Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the tag “Scottish Independence”

The Cliff Edge

Today the House of Commons is expected to roll-over and let the Government have a free rein over Brexit. The House of Lords is expected to “follow convention” and not oppose the Government a second time.

Theresa May is believed to be likely to trigger Article 50 as early as this week. This means that we start on an irrevocable journey out of the EU. The mood music from Davis and Fox is that that this will be a Hard Brexit, and Theresa May has confirmed that we will be leaving the single market (No “Norway” type relationship).

Looking over the cliff edge: Read more…


Nicola Sturgeon has threatened to demand a second independence referendum unless David Cameron reverses his welfare cuts and halts plans to renew Trident.
The Guardian, 18 September 2015 : Sturgeon: scrap cuts and Trident or face another vote on independence

Cameron, however, dismissed her challenge. The prime minister said the nationalist quest for separation was an “obsession” that ignored the clear and decisive vote in last year’s referendum for Scotland to remain part of the UK with a strong Scottish parliament. ibid

Is the requirement for constitutional stability such that the conditions for a referendum can only occur “once a generation”? Read more…

A Programme for the Majority?

Just imagine the following programme for government:

  • Reform
    • A shake up of Westminster
    • Abolition of the House of Lords
    • A fair voting system
  • Public Services
    • No tuition fees
    • Educational Maintenance Allowance including part-time college students
    • The NHS in public hands, halting the tide of NHS privatisation
    • Abolition of prescription charges
    • Explicit protection for the NHS on the face of the TTIP agreement
  • Fairness
    • Pensions that protect our older people.
    • A decent welfare system that helps people into work
    • Eradication of working practices that have no place in a decent, modern economy
    • a Living Wage nation
    • Strengthening of the law against domestic abuse – speed up the court process, give more support to victims, and expand schemes to help offenders change their behaviour
    • Gender Equality: Removal of Systemic and institutional barriers – the pay gap, occupational segregation, a lack of affordable childcare and, sometimes, just outdated attitudes
  • Other
    • No new generation of Trident nuclear weapons
    • Deficit reduction but not slash and burn austerity
    • Stay in Europe

If we could break the internal coalitions in the old elitist parties, could we envisage a parliamentary coalition to support this programme? Read more…

Mr Cameron speaks for the Queen

I can understand that journalists feel compelled at times to speak for the Queen.

Now it appears that our Prime Minister also has a tendency for “loose talk”.

David Cameron has been caught on camera talking about how the Queen “purred down the line” after he phoned her to say Scotland had voted no to independence.

The prime minister’s remarks suggesting the Queen was pleased with the result are a rare, albeit accidental, breach of the convention that the prime minister never speaks about his conversations with the monarch. It also jeopardises her traditional neutrality, …
Guardian 23 September 2014 : David Cameron says Queen ‘purred down line’ after Scotland no vote

You would expect him to know better – I think he claims to have “breeding” and to have benefited from a particular type of education, so should, according to his world view, know how to behave.

But he doesn’t. Read more…

A bad day for democracy

It is a fantastic result, … Scotland has spoken, … we have had record turnout.

So, surely a good day for democracy?

If you believe that democracy is about a glorified opinion poll every so often, Yes.

But if you believe it means the people’s voice being heard and acted upon, No.

There will be disillusion, because Scots won’t get what they may have voted for, and the rest of us have not been consulted. Read more…

London media and Scottish Independence

In Tuesday’s Guardian George Monbiot bemoans the (mainly London) media coverage of the Scottish Independence Referendum.

Living within their tiny circle of light, most senior journalists seem unable to comprehend a desire for change. If they notice it at all, they perceive it as a mortal threat, comparable perhaps to Hitler. They know as little of the lives of the 64 million inhabiting the outer darkness as they do of the Andaman islanders. Yet, lecturing the poor from under the wisteria, they claim to speak for the nation.

… But to those within the circle, politics still begins and ends in Westminster. The opinions of no one beyond the gilded thousand with whom they associate is worthy of notice.
The Guardian 16 September 2014 : How the media shafted the people of Scotland

I accept the examples of “gilded circles” which always make me feel queasy, but I wonder whether good old (bad old?) geographical remoteness plays a bigger part? Read more…

So, Should Scotland be an Independent Country?

In a day’s time the die will have been cast, the polls (in Scotland) will have closed and it (the referendum) will be all over bar the counting.

But what of the aftermath?

Until the last week, the most fearful aftermath for me has been that of a “YES” vote, because I feared (and still fear) a very fractious 18 months as Salmond demands that the whole UK bends its sovereign will to the “Sovereign Will” of the Scottish Separatists, followed by ill-feeling and disillusion as the impossibility of negotiating and delivering Scotland’s Future becomes clear.

But in the last week “the three fools” have created a similarly worrying aftermath if they get a “NO” vote. For they have made promises – slightly less vague than Salmond’s – for which they have no mandate and they may face problems in getting those promises through the House of Commons (the Sovereign will of the whole of the UK). Failure to deliver these rash panic-driven promises will be portrayed as a betrayal.

Now both results have a worrying aftermath – and both sides have demonstrated what is wrong with politics. Politicians will say what they think they have to say to win – implementation is a secondary consideration. The legacy of spin?

So what do I think is going to happen – and what would I like to happen? Read more…

Contempt from both sides

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Today we see the three “main” UK party leaders publishing a “Vow” in the Scottish newspapers designed to get Scots to vote “No”. This vow has not been through the House of Commons and there is no evidence that the (English dominated) House of Commons would support further concessions or appeasement (call it what you will) of “rebellious Scots” – particularly without the English getting similar concessions. Read more…

Bullying – Mr Dour vs Mr Cocky

The Scottish Independence Referendum seems to boil down to:

  • Scotland’s Future promises the world – an un-negotiated package presented as a certainty.
  • “Mr Cocky” claims that a “YES” will be Scotland’s Sovereign Will and should be respected and that “Mr Arrogant” should grant everything in Scotland’s Future.
  • Many who identify as Scottish before they identify as British, want this to be so.
  • “Mr Dour” (and others) point out that Scotland’s Future is only a prospectus and we do not know that it will be granted.
  • “Mr Arrogant” and friends says it won’t be granted and predict quite a different outcome to “Mr Cocky’s”.
  • “Mr Cocky” (in full bluster mode) calls this bullying.

But who is the bully?

Read more…

Brass Plaques

Salmond says he is not worried about Banks and Financial institutions threatening to leave Scotland when it votes for independence.

Quick look – What are banks saying now?

  • Lloyds – It said it could shift its legal home to to the headquarters it has in London. However, Lloyds said this was just a legal procedure and “there would be no immediate changes or issues”.
  • Clydesdale – The financial institution, which is part of National Australia Bank, said its contingency plans for a “Yes” vote included re-registering as an English company.
  • RBS – It confirmed it will relocate its registered headquarters to London if Scotland votes for independence next week.
  • Tesco – Its contingency plans include the creation of a “new registered company, domiciled in England”

BBC News Website 11 September 2014 : Scottish independence: RBS confirms London HQ move if Scotland votes ‘Yes’

Salmond has said:

“We know the moves both from Lloyds and the Royal Bank of Scotland will have no impact on operations or jobs. They are about brass plaques.

If he is happy for Scotland to become a “branch economy”, he needs to look at the experience of the North East of England. Read more…

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