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The present situation between England and Scotland is quite interesting from an objective point of veiw, afterall we have had Scottish PM's before, and Scottish ministers.... It is true that the media is awash with strong Scottish accents, some of whom are not too easy to comprehend instantly. There seems to be a perception (in the media) that the Scottish accent is classless, and therefore useful (it maybe to the average English person, but it is NOT to a Scotsperson OR to an English person who has any knowledge of Scotland!!!). However in parliament that has never been important before, or appeared to be! Why now?

Maybe a Scot can speak really openly about this without causing offence! Although- I was in Scotland this week- I got in trouble a couple of times for snarling about this very issue. Isshoo? Bless you.

It's ***inconceivable*** to me that an MP for a Scottish seat can become head of the UK executive without anyone raising an eyebrow. I have thought this for ages! I am so pleased at the Telegraph poll - already only a bare majority of respondents think the idea is fine - and that is a number which will surely fall as more and more attention is focused on what it means to have Brown as premier. It is simply not politically tenable for a PM to push legislation the bulk of which will not affect a single one of his constituents. English (members) votes for English laws is a simple and attractive solution to the current constitutional anomaly; but even were Brown to suddenly agree to this (a turnaround that would raise even more nausea than those faux anglophile photos of him watching the fitba') it wouldn't settle the nonsense of having the member for Fife east enacting a set of health and other legislation that would pass his voters by.

The subsidy (the Barnett formula) is a disgrace and must be ended. Scotland (to me on my sporadic journeys home) is starting to look and act like a foreign country. It makes me sad (and it may just be that I'm changing over the years of course so would be great to hear comments from people there) but if that's really what they want - a jelly-like executive that passes laws about smoking & smacking but never faces up to the tough economic reality of their situation - I ask only that I get to have a bit more of the tax taken from me spent in the borough where I choose to live, rather than tarmacadamming (sp?) another road in the Highlands - there's enough poverty in London for us to be attending to, thank you.

You know, its the nonsense like this that has cause the problems we have in Scotland. Yes Scotland gets a gets more money than other parts of the UK, yes it is an issue. But equally you could level the exact same criticism at Liverpool, the North east, or the council estate in your local town.

It would be more to the point if the Party stoped with stupid statements about this, or stopped banging on about the 'West-Lothian question' at the end of the day its not going to be a vote winner anywhere. It just makes the party sound anti-scottish. It would be far more to the point if the party actually paid attention to the Scottish wing of the Party and actually made decision that affect them with some consultation- such as the recent issue over common fisheries policy.

I've been involved with Scottish conservatives campaigning in Cheadle, and they are currently helping campaign in Bromley. I've yet to see a member of the English wing odf the Party help in Scotland. It is about time they returned the favour, and stopped saying stupid things that damage the campaign in Scotland. Scotland is after all the part of the UK that was most solidly conservative, until we got ignored.

"There seems to be a perception (in the media) that the Scottish accent is classless"

There seems to be a perception amoungst the English that there is only one Scottish accent. We don't all have working class glasgow accents you know, no one seems to think you lot all speaking with a cockney twang.

Cut Corporation Tax in Scotland to 10%. Lets see some Scots enterprise in action.

Scottish accents were useful in being non-class perceived accents. But class plays a less important role in England than it used to do....except in the Labour Party, where an educated English voice is anathema.

To the public, an English 'Harry Potter' public school accent is not a problem any more. The Scots accent should be less of a political advantage in future.

If real complete independence is not viable for Scotland, then why not severely reduce the number of Westminster Seats for Scotland (perhaps matching them to Euro-constituencies?). Domestic and personal issues would be dealt with by SMPs, leaving supra-national issues such as defence to the Scottish Westminster MPs - maybe about a dozen of them? They would not be eligible to vote on matters that didn't concern their electorate. Edinburgh should have total fiscal control and taxation powers for Scotland, so goodbye Barnett Formula, hallo financial reality - and as a Londoner, yes I do resent subsidising Liverpool, and French winemakers, and Greek tobacco-growers, and German small-holders......!

