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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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  1. Alex Salmond and John Swinney are unbelievable!

    I think it was on one of the Alistair Darling debates that Alex said reasonably that Scotland could walk away from the UK debt but it would be wrong to do so – implying that we wouldn’t.

    And yet, on a recording of the Sunday Politics interview yesterday, John Swinney aggressively threatened (raising his voice) to walk away if Westminster denied Scotland a currency union! Then a few minutes later, in an interview, Alex Salmond himself repeated that threat – albeit in a less explicit and aggressive way.

    I found that shocking – whether or not there’s a legal loophole that makes it technically possible for Scotland to walk away like that, I don’t like to think I might be a part of a country that is capable of reneging on what are ethically absolutely its debts. He is saying one thing one week and the opposite a week later, and deliberately obfuscating issues about assets with issues about the currency union to confuse the voters.

    I said in response to a post elsewhere that it would be beyond the pale for Westminster to deliberately find a way to avoid splitting the oil with Scotland at all – I take that back. If we renege on the debt, we deserve all they try to do to us – and the trashed credit rating we’d probably end up with internationally!

    My already low opinion of the SNP leadership just sank even lower!

  2. Integrated currency union with the UK to keep the pound?

    I’ve seen many folk accuse Westminster of playing politics and being mischevious or bullying when they refuse to consider a currency union.

    According to Gavin McCrone in his book – one of the problems that could be behind this, is that if, as part of such a union, Scotland has the power to set its own taxation policies – and especially corporation tax that affects businesses directly – presumably also business rates, VAT and so on – then Scotland might very well attract more investment north. This would result in driving up the value of the pound by Scotland, which would make English trade less competitive, and cause their economy to fall behind. Westminster would quite understandably not with to take that risk!

    So – I take from that, that Westminster is only likely to change its mind on an integrated currency if Scotland relinquishes control of its tax policy to the UK – which Scotland would have a proportionate (minority) influence in. But that would undermine one of the major aims behind going independent! So I think that is why Westminster says an integrated currency isn’t going to happen!

    Incidentally, for different reasons – this is a similar effect to one of the contributors to the demise of heavy industry in the thatcher years – though in that case, the value of the pound was forced up by oil spending in the economy rather than by a different tax regime. But the effect is demonstrably real and has hit Scotland and north England hard in the past!

  3. At present we have no clear answers from the Independence lobby on:
    Currency
    Broadcasting
    Defence and Border control
    Joining the European Union.
    We do know that defence jobs and a large number of Financial service jobs will go from Scotland.
    The information received today about exactly who has ownership of oil rights agrees with information I had received previously.
    This also requires clarification.
    All in all big questions hang over the independence issue.
    I am sure I will have missed out some points.
    Russell

  4. Hi all,
    Just driven towards Dundee from Auchterader. The vandalism perpetrated to the No banners is just awful.
    This in conjunction with the mob intimidation of Jim Murphy, makes me petrified.
    While there are many decent folk in the Yes camp I am sure, there is obviously a sizeable undesirable element. I hope they are brought to order either by the Yes campaign or the Police.
    Russell

    • And the guy that chased Alex salmond in his car? The Britannia first guy max Dunbar who kicked a pregnant yes supporter in the stomach in Glasgow yesterday??? It doesn’t all go one way stop pretending it does.

      • Obviously is not one sided, cannot be anything other than condemned wholeheartedly.

      • If you followed the various threads on here, I think you’d see that folk aren’t accusing the ‘yes’ campaign only – we know it happens on both sides! We see more nonsense of that kind from the ‘yes’ campaign on this forum, but perhaps that’s because it’s entitled ‘no scotland’ !!

    • Russell, Unfortunately, in my srea of the Highlands the No’s are causing more trouble and damage to signs put up by the Yes campaign so I think both sides are no better than the other.

      • Sadly there seem to be shallow hooligans on both sides. And cyber-bullying and insulting comments on social media are in the same vein.

        But on the bright side – at least this debate is being carried out without guns and bombs!

