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IFS REPORT EVIDENCE WE GET THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS AS PART OF THE UK

IFS REPORT EVIDENCE WE GET THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS AS PART OF THE UK  

PUBLIC SPENDING OVER £1,200 HIGHER IN SCOTLAND
– INDEPENDENCE = TAX RISES OR CUTS

A new report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies has highlighted that we benefit from the best of both worlds as part of the United Kingdom, Better Together has said today.

The report states that Scotland benefits from public spending of over £1,200 higher in Scotland than the rest of UK.

The study also makes clear that Scotland would need to increase taxes or cut spending significantly if Scotland was to leave the United Kingdom.

The IFS report states that:

“under the OBR’s projections for North Sea revenues, Scotland’s budget deficit may be 2.2% further into the red than that of the UK as a whole in 2017–18. To fill this hole would require a further £3.4 billion of tax rises or spending cuts”.

The report comes as leading economists from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research suggested Scotland would have to pay a higher interest rate than the rest of the UK and would have to make significant increases to taxes or budget cuts.

Responding to the report, leader of the Better Together campaign and former UK Chancellor, Alistair Darling said:

“The IFS is highly respected and this is an authoritative expert report. The nationalists cannot simply dismiss this as they usually do. ”

Alex Salmond is telling us we can spend more, cut taxes to big businesses and still have money left over to put into an oil-fund savings account. Common sense already tells you that this doesn’t add up. This report makes clear that the immediate impact of independence would be big tax rises or big spending cuts.”

“The experts confirm that within the United Kingdom Scotland enjoys public spending that is more than £1,200 higher per person than the UK average. It is this higher spending on public services that underpins the success of our Scottish Parliament. This is evidence that we get the best of both worlds – devolution delivering for Scotland backed up by the financial security of a bigger United Kingdom.”

Decisions made in Scotland will unlock gains of independence Says Alex Salmond

Decisions made in Scotland will unlock gains of independence.

 

Independence is the best route to a more prosperous and just society because decisions about Scotland will be taken by the people who care most about Scotland – those who live and work here, First Minister Alex Salmond said today.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament with exactly one year to go until the historic referendum, the First Minister said Scotland was a wealthy country, with an abundance of natural resources and skilled and inventive population, which would flourish under independence.

In his opening statement in the “Scotland’s Future” debate, Mr Salmond said the key to harnessing this prosperity and resourcefulness was for decisions on key issues such as the economy, welfare, taxation and international relations to be taken at Holyrood alongside the decisions already taken in areas such as education, health care and law and order.

And the First Minister concluded that independence was also the best route for Scotland to become a fairer society, as he maintained that in 365 days, the people would “claim the opportunity with both hands” and make Scotland as good as it can be.

The First Minister said:

“In exactly a year’s time, the people of Scotland will choose whether to become an independent country. It is a precious thing for any nation to be able to decide its own future through a democratic vote, following a free debate.

“The record of this chamber has proven that the best people to take decisions on Scotland’s future are the people who live and work in Scotland- they are and always will be the people who care most about the future of Scotland.

He continued:

“Nobody now seriously doubts that Scotland can be a successful independent country.

“For each of the last 32 years – every single one of the last 32 years – Scotland has paid more tax per head of population than the rest of the UK.

“Excluding oil, our national income is on a par with the UK. Including oil, our GDP per head is 18 per cent higher than for the UK. In fact, it’s among the ten highest in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“Why should it be otherwise? We are a country rich in natural resources, with world class universities, an outstanding visitor industry, expertise in engineering and life sciences, an astounding cultural heritage and a skilled and inventive people.

“Independence lets us build on that. We gain the chance to make Scotland fairer, unhindered by a Westminster system which has created one of the largest gaps between rich and poor in the developed world.

“We gain the ability to create our own welfare policies – which make work pay while respecting our commitment to fairness and solidarity.

“We gain control over capital borrowing, economic regulation and taxes, competition policy and energy policy the very levers we need to make Scotland more competitive and more prosperous.

“We gain our own voice in the United Nations, Nato and the European Union. But like 25 out of 28 Nato countries, we won’t need to host nuclear weapons – and like 27 out of 28 EU countries, we won’t hold an in-out referendum on membership.

“We gain the right to decide taxation and welfare– the powers which other countries use in a co-ordinated fashion to strengthen their childcare support. The support we provide for parents and young people can match the very best in Europe.”

He concluded:

“Independence is about giving ourselves the power to make our country as good as it can be; it’s about the right to decide, the ability to make choices. And this Government’s argument – our most important contention – is that the people who live and work in Scotland are the people who are most likely to make the right choices for Scotland.

“It is not an argument that is subject to statistical manipulation, it is not an argument for a day’s headlines, it is not an argument born of fear. It is a common sense position based on experience.

“We have been on a constitutional journey in Scotland for more than a century. It has taken many forms as progressively we have moved forward as a country.

“Twice before the matter has been put to a referendum and twice the people have voted in favour – once narrowly and once decisively. The essence of that assent has been based on people expressing confidence in the ability of this ancient nation to take decisions for itself.

“That is why independence is the best route to becoming a more prosperous country but also a more just society. And that is why – exactly a year from today – the people of Scotland will claim that opportunity with both hands.”

Why Scotland should embrace independence – Pat Kane – Channel 4 News

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

One year ahead of the independence referendum, Scotland is modern, wealthy and competent enough to embrace the prospect of independence, says writer and musician Pat Kane.

No Scotland‘s insight:

Scotland has an extraordinary opportunity, as a nation of citizens, workers, aspirers, creators and carers, on 18 September 2014. With a simple cross on a ballot paper, in the empty box next to “yes”, we can begin a powerful, exciting journey into the rest of the 21st century.

And we can do that under near-perfect conditions – the envy of any country that has previously sought the full sovereignty of a nation state in order to properly connect up democracy and power.

The basic condition is that we are thoroughly modern. Indeed, via the ideas of the Scottish enlightenment and the innovations of scientific industrialism (from Watt to Clerk Maxwell, from Kelvin to Dolly the sheep’s creator), we are one of the birthplaces of modernity itself.

Independent nation state

See on www.channel4.com

Why Scotland works best inside the union – Darling – Channel 4 News

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

With the Scottish referendum one year away, former chancellor Alistair Darling argues against independence and says the UK works because people from across the union pool their resources.

No Scotland‘s insight:

In little over a year’s time, we in Scotland will face the biggest decision in our history: whether to continue the most successful social, political and economic union the world has ever known, or go it alone. It is not a decision to be taken lightly.

In Scotland we have the best of both worlds – a strong devolved Scottish parliament, taking important decisions here at home about our schools, hospitals and transport, but at the same time we benefit from the strength and security being part of the larger UK gives us. Where is the sense in putting that at risk?

The central argument isn’t that we couldn’t go it alone, it’s that separation isn’t in our best interests.

See on www.channel4.com

Scottish independence: what happens after the flag-waving?

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

Alex Bell: Alex Salmond‘s vision for an independent Scotland is too narrow. We need more than old songs and tired policies

No Scotland‘s insight:

A year from today people will vote on the apparently straightforward question: should Scotland be an independent country? But although this appears a simple idea, it disguises a more complex and profound issue. What is really being asked is how do citizens and the state organise for the future in a sustainable way.

See on www.theguardian.com

Alistair Darling delivers the 2012 JP Mackintosh Lecture

It’s a great pleasure to be asked to deliver this year’s John P Mackintosh lecture.  Scotland owes an immeasurable  debt of gratitude to John Mackintosh.  He is, rightly seen, in so many ways, as the Father of devolution.

Sadly John never lived to see his dream realised.  He died 21 years before the  Scottish Parliament opened

Alistair Darling

its doors in 1999.  I know he would have been proud to see it.

It was John who spoke out fervently, without fear,  in favour of devolution when it was unfashionable – if not downright unpopular – to do so.

It’s appropriate tonight also to mark the life of his wife, Dr Una MacLean, who died just a few weeks ago.  Una MacLean too made a substantial contribution to Scottish life and we remember them both.

The title of my lecture this evening is “Better Together”. You will be hearing a lot about it over the next two years as we head towards the referendum in the autumn 2014.

Better Together is not just a slogan to me.  It is something I passionately believe in.  We are better and stronger together.

Chairing the Better Together Campaign is one of the most important things I’ve ever done in politics.  The decision we will all make together is the most important we will make in our lifetime.  Its effects will travel down generations.  It is an historic choice that will resonate down the centuries.

As I said on the day we launched the campaign we are determined to make sure that the patriotism of the quiet majority will be heard alongside the voices of the committed few.

Those of us who believe it is best for Scotland to be part of the UK  – from whatever political view –  will work together to argue for the better, stronger choice.

We believe that a better future for ourselves and our children is as a partner with the United Kingdom.

It’s not a choice just for the life span of a parliament.  It is not a referendum on the popularity of this government or today’s politicians.

We are being asked to make a choice that will shape our country and our families’  future. It’s a choice that could shape our country for the next 300 years.

The stakes could not be higher.

Throughout my adult life, the constitution and particularly Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the United Kingdom has dominated political discourse.

The debate in the 1970’s was about whether or not to devolve power to Scotland.  This is where John Mackintosh so often found himself at odds with his colleagues.  The move to do so gathered force especially after 1979 –  with the election of the Thatcher Government.

In the early 1990s a coalition was formed ,  determined to set up a devolved Scottish Parliament – within the United Kingdom.

Of course, the Constitutional Convention was boycotted by the Nationalists who walked out at the first opportunity.

