Gauin tae pick a fecht

Wendy Alexander, Labour Scottish leader, seems to have announced a significant policy shift. She now wants a referendum on independence and may introduce legislation for it. However, the formal position of Labour is unclear and the other parties are somewhat bemused about the potential shift. According to YouGov (buoyed from calling the London elections right) support for independence drops significantly if the option of changes to devolution is included. Also the underlying strength of Unionist support in Scotland means they begin in the stronger position. It allows the Unionist parties to take the initiative, pick the timing and leaves the SNP being the party that does not want to let the people speak.

  • Mark McGregor

    The democratic deficit in the north is further emphasised through this, while the Scots devolved administration can legislate on having a vote on independence, the north is dependent on a decision from a British SoS and even then can’t define how the vote would be run – simple or weighted majority. They also wouldn’t be constrained by legislation on when a subsequent vote could be taken.

  • RG Cuan

    Labour is obviously rocked and are worried what’s happening in Scotland. No matter what spin is put on the issue, the SNP is still the party with the initiative on an independence referendum.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Can’t believe this FD, I have never ever e-mailed any of the bloggers on here but was just coming onto send your good self one regarding this Qmatter, as I know you have shown an interest in these matters previously.

    Great minds think alike an aw that.

    >>It allows the Unionist parties to take the initiative, pick the timing and leaves the SNP being the party that does not want to let the people speak.<

  • fair_deal

    PE

    “was just coming onto send your good self one regarding this Qmatter,”

    Suggestions are welcome however just note i check that address every couple of days so a speedy response may not always be forthcoming (plus I may not be interested although in this case I would have been).

    Thanks for the info on the different questions and its impact.

  • “The former always throws up a higher approval than the latter.”

    …which would suggest that people are lacking something in their understanding of the terms in the question.

  • dewi

    I’ve hesitated to comment cos the siblings are supposed to be so clever. Pause. But:

    1) All Salmond has to do is say “thanks for your support we’ll have a referendum when we are ready thank you”
    2) Goldie and Stephen must be seething – they surely can’t play on Labour’s Commission (don’t it sound like the Mafia?) thing. They must withdraw.
    3) Oil price price up $10 a barrel this morning….Tony – might be tempted to go for it !!!

    4) Unless Wendy reckons that the Union is finished and wants a real job in an independent Scotland….

  • Dewi
  • oneill

    The most recent poll on independence showed that more Scots favour this than the status quo.

    On a point of pedantry, I think this is the most recent poll:

    http://news.scotsman.com/politics/Poll-says-support-for-Scots.4033511.jp

    I’ve had a debate elsewhere re the wording of the question posed in such polls and also ultimately the referendum.

    It’s the reason thrown up generally by nationalists as to why there is such a wide disparity in what such opinion polls are showing at the minute- my feeling is that there is simply a lot more volatility amongst the Scottish electorate at the present. I also think this volatility is not a result of daily changing attitudes on independence, but on attitudes towards Salmond’s and Scottish Labour’s current performances

    But a referendum woulld prove me right or wrong on that:)Bring it on!!

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    I hadn’t heard of that poll O’neil. Note that the poll was done in the Torygraph and reported in the Scotsman, two papers known for their hostility to independence. Also note the wording of the question;

    >>and 25 per cent would back “a completely separate state outside the UK”.< >Thanks for the info on the different questions and its impact.<

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Dewi

    The incompetence of Labour of late, and the ham acting that passes for a leader(truly cringe worthy) allied with the various gaffe’s that have spelt out to us loud and clear that London calls the shots. The commission on Parly downgraded to a review, then Brown letting slip that review was not a one way street and some powers would be returning to Westminster.

    I reckon that wee Wendy is being set to be portrayed as independent of London, telling Billy Britain Brown that she will decide what is best for Scotland, not him. The bullshit is reeking to high heaven. Even the Daily Record made heavy work of backing her yesterday, incredibly producing a document that proves that she has always been pro-referendum. This newspaper really has turned into the worst kind of party rag there is, embarrassingly so. No matter which way they try to spin this, no-one is that stupidly gullible to fall for it.

    Upshot is, a referendum just now could only happen if the SNP and Labour agree on wording, not sure how they will do that. Of course with the support of other London based parties they could impose wording, would the SNP boycott? Unlikely. Labour’s massive unpopularity would be overwhelmed by the desperately negative campaign by the London parties. Every media outlet, perhaps the Herald apart,would happily join in with the doom and gloom, the end is nigh scenario. Why take the chance of interrupting the SNP steamroller at present. Go for a sure win in 2010, rather than a risky probable win now.

  • oneill

    PE

    I reckoned this was the latest poll;

    No irrespective of the wording, the one I quoted was dated 30th April, the one you linked into was the 24th.

  • kensei

    beano

    …which would suggest that people are lacking something in their understanding of the terms in the question.

    I don’t know. I think there are subtle effects that go on with language; you’ll not overcome strong opinions, but you can affect people that are wavering. And Scotland does seem genuinely unsure at the moment.

    I’m sure Alex Salmond would like to be able to hire an ad man to ask the question in as warm a fuzzy way as possible, though.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    oneill

    >>I reckoned this was the latest poll<

  • Hogan

    BBC Scotland political editor on the Today programme said he suspected this was all about timing.

    SNP want to wait while to demonstrate they are a party capable of sound government, and also if they are obstructed from they’re own plans by lack of an overall majority from bringing a central policy plank to the fore they can point at the other parties blocking the clear wishes of the party elected by the majority of the people in Scotland.

    The outworking of that being SNP go to the electorate seeking a stronger mandate through an overall majority.

    Sounds sensible enough analysis to me. Wendy Alexander plans are throwing a big spanner in the works.

    Problem for her though is will the public see her pressing a huge red button in a panicky stunt fashion, has she over-egged her politcal pudding?

