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Surely can't we overtaxed, underrepresented English just have independence from the Scots full stop?

Yes - Conservative Party should be a federal structure with Scottish Conservatives, and Conservative Party-North as separate entities so the centralised nature of this country does not destroy local roots

Maybe the reason the Scottish Tories don't do so well is the fact that many English Conservatives are all too happy to stir up and incite race-hatred against the Scots, such as the poster above.

No! Perhaps I'm being naive because of our electoral failures in Scotland but we are the Conservative and Unionist party and for me that's important.

As a Scottish Conservative myself I believe we should. I also believe we should always consider what is best for Scotland over what is best for the union. Many Conservatives I know have expressed a strong interest in voting SNP because of their right of centre economic stance and their support for low tax and small business. If independence is financially better for Scots and Scotland then that could gain my support too.

RKO, there are many scots, welsh and Irish people sitting in English seats as westminster mp's. so can you give the racist shite a rest please? All gordon brown has to do is answer the bloody west lothian question and all his problems go away. He is started it all,he can finish it.
He can then go on to buy some new atomic bombs with union jacks painted on the war heads.He can save Africa,whilst English people are begging for life saving drugs.

The English and the Scots are not different races, so race-hatred doesn't come into it. However I agree that stirring up unnecessary antagonism is stupid, and particularly stupid from an English point of view when the Parliamentary Union with Scotland is still crucial for the defence and security of England itself. Do these idiots really want the problems which come with a land border, like that between Ulster and the Republic, just for the sake of petty grievances?

I should think that in the light of devolution a greater degree of separation between the Scottish and English wings would make sense - but what about the Welsh?

The whole attitude of the Tory party to Scotland and England is simply odd . Weird is a more appropriate word .

( there is already a Scottish Tory party , as there is correspondingly in Wales . I always thought that the Scottish Tories were independent - if not they should be )

- when I say " the Tory Party " , I mean what is in effect The English Tory Party ie that part of the Tory party which is in England but which proceeds under a cloak of dogged self denial in that it simply refuses to associate itself with England and the English instead endlessly banging on about a place called Britain . That , in doing so , they are deserting their single great constituency and their great potential strength simply does not seem to occurr to them . If you try to raise the subject of England's careful and studied suppression of recognition the usual Tory answer is to launch into a condemnation of nationalism- even the mild variety of English national feeling ( whilst at the same time being careful to engage in a revoltiing act of grovelling to the much more stident , often offensive Scottish and Welsh nationalism ).

There should be , there should always have been , an English Tory Party , operating in alliance with Tory Parties in Wales , Scotland and in Ulster also . The alliance should be free , comradely , not necessarily in complete coordination on all topics but a matter of fellow feeling for the British cause supported by the combined national Tory parties of the component countries of the United Kingdom operating as a federation of Toryism .

Not too difficult to understand surely .

The alternative is the steady withdrawal of English support for an already weakened Union . More and more the reflex English reply to any consideration of Scottish nationalist threats of independence is along the lines of " the sooner the better , time to get shot of them , well be far better off once they're gone " etc .

In the face of the imminent threat to the Union
( Scottish elections are on 1/05/2006 )
the Tory response is one of vast denial of reality and public clinging to a past which ended with the Scotland Act of 1998 .

Weird , simply weird .


Surely for Scots elections the Party needs to have a distinct Scots agenda and identity. If we accept that as a UK Party we must make devolution work AND retain the Union and looking towards EVoEL for UK Parliament then a Scots Unionist Party with autonomy over it's policies on devolved matters makes sense.

Our period of greatest strength in Scotland was when the Scots Party was autonomous and recognisably a Scots party - though perhaps too associated with the Orange Order for my liking today. We were able to elect/select a UK leader - and chose Douglas-Hume from the Scots Party - while retaining that separateness.

In my view devolution and Union will work best where the boundaries and responsibilities are clear - the NHS in England and the SoS for Health for example should be styled NHS England and SoS for Health, England so as to clearly define that the body and department have limited not UK competence.

I would also support increased financial autonomy - with UK & national taxation and Scotland, England, Wales & NI free to vary national taxes and the UK Tax cake there to cover the federal responsibilities and provide a degree of regional support.

The present fudge fosters nationalism by restraining autonomy where its devolved and enabling the Welsh Assembly & Scots Parliament more in way of gesture politics than real power.

It's not only citizens who seem unaware of the devolution settlement - Gordon Brown on toll charges or Ming demanding UK Gov't tell him of aircraft movements in Scotland (the LD Transport minister in Scotland a better source I'd have thought) shows that UK politicians don't understand it either.

Afleitch - I've also noticed this quiet consideration on the part of Scottish Tory voters (particulalry within the business community) to consider voting SNP on the basis that only a real shake-up of the system can shake shake Scotland out of its torpor.