        I guess we just have to grow thick skins, and ignore them as much as possible :(

  5. Robert Carter says:

    In 1979 Jim Sillars and another 12 Nationalists crossed the floor of the House of Commons to vote with Ted Heaths Tories to remove the Labour Government which led to 18 years of Maggie Thatcher and John Major. In my mind class traitors. In 2009 Alec Salmond jumped into bed with Donald Trump to open a golf course on land of ecological worldwide importance benefitting Trump by £25 million pounds ( at present development values). My point is working class traitors always hide behind the nationalist flag……vote NO

    • Well Labour shouldn’t have forced a referendum where none was needed and then put in the 40% rule so that the dead and people who didn’t vote anything counted as NO. This shameful sabotage of democracy deserved a vote of no confidence. The Tories promised a better deal. How were any of us meant to expect Thatcher and what came next?
      The Labour Party should not have been class traitors themselvwes through setting Scotland back. We would have had control over our own destiny and got out from under the British establishment ages ago.

      • Actually – I would suggest that the 40% rule was sensible. For a proposition as radical this, the case in favour should be seen generally as a ‘no brainer’ – not as a closely balanced thing!

        If 40% of the population (still a minority!) can’t be arsed to get off their backsides and support it, I don’t think it deserves to pass. That rule at least ensured that if the vote was ‘yes’, it would have been decisive and unequivocal. As it was, it was substantially lost.

        It wasn’t a travesty of democracy, as the rule was made crystal clear to all at the time – so much so in fact that there was a lot of publicity saying that those against didn’t need to bother to turn out – that not voting was a ‘no’ vote. So nobody really has any idea how many actual ‘no’s there were out there that followed official advice and didn’t vote in order to say ‘no’ !!!!!

        There has been so much false spin about that old referendum result!

        Scotland said NO with a strong voice – and now – a reasonable time later, Westminster have been listening to Scotland and agreed to another referendum! That is just as valid a spin on events as any other!!

  6. I would like to know that why as a Scot born and bred in Scotland and moved to London many years ago has no say in what is happening now. Yet we have people like Sean Connery who does not even live in Scotland propagating separation????? So should the yes win the vote why should I suddenly become a citizen of Scotland through no choice of mine,,,,,,,so do i have to get a new passport and then pass the residency tests to remain living in England, I find that the rhetoric of Mr Salmond is worng, and he assumes too much, and lies too often.

    • Agree wholeheartedly with all you said about who does or does not have a vote in the referendum – my brother is in a similar position to you. And about the endless, unsupported rhetoric. Every time I hear it (practically every day!), my ‘no’ conviction grows stronger.

      Though I think ‘no’ supporters need to be careful about being accused of paranoia on things that are probably not serious risks (such as having to pass English residency tests to remain in England).

      As with other less desirable aspects, we can look to Ireland to see what might happen. Scotland is surely going to be part of the ‘common travel area’ covering the whole of Britain in the same way that Ireland is, and all citizens in that area have an automatic right to live anywhere in it (just looked it up to check).

      This is the kind of thing that ‘yes’ campaigners like to seize on and spin up into ‘scaremongering’ allegations. They grab on to any excuse to try to undermine the plethora of more immediate and direct reasons to stay with the union!

  7. James Dougan says:

    The no campaign? It’s a shambles. After watching that so called broadcast, I have switched to yes. The negativity, the lies and as a socialist it turns my stomach to see labour in bed with the tories who are the enemy of every fair minded person living in Scotland.

    • James Dougan said “The no campaign? It’s a shambles”

      Agree with you there – it looks that way to me too! That has nothing to do with whether independence is a good thing or not, but I wish the ‘no’ campaign would more visibly get their act together!

      James Dougan said “The negativity, the lies and as a socialist it turns my stomach to see labour in bed with the tories who are the enemy of every fair minded person living in Scotland.”

      Not being drawn deeply into that one – we’re each entitled to our own views. But – I think both Labour and the Tories would take exception to the suggestion that they were ‘in bed’ together!! And there are self-evidently lots of fair-minded people in Scotland and the UK of all political persuasions!

      The ‘negativity’ of the ‘no’ campaign is often brought up. The ‘yes’ campaign are conveniently forgetting that it is they that are arguing for radical change, so the onus is on them to justify it and defend against challenges from those that don’t want that change – not the other way about! Though there are many positive things about the ‘no’ position too.

      I don’t think either broadcast actually communicated anything new to anybody – it was all about debating technique and shallow point scoring around issues that most viewers will already have been well aware of! Alistair Darling ‘won’ the first one – Alex Salmond ‘won’ the second one – so on debating technique and shouting ability, it’s a draw. On which side is better for Scotland – we are none the wiser!

