Vote No

10 Aug

It is just over a month until Scotland goes to the polls to vote on the most prominent question in Scottish Government since the creation of the Scottish Parliament. Should Scotland separate itself from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and become an independent nation?

I’m going (assuming I get back there in time) to vote NO. This is why.

One – We Don’t Need To Change Our Status

Let’s be brutally honest. Scotland is not an oppressed nation. We do not live in fear as jackboots crush our necks, our culture is not under threat and we are not strangers in our own country. Scotland is not Kurdistan, Tibet, Basque or even Eastern Ukraine. Scots are not being herded into death camps or forced off the land into slums. We have a parliament of our own, rights to vote for Scottish, British and European politicians and generally life is pretty good.

Do we really need to rock the boat?

Two – It Would Be Impossibly Complex

India used to be a united nation under the British. When independence came in 1947, so did chaos and near-Civil War. Separating out Scotland’s rightful share of everything owned by Great Britain (military bases and industries, for example, as well as railways and airports) would be fantastically complex.

For example, what percentage of the British Armed Forces would go to Scotland? The Scots Guard would probably be Scottish, but what about the SAS, Royal Navy, RAF and suchlike? Scotland houses a number of military installations crucial to defending Britain, including airbases and radar installations. Would those continue to be run by the UK or would they become Scottish? And, if so, what happens to the personnel?

And then there’s the nuclear question. Would an independent Scotland keep nukes? But the main base for the British nuclear deterrent is in Scotland. Would Scotland allow the base to remain there or would the newly-independent Scottish Parliament demand that the nuclear submarines were moved? If so, the cost of building a new base in England would be staggering.

Here’s another question. My parents were born in England, I was born in Scotland and grew up in Edinburgh … and I consider myself British. I have friends and family on both sides of the border. Now, where do I fit in if we enter a brave new world of Scottish independence? Am I British, Scottish, English or what? Britain is not a country where there are sharp divides between racial groups, certainly not between Scottish/English. How many families will be affected badly by an attempt to brand them as either Scottish or English?

And what about the Royal Family? Would they be part of Scottish life or would we become a republic? If so, what happens to the royal possessions within Scotland?

And that barely scratches the surface. Imagine the worst divorce case you’ve ever heard of and multiply it a million-fold. That’s how bad it’s going to be.

And this leads to …

Three – We Can’t Afford It

Divorces are always expensive when there’s money and property involved. Just think of all the stars who have had high-profile divorces where there are literally millions of pounds at stake. It’s going to be a great deal worse as we try to separate Scotland from the rest of the United Kingdom. I can’t even begin to estimate the costs we’d face, all of which would be paid by the Scottish taxpayers. What? You think England is going to pay when we’re leaving them with a mess to clear up? Of course not.

We would need a whole new bureaucracy to deal with the problems, everything from reissuing passports to opening diplomatic missions overseas. And this bureaucracy would be unlikely to go away when it’s work was done. It would remain a steady drain on the Scottish Taxpayer.

Of course, this is par for the course with the Scottish Parliament. The parliament building itself grew hideously expensive as building progressed (despite the fact we already had a perfectly good one) and the Edinburgh Trams became a financial nightmare (despite the fact it would have been far cheaper and more flexible to buy a few hundred new buses). And then there’s the concept of free education, which merely moves the bill onto the taxpayers instead of the students.

Overall, the costs would be staggering and Scotland is not a wealthy nation. Do we really want to shoulder the costs of independence?

Four – It Would Be Immensely Disruptive

I have a British passport. So does every British citizen. Legally, there’s no difference between someone born in Scotland and England. But what would happen if Scotland becomes independent? Would a Scottish passport be available at once? Would British passports still be considered valid? Technically speaking, a case could be made that every Scottish citizen living abroad would be there under a false passport (a crime) as soon as Scotland becomes independent. Do you really want to deal with the problems this would cause?

That’s not even the most serious problem. Right now, travel between England and Scotland means nothing more than travel between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Would we have to put in border control booths along the border?

And then there’s the economic question. Businesses cannot thrive when they’re unsure of where they stand, at least legally. Would a large corporation like BAE SYSTEMS be governed under British law or Scottish law? Furthermore, what about the costs of doing business?

One of the major employers in Scotland is the defence industry, which largely sells to the British Armed Forces. The military prefers to buy from home-grown industries where possible because they don’t halt shipments for political reasons. But would this continue if the Scottish shipyards were in another country? I have a feeling that the Royal Navy would be pressed to reduce its investments in Scottish facilities as much as possible, weakening the Scottish economy and costing jobs. (The Scottish Navy would be unable to supply enough contracts to keep the shipyards going.) And a sudden surge in unemployment will have knock-on effects that could prove disastrous.

We would also not have a financial security net. Britain is a wealthy country. When the economic crisis hit, the British economy was able to handle it. Smaller countries like Ireland and Iceland were much less able to cope with the chaos, which led to their effective surrender to the EU. What would happen to Scotland if there was a sudden sharp drop in oil revenue, for example? I doubt it would be pleasant.

Furthermore, would we use the Pound, the Euro or a newly-created Scottish currency? Using the former two would mean subordinating our economies to either London or Brussels (assuming they allowed us to use their currencies without argument) while the third would cause considerable disruption in its own right. Britain can afford to back its currency, an independent Scotland would be a far more questionable proposition, as far as the markets are concerned. The value of the ‘Scot’ would sink rapidly at first, almost certainly leading to capital fleeing the country. Savings would decrease in value for quite some time.

But let’s consider something more personal. Right now, in the UK, everyone pays the same prices in large shops and supermarkets. I don’t think that will remain stable if Scotland becomes independent. Believe it or not, shopping is more expensive in Ireland than in the UK. Why? The costs of doing business in Ireland are higher. What sort of other cost increases will affect businesses if Scotland becomes independent … and how will they be passed on to the consumer? What about pensions? Benefits? There will be a colossal risk of disruption to benefit payments to people who rely on them.


Call me a cynic, but I rather doubt MSPs will take a pay cut in sympathy.

Five – We Would Not Be Guaranteed Entry Into The EU

Leaving aside the question of if we actually want to join the EU (the SNP, despite claiming to want independence for Scotland, has not shown any enthusiasm for leaving Europe) there is no guarantee we would actually get into the EU. In fact, as I noted earlier, the EU is a political project, governed by nations that would have very good reason to veto Scotland joining the EU.

How many countries in the EU, let me ask, have separatist movements? The answer, according to Wikipedia, is pretty much ALL of them.