  • oneill

    PE

    What part of the past tense, “I reckoned” didn’t you understand? Or perhaps you believe that I am number dyslexic?

    Or perhaps I simply read your comment too quickly?

    Anyhow this latest poll strangely enough corresponds with the editorial anti independence line.

    From what I’ve read over the last few months, The Scotsman has published all the polls connected with this issue, whatever the result. Also, it’s a You Gov poll, not a Scotsman or even Daily Tele one – they are an independent polling company, who were, incidently, pretty accurate at predicting the London Mayor Result.

    Seems to be at odds with all of the other polls. Either we blame the way the question was posed, or the sample

    You can do both, so you’ll be wanting a referendum asap I take it then?.

  • fair_deal

    Hogan

    “elected by the majority of the people in Scotland”

    Sorry to be picky but they weren’t elected by the majority, they are an minority administration.

  • cynic

    “The democratic deficit in the north is further emphasised through this”

    Mark

    errrr…..presumably that is why NI politicans signed up to the arrangements here which are a compromise between the various traditions and have been endorsed by the electorate in a referrendum and several elections.

    If we follow your logic, and the residents of say Cullybackey (or even Ms Miggins at 42 Acacia Avenue) want to declare UDI, then it would be a democratic deficit if they didnt have the power to do so.

  • cynic

    The Scots will never vote for Independence.

    They would be afraid that they might have to take Brown back.

  • Dewi
  • Rory

    I wonder will any Northern Ireland unionists now take a leaf out of Alexander’s book and seek a UK-wide referundum to determine whether it is the wish of the UK electorate that Northern Ireland remain a part of the UK or be integrated within the island of Ireland.

    I suppose not. It would prove to be so hurtful should they find out that they weren’t wanted.

  • terrorpin

    @Rory

    I wonder will any Northern Ireland unionists now take a leaf out of Alexander’s book and seek a UK-wide referundum to determine whether it is the wish of the UK electorate that Northern Ireland remain a part of the UK or be integrated within the island of Ireland.

    I suppose not. It would prove to be so hurtful should they find out that they weren’t wanted.

    I’m pretty damn sure that even if a majority in GB favour a united Ireland they would be opposed to a united Ireland without the consent of NI by a substantial margin.

    As to being “hurtful” you misunderstand the unionist psyche if you think that. The concept of GB being traitorous and half hearted to uphold their side of the covenant of nationhood has actually been a fundamental streak within unionism for the past 90 years, indeed arguably for centuries. You could go back as far as Cromwell and find it.

  • oneill

    I wonder will any Northern Ireland unionists now take a leaf out of Alexander’s book and seek a UK-wide referundum to determine whether it is the wish of the UK electorate that Northern Ireland remain a part of the UK or be integrated within the island of Ireland.

    As far as I understand, Ms Alexander is proposing a referendum in Scotland, not Uk-wide.

    Regarding the wishes of the rest of the UK electorate, a fair proportion of them would also deny the right of those who may be a different colour or religion to themselves to regard themselves as British. Fortunately, although this attitude may be hurtful to those individuals in question, no one has the right to deny them their British citizenship or nationality.

    Fortunately, also, it’s up to the people of Northern Ireland to decide their constitutional future- and I’d welcome a referendum on that question, tomorrow if you like.

  • Hogan

    FD

    Consider Introduction to Politics Lesson 1 learned!

    Voted for by more people than any other single party in Scotland.

    I thought the guy was on the money in his analysis though.

  • Dewi

    “would be opposed to a united Ireland without the consent of NI by a substantial margin”

    Why “substantial” ?

  • kensei

    As much as find Unionists insistence that they are staying in the Union regardless of whether England, Scotland and Wales want it or not, actually on topic, Gordon Brown has just dumped Alexander from a great height:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7387669.stm

    Jesus H Christ. When I think Labour can’t fuck up more, they do so spectacularly.

  • Dewi

    Wonderful Kensei See last paragraph – don’t think she’s even allowed to introduce a Bill. What a shower!!!

  • Dewi

    I’m actually beginning to feel some sympathy for Wendy – don’t think Gordo would dare put words in Rhodri Morgan’s mouth.
    Not that much sympathy though – can’t stop laughing at Nicola Sturgeon’s:
    “Is Ms Alexander a secret SNP member ?”.
    First Minister’s Questions tomorrow – essential viewing…..

  • K McLaughlin

    It was always the intention of the SNP Government to introduce a referendum bill in 2010. There was never any chance that such a bill would be passed as all the Unionist parties at Holyrood were committed to voting against it. Until this week that is. Now that Wendy has broken ranks with the rest and pledged Labour to introduce such a bill, it is now certain a referendum will take place.
    The trouble is that by the time the bill is introduced, debated clause by clause, a date set for the referendum etc., etc., it will be 2010, which is what the SNP wanted all along!.
    Thanks Wendy!
    By that year Tory Boy Dave and the rest of the Bullingdon Club will be in power in Westminster and the alternative to independence will be a Scotland facing another decade (or two, or three) of rule by a Tory party supported by only a small minority (perhaps 15% or less) of Scots(Boris for Scottish Governor General anyone??)
    Far from wrong footing the SNP, Ms Alexander has shown the tactical nous of Winnie the Pooh here.
    With one deft move she has shattered the Unionist united front and scored an own goal to rank with her boss El Gordo’s gaffe in abolishing the 10p Income Tax rate.
    No wonder Salmond has a permanent grin.
    New Labour! New cockups!

  • cynic

    “Far from wrong footing the SNP, Ms Alexander has shown the tactical nous of Winnie the Pooh here. ”

    Perhaps its all part of a Master Plan that when the Cameroonies sweep to power and create an English Conservative State, Gordon will retreat to a Castle Tower in the North to brood on what might have been.

    Any nominations for the roles of the three witches? (Perm any 3 from Harman, Blears, Alexander, Jowell and Flint) but Ed Balls will make a splendid ghost.

