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This is a campaign that will make sure that the patriotism of the quiet majority will be heard alongside the voices of the committed few. We share a common platform on this single issue because, along with so many of our fellow Scots, we believe that a better future for ourselves and our children is as a partner in the United Kingdom.

 

Alistair Darling’s speech in Edinburgh launching the Better Together campaign

 

 

Have your say ahead of the referendum

 

Welcome to the No Scotland Blog. Here you will find links to all the latest news and features on the Scottish Independence Referendum from both Yes and No camps.

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Comments

  1. William Gofmanas says:

    Nobody has spoken of the fact that the money in our bank accounts could be devalued overnight if we vote for independence. If as the snp believe that we will have the pound it would be no surprise to me if as what happened in the fifties through to early seventies that the rest of the UK shops etc refused to accept Scottish notes or devalued them on the spot to 80 odd pence per £1 which at the time was 18 shillings and sixpence.
    The other thing is in these day’s of e-commerce if any company outside of Scotland in which you buy something on the net I could see the cost of items being more expensive.
    All through this campaign there has always been someone pointing out that it is not either a snp or an alec salmond popularity contest, then the snp bring in this supposed carrot to labour supporters that there is a greater chance of more labour votes this has been done as the snp believe themselves that a lot of voters also think in those terms also, would it not be the case that this would also apply to conservative and liberal votes.

    • Lee Gilray says:

      The ‘fact’ huh??? So what you are saying is that if we vote yes, the money in our banks will devalue… Well I say it will grow in value but of course I’d be wrong, much like yourself. When it comes to money NOTHING can be predicted, if it could we would be able to avoid recessions!

      This is how scaremongering starts mate, what if’s.

      What if we stay in the union, endure more cuts, another rise in VAT, privatisation of services…

      • That’s the whole point. The what ifs make the decision to leave the UK extremely important especially when you consider that we will be going from being part of a larger economy that has managed to survive one of the worst recessions in modern times and has evolved to be one of the largest economies in the world to being a smaller economy extremely susceptible to fluctuations in the oil price and the fortune of the global banking sector. I’m not sure why the UK would want to share a currency with a country that is potentially unstable. I understand that the indicators are that Scotland will be economically viable but it still doesn’t answer the question. The UK would have virtually nothing to gain from such a union.

      • Tom, a fair point and hopefully my response will help. Firstly, there will be no overnight scenario. There is 18 months to either negotiate a shared currency, use sterling a on a (1:1) basis or create our own currency. Should pegging be the option at 1:1 (as Ireland did for 58 years) then a currency board would be set up to monitor and adjust accordingly. What is not commonly known is that this is something Denmark/Sweden does quite successfully. The krone is pegged to the Euro, an arrangement which has offered remarkable stability over the past decade even during the recession. Both the Scottish and English economies are so similar this would be even easier.
        In regards a shared currency, the two most common points made are Scotland would be worse off as our bonds/gilts would have higher lending borrowing rates and we would have no lender of last resort. In regards LOLR, this is not necessarily a bad thing and not all countries have a LOLR. As such our financial markets would not gamble to the same degree as those in London as they know there is no safety net hence being more responsible (also add to that the Vickers reforms which have now separated the retail and trading arms of banks to ensure no further bail outs by the tax payer). Also, RBS is owned 80% by the Uk Government and HBOS by Lloyds Group (so essentially these in a weird twist actually have the BOE as LOLR anyway). Now to borrowing, Standard and Poor have already stated that (even without oil) , Scotland would receive its highest economic assessment. Scotland’s GDP per capita is 99% that of the UKs without oil and 118% with oil.
        Alternatively, credit agency Fitch have stated that should Scotland vote Yes, rUK would definitely not have its AAA rating restored and actually would undergo another assessment review. Why? Should the debt be shared Scotland’s debt share % against GDP would be 86% whilst rUKs would be 94%. If no debt share, rUKs debt against GDP would be over 100% and would no doubt lead to further credit downgrading and increases in borrowing rates. Better Together currently state Scotland being part of the UK gets the benefit of low borrowing rates however please have a look at this link http://www.tradingeconomics.com/bonds
        In reality the supposed UK powerhouse has worse rates than many of the other EU countries. Even Ireland who were supposedly a basket case has rates of 2.84 (only 0.17 behind the UK).
        So contrary to belief, the UK has more to lose if Scotland does not share currency as balance of payments are kept in the black by Scotland’s £100 billion export industry, credit agencies would look unfavourably at the rUK which had just lost 10% of it revenue whose debt had raised even more against its GDP and finally the transaction costs incurred by rUK businesses trading with Scotland (its 2nd biggest market) would result in over £500 million costs to them potentially affecting the current recovery.

      • This looks good at first glance but I still can’t get my head around the dact that both economies will weaken if there is independence. The attached offers a different analysis in the event of a scottish default and also provides a very positive outlook for the UK economy especially Scotland’s status within it.

        http://www.economonitor.com/blog/2014/04/union-blues-would-an-independent-scotland-honor-her-debts/

    • William Gofmanas said “our bank accounts could be devalued overnight if we vote for independence”

      I don’t think I share that fear – partly because it seems clear that Scotland would be highly unlikely to be able to keep the pound in the first place. But even if we could keep the pound, I suspect it would not be devalued like that – it would be then the same currency. Even if the notes were not so readily accepted, we should be able to change them for English ones that would be. I think that’s the position the channel islands might be in now? We might feel like second class citizens in England, but we’d still have our money – just with a little less convenience, south of the border.

      But your question brings up another point that does worry me – what about all our savings that are with institutions in England. Or perhaps – like me, you have some savings in national savings certificates (with the UK government). This is about the only place I am aware of where one can (periodically) put aside a modest amount of money in the knowledge that it is safe against inflation as well as being tax exempt and guaranteed against loss. I suspect it is a very valued resource for a lot of people with a little to put away – will the Scottish government maintain that scheme for us in Scotland? I doubt if England will keep it going for the Scottish post-independence. Just one of the little things that means a lot to a lot of us who are not wealthy enough to have big financial investments but want to know that what we have managed to save over the years isn’t going to get eaten up overnight by inflation.

