Scottish Independence is now a real possibility

The latest YouGov poll puts the Yes campaign for Scottish Independence at 51%, ahead of the No campaign at 49%. This is the first time that any major poll has put Yes ahead, and the fact it’s the notoriously conservative YouGov is important to understanding that Westminster, the London media and the establishment have completely underestimated the support on the ground for independence, and the complete failure of the No campaign to make a decent argument. After all, at the start of the actual campaign a few years ago, the No vote was in the high 60% mark, so they’ve lost tens of thousands in support and in the last two weeks since the last televised debate between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling they’ve seriously hemorrhaged support.

In the light of this latest poll, this has made the government sit up and George Osborne is promising ‘extra powers’ should there be a No vote. Two major problems with that: one, it’s clearly desperation and there’s no idea what powers they may well actually be, and secondly (and more constitutionally important) Scotland is in purdah at the moment and to quote from the Wikipedia article I’ve linked to, this means:

The time period offers a prior opportunity for government departments to develop guidance and policy due to any impact resulting from the election. It also prevents central and local government departments from making announcements about any new or controversial government initiatives (such as modernisation initiatives, administrative and legislative changes) which could be seen to be advantageous to any candidates or parties in the forthcoming election, or which may commit any incoming new administration to policies which it wouldn’t support.

 

George Osborne has just promised that Scotland may well get powers in an attempt to firm up the No vote, but he can’t. Nobody related to government, be that UK or Scottish, can do this. There could well be some legal issues over this and anyhow, the fact it is desperation will be so overwhelmingly obvious that the Yes campaign will be guaranteed a boost in support from this announcement.

As those people who read my blogs which aren’t reviews of films, TV programmes, or comics will know, I’m a Scot living in England and there’s a singular lack of understanding from most people as to what potentially might happen in less than two weeks. This superb post titled A Letter to England sums it up better than myself but I can totally back that post up. I’ve had around a dozen conversations in the last two years about the subject of independence, and they’ve ranged from patronising nonsense from people who think Scotland can’t do anything without permission from London, to the one I had on the Friday just gone with an Irish lad, and a chap born and bred in Bristol but seriously interested in the subject because he’s gotten fed up with how’s it’s being reported down here and wanted another perspective. In the last week in fact, I’ve had a few smaller discussions about the subject, including one at work which shows that the company I currently work for (a large multinational company with a large Scottish presence) will just get on with it should Scotland vote Yes. I imagine that’s exactly how 99% of companies operating in Scotland will do come September the 19th.

Obviously the only poll that matters is the one on September 18th, but let’s not diminish what this poll represents which is the first clear sign that the first ever democratic vote on the Union could see it’s breakup, and that the majority of the rest of the UK are not prepared for it as the thinking they’ve had installed into them by the London based media is that No will win and things will carry on, and anyhow, if Scotland votes Yes, they won’t get Sterling, or a currency union.

Here’s a lengthy quote from the post, A Letter to England that everyone south of Berwick should note as it’s importan which is why I’ve included it in detail. It shows why the media have failed to make this a national debate across the UK even though it affects you all who read this in the UK.

There is something that I believe that people in the rest of the UK need to get their heads around very quickly. Your leaders will attempt to convince you that Alex Salmond is either begging you to help him out or threatening you if you don’t agree to what he wants. The truth is that the negotiating position that the SNP have laid out in Scotland’s Future isn’t just the best deal for the people of Scotland – it is the best deal that the people of the rest of the UK could possibly expect in the event of Scotland’s departure.

I have done the reading and let me tell you – the currency union model that the SNP propose benefits the people of the UK far more than it is likely to benefit the people of Scotland. If the SNPs negotiating position was purely about winning the best deal that they could for the people of Scotland then they would not even be entertaining the idea of a formal currency union – they would simply go straight ahead and establish an independent Scottish currency with it’s own central bank and a fixed interest rate with Sterling, walking away from the UK’s national debts in the process.

