge.
            We all await with baited breath.

          • Jonkle

            Who’s ‘we” ?

          • AWoLsco

            “Who’s we ?”

            Everyone except you.

          • Jonkle

            Intercepted MI5 communication:-
            MISSION: Infliltrate internet forums disguised as a ranting, self righteous, Scottish separatist loonie.
            MONIKER: AWoLsco.
            OBJECTIVE: Cause maximum embarrassment to SNP, and Scottish Independence movement.

    • 1958Paul

      Dream on matey

    • Antoine Bisset

      The performance of the SNP has been disappointing, with tinkering and not fixing. However, they do not report to, or take order from, English HQs. It was Labour/Tory efforts that ruined Scotland after WW2 and they had 60 years to do it. The MSPs have no training or experience save, in some cases, that garnered from being local councillors. As the Councils are profligate, stupid, incompetent and corrupt that does not help. We need trained politicians with a sense of service (that is service to the country not self-service).
      Whatever the faults of the SNP, and they are many, they are the best we are likely to have for some time.

      • Wee Mental Davie

        The SNP are the worst thing to have happened to Scotland. They are liars on practically everything. They pretend to be nationalists but they are really just cultural marxists and want to remove the identity of every proud Scot and turn Scotland into a civic nation and annex of the EU superstate. Why do they not describe to the Scottish people what a civic nation really means. They want the identity of Scotland to be erroded. To achieve this, they will import as many immigrants as they possibly can. The quickest way for them make this happen is to import the islamic immigrants flooding into Europe. They should be held to account in the future, for their actions and for lies to the Scottish people. I pray we Brexit and put an end to the SNP control.

        • Antoine Bisset

          Yes, it is disappointing. As for the islamists, there is hopefully a struggle to come in the near future. The alternative is to be subjugated.

  • Wee Mental Davie

    This whole comment section is infested with SNP reptiles and republicans. Not one real Scot among yees. Just waiting for the rest of the handwringers from the pro refugees asylum seekers and the muslim expanding division. What have you done to my Scotland ??

    • JoeCro

      I thought you were British? I think you must be an SNP supporter having a laugh, the RFC monarchy loving BNP stuff is such an obvious parody.

      • Wee Mental Davie

        No way are you going to yank my chain, but I’m no BNP supporter. It’s not the skin colour but how rotten the inside is.

        • Kennie

          The SNP & BNP have a lot in common. They are both Nationalist, they are both Socialist and they are both racialist. Oh, and they both employ thugs to go around stopping others from speaking.

          • Sunset66

            Never has there been a post with so many untruths than your one . Congratulations you appear to be from a different planet

          • Jambo25

            Drivel, but then you knew that before writing it.

        • Sunset66

          Ah but you are a bit dodgy when it comes to Catholics

          • Wee Mental Davie

            Are you suggesting I’m sectarian ?

    • ohforheavensake

      Sorry, mate. Must be tough, knowing that in Scotland the good guys won.

    • JoeCro

      I thought you were British? I think you must be an SNP supporter having a laugh, the RFC monarchy loving BNP stuff is such an obvious parody.

      • Wee Mental Davie

        Let me guess. It’s not the CRO but Joseph Declan Cronin. I was barking up the wrong tree.

        • JoeCro

          LOL. Enjoy the 5 in a row party.

          • Wee Mental Davie

            Aaaarrrgggghhhh !!! You better make the most of it.

    • The PrangWizard of England

      I’m worried about what is happening too, to my England. It’s not good.

    • 1958Paul

      Taken it off the likes of you.

    • Michele Keighley

      … and usually the same ones you find on any article in any newspaper that mentions the sacred SNP. They must have nothing else to do than await their orders and sharpen their hatred. It’s a real selling point for ‘Tourism Scotland’- Visit Scotland, but don’t open your mouth, they might think you’re English!

      • AWoLsco

        “but don’t open your mouth, they might think you’re English!”

        Nothing wrong with your being English…. we , or at least I, don’t take pleasure in mocking the afflicted.

        I have no objection to English tourists as long as they observe normal standards of toiletry, using the thoughtfully-provided public conveniences, don’t engage in criminal or subversive activities, and spend money, loadsamoney….and give assurances that they are going back tae whaur they cam frae and don’t intend to reside in Scotland.

        • Kevin Armstrong

          I’d love to live in Scotland, why would you seek to stop me? I will not be a drain on your resources, in fact I will spend money there and I can speak the language. But, don’t worry, my wife is Argentinian and we are not allowed to live in the UK so you are safe. Unless the UK leaves the EU and there is another referendum in Scotland which this time means leaving the UK, then, we may be able to come to your fine land. Posted as an Englishman in enforced exile in Argentina.

          • AWoLsco

            “I’d love to live in Scotland, why would you seek to stop me?”

            ……For many reasons that would apply in an independent Scotland, and ones, which you should ask yourself and your wife… and not least, aim to become better informed on the subject.

            Questions such as…Do I want to become Scottish? ie take an active and enthusiastic part in Scotland’s cultural activities or do I just want to dwell there?
            Would I be prepared to serve in the armed forces, and if necessary die, for that country? or…. If the going get’s rough, do I expect to slink off without paying any penalty?
            Would I be prepared to make a substantial voluntary contribution to the maintenance and upkeep of the armed forces, and if so …How much?
            Are you fit and healthy and prepared to pay for your own medical care and your wife’s until you achieve Scottish citizenship?
            After five year’s residence, are you prepared to sit before a Scottish Immigration Tribunal and be examined as to suitability, having already been endorsed as passable, by your local militia( combined police and army) commander and his officers.

