Rebellious Scots Crushed: Salmond (and others) sent home to think again

So after all was said and done: after all the claims by Scots Nationalists (and hopes from assorted Irish nationalists – and North Korea) No won by a 10% margin.

To be fair this was an outcome which was fairly predictable apart from the wobbles of a few weeks ago. The simple fact was that the default level of support for independence in Scotland has been hovering round the 30-40% for many years. At the start of the campaign it was that and now it is 45%.

To describe the Yes campaign as a failure is maybe unfair in that it came closer than might have been expected two and a half years ago. However, despite seeming to have had all the momentum that momentum seems to have been false.

It is quite difficult to change people’s sense of self and nationality and despite the Yes campaign’s attempt to sell this independence as Independence-lite with Salmond claiming that England would not become a foreign country in the event of a Yes vote this was self evidently false. Keeping the Queen would not have stopped the rest of the UK becoming a separate country just having the monarch does not make the UK and Canada the same country. Having a land border and potentially sharing use of Sterling as well as having no border controls did not make the post independence Irish Free State (later RoI) anything other than independent.

For the Yes campaign’s vase to be believed intellectually every assertion they made eowul have had to be correct and for that everyone else’s assertions would have had to be overcome or else proven wrong. Over currency, joining the EU and the Euro, pensions, the fiscal position, the NHS, NATO etc. etc. in every case Salmond was asking people to believe that he was correct and everyone else wrong. Not only that but he was claiming that presenting a victory in a Scottish referendum would somehow force other countries to accept his mandate to tell them how to conduct their relations with Scotland. It was actually in many ways a colonial position with the Scots cast as the colonial masters: actually deeply ironic in view of the claims of some in the Yes campaign that Scotland was some sort of colony of England.

If the economic case did not add up the emotional one was based on much shakier ground than was often suggested. The reality is that Scotland as a country has much more in common with the rest of the UK than it has with any other country or countries. There are many more shared than unshared values. Indeed Scotland may be more communitarian than parts of the UK but the part it has least in common with: the wealthier parts of the South East is actually a small part of the UK. Relatively stable communities still finding it hard to break out of the recession is a common theme be it in Scotland or most of the rest of the UK. The rise of UKIP especially in the east of England speaks to the same sort of emotions (with Farage careful not to stress many of the free market principles of his party). That UKIP won a European seat in Scotland also demonstrated the significant common ground between Scotland and England.

The Yes campaign’s on line campaign was clearly much more assertive but it is unclear how beneficial that was. At times it did seem overly aggressive. The claims of attacks on property displaying No Thanks posters seem to have been overstated but there clearly were flash mobs organised via twitter which shouted down No speakers. That may have seemed like a good idea demonstrating an apparent majority for Yes but is more likely to have looked like antidemocratic yobbery. Salmond’s dismissal of such concerns played to his apparent arrogant and bullying persona.

The No campaign might be suggested to have fought a poor campaign especially considering how the polls looked two weeks ago. Clearly they were much less dynamic than the Yes campaign despite having what was realistically an easier message to sell. There may well have been a degree of complacency at least until two weeks ago, though Alistair Darling always warned that the polls would tighten. His somewhat dour technocratic campaign was by its nature negative and selling the status quo is always an inherently more negative message that “change”.

The refusal to get involved in emotional appeals was, however, all along seen as a strong point and a deliberate strategy to try to minimise the “Braveheart” flag waving anti English effect. Gordon Brown managed in the last few days to inject emotion. Brown’s pichc was extremely good but the emotional component of it could really only have been sustained at the end (if one wants an analogy the best I can think of is bowling repeated Yorkers at the end of a twenty twenty cricket match).

Some have suggested recently that Cameron’s insistence on a single question was a mistake but it must be remembered that a multi option was opposed by the No campaign as that might have allowed independence to sneal through the middle. In addition victory for devomax might well have resulted in calls a further referendum on independence in a few years. By this mechanism despite some anxieties for the supporters of the Union the issue has been settled probably for the foreseeable future.

Cameron has to an extent allowed Salmond what he wanted in terms of timing and question. Despite those relative advantages they still came up well short.

