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Source: (consider it) Thread: Purgatory: Scottish Independence
Louise
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# 30

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Not sure what you mean by a Stuart law of hereditary succession, Hawk. From 1689 the Scottish parliament claimed the right to determine who took the Scottish throne. It wasn't a matter of indefeasible hereditary right - that was rejected. It considered James VII's claim and William's and picked William, so later arm twisting or no, it was parliament's decision to make and it ratified a Hanoverian succession.

Nobody apart from a few eccentrics goes in for actual Jacobitism today. Republicanism would be the more likely alternative to the Windsors than Jacobitism

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
Scotland is a full member of the Westminster parliament.

And a fully outnumbered one.
For a long time Scotland was over-represented in terms of the number of seats compared with population. There was a reduction in seats following devolution, but I still think there's a slight over-representation. I'm not 100% sure though.
Even if it's a slight over-representation per head of population, on the floor of the House of Commons it's 533 English reps out of a total of 650. It's not hard to see that any time there's a feeling that Scottish interests (or Welsh or Irish ones) differ in some way from English interests, the English interests will prevail.

And you don't have an elected Senate that would counteract that by reflecting regional interests more strongly, as the USA and Australian Senates are intended to do.

[ 29. November 2013, 16:03: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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North East Quine

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# 13049

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Originally posted by Zach82:
quote:
I have no doubt that the poor suffer in the British system. I just assume that they will continue to suffer in a Scottish system.
Scotland has less inequality in many areas - for example, most children attend a state comprehensive school. Although these vary according to the area they're in, there isn't the same inbuilt social divisions as in areas where state education is only for the poor.

Aberdeenshire, where I live, has 17 state comprehensive secondary schools, and only two fee-paying schools, one of which is a Montessori school, and the other is the international school, aimed primarily at children following a non-Scottish syllabus, because their families are only here short term. So practically every child is state educated.

(Aberdeen city, which is separate from Aberdeenshire, does have fee-paying schools, but only a small percentage of children aren't state educated.)

Generally,I think independence would get us away from the privately educated Westminster elite, which is likely to be good news for the poor.

[ 29. November 2013, 16:12: Message edited by: North East Quine ]

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daisymay

St Elmo's Fire
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And a bit south of Scotland was the Scottish area too, but later it was taken by England; do the Scots want that bit back or just ignore it?

And Scotland will be doing lots about St Andrews this week and that will be less in England!

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Louise
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# 30

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I'd just come off this thread when I found this very perceptive article by Neal Ascherson - it buries the lede which has a lot of truth in it- here it is

the SNP is the most truly British party in these islands


quote:
The Scotland being here described – or proposed – was the Britain so passionately hoped for by the millions who voted for Tony Blair, back in 1997.

After 18 years of Thatcherism, the longing was for a return to fairness and a stronger regulating and redistributing role for the state. What New Labour did with those hopes is another story. But Salmond's "what sort of Scotland" is also a moderate, statist social democracy...

The yes camp is wider than the official yes campaign. Around Scotland in recent months, I keep meeting people who would never vote SNP or trust Salmond, but who are painfully admitting that they may have to vote yes. This is because they are appalled at the way the British state is heading under Tory or Labour: the downward plunge into the barbarism of neoliberal politics, the contempt for public service, the almost monthly advance of privatisation.

The kind of welfare state Britain was originally based around after World War 2, modernised to deal with modern problems, maybe does seem messianic from an American perspective - but I'm willing to shoot for a version of that, even while falling short, rather than do nothing about the damage caused by having a constitutional and electoral system which isn't designed to handle one part of the UK becoming too powerful and going rogue.

One of the huge advantages of devolution was getting a modern electoral system in Scotland which is a vast improvement on pure first past the post. It's made our democracy better and more responsive. I'd like the resulting parliament to have full power. It's proved itself.

[ 29. November 2013, 16:42: Message edited by: Louise ]

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L'organist
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quote:
posted by orfeo
Even if it's a slight over-representation per head of population, on the floor of the House of Commons it's 533 English reps out of a total of 650.

In the case of Scotland it is indeed a slight over-representation in the House of Commons - of the other parts that make up the UK the most over-represented is Wales.

If you look at the percentage of population and then work out the number of MPs to go with that then the representation of the various parts of the UK should be as follows (actual number of seats in brackets):
  • England : 83.9% - 578 (533)
  • Scotland : 8.4% - 54 (59)
  • Wales : 4.8 - 31 (40)
  • Northern Ireland : 2.9% - 18 (19)

But that is to ignore the fact the the Scottish Parliament deals with approximately half the law-making / decision taking for Scotland - and the Scottish Parliament has a further 129 MSPs, 73 for set constituencies and 56 as "regional" MSPs.

For Wales, where the Assembly has fewer powers the numbers are 40:20. In Northern Ireland, again with fewer devolved powers, they elect 6 assembly members per constituency, giving them 108 MLAs in all.

There are those who say that the greater number of representatives at devolved level in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is to make up for the greater number of English members at Westminster.

But if you use the numbers of devolved members per Westminster constituency as your benchmark the figures look hugely different.

If English constituencies were represented at the same level as those of the other 3 parts of the UK then the numbers would be:
  • represented as Scotland = 1165 English MPs
  • represented as Wales = 799 English MPs
  • represented as Northern Ireland = 3198 English MPs

Whatever the outcome of the vote in Scotland, it is beyond time for sorting out three issues: the number of MPs overall; the percentage of population represented by each MP; the Westminster representation of the areas with devolved assemblies.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Francophile
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# 17838

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Does it really matter if Scotland is over-represented? Get a life.
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Anglican't
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quote:
Originally posted by Francophile:
Does it really matter if Scotland is over-represented?

In a discussion about the position of Scotland within the constitutional framework of the United Kingdom, possibly.
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Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Francophile:
Does it really matter if Scotland is over-represented?