      What else that we take for granted in the UK and haven’t thought about will we suddenly find might be at risk in an independent Scotland?

      • A.Strachan says:

        HI John, just read yer drivel man ;)

        1st off you are correct, our money WOULD NOT devalue like that.

        2nd why would Scotland not be able to share the £?

        STERLING ZONE COUNTRIES BEFORE AND NOW
        Countries and territories previously welcomed in a Sterling Zone.

        Federation of South Arabia,
        Sudan,
        Australia,
        The Bahamas,
        Bahrain,
        Bangladesh,
        Barbados,
        Lesotho Basutoland,
        Bermuda,
        Botswana,
        British Antarctic Territory,
        Guyana,
        British Guiana
        Belize British Honduras,
        British Indian Ocean Territory,
        Solomon Islands,
        British Somaliland Protectorate (left in 1964),
        British Virgin Islands, Brunei,
        Burma (left in 1966),
        Cayman Islands,Dominion of Ceylon Ceylon (Sri Lanka),
        Cyprus,
        Egypt (left in 1947),
        Falkland Islands,
        Fiji,
        The Gambia,
        Ghana,
        Gibraltar,
        Tuvalu Gilbert and Ellice Islands (Kiribati and Tuvalu),
        Hong Kong,
        Iceland,
        Republic of Ireland (until 1971),
        India (including Sikkim),
        Iraq (left in 1959)
        Jamaica,
        Jordan,
        Kenya,
        Kuwait
        AnguillaAntigua and Barbuda,Montserrat,Saint Kitts and Nevis Leeward Islands (comprising Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, and Saint Kitts (Saint Christopher and Nevis))
        Libya (expelled in 1971)
        Malawi
        Malaysia
        Maldives Maldive Islands
        Malta
        Mauritius
        Oman Muscat and Oman (Sultanate of Oman)
        Nauru
        New Zealand (including, Cook Islands, Niue, and Tokelau Islands)
        Nigeria
        Israel British Mandate for Palestine (required to withdraw in 1948 following the creation of the state of Israel & New Breed
        Pakistan
        Papua New Guinea
        Pitcairn Islands
        Qatar
        Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) (expelled in 1965)
        Saint HelenaUnited KingdomTristan da Cunha Saint Helena (including Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha)
        Seychelles
        Sierra Leone
        Singapore
        South Africa
        Namibia South West Africa (Namibia)
        Swaziland
        Tanganyika
        Tonga
        Trinidad and Tobago
        Oman Trucial Oman (United Arab Emirates)
        United Kingdom Turks and Caicos Islands
        Uganda
        the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man
        Samoa
        Dominica,Grenada,Saint Lucia,Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Windward Islands (comprising Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines)
        Zambia
        Zanzibar

        Are you telling me all these countries could share the £ but we couldn’t?

        With all the recent bluster. I think to suggest not sharing a currency is simply no longer even debatable? If it were me leading Scotland to independence, I would be insisting we get our own currency and not renewing our membership of the EU. Jim Sillars is the man in the know there!

        Lastly, why would you worry about your savings in another bank? Santander? HSBC? Both non UK banks, both used by people here? There really are no issues? Yes, if we did leave the £ it may be advisable to check out the exchange rate possibilities, but that is only to be expected?

        Many people invest their money abroad due to exchange rates and interest rates given, that is what assist controlling your economy and makes it strong or weak. So it is really no different. Like Santander or HSBC etc, you will still have the option and quite probably the options will be far greater ;)

      • A. Strachan said “Are you telling me all these countries could share the £ but we couldn’t? ”

        Not at all – there is no technical reason I am aware of why the UK cannot choose to share the pound with whomever it likes. And while I agree with you that it would be good for Scotland to share the pound (by being integrated, not by just ‘using’ it which we could do anyway), I don’t know if on balance its good for the UK or not. I suspect not.

        But all that isn’t the really relevant to the point. All the major UK political leaders have repeatedly said in as strong a way as possible that a shared currency IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. Either that is true conviction or its a bluff (or as the SNP would say, bluster). It doesn’t really matter – either way, those political leaders have taken a very strong position that they cannot easily do a U-turn from.

        I think the ONLY way Scotland could now achieve a truly shared pound, at least while any of the current UK leaders is in power, is if Scotland negotiated away something of a huge enough value to persuade the UK politicians that the political embarrassment of a U-turn could be borne. And whatever that might be, Scotland would not like to lose it.

      • A. Strachan said “why would you worry about your savings in another bank? ”

        In general, I’m not worried about that. But that isn’t what I was talking about.

        I was referring specifically to the NS&I (National Savings and Investments) schemes run by the UK government. They provide a tax-free, index (RPI) linked investment scheme for relatively small amounts of money, that can be invested in periodically. For a very large number of people with modest savings to invest, they offer somewhere to put savings which cannot lose value, no matter what happens to inflation, and which is government backed, so is as secure as an ordinary investment is possible to get.

        That scheme is one of the unsung things that the UK government provides for the ordinary, not-so-wealthy people (serious large investors probably don’t bother with it and would get generally better returns in riskier stockmarket investments). I cannot believe the UK government would willingly provide this for people in a different country!

        Question is – will the Scottish government take over the scheme and the investments for the large numbers of Scottish people already in the scheme. It would mean taking on a financial liability, so I’m guessing they won’t.

        That is one of the ‘little things’ that people in an independent Scotland might suddenly realise they haven’t got!!

    • @John

      “And why are temporary Scottish ex-pats living abroad for a few years but who are just as passionate about Scotland being denied their vote – that’s another scandal that folk don’t seem to mention much. Probably because many of them might vote ‘no’ – another aspect of unfair influence by the ‘yes’ side !”

      Sorry John, don’t mean to be singling you out mate lol. Just trying to give another viewpoint that’s all.

      in regards your above statement it may seem unfair however it is estimated there are nearly as many Scottish people (with siblings) living outside Scotland as there are living in Scotland. They made the choice to leave Scotland and as such don’t contribute taxes to Scotland. Now forgetting the actual vote outcome, imagine the majority of people living in Scotland voted one way only to find those who live outside (many with no intention to return) voted the other way and hence altered the result. Would it be fair those who lived outside Scotland determined the path they have no intention being part of?