      • James Dougan says:

        There are thousands of labour voters who have never been in love with the so called union which protects a class system that discriminates the many and protects the few. We have voted labour as it was the only way to try and address the balance but as it becomes clear that Milliband has no chance of winning, the only way to protect the most vulnerable, the old and the sick is independence because another 15 years of a Boris right wing cabal there will be nothing left to fight for. ps my outrage at broadcast was the referring to the better together protraying women in the most insulting way. It shows how out of touch, insulting and insular they have become. Labour should have never had anything to do with the Tories. They are the enemy of the working class. Always have been, always will be. Its time we claimed our party back and lived up to the socialist values that will deliver fairness for many, not for the few.

      • I think it’s fair to say there are a lot of people of both left and right persuasions who dislike the union – and a lot who are worried by the prospect of independence. I don’t think the ‘yes’ / ‘no’ campaign is or should be allowed to become a Labour/Tory thing – it is bigger than that!

        However, while not wanting to get drawn into a left/right discussion as it is not (in my view) relevant to independence – or shouldn’t be – I would comment that the traditional socialist left obviously care about the workers and the less-well-off. And the ‘right’ obviously care more about the overall wealth in the country (as well as the better off).

        Socialism without wealth is a catastrophe, as has been demonstrated by previous labour governments. And wealth without fairness is also harsh and unsustainable.

        In my view, we somehow have to get away from extremist positions and get a balance of both together – the really difficult thing (apart from getting extremists of both sides to moderate their views!) is figuring out how to find that balance in a way that is both fair for the country, affordable, internationally competitive, and winning the support of the voters. And that we haven’t yet managed :( Until then, we’ll continue in this ridiculous cycle of left wing governments doing good for the workers but wrecking the economy, followed by right wing governments mending the economy at the expense of the less well off – back and forth over the decades. That is no way to run a successful country!!!!

        Just my personal view – but lets not go too far down that route – the independence referendum is supposed to be the subject here!

        By the way – several times during that broadcast, I think Alistair Darling deliberately distanced himself from the Tories – he is no Tory !!

      • Dear James,

        I am not sure how the loss of defence and financial services will improve the jobs situation?

        Russell

    • Hello from Quebec Canada!

      I am following Scotland news very closely as we had referendum in our province twice. I am sorry to say but yes campaign supporters have a large number of cyber bullies, very similar to what we had here when I was a kid last time we had referendum. Thankfully, our separatists are getting less powerful and last time obtained only 25% of the vote.
      You deserve better than SNP … I hope you see that human beings including you and English, Welsh and Northern Island, have more in common than your differences. I was travelling last year in the UK, and I was actually surprised how lowland of Scotland had so much in common with the Northern parts of England, and the difference of attitude and lowland and high land of Scotland was indeed comparable if not more than the difference of northern England and lower Scotland. Please focus on what brings us together, and not those minor and intellectually primitive issues that separate us.

      For future of humanity and our planet, we, in civilized societies should stay together. World needs a strong and united UK, in an unsettling world :)

      • thanks for those sentiments from Canada :)

        Unfortunately though, we deserve whomever we vote for! If we get lumbered with independence, it will be because we, as a country, voted for it and it will be squarely our own fault! We’ll just have to try to make the best of it.

        That’s the unfairness of democracy for those who disagree !!!! (tongue in cheek here!)

        On cyberbullying – has anyone noticed that all of a sudden, now that there is a more interesting, lively and civil debate going on here, that the shallow and nasty comments from the apparently bigoted sect in the ‘yes’ campaign seem to have stopped! The bullies (on both sides) are the ones who aren’t interested in understanding the issues – only in promoting their own emotional bigotry.

      • “…has anyone noticed that all of a sudden, now that there is a more interesting, lively and civil debate going on here, that the shallow and nasty comments from the apparently bigoted sect in the ‘yes’ campaign seem to have stopped!”

        Too easy to be emotional about this referendum.

        Perhaps more facts are emerging as the search continues for something more than what politicians say.

        I actually read the Continental Shelf Act 1964 this morning. S1 states, “Any rights exercisable by the United Kingdom outside territorial waters with respect to the sea bed and subsoil and their natural resources, except so far as they are exercisable in relation to coal, are hereby vested in Her Majesty.” That suggests that even if there’s a Yes vote the Crown would remain in ownership of North Sea geographical assets that produce the vast majority of income outside 12 mile water boundaries defined by international law.

      • Angus Sutherland said “, “Any rights exercisable by the United Kingdom outside territorial waters with respect to the sea bed and subsoil and their natural resources, except so far as they are exercisable in relation to coal, are hereby vested in Her Majesty.”