  • Phil

    “I’m pretty damn sure that even if a majority in GB favour a united Ireland they would be opposed to a united Ireland without the consent of NI by a substantial margin.”

    I wouldn’t bank on that.

    Prionsa, Dewi it looks like our time is fast approaching. Whilst It would have been nice to have an established English government to negotiate on our behalf in winding up the final remnants of the British state, I don’t think there will be time now. Shame really as I was prepared to give a federal union a go at one stage, but ho-hum, we’ll never know now. I doubt too that the powers that be will give us English or the Welsh a referendom on whether we would like independence too so it’s all up to you Prionsa. You know what to do, it’s time as they say!

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Dewi

    Great link!

    >>The SNP increased its first preference votes in the ward by 15% to 63%.

    “This is a stunning victory,” said SNP leader Alex Salmond.< >so you’ll be wanting a referendum asap I take it then?.<

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    I echo Kensei’s sentiments. Now that the dust has settled it is clear that Gordon or Wendy are lying, seriously, probably both. I can smell scandal. Anyone with sky should watch the Scottish TV news tonight, what a job they done on Wendy. She is doing a u-turn on her u-turn.

    >>I’m actually beginning to feel some sympathy for Wendy< >it looks like our time is fast approaching.<

  • dewi

    Alex on Channel 4:
    “Don’t know if Wendy’s trying to destroy Gordon, Gordon trying to destroy Wendy or both trying to destroy each other.”
    Scathing about her lack of understanding of Holyrood procedures.

  • Brian Walker

    Constitution Unit Press statement (HazellWalker version 21)
    You might find this academic analysis useful.
    Brian Walker
    Hon Senior Research Fellow, the Constiution Unit
    University College London
    A SINGLE REFERENDUM FOR SCOTS TO BREAK UP THE UNION WOULD BE UNLAWFUL TWO REFERENDUMS REQUIRED FOR SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE SAYS THE CONSTITUTION UNIT

    Constitution Unit Press statement
    TWO REFERENDUMS REQUIRED FOR SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE SAYS THE CONSTITUTION UNIT

    A single referendum initiated by the SNP government and authorised by the Scottish Parliament could not achieve independence for Scotland. The terms of any independence deal negotiated with the UK government would require a second referendum authorised by Westminster, says the Constitution Unit. A first referendum could only be held on the principle of independence, and authorise the SNP government to enter into negotiation with the UK government about the details.

    The Constitution Unit is responding to the apparent U turn on a referendum by Wendy Alexander leader of Scottish Labour, after her call on Alex Salmond’s SNP minority government to “bring it on.”

    “We have long argued that Scottish independence requires two referendums, for reasons of law and practical politics” said Constitution Unit director Prof Robert Hazell. “Under the Scotland Act only Westminster can authorise a referendum that would grant Scotland independence. I would be surprised if Gordon Brown has also done a U turn and wants Westminster to hold such a referendum any time soon”.

    “But there are also reasons of principle why there should be two referendums. People in Scotland might support independence in principle, but think again when confronted with the terms of independence. The terms will include not just issues like North Sea oil, but division of the national debt, ending all financial transfers from the UK government, and Scotland’s continued membership of the EU. The Scots are entitled to know the detailed terms of independence before making such a big decision”.

    The Constitution Unit addressed the referendum issue (among others) in Jo Murkens’ book Scottish Independence – A Practical Guide (Edinburgh University Press, 2002) and made two observations. First, the referendum question would need to be carefully worded to be about commencing negotiations rather than about independence itself, in order to stay within the confines of the powers of the Scottish Executive and Scottish Parliament defined in the Scotland Act 1998. The question would be on the principle (rather than the details) of independence. Secondly, the terms and conditions of Scottish independence (including that Scotland would separate from the United Kingdom) would be the subject-matter of a second referendum.

    Jo Murkens (now law lecturer at the LSE) added: “Wendy Alexander’s rallying call to ‘bring it on’ may be of political significance in Scotland. But in constitutional terms it is little more than an acknowledgment that the Scottish Executive (having obtained legislative authority from the Scottish Parliament) has the power to hold a consultative referendum on negotiations with Westminster. That acknowledgement in no way anticipates the eventual outcome of the negotiation process.”

  • Dewi

    Very interesting Brain Walker. Funny, I didn’t realise a referendum was constitutionally called for at all. Jack Mcdonell in the last Scottish elections told Alex that he would have been more honest in declaring to the Scottish people that a majority SNP government would declare independence without a referendum.
    Goldie things the reult of a referendum should be binding.
    For my simple soul I wonder if you could eleaborate on the LEGAL necessity for the second referendum.
    P.S. Do you know that Curtice bloke? Is he as clever as he seems?

  • Dewi

    I hope Alex is gentle with her tomorrow – and I’ll tell u something for nothing – if Gordon Brown tried to sack Rhodri Morgan the Labour party in Wales would tell him to take a running jump – for all their obvious prehistoric faults they are a bit thran like that…..

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Brian

    Lots of cut’n’paste there, why not just frame an argument? I’m sure you realise what the Scottish people will say to anyone seeking to thwart their democratic intentions, don’t you? Once we negotiate a settlement, are you suggesting that we need the approval of the greater part of the remaining UK population?

    >>ending all financial transfers from the UK government, and Scotland’s continued membership of the EU.<

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Prince,

    I’ve read a good few of your posts on the site. I always assumed you were Scottish and that you support Scottish Independence and the breakup of the UK.

    IF that is the case I find it somewhat confusing that you are so obviously interested in all things Irish, although maybe that’s really all things Gaelic. For example, you’re on this site quite a bit. Not to mention your moniker, even tho’ I just did. So, I guess my question is why do you want the breakup of something that you obviously recognise as intimately entwined?

  • terrorpin

    @Dewi

    “would be opposed to a united Ireland without the consent of NI by a substantial margin”

    Why “substantial”?