Going back before Cameron’s time it is interesting to consider the effect of devolution on this election. Had there been no devolution there would have been no Scottish parliament and as such no Salmond as First Minister to push for the referendum. However, going back to before 1997 the Scottish parliament was seen as essential to keep Scotland within the union. By that analysis the refusal to grant devolution would have brought a majority of NP MPs and the same need for a referendum. Hence, the devolution of the Blair years might be suggested to have facilitated an independence referendum yet ensured its ultimate failure.

A degree of embarrassment for the pollsters is the inaccuracy some of their claims have been. There was often suggested to be a “silent majority” of “shy unionists” and this seems to have been borne out. It seems that the Yes campaign had managed to make Yes the trendy thing to say and as such those giving their opinions to pollsters were more likely to say Yes. In addition there are allegations of attempts by yes supporters to manipulate online polling systems. Whatever the reality of this it seems that this campaign somewhat resembles the 1992 general election when Labour was consistently ahead but in reality the Tories won a healthy majority. After that the opinion pollsters made attempts to factor in people refusing to admit supporting the less trendy Tories. It seems in the last twenty years they have forgotten that people do not always vote the way they tell pollsters they are going to.

Despite an outcome favouring the status quo it seems clear that the prounion parties will now have to honour their offers of devomax. That will clearly change the nature of the constitutional settlement of the United Kingdom. This will be interesting in that the vast majority of the population of the UK will not necessarily have a say in that change. It is of course one of those recurring fallacies made by the grossly ill informed to state that the UK has no written constitution. Rather the constitution is written in many different laws and has been modified as needed over the years: what the UK has is no single written constitutional document.

The UK constitution will rather, adapt to the current circumstances, much as it has over the centuries. It remains, however, for the time being the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Patrick Mayhew was correct in his assertion that the threat to the integrity of the UK would come in Scotland before Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland’s turn will of course come within the next two years: after all Gerry Adams promised liberation by 2016. Funny we have heard little about that recently.

  • A Wilson

    Most Nationalist areas voted NO – only staunch ex-Labour heartlands , Dundee, Glasgow, lanarkshire voted YES

  • Oliver Moran

    20 friends are in a pub (along with 230 other punters). Someone asks, should we leave? 9 agree. 11 say, no, let’s stay. That’s the picture we’re looking at.

    > “The reality is that Scotland as a country has much more in common with the rest of the UK than it has with any other country or countries.”

    Does it? In any case, Portugal has more in common with Spain, Denmark has more in common with Sweden, Germany has more in common with Austria, and so on.

    Neighbouring countries are alike. What’s your point?

    Indeed, I would argue that Scotland and England have less in common than other neighbouring countries – even despite being in union for over 300 years.

    > “The refusal to get involved in emotional appeals was, however, all along seen as a strong point and a deliberate strategy to try to minimise the ‘Braveheart’ flag waving anti English effect.”

    Yes. If there was an emotional appeal, it was on the No side. Don’t forget that the No side appealed to another perspective on nationalism and flag waving.

    > “Whatever the reality of this it seems that this campaign somewhat resembles the 1992 general election when Labour was consistently ahead but in reality the Tories won a healthy majority.”

    How to you imagine this? The results match the opinion polls almost exactly.

  • Croiteir

    The Free State was never treated or accepted as foreign by the British, nor indeed was the Republic that followed it, in fact the opposite is the truth and stands to this day. So that paragraph at least needs rewritten

  • Oliver Moran

    Take for example the Ireland Act 1949, which has a whole section explicitly on the matter that “Republic of Ireland not a foreign country.”

    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Ireland_Act_1949

  • sk

    Ulster Prods and triumphalism- it’s like cheese and crackers, isn’t it?

    I’ve seen the Scotland debate aptly described as a “carnival of democracy” and they’re most definitely to be congratulated for showing the rest of us how these constitutional quandaries should be wrestled with. Sectarian-free (aside from the Orange input), with intelligent and reasoned argument drowning out the demagogues and a conscious effort on both sides to pave the way for reconciliation once the polls the closed.