      • A.Strachan says:

        Do you have a link to some stats that show most expats would vote no? Or, as I suspect, is this purely your opinion?

        Many move away to get away from the UK so I doubt many would vote to retain the UK.

        In the end, they don’t get a vote and rightly so. Why should someone that has opted to leave the UK, deregister paying towards the taxation get a vote which will affect my life whilst I live here and pay taxes!!! Not right at all!

      • A. Strachan said “Why should someone that has opted to leave the UK, deregister paying towards the taxation get a vote which will affect my life whilst I live here and pay taxes!!! ”

        I was talking about people, like my brother, whose job for a UK company has taken him (whether he likes it or not) to work in England for a few years. Like you – he is paying the same UK taxes – he is still Scottish, his relatives and many friends are still in Scotland, he is still closely connected with Scotland, and I imagine, will be back when it is appropriate for his career. That kind of Scottish ‘ex-pat’ is, I suspect, a lot more common than those who have opted to live permanently abroad from the UK – and in my view, absolutely should have the vote.

        I would contend that the only real difference between most Scots (probably including you) and him is where he has to live to be within commuting distance of where his job is, and that happens to be south of the border.

        To answer your other questions – I have no proof of how ex-pats (whether in England or overseas) would vote any more than anyone else has – that is just intuition. I do however suspect that most scots overseas, if they really did emigrate fully, probably wouldn’t care enough to bother to vote – and if they did, their numbers are probably too small to make a lot of difference to anything. I don’t think it matters much whether they get the vote or not. Its those Scots temporarily elsewhere in the UK that I really feel should have the vote.

        I do object though to rich long-term Scottish ex-pats from overseas being allowed to contribute money to the independence cause or the SNP – that is undermining our democracy. Or anyone else who hasn’t got the vote. This decision should not be influenced by those who are not allowed to vote, for whatever reason, and funding the cause is indirectly trying to influence the result.

      • I’m sorry Craig – I think I replied to your post while wrongly quoting A. Strachan! Must be too early in the morning! And I don’t feel ‘singled out’ – I’m Scottish, have lived and worked in Scotland all my life, and don’t want to leave it :) My brother is equally Scottish, but has been taken to England by his job for a few years.

        It was about Scottish people temporarily living in England not having the vote! I’ll not repost it.

        Apologies also to A. Strachan for wrongly ‘quoting him’ !!

  2. I learned the other day (maybe I’m behind in the news!) that the SNP has been given a huge donation (million pounds) by a lottery winner! Anyone else agree that that is pretty shocking and about as ethically corrupt as it gets, even if it may be legally OK?

    If an ordinary, single member of the public is able to have a potentially large influence on the outcome of an election or referendum simply because they’ve got enough money to be able, effectively, to ‘buy’ votes (e.g. by funding publicity campaigns), that turns our democracy into a travesty! And especially anyone with a ‘left’ leaning should be vigorously objecting to that kind of thing!

    The fact that the SNP appeared to accept that donation and is said to be launching a hugely expensive publicity campaign – by implication, because of donations like that – I find shocking (though perhaps sadly not unexpected!). I know it’s living in cloud-cuckoo land but an ethical party would have declined to accept it.

    I know other parties get big donations too – but I doubt if any of the other major parties get single donations from individuals which represent as high a proportion of their total budget, and hence disproportionate influence on the likely vote, as this. But if they do, they’re just as wrong! Perhaps a cap of something like £10K on the total that ANY individual or individual business is allowed to donate might be ethically more acceptable.

    I’ve no idea what folk like Sean Connery are donating, but if it’s significant, it’s just as bad – perhaps more so as he is out of the country and presumably shouldn’t have a vote or any influence on the decision!!

    If anyone knows different, please tell me!

    • jim Begg says:

      don’t know why you are getting your knickers in a twist a million today is only peanuts, I agree with you, there should be a level but in this day and age I think it should be around 20 Million.

      • William Gofmanas says:

        Are you sure your not getting politics and the buying of football players mixed up!
        We are in a bad enough situation regarding politicians who fraudulently claim expenses without actually giving encouragement not just to individuals but like yourself whole parties.

    • John , a fair point. Now imagine a business or business owner donating millions to a political party. Surely that would be construed as wanting something in return. That unfortunately is the case with the Conservative Party. The donations from big business is how the Conservative Party is funded. If you also look at who was awarded the contracts when the English NHS was privatised, Conservative donors. Or who benefited from the Royal Mail sell off (when they were told not to sell their shares), Conservative donors. As for the lottery winners, it is their money and hence they are entitled to do whatever this wish with it. The question is… why are all the pro-union billionaires not donating to Better Together? Possibly, as the Dragons say ” I can’t see it working, so I won’t be investing”.

      • If we’re going down that road of donors then you don’t have to look too far in the SNP to find dodgy dealings. The case of that liberal minded man Brian Souter comes to mind.

      • Craig said “The donations from big business is how the Conservative Party is funded”

        I agree with you there – and Labour with its funding from unions is just as bad. I know there has been some reform over this, but to me, ALL parties should be financed entirely from their individual members (not businesses, unions or anything else) and with a cap on individual donations that is fairly low – like 10K. I think far too much is spent on campaigning. Only individual citizens should effectively have an influence on who represents them in government, and each should effectively have the same power to influence the outcome as everybody else.

        My point here though, is that these individual donations for the ‘yes’ campaign are so huge in comparison to the overall budget that they make a travesty of democracy, and seriously undermine the ability of the Scottish people to make a reasoned and rational choice about the future. If the propaganda they receive from either side is disproportionate, it will have an effect on the result, and that certainly seems to be a serious problem here!

        On the face of it, it looks like a single individual voter is funding nearly 10% of the campaign for a year! That’s got to be wrong!

        Even worse, is any suggestion that the SNP might be using money from government funds to support their campaign publicity, as has been made. A post to that effect is awaiting moderation – maybe it will eventually appear here!

      • Bruce Money says:

        Can someone please explain why it is in Scotland’s interest to pay 10%, or 5 billion pounds, to finance a high speed railway from London to Bitmingham? On the financing of the Yes campaign has anyone noticed the massive free contributions made by the press daily to the Better Together campaign in their relentless distortion of the truth.