Here is the most important thing that you need to understand right now. The idea that a newly independent Scotland would be walking away from a share of the UK’s debts is false. Scotland cannot agree to take on the UK’s debts because such a thing is legally impossible. The UK’s debt commitments are a legally binding contract that the UK government has entered into with the investors who have leant them money. Those contracts cannot be re-assigned to another third party and even it were possible the investors who issued the debt would not agree to it because to do so would go directly against their own interests. The reality is that we are not negotiating what share of the UK’s debts Scotland will be willing to take on. What is actually being negotiated is the level of foreign aid payments that a newly independent Scotland will be willing to make to the UK government in order to help it cover it’s debts.

That is not a threat. It is cold, hard reality. In February of this year George Osbourne, backed by Ed Balls and Danny Alexander, issued an announcement confirming that if Scotland votes for independence then the UK will continue to honour 100% of its existing debt obligations. Your government have already taken the unilateral decision that in the event of a breakup the rUK will be the sole continuator state, meaning that there is not a single thing that they can do to force the Scottish Government to accept any share of UK debt. That decision has already been taken on your behalf and that ought to worry you.

It ought to worry you because that triumvirate of Osbourne, Balls and Alexander have already proven themselves to be pretty poor negotiators. On the same day that they confirmed that the UK would continue to be liable for 100% of its debts they also announced that there is no way in which the rUK would agree to a formal currency union. Over the last week we have already seen the fallout of that decision, with Sterling sliding several points against both the US Dollar and the Euro. I can guarantee you that when we see the financial markets open tomorrow Sterling will start sliding even further. The financial press are already speculating that if Scotland votes Yes on the 18th then the minute that the markets open on the 19th Sterling will crash.

The reason for this is simple. What investor in their right mind is going to invest in a currency when the person in charge of running it has openly declared that he intends to slash his own economy by 10% overnight?

Right now Sterling is supported by the tax receipts from North Sea oil, meaning that in the event of a currency crisis the UK can back peoples investments by paying them back in oil instead of in cash. The minute that Scotland votes for independence 90% of the UK’s oil revenues disappear and the security that they provide disappears with it. I fully expect to see the rUK experiencing a further downgrading of its credit rating, meaning that it will face yet higher borrowing costs to continue financing its existing debt.

None of this has anything to do with Alex Salmond. It is already coming about thanks entirely to the outright incompetence of your own political leaders.

The reason why Westminster is desperate now, is that Scotland becoming free of it, means they are simply fucked and cannot spin austerity out as intended. You vote Tories/Labour/Lib Dems/UKIP and you get the same sort of incompetent careerist tosser who’s got people working 40 hours a week to just keep a roof over their head and they’re being told that they’re not working hard enough. But hey, they’ve been voted in because people stick to the same tribalist ideas so the system keeps going and going while the rich become richer and the rest of us look at pay packets which have barely changed in years, while prices constantly increase.

I don’t want friends to wake up on September the 19th to a free and independent Scotland and begrudge Scotland and it’s people for what they’ve done. I want them to realise that actually, this is the best chance they’ll ever have to break things for the better in the rest of the UK. This is a chance to take the incredible movement that Scotland has had over the last few years and drag it out across the UK so we can drive out the bastards who clog up the system and work only for themselves.

If there’s any lesson to be learned from this, it’s that the system we have now is broken. Rather than cling onto broken remnants of the past, we should be grasping this opportunity to start fresh not just in Scotland, but in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. So inform yourselves in the last few days before the vote as to the possibilities it opens up. Make sure you know that the people of Scotland are not doing this to ‘get at the English’ as many on the Unionist side would have you believe, but because they have a change for the sort of real democratic change this country hasn’t seen since the end of the last war.

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28 thoughts on “Scottish Independence is now a real possibility

  1. I honestly do not see how what salmond is proposing would be ‘imdependence’. They keep the monarchy, the pound and many other things, but politically separate from Westminster (which Scotland has mp’s in, last PM, previous chancellor etc were scots). Then it wants to rejoin the EU which in part means committing to join the euro currency. The EU have said there would be no fast track and nothing could be guaranteed and all it would take would be Westminster to put a spanner in the works to stop it joining. If one member state says no, it won’t happen.

    Personally, I think there is an underlying motive on the part of salmond to smash up and end the UK quite literally on the consent of just 3 million people, because that’s what it is going to be! I don’t see why we can’t devolve completely instead, get rid of Westminster and have a federal union. That would work a lot better for everyone rather than turning a section of British society into foreigners! There are problems yes, but you fix them. Only cowards run away.