Do you really think that those nations, which really don’t want to face the hassle of dealing with separatist movements of their own, would be eager to encourage Scotland’s entry into the EU? They wouldn’t, because that would be cutting their own throats. Instead, they have every reason to make our entry into the EU as difficult as possible, no doubt forcing enough conditions from us to seriously cripple Scotland’s independence. (This is, to all intents and purposes, what happened to Ireland and Greece during the economic crash.)

The same could be said for the UN. There are too many nations with separatist groups who would have every interest in making it as painful as possible for us.

What does this mean for us? Right now, Britain can sell freely within the EU, at least in theory. An independent Scotland would be shut out of European markets until we negotiated entry to the EU, which would cripple our economy. And again, it would cost jobs.

Six – We Would Lose Much Of Our Influence

Britain is not the mighty empire it once was, for better or worse. But we still have a great deal of economic, military and political clout. Scotland would not possess that clout, regardless of our aspirations. The EU would consider us to be little better than Greece or the Eastern European States – states that “missed a good opportunity to shut up,” as the former French President put it, back in 2003. We would have little or no influence within the EU, no matter the formalities of the situation. And if we balked, we could be denied access to EU markets.

Britain can and does deploy a formidable military force, despite recent cutbacks. But an independent Scotland would not be able to match that deployment, even for a greatly reduced military. Indeed, the costs of modern military equipment are so high that smaller militaries are unable to keep up with the larger ones.

Furthermore, Britain can and does send a substantial portion of foreign aid to needy countries around the world. Scotland would be unable to make a similar attempt at charity – and Britain’s ability to do so would be sharply reduced by Scottish independence.

In short, we would be giving up an influential position for one that would have very little influence. And we’d cripple England’s influence too.

Seven – It Would Damage Our Security

One thing history teaches us is how quickly the world can change. No one anticipated the First World War, yet it shattered the pre-war balance of power. The sixty-nine years of relative peace in Western Europe since the end of the Cold War may not last indefintely. Indeed, the terrorist attacks in New York, social unrest on many European streets and the rise of Putin’s Russia may lead to an end to a period of unprecedented peace.

Splitting up the British Armed Forces (to say nothing of everything from the police to MI5 and MI6) would weaken both Scotland and England at a very dangerous moment of world history. Would Scotland be a member of NATO? Almost certainly not, for the same reasons I outlined against an easy entry into the EU. I don’t think the Americans would thank us for disrupting the British military.

And there is another point to consider. A recent report noted that a number of Scottish soldiers were considering staying with the British Army if independence came. Why? Because there would be more chance for action among the British Army. The Scottish Army wouldn’t offer so many chances of excitement, promotion and an actual career. We might end up with the shell of an army as competent and experienced men insist on heading south to stay with the army they know and love. (There are a number of men from the Republic of Ireland in the British Army, who joined because they wanted real excitement.)

Finally, there is the question of nuclear weapons. The SNP is divided on the issue, but tell me – is it really wise to abandon the ultimate guarantee of British/Scottish security? It isn’t so long since the Ukraine gave up its nukes in exchange for a paper guarantee of its territorial integrity, a guarantee that has not been honoured by outside powers. Nukes and a creditable delivery system ensure that we cannot lose a war so badly that we will be crushed, or – more practically – can counter any threats of nuclear blackmail. Keeping nukes does not mean that we will use them. It merely means that we can use them, if necessary.


I am not unbiased in this matter. I honestly doubt that anyone is, not when this decision will have far-reaching implications for our future. However, I have weighed up the evidence as best as I can and concluded, without reasonable doubt, that Scottish Independence will be bad for Scotland.

There are few rewards for being a small country adrift in a sea of sharks. That is what we will face, as an independent state. Nor, if there are any benefits from independence, will we see them in a hurry. Indeed, the drawbacks will materialise with staggering speed, while it will take years to see any improvements to our living standards.

Finally, I will admit that I do not like Alex Salmond. He isn’t the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela or another person with a genuine cause. I will concede he probably believes deeply in the cause of Scottish independence. However, his flag-waving stunts and unwillingness to discuss the nuts and bolts of an independent Scotland worry me. I see him as style over substance.

In short, I don’t want President Salmond.

Worse, even if I put all that aside, President Salmond would have very little influence in the world. The problems facing a newly-independent Scotland that I outlined above will not be directed by Scotland, but by outside powers. We would face a long period of disruption as the world tries to sort out where everyone stands, now that Scotland is no longer part of Britain.

The SNP – and the Scottish Parliament – has not, in my view, shown any real capability for financial management. There is no such thing as a free lunch – someone always pays. The issue of free education, for example, sounds good … but the costs will be shuffled onto the Scottish Taxpayer. Hard reality will impact the SNP’s dreams and leave them shattered, while we pay the costs.

Scotland does not need to be independent. Furthermore, the costs of independence far outweigh the benefits.

I’m going to vote no. And I think you should too.

[If you agree with this post, please share it as wildly as you can. I welcome comments and discussion, either here or on my forum.]

38 Responses to “Vote No”

  1. Kathy August 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm #

    You can vote by mail, surely……

    • chrishanger August 11, 2014 at 11:33 am #

      I should be there for the vote . But we will see. Chris Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2014 14:19:25 +0000 To:

    • Les Barrie August 15, 2014 at 11:43 am #

      If you aren’t resident in Scotland by 2nd September to register,you cannot vote,Scotland can more than survive on its own,300 years of westminster rule have led to Scots forgetting what an amazing,inventive,intelligent and hard working nation we were,at present we are stagnating,there is very little investment and young people have very little chance of a decent job,Scotland deserves so much more

  2. Brialo August 10, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

    I am not Scottish but am proud to say that I am English and equally proud to say that I whole heartedly support the concept of the United Kingdom. I have read with interest the Chrishanger comments relating to the reasons for Scotland staying within the UK. If only the politicians from all sides of the divide on this question could put the argument so succinctly and with such honest clarity I feel the question of Scottish independence would be a non starter. United we stand, divided, some will have an almighty fall.

    • chrishanger August 11, 2014 at 11:34 am #

      Thank you. Matters hit a snag when I honestly realised I couldn’t add a single plausible advantage to independence, at least as the SNP defines it. (Independence in Europe? That’s not independence by definition.) Chris Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2014 14:28:49 +0000 To:

  3. Robert Scott August 10, 2014 at 8:19 pm #

    Not a Brit citizen, nor a Scots, so comments are difficult. How about this. Let a thorough reading occur of all the history which has transpired over the past 1500 years. Let that be your guide.

  4. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard August 10, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    I’ve heard that there’s some English who’d say “Good riddens” if Scotland left. [Very Big Grin]

  5. ppcorcoran August 10, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    Reblogged this on ppcorcoran and commented:
    Hear Hear!