    No democratic moving of the goalposts, no unionist threats of partition, no Scotland Volunteer Force smuggling guns in lest they have to kill British soldiers, no West Lothian version Edward Carson militantly declaring that “Glasgow will fight and Glasgow will be right”.

    Yep, we have a lot to learn from our Scottish neighbours on this side of the Irish Sea.

  • Reader

    You read this bit? “It is hereby recognized and declared that the part of Ireland heretofore known as Eire ceased, as from the eighteenth day of April, nineteen hundred and forty-nine, to be part of His Majesty’s dominions.”
    Though there are some friendly provisions in there as well and also some going the other way.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland

    (See ‘Eligibility to vote’)

  • Sorry sk, but are you saying that as a unionist, Turgon isn’t allowed to say that he’s pleased with the result?

    Nationalists and mopery – like cheese and crackers, isn’t it?

  • Biftergreenthumb

    “Indeed,I would argue that Scotland and England have less in common than other neighbouring countries…”
    Just out of curiousity – what neighbouring countries do you mean? and what are your arguments that Scotland has more in common with them than England?

  • sk

    No that’s certainly not what I’m saying at all. The union is safe for a generation.

    The choice of tone is, shall we say, typical however.

  • Oliver Moran

    I did read that bit.

    Then I read this bit: “…notwithstanding that the Republic of Ireland is not part of His Majesty’s dominions, the Republic of Ireland is not a foreign country for the purposes of any law in force in any part of the United Kingdom…”

  • Reader

    I.e. Irish people are not to be treated as foreigners in the UK.
    That’s a wholly good thing isn’t it?

  • Biftergreenthumb

    No Scottish Republican Army carying out a decades long murder campaign aimed at bringing about constitutional change by undemocratic means. Yes. We have so much to learn from our Scottish neighbours….
    …except we don’t do we? Comparing a century old debate on Home Rule in Ireland (and the unionist reaction to it) to the 21st Century Scottish independance referendum is like comparing apples and oranges. It’s just as absurd as comparing the Scottish yes campaign to the Irish Republican campaign during the troubles. They are entirely different situations.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Stockholm syndrome, or capture-bonding, is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them. These feelings are generally considered irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, who essentially mistake a lack of abuse from their captors for an act of kindness.”

    From:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stockholm_syndrome

    The article makes it clear that this “does not necessarily require a hostage scenario.”

  • kensei

    Wow this has to the most ungracious victory speech I’ve seen about a result that shows a pretty divided country.

  • Oliver Moran

    What I actually meant was that there are examples of neighbouring countries that have more in common with each other than England and Scotland do despite 300+ years of union. For example, the Scandinavians are a veritable bloc.

    Taken from the other angle, though – what neighbouring countries have less in common each other than England and Scotland? – I cannot think of any two other countries in Europe that share a land border (and an island!) but do not have the same legal system, for example.

    As for your question: what country does Scotland have most in common with? There are a circle of nations that is has things in common with (Ireland, the Nordics, England, as well as the Wales and Mann, of course).

    I don’t know which of those it has most in common with. I certainly would not instantly and definitively point to England above all others. Would you? I might be tempted say Ireland. But I don’t think Scotland is uniquely influenced by any of its neighbours above all others. At the end of the day, Scotland is Scotland.

    Back to the blog post, the subtext I picked up was that Scotland and England have so much in common that they couldn’t/shouldn’t be independent of each others. I would question that. And in any case, other countries that have much in common (and even more that England and Scotland IMO) are independent from each other.

  • Oliver Moran

    Yes. It is.

    And during the Scottish independence debates, there was a notion raised that an independent Scotland would be treated as a “foreign country” by rUK with border posts and visa restrictions, for example. What poppy cock! None of the peoples of this archipelago, no matter the political configuration, would truly imagine each other as “foreign countries” (I believe). Even at our most divided, we never did that.

  • kensei

    A lesson for Irish Nationalist counting on every Catholic vote, I feel – the richer areas voted NO, and inertia and fear are powerful forces.

  • Mack

    If it at first you don’t succeed..

    Robert The Bruce and the Spider.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_the_Bruce#Legends

  • kensei

    It’s an interesting vote. The colloary to the Tories win in 1992 was they wrecked themselves during the term and haven’t won since. The future of the union probably depends on how the various parties handle themselves and events.