    I dont see why i am not to get a vote on the future of my country. This will effect all of us, not just Scotland. My passport states that my nationality is British, not english, so that includes Scotland as well, surely?

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  2. Also, in the probable outcome of a yes vote, it will be 51% or so, not an overwhelming majority. It’s one thing to stay as we are but surely it’s a little fucked up to drag the remaining half out of the union against their will, ending their prosperity which comes with being british and forcing them further into the talons of Brussels and into an oil based economy which will not last more than 20 more years!

    If Britain has nothing to offer Scottish people, (which I’m sure you will say) then what the hell are you doing living in Bristol?

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  3. You understand how democracy works? There’s a democratic vote happening now thanks to postal votes, and if a majority says yes or no then that’s it. The people of Scotland will get on with it.

    Also, it’s not just an oil based economy. Scotland has the largest source of renewable energy in Europe and there’s more than 20 years left in the North Sea, plus there’s the resources by the West Coast waiting to be mined.

    As for me, I moved in the 80’s because Scotland was being devastated by the neoliberal policies of Thatcher. An independent Scotland doesn’t mean closing the country off to people wanting to come and go.

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  4. Nothing wrong with foreigners at all, what I meant was I don’t get why some Scottish people insist on building that sort of a divide. I don’t believe I’m Scotland, England or wales as separate nations, they are states in a union. We need to devolve powers and England is most in need of that. We are heading to a federal future anyway, there is no point in smashing it all to bits.

    Again, my nationality is British and that is how I see my identity. Nowhere on any documentation does it describe me as being anything else. Scotland is my country too, owing to that nationality, as well as family history. Why don’t I get a vote? Why don’t you get a vote? Scotland leaving the uk on the vote of 3 million against 64 million is NOT democratic at all. There is no place for little englanders who run around with hatred for anyone different to them in a modern Britain, the same goes for little scotlanders! The SNP is no different to the English democrats in my book.

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  5. Don’t get me wrong though, despite my opposition to the yes camp and desire to retain my own national identity as British, there are many advantages to England to be rid of Scotland. For starters, we would loose the largely socialist bloc of voters up there, making it extremely unlikely that labour would ever again see power and also more likely that we would leave the EU. I hope Scotland does not leave because it would be disastrous for them and salmond is just presuming that others will play ball on important points like the EU and currency. Energy bills would go through the roof once they realize that renewables are very expensive without EU subsidy and that would take years to get back.

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  6. It’s not about building divides. It’s about self determination and putting democracy in the hands of the people.

    You don’t get a vote as you don’t live there. I don’t get a vote as I don’t live there. You want to divide democracy based upon race and you’re on dodgy ground.

    The Scottish independence movement is made up of Scots, English, Welsh, Irish, Italians, Americans, Pakistanis, French, Indians, Jamiacans and anyone who lives there who wants independence for the country they live in. The movement is truly multiracial, and that I think scares people which is why BT have been desperately Othering Yes voters.

    Scotland isn’t property. It’s their decision. The rest of the UK don’t get a say in whether they stay or not as that’s imperialism.

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  7. The ‘well have untold amount os Tory governments’ assumes that:

    A/ Things in the rUK would carry on as normal. They wouldn’t.

    B/ That the Scottish votes for Labour changed UK governments since the war. Apart from four in the 18 elections since WW2, they haven’t.

    The renewable infrastructure is there, plus everyone on the BT side assumes business won’t see an independent Scotland as a new opportunity, which of course they will.

    The truth is there’s nothing to offer Scotland from Westminster, and the ‘vote No and we’ll maybe give you more’ was done in 1979 and people have long memories.

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  8. Pingback: The desperate attempts to keep Scotland in the Union by the media | My Little Underground

  9. This is an interesting debate we are having and I am largely playing devils advocate in order to get your full view on the matter, but I’ve got to ask why you keep bringing up race when I haven’t even mentioned it?

    I’m talking about citizenship; what it says on the passport I have. Civic nationality is all inclusive when we are talking in the context of our diverse nation. I reject the concept of race anyway, basic knowledge of biology can tell anyone that difference in ethnicity are down to geographical separation but all Homo sapiens on this planet belong in the same taxonomic category, or ‘race’.