In a discussion about the position of Scotland within the constitutional framework of the United Kingdom, possibly.
Only if you can demonstrate that the over-representation has had more than a theoretical impact. The West Lothian question needs an answer, probably most efficiently having a separate English and British government with non-English MPs not allowed to vote on England-only matters - something the SNP members, to their credit, do voluntarily.
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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by Francophile:
Get a life.

hosting/
This thread has been doing amazingly well at staying out of the danger zone and is much the better for it. Don't compromise that by heading down the road of personal insults.
/hosting

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Francophile
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# 17838

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quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
quote:
Originally posted by Francophile:
Get a life.

hosting/
This thread has been doing amazingly well at staying out of the danger zone and is much the better for it. Don't compromise that by heading down the road of personal insults.
/hosting

Not an insult, a statement of fact. Why anyone would begrudge the Scots their devolved Psrliament, highly successful since 1999, plus representation at Westminster for non devolved matters eg defence (where Scotland carries more than its fair share of the burden eg Faslane/Coulport) genuinely beats me. But I'm probably deemed too thick to understand.
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Cod
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# 2643

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If Britain were divided along political lines, the true border would run a long way south of the Tweed. In the last general election, the Tories achieved 43% of the vote and 191 of 270 seats across southern England and London. Outside that area, they achieved only 110 of 380 seats and 28% o the vote.

The Tories have managed to corner the right-wing vote in England, including a lot of non-free market traditionalists, such as exist in Scotland too. I find it interesting that no party there has been able to scoop them up, and wonder who former supporters of the Scottish Unionist party switched to, or whether they have just been staying at home ever since.

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Cod
Shipmate
# 2643

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quote:
Originally posted by Sober Preacher's Kid:

People never stopped believing in Canada. Sadly, people seem to have stopped believing in the United Kingdom.

This. No one can reasonably deny that Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own traditions.

But they also have centuries of common heritage, some good, some bad, but there nevertheless. I'm English, but my family is made up of people from all those parts, and I suspect the same is true for pretty much a majority of British people. Having lived in Scotland and, subsequent to that, half my life outside the UK, I reflect on just how similar the Scots are to people from the rest of the UK and find it astonishing that so many shared values are being passed over or dismissed.

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"I fart in your general direction."
M Barnier

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Jay-Emm
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# 11411

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[in reply to L'organist, having managed to forget the intervening posts]
What you say makes a fair bit of sense until you start giving England's devolved government powers over Britain (i.e. saying we need 3000MP's), which is just silly.
To add my opinion:

An English assembly would make sense getting rid of the way the current system is unfair to England* (when 'too much' is done at the regional level and there is 'too much' Scottish influence at English regional government compared with vice versa)**

But until a fair way of working (one way would be to send everything local, unless everyone agrees to co-operate-i.e. independence) it leave the way the current system is unfair to Scotland (when 'too much' is done at the Great-British level).

*better yet split, but the boundaries in England as less well defined.
**the actual number of MEnP's doesn't technically matter (at least not that directly), but one would consider it odd if the systems were unequally fine/course.

[ 29. November 2013, 18:18: Message edited by: Jay-Emm ]

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Eutychus
From the edge
# 3081

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quote:
Originally posted by Francophile:
Not an insult, a statement of fact.

Hosting/
"Get a life" is not a statement of fact. It is an insult directed at another poster. If you want to dispute that, take it up in the Styx. If you carry on ignoring or contesting hostly interventions on this thread, expect attention from an admin.
/Hosting

[ 29. November 2013, 18:22: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Cod
Shipmate
# 2643

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I really don't see what's wrong with the current system.

England doesn't need its own parliament. All that is needed is a convention that Scottish MPs at Westminster don't vote on matters peculiar to England, and I understand such a convention already exists.

Scottish worries about being dominated by England can be dealt with by delegation of legal powers to its own Parliament. Oh look, that's been done too. What I don't understand is how many more special arrangements need to be made to mitigate that.

What I don't see the point of is the creation of a huge constitutional edifice that will achieve little apart from slowing the legislative process, creating uncertainty in the law, and hence plenty of work for lawyers.

Actually, perhaps it's not such a bad idea after all. [Devil]

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Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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quote:
Originally posted by Cod:
I really don't see what's wrong with the current system.

England doesn't need its own parliament. All that is needed is a convention that Scottish MPs at Westminster don't vote on matters peculiar to England, and I understand such a convention already exists.

Tell that to those of us who lived South of the border when top-up fees for university tuition were introduced by a 4 vote margin comprised of Scottish Labour MPs whose constituencies would be unaffected by the change. It has been a rare occurrence, but it does happen. If such a convention existed there would be no need for the lib dems to be part of a coalition at Westminster on anything except policies that affect the whole of the UK. As it is they've been backing up the tories on health and education too.
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Full of Chips
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# 13669

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Talk of different constitutional arrangements short of Scots independence became irrelevant when Unionist parties refused to countenance a third option, so called Devo Max, on the ballot paper.

A large group of Scots would probably have gone for a meaningful Devo Max option. It is now becoming clear however that a NO vote would be rewarded with no additional powers for the Scottish Parliament and most likely a reduction in the block grant allocated by Westminster.

I think a YES is likely in 2014 and will certainly be voting that way myself, for the very reasons that Louise has articulated so eloquently in her posts.

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Wulfstan
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# 558

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Louise, the article purporting to prove that Scotland’s impact on elections is minimal is arrant nonsense. The figures quoted therein prove precisely the opposite. You wouldn’t have had Labour governments in 1964 or after either of the elections in the 1970s, John Major would have had a solid majority in 1992 and wouldn’t have had the parliamentary problems he did have, not least at the end in the run up to the 1997 election. This is hardly insignificant: the post-war history of the UK would have been massively different without Scotland, these figures prove it beyond doubt. Most importantly the 2010 election would have been an outright win for the Tories, which due to the treachery of the Lib Dems might not have affected policy much but would have improved Tory morale no end.