Also a Scot living in England. I totally agree with Graeme and, on my visits back, find that all my family and friends also agree that the situation is unsustainable. Most think that devolution has been a disaster which will break the Union within 10 years. That might not be bad in the long run as other small countries manage to be independent.Personally I doubt if Gordon is electable in England anyway, he just seems deeply unlikeable somehow.

Graeme's comments demonstrate the type of mentality that is causing the current problems for England.
England is a nation, and the funding should be granted to England as a nation. How that money is spent is for England to decide, not Scotland's MPs in Westminster.

The Tories can shoulder a lot of responsibility for what is happening to my country under Scottish rule.

I'm sick to death of the lot of you. It is my right to live in a democracy. I despise what has happened under Scottish New Labour and how the Scots get such favourable treatment with both funding and democracy.

The gravy train has to end. No more placid little Englanders. You politicians sicken us.

How far must we take it before we get our own Parliament, equal to Scotland's? Tell us now, so we can just get on with it!

I think it would make sense to scrap the Barnet Formula and replace it with a system that took the current figure and carried it forward but with no increase for inflation and cut by a certain amount every year.

I am in favour of having a Council for England that would vote on English Law comprising representatives from Local Authorities up and down the land, I think Abortion as an issue could then be devolved to the Council of England and seperately to the Scottish Parliament (although I favour a similar Council of Scotland), the Welsh Assembly should be replaced by a similar Council of Wales with similar powers to the Council of England - Welsh Law would have to be seperated from English Law; In the 6 counties the Northern Ireland Assembly should be scrapped and the power devolved to Local Authorities there including on the issue of abortion.

One problem that people neglect is that an English Parliament deciding on English Law would then leave the problem of the situation in Wales as Wales is under English Law, the only solution to this is to seperate Welsh Law out, the problem with reforms instituted by this government is that they have been patchy and not UK wide - dealing with constitutional matters on an ad-hoc basis is bound to create bizarre inequities, really the solution is for a more Federal approach to the UK.

except in the Labour Party, where an educated English voice is anathema.
Tony Blair's being a toff with a posh accent didn't stop him being elected Labour leader, Clement Attlee was hardly Working Class himself, Tony Benn probably would have been leader if it weren't for the fact that his views got so extreme.

The present state of devolution is completely unsustainable in the long run. In time honoured Labour fashion, the changes brought in by Blair have so desperately been designed to offend no one, so that we've ended up with an expensive mess that benefits no one.

I'm a Conservative, and therefore believe in the union... for as long as the union is a practical and sensible solution. Conservatism is about maintaining the status quo, but only when its the best thing to do. If we were simply meant to keep things as they were we wouldn't have drugs legislation and I'd probabaly have been in the stocks a few times for answering back to my mother.

In all honesty there are only two courses which can be deemed sensible regarding devolution, we either grant full independence to the countries of the union or all devolved powers are immediately returned to Westminster. The UK is far too small for a federal state to be practical, and its time we realise that.

I believe independence for each country is the union should be decided through a referendum, across the nation. The referendums on a Scottish parliament and a Welsh assembly should not have been limited to those countries. The creation of these two overpriced, ineffective houses of government affected all citizens of the UK, not just those in Scotland and Wales.

As for whether Gordon Brown wants England to win the World Cup or not, I don't care - I would be quite happy if a cavern opened up in the ground under Wembly and Hampden Park and all the rest of the stadia and they sank down into the pit of hell and it would be a good start if politicians stopped waffling on about sport and got on with running the country, sport is unimportant - War and Economic policy and the Public infrastructure on the other hand are very important, scrapping Sports spending by all levels of government would be a very positive move as far as I am concerned!