    Since you have chopped up my comment in a way that may make it look out of context, let me clarify that the “substantial margin” refers to the number in Great Britain who would reject ejecting NI from the union without it’s consent NOT the margin required in NI for a united Ireland.

    I believe that there is a massive gap between supporting a united Ireland by consent and supporting a united Ireland imposed without consent. If nothing else there is a vast gap in terms of the ethics of those two positions.

    The recent Guardian poll showed 41% in GB in favour of a united Ireland and 26% wanting NI to remain in the UK.

    So I believe that if a poll question was,

    “Given that a majority in NI wish to remain within the UK do you

    A) Believe that NI should be united with the RoI irrespective of this.
    B) Believe that NI should stay as part of the UK when this is the case.
    C) Other / Don’t Know”

    I think that the A option would shrink back from 41% substantially, to probably no more than something like 10% (though of course that’s a guess), and the B option would rise from 26% to something more substantial.

    That was the point I was making.

  • terrorpin

    I think that applies to Scotland too. Asking the English whether they think that Scotland should leave the UK will give substantially different results if you ask the question

    A) In general.
    B) In the context of a majority of Scots supporting the union.
    C) In the context of a majority of Scots wanting to leave the union.

    I believe that the modal position of a typical English person is that if the Scots want to be in the union they should be allowed to stay in it but if they want to leave then they should be allowed to leave and that if the Northern Irish wants to be in the union they should be allowed to stay in it but if they want to leave then they should be allowed to leave.

  • Dewi

    Gotcha terrorpin – my mis-understanding of original post.

  • Dewi

    Completely off-topic but today’s Western Mail front page headline best I’ve ever seen.

    Volcano isolates Welsh Patagonia

  • Dewi

    It could be an absolute classic referendum campaign. I can just visualise Sean Connery’s final broadcast: The Declaration of Arbroath.

    “It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.”

    And of course, it’s Scotland’s oil….At $200 a barrel !!!

  • Phil

    Fair point Terrorpin, which is why any referendum should be worded: “Do you think (insert name of country) should be an independent nation, separate from the UK?” as no part of the UK has the right to push another part out against the wishes of their people. The right to self-determination however is the right of every nation and if England, Scotland and Wales choose to secede from the UK then that leaves Northern Ireland alone remaining in the UK. Look on the bright side though, as the UK’s successor state you could have big Ian, Gerry or Martin sitting on the UN security council!

  • Dewi

    “as the UK’s successor state you could have big Ian, Gerry or Martin sitting on the UN security council!”

    Now Phil – that was funny !!!

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Phil

    Anyone would think that you believe some folk have too high an opinion of themselves.

    G’day Congal

    >>I’ve read a good few of your posts on the site. I always assumed you were Scottish and that you support Scottish Independence and the breakup of the UK.< >IF that is the case I find it somewhat confusing that you are so obviously interested in all things Irish, although maybe that’s really all things Gaelic.< >For example, you’re on this site quite a bit. Not to mention your moniker, even tho’ I just did.< >So, I guess my question is why do you want the breakup of something that you obviously recognise as intimately entwined?< http://www.holyrood.tv/library.asp?title=First%20Minister's%20Questions&section=30

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Prince,

    “Don’t know if I am interested in all or even most things Irish, or Gaelic for that matter. Do you suppose this is contradictory or confusing to someone wishing to see their nation sovereign once again?, How so?, Are Ireland and Scotland so unrelated?, Do tell?”

    Quite the opposite. For example, Ireland was first colonised by people moving from Scotland to the north coast in and around 10,000 years ago. Then as a result of toing and froing “we” ended up giving Scotland it’s name thro’ the Scottii. As I mentioned in my post I believe these islands to be intimately entwined. However, that goes further – these isles as a whole are a mix. For example, referring to my examples above, the Scottii were originally from SW England before moving to Ireland. Indeed another tribe from the same area, the Errain, then gave Ireland it’s name. We’re the one people and that’s why I’m a Unionist.

    “As clear as mud. Though I would hardly be a massive user of this site, semi-regular perhaps.”

    What I’m alluding to here is that you seem to show a lot of interest in Northern Ireland and Ireland in general. I would’ve suspected that a Scots Nationalist should be spending more time on Scottish blogs. Perhaps you do? Your moniker I assumed was in reference to Prince Eoghan, son of Niall of the Nine hostages. No? Again I would have thought you would’ve had a Scots related moniker.

    “I think that you are a wee bit confused Congal, care to come back and explain yourself?”

    I am confused by your obvious interest in the rest of the British Isles when you want a sovereign Scottish “nation”. In short, your participation in this forum, which I welcome, seems at odds with your desire for independence.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Congal

    I am even more confused, surely you seek to run rings round a mere mortal like my by your superior prose. I can see no other reason for your two posts. Do you know anything about the latest Wendygate laughafon? Do you support a referendum on Scottish independence? There’s two on topic points for next time.

    Dodgy historical claims are one thing but using them to state;

    >>We’re the one people and that’s why I’m a Unionist.< >What I’m alluding to here is that you seem to show a lot of interest in Northern Ireland and Ireland in general. I would’ve suspected that a Scots Nationalist should be spending more time on Scottish blogs. Perhaps you do? Your moniker I assumed was in reference to Prince Eoghan, son of Niall of the Nine hostages. No? Again I would have thought you would’ve had a Scots related moniker.< >I am confused by your obvious interest in the rest of the British Isles when you want a sovereign Scottish “nation”. In short, your participation in this forum, which I welcome, seems at odds with your desire for independence.< http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/gauin-tae-pick-a-fecht/P25/

    Perhaps I am too Machiavellian in thinking they want to bail out. Since Labour is now on record stating that they will vote for a referendum, will anyone pay any heed to what this review reports. Considering the one thing that they were prohibited from considering, independence………………is the only game in town now.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Sorry wrong link;

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/7391667.stm

    The pills I am on make my head full o wee motors.