As for “the Tories get in every few years”, well they haven’t won a majority at a general election for over 20 years now. The problem runs rather deeper than that. Labour continued the Thatcherite agenda with catastrophic results, but Scottish MPs were a part of that too: tuition fees in England only got through parliament with the support of Scottish MPs, whilst Salmond was as keen to schmooze Murdoch as Blair was. No-one was seriously criticising the neo-liberal economic agenda, just tinkering a bit at the edges at best.

As for this:
“Labour isn't going to reverse this, it'll only occasionally, without much conviction, apply the brakes for a while before the jalopy lurches down the road again towards Toryville.”
How is this possible? Do you really think it is actually possible for the current situation to go on indefinitely? Ever increasing personal debt, ever higher house and energy prices, food poverty on an unprecedented post-war scale? Only an ardent Tory could believe that. We’re heading for another economic crash if we carry on like this, the question is what happens then. At the moment the Tories are deeply divided, facing real problems from UKIP, their key policies are failing and they haven’t won an election outright in over 20 years. Scottish independence would give them a get out of jail free card, partially because of the loss of Labour supporters, but also because of the national squabbles that would result, and don’t doubt there would be plenty of them.

As for the SNP, they have had devolved government for some time now, a more generous allocation of funds per head than the rest of the UK courtesy of the Barnet formula and the right to increase income tax (by 3% IIRC). Have they done much with this? When INEOS was threatening to close Grangemouth, did they suggest nationalising it? Have you any evidence to support the idea that Salmond would seriously tackle any of the problems you raise? How would austerity end if Scotland is keeping the pound and therefore having the BofE as its lender of last resort? It would be restricted by any borrowing limits the BofE chose to impose.

And I know all about ATOS. I’ve personally been through their “assessments” several times already and am currently waiting to go through it all again. According to you however that doesn’t matter as I’m not living in the same part of the country as you. So if Scots independence boosts the Tories, and it will, that’s just my tough luck for living in the wrong place. Thanks a heap.

Scottish independence is only a solution if the problem is the English (or possibly the Welsh). Since the problems you describe however are plaguing most of Europe, not to mention the US, I really don’t see that that’s true.

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Louise
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# 30

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quote:
Scottish worries about being dominated by England can be dealt with by delegation of legal powers to its own Parliament. Oh look, that's been done too.
No, that hasn't been done too. Too much was reserved to Westminster, including vital areas like welfare policy, immigration, and fiscal autonomy, when asked to tackle that by devo max (delegating everything except defence and foreign policy) the Westminster government refused to even allow the question to be put on the referendum.

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Full of Chips
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# 13669

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quote:
Wulfstan:
As for the SNP, they have had devolved government for some time now, a more generous allocation of funds per head than the rest of the UK courtesy of the Barnet formula and the right to increase income tax (by 3% IIRC). Have they done much with this? When INEOS was threatening to close Grangemouth, did they suggest nationalising it? Have you any evidence to support the idea that Salmond would seriously tackle any of the problems you raise? How would austerity end if Scotland is keeping the pound and therefore having the BofE as its lender of last resort? It would be restricted by any borrowing limits the BofE chose to impose.

Scots get £1200 more per head in UK spending allocation as a result of the Barnet formula. However, £1700 more per head is raised in taxation from Scotland than from the rest of the UK.
Using the "right to raise income tax by 3%" would result in a corresponding drop in the block grant, meaning zero benefit from raising tax.
When INEOS "threatened Grangemouth, Salmond and Swinney worked tirelessly to save it even after the closure announcement while Labour focussed on fiddling candidate selection in Falkirk.
Scotland, as well as rUK, would be subject to borrowing limits imposed by the BoE. Since Scotland would have a lower deficit than rUK it would be well-placed to operate within those constraints. However, it would be free to boost growth by completely restructuring and simplifying the taxation system.

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Cod
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# 2643

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I think it's clear that Scotland could fund itself to the level of the average developed country at least.

I hope, however, no one thinks Scotland is entitled to greater public spending because it is a net contributor to UK coffers.

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M Barnier

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
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quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Generally,I think independence would get us away from the privately educated Westminster elite, which is likely to be good news for the poor.

But less good for anyone who isn't poor? How many of the better-off Scots will relocate south if the border?

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Hail Gallaxhar

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Arethosemyfeet
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# 17047

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quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Generally,I think independence would get us away from the privately educated Westminster elite, which is likely to be good news for the poor.

But less good for anyone who isn't poor? How many of the better-off Scots will relocate south if the border?
Very few? How many individuals beyond the super rich migrate solely for tax purposes?
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Louise
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# 30

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Much as I sympathise with you, I think you’re wrong.

quote:
You wouldn’t have had Labour governments in 1964
Yup, one out of 18, as noted in the figures I linked to.

quote:
or after either of the elections in the 1970s,
Not that I can see, only a change after the second 1974 election to a hung parliament - and quite possible for Labour to make a non Tory coalition - there were 13 liberals at least.


quote:
John Major would have had a solid majority in 1992
- doubt it would have made much difference, except if he’d been brought down early there might have been a Labour win sooner. What specifically are you saying he’d have done that he didn’t do anyway?


quote:
Most importantly the 2010 election would have been an outright win for the Tories, which due to the treachery of the Lib Dems might not have affected policy much but would have improved Tory morale no end.
I remember thinking at the time it might make a difference that the parliament was hung- sadly it made bugger all difference. The Lib Dems didn’t blink about the destruction of the English NHS, the introduction of the bedroom tax - not a thing. The Orange Bookers turned out to actually be Tories. I remember my surprise after the election at finding an interview Nick Clegg gave some years previously saying that the NHS should be broken up. Nobody pointed it out during Cleggmania when many were taken in by him. Morale is pretty theoretical - in practice though no difference that I can see except for electoral reform being set back by years thanks to idiot Clegg.


quote:
As for the SNP...Have they done much with this?
See previous poster on the tax issue, but as for what they’ve done… no tuition fees, reformed right to buy to protect social housing, extra £1.2 billion for the NHS, building hospitals with public money like the £840 million new South Glasgow Hospital., opposing privatisation in the NHS, and there will be plenty in the health and education world I’m not up on.