It was a Labour government which finally set up a Scottish Parliament in 1997.

The debate about the powers available to the Scottish Parliament has continued.  Towards the end of our time in office we set up a Commission under Professor Calman which recommended giving the Scottish Parliament more tax raising powers.

That work continued under the current government. Legislation to give Scotland significantly more tax raising powers is now in place. They come into effect fully in 2016.

So  those who say devolution has not moved on are wrong – it has.  In April 2015 the Scottish Government will be able to borrow.  It will be responsible for  landfill tax.  Stamp duty land tax is also devolved.

And from 2016 the Scottish Parliament will fix the income tax rate each year – giving it more power but also crucially the responsibility that goes with the choices it makes.

My purpose tonight is not to discuss what further devolution may evolve.  My guess is that the process will continue.  But the crucial question before us now is whether we stay a partner in the United Kingdom,  or whether we leave.

Arguments about separation have been going on since the 1930s  and I suppose to me,  and to many others,  it was always filed under the heading : “it’ll never happen”.

Now it just might.  So we need to be sure where we stand.

The Referendum in two years time will give us an opportunity to decide this big question.  In the Scottish Elections in 2011 independence was not an issue, indeed far from it.

But that changed again in January this year when the Prime Minister said he was prepared to transfer power to the Scottish Parliament to hold a legally binding referendum.  That moved a referendum from being a possibility to becoming a reality.  That concentrated minds.
So a referendum will almost certainly be held in about two year’s time although we still don’t know the date.  If Alex Salmond knows, he’s not telling.  Maybe he’s taking legal advice on it.

Maintaining public interest over what will be the longest political campaign in Scottish history will be difficult.  It seems not a day passes without some kind of storm brewing about the referendum.

Even Americans don’t take two years to elect their President.  But that’s where we are and we now have to engage.

So, tonight I want to set out the positive case for remaining in the United Kingdom – for I believe it is  a positive and compelling one.

However we are also entitled to question the opposing view.  To ask some serious questions that  the proponents of independence have signally failed to answer.

It’s not unreasonable when someone puts forward a proposition that could change the course of your life forever to ask some pretty hard questions.

And indeed just posing those questions has disclosed  that the Nationalists thinking is in many cases pretty undeveloped at best, and I fear downright deceitful at worst.

Since we launched the campaign and started asking hard questions, it has become blindingly obvious that some of the propositions they are advancing in support of independence really have not been thought out.

In many cases they are proving to be no more than mere assertions or bluster.

We need answers.  We need to know what independence would actually mean, not just what Alex Salmond says it means.

For us to make this constitutional change we have to be pretty sure of where we are going and what the consequences are.  I’ll make no apology for putting these questions tonight and every day until the vote.

And our side too shouldn’t be afraid to deal with difficult questions.  We need to explain why we are better and stronger together.

Because, I say this again; we are not electing a government to serve Parliament that lasts 5 years.  In that case, if you don’t like the Government you can kick them out.

If we vote for independence it’s irrevocable, there’s no going back.  That’s why the decision is so important. Remember this. They only have to win once.  After that the die is cast.

There’s no time for second thoughts.  So we need to be pretty certain of what we are doing and where we are going.

But just because I don’t want Scotland to separate from the UK, that doesn’t mean that I don’t want this Referendum.  I do.

The vote in 2014 is a chance to reaffirm Scottish values and our belief in the value of our partnership with our neighbours.

I hope that we can cement Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom once and for all and then get on with building the Scotland we want.

I am ambitious for Scotland’s people and I know Scotland’s potential. Our case is that there is a much better choice for our future than separation.

The Scotland I want to live in, the Scotland I want our children and their children to live in as an open, ambitious, confident country.

A country that shares,  with its friends and neighbours,  a modern, positive view,  with an identity hewn from a rich history.  It has wide horizons; it looks to the future with a strong clear gaze.

Now our case is not that Scotland cannot survive as a separate state.  Of course it could.  Most countries could.  The question is what is best for Scotland.

The campaign that I will lead  will celebrate what unites us .

We have a Scottish Parliament with real decision making powers and a key role in a strong and secure United Kingdom – the best of both worlds.

There is a positive case for staying together.  A positive case that celebrates not just what makes us distinctive but also celebrates what we share.

We will put a powerful case for staying together; through our links with the rest of the United Kingdom,  through families and friendships,  through trade and through shared political,  economic, and  world institutions.

We are a proud nation within a larger state with the far wider range of opportunities for our people that this creates.  I’m positive about the identities that we share – Scottish and British – I don’t see any need to abandon either of them.  I don’t see the need to make an unnecessary choice.

We are part of a social union underpinned by an economic and political union – the parts mesh together.  The case we will make over the next two years will be what is best for our future.

We are being asked to make this choice in the midst of the most uncertain and  turbulent economic times we’ve seen in our lifetimes.  That I’m afraid is likely to last for some time yet.

But this is an important part of our argument.  It is a difficult world and independence is an inadequate response.
Think of all the big questions the world is challenged by and then ask yourself:  to which of those questions is Scottish Independence the answer?

The world has never been this close or complicated nor changing at this pace.  Yet in a world of complex and difficult questions the nationalists offer Scotland a simple slogan

I believe the he last thing Scotland needs are new areas of uncertainty, instability and division that separation will involve.

And if we decide to leave, there is no way back.

As I said earlier this year – we can’t give our children a one way ticket to a deeply uncertain destination.

It would be irresponsible of us to leave this legacy to the generations who follow us.

Tonight I want to highlight some of the key questions begging for answers, as well as making some of the arguments for us remaining in the United Kingdom.

Let  me tell you about the three compelling arguments that make the case that we are Better Together.

Firstly, there are the cultural, social and family ties that bind this country.

One of the most ridiculous things I have heard from the nationalists so far is that everything that you don’t like about Britain will go away and everything you do like will stay the same if you vote for independence.

Everything will change but don’t worry,  nothing will change.

We all know that is utter nonsense.

If we decide to go it alone, everything will change.  That surely is the whole point of independence.

The Nationalists desperately try to play this down – that’s why they are keeping the monarchy, at least for now.

And then, after 20 years opposition, they want to join NATO,  or at least they might do.

Which is why we have the spectacle of a hard line nationalist saying “you will still be British after Independence”.  If you are no longer part of the UK how can you be British?

Apart from meaning that your friends in Wales, your family in England and your workmates from Northern Ireland will, effectively and overnight, become foreigners, independence also signals the loss of things that we so readily identify with and cherish.

 

British music will no longer be our music.  British art, dance and drama will no longer be ours.  British sporting success will be someone else’s to celebrate.  Here’s a thought:  why can’t we be both Scottish and British?

The Olympics didn’t change hearts and minds in a month.  Rather the Olympics were an expression of how we as a country already felt.

We can feel Scottish and British and we are entirely comfortable with that.  This is something that the nationalists totally fail to grasp.

When Alex Salmond talked of ‘Scolympians’, we cringed.  He failed to understand the way that we felt about the Olympics,  and about being British as well as Scottish.

Danny Boyle’s magnificent opening ceremony was so powerful precisely for the reason that it didn’t divide these Islands on geographical lines.  Its impact was in celebrating the values that hold us together.

Its impact was in celebrating great British achievements.  Its impact was in showing us that we are better together when we stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the country.

Our shared culture and our shares history is a real strength.  All of us have friends and family south of the border. There are innumerable people in England who value their ties with Scotland in the same way.

We are – in the UK – greater than the sum of our parts.

After centuries of common endeavour we should value these ties that bind us together and celebrate the diversities that exist . It is artificial to construct separate states within our small island.

We have achieved so much together in times of peace and war.  We built the Welfare State together.

The Bank of England was founded by a Scot.  The Bank of Scotland was actually founded by an Englishman.  The NHS was founded by a Welshman and the Welfare State by another Englishman.

We would not have achieved half as much had we not been the United Kingdom advancing together.

Take the BBC which has a profound influence on our culture and not only how we see ourselves but also on how others see us.

Does anyone really imagine a separate Scottish broadcaster working with a fraction of the budget available to the BBC would seek to match its diversity and the extent of its output.

If you are in doubt try spending an evening watching the output from television stations that operate on similar budgets –  hardly encouraging.

The BBC is a global institution with a global reputation for excellence, but it is also an institution that has a strong Scottish voice.

And that leads me onto my second key strand of the Better Together argument – and that is the influence we wield as part of the UK.

Over the past few weeks the debate has focused on whether an independent Scotland would remain in the European Union.

I’m in no doubt it is in Scotland’s interest to be in the European Union – just as it is in the interests of the whole of the UK to be a member.

We may not be part of the Euro – and are unlikely to be part of it in any foreseeable future – but we cannot shut ourselves out from this – our biggest – market.

We can and should have influence in its counsels. I’ve seen at first hand that it’s the larger states that dominate.  We have influence as the UK.

And the United Kingdom is a country with unique influence not only in the EU, and in the Commonwealth but in the G20 group of the world’s most powerful economies.  We’re one of only five countries from 198 in the world who have a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

We’re one of the biggest shareholders in the International Monetary Fund. We have the fourth largest defence budget in the world and are key members of NATO.

We helped shape the world – so many of the great inventions in history were made by Scots whose vision saw far beyond the border.  And I don’t want to give that up.

People in Scotland are rightly concerned about the plight of the world’s poorest people.  We’re one of the biggest donors of aid to the World Bank with huge influence.  Why give that up?

Overseas aid  from the UK – one of the biggest international aid budgets in the world – is administered right here in Scotland , at the Department for International Development in East Kilbride.

