Friday, 21 November 2014

Scotland`s phoenix and Labour`s demise

Scotland "voted" No in the independence referendum. After the referendum polls were done to ascertain people`s voting intentions, and the results were reversed with a majority saying they would vote Yes if it were to be re-run.

Scottish Labour is in melt-down, Ed Milliband is highly unpopular, and Labour would lose most of its Scottish MP`s in the next general election, while the SNP would gain 45 (it now has 2).

Then, the SNP have announced that should the UK vote to leave Europe in a referendum they will definitely hold a second independence referendum, as they wish to remain in Europe.

Lastly, SNP and Plaid Cymru members would not support the Conservatives in a new government.

NOTE: The Catalan people voted for independence from Spain in an "illegal" referendum and 80% voted in favour.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A Matter of Expediency

For the moment a flame has been quenched. Realistically there was no way that the English Establishment, would allow the dissolution of the British state. Therefore the media, the bankers, the lawyers, the economists, the industrialists and the Queen, were all assembled to oppose the movement for independence and to convince the undecided Scottish voters, by fair means and foul,  of the uncertainties and possible dangers of such a venture. Catalunya, take note, for you face a similar conclusion. 

All means were employed to ensure that the Noes would win the day, and no doubt many underhand methods were in operation, quite apart from the propaganda and scare-mongering tactics which politicians, of whatever persuasion, bring into play to swing the vote. Yet, the people of Scotland who remain loyal to their nation will live to fight another day. The forces of change are inexorable once invoked and only time will be the final arbiter.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

The Disintegrating "No" Campaign

Unionist leaders to campaign in Scotland

The announcment was dismissed as "hype" by Mr Salmond, who said that there was nothing new in the package.
"This is the day that the No campaign finally fell apart at the seams," he said during a photocall outside Edinburgh's St Giles Cathedral with EU citizens who have the right to vote in the referendum.
"This is a retreading, a repackaging, retimetabling about what they said in the spring.
"It's totally inadequate, it's not enough. It's nothing approaching the powers that Scotland needs to create jobs, to save the health service and build a better society.
"The polls at the weekend, which caused so much panic in the breasties of the No campaign, actually showed that independence was the most popular option.
"And of course David Cameron and George Osborne, their one red-line issue in setting up this referendum was not to allow devo max, as it is called, on to the ballot paper.
"So to actually produce something which is far short of that, which is weak, insipid and has already been discounted by the Scottish people with days to go in the campaign, after hundreds of thousands of people have already voted, is a sign of the total disintegration of the No campaign.
"I've never seen a campaign disintegrate in the way that the No campaign is disintegrating at the moment."
With the three party leaders out on the campaign trail tomorrow, the Leader of the Commons William Hague will stand in for Mr Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions.

Withou doubt Scotland will join the European Union

AN independent Scotland’s membership of the European Union would be secured within the SNP’s 18-month timescale, a former president of the European Parliament has said.
Ireland’s Pat Cox branded opposition claims that Scotland would find itself frozen out of the EU as “sophistry” and said the country’s expulsion would damage the internal market and lead to “chaos” in the EU fisheries sector.
Mr Cox, who was president of the parliament between 2002 and 2004, said the EU has always shown “pragmatism and inventiveness” when dealing with territorial changes such as the re-unification of Germany.
“It has always respected the expressed democratic will of the peoples involved,” he said.
The prospect of Scotland being forced to “go to the back” of an enlargement queue is also dismissed by Mr Cox.
“Such statements, arguably, are sophistry and do not bear analysis,” he added.
“Moreover, it is unclear what would be the common European interest in seeking to expel an independent Scotland. On the contrary, at the limit, such interests could be damaged by the fragmentation of the internal market and not least the chaotic implications for the EU’s fisheries sector, including its Scottish-related access to Norwegian fisheries.”
The Scottish Government says Scotland would secure its EU membership before the new state became fully independent in March 2016. This would be achieved by renegotiating existing treaties, through an Article 48 amendment. Mr Cox says this would be viable and reflect the “past pragmatism and inventiveness” of the EU.
Many experts have warned that an independent Scotland would find itself outside the EU and be forced to re-apply to join, known as an Article 49 amendment.
But Mr Cox adds: “Article 49 is the outsider’s means of applying to get in, not an insider’s means of negotiating continuity of effect in respect of its territory and citizens.”
Scotland’s membership of the EU is seen as crucial economically. It would mean firms retaining access to the lucrative single market and vital EU global trade treaties. But there have been concerns that Scotland could be forced into joining the troubled euro currency union or sign up to the Schengen “open borders” arrangement.
It has been one of the key issues in the independence debate. In order to join the EU, whether through the Article 48 or 49 route, an independent Scotland would need agreement from all 28 EU member states. There have been concerns that countries such as Spain and Italy, which have their own separatist movements, may object to Scotland’s membership.
Just last week a row broke out when former Brussels economic commissioner Ollie Rehn warned that continuing to use the pound without a formal currency union could prevent an independent Scotland from joining the EU.
He said in a letter to Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander it would “simply not be possible” to combine a policy of sterlingisation with EU membership.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Scots Independence Poll Puts ‘Yes’ Campaign Ahead at 51%

