Breaking up is hard to do.

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Breaking up is hard to do.

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Ene 22, 2012, 3:46pm

Any thoughts on Scotland leaving the UK? Personally I think things will get much harder in the next 30 years. The four horseman of the apocalypse will be working overtime as the world fights over oil, water or just starves. Our island could be a great place to weather the storm, but it would help if we stuck together.

Ene 23, 2012, 4:05am

I very much hope it doesn't. There's little enough political diversity in the UK already - that would pretty much put the tin lid on it. Mind you, in general I try to ignore politics and politicians - I find it all just rather depressing.

Ene 23, 2012, 5:16am

For many, many reasons, I hope the Union holds, but it won't if Anglocentrism continues its stranglehold in Westminster politics and in the British public's perception. At the moment some Scots may feel that Scotland gives more to the UK than the UK to Scotland, but there is no doubt that it will lose its clout internationally if it goes it alone.

Because of my interests in history I've always been aware of the dominance of English language and culture in the British Isles, and cringed at the confusion of England with Britain in the minds of Little Englanders as well as many of those from abroad; and this has only been heightened after a move to Wales in the last few years. But while regionalism is understandable (and an increasing number of Cornish have a sense of distinction when confronted by insensitive outsiders, for example) I can't help feeling that to emphasise distinctiveness at the cost of shared culture, language and experiences is to throw the baby out with the bathwater. (This is a mood that I understand is in parts of Spain, and we have seen it happen, to Europe's bloody cost, in the Balkan peninsula. Though it can't have been a totally bad thing in the former USSR.)

At the moment, evolution through the processes of devolved power and law-making is allowing that distinctiveness within the 'family' of the United Kingdom, but I worry that revolution through enforced separation may increasingly be on the agenda for public debate.

Ene 23, 2012, 5:42am

I don't think that asks someone from England it can really be my call, I can't really understand what its like to be Scottish or Welsh in Britain.

Ok so I do feel some people on all sides exagerate the problems. Nationlism leaves a bad taste in my mouth usually and I like UK on the whole and would be sad to see everything dissolve into smaller countries.

What I do have a problem with is devolution max, seems over complicated that can hide a lot of unfair laws. I guess the devils the in the detail, it might be a good 1st step but it might having their cake and eating it ( hmm that is a rather silly expression!)

Editado: Ene 23, 2012, 6:11am

Anglocentrism in Westminster? Maybe at the moment, but I can think of more than a few Scots and Welsh politicians who have had a disproportionate influence on British affairs.* Welsh and Scottish constituencies have also ensured Labour governments when England voted to go the other way. While devolution seems at first sight entirely proper isn't it just possible that the Scots and Welsh are wanting to have their cake and eat it? How about some devolution and self-determination for England below a line joining the Severn and the Wash (excluding a devolved Kernow, of course ;-) )? The West Lothian question will not go away.

* funny how that doesn't apply to Norn-iron politicians - I suppose they have squabbles enough in their island to keep them out of mischief.

ETA I was slowly composing this while >5 abbottthomas: was posted - I've left the silly cake expression in: it's little less silly if you say, as nobody ever does, have your cake and eat it too

Ene 23, 2012, 6:16am


What I find interesting is how this Anglocentrism has occurred. Look at the Labour years. Blair was educated in Scotland (but obviously positioned himself to appeal to middle England), but we have also had Brown. Also of course both Labour only had Scots as Chancellor of the Exchequer for their 13 year run.

I don't think that it is necessarily Anglo-centrism but a move towards trying to attract the votes of a fairly small subset of middle class voters in a few places (most of which are in England) and a trust in the market above all else has left a lot of people disillusioned and not just in Scotland.

On the whole I think that there will have to be more planned devolution - but not just to Scotland. To Wales and the regions too. It will probably require a change to how Westminster works too. However those kind of changes are very hard. At times it will require the people in power voting against their own personal interests. I'm not sure we can get from here to there without tears.