  • Bring it on.

    When Scotland leaves the UK, where does that leave the Irish six counties? I honestly cannot see the English and the Welsh wanting anything to do with their first and last colony.

    The English public should be told in no uncertain terms that their hard earned taxes are being wasted on state jobs for the Irish up in the north east. Basically, a non-productive East Germany which still thrives. So people, tell the English that their money is being sucked dry, then we’ll see changes.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>a non-productive East Germany which still thrives.<

  • Phil

    Prionsa,

    “Anyone would think that you believe some folk have too high an opinion of themselves.”

    In a way, yes. What the people of NI choose is their own business but what grates is the way that certain individuals believe that they have the right to decide whether their country/province/statelet (delete as applicable) remains in a union until a majority decide otherwise whilst the other nations in that union have never been consulted as to whether they also wish to remain a part of that union. That to me is not a union of equals. In the next couple of years you are going to be asked (as is your sovereign right) to choose whether you wish to remain in the union. If you choose to leave then great, if you don’t then at least you have been asked, as I am sure the people of NI and Wales will eventually be asked also. What I believe is that it is a question which should be put to the people of England too.

    Congal Claen,

    “I am confused by your obvious interest in the rest of the British Isles when you want a sovereign Scottish “nation”. In short, your participation in this forum, which I welcome, seems at odds with your desire for independence.”

    Contrary to what the unionist political establishment and their friends in the media would have you believe, if England, Scotland and Wales do achieve self-determination there will not be barbed wire fences going up north of Carlisle and the Severn Bridge will not be demolished. Life will go on much as before except that your elected reps will not intefere in my life and mine will not affect yours.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    I hear and understand your frustration Phil. The unthinking pomposity nedds taking down a peg or two, a reality check. However I am absolutely staggered that you were able to decipher any meaning from Congal’s ramblings.

    >>Life will go on much as before except that your elected reps will not intefere in my life and mine will not affect yours.<

  • Phil

    “On a shared friendship level, things will just go on as before.”

    I would go further and say that they would actually improve.

  • Dewi

    Home and watched your link Tony – excellent – really tempted to say “thanks Wend – next Thursday OK for you?”…..what a total shambles they are.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    It was great entertainment, I felt guilty, kinda like watching the Christians going to the lions. The only danger seems to be complacency. Labour and Lib-Dem’s obviously have leadership problems lol! The Tories are happy to play ball because much of the legislation that passes through Parly is theirs, they will be able to point out as much at the next election.

    I’ts the meeja Dewi. All of our outlets are foreign owned with interests in keeping us part of the UK. The SNP simply does not have the wherewithal to counter such brutal negative mass meeja campaigns as will inevitably come.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Prince,

    “I am even more confused, surely you seek to run rings round a mere mortal like my by your superior prose.”

    Superior prose? From me? That made me laugh. I take it you’re taking the piss?

    “Do you know anything about the latest Wendygate laughafon? Do you support a referendum on Scottish independence?”

    Yes and yes.

    You then mention…
    “Dodgy historical claims…”
    And then…
    “The east coast of England could hardly be more different genetically to the Welsh, Irish and most of Scotland and the South West of England.”

    Could hardly be more different? C’mon, I know you favour independence but that is just plain nonsense.

    “My son is Eoghan, he gets a kick out of seeing his name. There was a prince Eoghan of Dalriada, fought and died in battle against the Germanic Angles. You know the descendants of those you give fealty to. Hold on just why are you a Unionist again?”

    So, you’ve called your son an Irish name after another Irish leader. Again, does this not reinforce my point that you seem madly interested in all things Irish or dare I say it, British. As I said before I would’ve expected some Scots influence on such a decision.

    “Look Congal, I get the feeling that you are looking for a clever way to to tell me to ‘get tae fuck and mind ma ain business.’”

    Couldn’t be further from the truth. Genuinely, if you do think that’s what I’m implying – don’t. As I said before, I welcome you’re participation.

    For the record, I think it would be a backward step if Scotland were to leave the UK. It would be the end of the UK and each “nation” would go it’s own way. I’d imagine should that happen England would never rejoin and we’d be much the poorer for that – both culturally and economically. Why would they? To listen to a bunch of moaning b*stards? An independent England would be Tory and pro business. You may think that Scotland could emulate the Republic but an Independent England would reduce corporation tax so that the “tax haven” advantages would be non existent. You’d have to compete on real business terms. England would dwarf the regions in real business terms. How then would Scotland compete? Why would companies invest in Nations on the fringes of England when they could just invest directly in a country with far better links to the rest of the world, that contains one if not the top financial centre in the world? They wouldn’t. However, by the time that was found out in this hypothetical world the cat would be outta the bag and wouldn’t be going back in. England would laughing and we’d be fekked. Still, at least we could moan about how good it used to be. Afterall, it’s what we’re best at…

    Rereading that I couldn’t help thinking that I could be accused of having an inferiority complex. I don’t, it’s a reality complex.

  • Dewi

    “England would dwarf the regions in real business terms” True – but small European nations seem to do OK.

    There you go

    Luxembourg, Andorra, San Marino etc etc. Seems like a bit of a pattern.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>PE – “The east coast of England could hardly be more different genetically to the Welsh, Irish and most of Scotland and the South West of England.”

    Congal – Could hardly be more different? C’mon, I know you favour independence but that is just plain nonsense.< >So, you’ve called your son an Irish name after another Irish leader. Again, does this not reinforce my point that you seem madly interested in all things Irish or dare I say it, British. As I said before I would’ve expected some Scots influence on such a decision.< >For the record, I think it would be a backward step if Scotland were to leave the UK.< >I’d imagine should that happen England would never rejoin and we’d be much the poorer for that – both culturally and economically. Why would they? To listen to a bunch of moaning b*stards?< >You may think that Scotland could emulate the Republic< >You’d have to compete on real business terms. England would dwarf the regions in real business terms. How then would Scotland compete?< >Why would companies invest in Nations on the fringes of England when they could just invest directly in a country with far better links to the rest of the world, that contains one if not the top financial centre in the world?< >Rereading that I couldn’t help thinking that I could be accused of having an inferiority complex.<

  • Dewi

    Interesting Tony Peter Preston calling for a grand Unionist coalition in Scotland….to call a referendum !!!