We have Embassies around the world serving our citizens and our businesses. Our diplomatic reach takes us into every corner of the world.

Scotland is far better represented abroad as part of the UK than we could ever hope to be as a separate state.

The nationalists tell you that the UK embassies and consulates do not represent Scots.

Try telling that to Scots who find themselves in trouble in a far flung part of the world and can rely on the UK embassy to help them out.  To the businesses seeking trade.  They open doors for our people and businesses across the globe.

Farmers, fishermen and women, businesses big and small all reap the benefits of the UK’s global reach and global influence.

Losing this influence would be a massive loss.  It would be impossible to replicate it on a smaller scale.

It really does beg the question – why on earth would you do it?  Why would independence be better?

In an uncertain world, Scotland’s security will be strengthened as part of the United Kingdom.  The British Armed Forces that protect us are the best in the world.

The Nationalists now say they would after all join NATO,  a nuclear alliance,  after years of saying never.   Ah but…only with many strings attached.  They would of course have to apply for membership. NATO might not accept these strings –  as well the SNP knows.

They are trying – as ever – to have it both ways.

If the logic is to pool our defence resources where is the logic in taking Scots is forces out of the British forces.

This is a classic example of where we are stronger together in defending our country.  And we benefit from the thousands of jobs that the defence industry brings to Scotland.

Try telling the men and women of Govan who rely so heavily on this work that they will be better off without the Royal Navy.

Defence and NATO has been another area where the nationalists arguments don’t convince, but that is nothing compared to the third strand of our argument – and that relates to the economy.

And the economic arguments are fundamental.

The argument for staying in the UK is a powerful one.

Our argument isn’t that Scotland couldn’t go it alone.  We could. We would  though be very heavily dependent on revenues from North Sea oil which are notoriously volatile.

They account for about 1 – 2% of the UK’s GDP but account for 10 – 20% of Scotland’s GDP.  In any event oil is not renewable and will diminish and the rate of its extraction is decided more often in Texas than here.
Yesterday, the Fraser of Allander Institute noted that the Scottish Government has a structural deficit  and that the government was unwilling to address it.  An independent Scotland would have to cut its cloth accordingly.  It would have to take some difficult decisions on spending and raise taxes – which it refuses to admit to.

The Institute went on to say that the Scottish government’s assessment of the fiscal implications of independence contain fundamental errors of fact and judgement.

Let me give you an example.

The Nationalists recently pounced on last year’s figures which appeared to show that Scotland contributed  9.6% of UK revenues but received only 9.3% of spending.

But  these are percentages of different numbers.

Converted into money terms there was a deficit of about £10bn.
Under Independence Scotland would need to borrow this money itself, raise additional revenues or cut spending.
The Nationalists have made other claims too saying that Scotland would be £510 better off per person under independence. That figure assumes that the Barnet formula will still be in place.  It would die with independence.

Of course Scotland like any other country could survive.   But  it couldn’t do so promising low taxes and high public spending at one and the same time as maintaining a balanced budget.

As the Fraser of Allander Institute says,  a fiscal deficit is not a problem within the UK as it simply reflects the fiscal flows within a unified fiscal system which recognizes the higher needs in nine of the 12 nations and regions of the UK.

 

Surely being part of a larger economic unit has the advantage of sharing the upsides of growth and also sharing the burden that comes with a slow down or crisis.

Exactly the same argument applies to our ability to build a social union,  where people on low incomes – no matter where they live in the UK – can be supported and offered the opportunities they need.  The minimum wage is a classic example of this.

For growth you have to create the right business environment.

We trade more with England than we do with all other countries in the world combined.  We export £45 bn worth of goods and services – 40% of our total output to the rest of the UK.

The UK is the world’s oldest and most successful single market.  Europe has worked for over 50 years to create a market without borders for goods and services.  Why on earth would we want to turn our biggest market into our biggest competitor?

Why on earth would we want to erect a brand new border,  not just within Europe,  but within this island?

 

Our economic success has been built on a single market. If it didn’t exist, we’d have to invent it.  We depend on it.

Let me take one example.  In the Financial Services industry there is a single UK regulatory regime.

The Scottish insurance industry sells something like 6% of its products in Scotland.  94% are sold to the rest of the UK.

Having a single regulatory regime matters to this industry as it does to the rest of the financial services industry.

The SNP’s present position is that the Scottish Financial Services industry would be regulated by the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority which will take over from the FSA next year.

This hasn’t been discussed with anyone outside Scotland.  They have simply asserted it.

Uncertainty here could be disastrous to the industry.  Consumers want to know who the regulator is.  Footloose international investors,  especially Americans,  won’t hang about while we sort it out.

If Scotland rejoins or stays in the European Union, the Treaty requires us to have our own separate regulatory system.

Inevitably there is a cost here:  uncertainty will damage business.  Chopping and changing financial regulations is costly.  And sooner or later a Scottish firm with 90 per cent of its business somewhere else is going to ask itself:  is staying worth the cost?  Why risk that question even arising.

And remember that outsiders asking questions of Scottish institutions will want to know who stands behind them.  It isn’t an academic debate as we saw 4 years ago.  This is a very real issue.

Or take the energy industry.  They operate now in a single market with a single regulatory regime.

The renewables industry depends on a UK subsidy that would come to an end.

Our single market is a genuine single market.

In the European Union it isn’t so open – there are many barriers.

Many are based on protectionist instincts.  It’s a completely different picture to the market we have here.

There are other advantages too in being part of a single economic entity.  We have opportunities and we also share risks.

Four years ago Scotland’s banks were on the brink of collapse.  A calamity made in Edinburgh, not in London.

The size and strength of the UK meant that we could stop that with the  Scottish tax payers carrying only a small part of the cost.

The cost to the UK of supporting the banks during the financial crisis has been about 21% of our GDP.

The comparative figure for Scotland would have been 211% of GDP.

Then there is the crucial matter of the currency.

You’d think having had 80 years to think about it that the SNP would have some idea what currency we would use.

After all it’s a pretty fundamental question.  But no.

Until recently, their policy was that we should adopt the Euro. Clearly that isn’t very popular right now.  So at the beginning of this year they said they would simply use the pound,  in the same way as Panama uses the Dollar and Montenegro uses the Euro.

That would of course mean interest rates and monetary policy would be fixed by what would then be a foreign bank:  the Bank of England.

So, a few weeks later a further policy was promulgated.

This time we would be part of a currency union – sharing the pound with the rest of the UK.  Again, no one has asked the rest of the UK whether or not they would agree to this – it’s simply asserted.

Why should the rest of the UK agree to a currency union without being asked ?

But the most obvious problem with the common currency is that sooner or later it takes you to economic and then political union.

You don’t have to imagine what would happen – you just have to look across the channel and see the traumas faced by Eurozone countries.

They are well on the way to adopting a banking union which will eventually lead to an economic union and ultimately political union.

We know who calls the shots – big countries and one in particular.

So Scotland would leave the UK only to end up in the same place as it began,  with all the trauma that would entail.

And worse than that, a common currency union comes with massive strings attached.  A pact that would bind both parties into tightly defined constraints.

That’s what they’ve got in Europe.  Each member of the Euro zone will have to submit their budgets for approval.  If they don’t comply with the rules their budgets have to be changed.

A currency union in the UK would need a similar set of rules.  Both sides would have to agree to each other’s budgets. One country couldn’t go off and do its own thing.

If the purpose of independence is freedom for manoeuvre,  to go your own way,  why then hand back the levers of economic policy to your bigger next door neighbour which would by then be a foreign country.

It is a nonsense.

Today we are equal partners in the United Kingdom.  With independence Scotland’s budget would have to be approved beyond the border.
That’s not freedom.  That’s not independence.  That’s serfdom.

Today we can determine fiscal and monitory policy for the whole of the United Kingdom as we sit at the table as equals.

And then there’s the Bank of England which sets interest rates for the rest of the UK.  The Monetary Policy Committee is not regionally or constituency based.  There are no delegates.  They are independent. The nationalists assert that they’ll simply pull up a seat at the table in Threadneedle Street.  Really?  Who have they asked?  Not the Bank of England, as we know.

And then there is the question of lender of last resort.  No idle question as we’ve seen very recently. This is a critical importance to depositors and investors.  Who stands behind your banks and financial institutions?  A foreign central bank?  That’s what the nationalists’ seem to suggest.

There’s also an important democratic principle here.  Rightly,  we in Scotland will decide our  own future.

At some point though citizens living in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will want their say – particularly if they are being asked to share a currency let alone the central bank with what would then be a foreign country.

Would we today offer lender of last resort facilities to Iceland?  Of course not.

And if Scotland were to join the EU – and that is a big if, as we’ve heard consistently from Europe – what then?   Would we join the Euro? In which case Scotland’s Central Bank would become the European Central Bank.

These are genuine issues of serious concern to financial institutions in Scotland.

Our relationship with the European Union is critical.  Alex Salmond quite deliberately gave the impression that he got legal advice to the effect that Scotland would remain a partner in Europe as it is,  without change.

It was guaranteed he said.  We then find out months later that no such legal advice was ever asked for,  let alone obtained.  And this after spending thousands of pounds of tax payers money to try and conceal the fact he didn’t have that advice.

This is important.  Not just because it strikes at the very credibility of Alex Salmond himself – which it certainly does – but also because a relationship with the European Union is of critical importance to us.

The Commissioner and many others believe we’d have to reapply for membership.  Politics will play an important part here too.

The Spanish government and others have made it clear that we’d be at the back of the queue.  Whatever happens there’s a long period of uncertainty on the horizon.