Ene 23, 2012, 6:29am

5 oh yes! But as a cake fanatic I could never contemplate owning an uneaten cake ;)

6 Good point, north/south divide for example. My gut feeling don't think breaking down into smaller and smaller areas works all that well as much as I feel Bristol should break away into its own state and become a tax haven :)

Ene 23, 2012, 6:59am

I'm English but came to Scotland from overseas just before the devolution vote. I voted against. Devolution created, or perhaps made us more aware, of many unfairnesses. For some time I have consistently for SNP in Holyrood elections as I've come to think it is in our (English) interests to allow Scotland to split and become part of what Salmond once called the "arc of prosperity". I'm not clear why residents in England don't also get a vote in any referendum as they are affected also.

Ene 23, 2012, 7:06am

>8 PossMan: The 'arc of prosperity' looks more like a Norweigan blob now - I wonder if Scotland could persuade Norway into an Act of Union?

Editado: Ene 23, 2012, 7:35am

If you put Nationalism to one side and look at it economically and politically - there is London and then everywhere (everyone) else. The issues that a Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales have are shared by the majority of people and places not within a two hour commute of London.

The map of the UK has been changed out of all recognition over the last 30 years with the result that the most dramatic contrast between 'countries' within the UK is between London and the rest of us. The borders of the constituent countries are a historical issue that has little relevance in the London-centric country we now live in.

Ene 23, 2012, 7:34am

>8 PossMan: There is certainly an argument for everyone getting a vote, but the irony is that according to a recent poll, the English are keener on seeing the backs of the Scots than vice versa.

I suppose I'd apply for dual nationality on the basis of my mother being Scottish (I've lived in England all my life though). Not that I'd get the benefit of more progressive social care unless I actually moved there of course.

I rather suspect that where exactly they draw the line in the north sea, i.e. who gets to keep the oil, is a sufficiently sticky problem that it'll never happen.

Ene 23, 2012, 7:38am

>11 mart1n: Indendence for London! We get to live the high life thanks to all of the financial service industry based here. And then you get to build a big fence just inside the M25 after the next ludicrous financial fubar, and watch it all go Mad Max.

Ene 23, 2012, 8:16am

>12 mart1n: Right on, dude! I'd put the fence just outside the M25 though - we want our trucks whizzing around minding the perimeter, not theirs. ;-)

Ene 23, 2012, 9:13am

#6 - 'On the whole I think that there will have to be more planned devolution - but not just to Scotland. To Wales and the regions too.' A bit of a bald statement - I'm interested to know why you think so.

Ene 23, 2012, 10:44am


I think most people in Scotland want more devolution, the Calman commission supports it. I think that is better for that to be a planned devolution over time in conjunction with changes across the UK rather than a power-grab by the SNP.

Personally I believe that decisions are best made at the lowest possible level. That doesn't mean that there isn't space for a UK level governance - there will be, or country level governance - there will be, just that some decisions are better made on a regional basis. The difficult task is to do that without adding extra layers of bureaucracy (and extra elections) and maintain accountability.

Editado: Ene 23, 2012, 11:14am

'The difficult task is to do that without adding extra layers of bureaucracy (and extra elections) and maintain accountability.'

'Difficult', if not impossible. I think that even after recent events in the UK we don't have half such a sceptical attitude towards politicians as we should have. All power corrupts and they need to be constantly held to account, to be the focus of attention. The media has an essential function, even if it often seems to fall down in the performance. When I consider what national-level politicians have been found to have been getting away with in recent years, I have to wonder what more localised politicians, mostly below the radar of the national media, may be getting away with. Adding extra layers of politicians (and their supporting bureaucracies) in between seems to me to be bound to lead to increases in waste, corruption and injustice (which all undoubtedly already happen - nobody lives in a perfect society). I can't imagine we'd see any increase in investigative newspapers or TV channels financing investigative programmes to keep pace.