Photographer: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Yes and No campaigners in Blantyre, Scotland, on September 4, 2014. Scotland’s... Read More
Scotland’s nationalists overtook opponents of independence in anopinion poll for the first time this year, sparking a government promise of more powers for the Scottish parliament less than two weeks before the country votes on whether to break up the 307-year-old U.K.
YouGov Plc survey for the Sunday Times showed Yes voters increased to 51 percent, while the No side dropped

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Scottish independence: Salmond and Darling clash in heated TV debate

Alistair Darling and Alex SalmondThe debate was held before an audience of 200 people at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum
Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond and Better Together headAlistair Darling have clashed in their final TV debate ahead of the referendum.
Oil revenues, currency and the future of nuclear weapons were among the subjects of a heated discussion.
Mr Salmond said his opponent was siding with the Tories on policies which would push Scottish children into poverty.
Mr Darling rejected the charge and again challenged Mr Salmond to reveal his currency Plan B.
Following the debate, a snap poll by The Guardian newspaper and polling company ICM suggested Mr Salmond's score was 71%, against Mr Darling's 29%.

ANALYSIS - BBC political editor Nick Robinson
holding hands, NHS
From the start it was clear that Darling, who won the first debate, was edgy and nervy whilst Salmond was better prepared and more confident.
Scotland's first minister had come prepared to answer the question that damaged him a few weeks ago - what's your Plan B? - if Westminster refuses to share the pound with a newly independent Scotland.
He declared he had not one but three Plan Bs but what he was seeking was a "mandate" from the people of Scotland - a word he repeated again and again - to negotiate to share the pound.
Salmond had also come with a new line of attack. He argued that the only way to protect the NHS and to stop welfare cuts was to ensure that the people of Scotland always got the government they voted for.
He accused Darling - to the former Labour chancellor's obvious fury - of "being in bed with the Tories". His aim was clear - to increase the risks in voters' minds of a No vote.
The 90-minute broadcast was screened on BBC One Scotland, and to the rest of the UK on BBC Two.
The format saw the two political leaders deliver their opening addresses, before the debate moved on to four topics, each of which was introduced by a question from the audience.
Mr Salmond and Mr Darling were then each given the opportunity to cross-examine their rival for eight minutes.
The first minister opted to focus on the welfare state, saying Westminster reforms were pushing an estimated 100,000 Scottish children and a similar number of disabled people into poverty.
He said: "Yes we've got troubled economic times, but the mark of a government is when you are in difficult economic times you don't take it on the disabled and you don't take it out on families with children and you don't impose the bedroom tax, which must be the most ludicrous tax of all time."
Welfare reforms
In heated exchanges he told Mr Darling: "You're in bed with the Tory Party, in bed with the Tory Party."
He also challenged Mr Darling to name three job-creating powers which the pro-Union parties were offering the Scottish Parliament in the event of a "No" vote.
Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling
Mr Darling said as a Labour MP he did not support the UK government's welfare reforms.
But he argued that Scotland's ageing population meant it was better if the costs of providing social security were spread across the UK as a whole.
The Labour MP said: "No-one could support people who need help being denied, no-one could possibly support that. We have an obligation to help people who need support.
"However, to do that you need the means to do it. What concerns me is if you end up in the situation where you are cutting off opportunities for firms that generate wealth and therefore generate taxation, to pay for these things, it is going to be less likely you can provide the level of support you need in the future."
Earlier, Mr Darling had again pressed the first minister to spell out his Plan B on currency, if the rest of the UK refused to enter into a formal sterling currency union with an independent Scotland.
Watch some of the highlights...