  6. Richard Kinlaw or Kinloch in the olde country. August 11, 2014 at 5:25 am #

    I read your books. Don’t share your politics with your readers, you may lose some. I’m glad my ancestors didn’t have your idea and fought the English at places like, Camden, Cowpens, Kings Mountain, Guiliford Courthouse and Yorktown. It’s too bad my ancestors lost the Second War for American Independence!

    • wraiththirteen August 11, 2014 at 8:28 am #

      Richard I think I agree with you on this, but you have to admit Chris brought up several legitimate points. Its pretty nice seeing someone bring up the practical side of politics instead of the sound bites and name calling that usually goes with it. That said as far as I can tell the eu has really screwed up europe as a whole.

      • chrishanger August 11, 2014 at 11:38 am #

        It has. Basically, the EU is a political project and, as such, is driven by wishful thinking rather than common sense. Greece, for example, should never have been allowed to join. They flat-out LIED when they applied and the EU let them get away with it. And so their economic problems nearly brought the whole edifice tumbling down. Chris Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2014 07:28:58 +0000 To:

    • chrishanger August 11, 2014 at 11:36 am #

      That was then . This is now. Chris Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2014 04:25:03 +0000 To:

  7. R Godfrey August 11, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    oh no, Scotland would finally be free of conservative politics and neo-liberalism, a pity the rest of the UK can’t vote to drag the city of London into the Atlantic and use it for air-burst nuclear tests (just the square mile mind)

  8. shavenwookiee August 11, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    Although I’m English by birth, my Dad is very Scottish. He, like me, would vote no, for all the same reasons as you’ve put here. I mean… I don’t see troops wearing the St. George’s Cross marching through Edinburgh, making a curfew and shooting anyone claiming to be Scottish…. Or are there?

    • John C Smith August 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

      Having been born and brought up in the Scottish Borders, the glib response is I could revert to the old family business – cross border raiding. Chris is right though, the only beneficiaries of this would be the lawyers and the spin doctors. Sadly I can’t vote, I reside in England, like so many of my school mates I had to look elsewhere for a job.

      • chrishanger August 12, 2014 at 8:53 am #

        Yeah. No matter how I look at it, I don’t see any real benefits to Scotland and a great deal of pain. Chris Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2014 18:17:19 +0000 To:

    • chrishanger August 12, 2014 at 8:57 am #

      No. Which is something of my point. Chris Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2014 11:34:08 +0000 To:

  9. Dennis The Menace August 11, 2014 at 8:34 pm #

    Warning: The following will sound harsh to the non-Americans reading this. So I would like to say up front: Too bad. Deal with it. 🙂

    As an American, I find the entire thing hilarious.

    After we won the Revolutionary War, the US economy went to hell in a handbasket. Most people don’t know this but that was the worst economic period ever in the nation’s history except perhaps in the South during Reconstruction…worst than the Great Depression, even. There was no national government except the paper tiger described by the Articles of Confederation. The colonies were erecting trade barriers against each other left and right. Ex-veterans were resorting to banditry out on the roads. Unemployment was up and business activity crawling at a standstill.

    But not one of the colonies decided to crawl back on all fours to Mother England to be added back into her fold. Not a one.

    Instead, out of that we got our Constitution and Bill of Rights and one of the most stable governments and pro-growth economies in the entire world. And, unlike Canada, Australia and India who were handed their independence like a spoiled rich kid getting the keys to a shiny new car from ‘daddy’ free & clear, we fought another war with Britain in 1812 to get our economic independence from GB and then went on to become the most dominant power in the world.

    So, from my perspective…and after observing all the nitpicking over how to divide the bureaucracy for chrissakes (only Brits would even think about that)…I would just recommend that you Scotties stay in the UK like the good little bagpiping, man-skirted worry-worts-over-the-state-of-the-bureaucracy that you are and when it gets too insulting even for you, you can always get drunk at some pub and raise your glasses to the Queen until you pass out and collapse on the floor. <– Rinse, and repeat that as often as necessary.

    Independence is deserved only for those who fight for it and spill their own blood for it.

    And as Chris mentions in his point #1, you aren't even remotely close to wanting independence badly enough since you don't have any really serious reason to be. And since point #1 says it all, the other points don't even enter into the equation either way. So why are you engaging in this 'public masturbation' en masse that otherwise is known as 'the Vote for Scottish independence'?

    Hence why I am laughing. But I am sure that the ghosts of Scottish ancestors who did fight for their independence on more than one occasion are not laughing…but rather too ashamed at what they see today.

  10. thyrobocop August 11, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

    So, I was going to write a blog to try and answer the questions you pose in your points for voting no, and try to argue the case for a Yes vote. But today, I find that someone has already done the job for me, so I’ll link you to what he has produced instead:

    Click to access WeeBlueBookDesktopEdition.pdf

    The good thing about this document is that it has loads of references digitally linked into the document that in most cases lead directly to impartial sources and the UK Goverment’s own figures on the Scottish economy, so you can check for yourself the figures from reliable sources of information, if you don’t believe the admittedly pro-independence spin the book provides.

    Reading through your points, what struck me most about them was the bits about the military that you make. I may be reading this wrong, but it comes across to me as if you’re saying that Scotland needs a strong military in order to wage wars in other countries, not just enough to protect itself (I believe the Wee Blue Book does answer the latter part, though do correct me if I’m wrong). And after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, what I ask is, is it really that necessary to have a big army if that’s what we’re going to use it for? You also say that Scottish soldiers would move to the UK army because the UK army offers a lot more “chance of action” than a Scottish army would. Again, considering the wars we have waged in the last decade or two, is that really a healthy state of mind that our society should be supporting?

    • chrishanger August 12, 2014 at 9:17 am #

      I haven’t had a chance to read through the whole Wee Blue Book, but looking at its summery five points I find I am unable to agree with any of them.

      1 – Actually, I think Scotland is overrepresented by population size, although I suspect it won’t be mentioned very often. In any case, we do have a vote in the UK, same as England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This reads very much like a ‘we don’t get our way, we must leave.”

      2 – Figures for how well Scotland will do after independence are highly questionable, for several different reasons. For example, we will need to set up the trappings of an independent country ASAP, including passports, embassies, a separate currency (London and Brussels have both rejected the idea of us using the pound and euro) and everything else. The costs will be staggeringly high.

      3 – Again, figures for how long the oil wealth will last are highly questionable. Extracting oil from the North Sea has been growing harder and harder over the last couple of decades, suggesting that known reserves are drying out and new ones are hard to find (if they exist). In any case, depending on a single source of revenue would be dangerous in the extreme.