      • Bruce Money said “why it is in Scotland’s interest to pay 10%, or 5 billion pounds, to finance a high speed railway from London to Bitmingham?”

        In the short term, I don’t think it is. But these projects take decades to complete, and I would expect in decades to come, the line will eventually be extended into Scotland. If it doesn’t start somewhere (which realistically does mean down south) it will never reach here. So having nothing to do with it is a very short-sighted view (assuming its worthwhile in the first place, which is a different question !). Should Scotland be independent though, I’d guess the UK would be less interested in sharing the cost, so Scotland might eventually have to shoulder most if not the whole cost for the northern section to link us up!!!!!)

        Bruce Money said ” the massive free contributions made by the press daily to the Better Together campaign in their relentless distortion of the truth”

        That’s a bit rich, bearing in mind the dreadful obfuscating spin that predominates from the ‘vote yes’ side! But we have to accept that both sides are doing their level best to spin things their way – and that’s life. If we’re going to compare unfairnesses – you could add on the ‘yes’ side the fact that they’ve got a whole government machine at their disposal to influence things, from the man-hours and resources of the SNP politicians, manipulation of policy (e.g. perhaps not doing anything now about child-care so that we fall behind England and the issue stays on the table in the independence debate), to (according to some reports) ethically questionable use of public funding.

        We can’t change that – it’s part of the deplorable side of democratic politics. My specific point was about individual fairness – the fact that no one single individual should have an influence beyond a single vote, and that generally, the resources available to promote both sides of the argument should be equivalent. Anything else risks grossly distorting the outcome! And on that front, for better or worse, the ‘yes’ side appear to hold most of the cards.

        And why are temporary Scottish ex-pats living abroad for a few years but who are just as passionate about Scotland being denied their vote – that’s another scandal that folk don’t seem to mention much. Probably because many of them might vote ‘no’ – another aspect of unfair influence by the ‘yes’ side !

      • Craig said “why are all the pro-union billionaires not donating to Better Together?”

        Good question – I’ve no idea. Perhaps there aren’t many billionaires living in Scotland with a vote in the referendum. I wonder why?

    • Lee Gilray says:

      Well it is a common fact that small countries actually handle the recessions better than the bigger countries.

      • What like Ireland and Greece.

      • Lee Gilray says:

        Well look at Ireland now… Thriving, Iceland thriving, Greece’s situationwas completely different to our own…

      • Ireland and Iceland are not thriving. They are growing faster due to the bailout received from EU and UK for the Irish and a significant proportion of the population emigrating, and the fact that Iceland allowed their banks to go into receivership because they simply couldn’t bail them out. The UK government amongst others had to reimburse those with Icesave accounts if I remember rightly. Adding to our debt. Neither country will ever be at the same level as pre crisis levels and they both had to endure recessions much worse than we could dream of. To their credit I don’t remember hearing too much complaint from them, something which would never happen in any of the home nations. There is also an argument that an independent Scotland could have gone the same way as Alex Salmond was quite keen on RBS’s takeover of ABN Amro. Something he later regretted.

      • That is true. Whilst Ireland and Iceland took massive hits during the recession, both have bounced back extremely well. This is primarily because they were able to implement counter measures quickly and precisely for their needs. As such both Ireland and Iceland have higher GDP per capita than the UK. In OECD world tables Ireland sits 7th and Iceland 11th.
        Now compare this to Scotland being part of the Union. Scotland want sot do things differently in regards welfare, pensions, corporation tax, APD etc. All it can do it send an SOS to Westminster and say, we must do things differently.. After much time and deliberation the answer comes back,,, “that doesn’t fit with our plans for the UK (London and SE), you must do it our way”.

    • Hi John,
      “Even worse, is any suggestion that the SNP might be using money from government funds to support their campaign publicity, as has been made”

      You are correct the SNP used public money to create the White Paper however it should be noted this was in the name of the Scottish Government (SG) which passed the referendum bill. During this phase opposition parties demanded the SG provide a blueprint laying out what Independence would mean. As such the SG provided the White Paper ( the same way the Welsh Government have just provided their own White paper). Could you imagine the outcry if the SG did not reveal any information in writing for scrutiny. To be honest whether you agree with it or not, it should be commended a document was actually produced. How many times have we had promises from a party which were later retracted as they were not published. So, a document was produced for all to review and debate. Now compare this to the 11 Scotland Analysis papers which have been created and produced by Whitehall on behalf of Westminster to counter Independence. I remember seeing that over 800 Whitehall civil servants have been involved from different departments creating these papers (sorry but I don’t have the link or article showing where I saw this so I can understand if you might want to disbelieve me). Lets however say there has been significant labour and costs involved from civil servants (paid by the tax paper) to put all these documents together. Now add to that all the costs for the day trips from Westminster MPs coming to Scotland to make speeches (no Q&A) and then returning home. Add to this Cameron bringing his cabinet to Scotland for the first time in 100 years (coincidence). Now add to this the Labour Party in Aberdeen sending Better Together letters along with Council Tax renewal forms. So whilst the Better Together campaign has supposedly received modest funds, the support provided by Westminster has been accounted. FYI – a freedom of information request on these Whitehall /MP costs was refused by Westminster.

  3. We’re all going to independence!!

  4. Leslie Armstrong says:

    A strachen, I do not think you would know the truth if it smacked you between the eyes.
    I for one will be definitely VOTING NO.

    • Edward M Smith says:

      I am not 100% yes, although i am very much in favour of it. What are your reasons for being so clearly decided against? Edward M.Smith

      • Years ago there were Scottish bastards who helped the English fight the Scots, you sir are one of those bastards and you should be treated as such, take the road south you turn coat.

      • Leslie Armstrong says:

        If you are an example of what we will have in a free Scotland, you are living in a braveheart and shortbread illusion.
        Please try to take your rose tinted specs of and try not to be so bitter and twisted or you will become another alex salmond.
        best wishes a realist.