I’m sure that Europe would want Scotland to be part of the European Union but it wouldn’t be plain sailing to put it at its lowest.

Would we have to join the Euro – every other new applicant has had to undertake to do so including Sweden?  Would we keep the opt-outs and rebate??

Would we have to join the EU immigration system which would mean that our immigration protocols would be different from those operated by our near neighbours south of the border?

These are all issues to which there is no concluded view and  attempts to flannel us do not inspire confidence.

There are many more issues.  If the UK breaks up, how do you divvy up the assets and liabilities like pensions, for example.

What happens when UK research to Scottish Universities ends?

We need to know the answers to these and other legitimate questions. We cannot be asked to take the biggest decision in 300 years on the basis of the nationalists telling us not to worry, that everything is going to be all right on the night.

From downright deceit on the legal questions about Europe, to chopping and changing their minds on the currency, the nationalists now stand accused of cooking the books on the economic figures.

And their campaign is hopelessly divided.  Alex Salmond wants a currency union.  Patrick Harvey of the Greens wants to launch his own currency.  Jim Sillars wants to join the European Free Trade Association.

This would all be laughable if it wasn’t so very serious.  The nationalists are playing games with the people of Scotland.  How can we ever trust them to produce an objective assessment of life in an independent Scotland as they claim they will do next year?

And how can we be sure any longer that official Scottish government documents are impartial and accurate with all we now know. The nationalists’ are flapping in the wind.

Their economic policy is reckless and potentially dangerous.  It is not good enough.  And there are very many good people who believe in an independent Scotland who know that in their hearts. They must despair at the flim flam.

It’s  not the kind of thing you take a punt on.
Alex Salmond might like the gamble.  We don’t.

It’s not how we do things. We love our country too much to leave its future to chance.

So let me conclude. And let me make a plea to everyone involved in the debate about the way in which we go about things in the next two years.

No matter what happens, the day after the referendum, we will all have to live and work here. We cannot allow this issue to tear our country apart for the next two years.

It is incumbent on both sides to present the people of Scotland with cold hard facts alongside the powerful cultural and emotional ties that bind. This cannot be about opinion or assertion. Only the facts will do.

We need both the Scottish and UK Governments – as well as the campaigns – to put out information in an impartial way. Public confidence in politics and politicians is pretty low. We cannot allow this campaign to drive it down even lower.

If the Scottish Government is to produce proposals next year it’s got to be credible.  In the present form that seems unlikely.

But let me finish with this.

As Scots we believe there is no where better but we also understand that there is  something bigger.

We benefit by being a partner in a multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural United Kingdom

I believe passionately that Scotland’s best interest lies in remaining part of the UK.  We are stronger –  economically, politically and socially as a partner within the United Kingdom.

The coming together of family, friends, ideas, and institutions is a strength not a weakness.

As proud Scots we want a better future for Scotland.  Be confident in saying yes we are better together.

Scottish independence vote is part of worrying trend

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

By Editorial Board, Published: October 30

DOES IT make sense for Scotland to become an independent nation, ending 300 years of union with England and Wales? And would it make any difference to Americans?

The answer to the second question is an unfortunate yes: An independent Scotland would significantly weaken the foremost military and diplomatic ally of the United States, while creating another European mini-state unable to contribute meaningfully to global security. Scottish leader Alex Salmond, who on Oct. 15 sealed an agreement with British Prime Minister David Cameron to hold a referendum on Scottish independence by the end of 2014, says his would-be country would withdraw from NATO, expel British nuclear submarines from its waters and keep an army of 8,000-10,000 soldiers. Though the population of Scotland, at 5.2 million, is less than 10 percent of that of the United Kingdom, some speculate that what remained of Britain could lose its seat on the U.N. Security Council.

See on www.washingtonpost.com

First Minister Alex Salmond interviewed by Andrew Neil

First Minister Alex Salmond is accused of being a liar by Labour’s Paul Martin when his deputy Nicola Sturgeon reveals the Government “hadn’t sought specific legal advice” on an independent Scotland’s entry in to the EU

 

The original interview with Andrew Neil on March 4th (view at 10:40)

 

The First Minister’s response to the allegations can be found here http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/scotland/newsid_9762000/9762630.stm

 

First Minister Alex Salmond denied lying about whether his government obtained legal advice on an independent Scotland’s potential membership of the European Union, during a reply to a point of order on 23 October 2012.

Mr Salmond was responding to a point of order from Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie earlier in the day.

Mr Rennie said the Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s assertion that the process of seeking specific legal advice on an independent Scotland’s status was in fact only beginning now, meant that either she or the first minister was misleading the parliament or the Scottish people.

During the afternoon opposition parties accused Mr Salmond of lying in a BBC interview in March when he appeared to agree that he had sought legal advice from his law officers about EU membership.

Asked in the interview whether he had sought such advice, Mr Salmond replied “We have, yes, in terms of the debate.”

Mr Salmond told MSPs he had been speaking in general terms and said his remarks on the Sunday Politics programme referred to legal advice about previously published government documents and publications.

He said the full transcript of the interview would be placed in SPICE and called on those who had made accusations about him lying, to have the “courtesy and integrity to withdraw them”.

Mr Rennie said raised a further point of order insisting the first minister had not cleared up the matter

Scottish Labour MSP Paul Martin, who had issued a press release calling the first minister a “bare faced liar” refused to retract his statement and called for a debate on the issues at the “earliest opportunity”.

At decision time the motion from the debate on the media and criminal trials debate was unanimously agreed to. Source BBC

Scottish Government admits no legal advice yet taken on EU membership – Top stories – Scotsman.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

THE SNP government has admitted that it has yet to seek legal advice on whether an independent Scotland would be able to join the European Union.

Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement at Holyrood today as the government finally published the 26,000 responses to the independence referendum consultation.

Ms Sturgeon said that as a result of the Edinburgh Agreement, which transferred the legal power to hold the referendum from Westminster to Holyrood, SNP ministers had concluded that they had “not sought specific legal advice” on EU membership.

See on www.scotsman.com

MSPs quit SNP over Nato policy

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

Highland MSPs John Finnie and Jean Urquhart have announced that they are quitting the Scottish National Party.

The pair described the decision as “heart-wrenching” and said they would continue to sit as independent MSPs with no official party affiliation.

Party leader Alex Salmond said he was saddened by the resignations.

The SNP now has a majority of one at Holyrood, although the MSPs said they would support most party policy.

The change of stance on Nato membership was approved at the party’s conference in Perth on Friday by 426 votes to 332.

The policy was opposed by several MSPs and rank and file members, including Mr Finnie and Ms Urquhart

See on www.bbc.co.uk

Scottish independence: ‘Very unwise’ to claim referendum deal is done – Alex Salmond – Top stories – Scotsman.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

ALEX Salmond has suggested the UK Government jumped the gun over a deal on the independence referendum, warning it would be “very unwise” to say an agreement had been reached until one was actually in place.

See on www.scotsman.com

‘Deal agreed’ on Scots referendum

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

A deal has been agreed between the UK and Scottish governments over the rules for the independence referendum, BBC Scotland understands.

See on www.bbc.co.uk

Reform Scotland Ipsos MORI Poll on Devo Plus, Independence and Status Quo

HALF OF LABOUR AND A QUARTER OF SNP SUPPORTERS BACK DEVO PLUS

IpsosMORI polling shows:

  • In a choice between Devo Plus, Independence and Status Quo, 52% of Labour voters think Scotland should remain in the UK under Devo Plus as their preferred option; 28% of SNP voters believe the same
  • 10% of SNP voters and 24% of Labour  would be more likely to vote ‘no’ if it would lead to Devo Plus
  • Almost three-quarters of Labour voters want Unionists to campaign for more powers for the Scottish Parliament

Reform Scotland, the independent, non-party think-tank behind the Devolution Plus proposal, has released more detail from the IpsosMORI poll it published last week. The poll, which showed Devo Plus to be the clear choice on the way forward for Scotland, has been broken down by political party and shows the positive attitude amongst Labour and SNP voters towards Devo Plus.


Remarkably, over a quarter of SNP voters believe that Scotland should remain in the UK under Devo Plus, with over half of Labour voters supporting this as their preferred option out of three. In addition, almost three-quarters of Labour voters want the Unionist campaign to promote the case of more powers for the Scottish Parliament as an alternative to independence.

Commenting, Reform Scotland’s Chairman Ben Thomson said:

“This polling reveals starkly the emerging consensus amongst all sides of the political divide. Last week’s poll showed that Devo Plus was by some margin the most popular way forward for Scotland, and this break-down shows that its popularity transcends political boundaries.

“I am confident that this new information will be considered carefully by both Yes Scotland and Better Together. At present, neither of those campaigns is promoting the way forward which is most favoured by the people of Scotland.

“Devo Plus is a solution around which all of Scotland’s political parties can coalesce.”

Jeremy Purvis, Leader of the Devo Plus group, added:

“The fact that only just over 60% of SNP voters support independence and also the vast majority of Labour party voters want the non-independence parties to work together for Devo Plus is highly significant.

“It shows that most ordinary people across Scotland are less interested in the contortions over the issue of the ballot paper but are wanting parties to work together on how to deliver a stronger Scottish Parliament within the UK.

“The Devo Plus proposal is a carefully considered and fully worked up plan on how to deliver this. It’s fairly clear now it’s the most popular way forward also.”