Ah yes and they nationalised Prestwick airport. They couldn’t nationalise Grangemouth because energy policy is a reserved matter. The subject certainly did come up. see here.

But remember a Yes vote is for an independent Scotland in which people could vote for any party and in which the Scottish Labour party could throw off unpopular policies designed to appeal to the marginals down South. Scottish Labour introduced the policy of free personal care in Scotland, there’s no reason why they couldn’t return more to their roots in an Indy Scotland and become less right leaning.

And, nope the problems I’m describing of actually going for all out attacks on the unemployed and the sick and destroying public provision, don’t plague the North of Europe to nearly the same extent. If you want to understand how poor Britain’s services and social safety net are by comparison I recommend Lesley Riddoch’s book ‘Blossom’.

quote:
Do you really think it is actually possible for the current situation to go on indefinitely? Ever increasing personal debt, ever higher house and energy prices, food poverty on an unprecedented post-war scale? Only an ardent Tory could believe that. We’re heading for another economic crash if we carry on like this, the question is what happens then. At the moment the Tories are deeply divided, facing real problems from UKIP, their key policies are failing and they haven’t won an election outright in over 20 years.
And if we have another crash - we’ll likely get told we need er.. more austerity and bank bail outs. Also the rise of UKIP is not helping Labour. The Labour vote in the places where UKIP are making inroads is too low for Labour to make much hay from it. A close friend is a Labour party activist in Sussex, so I follow this closely with him. The Tories don’t need to win outright elections anymore, now the Liberals have turned blue, and if UKIP get a serious presence in parliament - a Tory/UKIP coalition based on an anti-Europe stance is sadly not unthinkable. The big point is constitutional - we have no way of safeguarding ourselves in the other nations against whatever the South East of England vote for, and they are indeed politically and economically different to the point where safeguards are needed.

Labour introduced ATOS (James Purnell’s doing) so losing Scots Labour MPs isn’t going to be any help with that. As I pointed out above Rachel Reeves the shadow minister is boasting how she’s going to be tougher than the Tories. You or others would quite possibly have the opportunity of moving to an independent Scotland to escape this, but if you insist on dragging us down with New Labour, then nobody gets to escape. Scotland has, as someone pointed out up thread, only 8.4% of UK population. We’re not in a position to save you from your fellow countrymen and women but it’s not impossible that we could offer some measure of asylum. English people are the biggest minority group in Scotland, a situation that’s likely to continue.

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by Arethosemyfeet:
quote:
Originally posted by Marvin the Martian:
quote:
Originally posted by North East Quine:
Generally,I think independence would get us away from the privately educated Westminster elite, which is likely to be good news for the poor.

But less good for anyone who isn't poor? How many of the better-off Scots will relocate south if the border?
Very few? How many individuals beyond the super rich migrate solely for tax purposes?
If I ever manage to earn enough money to supersede Mrs Tor's wage, we'll probably be heading north of the border.

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Cod
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At the moment, Prestwick airport is a loss-making enterprise. Its owners were going to shut it down if they couldn't sell it. Let's hope the Scottish goverment gets a better return out of it.

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Wulfstan
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Louise, your comments on the elections don't take any account of the actual situations. The 1964 election was crucial: it was the first Labour had won in 13 years and set up the platform for the '66 victory which was done at a time of Wilson's choosing. These governments passed critically important legislation like the legalisation of homosexuality, abortion, liberalisation of divorce, and taking the first steps against racial discrimination. The 70s governments passed a load of disability legislation as well as the equal pay act. These aren't insignificant and wouldn't have been possible without Scotland's Labour MPs. To say they could have formed a coalition ignores the instability of the short lived Lib-Lab pact as well as the small number of Liberal MPs several of which were Scottish as well.
Major would have been a more confident PM and not succeptible to having legislation blocked by rebels in the Commons. He would have appeared far less weak and wouldn't have been struggling with a minority in the Commons in his last months and so reliant on the Ulster Unionists to get bills passed. Again, that's not nothing.
Secession will unquestionably boost the Tories as it will deprive Labour of a load of safe seats while they lose next to zero, indeed it will probably hand them the next election with the opportunity to gerrymander the constituencies in the way that was blocked by the Lib dems: about the only useful thing they've done, but again something that would have gone through had they won outright in 2010.
The idea of UKIP making serious in roads in parliament is at present a pipe dream: they haven't got one MP yet.
Your comments about more austerity don't address the point: it isn't working even within its own terms do you really think people will just take this indefinitely? I seem to remember a least one poll suggesting a majority in favour of nationalising the energy companies, something unthinkable only a few years ago. Ten years ago people would have thought the current situation unthinkable, how can you confidently predict the indefinite future?
And as for Europe, I was thinking more of the south, you know small countries that don't control their own currencies, that sort of thing.
You're gambling that independence will produce a government you prefer but guaranteeing that the remaining UK will stay Tory, and assuming a small Scotland, particularly with the pound and under the sway of the BofE, will be able to hold off the pressures of international finance, that have wrecked Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Iceland, Spain, etc etc is a hell of a risk. Scotland could take a crucial role in trying to steer the UK back to some kind of sanity. Splitting apart could screw both our chances.

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Full of Chips
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quote:
Cod:
I hope, however, no one thinks Scotland is entitled to greater public spending because it is a net contributor to UK coffers.

My point was that Wolfstan had described Barnet as a "generous" formula to Scotland. It clearly is not as it results in a £500 per head subsidy from Scotland to rUK.