      4 – The EU does not have a provision for accepting a member country splitting in two, then claiming to remain part of the EU. It would, at best, create a legal nightmare for Brussels – Scottish citizens would technically be EU citizens even though Scotland has no automatic entry to the EU. (Czechoslovakia was NOT an EU member when it split up.) In any case, the EU members (as I mentioned) have a great many reasons to reject us. It’s in their own best interests.

      As for the claim that we would have nothing to fear from terrorists … well, it’s wishful thinking at best.

      5 – People are not sensible. Look around the world. There are countless flashpoints caused by people being emotional rather than sensible. The idea that the UK would just let us go, taking all the facilities with us, is absurd. Even with the best will in the world, there will be disputes aplenty.

      One dispute in particular is worth mentioning. Argentina stood to gain billions from joint explorations around the Falklands. The Argentinean Government chose to cancel contracts and stand aside, accepting economic pain in exchange for maintaining a spurious claim on the Islands.


      Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2014 22:26:57 +0000 To:

      • thyrobocop August 20, 2014 at 11:40 am #

        Well, I would suggest you have a look through the entire book itself (if you haven’t done so already), as the summary doesn’t have any facts, figures or sources to back them up.

        As for the points you mentioned:

        1- We may be overrepresented in the sense that we have two sets of MPs for us, but we’re rather underrepresented in Westminister, where decisions on reserved matters which could help boost Scotland’s economy, and that of the UK, are held. Which is understandable, given the population size of England (85%) with respect to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, so naturally England should have a larger say in UK matters. But Scotland has been consistently voting Labour for the past 60 years or so, yet only half that time a Labour government has been at Westminister. Scotland hasn’t been “getting its way” as part of the UK for a very long while, and can’t do anything to guarantee it does under the current voting system unless the rest of England backs it up. That point really needs to be addressed regardless of whether a Yes or No vote is returned at the referendum, and quite frankly, I don’t really see that happening anytime soon.

        Now, if the rest of the UK was actually doing something good for all of the UK, including Scotland, I wouldn’t have much of a problem with the situation. But as things stand, I don’t think any part of the UK that is not London or the South East of England is adequately represented by the current lot at Westminister. You just need to search for articles about foodbanks, living expenses being higher than the minimum wage work, cuts to benefits, Royal Mail being privatized, the NHS being privatized, the tuition fees fiasco, and many more to see what I am talking about. And with Labour saying that they will continue George Osborne’s program of spending cuts if they get into power (which, incidentally, have increased the total amount of debt of the UK to over 1 trillion £, when the Conservatives were voted in to reduce the deficit in the first place), I don’t see any of these issues being solved anytime soon either.

        2- The Wee Blue Book does a pretty good job at highlighting how well Scotland has been doing in the past few years, and how it could adjust its situation to do well in the future. For example, it highlights how the savings obtained from not paying the share for Trident, the House of Lords, the High Speed Rail and a lot of other stuff we pay as part of the UK could be used to pay for what is needed in Scotland). I’ll leave you to have a look through those figures in your own time, and if you need more, the website Businesses for Scotland has a lot more info on how Scottish businesses view the situation and how they are going to address it.

        As for the currency issue… well, there’s a lot that’s been said for all possible options, and most sources, including banks and businesses, do agree that any option is perfectly viable for Scotland. Again, I’d invite you to have a look around for that. I’d like to point out though that Scotland can use the pound even without a currency union, as the Pound Stirling is an internationally tradable currency that can be used by any nation without their permission. Whether that’s good for Scotland has been discussed extensively as well, and some sources even suggest that it may be a better option than the currency union! There’s quite a few examples of nations doing well with that option, like Panama with the $, and Denmark by pegging it’s currency to the Euro.

        I would also like to point out that setting up the trappings of an independent nation, like passport office, embassies, and any other government department that needs to be duplicated, is going to require human resources as well as money to set up. Meaning that a lot of jobs will be created, and filling them up is bound to have a positive impact on the economy, particularly since the Scottish government wants to pay at least a living wage to all civil servants and government workers.

        3- The figures may be questionable, but most of the oil companies operating in the area have said that the UK’s own forecasts are underestimating the amount of oil left by 1/6th of even the most conservative estimates from the industry. And that with the new technology available there’s likely going to be more. I think this last bit is making the news, so it’s easier to check out.

        I do agree that it is dangerous to rely on one source of revenue. It’s a good thing, then, that Scotland has other sources of revenue, such as food and drink (namely whiskey), research in life sciences and other University departments, renewable energy, tourism, ship-building, the financial sector, etc.

        4- Yes, the EU does not have such a provision, and they’ll have to figure out a solution to address the problem. But I would say that avoiding legal nightmares, such as the EU citizenship you mentioned, and the fishing ground, and many others, is precisely why the EU would want to make the transition smooth for Scotland.

        And I don’t think there is that many nations who would oppose Scotland’s entry into the EU. The only one who has voiced such opposition is Spain as far as I know, and even then, there’s a statement from the Spanish government quoted in the Book that puts a question mark on the issue. Other than that, the other nations have either voiced an opinion that a deal could be done (I think Denmark, France and Germany have done so, but I’ll need to double check that), or don’t really have an issue with it. But if you do know of any other nation that may have an issue, and has voiced their opinion on the matter, do let me know. The more info I have, the better I can judge the situation.

        As for terrorists… while I agree that we’ll never be 100% sure that we won’t be targeted as a nation, we could certainly do stuff that reduces the reasons for terrorists to attack us. Like, not get involved in illegal wars, for starters.

        5- Yeah, I agree with that. Most of my concerns now is to do with how sensible most nations and other parties involved are, what will happen if they won’t be, and how likely it’s going to affect Scotland. And those points I still don’t have definite answers to.

        But from what I’ve been seeing from the news down South, I don’t think everything is going to be fine with a No vote either. In fact, I think that the rest of the UK is going to “punish” Scotland regardless of the result of the vote, if not directly, then indirectly via further spending cuts, which will affect Scotland’s finances one way or another. At least with independence, we will have the tools to address such “punishments”. Without? Just have a look at what state the rest of the UK is in, and see if you agree Scotland should be the same.

      • chrishanger August 20, 2014 at 9:05 pm #


        1 – it’s been a long time since I looked at it, but IIRC we’re actually overrepresented in Westminster, at least if we go by population size. Your argument only makes sense if we assume that Scotland is a separate country, which it isn’t – and hasn’t really been since the Act of Union. Indeed, both Blair and Brown were from Scotland.

        I hardly think that anyone can argue that Britain hasn’t done well for us. I won’t deny that there are problems, but those problems are not localised to Westminster. I believe the Scottish Parliament has had its own share of boondoggles, including the Parliament Building itself and the Edinburgh Trams.

        I wouldn’t object to a localised federal structure for the UK, but I rather doubt we could make one work any better than it already does without significant disruption.