            I only ask those questions because they were ones( and many others in like vein) put before me when I sought permission to immigrate to other countries( USA, Canada, Australia and Germany).
            The only country that didn’t make demands on me, was England, but then technically , at least, I was British….but NOT English.

            Your wife’s being Argentinian, might actually be a point in her favour.
            We in Scotland, or at least some of us, remember the very successful Scottish expedition to Antarctica, ridiculously and cruelly shunned by the ‘British ‘(English) Geographical Society.
            Naturally a point was reached where, for the expedition to continue, supplies needed to be replenished.
            No help was forthcoming from London….but Argentina stepped in and came to the rescue.
            That is why the South Orkney Islands are Argentinian territory and not English/British!
            One good turn deserves another….in the Scotsman’s book.
            In fact, there’s a thought…..just send the wife to Scotland.
            You can stay at ‘home’…… wherever that is.

          • Kevin Armstrong

            I know you are taking the proverbial unless of course you are under the influence of some alien substance or perhaps you really do adhere to such a position. thankfully you are among a minority in Scotland as if your mantra was to become policy,I doubt there would be many people left in Scotland.
            I can’t help with the militia, being 63, it would be a bit of a hindrance in any battle. As for joining in with the culture, well, a few beers fine, a few trips to Celtic Park, a day out in Edinburgh now and again.Maybe I’ll learn to play the bagpipes! I think you were talking about your emigration to those other countries, it does help if you get the terms right. I think they had a narrow escape if they refused entry to such a narrow minded bigot as you, but hey ho, diversity is the name of the game nowadays! Takes all sorts et al.

          • AWoLsco

            “if your mantra was to become policy,I doubt there would be many people left in Scotland.”

            That’s true…… to some extent.
            Imagine the country stripped out of dead-beats,freeloaders, idle hedonists, romantic noodle-heads and degenerate lounge lizards.
            It might be small, but it would be efficiently modernising itself and correcting the ecological damage done to it over the last three centuries

            “I can’t help with the militia, being 63,”

            Wrong.
            You should have the benefit of age and experience and thus be able to transfer this to the young and physically able.
            Of course if you’ ve spent all your life in bars, brothels and gambling dens and watching television then , although 63, you might not be of much use , or interest, to the youth of Scotland.

            “a few beers fine, a few trips to Celtic Park, a day out in Edinburgh now and again.Maybe I’ll learn to play the bagpipes! ”

            If that is your view of Scottish culture, then right now, you have disbarred yourself from entry. Indeed, with those trite utterances, suspicions are raised….and questions need to be answered………….
            Just why, EXACTLY, do you want to live in a country whose institutions and culture, you trivialise and denigrate so openly?

            “such a narrow minded bigot as you,”

            So for being a PRO-SCOT,……. I am branded as a ‘narrow minded bigot’:?
            I should feel wounded, but do not feel so….because this world is filled with what you call ‘narrow minded bigots’
            By your defintion, Switzerland should be stuffed to the gills with ‘narrow minded bigots’…. same with Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, even England.
            Such countries would not exist today….unless they were stuffed with ‘narrow minded bigots’…..or as I prefer to see them….. as people that are PRO-SWISS, PRO- NORWEGIAN, PRO SWEDE etc etc.
            Every country that desired independence from the British Empire must, by your logic, be stuffed with …..’narrow minded bigots’
            Ghandi was a ‘narrow-minded bigot’……like me.

    • rjbh

      Frack the Rangers supporting, Butchers rag wavin Unionist.. the same thats about to be sacked from their cushy boat building jobs on the Clyde…this time… Vote SNP.

      • Wee Mental Davie

        Obsessed are we ? Of course you are.

  • Chingford Man

    There are also Assembly elections in Northern Ireland where the Tories and UKIP are contesting seats, although I suspect the London-centric Speccie is unaware of this. UKIP might be the first national party to win an Assembly seat at an election there.

    • g1

      Where is NI.?

  • trobrianders

    James Forsyth. Another media idiot who thinks the sheeple don’t know what’s going on or what to do if the media aren’t telling them.

  • JoeCro

    Stronger for Scotland. SNP x 2

  • Steve Mc

    Politics aside, why do all her photos make it look like she’s sucking all the air out of the room?

  • 1958Paul

    When this person says no-one has heard of them, I think he means no-one he knows. Here in Scotland, I can assure you we have heard of our election.

    • rjbh

      Indeed !

    • AWoLsco

      Reminds me of the time I was in conversation with my oriental friend, Ting- Tong.
      ” Hey, Ting-Tong,” says I, “Long time since you johnnies had an election”
      “No, No.” he replied with a big grin on his face….” Me have velly nicee election onry last night”

  • Michele Keighley

    So, is that how you measure success in your new Scotland; as long as you are better than Engerland all is fine in your dovecot?

    How very narrow minded of you. If you are doing so well, why not tell the English they can keep their Barnett Formula to spend in their obviously destitute country.

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