"Is it sensible?" Alex Salmond asked Alistair Darling four times, over the issue of the renewal of the Trident nuclear weapon programme
Alistair Darling on currency: "I want to know what Plan B is"
Alex Salmond: "This is our time, it's our moment, let us do it now"
Alistair Darling: "This is a decision for which there is no turning back"
He put it to Mr Salmond: "You are taking a huge risk if you think it is just all going to fall into place.
"I think the currency union would be bad for Scotland because our budget would have to be approved not by us, but what would then be a foreign country. It wouldn't be best for the rest of the country either."
Mr Salmond responded: "I set out the options very clearly - three Plan Bs for the price of one. They are just like buses... you expect one and then three turn up at once."
He added: "We don't need permission to use our own currency. The argument actually is that they will deny us the assets of the Bank of England. The reason that won't happen is that if you deny us the financial assets, then the UK will get stuck with all of the liabilities."
Mr Salmond said no chancellor would let Scotland get away with escaping its share of the debt liabilities and therefore a currency union would be agreed.
salmond and darling
Alistair Darling and Alex Salmond
But Mr Darling argued: "If your first message in the world is here we are, here is Scotland, and by the way we've just defaulted on our debt, what do you think that would do to people who are lending us money in the future?
"Nobody would lend us any money in the future."
Mr Salmond had won a pre-debate coin toss and opted to deliver his opening address first, with Mr Darling going second.
Putting the case for independence, the first minister started by saying the eyes of the world were focused on Scotland.
He cited the 1979 referendum, when Scotland did not get a devolved assembly despite voting in favour of it, and said the country got 18 years of Tory rule instead.
Mr Salmond said: "Just like in 1979 the prophets of doom tell us we can't do it. We can't do what every country takes for granted - and just like then they are wrong.
"We are a rich nation, a resourceful people. We can create a prosperous nation and a fairer society. A real vision for the people of Scotland. This is our time, it's our moment - let us do it now."
How did social media see it?
Twitter map
The debate was trending in the UK but, more surprisingly, hit the trending charts in Malaga, Gibraltar, Seville, and Spain as a whole. Were Spanish people keeping an eye on the debate with the Catalonian independence movement in mind? The debate generated a total of255,559 tweets.
Throughout the debate, #bbcindyref, #indyref, and #scotdecides were trending in the UK on Facebook, and #bbcindyref and #indyref began trending globally by the end of the debate.
Mr Darling opened by saying Mr Salmond was "asking us to take his word for it on everything. No Plan B for anything. Trust what he says - sorry I can't".
He said Mr Salmond wanted a separate state no matter what the risk or what the costs.
But he said a "No" vote would not mean the status quo, and said the pro-Union parties would deliver increased devolution.
He added: "This is a decision for which there is no turning back. Our children and the generations that follow will have to live with that decision."
The event was staged at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, and was hosted by BBC Scotland's Glenn Campbell.
The audience of 200 was selected by polling and research consultancy ComRes.
The debate was split into four sections;
  • Opening statements
  • The issues
  • Cross-examination
  • Closing statements
The issues section saw the two politicians debate four topics entitled Economy, Scotland at Home, Scotland in the World and What Happens after the Vote.
Each of the four issues was introduced by a question from the audience.
The first leaders' debate aired on STV on 5 August, with both sides claiming victory.
Scotland will go to the polls in the referendum on 18 September, with voters being asked asked the "Yes/No" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"
Do you have questions?
Question marks
As the people of Scotland weigh up how to vote in the independence referendum, they are asking questions on a range of topics from the economy to welfare.
In a series running up to polling day, BBC correspondents are looking at those major questions and by using statistics, analysis and expert views shining a light on some of the possible answers.
The issues they have looked at include TridentScottish economic growthbroadcastingpopulationhealth and UK debt.