        2 – The problem with projecting the financial course of an independent Scotland is that most of our past history comes from a united Britain, even if it was so omnipresent as to be unacknowledged. Would we really have savings, when all was said and done? The High Speed Rail, for example, is something we might want to keep anyway (which would mean working with England).

        Pegging the Scottish currency to the pound would leave us vulnerable in several separate ways. The value of the Scottish currency would thus be determined by Westminster, for example, while the cost of living in Scotland might well go upwards (thus ensuring that Scots head south to shop).

        You state that setting up the trappings of an independent nation will create jobs. That is true, but problematic. First and foremost, how are we going to pay the small army of barmy bureaucrats we’d need to do the work? Second, how are we going to get rid of them afterwards?

        Call me a cynic, but I have a feeling the ‘savings’ you mention would vanish like snowflakes on a sunny morning.

        3 – leaving aside the issue of oil for the moment, do we have any other sources of revenue that can carry us along if oil falls though? For example, you mention shipbuilding. Independence will have a major effect on the Scottish shipping industry – and perhaps not a good one.

        4 – The problem with the EU is that it is fundamentally a POLITICAL project, not an economic one (if it was, Greece would never have been allowed in the door) or a military union (NATO does that.) The EU is made up of a number of countries that will be hopping mad at us for causing (rightly, wrongly, does it matter?) economic problems for them – and, just incidentally, encouraging their own separatists. I have a feeling that most governments are quietly praying that the referendum will be a resounding NO and they won’t have to worry about the problem.

        But even if we assume a deal could be done, what would be the terms of that deal? And could we afford to meet them?

        On the subject of terrorists, there is literally nothing we can do that would please them, apart from supine surrender (and then we would probably be attacked by the faction we didn’t surrender to.) George Bush, whatever his flaws, was quite right when he asserted that the terrorists hate our freedoms. We offer a way of life that is vastly superior to that ‘enjoyed’ by the civilians of the middle east, one that has many young men and women voting with their feet. They hate us because, in the end, they see us as competition. And they’re right. Just by existing, we are targets.


        Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:40:44 +0000 To:

      • thyrobocop August 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

        Hello again!

        1-I guess it would make a lot more sense if you put it in context with the First Past the Post system under which Westminster MPs are elected, and with the issue of “safe seats” that such a system causes. To put it simply, since most of Scotland votes Labour at the General elections in most of its constituencies, then Labour doesn’t have to lift a finger to try and gain Scottish votes, because it is pretty much guaranteed to get those seats. The same goes for any other seat that is considered “safe” in the rest of the UK. There’s only a handful of seats in England that can essentially swing the vote to either side, and give a party a majority in Westminster.

        This is a problem for Scotland, because a) those seats in England wouldn’t really be voting for policies that have Scotland’s, or any other UK constituency’s interests at heart, and b) these seats tend to be right-leaning, meaning that Labour has to out-Tory the Tories in order to secure those votes and gain a majority. Which is why nowadays you will find that Labour has pretty similar economic policies to the Conservative party (with Ed Miliband promising to continue George Osborne’s spending cuts, for starters). I’d say that having Labour copy Tory policies is not really the reason most Scots, or indeed most voters in the UK outside those key swing constituencies, vote Labour in power.

        There is a lot more to say, and that has been said quite extensively in many blogs and papers elsewhere, for the failings of FPtP to democracy in the entire of the UK. And to really sort that out, the UK as a whole needs to enact an electoral reform that solves that. Unfortunately, after the failing of the AV referendum (which may have not been a good idea, but would have arguably been better than FPtP), and the real likelihood that the Lib-Dems, who IIRC are the only party arguing for electoral reform, won’t be getting into power for a very long time, I don’t see that problem being solved anytime soon.

        This is a big issue for me because I really, really don’t like what the main parties in Westminister are doing, but, barring a major shift in vote to non-mainstream parties, I and many others don’t have much hope in voting them out of power.

        There’s a blog here that covers this topic quite well here:

        Sure, all parliaments have their fair share of boondoggles. I lived in Italy before coming to study at university in Scotland, so I am aware how parliaments can boondoggle things. But from what I know I don’t think the Scottish Parliament had much to do with either of the incidents you mentioned. The parliament building issue was handled by the Scottish Office in the UK, and not by the Scottish parliament itself. As for the Trams, the Scottish Parliament was only involved in providing public funding for the project. The rest was dealt with by the Edinburgh City Council, who were responsible for managing the project and the contractors hired for the task. About the only failing that can be ascribed to the Scottish Parliament, as far as I am aware, is the lack of available beds in hospitals, though I don’t know much about the topic to confirm it either way.

        Even if the Scottish parliament was responsible in full for both incidents, I’d still say their track record at managing Scotland is relatively spotless, compared to the kind of boondoggles Westminister is making. Like the MPs expenses scandal, the fact that we are more than £1 trillion in debt despite all the budget cuts, the fact that they privatized the Royal Mail and part of the NHS despite public opinion being against it, the fact that we are the 4th country with less equality between rich and poor in the world, the rise of people using foodbanks because of policies enacted by Westminister, and many other things besides. It makes even the Italian parliament look good by comparison!

        I would have been all up for devolution/a federal structure myself, and if it was on the referendum ballot paper, I’d definitely be voting for that. Unfortunately, it was specifically refused on the ballot paper, and given Westminster’s track record of devolving powers, I wouldn’t trust anything they promise about more devolution until it has received royal assent. And even then, seeing how most parties have proposed more tax raising powers to be devolved, without any other power to decide how the money is spent (which is really what all this independence debate boils down to, how the government spends its money), I’d still be rather weary about what they propose to devolve.

        2- Well, thanks to the figures provided by the Government Expenditure and Revenues Scotland body, we do have a lot of data of how well Scotland’s finances have been in the past and how well it can do in the future. GERS was set up by Margaret Tatcher in the 1990s to show how the UK subsidies Scotland, but ironically, the figures show that Scotland has been subsidizing the rest of the UK!!! You might want to have a look at those and see what you think about them.

        On that topic, here’s another blog that explains what kind of savings we would be getting from being Independent:

        I do agree that these “savings” are going to vanish quite quickly. But that’s more because Scotland will be spending it on issues that really matter to the Scottish people, which I think is the key case for voting for independence. Scotland would rather vote for a government that prioritised spending money on keeping tuition fees free for Scottish students, a better childcare system, a better NHS service that is still free at the point of use, supporting the renewable energy industry, and enacting social policies to aid the poor, as opposed to one that is paying for the House of Lords, for renovating the Westminister parliament, for maintaining and replacing Trident, and for the High Speed Rail, while public spending gets continuously slashed with detrimental effects to the NHS, the poor, the unemployed, disabled people, etc. And that list I’ve provided is hardly inclusive of everything Scots want to do different from Westminster.