    I’d support the idea of Scottish independence if that was what was on the table, but its not. It’s just swapping Westminster for Brussels, but keeping everything else that comes with being British (monarchy, the pound and much more.)

    Westminster needs to have ALL of its power over regional/local issues stripped entirely and devolved to local authorities. They should be there only to represent us internationally and to act on issues affecting us as a whole, holding referendums on stuff like wars. In other words, a federation. I agree with your points about the government though.

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  10. I’ve not brought race up, you did by asking why I wouldn’t have a vote, and BT do all the time. They’re the ones Othering people for being ‘foreigners’/

    And no, it’s not just swapping Westminster for Brussels. It’s self determination and that’s going to be eventually as part of the EU as an independent country.

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  11. Well no, I didn’t bring race up, I was remarking upon the fact that residents vote rather than citizens, ie passport holders. I did say that Scottish independence would make foreigners out of 6 million people in the British isles but that has nothing to do with race. You do know that nationality and ethnicity are separate things, right? There are people of all backgrounds who are British. That’s not to say there is anything wrong with being foreign (not British), but I’m concerned that 49% of Scots are about to be robbed of that, something that their grandfathers fought for in two world wars.

    You obviously know plenty about the BT lot, which frankly has been a total farce, using washed up former labour government politicians as their front men has been the greatest advertisement for ‘yes!’. For the record, I expect I’d vote yes if I was up there. You need to take a closer look at salmond though, he’s using the scots national pride to get what HE wants and to inflate his own ego. Shares in Scottish business are already taking a hit and so has the pound. A country breaking up usually ends up in a financial meltdown. Scotland won’t do well out of this, just wait and see.

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  12. Hang on, this isn’t about dragging up WW2. That’s the past. It’s done. It’s the 21st century.

    BT have failed to gather the grass roots support any political party would kill for, and there will be new parties coming out of this, regardless of the result.

    As for Salmond, he can be voted out. He’s only the frontman for a much, much more diverse group than the Unionists.

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  13. The one thing I could not agree with you more on, even if I wanted to, is the fact that the Better Together campaign has been a total shambles. They have thrown the kitchen sink at criticizing the ‘independence’ camp, but they have totally failed to put forward a convincing debate. Nowhere have I seen anybody actually give a solid argument as to why Scots should vote no. The reality is that these idiots who seem to mainly consist of very pro EU Labour MPs, many of whom wheld top positions in the last Westminster govt. call me a conspiracy theorist, but it would not shock me if this was deliberate. We seem to be the only ‘Europeans’ that have not yet grasped that when the Eurocrats talk about ‘ever closer union’, they mean the rolling of all member states into one new nation. It’s the worst kept secret of this century. Smashing the uk into its constituent parts will make it all the more easy to digest. Scotish independence will be followed by wales leaving and a united ireland. These small statelets could never survive on their own without the UK to subsidize them, so they would walk into that willingly! Why on earth do you think wales and Scotland get bribed with so many grants and handouts from the EU? Don’t see much of that where I live!

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  14. Also, as far as Westminster is concerned, the UK does not extend outside of London and at a push, SE England. Maybe you and I should join that weird political party that wants to re establish the kingdom of Wessex and campaign for the south west to leave the UK also? Could be fun! Then I could buy you that pint I offered a while back!

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  15. I’d rather vote for a party that would fight for me in a place close to me which is accountable and where ‘we the people’ actually have the ability to recall those that hold seats of power should it be necessary. I believe in small, decentralized, localized governance and you don’t get that with the EU. Instead, it’s a self selected, unelected commission comprising of politicians who we have already tried to get rid of and a load of meps that are more like a student council in a secondary school. Their only ‘power’ is to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ legislation in quick fire voting sessions and after that it is virtually impossible to repeal anything. Like the USSR, the system is deliberately wrapped in so many layers of bureaucracy that the people it purports to govern get no say at all. At least if your representatives are near you, it’s possible to egg them when they fuck up! 😉

    I would be 100% behind Scottish independence and perhaps even consider migrating, IF independence meant that. Re-joining the EU is a bad move and makes the whole exercise null and void. If it is a problem that Westminster doesn’t listen to the Scots, they will have an even worse problem when it is Brussels telling them what to do!