The creation of these two overpriced, ineffective houses of government affected all citizens of the UK, not just those in Scotland and Wales.
In many ways I think the Scottish Regional Government introduced in the 1970's was far more effective than the Scottish Parliament which still leaves Regional hostilities as inevitably a Scottish Parliament is Lowland dominated, indeed a Welsh Assembly is South Wales dominated and an English Parliament would still be South East dominated, it would have been better if Scotland, Wales and England had all got Regional\County Parliaments (Cornwall, Yorkshire, Mercia, Wessex, Lancashire, a Lincolnshire parliament etc...) with powers over issues such as abortion and running Education and even into things such as Utility Regulation, naturally at the same time powers of the Westminster Parliament would have to be reduced, of course most in need of reduction are powers of the EU and Council of Europe which in the UK should be reduced to nil.

I am quite saddened at the tone of some of the comments here today. I have always thought it unfair that "certain" Scottish MP's have been voting on English only legislation at Westminster. I knew it would cause resentment because it is unfair and unsustainable.
But now I feel angry that I am being treated like some kind of "sponger". I did not vote for devolution nor have I ever voted Labour but I find myself defending those that did.
I don't think this "whipped up" media hype about the Scottish people is either fair or deserved, who implemented this badly thought out legislation on devolution , who benefits from the votes of Scottish MP's and who was returned yet again to government throughout the UK a year ago?
As regards the Barnett Formula,
" ask only that I get to have a bit more of the tax taken from me spent in the borough where I choose to live, rather than tarmacadamming (sp?) another road in the Highlands - there's enough poverty in London for us to be attending to, thank you."
How far is your nearest hospital or school, and would you rather that the sometimes quite lengthy journey made in an ambulance in other parts of the country was made worse by the state of the roads, would that ease your sense of injustice about the way our taxes are distributed.
A more cool headed approach might make this debate a lot fairer on many hardworking Scottish people who do their bit to contribute to the economy of the UK.
But maybe it says more about the people who have turned this into a "Scots bashing exercise" rather than winning the political arguments both North and South of the border for a fairer system both in Westminster and an understanding of how some of the extra money is spent in differant area's of Scotland with an emphasis on the local economy there.

Bring back the UK, get rid of these balkanised mini states with pretensions of independence. How much would it cost the Scottish tax payer for there to be Scottish embassies all round the world?
To what microscopically small units will devolution sink , when will London declare its independence from the rest of England?
we should have a unitary state with a single parliament.

If we are going to have a debate about this issue, it would help if those participating did not misrepresent one of the simple concepts involved. What the Barnett formula is intended to do is over time converge public spending per capita in Scotland with that in England and Wales, not to guarantee that Scotland will always have a higher level of funding. The formula provides that for every £ expenditure in England goes up, that in Scotland and Wales goes up by X and Y respectively (the figures change over the years, due to adjustments in population figures).

The fact that there has in fact been a lack of discernible lack of convergence is dues to other factors outwith the Barnett formula, including a drop in the Scottish population.

If you want public spending levels to converge in the different nations, you should support the retention of the Barnett formula, and require politicians (of both parties) to stop fiddling things to bypass the formula.

For more detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnett_formula

Why wont the Conservatives call for an English Parliament?they must know that Scotland and Wales are no go area's for them ,instead Cameron and his friends are sucking up to them and ignoring England get real and do something useful stamp on all these unalected regional assemblies and work for England

I don't see that it's either necessary or desirable to have the same per capita public spending everywhere in the country. Much of the expenditure goes on salaries, and given that there are quite wide disparities in the local cost of living salaries should be set according to local market rates. Otherwise you have the anomaly that a public sector worker on a national pay scale would struggle in the south east, but could enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle elsewhere in the country.

So in areas with lower cost of living, surely the spending per head of population can be lower without any reduction in the level of service? By "areas" I mean something on a much smaller scale than Scotland, or England, or the so-called "regions" of England - like counties, cities or even towns.