        With regards to the High Speed Rail you mentioned, you would have a point if it was part of a scheme to upgrade the entire rail infrastructure of the UK, which would be a benefit not just for Scotland, but for Wales and for the rest of England too. But current plans for it have extent to no further north that Birmingham, and no further south than London!! That’s not going to be of much use to Scotland if trains have to switch to low speed services from then upwards, is it?

        With regards to all the bureaucrats that we need to pay to set up the trappings of an independent state, from what I’ve seen, Scotland would have enough money from the savings mentioned above + the powers to boost Scotland’s economy to get more money from tax revenue. As for how to kick them out, well, since for some government bodies we’d need to start from scratch, this would be the right occasion to potentially streamline the workings of those government bodies, so we’d only be hiring those that are needed to run them on a permanent basis, while the others would be on temporarily to smooth the transition. At least, that’s what I understand from what I’ve read. I’d have to look around to see what the actual plans are for that.

        I am aware of the potential pitfalls of pegging a currency to another, and of “stirlingization”, which are the two Plan B’s for currency being suggested. However, from all the documents I’ve been reading, I understand that monetary policy is really a double edge sword when it comes to dealing with the economy, and it is what a government does with the money it gets that gives a nation’s economy its strength. There have been quite a few experts, including the Adam Smith institute, that have said that not having control over monetary policy would actually be much more beneficial for Scotland than a currency union. They cite Panama and Denmark as examples of how a country could thrive even if their currency is not their own (Panama uses US dollars), or pegged to another currency (IIRC, Denmark’s is pegged to the Euro). As an example of how having your own monetary policy can be bad for a nation, IIRC Italy used to sort out its economic problems by devaluing the Lira when it got too strong, while not doing anything to strengthen its own economy. That decision proved them costly when they joined the Euro and lost control over monetary policy, and realized they couldn’t do the same trick to regulate their own economy. I’d also say that the UK is also a good example of monetary policy which may backfire on the economy. Interest rates have been kept extremely low for a very long time now, but the Bank of England is going to raise them fairly soon, which, from what I have read, is going to cause a lot of problems down the line for anyone on a mortgage, and more importantly, for paying the interest on the £1 trillion of debt that the UK has.

        And if you do believe that Scots would go down south if the costs of living go up as a result of independence, then you really, really need to check out what’s been going on in the UK. The cost of living is already high in the UK as a whole, there are more cuts to spending coming down the line regardless of the outcome of the referendum, and there’s no policy to address the cost of living from either of the main parties likely to govern after the next general election. I highly doubt that the rUK is going to be much of a safe haven if (and that really is a big IF) the cost of living rises in Scotland, as you say.

        3- I mentioned quite a few already in the reply, IIRC, but to reiterate, we have the food and drink industry (which has a turnover of £13 billion), tourism (more than £6 billion), exports from manufacturing (worth £15 billion a year), creative industries generating more than £5 billion a year, a growing renewable energy industry that could take advantage of the tidal and wind energy potential (which is 25% of all of Europe’s tidal and wind energy potential!!!), our own financial sector, etc. That’s without counting oil, and before we factor in that an independent Scotland could enact policies that could boost any of those industries.

        As for the shipyards, well, building Scotland’s own navy will keep them busy for quite a while, enough to keep people in jobs throughout the early years of independence. After that… well, Norway is expanding its own shipbuilding industry because of the trade opportunities with the East by travelling through the Artic seas (which is made possible thanks to global warming, of all things!!!). Given where Scotland is, I think there’s a fair chance that it would also see the opportunity this trade route provides, and build ships to take advantage of it.

        Either way, the shipyards would still be much better served in Scotland than how they are now in the UK, seeing as the industry has been in decline since Margaret Tatcher came to power, and the UK itself doesn’t have any further contracts in place for Scottish shipyards after the aircraft carrier they are making now has been built.

        4- As for the EU, I’d say that they would be hopping mad at whoever stops Scotland from becoming a member of the EU, rather than at Scotland for causing the problems in the first place. After all, Scotland wants to stay in the EU, and would re-apply almost immediately if the EU says it has to do so. As such, the option that would cause least disruption to the status quo would be to amend the treaties to include Scotland in the EU, and that is relatively easier to deal with. Any other option that kicks Scotland out of the EU is likely going to cause far more economic and legal problems than the need to change treaties, and I’d say most nations would rather want to avoid that happening.

        I am not really aware of the separatists movements present in every EU nation. I just know about Spain’s and Italy’s, really, and Italy’s movement is kind of a joke in itself. If there is any more that I should be aware of that could get other nations to block Scotland’s access to the EU, do let me know.

        But I think the nations of the EU aren’t really too concerned about Scottish independence and it’s implications. Rather, I think they are far more concerned about the likely possibility of a Tory government promising an in-out referendum that could see the UK exit the EU, especially given how much of England is euro-sceptic. Barroso himself pleaded for the UK to stay in the EU, in the very same interview where he said that Scotland would find it next to impossible to join. And I’d hazard a guess that if they can’t convince the UK to stay, then they would definitely want to have the part of it that has all the oil fields and renewable energies potential and fishing grounds back in as soon as possible (that would be Scotland, in case you are wondering).

        As for whether a deal could be done, well, we still have to hear what the terms are. The UK could have solved the problem a lot sooner if it had asked the EU for an answer, as only governments of EU nations can ask questions about such matters (Scotland was barred from asking the EU directly because of this). But most experts agree that the likely deals to be made are suitable and affordable for Scotland.

        On terrorists… I can see where you are coming from, but I don’t think envy is the sole reason, or even the major reason, that middle eastern terrorists are targeting us. I believe the biggest factor is rage at what the West has done to those nations. Like, supporting certain dictators or factions to prevent other “communist” aligned parties from arising and/or secure certain resources such as the oil produced in those regions, going to war against them for pretty much the same reasons, leaving their country as an utter wreck behind, supporting Israel… And the real culprits of those actions are the USA and the UK, which would be much more important targets than, the real targets for terrorists, rather than Scotland.

        And Scotland could adopt a foreign policy that would limit the number of reasons that would make those nations angry at us, and thus have terrorists more likely to attack us. Like, say, not joining in illegal wars. Or even better, boost the renewable energies industry to become completely energy independent and eliminate the need to secure oil reserves from the middle east.

        Perhaps this could help start mending relationships between Scotland and middle eastern nations. Or, more likely, it wouldn’t. But I’d still say it is a step in the right direction to dealing with the terrorist problem, rather than what the USA and the UK did and are currently doing.