    Yes should see this as a good start, not an end.

  • MalikHills

    Which simply goes to show that the SNP took over the Tories’ old stomping ground. The middle class Scots abandoned the Tories but couldn’t bring themselves to vote Labour so they opted for the SNP, but as the referendum shows they never really were dyed-in-the wool nationalists, just anti-Labour.

  • MalikHills

    What comes out of this, and what must be baffling to Irish Nationalists is now the range of people all over the globe who when put to the test, when asked do you prefer to be subjects of Queen Elizabeth II or do you want a more “modern”, “dynamic”, “progressive” form of government? In the privacy of the ballot box they opt for the nice wee English granny.
    From Gibraltar to Quebec, from the Falklands to Ulster, from Australia to Scotland, Queen Elizabeth wins every time.
    No doubt the usual suspects will come out and explain how when she wins a vote the voters weren’t actually saying they wanted to keep her as head of state, but you know what? That just doesn’t cut it any more.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    Its incredibly partrionising to say that the reason why the majority of Scottish people want to remain in the UK is because they are suffering from some kind of pyschological condition and not because of any rational deliberation they my have had. Are you saying that the majority of Scottish people are incapable or rational thought and their behaviour and preferences can only be explained by a mental illnes?

  • Olivia Anderson

    ‘Rebellious’ Scots ‘crushed’. Although, I read the article, the heading gives the game away. A calm, impartial analysis would conclude that this was no fringe rebellion movement. There is widespread disillusionment with Westminster and current constitutional arrangements. That is what the result states. The ills of modern Britain have been highlighted in this debate using Scotland as a case study. Salmond’s vision of a more equitable society resonated with a majority at one point but the economic argument for the financing of this society was countered, not the thirst for it. Furthermore, I believe that the immense propaganda machine of the rUK media, political, financial and corporate sectors especially in the last 2 weeks have undoubtedly been influential. The same will not occur in NI. Put bluntly, we are a pain and a drain. But we are certainly not ready as a society to undergo a similar referendum. The last thing we need is further divisiveness. If only we had the calibre, leadership and professionalism of politicians the Scots had in both the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ camps

  • SeaanUiNeill

    My dear fellow, I take it you meant “patronising” rather than “partrionising.” So I suppose that my analyst is patronising me when he attempts to disentangle my neurotic knots! But anyway, examining collective unconscious motivation (everyone has it, its not just the “mentally ill”) is something that has been going on for quite a while, its not just me! Try Elias Canetti’s “Crowds and Power” for a start:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crowds_and_Power

    If only all our political decisions when we vote were entirely free of unconscious promptings, and endemic mind-blocking! I know from your other postings you live in Norn Iron, so surely you are aware to some degree of voters making choices from some form of compulsion rather than from free rational evaluation of all factors. Are you really saying that no-one voting “NO” was motivated by a fear of finding themselves outside of their security zone with all those creepy financial disasters they were being threatened with. So “Stockholm syndrome lite” perhaps…….

    Seriously, lighten up! As poor Mick for one has long been aware, I’m an inconsequential flâneur with a bad habit of trying to make others think outside of that box we pack all our serious fixed ideas into! Just try out the model for taste and see what happens, I’m not asking you to swallow it whole……

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “The same will not occur in NI. Put bluntly, we are a pain and a drain.” Thank you for summing it up so simply Olivia! My only fear now is that our own “old gang” (sorry Wyndham Lewis!) of inept politicians will be offered taxation powers in the new carve up. Much as I usually loathe centralisation, I’m really rather afraid of being left alone in a room with them.

  • Zeno1

    shudder!!!!

  • Michael Henry

    So the Scottish who never fought the English for 300 years never got their independence –
    Maybe those that fought the English a few years ago will have a better chance- and I was glad to hear Sinn Fein calling for such a vote this morning- the Brits / Unionists are cock a hoop today so they should not fear democracy- or do they-

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But on the plus side, we should be able to get the sort of banking deal that any small high street shop gets for our public fanances. I doubt if our national turnover in the wee six will be much larger without the Westminster’s ability to borrow billions!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As I said, “Stockholm Syndrome”………..