    • Lee Gilray says:

      Alex salmond…. Please, if he is twisted then what are you for voting no? Alex has and always will look out for the people of Scotland, more than the mob at Westminster, if you think any different then you should take off your own rose tinted glasses.
      Also, a realist? You couldn’t even answer Edwards question, a simple one at that. You ‘a realist’??? I’m sorry a ‘realist’ would easily answer that question, you are deluded, sir!

      • Lee Gilray says:

        ‘Braveheart and Shortbread’ just goes to show how far behind you are in this debate, your children will be ashamed that you’ve not researched this before voting, like all No voters!

    • Jim, could you please tone it down. If you are looking to persuade people otherwise, it is not the right the way to do it.

  5. A Strachan said (re currency union and David Cameron) “However, ultimately, it may not be up to them if someone else was voted in to power!”

    the block on the currency union was joint between the coalition and Labour – there are no other parties that could be voted in to change that view. And certainly not before the referendum which is when it matters!

    Not surprised Alistair Darling supports a currency union if independence goes ahead – for Scotland, it seems obviously the best way by far. But I don’t see Westminster changing its view because of the political capital they’ve invested in this position – almost regardless of the actual reasons.

    • A. Strachan says:

      John sone of the responses you post bewilder the hell out of me as you seem to be quite rational until it comes to common sense and independence and you just seem to fail to see the damage the union has done to Scotland for the past 300 years!

      I find this sort of questioning oppressive by the BBC, there are now states out which show the huge bias of the BBC and I am led to believe that there is now consideration about the interference with the democratic process by the BBC! If that was proved …. wow! Undermining the democratic process, the very thing our country is built on! This sort of questioning doesn’t help, but hell of a funny when it back fires, the reporter should hang his head in shame!

    • A. Strachan says:
    • John,
      It should be noted that George Osborne stated that “I as Chancellor could not accept a currency union” as he anticipates in the event of a Yes vote he will actually become rUK PM as Cameron will inevitably have to resign. This is the get out clause. As PM he will state he was acting under instruction and as such he is actually willing to discuss/negotiate a currency union. Ruling out a shared currency was a campaign tactic that went horribly wrong but the above contingency would allow it to be brought back onto the negotiating table. Be under no illusion a currency union would happen.

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/26/markets-forex-scotland-idUSL5N0MN1TF20140326

  6. I’ve been listening to Alex Salmond on the Scottish Politics TV programme – he makes some clever and plausible ripostes to various challenges on what businesses have said about the possible impacts of independence. But here’s a question …

    It seems that many companies have been expressing concerns about the risks – and others have said that they are not concerned and can operate either way. But does anybody know of ANY large private sector employer in Scotland who has come forward to say that Scottish independence would be a positive, good thing for them?

    If many are expressing concerns and others are no more than neutral, that’s a pretty bleak picture. If independence really is a good idea (for the economy), there should be substantially more large private sector businesses actively promoting the ‘yes’ vote as a positive benefit, as there are those against (leaving out the ‘neutral’ ones). I can’t think of a single large employer that I’ve heard directly supporting or promoting independence, let alone a majority!

    Anyone else know of any enthusiastic and large business supporters?

    • a. strachan says:

      John that is utter drivel my friend!

      http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk

      You are on the scaremongers path today eh?

      • A. Strachan said “John that is utter drivel my friend! ”

        Well – none of us are perfect :)

        Though I wasn’t making a statement there – I was asking a question which I still think is a valid one.

        I’d never looked at ‘Business for Scotland’ before – thank you for the link. At first sight – it looked very credible and interesting – and I liked the declaration under its ‘goals’ that it was a politically neutral thinktank – just what we need !!

        Then I look at the ‘members’ page, and saw it was too good to be true – the second paragraph on the ‘members’ page says

        “What unites them? Their unwavering belief that Scotland, and Scottish business can thrive as a result of voting Yes to become an independent country.”

        In other words, its not politically neutral at all – and sounds like its really got a strong pro-independence agenda, which greatly devalues what they say. They won’t be presenting an impartial view of anything.

        Which doesn’t change the fact that they have real businesses in favour of independence – I’m going to take a longer look now and see what ‘big name’ employers they have on their membership list.

      • A. Strachan says:

        There are a few big name employers but Scotland, like other small countries is not a big country. I fully expect our business’s to be smaller in turn? Many are here because it is cheaper for them to base themselves here due to the under investment from London! Everything is cheaper here due to most residing south of the border! Lets hope that never changes!

      • A. Strachan said “Scotland, like other small countries is not a big country. I fully expect our business’s to be smaller in turn?”

        good point – and I suppose that a small business which provides local services, or does most of it’s business locally within Scotland won’t be affected very differently from the way most ordinary individuals would be affected, good or bad.

        The businesses that would provide a better ‘barometer’ of the informed views of the economic future would be those larger employers whose operation straddles the border in a big way and which are based in or have a major presence in Scotland. And as you say, there aren’t so many of those. But their opinion should carry some weight.

        Your other post where you said there was something else I might be interested in – there was nothing else in the post? did something get missed? or have I missed it!

      • A. Strachan says:

        I think you may have seen it as I double posted it in error:

      • a. strachan says:

        Just got this info, which, in the face of yesterdays reports stating Scotland would have a triple A rating, above that of the UK is some what funny ;) Their case for a no vote is slowly crumbling before their eyes. The single biggest concern of the voter is the economy. With 1.4 trillion of debt and lost credit rating when Scotland could be debt free and a AAA rating, it is a no brainer!

        “Reports that the Treasury had been set to release an anti-independence paper based on the UK’s lost triple-A credit rating show that the No campaign has been left in tatters as another of their assertions has crumbled.
        A leaked paper reported in today’s Scotsman (Thursday 28) claims that an independent Scotland would be at risk of losing a triple-A credit rating, despite the fact that this has already been lost by the UK’s Westminster Government”

      • A Strachan said “A leaked paper reported in today’s Scotsman (Thursday 28) claims that an independent Scotland would be at risk of losing a triple-A credit rating, despite the fact that this has already been lost by the UK’s Westminster Government”

        Actually – a minor point of correction – according to Standard and Poors – the UK still has a AAA- credit rating.
        Fitch has us as AA+.
        Moody’s says Aa1 (whatever that is)
        DBRS says AAA
        Dagong says A+

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

        In other words – praise from just one credit agency isn’t enough – there needs to be a consensus before it’s credible. But if others join in and say the same kind of thing as Poors, it will be pretty good news for the ‘yes’ side! I guess we’ll have to wait a bit and see.