Ene 23, 2012, 2:19pm

16: "Adding extra layers of politicians (and their supporting bureaucracies) in between seems to me to be bound to lead to increases in waste, corruption and injustice... ". Must say I tend to agree with this. We already have so many layers. I have a constituency MSP, an MEP, and a Westminster MP for a start. Plus a list MSP who nobody voted for as a person. Not to mention a Highland councillor and also the "community" councilors. The first 4 at least have an official seat on the "gravy train" and a Highland councillor has in the last few weeks been convicted of expenses fraud. As for waste we only have to think of Holyrood (the new building) and Edinburgh trams. And of course the quangos such as "VisitScotland" and "Highlands and Islands Enterprise". I wholeheartedley agree about the importance of investigative journalism whether press or TV.

Ene 26, 2012, 6:49am

What's the ultimate limit of the devolution tendency? Can we keep splitting up until every person is a nation of one? Or do we have to have enough people in a nation for everyone to have a job in its government? Or perhaps it's related to collecting people together whose principal characteristic is that they all understand what the others are saying?

I would ask whether anyone has really thought through the implications, but since it was all started by someone called Blair, I think the answer is obvious.

By the way, I enjoyed my haggis last evening (Burns Night)!

Ene 26, 2012, 7:36am

I suspect Blair thought that Scotland would remain solidly Labour with Scottish Labour MPs helping him to push through Westminster legislation. And after the "sop" of devolution Holyrood would likewise have a solid Labour majority. How wrong he was. But however mistaken his political judgement in this respect he's certainly fallen on his feet financially.

Feb 3, 2012, 6:43am

It has been interestin reading all the posts on this thread, it has made me think a lot more about this issue.
Although I don't know a lot about the economical ramifications for seperation for either Scotland or the rest of the UK I can't help but think this is not a great time for such a massive upheaval. Being Welsh myself I completely support the call for more devolved power in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In fact I think a lot of things could do with being decentralised away from London and the South-east. It has long been a problem that the different individual needs of communities around Britain are misunderstood or just ignored in favour of policies that work well in L&SE. If we had a better, less centralised system I don't think there would be half the support for Scottish indipendance that there is now. I know the government has been making noises about giving more powers to Scotland in order to convince them to stay, I hope they are going to see this through.

Mar 2, 2012, 8:11pm

It would be bonkers to devolve.
The smaller you are, the less power you have. Tossed around on a financial millpond, with no control.
Salmond is a raving lunatic, with his own agenda.
Someone told me that Scottish politicians are low grade because there is not a large enough the gene pool to select them from. Not that the English are much better!

Mar 2, 2012, 10:51pm

But think of the ecological benefits. If Scotland had its own independent parliament, you could run the whole country's heating system on the hot air it would generate.

Editado: Mar 3, 2012, 4:49am

>21 lizstansbridge: - one thing Salmond is not is a raving lunatic - how many other politicians have become more popular in power (without the help of a war). Oddly for a politician he has tried to stick to his promises. (I can only assume that you have been reading the south of the border coverage of him over the years).
I do agree with the low grade of Scottish politicians though but only for the main UK parties - Labour, Liberal and Conservative members with ambition want to get into Westminster, with the SNP they aim for Holyrood. The is creating a problem though, Salmond and the SNP can now run rings round the weak opposition.

>22 MyopicBookworm: - it hasn't worked in Westminster (and they produce much more hot air) so I doubt that would work in Holyrood. It's a good idea though, if we could get it to work we could save all the money about to be spent on nuclear power (and with no side-effects except a little spittle).

Mar 3, 2012, 5:11am

What currency would Scotland have?

Editado: Mar 3, 2012, 7:55am

Does it matter what currency Scotland has? Let's just get rid of them, and Wales, and Cornwall, and London. I have no interest in them and no desire to be associated with them. Independence for Yorkshire is what I want. All these foreigners just have too much influence on my educational system, my health service, my roads, my economy,...

Mar 3, 2012, 10:47am

Independence for the People's Republic of 37b Acacia Avenue!

Mar 3, 2012, 2:54pm

>26 dtw42:: Probably almost as many inhabitants as Cornwall if you exclude the emmets.