        Apologies for this extremely long post. I do hope you manage to read all of it! XD

    • chrishanger August 12, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      Responding to you properly:

      I don’t find many of the arguments in favour of ‘independence,’ let alone ‘”independence” in Europe’ to be particularly compelling, let along convincing. Change is not always a good thing. In this case, there’s no real reason to move.

      The military makes the best example of something that is spread over the United Kingdom as a whole. Splitting the army would be relatively easy (at least the regular regiments), but both the RAF and RN are unified services. We have no Air Territorial Army, for example, unlike the American Air National Guard. The headaches caused by splitting up the RAF would be expensive, then we would end up fighting over the UKADGE stations. In the event of war with Russia, the bases in Scotland would be invaluable.

      Defence procurement makes another problem. The Royal Navy would be reluctant to buy ships from yards in independent Scotland. If demand fails, thousands of people would be put out of work. The world isn’t a safe place and it can change with terrifying speed. Even during the freeze caused by the cold war, we saw the Falkland Islands invaded by Argentina, with British civilians put under occupation for the first time since the Channel Islands were invaded. Giving up the military, even reducing it sharply, is asking for trouble. Even leaving aside the morality (or lack thereof) of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, do we really want to trust to the benevolence of the world? A strong and capable military gives us options we wouldn’t have without it.

      Having a military is like having an insurence policy. If you don’t need it, you’ve wasted some money. But if you do need it, you won’t have time to get one when its too late.


      Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2014 22:26:57 +0000 To:

      • thyrobocop August 20, 2014 at 11:41 am #

        If you don’t mind me asking, what sources did you use to come to that conclusion? I will admit, the official Yes campaign, Alex Salmond and the SNP haven’t really made a convincing case in their official propaganda, and I would probably be voting NO myself based on what they produced (the Yes campaign is starting to get much better in the facts and figures department, so you might want to check them out again). What really made the case for me were the articles in Wings over Scotland (and the sources it provides links to), and the ones from Business for Scotland. The latter especially shows that businesses are on the ball with regards to the debate, and quite a lot of them have made it clear that they will be able to handle the situation and make a profit with independence, so I’d say they are worth checking out. Other parties and grassroots campaigns, such as the Scottish Greens, Women for Independence, and the RIC have also made a much better case for independence than the official campaign, so you might want to check them out too.

        I understand the point about the military, and I agree that we shouldn’t rely on the benevolence of the world to keep us safe

        But from what I’ve been able to find out, the Scottish government doesn’t plan to just take its share of the UK military and keep its military at that. Rather, it plans to expand its own military capabilities using what it gets from negotiations as the base on which to build it. Presumably, any military asset it doesn’t get through negotiations, Scotland will have to make up with its own resources. This is particularly good in terms of shipbuilding, in that Scotland has its own shipyards, and any Scottish government will likely place orders with those shipyards, thus boosting the local economy, and keeping demand up even if the Royal Navy decides to not build ships there anymore (assuming they’d do that in the first place. There are very few shipyards in the rest of the UK that Westminster can use to build large ships). I think the plan is to have four Type 26 frigates built there, to replace the two Type 23s that it is hoping to get through negotiations with the UK. And that would be just the start.

        Another point worth mentioning is that Scotland is awkwardly located in Europe. Not only would it be a good place for Russia to cause trouble in the North Sea if it successfully invades Scotland, which no one in that area would want if Russia really wants to start a war, but Scotland is part of the GIUK gap, the “gap” formed by Greenland, Iceland and the UK. Greenland has no native military, and Iceland has no army and only three coastal guard vessels. Scotland’s military is, in effect, the only military force which could patrol the gap after independence. I’m pretty sure that factor alone will outweigh any other issue NATO will have for rejecting Scotland into the alliance, on the basis that America doesn’t want to give Russia a convenient way to get to its shores, and no one wants a Russian “outpost” in such a strategic place in Europe.

        That is, of course, assuming Russia does go to war with the West. How likely do you think that is, anyway?

      • chrishanger August 20, 2014 at 9:26 pm #


        The short answer is that I’m a student of history, world power and geopolitics. It’s actually quite astonishing how many events are interrelated even though common sense would seem to indicate otherwise. For example, the launch of Operation Torch in 1943 might well have contributed to the German defeat at Stalingrad (umpteen thousand miles away) because the Germans rushed most of their air assets to North Africa and therefore didn’t have them available for use in Russia.

        Shattering a previously-existing national structure is always a chancy thing. I think most people underestimate just how lucky the Americans were to keep their country together after independence. India had major problems (hence the split with Pakistan) while the Soviet Union was lucky to escape a civil war. The union between England and Scotland has laid some pretty solid foundations – and destroying them will have any number of unintended consequences.

        The problem with modern militaries is that everything is so damned expensive. These are not the days when you could give a young man a few hours of training, shove a gun in his hand and expect him to hold a trench against determined attack. Building up a modern force of tanks, jet aircraft and warships is immensely costly. Worse, perhaps, it also takes years. One good reason to be so worried about defence cuts is that they’re stripping away capabilities we will be unable to replace in a hurry, when we need them. Scotland simply doesn’t have the tax base of a unified Britain (let alone the US; there’s a reason the US has the most powerful force on the planet) to fund a modern military, even assuming we didn’t have anything else to spend the money on.

        For example, I highly doubt that Scotland would be willing and able to fund enough warships to keep the shipyards in business indefinitely. Would England still buy from Scotland?

        I think you’re underestimating the problems Scottish independence would cause NATO. For example, the UKADR is a unified system. Separating it into ‘Scottish’ and ‘English’ would be a nightmare. Worse (from NATO’s POV) there would be another political authority to negotiate with, a problem which has caused no end of problems in Afghanistan. The US would demand some very heavy commitments from us if Scotland was to become independent, yet remain in NATO.

        I don’t think Russia would deliberately launch a full-scale war against us. However, it would be quite possible for one or both sides to miscalculate and accidentally trigger off a war, then start operations that would make it harder and harder for them to back down. For example, the Russians could decide to invade East Ukraine (or liberate, depending on who you believe), then get drawn into a wider conflict.


        Date: Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:41:13 +0000 To:

      • thyrobocop August 29, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

        Here’s hoping that this other reply doesn’t turn out as long. XD

        I’m more of a student in Chemistry myself, but I do find the field of history and geopolitics quite fascinating too. I guess my love for analytical chemistry, crime fiction and how things work has a lot to do with that, and I did have a really good teacher for Italian, History and Geography.

        I will admit that I’m likely to be one of the people underestimating America’s luck at surviving the post-independence affairs, and just how dicey those other examples you mentioned are. But surely not every movement for independence has been as problematic as those? What about Canada, or Australia, New Zealand, or other nations in the Commonwealth?