  1. Ipsos MORI polled 1003 people between 7 and 14 June 2012. Full results/tables will be available on Ipsos MORI’s website.
Thinking about Scotland’s constitutional future, which of the following statements most closely matches your views on this issue?
  Conservative Labour Lib Dem SNP Other
Scotland should remain part of the UK with the same devolved powers it has at present 66% 37% 40% 6% 31%
Scotland should remain part of the UK with the increased powers outlined in the Devo Plus proposal 30% 52% 53% 28% 50%
Scotland should become a fully independent country, separate from the rest of the UK 1% 7% 3% 63% 17%
Some other view 2% 4% 3% 3% 2%
  1.  
To what extent do you agree or disagree that those who want to stay in the UK should campaign for more powers for the Scottish Parliament within the UK as an alternative to independence?
  Conservative Labour Lib Dem SNP Other
Strongly agree 20% 27% 35% 34% 33%
Tend to agree 39% 46% 39% 30% 34%
Neither agree nor disagree 10% 11% 9% 12% 19%
Tend to disagree 17% 7% 7% 8% 1%
Strongly disagree 13% 6% 8% 10% 9%
Don’t know 2% 3% 2% 5% 3%
Combinations          
Agree 58% 73% 74% 64% 67%
Disagree 30% 12% 15% 19% 10%
  1.  
If those who want to stay in the UK made it clear before the referendum that voting no to independence meant that Scotland would still get Devo Plus, would it?
  Conservative Labour Lib Dem SNP Other
Make you more likely to vote no to independence 30% 24% 17% 10% 23%
Make you more likely to vote yes to independence 6% 8% 4% 21% 9%
Make no difference to the way you would vote 62% 63% 71% 68% 66%
Don’t know 3% 5% 8% 2% 2%

  1. Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility.

SNP Press Release – Danny Alexander’s Credibility Crumbling

LATEST EXAMPLE OF ‘DOUBLE-SPEAK & DOUBLE-THINK’ ASTOUNDING HYPOCRISY
 
Commenting on Danny Alexander’s latest intervention into the independence debate, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson said it was another example of the double-speak and double-think that pervades the anti-independence campaign’s increasing negativity, and seriously questioned the Chief Secretary to the Treasury’s credibility and competence in his government role.SNP – DANNY ALEXANDER’S ECONOMIC CREDIBILITY CRUMBLING

Danny Alexander MP

  
The SNP listed a range of actions and claims by Danny Alexander which question his credibility and competence, where he:
 
• Was reported telling a London City audience that the oil tax increase the UK government imposed on the North Sea, and which threatened developments and jobs in the North Sea was “my idea, which I proposed a few months ago.”
 
• Argued that the UK Government’s £10 billion tax raid on the offshore industry “would be good for people in the north and north-east.”
 
• Claimed mortgage rates would be linked to government bond issues in an independent Scotland – a claim knocked down by Dan Macdonald – former Chairman of the Scottish Property Federation in 2007/8
 
• Said cutting the top rate of tax would be ‘cloud cuckoo land’ – and now supports a budget that is doing exactly that.
 
• Recently claimed that regional public sector pay was a “distant and unlikely prospect,” when it was he who previously wrote to the Welsh First Minister saying he was “keen” to see it introduced.
 
• Is part of a budget ‘omnishambles’ which has resulted in embarrassing u-turns on the 3p rise in fuel duty, tax relief on charitable donations, and VAT on pasties and caravans.
 
• Went into the 2010 election pledging not to increase tuition fees, to oppose an increase in VAT and on a platform that would not back Tory austerity cuts, before entering government with the Tories to do exactly the opposite.
 
 
Commenting, Mr Gibson – convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee – said:
 
“Danny Alexander epitomises the sheer dishonesty of the anti-independence parties, who are addicted to scaremongering when it comes to the independence debate. His shambolic performance on national radio this morning portrayed someone who has zero confidence in what they are saying.
 
“For the man who was reported boasting about being the author of the UK government’s increase in oil taxation then to claim the same would happen in an independent Scotland is the height of hypocrisy. Mr Alexander seems to have also forgotten that the Treasury did no analysis before making these tax changes.
 
“Coming so soon after his other economically illiterate claims on mortgages, the question should be asked if the recent UK government budget omnishambles is reflective of a lack of competence and credibility at the heart of the Treasury.
 
“Maybe Mr Alexander could explain why Norway has never looked back since establishing its oil fund in the 1990s, and why Scotland should not also have the benefit of our own enormous oil wealth.
 
“Instead, Scotland’s wealth has been squandered by successive Westminster Governments – Tory, Labour, and Con/Dem.  With over half of the value still to be extracted from North Sea oil and gas – representing a £1.5 trillion asset base – it is vital that Scotland achieves independence and establishes an oil fund so that Scotland gets the benefit of our own resources, now and into the future.”
 

Blair Jenkins Welcome email from YesScotland.net

Yes Scotland Update
Friend —

My name is Blair Jenkins.

I am emailing you because I will be leading the Yes Scotland campaign. And I need your help in persuading our fellow Scots to say Yes in the independence referendum. It is only with the help of you and your friends, family and neighbours that we will win.

I passionately believe that our nation will thrive if we make our own decisions about how to run our own affairs. We need to persuade our fellow Scots of that.

I am not a politician. For more than 30 years my professional life has been about impartial journalism. I have been Director of Broadcasting at Scottish Television and Head of News and Current Affairs at both STV and BBC Scotland. I’m not a member of any party and I’ve never engaged in any form of political activity.

The campaign for an independent Scotland is not about politicians. It is about the people of our country having their say. I want to tell you today that Yes Scotland is an all-embracing campaign open to people of all political colours and none. It will not be dominated by party politics. It is just too important for that.

Together, we will make history. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the people of Scotland. Our nation is being asked to make its most important decision for more than 300 years.

I am determined that the Yes Scotland campaign will be run with passion, discipline and integrity. Our guiding principle will be to provide high quality information to the greatest number of Scots so that they can make an informed choice in 2014. (The “Why Vote Yes” section of YesScotland.net is just the start of that process of giving you the facts.)

Now that both sides have launched their campaigns, I sincerely hope we can have a sensible and mature debate. I want to run a campaign that all of Scotland can be proud of.

Thank you for your support.

Blair

Yes Scotland

Launch of the Better Together campaign

Alistair Darling’s speech at the launch of the Better Together campaign

I care deeply about the future of my country. This is my home. Its history, its rich culture, its social ties, are mine: they made me. And I want a Scotland of the future to offer generations to come the chance to shape not only their own country, but to to look outwards, to help improve the wider world in which they
live.

Alistair Darling’s speech at the launch of the Better Together campaign

When Scotland votes in the referendum, we will face an historic choice which
will shape our country and our families’ future not just for the lifespan of a
Parliament but for generations to come.
Chairing this campaign is one of the most important things I have ever done in
politics. The decision we make is the most important we will make in our
lifetime.
Those of us who believe that it is best for Scotland to be part of the UK – from
whatever political views – have a duty now to work in harmony to argue for the
better, stronger choice.
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.
We are Better Together. Let me tell you why I decided to join this campaign,
what moved me to return to the frontline.
I care deeply about the future of my country. This is my home. Its history, its
rich culture, its social ties, are mine: they made me. And I want a Scotland of
the future to offer generations to come the chance to shape not only their own
country, but to to look outwards, to help improve the wider world in which they
live.

I believe we will do that best as part of a strong United Kingdom. The
Scotland I want to live in, the Scotland I want our children and their children to
live in, is an open, ambitious, confident country.
A country that shares with its friends and neighbours a modern, positive view
of its identity, hewn from a rich history. It has wide horizons. It looks to the 3
future with a strong, clear gaze. Our case is not that Scotland cannot survive
as a separate state. Of course it could. This is about what unites us, not about
what divides us.
One of the greatest things about Scotland is our sense of community – our
belief in sharing what we have and of standing shoulder to shoulder in good
times and in bad. For generations strong women have shown how working
together has kept communities alive. I believe standing together with our
neighbours is a positive good.
That’s why I welcome this referendum. It is a chance to re-affirm Scottish
values and our expression of them in our partnership with our neighbours. I
believe we can cement Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom once and for
all and then get on with building the Scotland we want and deserve.
There are two sides to this debate and two sides to this story. All the pride
and passion are not on one side alone. So hear me when I say this: those of
us gathered here today for this campaign, we love Scotland. But loving
Scotland does not mean leaving the United Kingdom behind.
We are ambitious for Scotland’s people and know Scotland’s potential. Our
case is that there is a much better choice for our future than separation.


Here is where we stand. We have a Scottish Parliament with real decision
making powers and a key role in a strong and secure United Kingdom: the
best of both worlds. So we make a positive case for staying together. A
positive case that celebrates not just what makes us distinctive but also
celebrates what we share.
Let’s recognise the significance of what lies ahead of us. This referendum
challenges all of us in Scotland to answer some deep questions, not just
about what we believe but about who we are. 4
We put the positive case for staying together. We are positive about our links
with the rest of the United Kingdom – through families and friendships, through
trade, and through shared political, economical and cultural institutions.
We’re positive about being a proud nation within a larger state and the far
wider range of opportunities for our people that this creates. We’re positive
about all of the identities that we share – Scottish, British, European, citizens
of the world – and don’t see the need to abandon any of them.
We are part of a social union, underpinned by an economic and political
union. All parts mesh together. Friends, neighbours, families – across borders
– share ties that bind us together. What does this mean for us?
It means that after centuries of common endeavour, we should value those
ties that bind us together and celebrate the diversity that exists around us. It is
artificial to create separate states within our small island.
We have achieved so much together, in times of peace and war. We created
and then dismantled an empire together. We fought fascism together. We
built the Welfare State together. The BBC and the Bank of England were
founded by Scots. The NHS was founded by a Welshman. The welfare state
was founded by an Englishman. And we would not have achieved half as
much if we had not been a United Kingdom, advancing together.