At the same time, if national taxes are taken from an area and then it's found necessary to hand back abnormally high sums, that to me says that the burden of national taxation is too high for the local economy in that area and should be cut. One of the best ways to do that may well be by cutting business taxes, improving employment prospects and reducing dependency on the state.

But how you would get voted in to do this is a question - it would need very careful presentation.

A Scot can be PM, that actually makes some sense. Voting, you saw what you were getting.

Following the logic of this survey, though, it might lead to cases where the PM can't participate in some votes on his own policies.

Julian Morrison - the PM cannot vote on Scottish policies at this very moment. He has an English constituency, you see.
However, an MP with a Scottish constituency can not only vote on English policies, he can implement them.
Don't be so damned ignorant.

I live in the north of England, where hospitals and colleges are miles away. I have to travel over 40 miles to see a dentist - at least until we lost him in last round of New Labour dental contracts.

I do not get the same funding a Scot in the kind of locality. I don't care about oil or gas. It is my right to live in a democracy.

I'm not only fed up with this, I am increasingly angry.

I WANT INDEPENDENCE NOW! I will support AND campaign for an Party that offers it and I can guarantee that everyone I know will also support them. Westminster is a bubble and they have no clue how angry people really are in the real world, once they discover what is happening to our country with these nasty, nasty Scots in what must now be our Parliament.

Do you not realise that so-called "devolution" is a "divide and rule" strategy designed to split the EU member states and create a "Europe of Regions"?

The Labour Party plans were actually based on the Millan Report, Bruce Millan being a veteran Labour MP in Scotland who then became EU Commissioner with responsibility for regional policy and relations with the Committee of the Regions.

And how well that strategy is working, even without elected Regional Assemblies in England, with the English and the Scots now at each others' throats!

And do you not realise that independence for England means we are automatically out of the EU?
the last thing the EU want is for England to get its indpenendence because it shows other nations that an EU with so many nations and cultures governed by the one EU Parliament will NEVER succeed.
Union? What Union? Engand will never be the sacrificial cow to Scottish political ambitions. Never. Wake up and smell the haggis

Maybe I didn't emphasise the point enough that I am indeed Scottish? I just don't live there anymore, and if pointing out that there's a gross anomaly in the current spending formula - where we end up with - even if the Scots-based posters above don't like it - the obscene anomaly of some of the poorest English voters subsidising the socialist guff that pours out of Holyrood - makes me less welcome at a SCUA gathering than Mr "Anyone But England" McConnell, so be it, I'll live.

Note to the Scots wondering why the English are starting to go on like this: we (Scots) started it, by not nipping the devolution strand in the bud. You used to hear nothing but Scotto-philia anywhere you went in England. You don't need to go far now in London anyway to hear people venting fury about the current "settlement" - maybe it's not an issue north of the border but it is here, and the selection of a Scots-based MP to be UK premier will merely exarcebate the issue.

It's difficult to see the current devolution settlement lasting. While Northern Ireland perhaps requires a specific format of assembly at the moment. The mix and match across Britain is illogical and unworkable - as proven when Wales had voted for a smoking ban but couldn't introduce it till England did!

It seems highly unlikely reducing devolution is going to happen in the short-medium term and as such we now need to reform it. The only real future I see for the Union is to go federal with home issues dealt with by Parliaments in each of the nations and a smaller Parliament, potentially containing some of the same people over-seeing federal and international issues. I doubt it will become a Tory policy, but I don't think maintaining the Union as it currently is is wanted by the voters or workable.


The dissolution of the Union of Scotland and England does NOT mean that either is "automatically out of the EU". The UK is presently a sovereign state, and the contracting party to the EU treaties with respect to its territory. If the UK agreed to its own dissolution into two separate sovereign states then before that process was completed there would have to be negotiated amendments to those treaties.