This is used, amongst other things, to invade foreign countries illegally, maintain a nuclear arsenal and to build a high speed rail link that will never go anywhere near Scotland.

These are all policies highly unpopular in Scotland, decided upon by a Government which has little Scottish support. What I think Scotland (indeed any body politic) is entitled to is to have its resources spent in ways that are democratically representative.

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Full of Chips
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Wulfstan, you argue that "secession" would boost the Tories but at the same time that more austerity will become politically unacceptable.
Some contradiction there surely. If Tory policies become politically unacceptable, people will stop voting for them in large numbers. Won't they?
I don't see why Scottish seats are needed to (occasionally) make a slight difference.

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Anglican't
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quote:
Originally posted by Full of Chips:
These are all policies highly unpopular in Scotland, decided upon by a Government which has little Scottish support. What I think Scotland (indeed any body politic) is entitled to is to have its resources spent in ways that are democratically representative.

Ok. If the Scots vote for independence and the English naysayers are right, and Scotland soon runs out of money funding a bloated welfare state on the never-never, do you think that English taxpayers would be within their rights to refuse any subsequent bail out of the Scottish economy?
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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Full of Chips:
These are all policies highly unpopular in Scotland, decided upon by a Government which has little Scottish support. What I think Scotland (indeed any body politic) is entitled to is to have its resources spent in ways that are democratically representative.

Ok. If the Scots vote for independence and the English naysayers are right, and Scotland soon runs out of money funding a bloated welfare state on the never-never, do you think that English taxpayers would be within their rights to refuse any subsequent bail out of the Scottish economy?
That would surely depend on whether bailing out Scotland would be in the interests of the UK at the time.

That's the point of seceding from the UK and forming a new sovereign state, isn't it? Surely the SNP politicians and other pro-secession advocates only voted in favour of the plebiscite after making a sober assessment of all the relevant data and concluding that a post-secession Scotland would be able to meet the responsibilities of a sovereign state as well as enjoying the privileges?

quote:
Originally posted by Full of Chips:
This is used, amongst other things, to invade foreign countries illegally, maintain a nuclear arsenal and to build a high speed rail link that will never go anywhere near Scotland.

I thought HS2 is going halfway to Scotland, will be a perfect launching point for a future extension to go further north and will see improvements in cross-border travel even without a future extension?

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Full of Chips
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I assume Anglican't that you are referring to the difficulties of a currency union should Scotland and England's economies diverge significantly post independence, In that case it may well make sense to decouple and allow the ailing member to devalue - much like the UK has been doing to the pound through quantitative easing since the financial crash.
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Doc Tor
Deepest Red
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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Full of Chips:
These are all policies highly unpopular in Scotland, decided upon by a Government which has little Scottish support. What I think Scotland (indeed any body politic) is entitled to is to have its resources spent in ways that are democratically representative.

Ok. If the Scots vote for independence and the English naysayers are right, and Scotland soon runs out of money funding a bloated welfare state on the never-never, do you think that English taxpayers would be within their rights to refuse any subsequent bail out of the Scottish economy?
I imagine that the Scots (if they have any sense) will be exporting so much electricity and drinking water to England that they won't need to.

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Full of Chips
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quote:
I thought HS2 is going halfway to Scotland, will be a perfect launching point for a future extension to go further north and will see improvements in cross-border travel even without a future extension?
It's not particularly convincing all spelled out like that is it?
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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Full of Chips:
quote:
I thought HS2 is going halfway to Scotland, will be a perfect launching point for a future extension to go further north and will see improvements in cross-border travel even without a future extension?
It's not particularly convincing all spelled out like that is it?
So you oppose the building of something that will be good for both Scottish people and English people purely because the bit which benefits only Scottish people will have to come later? That's a pretty weak position in my book, and it has me very concerned over the ability of the average pro-secession person to make any rational decision instead of giving in to emotions.

I reckon it's a pretty decent deal, in the same way it would be in my interests for me to support full federal funding of a high speed rail project wholly constructed in Victoria if it made for improvements in SA-Victoria cross-border rail travel which is currently three hours longer than going by car.

[ 29. November 2013, 23:15: Message edited by: the giant cheeseburger ]

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Og: Thread Killer
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Two questions related to keeping the monarchy of Scotland:

How much does the current crown family provide to Scotland in terms of GDP?

How much of the upkeep of said family would the Scottish government be expected to pay?

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the giant cheeseburger
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quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
How much does the current crown family provide to Scotland in terms of GDP?

Wouldn't that be able to be roughly approximated by working out the current benefit to the whole of the UK (primarily the tourism income flowing into the economy) and multiplying that by the percentage of general revenue which flows specifically to Scotland?
quote:
How much of the upkeep of said family would the Scottish government be expected to pay?
That would depend on the level of involvement that the royal family would have, and the nature of their replacement if that happened.

Should a post-secession Scotland decide that it's good enough to be a constitutional monarchy with a Governor-General representing the Queen similar to Australia, regular ongoing expenses for the "upkeep" of the royal family would be close to non-existent. They could get away with even less if they simply employed a courier to take bills to London for the Queen to grant Royal Assent, and once HS2 is in operation the courier would even get there faster!

If Scotland was to become a parliamentary republic with a president holding only reserve powers as the head of state, I can't see how presidential elections and paying for the upkeep of the president could possibly be cheaper than a Governor-General.