Salmond, clear winner of the second debate on Scottish independence

London, Aug 26 (EFE) .- Chief Minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond nationalist, was the clear winner of the second and final televised debate on Scottish independence held last night, according to a survey published today by the British newspaper "The Guardian ".
The survey, conducted by ICM company says that 71% of the respondents gave the winner Salmond independence, compared to 29% who gave to Alistair Darling, the Labour former minister who heads the "Better Together" (Better Together) campaign and it was his opponent in the BBC debate.
However in the previous debate, held on 5th, Darling was the winner of that poll though by a narrower margin, 56% support compared to 44 who obtained Salmond.
The forum yesterday concluded with public Glasgow (Scotland) and broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Two Scotland for the rest of the United Kingdom , was held less than a month's historic referendum on Scottish independence from the Sept. 18 whose outcome is binding.
Both leaders expressed their arguments on key issues such as currency, the system of public health or the oil reserves in the event of a successful vote in favor of independence.
Darling criticized the independence leader who advocates the division of Scotland regardless "risks and costs" and "without a plan B" if they do not achieve monetary union with the UK, while Salmond insisted that are Scots who can better manage and Scotland to keep the pound.
Those over 16 who live in Scotland are called to the polls on September 18 to answer "yes" or "no" if you are in favor of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom.
The census for the consultation is about 4.3 million voters and the Nationalist government Scottish referendum promoter, expects the share reached 80%, about 3.36 million people. EFE

Friday, 30 May 2014

Scotland's Independence - It's Now or Never!

The Reality

Could Scotland become a successful independent country? Of course! Even No politicians agree:
“Supporters of independence will always be able to cite examples of small, independent and thriving economies across Europe such as Finland, Switzerland and Norway. It would be wrong to suggest that Scotland could not be another such successful, independent country”
 ~ David Cameron
As an independent country, taking into account all our resources, we’d be the 14th wealthiest in the OECD (described as the “rich nations’ club”). This compares to UK at 18th.  With independence we can make this wealth work much better for the people living here - and that is why a Yes is so important.
No politicians want us to believe we are too poor to be independent, but the reality is very different: Scotland’s got what it takes to prosper with a Yes:
  • We’ve got the people! Scotland has a population of 5.2 million people which means that roughly half of the 200 countries in the world are smaller than Scotland, and roughly half are bigger. Some of the wealthiest and happiest countries in the worlds are a similar size – like our Scandinavian neighbours
  • We’ve got the talent! We have more top 200 Universities per head of population than any other country in the planet. Our research tops global leagues for quality.
  • We’ve got the experience! We’ve had a Scottish Parliament and Governments for 15 years now and we know that making our own decisions works. We’ve chosen to keep the NHS in public hands, to support free University education and support free nursing and personal care for the elderly.
Few, if any, of the 200 or so other countries in the world can have been as well prepared for independence as Scotland is. Scotland is more than ready! And we’ve got strong economic and financial foundations
  • We’ve got the resources! We’re Europe’s largest oil producer, and second largest gas producer. We have oil reserves worth up to £1.5 trillion in the North Sea which will generate jobs and revenues until “well after 2055” (according to the UK government). Then we’ve got massive renewables potential, with 25% of the EU’s potential for offshore wind and tidal energy, and 10% of wave power – extraordinary assets for the future.
  • We’ve got the industry! As well as energy, we have thriving sectors in food and drink, life sciences, engineering, creative industries, financial services and tourism; and,according to the Financial Times, would be among the top 30 exporters in the world on independence.
  • We have strong public finances! For every one of the last 30 years we’ve generated more tax revenues per person than the other parts of the UK. AS the Financial Times reported in February, Scotland’s national accounts are healthier than the UK’s
All this adds up to a country that could be wealthy and prosperous.
In fact, if you divide our national wealth by our population, Scotland is wealthier than France, Italy and the UK. So if Scotland “can’t” be independent, who can?
It all depends on the floating vote, the undecided. The majority need to vote YES for independence to be achieved, and it also depends on a substantial number of voters switching sides to vote YES. The momentum is with the YES campaigners. Keep up the pressure in order that a majority of Scots vote YES.