        I am no lawyer, but I am under the impression that legislation, or at least, signed-off conventions since then in relation to the north sea at least probably supersede that 1964 act. Don’t know about oil off the west coast.

        Pragmatically though, I am not sure that any of that will actually matter too much. Following a ‘yes’ vote, there would be a lot of probably aggressive negotiating about everything of significance that Scotland has, or believes it should or should not have in relation to England. Whatever is agreed there will stand, irrespective of previous agreements!

        For example – Scotland wants both the oil and the integrated currency. Doesn’t it seem possible that England will try to extract concessions on Scotland’s oil position in return for their politicians doing a ‘U’ turn on their position on the currency? And based on what he said, Alex Salmond is likely to bring a threat of reneging on our share of the national debt into the argument. Then look at all the rest – the costs and timescale of relocating trident, what about water supplied by Scotland to England, eventual costs of decommissioning old oil installations, division of fisheries, splitting up of all sorts of shared institutions. And the same with the EU – both EU and England will be looking to extract their ‘pound of flesh’ from Scotland in return for whatever Scotland wants.

        Who knows how all that will turn out – some existing legislation I think may become irrelevant. But we can be certain that it will not all go Scotland’s way!

      • “Pragmatically though, I am not sure that any of that will actually matter too much. Following a ‘yes’ vote, there would be a lot of probably aggressive negotiating about everything of significance that Scotland has, or believes it should or should not have in relation to England.”

        Can you imagine Salmond attempting to bawl down hardened negotiators televised debate style? It may work on impressionable voters but not in lawyer filled confines of rooms with closed doors. It may even irritate people.

        If he does, perhaps UK will just say keep everything landward, we’ll take the rest. So long as UK removes WoMD, costs of tidy up would exceed Scotland’s part share of national debt. Scotland would then have nothing left to negotiate UK North Sea assets, keeping the five land routes open, or trade with RoUK. Not a good position for Scotland. Worrying!

      • Meg…there are a couple of big differences in Quebec’s situation and Scotland’s. For one thing, Quebec was never a nation…another is that Quebec requires billions of federal money to balance the books…in contrast Scotland is a net provider of finances to the UK.

        As for needing to stay as a union, yesterday the UK raised it’s terror alert status. Scotland has to deal with the consequences of Westminster’s illegal wars. As an independent country we would be a whole lot safer and not have to fork out for any damage caused in the likely target area of London. However, if you feel so strongly about the need to stay together…perhaps you can start a motion for Canada to come back under Westminster control….that would be nice eh?

        Finally, I would like to thank you for describing the needs and wants of Scots as “minor and intellectually primitive issues”. Im just not sure the 100,000 children about to be forced into poverty by Westminster would agree…or the 100,000 disabled people…or the couple of million Scots who would like their vote to actually mean something and who are fed up paying billions for nuclear weapons they don’t want or paying billions for a train line that comes nowhere near Scotland. Maybe if Canada gets ruled by Westminster again and they remove French as an official language, or take away your passport and make you use a British one or take Alberta’s oil revenues and spend it on sending Canadian troops into an illegal war, or cut Canada’s federal budget by billions while taking billions more to build a train line in England…..maybe then you’ll begin to understand.

      • Richard said “, I would like to thank you for describing the needs and wants of Scots as “minor and intellectually primitive issues”. ”

        How easily this debate can needlessly become inflamed and aggressive! Taken in context, I’m pretty sure that Meg’s remarks were not about the good points that you objected to. But taken out of context, it can so easily (and perhaps unintentionally) be turned around so that it sounds insulting, belittling of hundreds of thousands of folk in poverty!

        I think we all need to be careful to understand what others are really saying, rather than what it might superficially sound like, in order that the debate remain civil and constructive!

        I do fear also, that an independence vote may very well make the plight of the less well off even worse over the next few years, when it turns out things are not as rosy as Alex Salmond is trying to get us to believe. If we listened to the ‘yes’ campaign, they make independence sound like a panacea for all ills. That in itself should make us wary – there is no such thing as a ‘magic bullet’ !! It is the hallmark of political spin and deception.

      • oops – I’ve just done it myself – I referred to “the good points you were objecting to” in Richard’s post. Read simplistically, that might sound like I was accusing you of objecting to good points!! Far from it – you raised some valid points of Scottish indignation – just not, I think, what Meg was talking about!

        Sorry about the poor phrasing!