But the case we make today and in the months ahead will be what is best for
Scotland’s future. We are being asked to make this choice in the midst of the
most uncertain and turbulent economic times we’ve seen in our lifetimes. This
is a really important part of our argument. It is a big and difficult world and
independence is an inadequate response. But is has to be about more than
economics. 5
We are a nation of change makers and influence. It is in our DNA, in our
history and future. We have a country with more to achieve and a world to
change. Look around the globe at the challenges all nations face.
A world where more than seven million children under the age of five die
needlessly- many from preventable diseases. A world where the threats of
climate change challenge every one of us and our children’s future. And a
world where the gap between rich and poor countries keeps on growing.
These are the big challenges that we – as a strong partner in the UK – can
influence.
The world has never been this close or complicated. Nor changed at this pace
before. Think of all the big questions the world is challenged by and then
think – think really hard – about which of these questions is Scottish
independence the answer. In a world of complicated, difficult questions,
Scotland is being offered a simple slogan.
Times are really tough at home. And really uncertain, especially in Europe
where all the problems of a currency union are laid bare. We need more
growth, more jobs and a more prosperous Scotland.


These are the issues that Scotland should be focusing on. The last things we
need are the new areas of uncertainty, instability and division that separation
will involve. The choice we make will be irrevocable. If we decide to leave the
United Kingdom there is no way back. We can’t give our children a one-way
ticket to a deeply uncertain destination.
And as Scots who do not want to be sold short, we are also entitled to ask
questions of the Nationalists who want to establish a separate state, outside
the United Kingdom. What have we learned in the past month about the SNP
and their plans? It is that they have wasted almost eighty years: a party that
was formed in the 1930s to achieve independence has not even done its
basic homework about what independence would mean. 6
They’re not even tough questions. The most basic inquiries expose a basic
truth. It is a gamble – a gamble with your jobs, your businesses, your savings.
No-one advocating change as fundamental as this should be afraid of basic
questions. And they have a duty to answer them. What are the risks? What
are the costs? And ultimately, what is the justification for such division and
upheaval?
Those who advocate a separate Scotland have had decades to think about
the economic fundamentals yet, in the face of challenge, they are still-literallymaking it up as they go along. They talk about a currency union with what’s
left of the UK – but haven’t thought to ask whether or why anyone else would
want this.
This is no abstract debate. It’s about jobs. And pensions. And the Welfare
State. And the survival of businesses. It is about how to shape our lives.
We trade more with England than we do with all other countries in the world
combined. The UK is the world’s oldest and most successful single market.
Why would we want to turn our biggest market into our biggest competitor?
Everyone else in Europe has worked for 50 years to create bigger markets
without borders for their goods and services. Are we really going to erect a
brand new border, not just within Europe but within this small island?
In the United Kingdom, we share opportunities and we also share risks. Four
years ago Scotland’s banks were on the brink of collapse. The size and
strength of the UK meant that we could stop that and also that Scottish
taxpayers carried only a small part of the cost. Ireland and Iceland were not
so fortunate.
Sometimes it works the other way round. That’s what being partners means.
That’s what a United Kingdom is about. Proud nations within a larger state
offer the best of both worlds. 7
How will Scotland get its way in the world if we leave the UK? The United
Kingdom is a country with unique influence – in the EU, in the Commonwealth
and in the G20 group of the world’s most powerful economies.
Will it help the world’s poorest people if we walk out of the UK – the second
largest donor of aid? We in the UK are one of only five countries of 198 in the
world with a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Why would we want
to give away this deep influence?

Scots are not passive people. We helped shape the world – some of the
greatest inventions in history were made by Scots whose vision saw far
beyond a border.
And in an uncertain world, Scotland’s security will be strengthened as part of
the United Kingdom. The British Armed Forces that protect us are the best in
the world. In Scotland we are proud of our forces and proud of the vital
contribution our country makes to them. And Scotland benefits from that
contribution. As it does from jobs in other UK wide institutions.
As part of the UK, we have real clout in the UN Security Council, NATO, the
IMF and the EU. And we have embassies around the world serving our
citizens and our businesses. Scotland is far better represented abroad as part
of the UK than it could ever hope to be as a separate state.
As Scots, we believe there is nowhere better. But we understand there is
something bigger. By contributing to – and benefitting from – the multi-national
multi-ethnic and multi-cultural United Kingdom of the years ahead, Scotland’s
society and culture will be enriched. Our case is that, on every test, there are
more positive gains from staying together.
We believe that the idea of coming together – of inter-dependence – is not
simply a reason to feel pride in a shared past. It is make your mind up time for 8
us in Scotland. Our campaign runs across party and political borders. So,
even if you’ve never joined a political party before, it doesn’t matter. Come
and join our cause.
If you’ve never campaigned on anything before this, nothing has ever
mattered as much as this. Come and get involved.
If you’ve never even voted in an election, get registered to vote now. This isn’t
about voting in a government for a few years. It is about making history.
The truth is we can have the best of both worlds: a strong Scottish Parliament
and a key role in a strong and secure United Kingdom.
The truth is Scotland’s future, our future and our families’ future will be
economically, politically, and socially stronger as a partner in the United
Kingdom.
The truth is that this coming together of family, friends, ideas, institutions and
identities is a strength, not a weakness. It is an ideal worth celebrating.
So, as proud Scots who want a better future for Scotland, let’s be confident in
saying: Yes, we are Better Together.

Ipsos MORI’s first poll on Devo Plus

New poll shows Devo Plus is Scotland’s choice

  • Reform Scotland calls for all political parties to reflect the people’s clear wish
  • First ever polling on Devo Plus

A new poll (see notes to editors), carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Reform Scotland, has shown that Devo Plus is the most popular way forward for Scotland’s constitutional future, easily outpolling both the status quo and independence.

The poll also showed that two-thirds would like to see the Unionist parties campaign for more powers for the Scottish Parliament as an alternative to independence.  Further, it showed that twice as many people believe most of the money spent by the Scottish Parliament should be raised by the Scottish Government rather than the Westminster Government – the core message of the Devolution Plus proposal.

Commenting, Ben Thomson, Chairman of Reform Scotland which formulated the Devolution Plus proposal, said:
“This poll is further proof of what we have suspected for some time – the current debate on Scotland’s constitutional future is not adequately serving the people of Scotland because it is largely ignoring their preferred way forward. In a poll on the preferred route forward, neither the status quo nor independence can muster even 30% support, while Devo Plus polls over 40%.

“Most Scots have identified the key problem with the current devolution settlement – that the Scottish Parliament is not properly accountable for raising the money which it spends. With twice the number of people believing that the Scottish Government should raise most of this money rather than the Westminster Government, we would urge all political parties to consider whether they are adequately representing popular demand.

“It’s time for the parties to lay their cards on the table. It’s time people know exactly what they’re voting for, and if nobody is offering Devo Plus – the most popular option – the question must be: why not?”

Jeremy Purvis, Leader of the Devo Plus Group, added:
“This is the first substantive test of opinion in Scotland on the Devo Plus proposals and shows very clearly the desire of the Scottish people to improve on the status quo, but rejecting independence.  The very clear support for Devo Plus as the best way forward for Scotland should be listened to. The evidence is also clear that the vast majority of people would like the parties that do not support independence to work together to progress the case for Devo Plus. Devo Plus is not a tactic to defeat independence, rather it is a carefully considered way forward for a stronger Scotland within the UK  – this Ipsos Mori poll now shows it is the way forward most preferred by the people of Scotland also.



 Ipsos MORI polled 1003 people between 7 and 14 June 2012. Full results/tables will be available on Ipsos MORI’s website.
Thinking about Scotland’s constitutional future, which of the following statements most closely matches your views on this issue?
Scotland should remain part of the UK with the same devolved powers it has at present 29 %
Scotland should remain part of the UK with the increased powers outlined in the Devo Plus proposal 41 %
Scotland should become a fully independent country, separate from the rest of the UK 27 %
Some other view 4 %
As you may know, most of the money spent by the Scottish Parliament currently comes from the Westminster Government. Who do you think should be responsible for raising most of the money the Scottish Parliament spends?
The Scottish Government 61 %
The Westminster Government 29 %
Don’t know 10 %
To what extent do you agree or disagree that those who want to stay in the UK should campaign for more powers for the Scottish Parliament within the UK as an alternative to independence?
Strongly agree 29 %
Tend to agree 37 %
Neither agree nor disagree 13 %
Tend to disagree 9 %
Strongly disagree 8 %
Don’t know 4 %
Agree (Net) 66 %
Disagree (Net) 17 %

Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility.

Scottish independence: Poll shows dip in support for Yes vote – Politics – Scotsman.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

SUPPORT for Scottish independence has dropped, according to a poll carried out just days after the formal launch of the Yes campaign.

• Support falls from 39 per cent to 35 per cent from January to June

• Opposition to independence stands at 55 per cent

• Alex Salmond’s approval rating falls but still most popular leader

See on www.scotsman.com

Alistair Darling warning on SNP plan for sterling – Politics – Scotsman.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

THE SNP’S flagship plans for a “sterling zone” currency union after independence are likely to be rejected by the remaining UK countries, former Chancellor Alistair Darling will argue today.