  • Zeno1

    Schedule 1 Section 2 of the Good Friday Agreement says there can’t be a Border Poll called until……. it appears likely to the Secretary of State that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.

    For a Poll to be called the GFA would have to be changed.

  • smcgiff

    This is a Pyrrhic victory for the no campaign.

    The Scardy Scots lost it, but it took the UK Prime Minister
    to break Purdah rules and basically give away extra powers to not only to the
    Scots, but to Wales and NI (whether they want them or not) and even England
    (and possibly large cities).

    It would only have taken a 5% swing and Scotland would have
    been independent, and I think it’s likely that the UK Prime Minister offering
    up what was by far the most popular option before the referendum campaign
    started that swung it. He’ll now have to deliver Devo Max to all the UK
    regions.

    I’m confident that a majority of Scots would ideally prefer
    an independent Scotland, but were too afraid due to economic concerns etc.

    If Devo Max were on the table from the outset those in
    favour of full independence in Scotland would have struggled to get over 25%
    support.

    Now, there are 45% of scots that were in touching distance
    of the grand prize. And you’ve also got a UK that will have regions that will
    get Devo Max, which I think will weaken the UK. Much Power wants more.

    By being so desperate Cameron may have won the Scotland
    battle only to lose the UK war.

  • Robin Keogh

    I think the Yes campaign should take consolation in the numbers who actually voted in favour of independence. Scottish turnout at elections are usually around 50% of which the SNP win approx 40% of the vote which is approx 800,000 votes. However in the referendum itself yes voters numbered 1.6million. It would be interesting to see if a vote in the north on the border would deliver a similar result?

  • Biftergreenthumb

    “…lighten up!” lol Fair enough, I suppose!
    But to pick up on your point about how people’s political behaviour is influenced by non-raional factors I think you are obviously correct. However, I think the NI/Scotland comparison is an interesting one. I think in general rational consideration more likely played a larger role in Scotland than it would here. In Scotland everyone is Scottish. They all have the same Scottish identity and share the same Scottish culture. Unionism and nationalism in scotland refer simply to political ideologies. Within the same family some members could be nationalists and some unionists. Unlike here where unionism and nationalism (in some people’s eyes) refer to people’s tribe or ethnicity. Here you are not just a unionist because you have arrived at a certain political position. here you are born a unionist. So to think outside the box or even to just do a bit of independant thinking here risks arriving at a position which is different from the tribe’s official position and therefore being labelled a traitor or lundy. Constitutional positions are apart of our identities here, in a way that they are not in Scotland, and so free thinking here on this issue is very difficult. While in Scotland being a unionist or a nationalist isn’t to have a particular identity as such.
    While the fear factor was definitely at play (fear isn’t necessarily irrational) in the No campaign I still think rational argument and deliberation had to have played its part.
    I know for irish nationalists independence was the obvious choice and the fact that it was rejected means some kind of explanation is necessary e.g. they were scared, they suffer from stockholm syndrome, false consciousness etc But, given the lack of identity issues there, i think its not hard to imagine they voted ‘no’ following rational deliberation.

  • Robin Keogh

    The scottish vote tells us one thing for sure, and thats % parties preference on low turnout at general elections is very represenataive of the general population

  • Michael Henry

    And- there is nothing in the GFA to stop ones calling for a poll- If the Secretary of State does call one and it is held then we will know for definite how we all stand- anything else is just guess-work-

  • mark7694

    Whatever form the unionist victory speeches take, 1.6m Scots voted against their citizenship of the UK, and this can not be ignored.
    The Scottish cities of Dundee and, most notably, Glasgow garnered majority support for independence.
    It doesn’t make for much of a comfortable union when 44.7% of Scotland voted to exit the UK state they will have to now remain in.
    It’ll now be interesting to see how these much talked about changes to the British political system will happen and in what form they will be after all the bluster, with “politics will never be the same again” doing the rounds at the moment.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As an inveterate “Lundy” myself, BGT, I take your point. By the way, the poor man was framed, for in April 1689, with an invasion of England by the national enemy of at least thirty years in progress, loyalty to the king who had issued your commission was hardly “treason” by any reasonable persons standards.