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Cod
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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
quote:
Scottish worries about being dominated by England can be dealt with by delegation of legal powers to its own Parliament. Oh look, that's been done too.
No, that hasn't been done too. Too much was reserved to Westminster, including vital areas like welfare policy, immigration, and fiscal autonomy, when asked to tackle that by devo max (delegating everything except defence and foreign policy) the Westminster government refused to even allow the question to be put on the referendum.
Quite right too, in my opinion. Scotland has always had its own legal system, education system and, until it became an anachronism, its own established church. Now it also has its own parliament, its own government, not to mention an oddly high level of per capita public spending. Within the Union, Scotland enjoys a very privileged position; yet there are many who think it is entitled to even more than that. Demanding control of fiscal and mmigration policy (not to mention foreign policy and defence) but clearly without sole responsiblity for its outcomes is the classic example of wanting to have one's cake and eat it.
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the giant cheeseburger
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Immigration would seem to be a rather odd issue to demand be handed over to local authority. Are there really that many people in Scotland who would like to see internal borders and passports to account for different immigration policies in different first-level political divisions of the UK?

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Sober Preacher's Kid

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# 12699

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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
You know that constitution thing America has? It's there to protect you from your 'democratically elected leaders'. For weird historical reasons, partly to do with America, Britain is surprisingly deficient in that department...

I have no doubt that the poor suffer in the British system. I just assume that they will continue to suffer in a Scottish system. As for "checks and balances," the United States is presently learning the consequences of checking government power too much. No one in our government has the power to even pass a budget.

Look, I'm not saying that independence can't have some positive benefits for Scotland. It just seems to me that independence is predicated on messianic expectations. I assume because "Independence for Scotland: vote for a slightly more efficient healthcare system for the future!" isn't quite as compelling a pitch.

Of course it's messianic; most modern independence movements are based on romanticism at heart.

An an example, here's the Wiki Article on the Quebec Sovereignty Bill, which was complete bunny fluff and fantasy: Bill 1 of 1995, Quebec National Assembly

Very little planning for a "Yes" vote was done in Ottawa, but one conference was held of non-Quebec cabinet ministers, ironically in Hull, on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. It was decided by that Cabinet group that in the event of a "Yes" vote the prime Minister (a Quebecker at the time) would be relieved and all Quebec cabinet ministers dismissed.

I strongly doubt any concessions would have been made by what remained of Canada to Quebec, not after being slapped in the face like that. Quebec was in no position to ask for or dictate terms.

It would have been messy and ugly. And Quebec's politicians have denied that reality consistently for the last fifty years in their Quixotic quest for "Sovereignty".

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
quote:
posted by orfeo
Even if it's a slight over-representation per head of population, on the floor of the House of Commons it's 533 English reps out of a total of 650.

In the case of Scotland it is indeed a slight over-representation in the House of Commons - of the other parts that make up the UK the most over-represented is Wales.

If you look at the percentage of population and then work out the number of MPs to go with that then the representation of the various parts of the UK should be as follows (actual number of seats in brackets):
  • England : 83.9% - 578 (533)
  • Scotland : 8.4% - 54 (59)
  • Wales : 4.8 - 31 (40)
  • Northern Ireland : 2.9% - 18 (19)

But that is to ignore the fact the the Scottish Parliament deals with approximately half the law-making / decision taking for Scotland - and the Scottish Parliament has a further 129 MSPs, 73 for set constituencies and 56 as "regional" MSPs.

For Wales, where the Assembly has fewer powers the numbers are 40:20. In Northern Ireland, again with fewer devolved powers, they elect 6 assembly members per constituency, giving them 108 MLAs in all.

There are those who say that the greater number of representatives at devolved level in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is to make up for the greater number of English members at Westminster.

But if you use the numbers of devolved members per Westminster constituency as your benchmark the figures look hugely different.

If English constituencies were represented at the same level as those of the other 3 parts of the UK then the numbers would be:
  • represented as Scotland = 1165 English MPs
  • represented as Wales = 799 English MPs
  • represented as Northern Ireland = 3198 English MPs

Whatever the outcome of the vote in Scotland, it is beyond time for sorting out three issues: the number of MPs overall; the percentage of population represented by each MP; the Westminster representation of the areas with devolved assemblies.

We've been over this before, when I told you that it was complete nonsense to look at different levels of government and add them together, and I'm going to tell you that again. There is simply no rule lying around that says the 'correct' number of representatives is x parts per million, or something. What matters is that the size of each electorate is roughly equal for a specific legislature. What's done in another legislature is completely irrelevant.

The fact that the Australian Capital Territory has 2 members in Federal Parliament, and has done almost its entire history, has precisely zero bearing on whether the ACT's own legislative assembly should be 17 members as currently or 21 or 25 as is being debated. And no-one cares how that relates per head of population to the other Australian States and Territories, the US state of Vermont, or the Isle of Man. They care whether it's appropriate for the workload of the legislative assembly of the ACT.

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Louise
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Wow, so it's a 'privileged' position to have ever more people forced to use foodbanks and to have the anti-immigrant policies beloved of Daily Mail readers forced on us too! I'll be happy to vote Yes and be shot of 'privileges' like that.

We're not a colony to be told that having the ordinary powers of a country is a 'privilege' for us to be grateful to someone else for. Nor does a proposed currency union which suits both sides represent one country 'having its cake and eating it'.

Also we're not Quebec. The Scottish White Paper has been published. If people want to prove that Scottish independence is X, Y or Z thing they hate about Quebec nationalism, then please quote the relevant bit from the Scottish white paper and demonstrate it.

Coming back to Wulfstan I wasn't going to revisit that tonight, but I might as well.

A couple of links from widely differing sources.

I'm not normally a fan of the International Socialist group - but they've posted some good electoral graphics and more details on the subject and looked at the question


http://internationalsocialist.org.uk/index.php/2013/05/will-scotland-leave-england-to-generations-of-tory-rule/

On 1964 they conclude "It is likely that any Conservative government would not have lasted a full term given the fragility of their parliamentary position. Even a coalition with the then Liberal party would only gain them an additional five seats." So this could possibly have held up the legislation mentioned but sounds like it was unlikely to have prevented it for long.

On 1974 they find the Tories "Without the Scottish seats they would have needed 282 MPs to achieve an absolute majority – however with only 276 rest-of-UK seats they would have been six short." - so no Tory majority. More difficult maybe - but if a government goes to the polls again to get a better majority, rather than work with a tricky hung parliament, there's no crystal ball to say what would have happened - but at any rate it doesn't lead to Tory majority.