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Bendy Wendy’s unilateral decision last week has put paid to that idea in the medium term Dewi. Anyhow, we now know that they cannot propose any legislation that the Government has indicated that they themselves are looking to introduce. All that they are left with is an uneasy coalition come 2010, even the latest u-turn and wriggling from Labour cannot change the fact that they are committed to supporting a referendum.

    Unionists of all hue’s are only now realising what the Labour strategists seemingly cottoned onto last week. The implications of a Tory government in Westminster is an aphrodisiac to the voting intentions of the otherwise unaroused Scottish voter. I cannot envisage us losing the(labour promised support) referendum in 2010 with a Tory government in Westminster. *shakes head* Yep this is really hapening!

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Dewi

    “Luxembourg, Andorra, San Marino etc etc. Seems like a bit of a pattern.”

    Yip. Tax havens. Thanks for underlining my argument ;0)

    Hi Prince,

    Regarding the DNA stuff, whilst I recognise that there are differences. These are very small differences. You said they “could hardly be more different”. Yet, it’s thought that all Europeans came from 7 women. We’d be even more tight knit than that.

    “You presume a lot, for someone who patently knows so little. Dalriadans WERE the early Scots, so much so that the nation took it’s name from them, it was a kingdom in Scotland that spoke Gaelic. A national language of Scotland to this day. Eoghan was the son of the King of Dalriada,”

    Agreed. Although the kingdom straddled the Channel. Does that not show how intertwined we are? Considering the Scottii were originally from SW England. Interestingly, the Dalriadans also raided Wales and were forceably repelled. Yet, I’m sure you wouldn’t hold that against Dewi for instance. Cumbria as a nameplace is also derived from Welsh for “brothers in arms” or something similar (correct me if I’m wrong there Dewi) which also shows Welsh/English mixing. Why would we split when we have so much in common?

    “he died fighting against the forefathers of those you give your allegiance to today, Germanic Angles. Care to square that with your earlier stated reasons as to why you are a Unionist?”

    No bother, things change. Only 60 years ago we were fighting against other Germanic angles on a grand scale.

    “For who Congal?, certainly not for Scots.”

    IMHO, for Scotland, Wales, NI and RoI. Whereas, I believe England would propsper without the whingeing regions.

    “Rejoin what? Culturally, I’m sure we would still get access to Corrie and England’s got talent, and those fish suppers won’t stop being sold in bangor or Portobello. Economically, Scotland would be much better off. And just who are the moaning bastards?”

    The UK. I don’t believe Scotland would be better of. “We” are the moaning b*stards.

    “We have far more resources that Ireland, emulating them might be a goal in the short/medium term, but long term economically we should outperform.”

    Why would you outperform? Why would companies locate in Scotland rather than England? Is it pure coincidence that the most “English” city in Scotland is the most successful?

    “Now you are just showing your ignorance. Scottish business has been hampered by the clearly stated fiscal policy of the Bank of England that the British economy will be run for the benefit of the south east of England. So an independent Scotland will be breaking free of the constraints already imposed.”

    These are idle notions. What REAL reasons would make an Independent Scotland more successful? Prior to your union with England, Scotland was essentially bankrupt due to bad investments in South America. England saved Scotland. Whether they would again is debateable. I suspect not.

    “That and a terribly fawning colonial mindset. Tell me do you need an Englishman to butter your toast for you? Perhaps the girlfriend needs a real Englishman, as people like us obviously aren’t upto the job. Fuck sake! Grow up, educate yourself a bit more, and most of all grow a pair!”

    I don’t consider myself a colonial. I have as big a vote as any Englishman in the Westminster elections. In fact because of weighting our votes are actually bigger. Instead of the namecalling, whatabout addressing the actual issue? Why would companies locate in an independent Scotland in preference to England?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Congal

    I’m fed up correcting your nonsense, you clearly are not able to discuss the topic of ancient Britain, such is the mish mash of your ‘facts’ and my admitted incoherence and boredom with dealing with them.

    >>PE – “We have far more resources that Ireland, emulating them might be a goal in the short/medium term, but long term economically we should outperform.”

    Congal – Why would you outperform?< >Why would companies locate in Scotland rather than England?< >Is it pure coincidence that the most “English” city in Scotland is the most successful?< >PE – Scottish business has been hampered by the clearly stated fiscal policy of the Bank of England that the British economy will be run for the benefit of the south east of England. So an independent Scotland will be breaking free of the constraints already imposed.”

    Congal – These are idle notions.< >Prior to your union with England, Scotland was essentially bankrupt due to bad investments in South America. England saved Scotland. Whether they would again is debateable. I suspect not.<

  • Dewi

    “Yip. Tax havens. Thanks for underlining my argument ;0)”

    Didn’t realise they were tax havens? Are Finland Norway, Ireland and Iceland as well?

    It’s of very little relevance I fully agree but I like arguing about Ancient Britain.

    Linguitic and genetic evidence points to very little mixing in the East of the island. John Davies suggests that disease brought in by the Saxon animals could have wiped out the native population. Alternatively of course ethnic cleansing. Nennius suggested that the Celts of the East had reverted to hunter gathering before the Saxon invasions which suggest an alternative pre Saxon plague like thingy.

    Further West it seems more mixing occurred over time although it is sill absolutely astonishing how little word borrowing there was between Welsh and English over the centuries. Our folk memory is of mass population movement – from South Britain to Armorica (Brittany) and from “Yr Hen Ogledd” (The Old North) to Gwynedd.