    But I still think that a great deal of “Britishness” and an evaluation of its actual usefulness to the lives we actually lead is simply an unexamined habit of thought.

    And although in general “They all have the same Scottish identity and share the same Scottish culture. Unionism and nationalism in Scotland refer simply to political ideologies,” one has only to hang about in the right circles in Glasgow to see just how much some parts of Scotland can give even our own intransigents a run for their title in the blocked imagination stakes.

    Not so much an Irish nationalist myself (“Kropotkin and Marcuse” mentioned elsewhere as influences) as a critic of generalisations of any sort. So yes, the “NO” vote was deliberated by some, automatic by others, and neurotic by others again, and I doubt if that exhausts primary motivation amongst the “NO” camp. And please do not get me started about the “YES” camp, although I can more readily see why anyone would seek the freedom of some form of self-determination to continuing a master/servant relationship (sorry Hegel!) with their Imperial Masters. Oh dear, I’m generalising……..

  • Jofrad

    And so the long predicted inevitable demise of the British State (and monarchy) is delayed by a generation. Could it be that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts ? It survives because it works.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Works”? Please unpack……

  • WindsorRocker

    The benchmark you can expect for calling a border poll is that the nationalist parties here end up with a majority of FPVs at Stormont or a majority of seats. It’s what the SNP had to do to get a Scottish Referendum, no different.

  • WindsorRocker

    Big difference in any potential future border poll here, both sides will not get away with airy fairy projections of “wouldn’t it be great if we ran our own brand new country” and conversely a lot more would be known.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    “But I still think that a great deal of “Britishness” and an evaluation of its actual usefulness to the lives we actually lead is simply an unexamined habit of thought.”

    Agreed. While I didn’t have strong feelings about Scottish independence one way or the other I was a little disappointed this morning when I heard the result because i had started to think that if Scotland left the UK ‘British’ as an identity position would become less tenable. Maybe ‘Northern Irish’ would replace ‘British’ and the boundary between British/protestant/unionist/loyalist and Irish/catholic/nationalist/republican would become less pronounced. Northern Irish is still Irish after all. But unfortunately the Scots decided to stay in the UK and there is little chance of ‘British’ falling out of fashion as a primary identity and “unexamined habit of thought” here and so the sharp division between the two tribes remains in place.

    “…I can more readily see why anyone would seek the freedom of some form of self-determination to continuing a master/servant relationship (sorry Hegel!) with their Imperial Masters.”

    Well keeping with the Hegelian reference, the future of the UK seems to be a synthesis (devo-max) of the unionist thesis (union) and the nationalist antithesis (independence). So perhaps the dialectic resolved with Scotland getting the best of both worlds with continued high level cooperation while power is administered at the lowest possible level?

  • Morpheus

    It would be great to have something concrete like that WR – I think it would have a stabilizing effect on NI.

  • kensei

    Think the aiey fairy thing is overplayed, there is a natural degree if uncertainty in a change that size you can’t get away from.. But yes, and it cuts both ways. A roaring Southern economy and a notable quality of life difference would help a yes to a UI no end. Certainly not predicting that, but possible in the medium term.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    We’re in the same place entirely on that first one, I think!

    But the Imperial relationship in the last one still worries me, even if I think (with Yeats) that even in the event of a big “YES”, the beggars would just have changed places and the lash would have gone on:

    http://www.eliteskills.com/c/14844

  • Jofrad

    300 years and still going strong and the case of England & Wales even longer. And yes I know all about English Imperialism but I haven’t seen any evidence of it for years nor of beggars and the lash.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Oh dear, Jofrad, do I actually have to labour this for you? Well, here goes:

    Hurrah for revolution and more cannon-shot!
    A beggar upon horseback lashes a beggar on foot.
    Hurrah for revolution and cannon come again!
    The beggars have changed places, but the lash goes on.