        I think the widely publicised loss of the ‘AAA’ rating by the UK was over-hyped – probably because the Tories made a big thing of how important it was earlier. As I understand it – it was just one agency that lowered its rating, and only by turning an AAA into an AAA- or AA+ or something – in other words, going down by the smallest possible increment. The real problem will be if something happens that causes all of them to lower their assessment by a significant amount – I think that would be a catastrophe for the UK – and Scotland too.

        By the way – it looks like you can’t directly compare one agency with another – they all appear to have slightly different ways of assessing and reporting on a country’s credit-worthiness.

    • Will Mcewan says:

      Yes
      Utter drivel indeed
      Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers and Weir Pumps, Scotland largest businessman leads hundreds of companies which have declared for independence and are members of Business for Scotland. Did you not see him and others sinking the anti independence scaremongerers at the Scottish Parliament yesterday?

      • Sounds like self interest on Jim Mccolls part as SNP have pledged money for infrastructure projects and he’s in the construction industry that will benefit. Unfortunately, UK government has been unable to make such promises due to financial constraints. Not sure it’s a good basis for encouraging independence as the SNP could find the same constraints after independence.

      • Will McEwan said “Jim McColl of Clyde Blowers and Weir Pumps, Scotland largest businessman leads hundreds of companies which have declared for independence and are members of Business for Scotland”

        I don’t think that being a member of ‘Business for Scotland’ adds any credibility for impartiality – the members of that organisations are there because they are all pro-independence (based on what their web site says). That’s like going to the SNP annual conference and polling attendees to get a balanced view of support for independence across the country! I’d be more interested in hearing a cross section of business views from companies that were not specifically drawn from there!

        Lets hear about companies that do a large proportion of their trade with the UK or other countries outside Scotland – i.e. where issues like currency and European trade will directly affect them, as well as being of a reasonable size – if the majority of them think independence would be good for them, it would mean a lot more.

      • a. strachan says:

        You quite possibly will not any such confirmation from companies because Westminster will not pre negotiate so everyone is left wondering! It is unfair that companies are made to second guess! My bet is Westminster will not pre negotiate because of this! They want to create uncertainty. Standard life. For example is run by Tory supporting management, so it isnfair to assume their recent announcement was due to this! However their announcement is being viewed by the press one way while others are viewing it in the opposite direction, it is the glass half empty scenario, and exactly the same as they did in the devolution referendum to try and unsuccessfully change the democratic result. I for one will never buy another product from them again and cancelled the policy in the 90′s that I did have!

      • A. Strachan said “You quite possibly will not any such confirmation from companies because Westminster will not pre negotiate ”

        Sadly you’re right – I never said the current situation was ‘fair’ – it isn’t. Though Westminster has said what their position will be on a common currency – I can’t see that changing without something dramatic being negotiated away in return. Whatever the rights and wrongs of it – Westminster leaders have put their necks on the line on this one – it will take a LOT before any of them will do a U-turn on it I think!!

        I was looking at the credit report from Standard and Poors – as far as I can see – it isn’t one-sided at all – it (as one might expect!) provides plenty of ammunition for both sides of the debate – with caveats and reservations as well. I got the impression that the favourable comment was with the assumption that everything goes ‘right’ – it was a hard-to-achieve but achievable aspiration, not a ‘done deal’ !!

        So I’m not sure it really changes all that much – they did specifically mention currency union and implied without saying in as many words, that not achieving currency union would make achieving that rating very much harder! So jury is still out.

        Everything turns out to have an opposite side in this debate :(

      • a. strachan says:

        As I keep saying you are a glass half empty guy where as I am a glass half full. You look at the doom and gloom where I look towards a positive future. It really depends on how repressed you have become. I personally don’t accept any of the scare mongering. Simple as that. I am not a naturally positive person, but, I blame much of that on the pressure and negativity fed from Westminster over the years and the fiscal mess we find ourselves in. From devolution to date. I am satisfied that what I have read is more than enough confirmation for me to positively vote yes. The scare mongering is EXACTLY the same as before right down to Standard Life stepping in to back their Tory mates! Make no bones about it, Standard Life are very much Tory orientated, financially support them and therefore it is within their interests to try and change our democratic vote!

        All the companies and finacial institutes will be unable to give any certain answer. I also follow the statements from last year where even Alistair Darling stated a currency union is the best way forward! To block that seals the rUK’s fate in the event of a YES vote. Idiotic. However, it also seals Scotlands fate should they change their mind (which will almost certainly happen) and therefore I disagree that this is the best way forward. I actually hope Osborne and Cameron are so up themselves and stubborn that they stick to their guns :) They will damage the UK even more so than they are doing now! However, ultimately, it may not be up to them if someone else was voted in to power!

      • A Strachan said “As I keep saying you are a glass half empty guy where as I am a glass half full”

        Actually, if you knew me beyond this discussion, I don’t think you’d say that. But here’s where my thoughts are at what are for me, three key things.

        1. the evidence. I know how easy it is, when researching something that you want to be true, to seize on any peice of apparent evidence that supports your case while disregarding, or considering less seriously, evidence that you don’t want to hear. That kind of bias always leads to the wrong conclusion. That is the kind of thinking that I believe differentiates between scientists and creationists, between generally accepted science and climate change denyers and keeps gamblers gambling in the belief of the big win that never happens. And in days gone by, might have played in a part in what took Bonnie Prince Charlie to Culloden, and had Scotland embark on it’s ill-fated attempt to colonise the Americas, which I believe played a large part in Scotland originally losing its independence (ran out of money!). And it seems to me to be endemic amongst campaigners in the independence debate.

        My background has caused me to develop the habit of not getting carried away with individual pieces of evidence, no matter how enticing, instead trying to look objectively at everything together, disregarding both my emotions and aspirations and those of people pushing one side or the other. In this case, everything is too complicated for me to get to the bottom of and I’ve not got the time to try any more. So I’ve given up on that, and I’m now trying to balance my personal experience, things I know directly to be true, and expert opinion that is NOT directly associated with either side of the argument. I know of no other way to get clear of all the deceit and spin.