      • “…Scotland is a net provider of finances to the UK”

        I don’t wish to be contrary, but Is it?

        Scots revenue per person is £8,990, whilst UK revenue per person is £9,816: meaning that revenue per head in UK is £827 or 9.2% higher than revenue per head in Scotland.

        Sources:
        http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2014/03/7888
        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demography_of_the_United_Kingdom
        http://www.nao.org.uk/highlights/whole-of-government-accounts/#

        I don’t like newspaper sources, but equally have had too much of referendum figures this morning to be bothered. If true, Scotland receives £1,300 per head more subsidy that the rest of the UK. See http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/public-spending-per-head-in-scotland-revealed-1-3197170.

        It sounds logical, with Scotland planning £5.9 billion deficit each year (See from 2:15 news video at http://www.channel4.com/news/catch-up/display/playlistref/280814 it’s only there until next Wednesday). Scotland’s deficit for 2012-13 was by its own government admissions at least £12.1 billion, but much higher after North Sea preferential treatment was taken out of the equation (http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy/Q/pno/3). At best, with maximum North Sea input, are they not catastrophic admissions direct from SNP government?

        From various significant angles, Scotland is a very high net recipient from the rest of the UK, not a net contributor to it.

      • “…Scotland is a net provider of finances to the UK”

        Posted without links because this post with credible sources to official statistics sites was held for moderation… and then I responded to the wrong post! Sundays…

        I don’t wish to be contrary, but is it?

        Scots revenue per person is £8,990, whilst UK revenue per person is £9,816: meaning that revenue per head in UK is £827 or 9.2% higher than revenue per head in Scotland.

        I don’t like newspaper sources, but equally have had too much of referendum figures this morning to be bothered. If true, Scotland receives £1,300 per head more subsidy that the rest of the UK. (Scotsman today)

        It sounds logical, with Scotland planning £5.9 billion deficit each year (See Channel 4 news of 28 August, from 2:15). Scotland’s deficit for 2012-13 was by its own government admissions at least £12.1 billion, but much higher after North Sea preferential treatment was taken out of the equation (See Scottish government statistics). At best, with maximum North Sea input, are they not catastrophic admissions direct from SNP government?

        From various significant angles, Scotland is a very high net recipient from the rest of the UK, not a net contributor to it.

      • Angus Sutherland was questioning whether Scotland really is a net contributor or recipient of resources from England.

        Can I recommend the book by Gavin McCrone “Scottish Independence – weighing up the economics” – the version updated for 2014. This is the same Gavin McCrone that authored a report twenty or so years ago that is often held up by ‘yes’ campaigners to justify some of their statements about Scotland’s oil situation – he is thought of as a credible author.

        What comes over from that book is that the position is hugely complex with dozens of issues needing to be taken into account to really assess the real position.

        He quotes figures from HM Revenue and Customs (the responsibility of the SNP so presumably trusted by them) which say that the tax raised in Scotland is roughly equal to that in the whole UK by head of population, which is as one would expect as Scotland’s GDP is only slightly below the UK average. However, the public expenditure per head in Scotland is about 10% above the UK average. This however takes no account of tax raised from the North Sea.

        I read elsewhere (can’t remember where) that the oil revenues balance out the higher public expenditure so that overall Scotland and the UK are about at par with each other – fluctuating this way and that from year to year, However, McCrone mentions that back in 1990 when the oil price dropped, the oil income was not enough to cover Scotland’s fiscal deficit. Since then – it has been fluctuating wildly – some years more, some less.

        He also points out that both the UK and Scotland will end up with overall deficits (thanks presumably at least in part to the financial crisis) – and per capita – are unlikely to be much different. However, both are deficits and unsustainable – so will need to be addressed by cuts in public expenditure or raising more money or both. That problem is likely to be the same whether independent or still in the UK.