See on www.scotsman.com

Yet another change in SNP terminology – Telegraph

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Now it appears they don’t like the word ‘nationalist’ either… THE SNP’s re-writing of English – still the language spoken by most Scots – continues apace. Twenty-four hours after it was revealed that the Nats don’t like the word “independence” came news that they don’t like the word “nationalist”, either.

See on www.telegraph.co.uk

‘No’ camp nets PR guru | Herald Scotland

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

THE communications chief of Strathclyde Police has been headhunted for a £100,000 role at Better Together, the ‘No’ campaign in the forthcoming independence referendum

See on www.heraldscotland.com

It Was a Great Party

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

Robert Mercer-Nairne in The Huffington Post…
I wish the debate about Scotland’s future did not have to be couched in the language of Independence. It would be far better, surely, to articulate a vision for the Scottish people which is hard-edged and specific, rather than emotional and opaque.
See on www.huffingtonpost.co.uk

John Swinney makes his economic case for independence

Finance Secretary John Swinney outlined his view on how independence could boost Scottish prosperity in a speech at Glasgow School for Business today

 

“The culture of business we can build in an independent Scotland with a ‘can do’ attitude, means taking decisions in Scotland, in the interests of Scotland.

 

“Scotland is a country rich in opportunity and bursting with innovation but sadly we don’t translate this often enough into greater commercial opportunities. Independence will provide us with new tools – tax credits for example – which we could use to create a step change in R & D in Scotland.
“In addition to the tax regime, an independent Scotland would have much greater scope to shape the regulatory environment so that it not only promoted greater competition, but also encouraged greater consumer choice and technical innovation.

“In an increasingly global market, Scotland’s links with the international community are also key to building success. However Scotland is often one step removed from that international market and I know that business is frustrated at being forced to be directed through London to connect with Europe and beyond.

“That is why control of Air Passenger Duty would be beneficial to enable us to grow air links between Scotland and major international business hubs.

“The culture of business we can build in an independent Scotland with a ‘can do’ attitude, means taking decisions in Scotland, in the interests of Scotland., This will create a better business culture in specific to the needs of Scotland and can this in turn can build prosperity for all.

“Our plans for the referendum will give the people of Scotland the opportunity to make a clear and informed decision on our constitutional future. Independence will enable us to utilise all the economic levers to provide the stable and supportive environment Scottish businesses demand.

“It is for the people of Scotland to decide if they want to take that course.”

 

Margo MacDonald snubs ‘Yes Scotland’ campaign – Politics – Scotsman.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

ANOTHER high-profile supporter of Scottish independence has expressed fears that the SNP has seized full control of the “Yes Scotland” campaign, as major splits began to emerge in the movement.

Writes Andrew Whitaker in The Scotsman

See on www.scotsman.com

Greens to debate links to Yes Scotland campaign

The Green Party’s Patrick Harvie vented his frustration at being left out of the organisation of the Yes Scotland campaign in a couple of tweets last night.

He later issued a news release on the Green Party website

“If we are to formally sign up as a party we need to know on what terms. We don’t want to end up simply cheerleading for the SNP. It’s entirely possible the membership takes the view that Greens help shape another pro-independence referendum campaign.

“Independence is a chance to change Scotland for the better, not stick with business as usual.”

Yes Scotland was set up and is controlled by the SNP. Mr Harvie accepted an invitation to speak at the launch in May, and signed the campaign declaration but warned that Scots would need a clear, compelling case to vote Yes.

Members of the Scottish Green Party are to be given the opportunity at their conference in October to decide what sort of relationship to have with the SNP’s Yes Scotland campaign.

Scotland must raise its game ‘or risk turning into Third World country’ – Politics – Scotsman.com

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Scotland could become a “Third World nation” without a major drive to revive the country’s ailing economy, one of the country’s leading entrepreneurs has warned….“I don’t know if we need independence yet. I’m still waiting to hear both sides of the argument”….

See on www.scotsman.com

Margaret Curran takes the SNP to task on Scottish/British identity post independence.

Margaret Curran takes the SNP to task on Scottish/British identity post independence.

A week after the First Minister repeated his claim that a separate Scotland would keep the Pound, we have yet more unsubstantiated claims from the SNP. The latest Nationalist assertion – that Scots would have a claim on a British identity – is as absurd as it is bewildering.

Their claim that Britain could continue after a political separation shows that the nationalists are trying to conveniently forget our history. Great Britain was created by political union; by a treaty and by Acts of the English and Scottish Parliaments. A separate Scotland can no more be part of Britain than a person can be a member of a club that has ceased to exist.

Britain is the country we live in, not the island it exists on. Our British identity is held by two thirds of Scots and it is a 300 year old partnership that provides one of the strongest examples of a stable, secure and successful political union that the world has to offer. Separation would mean Britain as we know it will cease to exist.

Read the full article here at labourhame.com

Eddie Barnes: Searching for the answer to SNP’s plans – Comment – Scotsman.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

LABOUR looks like needing every day until 2014 to fathom a UK-wide answer to SNP plans, writes Eddie Barnes…
See on www.scotsman.com

Tom Miers: Death of military tradition – News – Scotsman.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

PLANS for the armed forces in an independent Scotland spell the end of our fighting heritage, writes Tom Miers…

See on www.scotsman.com

Scots will not be British if they vote for independence, says Miliband

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

Labour leader in challenge to Scottish Nationalists over consequences of ending political union…

See on www.guardian.co.uk

Alex Salmond ignores questions on separate Scotland’s Special Forces

Scottish Conservatives reaction to First Minister’s Questions in The Scottish Parliament, 7th of June 2012

Alex Salmond admitted today that he has no plans in place for a separate Scotland to have its own Special Forces and intelligence service.

At First Minister’s Questions, Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson demanded to know exactly how he would protect Scotland’s vital assets – including North Sea Oil and Gas fields – under independence.

Defence experts including former SAS Deputy Commander Clive Fairweather have warned that it would take years for Scotland to form its own Special Forces regiment at a cost of tens of millions of pounds.

But when asked specifically whether or not Scotland would have Special Forces, MI5, M16 and its own GCHQ monitoring station, the First Minister twice ignored the issue by simply claiming that a separate Scotland would have “a range of forces”.

His refusal to provide an answer comes in the same week that a British aid worker was rescued in Afghanistan in a textbook raid by Special Forces.

Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson MSP said:

“The First Minister’s fag-packet blueprint for defence unveiled in January had one naval base, one air base and one army brigade.

“Special Forces and Intelligence Services were conspicuous only by their absence.

“The SNP’s own defence spokesman Angus Robertson has conceded that it would be imperative to protect our oil and gas fields in a separate Scotland.

“But once again the First Minister has refused to provide a detailed plan of what a separate Scottish defence force would consist of and has shown that he is clueless when it comes to defence matters.

“The first responsibility of government is to protect its people.

“Alex Salmond is falling at the first hurdle of splitting up the UK by not taking Scotland’s defence seriously.

“This is simply not good enough, the First Minister and Angus Robertson are playing fast and loose with Scotland’s future security and the electorate need hard facts before being asked to make the most significant decision in 300 years.”

 


Analysing the case for Scottish Independence – Guy Opperman

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

As the Jubilee stardust fades, our thoughts turn once again onto the big decisions that lie ahead and the SNPs argument that Scotland would be better off independent merits serious consideration – not least because Question …

See on guyopperman.blogspot.fr

CBI urges SNP to answer independence questions – Herald Scotland

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

CBI urges SNP to answer independence questions. THE Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is demanding answers from SNP leaders after warning there are gaps in their knowledge about what independence would mean…

See on www.heraldscotland.com

Scottish independence: England must have its say – Ed Miliband – UK – Scotsman.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

THE future of the United Kingdom is “too important” to be debated only in Scotland, Ed Miliband will declare in a speech in London today, as he insists that people in England should have their say ahead of the independence referendum.

See on www.scotsman.com

Nationalists accuse BBC of imbalance | Herald Scotland

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THE SNP has hit out at the BBC over its independence referendum coverage after the corporation named a panel for tomorrow night’s Question Time that contained a majority of pro-Union supporters.

See on www.heraldscotland.com

Ewan Crawford: Hiding behind slogans won’t change the facts – News – Scotsman.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

UNIONISTS may have ditched their ‘No to independence’ for ‘Yes to partnership’, but fundamental flaws in their argument must be challenged, writes Ewan Crawford.

See on www.scotsman.com

Why So Scared of the N-Word

Margo MacDonald’s column in the Edinburgh Evening News today

I’ve hit on the perfect campaign anthem for the side of the referendum contest that dare not speak its name. The people who want you to say “No” to Scottish independence, the SNP and everything, is led by an attractive, if unconvincing, troika of Alistair Darling, Charlie Kennedy and Annabel Goldie. They’ve come together to say something in response to the Yes campaign . . . but what?

Someone has advised them voters might not go for an honest “No” campaign in answer to the “Yes” campaign for sovereign independence and equality for Scotland.

Read the full article here Edinburgh Evening News

Declaration of Fountainbridge

Here at the unofficial headquarters of the No Campaign it has been a leisurely start to the weekend, enjoying the sunshine and a scan of what Scotland’s political  journalists made of the Yes Campaign launch at Cineworld yesterday.

Alan Cochrane in The Telegraph wrote

At this distinctly underwhelming effort in an Edinburgh cinema, SNP leader Alex Salmond charged his troops to go out and sign up one million Scots before the referendum on independence in 2014. But it is extremely difficult to work out what they’re being asked to sign up to or precisely what they’re saying “Yes” to.