        2. ethical responsibility. I am married with a family who depend on me to provide an income. In my younger days before I had any dependents, I’d be more gung-ho about things, But now, I have to take a conservative view (small ‘c’ !!) and maybe miss out on things I could have had because failure on a risky venture would hurt my family.

        In a similar vein, all of us in Scotland who are prudent/lucky enough to have good jobs, good pensions or are otherwise financially secure – we all have ‘dependents’ whom we pay for through our taxes in the form of everyone that relies on the state for their health and wellbeing. And as far as health is concerned, I reckon eventually that’ll be nearly all of us! We have to keep the economy prosperous before anything else, or there won’t be the resources to support all that.

        No matter what anybody likes to say – NOBODY really knows nor can know really what the outcome of independence would be. So it’s a gamble – what we’re really doing is deciding whether we like potential gains against the odds. If we choose to take the risk in the belief that we’ll end up better off (which we very well might), and it goes wrong, we could have a catastrophe on our hands. Those of us with strong resources will live through it (unless Scotland really goes totally bankrupt) – but all those on benefits, state pension, reliant on the NHS – they’ll have a really hard time (even more so than now). The UK, for all its faults, has worked for hundreds of years. To take the risk of splitting up, we better be damned sure that this is going to turn out well, based on good, impartial and unbiased evidence, not on faith. To do otherwise, in my view, is ethically irresponsible.

        Even if all does go well – many folk have said we’ll do great but it might be tough during the transition. How will the lower paid handle that?

        3. Glass half full … There are lots of things wrong in this world – nuclear weapons, climate change, corrupt politicians, lack of wealth-creating jobs, reckless banks – an endless list! But the really serious ones in my view, are those that pose a global threat – like climate change, nuclear weapons, international foreign policies/conflicts, a ‘jam today’ western culture based on excessive personal debt, and more. I want to see Scotland stand tall and be seen to make a difference here. But that won’t happen if we run away by leaving the UK (even if we do get rid of our nukes). As part of the UK, we have much more clout than a little independent country with little influence.

        I’m pretty positive about most things – and I’d love Scotland to be a successful independent country. But the case in favour, taking everything into account, needs to be so overwhelming it’s a ‘no brainer’. And so far, the ‘yes’ case isn’t anywhere close.

        Sermon over !!! Now having put my head above the parapet – doubtless folk will try to shoot me to pieces :)

    • A. Strachan says:

      John something else you may find interesting?

      • Was very interesting – thank you. He makes a good case and puts things well into context. That doesn’t tell us that the economy will work though – he is of necessity talking about things as they are now, pre-independence. All sorts of things he doesn’t mention come into play as well post independence – not least, the outcome of the various controversies around currency union and EU membership!

        I’ve seen something similar before – someone posted this up here last year, but was good to be reminded of it :) Certainly a positive ‘brick’ in the ‘yes’ case.

        On another topic – I saw the comments from BA on the news tonight about what independence will mean to them. I wonder how long it will take for that to be spun up into a “big international company making a big endorsement in support of the ‘yes’ campaign. It certainly wasn’t – he said “independence MIGHT be MARGINALLY positive due to the possibility of scrapping airline passenger taxes”. That is saying he’s pretty neutral about it – though at least, doesn’t see any great problems. Bet it doesn’t get presented that way though by the SNP !!! And if the government had the powers to scrap that tax as part of devolution, that could be done anyway without independence. It’s pretty irrelevant to the debate!

      • A. Strachan says:

        A good way to look at business’s, they all have different parameters. BA and now Ryan air have all now stated they would have no intention of leaving scotland. Of course, tax cuts for them would mean cheaper overheads etc.. It is swings and roundabouts. I am hearing TSB have no intention to move out either.

        Standard Life are a Tory led company, with close links to the banking industry! The UK has been completely removed of big industry. Scotland will start to rebuild that. Therefore we will not end up in the fiscal disaster we find ourselves in now! Of course the banks won’t like that, but industry will!

        However, where things are now beginning to get very worrying is Westminsters fiscal disaster and the possibly abysmal future we have! The threats of removing the Barnett formula and reducing Scotland’s budget CONSIDERABLY! Then this bombshell today:

        http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/no-further-tax-powers-for-scotland-says-david-cameron-1-2084365

        I am now convinced Cameron is trying to break the union and for that I thank him with all my heart! However, there is very little else he can do as he has no finances for the country. Plenty of millions in his own name but not in the name of the UK! The likes of him have bled the UK dry of cash. The banks drain the taxes and we prop up the financial institutes and still the pay huge bonus’s!

        This country is a joke and many have had enough. Any Devo Max voters (as I was) have now only the one choice. He is ensuring we all vote yes. I decided last year Yes was my option and I will not change that. Camerons only guarantee to beat Salmond was Devo Max and the moron has just announced that will never happen. He has as good as lost the vote.

      • A. Strachan says:
    • A. Strachan says:

      I am sure you will find holes in this business as well John!

      Well done BA! How to show BBC for what they really are!

      • A. Strachan said “I am sure you will find holes in this business as well John!”

        If I do find holes in it, then I won’t put so much credence in it!

        One thing I have learned over and over again is that we have to play ‘devil’s advocate’ with everything – if a piece of evidence has holes that can be picked, then either its wrong and misleading (deliberately or otherwise), or we don’t understand it properly in context.

        So yes – I actively try to pick holes in literally everything that I think about – then when I find evidence that stands up against challenge, I can believe it more! I try never to take things at face value :)

      • a. strachan says:

        If I was you join I would concentrate on picking holes with the no campaign! It is far easier and we are currently living the dream only we are better off just now! I can sit and pick holes all day. I gave up doing that as I want to be positive about my future not negative.