        One thing that does seem clear is that anyone, from either side, who puts a figure on how much better or worse off we will be is spinning up nonsense. McCrone lists a whole lot of unknowns that will influence this dramatically – I can’t give a full list here -it’s far too long – you’ll have to buy the book! But they include
        * allocation of the national debt – if by capita, we will be about par – if as a proportion of GDP, will be double and much worse for us. If we renege, we’ll have a hopeless credit rating and our international reputation will be zero – an irresponsible thing for the SNP to contemplate under any circumstances.
        * currency solution – an integrated currency has serious problems both for Scotland and the UK (I’ll put that in a separate post) – just using the pound gives us little control over our own destiny – our own independent currency has all sorts of major costs associated with it – as well as lack of a credit history (so no AAA rating until we’ve proved ourselves) and more expensive cross-border business transactions.
        * The rate of interest Scotland would end up paying on its share of the national debt – unlikely to be the same as the UK and very much affected by the currency solution (not something I’ve seen discussed elsewhere, and possibly having dramatic consequences)
        * what happens to the future price of oil and gas – which will dictate both the revenues, and how much more can cost-effectively be extracted from the doubtless still large reserves in principle that might be down there.
        * how the north sea is divided up between England and Scotland – regardless of any current conventions -this will end up on the negotiating table along with everything else – the negotiations will supersede whatever else might be assumed

        On top of all that – it is expected that pressure on public spending will continue to increase, and at a faster rate than in the rest of the UK, in part because of our aging population that affects us more than in England – this will hit us in both the NHS, care costs and pensions disproportionately – and will be on top of tackling the national debt. This will happen in the rest of the UK too, but to a somewhat lesser extent.

        There is a lot more – but I’ll stop there – you get the idea. It’s complicated – and a huge amount is completely unknown!

        Sorry this was so long! That book is worth getting (it isn’t pushing one side or the other – it is analysing LOTS of issues in some depth!)

      • ” * how the north sea is divided up between England and Scotland – regardless of any current conventions -this will end up on the negotiating table along with everything else – the negotiations will supersede whatever else might be assumed”

        Thank you for the long and very informative response!

        To me the issue of division of oil is as simple as it is profound. What I cannot understand is why the NO lobby aren’t promoting it, though I can understand why SNP would not want to shout about the matter. It concerns international agreement set down in UN treaty, and who has locus to negotiate.

        The 1958 amendment to the Law of the Sea set down in Geneva in 1958 as the Convention on the Continental Shelf had effect from May 1964. In short, it set out who rights were vested in as regards undersea crops. Areas for exploration and harvesting of undersea crops were defined as being 200 miles from shoreline, or where a 200 mile boundary clashed with another state, a median line between facing shorelines. The Convention on the Continental Shelf did not in any way concern Scotland as a body with legal or international status. The Convention remains in force. Therefore, for Scotland to have any rights in the North Sea it must first apply to the United Nations to become a member state, and then make an application for rights under the Convention of the Continental Shelf. This would take many years to decide, especially if neighbour states objected.

        Immediately after the Convention on the Continental Shelf came into operation the UK Government passed the Continental Shelf Act of 1964. Section 1 of that Act is interesting: it vests all interests not in the UK or Crown but in Her Majesty the Queen! Orders for licensing and revenue collection are provided to government from time to time but such orders cannot be granted to a foreign state. That statute remains in force too. It is pointless changing the statute without the UN Convention first being modified. If representatives of an independent Scotland tried to persuade HM to gift them rights, a simple dissolution of the 1964 Act would leave rights in the UK and Scotland would be in no better position.

        Accordingly, the UK cannot pass any vestment of right or title to Scotland. It would be unlawful at both international and domestic law. If an attempt by UK government was made to start negotiations for Scotland to own North Sea interests then it could face quite simple interdict proceedings by any UK person or organisation to prevent an unlawful negotiation having effect.

        It is not Scotland’s oil. It cannot possibly be for many years to come, and only after a successful application to UN. That Scotland was apportioned a slot in accounts and for its courts to make legal decisions about the North Sea is irrelevant. An independent Scotland cannot even be gifted North Sea interests.

        Polite feedback please!

      • Interesting – though since I understand Scotland is not planning to leave the monarchy, the queen would be the queen of Scotland as well so I guess that might not be such an issue. Not that I can really understand how Scotland can be independent and yet share the same monarch? Seems kind of peculiar!

      • I should have added that, if this were a real issue, it’s hard to believe it wouldn’t have been shouted about before now! I can’t believe such a fundamental problem wouldn’t have been aired by this time!

        Perhaps that is an unspoken reason why Alex Salmond wants to stay in the monarchy? Just guessing!

      • “I can’t believe such a fundamental problem wouldn’t have been aired by this time! ”

        Well, SNP would not want to divulge a gaping hole in their plan. It wouldn’t be the only gaping hole but it could well be the vote loser.