Given the continuing pro-EU stance of all the parties likely to control the new governments, the most probable outcome is that both countries would remain in the EU, becoming the legal successors to the UK as contracting parties for their respective territories. There is no absolutely no reason to assume that a new English government would not want England to continue to be part of the EU.

David Cameron, give England, the country that gave Parliamentry democracy to the world, its own Parliament and a referendum on EUssr membership.

Theres your landslide election win.

Hmmm all new EU members have to adopt the euro, could the breaking up of the union lead to the disaster that is the eurozone being foisted upon us if we wanted to remain part of the EU?

I live in Scotland. I did not vote for Devolution. But Devolution is here to stay.
A minority of us here in Scotland have been saying for years that this will end in tears. When did Blair's government ever think anything through?
My anger is that the Conservative Party in Scotland should be leading this debate and be prepared to consider radical solutions to a very difficult problem. What have we heard from the Party leadership in Scotland? Silence! Little wonder the Conservative Party is seen as irrelevant in Scotland. Too many Conservative MSPs are elected via the list system and are petrified of upsetting the Conservative members in Scotland by advocating anything radical. It is all very depressing!

Why do we, as a party support the Union unconditionally? Most of our support is in England, the country that bankrolls Scotland. I can easily see the benefits of the Union for Scotland. Apart from the emotive ones, what benefits are there for England. More to the point, what benefits are there for the Conservative Party?

I feel desperately sorry for Tories who live north of the border, but this is a tough world. We (England and the Tories) would be, as far as I can see, so much better off without this drain on our resources. And, it seems to be what most Scots want too. How do we get votes in Scotland? Promise them full, instant independence. (However, they have to fund themselves instantly of course)

Jon, what makes you so sure that England bankrolls Scotland?


Standing up for Scotland

Politicians like Ken Livingstone and Michael Portillo repeatedly make inaccurate claims about the United Kingdom subsidising Scotland, and yet the Scottish Executive says nothing.

This year, Scotland will send £12 billion in oil revenues to the Exchequer, meaning that every Scot will subsidise the rest of the UK to the tune of almost £800 a head.

London also benefits from £26 billion in infrastructure support for projects ranging from Crossrail to the Jubilee Line, without mentioning the 2012 Olympics. Scotland more than pays its way in the UK, and it is time the Executive stood up for Scotland.

ALEX ORR, Bryson Road, Edinburgh

As for your question:

"Apart from the emotive ones, what benefits are there for England. More to the point, what benefits are there for the Conservative Party?"

I hope that attitude is not widespread.


Why do the Oil Revenues count as Scottish? The exploration of the North Sea fields was paid for by British (and Dutch) companies. Why is this Oil 'Scottish'? If the landline was continued, most of the fields would be under English control.

Yes, of course London gets subsidies. No argument. But Londoners also pay in proportionally more. (Yes, I know that City Salaries and bonuses somewhat skew the figures) Personally, I feel that getting the Olympics for 2012 is far from proven as a good thing. It is a fact that the already abused (thanks to Livingstone's excesses) London Council Tax payers will be footing the bill (or the majority of it at least) whilst the rest of the UK takes the benefits.

Presumably, as a Scot, you are for the Union - as evidenced by your final comment. I respect that, as you appear to be a patriot and in favour of it for the right reasons. My point was, that if the majority of Scots realised how much they were subsidised by England, how many wuld then want devolution My comments should not be taken as anti-Scottish. Scotland is a beautiful country. But how many Scots think of themselves as 'British'? How many will want England to do well in Germany? It's the old cliche: A Scot supports 2 fotball teams - Scotland and whoever England is playing. To me, this attitude is simply 'biting the hand that feeds'.

As a Tory, I want a Tory government. Scotland now has such a vested interest in continued NuLab govt., I repeat my question:
Apart from emotive resaons, what benefit does England, or the Tories get from the Union? You may hope that it is not a widespread attitude, but unless you can give good reasons why it should not be held, then it will be more and more widespread.

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