Abr 1, 2012, 6:46am

Thinking about the gene pool - if it's not big enough to supply adequate politicians, then why are most of the football managers {Why do they call them coaches? Because they're always on the road?} of England teams {It's silly to call then 'English' when most players are anything but!} actually Scottish?

Yes ... I do find the 'game' supremely irritating, in case that wasn't obvious. For me, 'the beautiful game' is a brace of pheasants.

Editado: Abr 6, 2014, 4:17pm

By all accounts the 'No' campaign's lead is narrowing as September approaches.
Personally, I find the whole thing deeply frustrating. To me, Scottish nationalism really is of the basest kind: it ranges all the way from 'We don't like England' to 'We are not England'. Yes, ours is a United Kingdom, formed by a Union between Scotland and England but its as if Salmond and co can see no further than that. It is the essence of the whole independence movement: everything else - all the economic arguments, the political arguments, the flimsy cultural arguments - are merely rationalising, padding the core perception that is nothing more than 'We are not England'. If they were even remotely clear sighted it would be obvious that in fact the only difference between Scotland and England is geography (and the fact that many Scots seem to hang on to this sense of separateness, which really is nothing more): we share the same language, culturally we are exactly the same (kilts, btw, do not make you a unique culture); economically there is essentially no difference between Scotland and the whole (regional inequality in the UK is between London and the rest, as has been mentioned); you can't make argument that Scotland is in any way oppressed that extends any further than 'England is bigger'. At least Wales, where I'm from, retains its own language (albeit among a minority), yet we aren't gunning for independence because we don't see ourselves as a separate entity in the same way, because it isn't recorded in history - and so no-one is blinded by the notion - that ours is a country simply involved in a political union with another.

I always call myself British above Welsh, I vote against devolution why the opportunity is there (as far as I can tell, these sub-national parliaments mostly act only to justify their existence), in my mind the Union is the country; we are a family and Scotland is a brother - but whereas before he was merely mildly irritating, admittedly now he only inspires contempt. Sometimes I feel I'm torn between wanting Scotland out, saying 'screw them, rebuild the wall', or holding Union together, the more general recognition that simple-minded people like Salmond and his ilk are everywhere in various forms and that it's simply historical bad fortune that here, in this case, they are coming together, triumphantly raising something so parochial above everything else which is worth so much more, and will break apart something many of us love as a result. Ultimately, if they vote 'Yes' it really would be a tragedy.

Mayo 9, 2014, 2:55am

Interesting that the Scottish Independents and UKIP seem to share the same frame of mind: "They can't tell me what to do" - a perhaps adolescent state of mind that has the danger of ignoring complexities and leading to self-destructive consequences. Deeply worrying, both types of separatist movements. A spectre is haunting the land...

Mayo 12, 2014, 8:10am

The approach adopted by the Scottish insularists is that the 'No' campaign is heavily negative, while their 'Yes' campaign offers hope.

This says a lot about the opportunism of the insularists, perhaps even about their intelligence, since a voter who wants to preserve the union is bound to explain why any change might be damaging, and thereby sound negative.

The more perfect the union is, the less opportunity exists to suggest improvements and sound positive. On the other hand, those who press for change can claim anything, since their proposals are untestable.

It annoys me that a change to independence, however disastrous it might prove to be, will result in a flow of 'Scots' southwards, and the remainder of the UK will be morally obliged to provide the funds to correct the errors, however gross.

Mayo 12, 2014, 10:11am

>31 CliffordDorset:
That's sound thinking. I haven't noticed much discussion about post-independence emigration/immigration. If the Scots go, and stay in the EU, all their jobless could hop on a bus over the border without hindrance. If the EU wouldn't have them, I'm sure that they would expect to be treated as the Irish always have been and have free access to England. The English/Scottish border would be more or less uncontrollable anyway.

I'm sadly starting to sound like a UKIP or even BNP supporter! My first thoughts were to wish the Scottish separatists good luck and look forward to a weakend Labour Party - maybe I need to think again.

Abr 17, 2015, 7:39am

So the UK won in the end (sort of...)

Hooray! (I think...)

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