        Westminster, I think, would play a more subtle game. Would they want to risk antagonising lots of No Scots with a blatant ” We’re keeping oil, full stop, it’s the law”? Wife and me were chatting this morning that nothing is mentioned of Scotland having any chance of oil before an application to UN because, in typical battle style, they’re holding their guns until the last possible moment. However, that does not explain why legal academics have not become involved.

        As for HM, if Salmond’s playing “You keep the three castles and tons of land, give us North Sea” then he’ll discover how insignificant he is when HM or Westminster threaten repeal of the 1964 Act. Will he then plea “…but I’ll throw in Britannia”? Could make a comedy play out of that set of negotiations!

        As far as debating over beer goes (so I don’t lose a pint over an ill-made bet), I’d certainly like to know why the Convention and the 1964 Act don’t give game, set and match to the No side as far as North Sea goes. Perhaps someone here has a solution…

      • Westminster might be ‘holding their guns until the last moment’?

        I’ve heard that said before in other contexts – hopefully you’re right! Though I’d be amazed if Alex Salmond isn’t aware of this risk and will have some riposte ready. In which case the resulting stushie will be something to behold when it breaks!

        But if I understand you right – this issue results from HM being asked to ‘give away’ oil rights to a foreign country. If Scotland is still part of the HM monarchy – is it actually a foreign country in that sense at all? There is a precedent for this I think – way back, the union of the crowns happened some time before the union of the government?

        Which makes me ask what does independence actually ‘mean’? Time for some more reading – I wish there were more time in the day!! This is for curiosity though – I’m past the stage where I might have changed my vote, whatever the answer to this question!

        But this gets complex and confusing – like everything else about this proposal. It seems crazier by the minute, the more I think about it!

      • “But if I understand you right – this issue results from HM being asked to ‘give away’ oil rights to a foreign country. If Scotland is still part of the HM monarchy – is it actually a foreign country in that sense at all?”

        Is HM not the monarch of Canada? And a ton of other places? I think being Monarch of the glens (all of them) will not be a problem. However, like with Westminster, the exercise of HM’s power would almost certainly be a refined one.

        I think the bigger issue is whether she would want to act against the rest of the UK. If she did, that could seed the end, or at least severe restriction, of Royalty. And a repeal of the Continental Shelf Act 1964, making HM’s role irrelevant.

        I contacted a researcher at Better Together this morning. He didn’t know the answer but was another to use the “interesting” word when I asked about the lack of vires for either side to negotiate North Sea. I then telephone a Yes researcher at their headquarters. Again, “interesting” although this time I was given the “it will be alright” line. The Yes man signposted James Kerr Lindsay and Prof James Crawford (hope I spelled names correctly). That was useful. Overall, I found it astonishing that neither side at their headquarters could answer the issue I first raised here. I’m now thinking of discussing with a political editor friend with the media.

        This subject is like an Agatha Christie novel…

      • Agatha Christie? sure !

        From what you describe, one could even imagine the scenario where the queen might effectively have a ‘casting vote’ on independence, depending on how she played her hand. Not an enviable position to be in !!!!!

        It’s hard to believe things could come to that – I’m sure there’s a simpler answer … but ….. ?

        Intriguing – do keep us informed as to how you get on?

      • One other little thought this – are you actually saying that it would be ‘illegal’ for Westminster to hand over a proportion of UK oil rights to an independent Scotland, or simply that Scotland would have no automatic rights to it? If the latter, even if the UK was within its rights to withhold all oil, I can’t seem them doing it. I know that the SNP have (in my view) played ‘dirty’ with the electorate on independence, but Westminster taking such an obviously unfair attitude, just because they legally could, would seem beyond the pale! And they wouldn’t want the (again in my view, justified) anger it would engender in Scotland.

        At worst, I think it would be a bargaining position, akin to Alex Salmond’s threatened nonsense about reneging on the Scottish share of the UK national debt.

        If it’s a legal problem, then I guess the major issue would be one of (perhaps considerable) delay while the legislation was sorted out, so Alex might have a longer lead-time to independence than he hoped?

        On reflection, I’m not sure its such a show stopper for independence, though it certainly is intriguing. I still think the split of oil rights will end up on the negotiating table and will be dickered over along with everything else.

        But I’d love to hear an official view on this!

      • “But I’d love to hear an official view on this!”

        Me too! People I want an opinion from seem to be taking an early lunch.

        “I know that the SNP have (in my view) played ‘dirty’ with the electorate on independence, but Westminster taking such an obviously unfair attitude, just because they legally could, would seem beyond the pale! And they wouldn’t want the (again in my view, justified) anger it would engender in Scotland.”