    Trade unions do NOT have flags, national anthems, governments, currencies, the makings of an armed forces, open borders Etc. what we see before us, like it or not, is an attempt to forcibly create a one nation Europe.

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  16. If we have one thing to thank UKIP for, it is that they have exposed the EU and the fact that MEP’s are useless (not just theirs, ALL of them!) the whole thing is ‘token democracy’, offering those in it a generous gravy train to prop up the pretense that the EU is anything but an imperialistic empire building project which has lied and decieved to land grab instead of invading with armies.

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  17. As you are a resident and tax payer in England, despite being a Scot, independence will leave you in rUK. that is presuming you have no plans to move back. it might be interesting for you to write a blog talking about the consequences of a yes vote for The rUK. this is something that westminster havent done, the SNP dont care about and the media have made a hash of. questions need answers, like; Do we share currency or not? Do we have guarded borders? Do we let Scots vote in the general election next year, postpone it, or do we exclude them? I’d really like to hear your opinion on that, all of the Scots I know that live here are pro-union.

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  18. To be fair to ukip, people don’t elect ukip meps to rearrange deck chairs on the titanic, it is a protest against the EU.

    I really look forward to reading your next blog on this topic if that’s the case! I might not agree with you on everything but you give a good debate! Seriously man, let me buy you a pint in the reckless engineer next time I’m in brizzol!

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  19. I’ve really been getting into looking obsessively at the question of what a yes vote will mean for the rUK, i dont think it has been discussed by politicians at all, let alone enough! actually the Scottish are getting to decide whether or not England becomes independent as well. Scotland holds 59 seats in what is effectively the English parliament, these mp’s get to vote on things that affect me, but not necessarily them if it is a power area the Scottish parliament has jurisdiction over. I still think sharing the pound would be a huge mistake, but other than that I must admit after giving this much thought, I think a Yes vote would be best for everyone. If Scotland leaves though, no drunken texts at 2am saying they want us back haha!

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  20. I still think that what Salmond is selling as independence is a bit fishy though, I can see Salmond screwing up an independent Scotland. I’m still not sure why he wants to keep the Queen and the pound, among other things… It is almost as though Scotland would be more a colony if anything! When I watched one of the debates, he was being quite deceptive, evasive and disingenuous. He asked Darling if Scotland could keep using the pound, to which he responded with the obvious yes, as Scotland could technically use the US dollar or any other currency if it wanted to, but it would not have any control or influence which would lead to economic issues. Salmond interrupted and spoke over Darling before he could explain further.

    The fact is that the rUK cannot share the pound with an independent Scotland. It would crash as there would be no confidence in a flimsy currency union between two seperate economies, with the amount that can go wrong. The best thing for Scotland would be to have its own currency and maybe use the Euro further down the line.

    Joining the EU doesn’t make much sense either, If Scotland is to be independent. I thought the whole issue was about not wanting to have an outside government which they have disproportionately less influence in making choices on their behalf? I am anti EU for the same reasons the Yes! Side is anti UK. You can’t have your cake and eat it as they say! I wouldn’t bet on EU membership for Scotland anyway, as Spain will certainly block it as they do not want to fuel the Catalan independence camp. Remember, all 28 countries have to agree. The commission have already made it crystal clear that the usual rules and processes will apply. The only people who have said they could fast track are the SNP.

    Although I am very much in favor of Scottish independence for the English independence which will result, I do worry that this choice won’t be an informed one, it will be made on emotion and national pride. Salmond has no straight answers to some of the most important issues, he instead talks mostly about the welfare state instead. Still, id Vote yes if i lived there, just to not have that toff Cameron as PM!

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  21. Regardless, I really hope they have the good sense to vote Yes because it will be the best option for the whole of the UK. Of course, independence does have its risks and there are some outside variables which cannot be predicted, such as membership of the EU which could possibly not happen the way Salmond has promised they would. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and that great Scottish warrior attitude will see an independent Scotland to being a great nation.

    I hope it will do good for relations with England too. I think we would be good neighbors and there would be a strong social union between us. It is after all only politics, we are all still British and on the same island!

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