    Correct on Cumbria. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cumbric_language

    And Congal is it just me but that “Hi Dewi” thing drives me spare

    Thinks she might be out Prince – Wilson ain’t the obvious hatchet man though ?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Prince,

    Obviously you’re quite emotional about the topic but ffs calm down. If there were a referendum tomorrow I doubt you would see the result thro heart attack.

    “Resources Congal, 1st world experience, education and resources. We have oil, gas, masses of renewable wave energy(the Pentland firth alone is huge), wind energy”

    Lots of countries are resource rich but piss poor. You assume you’d own the oil and gas. That would have to be decided. As for your faith in renewables. Most of the countries who went big into renewables are scaling back eg Denmark and Germany. They’re windowdressing for enviromentalists. I wouldn’t pin yer hopes on them.

    “Same reason as they locate in other countries. Market incentives, available skilled workforce, low business rates, low taxes etc. You really have a high opinion of England don’t you?”

    Regardless of any affection for England, they have better Universities than Scotland, better research centres and the low tax advantage will ebb away as so many countries are doing it. A Tory England would match whatever tax incentives you could offer. And the big advantage of the City of London won’t go away either. So, again what REAL reasons will companies choose Scotland over England?

    “hampered by fiscal policy or “breaking free” aren’t reasons. I can’t imagine Microsoft thinking “fek we must set up in Scotland as they’re breaking free”.

  • Dewi

    Reconstructing Cumbric What a truly wonderful Geek…..

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>Wilson ain’t the obvious hatchet man though ?< >Obviously you’re quite emotional about the topic but ffs calm down. If there were a referendum tomorrow I doubt you would see the result thro heart attack.< >So, again what REAL reasons will companies choose Scotland over England?< >PE – “Resources Congal, 1st world experience, education and resources. We have oil, gas, masses of renewable wave energy(the Pentland firth alone is huge), wind energy”

    Congal – Lots of countries are resource rich but piss poor.< >You assume you’d own the oil and gas. That would have to be decided< > Most of the countries who went big into renewables are scaling back eg Denmark and Germany. They’re windowdressing for enviromentalists. I wouldn’t pin yer hopes on them.< >“hampered by fiscal policy or “breaking free” aren’t reasons. I can’t imagine Microsoft thinking “fek we must set up in Scotland as they’re breaking free”.<

  • GGN

    Prionsa Eoghan,

    Can I be nosy and ask if it is Eoghan as in Ewan or Eoghan as in Owen?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    We prefer the latter, though if someone pronounces the former that is fine.

  • Dewi

    Naah it’s Owain as in Owain Glyndwr

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Dewi

    Ooooooooh Wayne isn’t quite as hip as Owen or Ewen/an though is it? Notwithstanding the fine man that the REAL Prince of Wales was.

    That’s the problem with the Welsh, not cool enough ;¬)

  • Dewi

    We are pretty cool:
    http://www.coolcymru.co.uk/

    and don’t boast about it either – LOL 🙂

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Wot no Zeta Jones? A girl from the mumbles, what would I give for the fumbles.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Prince,

    I have to say I was quite looking forward coming in today to read your response. You didn’t disappoint…

    “No, you are quite wrong about what is getting on my wick. You are daein ma heid in with your half-arsed ‘facts’ and silly demands for answers even when an answer has been given and is staring you in the face. Your reading and or comprehension skills seem questionable eg;
    >>So, again what REAL reasons will companies choose Scotland over England?<<”You’re confusing “answer” with “reason”. Should you wish to convince your fellow countrymen to embark on your journey to independence I think you’d have more takers with well laid out reasons. Questioning their intellect because they don’t agree with you won’t convert too many waivers.“I refer you to my earlier answer.........Same reason as they locate in other countries. Market incentives, available skilled workforce, low business rates, low taxes etc.”And again, you’ll be beaten hands down on all those by a Tory England – your biggest competitor. What market incentives will you offer that won’t be matched by England? What skills will you have that Oxford/Cambridge and the host of hi-tec spin offs in that area don’t have? Where are these world class universities? Where are the world class companies? As for low taxes, that’s the Tory position. You’re the one who said that a Tory UK government would be the very thing that’ll drive Scotland to independence! FFS, why would you go independent to adopt the very policies you’re supposed to be getting rid off? So, you’ll need to think of some other angle. I suspect you don’t have one.“Scotland will be competing with a whole host of countries for inward investment, not just England, KLAR!”True. However, it’s the one you need to compete with most due to geographic location. As I mentioned before the City of London is one of the top financial centres in the world. As a result of this a large proportion of EU inward investment goes to the UK. An independent Scotland would be outside of that. So why will the companies choose Scotland over England? And remember it’ll now be a tory England that will be much more pro business.“My patience wears ever thin. How many resource rich countries with first world education and experience do you know that are piss poor? Name them!”Lots of the former Soviet Union nations are resource rich and piss poor. Though you could argue with the education system. I think you’d be wrong. However, you could make the argument. Cuba is one of the world's largest producers of nickel. Among its other mining resources are large deposits of iron ore and copper. Gold, silver, chromium, and cobalt are also mined. Petroleum has been produced since 1916. Cuba is the most literate country in the world.“Decided by who? You do not have the first clue. I assume nothing regarding my nations position in taking charge over her own resources.”There’d at least be a bit of a discussion. To assume you would just take ownership is optimistic. Maybe that would be cancelled by whatever portion of the UK national debt you then take on?“He said the Pentland Firth is one of the best sites in the world to generate electricity, describing it as ‘the Saudi Arabia of green energy’.”Basing energy needs on green energy is whistling in the wind. It’s too costly, inefficient and unreliable.“Like much of what you have to say, I have not a scooby what you are on about Congal. I am getting to the stage where your ra ra England nonsense starts to bore me.”It’s not ra, ra England – it’s ra, ra reality. Don’t confuse boredom with the inability to reason.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>It’s not ra, ra England – it’s ra, ra reality. Don’t confuse boredom with the inability to reason.< >What skills will you have that Oxford/Cambridge and the host of hi-tec spin offs in that area don’t have? Where are these world class universities?< >To assume you would just take ownership is optimistic. Maybe that would be cancelled by whatever portion of the UK national debt you then take on?< >Basing energy needs on green energy is whistling in the wind. It’s too costly, inefficient and unreliable.<