Read the full article here Telegraph

Mike Wade of The Times had this take on the proceedings

It was all bafflingly bad, not least because the SNP, more marketing organisation than political party, have shown themselves to be the most adept electoral machine in Britain over the last five years. They’ve done so, in large part, by carefully following public opinion and tailoring their vision of independence to what the public will accept. The monarchy, the pound, the army, the BBC, the DVLA, all of these apparently will be part of an independent Scotland, because that’s what the focus groups say Scottish people like.

Read Mike’s Blog here Wade’s World

Severin Carrell in The Guardian saw it like this

The first minister was the first to sign the new yes declaration, an open-ended pledge to make Scotland a “greener, fairer and more prosperous” independent nation, which won backing from actors such as Brian Cox and Alan Cumming

Salmond acknowledged that the new Yes Scotland Movement– touted as the largest community-based campaign in the UK’s political history – needed the two and a half years before the expected referendum in autumn 2014 to persuade a majority of Scots to support independence.

With four million registered voters in Scotland, signing up a million people to the declaration would cover most of those already thought to support separation but would not hit the level needed for the “yes” campaign to win.

Read the full article here Guardian

Same old song and dance says David Torrance in The Scotsman

Alex Salmond increasingly reminds me of Archie Rice from John Osborne’s 1957 play The Entertainer. As he strode on to the stage at Edinburgh’s Cineworld yesterday morning (20 minutes late, naturally), he offered the same old song and dance routine about independence, but somehow it didn’t quite work. The jokes were thinner, the applause sparser and the script uninspired. As Rice remarked to an unresponsive audience: “Don’t clap too loudly, it’s a very old building.”

Read the full article here The Scotsman

Scott Macnab writing in The Scotsman says Salmond relies a little heavily on his celebrity friends to sell independence

The Hollywood image of Scotland’s battle for nationhood has been characterised by saltire-smeared faces and kilted warriors in recent decades. But yesterday, a new generation of luvvies for independence took centre stage and there wasn’t a claymore in sight

Read the full article here The Scotsman

Eddie Barnes also writing in The Scotsman had this to say

The Yes Scotland campaign was not going to produce a precise blueprint on how exactly an independent Scotland will work,

Read the full article here The Scotsman

Coming Soon – The Top Ten Films to see at Cineworld this Weekend

Alistair Darling ‘We will fight for every vote’

Last night, No campaign leader Alistair Darling issued the results of a Yougov poll showing that only 33% of people believed that Scotland should become independent.

The No Campaign speaks for the majority of people who believe that Scotland is better off being a part of the Union.

Why should the majority be left without a voice? We need to speak out and say:

NO to a weakened economy.

NO to isolation.

NO to a weakened defence.

As Mr Darling said, “The nationalists will go to great lengths to try to prove there is a groundswell towards leaving the UK, but the truth is their campaign has stalled. Independence is as unpopular as it has ever been.

“I believe it is better for Scotland to be in the UK, especially with the crisis in Europe. We will be fighting for every vote”

 

Dear Scotland: An open letter from your Canadian cousins

An open letter from the Editors of the Globe and Mail Newspaper

 

Dear Scotland,

You probably don’t know this, but you made us. The first European to cross the continent and reach our Pacific coast was Alexander Mackenzie – a Scot. Our first prime minister and chief Father of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald? Scottish. So too our second PM. Our country’s national dream, a railroad from sea to sea, was realized in 1885 when Sir Donald Smith, head of the Canadian Pacific Railway, drove The Last Spike at Craigellachie – a place named after a village in his homeland. The man who did the most to create Canada’s system of universal public health care, and chosen as “The Greatest Canadian” in a national survey of CBC viewers, was Tommy Douglas. He was born in Falkirk. The thistle and the red lion rampant on our national coat of arms identify you as one of our four founding nations; half of our provincial flags contain a Saint Andrew’s cross; and one of our provinces – Nova Scotia – is named after you. There are said to be more pipers and pipe bands in Canada than in Scotland. And nearly five million Canadians identify their ethnic origin as entirely or partly Scottish, which means we have almost as many Scottish-Canadians as you have people.

You made us – and as a gesture of thanks, we’d like to offer some advice on how to avoid unmaking yourself. This bit of history you are living right now? This referendum thing? We’ve already been through that. We may be a young nation but we have far more experience than you on this issue. We nearly tore our country apart. Twice.

The independence side in your referendum campaign is to be commended for a few things. There’s no ethnic nationalism at the heart of the Yes movement, and that is no small accomplishment. And the question to be asked on the 18th of September – “Should Scotland be an independent country? – sounds remarkably clear and simple. The Quebec independence movement never dared ask anything so straightforward, because outright independence has never been favoured by anything close to a majority of the Quebec population.

Compare your question with the one asked of Quebeckers in 1980: “The Government of Quebec has made public its proposal to negotiate a new agreement with the rest of Canada, based on the equality of nations; this agreement would enable Quebec to acquire the exclusive power to make its laws, levy its taxes and establish relations abroad – in other words, sovereignty – and at the same time to maintain with Canada an economic association including a common currency; any change in political status resulting from these negotiations will only be implemented with popular approval through another referendum; on these terms, do you give the Government of Quebec the mandate to negotiate the proposed agreement between Quebec and Canada?”

The Scottish question is shorter and simpler. But is it really clearer? It has not escaped the notice of us, your cousins from across the seas, that much of the case made by the Scottish Yes campaign is neatly described by our fuzzy 1980 question. “Sovereignty” but maintaining “an economic association”? Check. A new country, but also a plan to “negotiate a new agreement” with the old nation? Check. A Yes vote portrayed as promising co-operation rather than a severing of ties? Check. And the idea that you can leave but keep the currency? Sorry, we’ve heard this song before.

The Yes campaign in Scotland, as reasonable as it imagines itself, seems to believe in the unreasonable proposition that you can improve your marriage by getting a divorce. It doesn’t work that way. The Yes campaign also promises that post-divorce negotiations will take place in an atmosphere of complete calm and rationality – and that rump Britain will give it what it wants. But that glosses over the fact that the other side has demands, too. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said recently that, if Britain didn’t let an independent Scotland continue to use the pound, Scotland might refuse to assume its share of the national debt.

Mr. Salmond has the greatest interest in maintaining the fiction that normalcy will reign and reason will rule in the event of a Yes victory – and yet the mere mention of a hypothetical negotiation has even him testily making threats. How well do you think it will go if things move beyond the hypothetical? Having looked over the edge of the precipice that you are marching up to, and having dipped our toe into the volcano more than once, we can tell you: It will not go well at all.

There is an alternative to independence: federalism. It’s something we’ve been practising and perfecting for a century and a half. You’ve been at it for a decade and a half. Give it time. We’re not sure if the “Devo Max” plans to devolve nearly complete responsibility for taxation to the Scottish Parliament, plans being floated by the British government in the final days of a referendum, are necessarily the way to go. But some devolution of taxing authority can take place. The Scottish Parliament has little power to raise its own revenues – whereas Canadian provinces have a full range of taxation and spending powers. That’s federalism. That’s how strong subnational and national governments can coexist.

Once upon a time in Quebec, the independence option was the choice of the young, as it is in Scotland. That time has passed; most young Quebeckers today do not imagine that their very real economic and social challenges will be addressed by drawing a new border. But it took us a half-century to get to this point. The same can happen for you, too.

So, dear cousins from beyond the seas, here is our advice and our plea: Stay in the United Kingdom. Let time pass and passions subside. Make changes happen, but within the U.K. And meet us back here in, say, 2040. You can take the U.K. apart then, if you still want to. We think you will not. And we know this: If you take it apart now, you can never, ever put it back together again.

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The Scotsman backs the Union

Front page of The Scotsman 11th of September 2014

Front page of The Scotsman 11th of September 2014

Scottish independence: Decapitate Britain, and we kill off the greatest political union ever – Telegraph

The Scots are on the verge of an act of self-mutilation that will trash our global identity

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

Right: it’s time to speak for Britain. If these polls are right, then we are on the verge of an utter catastrophe for this country. In just 10 days’ time we could all be walking around like zombies – on both sides of the Scottish border.

I don’t just mean that we will be in a state of shock, though that will obviously be true: most people (especially the Scots) have yet to think through the horrific financial and constitutional implications of an English-Scottish divorce.

I mean that we will be zombies, walking dead, because a fundamental part of our identity will have been killed. We will all have lost a way of thinking about ourselves, a way of explaining ourselves to the world. We are on the verge of trashing our global name and brand in an act of self-mutilation that will leave our international rivals stunned, gleeful and discreetly scornful.

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

Poll shows Scottish independence is not just a nationalist cause

Latest YouGov poll suggests many voters in Scotland have dismissed warnings about the economic impacts of a yes vote Continue reading…

Source: www.theguardian.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

Why I don’t know how to vote in Scotland’s independence referendum – Toronto Star

The Independent
Why I don’t know how to vote in Scotland’s independence referendum
Toronto Star
So when I moved to Scotland four years ago, I was comfortable with the independence movement.

Source: www.thestar.com

See on Scoop.itNo Scotland

Sunday Times YouGov Poll puts Yes Campaign in the lead for the first time

 

 

YouGov poll puts Yes on 51% and No 0n 49% – Overturning a 22 point lead in a month

 

sundaytimes

Wetter Together!

wetter_together

Helping to raise funds to fight Motor Neurone Disease Better Together’s Alistair Darling takes up the Ice Bucket challenge laid down by  James McAvoy.

Fund A  Cure. Donate at http://www.gordonsfightback.com or text “MNDS85  £5” to 70070 to donate £5.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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