        On that note I will now bow out as I appear to be wasting my time and I have my work and also volunteer work to do as well as giving time to my kids! I don’t see much point in wasting my time on here as well only one serious vote to better our country and that is yes

      • A. Strachan said “If I was you join I would concentrate on picking holes with the no campaign”

        Oh I do – though so far it’s been a whole lot easier to find holes in the ‘yes’ campaign. Both sides are playing the political game for all its worth and both sides are clever even if, at least so far, the ‘yes’ side seem more passionate! And it’s a travesty of democracy because this decision is going to be made on the basis of who can be more persuasive on half-truths, not what the real situation is. Nobody (neither side) is giving us any real help to get to the bottom of the issues. It’s why I hate adversarial politics and have no time for politicians – other things being equal, I’d vote for whatever system ends up with fewer politicians, councillors and government officials of any flavour being paid for by our taxes and getting involved with our lives. If only things were that simple!

        A. Strachan said “On that note I will now bow out”

        Then I thank you for politely agreeing to differ and giving me much food for thought – far more than all those people that yell, shout and insult everyone that disagrees with them!

        Take care – and I wish you well, whatever happens, and whichever way either of us ends up voting! And I’m sure Scotland will survive one way or another, either way!

    • Lee Gilray says:

      There has been more investment over the last few months in Scotland, Scottish businesses and natural resources. Just because some ‘big companies’ are given tax breaks by the UK eg Starbucks. If I was given good tax breaks I’d be touting the no vote too but I’m not and I’m intelligent enough to see passed what is reported and do my own research. Ivan McKee’s rundown on Scottish finances… Ots available on YouTube, all you need to know!

  7. Appreciate why the English have no say in the Scottish independence vote. But please, when it all goes to hell in a handcart, please let the English have a vote when Scotland wants back in.

    • A. Strachan says:

      Allan you assume a lot here. Firstly you assume Scotland will vote yes, thanks for that, because I too assume that. You then assume that Scotland, whose GDP is considerably better than the UK’s will suddenly perform considerably worse than it has been and end up begging to come back! Like every other country who has gained independence, that won’t happen, regardless of how bad it gets. I think you need to read up a lot more on things my friend. If you are in doubt about financial figures here it is, no Westminster spin, no bullshit and no bias:

      • Lee Gilray says:

        Well done strachan, let this bigot have it ;-)

      • Always better not to assume anything in relation to the GDP per person. I really do wish someone would analyse GDP in terms of the effect to GDP that leaving the UK would have. You cannot assume that GDP would remain exactly the same as there are a number of benefits to GDP that derive from being a member of the UK. I think the self determination argument of the yes side is strong but it is making a lot of arrogant assumptions about the economy and the relationship with the UK after independence. Furthermore, it seems almost certain there will not be a currency union without a very major concession.

      • Lee Gilray says:

        But you would be assuming the same if you stayed in the UK? The funny thing about finances is that no one can actually predict them… It will be a gamble to stay and a gamble to go, I’d rather take a gambleon a new, dynamic idea that hasn’t been tried yet instead of a tried, tested and failing method like Westminster…

      • Still can’t understand why you think Westminster has failed. I don’t feel like I live in a failed country.

      • Leslie Armstrong says:

        Hi Tom, I am with you, Alex Salmond love to blame westminster for everything
        I also do not believe that Alex Salmond has Scotlands best interests at the heart of the his efforts to break up the U. K. his own glorification
        his is main aim, he love the pomp all the jollies.

        Just say NO, NO, NO

      • jim Begg says:

        This Independence has nothing to do with Salmon as you should jolly well know, its to do with your Country and nothing else if you wish to say NO NO NO then do so but remember this, after Independence you will have the vote to put any party you wish into controlling your Country but if you stay pig headed and say NO NO NO then you will be lead along like a little dog by a Conservative government that us true Scots did not vote for so in the first place so I say change to YES YES YES YES and put Scotland first for a change (PLEASE)

      • jim Begg says:

        100%

      • Lee Gilray says:

        In what ways have they been a success then?? The devide in poor, the squandering of the wealth, the fall of the British empire, the lack of an ‘oil fund’, the selling off of the gold, the closure of coal nines, the banks being bought then sold at a loss, the sale of the postal service at a loss…. So yeah, where have they not failed???

        Btw it is not only Alex salmond who wants to Scotland to be independent, it is all of us yes voters..!

      • The welfare state, the NHS, peace, one of the worlds largest economies despite being one of the smallest areas, one of the most stable currencies, increasing living standards, why should we have an oil fund when oil only contributes a small amount to GDP but you can ask the last Labour government about why there was no general provision for the crash, however, that is not an issue to do with independence. There does need to be a greater distribution of wealth but again that is not an independence question and from your own figures Scotland is doing very well within the union. As I said previously the argument for self determination is strong, it’s not one I share but I understand it. The only thing is is that to me that’s the only positive.

      • Lee Gilray says:

        Well as long as what you are voting for is right for you…
        I’d argue the peace thing like… If some people are correct the nhs could cease to be, going by the difference in nhs Scotland and nhs in England.
        Oil brings in massive amounts of money, all I ask is why would Westminster want to keep us if WE are the ones who are subsidized??

      • I think Scotland more than pays it’s way in the UK and is a great asset. Without it I think the UK would be weaker. I also think that without the UK Scotland would be weaker. From my point of view it doesn’t matter at any point in time whether Scotland is subsidised or contributes what matters is that the UK is much more prosperous as a whole entity. Much more so than the European Union at this moment in time.

      • jim Begg says:

        Quite agree all this talk about Scotland unable to pay its way, which means that we are a burden to the rest of the U.K. well what I would like to know is why Cameron and Co are so dedicated for the No vote is anyone out there going to tell me that he has a deep feeling for the Scots and doesn’t want them to be hurt if things go wrong.
        If you think that, you must have your head in the sand so deep only your shoes are looking out.
        All I hear from the NO team is negative, and as for the workers in Clyde Bank well Scotland as a Country will eventually have to start making its own defences so there will be work in the future, and don’t even say where the money is coming from if the people in Scotland had gone for Independence back in the 70′s we would have been in the top five richest Country’s in the world today.

    • a. strachan says:

      Also would be good to keep in mind that Scotland is most probably going to start off with a AAA credit rating, better than that of the UK! This scare mongering is what happened in the lead up to devolution, it is the same drivel and rubbish being spouted this time around. London is PETRIFIED it loses Scottish money! Rightly so, it should be!

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