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>I have to say I was quite looking forward coming in today to read your response. You didn’t disappoint…<

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Prince,

    “Some of your more idiotic points in your past posts I have chosen to ignore, didn’t you realise that? Ask the Royal family where the world class Universities are in Scotland you numpty. As for hi-tec spin off’s(whatever that means) Dolly the sheep springs to mind. Scotland has always been at the front of innovation.”

    The Royal Family don’t really need jobs after uni do they? So, why would I ask them? FYI 4 of the top 10 universities in the world are in the UK – all in England. Edinburgh, that English city in Scotland, is placed quite high. However, in terms of prestige and ability to attract investment Oxford/Cambridge dwarf the rest. That’s why you have the clusters of hi-tec companies in that area. Scotland has in the past been at the forefront of technology – thank fek for Logie Baird for example. His idea flourished due to being part of the UK.

    “What is NOT in question is that Scotland will take charge of her own resources.”

    True. But it’s not guaranteed that the oil is Scotland’s. If things were as simple as you suggest Shetland should go independent and claim the oil for themselves. They’d be fabulously wealthy.

    “Says you. Green energy is unavoidable in the future, unless you know where mass oil reserves are. Under your big toy box perhaps? Scotland is well placed to take advantage of this new industry no matter how much shengis you talk.”

    Not only is Green energy avoidable, it’s being avoided. Germany, Denmark are scaling back their misadventure with it. Finland is going nuclear. France already is. Most importantly tho’ is the concerted effort to crack nuclear fusion by most of the advance countries of the world. Afterall the big burning ball in the sky is a nuclear fusion reactor that provides all this renewable green energy. The reactor is being built in France. Once that happens windfarms will be looked upon as quaint relics. But hey, you go for it!

    “Look Congal you are quite right about banging on about how England will trump Scotland at every juncture in the upcoming WWE business tag-team smash down. “geographic location” as you say means everything, thus why in these new times of global markets, hundreds of companies are relocating to the far east ect. *SUBTLE POINT ALERT* thus you are quite correct that London, all of 300 odd miles from the Scottish central belt would be too great a distance for companies to re-locate, or chhose in the first instance. And why have we not seen a mass exodus of Companies from the Benelux countries and france, also the Celtic tiger to the Great England if they are so great?”

    Companies ALREADY locate in England in far greater numbers than Scotland. You have to persuade them to move or for any new arrivals you have to persuade them why they would take the chance with a newly independent Scotland. The reasons you gave don’t wash. You don’t have the skills, relatively speaking. And the tax reasons would easily be matched by a Tory England. 100s of companies are outsourcing MANUFACTURING to the far east. You aren’t seriously suggesting you’ll compete on price. The head office functions and the high value added functions remain here. These would be the jobs you’d compete for. And your competition would be with England. Some French companies have relocated. The reason most don’t tho’ is because of protectionist law in France. That however is a very short sighted failing on France’s behalf. Some British companies are locating to Dublin for tax reasons. One of the reasons you gave for how Scotland would compete. However, the EU are trying to harmonise tax policy. Assuming you want to enter the Euro that avenue will eventually be closed. The US is also looking at closing tax loopholes thro creative accounting to Dublin which essentially has become a tax haven.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Ok Congal

    I’m bored responding to your economic theories;

    >>The reasons you gave don’t wash. You don’t have the skills, relatively speaking.< >it’s not guaranteed that the oil is Scotland’s. If things were as simple as you suggest Shetland should go independent and claim the oil for themselves. They’d be fabulously wealthy.<

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Prince,

    “1) Scottish Universities are shit, best to send our children for a real education at English uni’s.”

    I didn’t say that. I said that England has 4 of the top 10 Universities in the world. You’ll have to compete with them. Edinburgh is an excellent University. However, in world terms it’s RELATIVELY no where near Oxford/Cambridge. To deny it is foolhardy. It was you who gave skills as one of the reasons why people would invest in an independent Scotland. I’m questioning whether that’s actually viable. As discussed before, you’ll presumably have to compete on the high tech value add industries or finance. You’d have trouble matching Oxbridge for the high tech jobs and you definitely won’t compete with London on financial terms.

    “2)We will not be able to attract any inward investment because the English will get it all, every country in the world as we speak are seeking to be colonised and ruled by England.”

    I didn’t say that either. But as you are geographically adjacent to England which already has a reputation as somewhere to invest that will be your main competition. I find it troubling you don’t get that.

    “3) Green energy is a waste of time and frankly useless, best go nuclear, like the English?”

    Green energy puts strain on the power grid. Germany and Denmark led the world on this. Denmark managed to get to 20% of it’s power coming from wind. However, because the wind doesn’t blow all the time you get massive surges from time to time which bring down the grid as conventional power stations need to be brought up/down. So much so Denmark decided to stop building any more turbines in 2002. The RoI followed suit in 2003. In 2006 large tracts of Western Europe in Italy, Germany and Austria were blacked out for the same reason. Germany has 31% of the entire world’s wind turbines yet the output from these is the equivalent of 1 medium sized power station. Interestingly, despite this the Scottish Labour party had wind power as a policy in the last Scottish elections. You may have more luck from hydro or wave. But, there are massive environmental issues with both these. I’m not sure there is any economically viable wave power system in the world. Nuclear IS the way to go. Fusion will be cracked and that will be that.

    “A silly point.”

    I know. That was the intention.