        It could be the cause of Westminster’s reluctance to mute the topic under discussion. I agree it wouldn’t make Scots happy.

        I am being cautious about my “discoveries”, however much they add up. I think Westminster has two legitimate “outs”.

        First is to say, “Yes chaps, we’ll play the game but appreciate our hands are tied by law we have no control over”.

        Second, do you remember when a US military aircraft packed with intelligence gizmos went down over China a few years ago? “We want our aircraft back” said the US. “Certainly! No problem! Pleased to oblige!” said the Chinese: month after month whilst they systematically stripped and analysed everything of it. That’s what I see happening with the North Sea. I see “Yes, you’ll get North Sea but first we must wait for your application to UN to succeed otherwise we have no country to deal with in UN terms”. If Scotland gains its legal status as a UN nation they can then say, “We have to wait for your application to change the 1958 Convention to include Scotland. Meanwhile we have no legal status to change what the UN have decided, territory remains with the UK, sorry, we are reluctant to do it this way”. For Scotland to get amendment would require no objections by ALL of UK, Norway, Denmark and Holland at the very least. Bear in mind, even after the 1958 Convention was agreed it took until May 1964 to come into force. After 10 years or more and a huge negative impact on both Scottish economy and politics (SNP will look foolish and incompetent if I am right), the Scotland that Westminster is dealing with will be a different one. And Westminster can do nothing because they’re waiting for the UN! Whilst oil reserves diminish.

        Even with a house lived in together for many years, an unmarried partner cannot transfer the property into their own name after their partner’s death: a distant relative could unfairly inherit. Surely the Continental Shelf position is no different in law. A persona without title cannot take property, and an entity without jurisdiction cannot give it.

        Or will Salmond tell Norway, Denmark, Holland and the UN what to do as well!

      • having re-read your original post a couple of times on this, all I can say is that the next two or three weeks should be interesting if you are right.

        There would be no point in sitting on this past the referendum as regardless of how stupid or not it might make the SNP seem, if a ‘yes’ vote is taken, it is taken and there is no going back.

        It is hard to believe that the legal experts in better together haven’t analysed the legalities fully – so I guess either there’s some reason why this isn’t actually a problem, or we have some imminent drama about to flood into the debate! Lets hope its the latter!

        You sound like you might be involved with the legal profession !!

        I wonder how long it will take for someone after the referendum to write a book telling the ‘inside story’ of the trials and tribulations leading up to it!

      • Actually – does this issue apply to fisheries as well as oil?

      • “Actually – does this issue apply to fisheries as well as oil?”

        It does, in a different context that I’ve chosen not to hammer my two brain cells with. I’ve only dealt with the undersea element because what could be neither side having power to negotiate North Sea for 2+ years on the UN side, 7+ years on the amendment to 1958 Convention side, then possibly international court, seems so interesting.

        Fisheries starts with the Law of the Sea, of which the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf was an amendment. I haven’t the foggiest idea how far the fisheries element stretches though.

  8. Just a quick comment on the way in which the ‘yes’ campaign in particular, but also other politicians too, use statistics in a meaningless and mischievious way!

    If we happened to have some prosperity measure that said Scotland was 20% worse off than the UK. That would be taken up by the ‘yes’ campaign to say “look – the Scotland is being downtrodden and unfairly treated by Westminster – look how badly off we are in comparison to the UK. We need to free ourselves from those Westminster tyrants so that we can take control and get back to prosperity!!!

    However, if the same measure instead said Scotland was 20% better off than the UK, the ‘yes’ campaign would say “look – Scotland is already successful in spite of Westminster – can you imagine how successful we’d be without them holding us down unfairly. This proves we can do it against all the odds – we need independence so we can really prosper!!!

    In other words, any measure, whether it shows Scotland in a positive or negative light against the UK, tends to be spun to favour the ‘yes’ case. That type of argument is completely meaningless, but feels appealing to those who are looking for excuses to justify a position they’ve already taken for emotional reasons. A pity so many seem to fall for it!

  9. Scott Lambie says:

    Hf the people who have left comments are absolutely deluded. Have you’s seen the poll on this page? 92.47% YES! I’m afraid your a minority…even on your own page!!

    • That poll is a waste of time. I have become a ‘no’ supporter, but have never bothered to register a vote – I can’t be the only one who simply ignores that kind of poll. It’s result is pretty meaningless.

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