    Yeats is referring to the tendency of revolutions to simply substitute one class of oppressors for another. In the manner of the last chapter of “Animal Farm”, the successors to English rule in Ireland took on the forms of law, commerce and government their predecessors had left in the kitchen for them to use. In essence we have a continuity of the general system developed by England over five centuries, only administered by Irishmen who are under the mistaken impression they are a free people. I was suggesting to BGT that Devo Max might simply be a handing down of the same old methods of rule from Westminster, for the Scot to play with at home in his own free time. Not quite the Scandinavian Utopia a truly independent Scotland might have aspired to.

    Perhaps it would help explain this business of “working” or “not working” if you were to examine the actual record of the English conquest of Ireland in the 16th Century:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Age-Atrocity-Violence-Political-Conflict/dp/184682267X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411148038&sr=8-1&keywords=age+of+atrocity

    But then its all a matter of how you interpret the term “works”; Lobster Thermidor works for me, but I doubt it is quite as satisfactory an experience for the lobster.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And as for the “monarchy”, it ceased to function in any meaningful way when, in 1688, the English drove their first really open minded, modern style tolerant King into exile, so that they could enshrine jobbery and inequality under the pretence of popular government. So for the three hundred years you mention we have been living under something quite different to a monarchy. My entire sympathy goes out to that poor woman trapped in a nightmare of meaningless ritual to sustian a highly misleading institution.

  • Jofrad

    No you didn’t have to labour it but for one as verbose as you the temptation was too much.
    I thought we were talking about Scotland and The UK rather than Ireland. England’s appalling record in Ireland is hardly relevant to the democratic will of the Scottish people in 21C. The UK obviously works for 55% of them. The deciding factor in my opinion was the lack of economic credibility of the SNP, particular the currency. Lot of people North of the border glad they don’t have to use the Euro as you in Ireland do.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    As I said, Jofrad, “Stockholm Syndrome”………..

    “Such a parcel of rogues……”

  • Jofrad

    She’s played a blinder though and has never been so popular.

  • Ulidian Realist

    The “Imperial Masters” in the EUSSR?

  • Ulidian Realist

    A lot of that “social justice” claptrap coming from both sides will have been off-putting. There would have been a much larger “no” if it hadn’t been left all to the Labour Party (a party who also hate patriotic British people) .

  • sp12
  • sp12

    “This is a Pyrrhic victory for the no campaign.”

    Don’t say Pyrrhic, Turgon has difficultly with the meaning.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I’m pretty sure they will ‘think again’.

    As in they’ll analyse where they need to concentrate on, what their weaknesses were and what their strengths were and how to go about things in ’round 2′.

    The gloating from some unionist quarters will leave a sour taste and provide suitable embittered motivation for a long term approach.

    Prof Brewer said that now is a time to show magnanimity, nice try Prof…

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Wait a moment! You’re deciding to stay with the Senior Partner holding 80% of the shares because of ” the lack of economic credibility of the SNP”?

    Let me get my head around this. Westminster, “economic credibility’? 2007? Massive borrowing in support of reckless banking system? Massive borrowing to fund services that they are too cowardly to either rationalise or fund from revenue? So you’d rather put your trust in an administration out on a ‘drunken” borrowing spree than actually support an attempt at a new start and the possible planning of a proper economy? I’m lost here…..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    She’s still the descendent of someone appointed for the political convenience of strong vested interests in 1714.

    And I for one would not wish for my daughter to be trapped in such a meaningless life of pointless formalities. Let us hope her son tries to emulate his great uncle’s social conscience. “Something must ne done……”

  • Muiris de Bhulbh

    A reasonable summary. Two questions 1 what’s a ‘Yorker’, and what is a twenty twenty cricket match ? (Only one question really), and 2 what proportion of the Scottish electorate is actually English ?

  • Jofrad

    World wide recession due to sub-prime mortgage scandal and yes all Gordon Brown’s fault.

  • Jofrad

    Agreed !

  • Zeno1

    We already know. It is crystal clear. There is currently no evidence that there will ever be a United Ireland.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Agreed.

    Alexander Pope wrote this cupplet for a dog collar:

    “I am her highness’ dog at Kew,
    Pray tell me sir, whose dog are you.”

    I’d really like to think I’m nobody’s dog, but the tax demands frequently pop that bubble……….