        Sure, the Union of the parliaments has proven beneficial to both Scotland and England over the course of history. But, as it may be apparent in my previous long post, I think that the current lot of politicians have been doing their best at eroding at those very foundations, a process that arguably has been going on since Tatcher came to power. And the way they are behaving now, and pledge to behave in the future, doesn’t exactly leave me hopeful that staying in the Union isn’t going to have disastrous consequences (both intended and unintended) to the UK as a whole, let alone Scotland.

        You do have a good point about the military being costly and time consuming to make, and that Scotland wouldn’t really have a large tax base to support it. But I mentioned before that Scotland wouldn’t necessary have the same foreign policy as the UK does at the moment. It doesn’t quite have as much as an economic incentive to project its military forces anyway (we have our own oil, and plenty of renewable energies potential to make it redundant), so it wouldn’t really need all the really expensive equipment that a military designed for force projection needs, just enough to provide defensive capabilities.

        Mind you, I haven’t done my own research into that particular aspect. A lot of what I do know is really speculation on what an independent Scotland could do to field a cost-effective military, which I’ve been reading off Charlie Stross’s own blog over at, and I can hardly claim that this is what the Scottish government would do. But he does have a few good points that are worth reading. And I will make sure to inform myself properly on the topic.

        I’ve answered the topic of what shipyards could do after building Scotland’s navy in my previous reply already.

        As for NATO, while I don’t believe NATO would give us too many problems from what I’ve read so far, I will admit that I am not as informed on this topic either, and I will do my own research on the topic.


  11. Jonathan August 25, 2014 at 4:33 pm #


    Isn’t this referendum basically a vacuous exercise in political posturing? I mean, since the SNP wishes to join the EU, will Scotland really be independent, regardless of how the vote turns out? I am not a European, but I can’t see how a nation can be sovereign when so many of its laws are legislated by foreigners in Brussels and when it has almost no control of its borders or immigration policy. Am I missing something?

    • thyrobocop August 25, 2014 at 8:23 pm #

      I’ll be writing up a reply to the long replies Chris has given me sometime soon, which may include the answer to your question in more detail. But the short answer I can give you now is that, ultimately, Scotland wants to have the reserved powers that currently Westminister holds in order to improve it’s situation, such as:

      -the power to raise the minimum wage to living wage standards, so that people are able to afford the cost of living without going on benefits
      -the power to scrap air passenger duty, in order to allow more planes to arrive at its airports, thus boosting the tourism sector
      -the power to invest and support the growing renewable energies industry, which would allow us to put to use the offshore tidal and wind power in Scotland (which apparently forms 25% of all offshore tidal and wind power in the EU!!!), and help us achieve 100% of the renewable target much sooner than the UK

      and many, many other powers that would allow the Scottish Parliament and Government to invest in Scotland’s strengths. The website Business for Scotland has many articles on how independence, or at least access to those reserved matters if obtained via some form of further devolution, could help Scotland achieve the goals most parties in Scotland have in their manifesto, so it’s worth having a look there.

      But going back to the question of the EU, as far as I know, the EU does not have the kind of control over the “reserved” matters that Scotland needs to improve the economy that Westminister has at the moment (I am not sure about how the bailouts worked for Greece and other nations, but IIRC the EU did not force austerity on Greece. It had to be approved by the Greek parliament, so in theory, if Greece decided to take a different direction, as long as the EU approved of it it wasn’t much of a problem, meaning any proposal that would have boosted the economy or sorted Greece’s long term economic problems would have been equally accepted), and politically speaking Scotland agrees with many of the EU laws and the direction it’s heading (renewable energy targets, an immigration policy that suits Scotland’s own immigration needs for skilled labour to pay for its ageing population, etc.). Basically, it would be willingly ceding to the EU the kind of powers that it was going to use to copy EU policy anyway.

      I hope that has answered your question, and apologies for it being so long. If you have any more questions… I’m not too familiar with WordPress to know if it has a PM function, but if it does, do send me a PM, or visit my own blog. Cheers!

      • chrishanger August 25, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

        You have a blog? Cool!

        Greece was basically put in a ‘rock or a hard place’ position by the EU. The price for the bailout was making major concessions and structural changes, which were painful for the average Greek. It was not the best solution – from a strictly economic point of view, the best solution might have been to kick the Greeks out of the EU, on the grounds they abused their access and flat-out lied (they did) when applying to join.

        But the whole Greek mess outlines the problem of the EU. It is, fundamentally, a political project. The Eurocrats couldn’t afford to kick Greece out because it would call the fundamental purpose of the EU into question. Instead, they chose a half-and-half solution that caused massive resentment just about everywhere, papering over the cracks in the edifice.

        I’m no fan of the EU (you might have noticed). By its very nature, it has to be undemocratic – even antidemocratic – to work.


        Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2014 19:23:41 +0000 To:

      • Jonathan August 26, 2014 at 10:46 am #

        Thank you for your reply.

        I am not British and do not have a dog in this fight. Whatever the Brits in general and Scots in particular decide to do is their business.

        I do, however, like to call a spade a spade. Either you’re independent or you’re not. If the SNP wishes to enter the EU, then I cannot see Scotland as independent or sovereign, as many of its laws, whether it agrees or not, will be made elsewhere. I also believe that the trend in Brussels (the vision of the EU) is for more EU powers and less national powers, and so you may agree to things now, but may not do so later.

        Greece was arm-twisted into massive austerity by the EU. That’s why regular Greeks began referring to Merkel as a modern Hitler.

        I don’t know what you mean by immigration policies of skilled labor. Under the EU anyone with an European passport, able or not, is able to go anywhere in the EU and settle there and be awarded benefits. These can be people in their 60s or 70s even, including any refugees or immigrants that any of the other EU countries take in. Many of these people will not be skilled in any modern labor.

        If you cannot support your ageing population, you may need to either:

        1. Have more children.
        2. Change your social policies.

        One day, you will have to choose no.2, as you cannot grow population indefinitely. Eventually, you will also run out of immigrants (at least the kind you want).

        You cannot control immigration when you’re in the EU, as your borders are those of the EU, not your own country. And as Britain is learning these days, as the foremost European exporter of Islamic State terrorists, it is very hard to assimilate an unlimited and uncontrolled number of immigrants.

    • chrishanger August 25, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

      That is, to some extent, my attitude. If we separate from England, we may not be permitted to enter the EU without major concessions – as you say, we will basically gain a government with much less international clout than the UK Government, largely subject to Brussels. We will have much less grounds for saying ‘non/nein’ and making it stick. Chris Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2014 15:33:17 +0000 To:


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