On 2010 they note that without Scottish seats the Tories would have had "an overall majority of nine" if they chose to go it alone without a coalition. Again not a huge change.


But what do the Tories think?

This 'No' voting Conservative led think-tank are a little bit more chipper, but even they don't see a Great Age of Tory Rule awaiting:


Would the Conservatives benefit from Scottish independence?


quote:
The last three Labour governments in particular have all enjoyed comfortable overall majorities, which the loss of Scottish seats would not have overturned. In 1997 Labour’s majority was 178, of which only 56 were Scottish seats; in 2001 their majority was 166, of which 55 seats were Scottish; and in 2005 Labour’s majority was 65, of which 40 were Scottish seats.[6]

Nor does Labour’s recent electoral record in England suggest that the Tories would possess an innate advantage there. In 1997, for example, Labour obtained a majority in England alone of 127; in 2001 they had a majority there of 117; and in 2005 they secured a majority of 43.

(though of course this is New Labour we're talking about - more of that later)

Their most upbeat assessment is "All this suggests that although the Conservatives may not have as much to lose from Scottish independence as Labour, the precise benefits for them are hardly clear-cut." and in coming to this conclusion they pointed out something interesting which I had forgotten


quote:
Admittedly, where a Labour government may have greater difficulty as a result of Scottish independence might be in getting contentious bills passed in Parliament. On two occasions in recent memory a Labour government has had to rely on its Scottish support to help pass bills in the face of a rebellion from its own English backbenchers.

When the Government’s Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Bill 2003-2004, was returned with amendments from the Lords...The Government would have lost by 4 votes if only the English and Welsh MPs had voted on this bill. Similarly in 2004 the Government’s Higher Education Bill, which implemented ‘top-up fees’, passed at its second reading by 316 votes to 311. If only English and Welsh MPs had voted on this bill it too would have failed

Both those bills were pieces of New Labour business which were forced through with Scottish Labour lobby fodder.

In plainer English

quote:
"There are two occasions on which this influence has been clear. Without Scottish MPs, the 2003 introduction of Foundation Hospitals, and the 2004 introduction of £3,000 top-up fees, would not have passed. Neither of these policies impacted significantly on the Scottish constituents of the MPs who forced them through: both health and education are devolved to Holyrood.
(from Bright Green Scotland)

So basically Scotland only has a small influence in Westminster and ironically, through the Labour MPs it's not necessarily been progressive. This sort of New Labour policy is a big part of how they lost power in Scotland.

So basically in return for maybe once every thirty years thwarting Tory rule in England we are faced with at best, New Labour, and at worst a wholesale Tory assault - when what many of us aspire to is something very different from New Labour: the kind of low inequality, high public service provision, which is more like that of our Northern neighbours - the sort of policies being proposed by Commonweal. I don't see any way we can really move towards that short of independence.

We don't have enough impact on English elections to go in the direction many of us want to go in while continuing in a Union with England. We're also not influential or numerous enough to save non-Tory voters in England from their fellow country men or women, except very occasionally, and even when we do our reward for it is a Labour party who are far to the right of what very many Scots vote for and who, remember, promise to be as 'tough as the Tories' on people on benefits.


Again a reminder that the Yes campaign is not just the SNP. It includes Greens and people to the left of Labour like the Radical Independence Campaign who are looking for something much much better than New Labour, more along Nordic lines. Also within the SNP itself there is quite a spectrum of opinion ranging from centre social democrat to well left of that and the Nordic models and Commonweal policies have become influential there too.

We're not a small impoverished country in the South of Europe with no control of our currency. We're a northern country with a long history of industrial development, education, technology and good natural resources. If sharing Sterling was a problem we could make other choices. As pointed out above, our contribution to Sterling is a useful one which contributes to the stability of the currency. We have a chance to have something much better and also to protect ourselves from the worst excesses of a broken and antiquated parliamentary system which I've sketched earlier in the thread.

We have a major democratic deficit which needs to be addressed. At the last election we voted for exactly one Tory MP yet we are effectively governed by the Tories. The Lib Dems joining the coalition was so unpopular here that in our last election they fell to 8% (constituencies) and 5% (regional list) vote share for the Scottish parliament. This is a major disjunction which needs some level of constitutional protection - it should never happen that a UK country can be ruled by another UK country on such a non-existent mandate.

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molopata

The Ship's jack
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quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
Two questions related to keeping the monarchy of Scotland:

How much does the current crown family provide to Scotland in terms of GDP?

How much of the upkeep of said family would the Scottish government be expected to pay?

Which touches on a point which I'm amazed it not discussed more frequently.

Edinburgh is no capital in the real sense of the word. Ambitious business people and civil servants eventually head south by and large leading to a regional brain drain. The high salaries they earn, also from the tax proceeds raised from the UK's peripheries are spent in London. Their children stay in London. Having your own capital would maintain your best brains in the country, because that is where the top is for the ambitious and clever-minded. (Of course even an independent Scotland would have its peripheries, but maybe said independence would be an opportunity to establish a federal structure within Scotland.)

The other point of having your own capital it your international standing. For most European, Edinburgh is just an northern English provincial town. And with some justification. Whereas the capitals and large towns of many small European countries have been able to attract the HQs of various international organisations (Copenhagen, Vienna, Geneva, Lausanne, Zurich Olso, Stockholm...), Scotland has not hosted even a meaningful international jamboree since the G8 in Gleneagles (and even then they weren't the hosts). While it might be true that the occasional Scot, by merit of being a citizen of the UK gets to sit at the big boys' table, he is always seen through the prism of the English.