    The problem is that the second someone is elected to a representative post, they begin, even with the best of intentions, to notice that they have actually become our masters for all practical purposes. With the EEC the expensive and time consuming process of election is frequently left out so that the “best” people may be selected, rather than left to the blunders od an ill informed electorate.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ah, thank you for setting me right! I’d thought that the villainous city of London was implicated in “World wide recession due to sub-prime mortgage scandal” with reckless trading and non existant regulation. Good to know it was only Gordon Brown personally!

  • Jofrad

    Euro NO, he toyed with the idea over a period of time but decided against it , before the crash.
    Non existent restraints throughout the Western world, including RoI.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Ah, thanks (again) Jofrad. The Bank of England and the City of London, despite being perhaps the strongest players, were entirely free of blame!

    I’m glad that, like Topsy, the “Non existent restraints throughout the Western world, including RoI” simply “grew” and were not in any way occasioned by policies in which Britain, under “that Woman”, took the lead in developing and popularising! Phew……..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Or, indeed, that there will not be. “Evidence” of something that has not yet occured has always presented a wee bit problem for those states not under Felix Dzershinsky style police states.

  • Jofrad

    Yes at the time it seemed to be a panacea to cure all ills, all the financial institutions and politicians were to blame, hopefully everyone has learned the lesson. Agreed it all started with “That Woman” not forgetting a certain Ron.
    PS I didn’t see it coming, you did ?

  • carl marks

    I think a question that unionists here could and should ask themselves is;

    In the Event of a border poll here would anybody on the other island bother putting together a Better Together campaign?

    And 45% of the vote is hardly crushed; it’s a defeat not a massacre and I don’t think it’s over yet! Much will depend on what Westminster does next and history tells us that Westminster does what is good for the City of London.

    The Burning of the Scottish Flag in Glasgow by Unionists and the Tone of many of the responses to a no vote has shown us yet again that Unionists are as magnanimous in Victory as they are Graceful in defeat.

    The NO campaign has taken the loss with dignity, will analyse their mistakes and come out fighting next time round.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Well, not boasting really, but I did see it coming. Something to do with human nature, take away all regulation and its like an Olympic downhill toboggan ride with no brakes. But even as I was arguing it with old school friends in Banking and the City, at times I was getting worried in the mid-2000s that they might be a bit right about the perpetual motion possibilities of a bottomless borrowing of electric money, and the arguments were oh sooo convincingly complex!!! So I’m not claiming some deity like over-ridding vision, or mystical inspiration, simply that I just could not see (common sense wise, how lending money to people who were “sub-prime” (ie: could never, ever, pay it back) in the States (or in west Belfast, for that matter) could ever be financially sound. But then it wasn’t my money, at least until the government borrowed on my credit without asking me first.

    Also I spent about six years waiting for the shoe to drop (and Communism to end, at least in its most ideological form) in Russia and Eastern Europe. But I’d had a lot to do with Poland and listened to the wise and careful analysis from local (Just as cynical) versions of myself who knew the system. So I knew it would implode, its just that guessing when is just guessing…..

    And as my U.S. friends keep saying, why could the Republicans not go for a half ways decent actor to pretend to be President? Ronnie was almost as artificial as Barack Ó Bama………..

  • Jofrad

    One of the few then it seems Seaan.
    Excellent article on Alex Salmond in today’s Independent on Sunday by Kenneth Roy, check it out.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks, Jofrad, Will do!

    And only “one of the few” (an uncle actually was one of the original “few”! Terrible flyer, though) because I’m too cynical for my own peace of mind. Not to be advised!

  • Zeno1

    What about a scenario where Nationalists hold over 50% of the MLA positions and only 25% of the Electorate say they want a UI in all the Polls and Surveys?

  • Tochais Siorai

    ‘The Vow’ looks like an unholy mess already……Brexit is a 50/50 shot if it goes ahead…….SNP and allies will increase their majority in the SP next time……..Scottish Labour is in meltdown………..Many English Tories will resist Devo Max to the hilt……oh and the grim reaper is reducing the NO % already (take away the 73% OAP NO and YES would’ve won last week).
    I’d give it a decade. Max.