Independence is the only way for Scots to go if they wish to asset their nationhood. Anything less, given the public display Scots make of themselves at football matches, is only to attest that they are not really a nation in their own right - or they see themselves as one that cannot look after itself and needs the protection of large neighbour (i.e. a very sad identity to buy into).

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... The Respectable

Posts: 1718 | From: the abode of my w@ndering mind | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
LeRoc

Famous Dutch pirate
# 3216

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quote:
Louise: We're not a small impoverished country in the South of Europe with no control of our currency. We're a northern country with a long history of industrial development, education, technology and good natural resources.
I'm not sure how to read this. To me, the recent Euro crisis has shown a lot of prejudice against southern countries. I mean, Greece has a long history of industrial development, education, technology and good natural resources.

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I know why God made the rhinoceros, it's because He couldn't see the rhinoceros, so He made the rhinoceros to be able to see it. (Clarice Lispector)

Posts: 9474 | From: Brazil / Africa | Registered: Aug 2002  |  IP: Logged
South Coast Kevin
Shipmate
# 16130

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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
We're not a small impoverished country in the South of Europe with no control of our currency. We're a northern country with a long history of industrial development, education, technology and good natural resources. If sharing Sterling was a problem we could make other choices. As pointed out above, our contribution to Sterling is a useful one which contributes to the stability of the currency. We have a chance to have something much better and also to protect ourselves from the worst excesses of a broken and antiquated parliamentary system which I've sketched earlier in the thread.

Louise, I've got a lot of sympathy with the SNP and its supporters' fervent desire for self-determination. But ISTM the questions around currency and financial independence have not remotely been answered. I expect there'd be no problem with independent Scotland using the pound, but the point is that Scotland would have very little to no control over that currency. If, at some point in the future, Scotland wanted to devalue its currency (or rUK wanted to do so, and Scotland didn't), well this wouldn't be an option.

The alternatives (again, ISTM; let me know if I've missed anything) are that Scotland seeks to join the Euro - which would make the problem worse as Scotland would be an even smaller part of the Eurozone than of a 'Sterling zone' - or it floats its own currency. But the SNP has no plans to do the latter, has it? In any case, a new Scottish currency would probably (I'd have thought...) be pretty weak to start with, until caution over how this new country would be managed was replaced by confidence that its government was doing a good job.

I do appreciate the resentment of Tory-led government from London, but that won't be the state of affairs for ever (it might well only be the state of affairs for another 18 months!) and such a momentous decision as whether to go independent surely shouldn't be made on such short-term considerations. There's got to be much more serious debate about the longer-term currency and financial management issues, I think, and I don't see the SNP or its supporters seeking to have that debate. The opposite, in fact.

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My blog - wondering about Christianity in the 21st century, chess, music, politics and other bits and bobs.

Posts: 3309 | From: The south coast (of England) | Registered: Jan 2011  |  IP: Logged
Ronald Binge
Shipmate
# 9002

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quote:
Originally posted by Anglican't:
quote:
Originally posted by Full of Chips:
These are all policies highly unpopular in Scotland, decided upon by a Government which has little Scottish support. What I think Scotland (indeed any body politic) is entitled to is to have its resources spent in ways that are democratically representative.

Ok. If the Scots vote for independence and the English naysayers are right, and Scotland soon runs out of money funding a bloated welfare state on the never-never, do you think that English taxpayers would be within their rights to refuse any subsequent bail out of the Scottish economy?
The Irish example of having a parallel and exchangeable Irish pound between 1922 and 1979 shows that the Bank of England had zero responsibility for what happened over the Irish border. If Wee Eck and co are smart that is what they will do by creating a similarly exchangeable Scottish Pound. I would vote No if I was in Scotland but using No Scottish use of Sterling as a unionist argument is really bunk.

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Older, bearded (but no wiser)

Posts: 477 | From: Brexit's frontline | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
I do appreciate the resentment of Tory-led government from London, but that won't be the state of affairs for ever (it might well only be the state of affairs for another 18 months!)

But, it's not a question of the party in power at anyone time. It's the fact that over the last 30 years all three main UK wide parties have shifted to the right politically. Blue, yellow or red ... they're all shades of Tory. A further general election which results in a New Labour majority won't significantly change that.

Independence will allow Scottish Labour to swing back to the left, which is where the majority of Scottish Labour voters are. Which shold allow an effective opposition to the SNP, who while Labour are centre-right Tories with a red rosette, have larger electoral support than might otherwise be the case (also helped by the perceived betrayal by Clegg).

The only problem is that without Scottish Labour to anchor them to the left, New Labour in rUK are liable to slide further right. And, there are lots of regions of England and Wales outwith the SE corner where that would be as unpalatable to large proportions of the electorate as it is in Scotland.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

Posts: 32413 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
molopata

The Ship's jack
# 9933

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quote:
Originally posted by South Coast Kevin:
But ISTM the questions around currency and financial independence have not remotely been answered. I expect there'd be no problem with independent Scotland using the pound, but the point is that Scotland would have very little to no control over that currency. If, at some point in the future, Scotland wanted to devalue its currency (or rUK wanted to do so, and Scotland didn't), well this wouldn't be an option.

But Scotland is, functionally, already in a currency union with little real control of currency issue. Taken that way, the SNP policy appears to be one of continuity. Now that might or might not be a wise decision, but that is beside the point. What is relevant is that Scotland, as a sovereign nation, is free to seek what currency arrangement suits her best at any given time, be that a currency union, the Euro, a pegged currency or a free-floating currency. Accordingly, any currency union with the “rUK” need not last forever. Given, of course, that Scots opt for independence.

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... The Respectable

Posts: 1718 | From: the abode of my w@ndering mind | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged
Anglican't
Shipmate
# 15292

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Isn't the Scottish Labour Party one of the murkiest, most corrupt political organisations in the UK today? I'm surprised that anyone would want independence so that it can be more true to itself.
Posts: 3613 | From: London, England | Registered: Nov 2009  |  IP: Logged



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