But rather like the Labour party pre-Blair, they are still cautious as they believe that the hairy nutters are really still in control of the SNP as well as the possible coalition with the Greens setting alarm bells ringing.

How can you have a unionist party and make devolution work? Without parity with Scotland the union will remain unfair to England. EvfEL is a great soundbite but unworkable as those who have studied the implications know. Devolution is certainly not working for the English taxpayer who funds Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to their own detriment. How can there be financial independence for Scotland when the Conservative Party have no intention of reviewing let alone revising this unfair burden on their majority constituents. The Barnett formula is not based on need, if it were it would be less discriminatory.
Those people who accuse supporters of England's interests, who complain about the burdens thrust upon England by the demands from Scotland, of racism betray their own prejudices. Who speaks for England? Certainly not the Conservatives or their leader.
You say do these idiots really want the problems which come with a land border, like that between Ulster and the Republic, just for the sake of petty grievances? No we do not, nor did we before devolution, nor was anyone in England asked but we have now got land borders just like Ireland. Pensioners, the sick, students in England cannot cross the borders of Scotland and Wales to get equal treatment with the citizens of those countries-free travel, no top up fees, free prescriptions, free personal care, the list goes on.
You say that as a Scottish Conservative you believe the Scottish Conservatives should always consider what is best for Scotland over what is best for the union. ER! If that is an acceptable attitude why does the party in England not consider what is better for England over what is best for the union? What kind of "unionist" is that?

but we are the Conservative and Unionist party

No you are not !

The Unionists came to the Tories with Joseph Chamberlain, and left when Heath declared direct rule in 1972.

The Ulster Unionists are down to 1 MP after being betrayed by Westminster politicians...............now it is the DUP that represents Unionists and i doubt they think much of the Conservatives

Let's go further and champion Scottish independence. We'd revive the Party in Scotland overnight and we'd have a better chance of ruling England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Ted, I'm sure that our party 'can maintain a Scottish agenda' but still retain its name and its ideals for Britain as a whole. By dropping our name and working seperately I have no doubt that in a short time if we adopt Monteiths ideas our party would split and the Union would be under more pressure than it is already.Sadly few people within the party are arguing for the merits of the Union ,the last person I can remember doing this was John Major in 1992.
Tomtom, I'm sure your great education would give you the knowledge to know that our official name is the Conservative and Unionist party. What do you propose should be done?

The title of this thread is
" Should Scotland's Tories declare independence? " .

considering that and looking through the comments one point is very evident ie the enormous import put on Scottish sentiment and feelings and likewise the disdainful dismissal of anyone who dares speak up - even quite mildly - for England .

eg Dennis Cooper's remarks re the English that we are " particularly stupid " and " these idiots " for wanting recognition of England . Most of the , belated , English sentiment has arisen after many years of intense celtic race- nationalism directed against the English and fostered by the British state and media . A race nationalism , mind you , quite recognisable to anyone from the Balkans or pre war Eastern Europe but resolutely denied for what it is by the British establishment which loves to fawn over it . Witness Dave's recent speech in Scotland replete with careful obeisance to Scotland and redolent with typical Scottish nationalist insults against the English - " sour , ignorant English " .

I propose an alternative title for the thread -
" Should England's Tories declare independence ? "

Its not impossible you know . All it takes is mental leap . England's could still remain Unionists while realising that their constituency is England .

Given the pattern of likely forthcoming events some of the 529 MP's in the British parliament who stand for English constituencies might - just might - discover that they have constituents who are English and whose interests need protecting within the union . No one does it at present .

Otherwise the are going to look pretty stupid after Scotland has declared the Union finished and that there are now the two independent countries of England and Scotland

- I suppose , given their track record , the'll still be banging on about Britain and the Union - and still oozing considered hatred and contempt for the new England .

Doubtless , the voters of England will cast their votes accordingly .

I do find all of this ranting by certain forgetful minded people south of the border about Labour Gov is propped by its Scottish seats thus drowning the English votes. What they have forgotten is that the roles were reversed a few years back. Thatcher years in particular, when Scotland consistently voted against the Tory party, and then Thatcher perhaps out of spite consistently dumped unpopular legislation on the country. Im sure sometime in the future the same thing will happen again, and the clamour south of the border will stop and they will get back to hating the German and French.

All of this anti-scots, anti English rhetoric is driven by a few feeble minded media elites with nothing better to do by chase circulation numbers. I haven’t made my mind up about independence and wont till I hear someone ( an independent non political organisation all the better) actually come up with a cost and is it worth it.

Jake @ 13:11 -

"Dennis Cooper's remarks re the English that we are " particularly stupid " and " these idiots " for wanting recognition of England."

I made no such remarks, and nor do I spell my name with two n's.

Nor for that matter did Cameron make any speech 'redolent with typical Scottish nationalist insults against the English - " sour, ignorant English"'. If you are going to use quotation marks, quote accurately - at one point in a speech he said:

"We should not forget that Alex Salmond couldn't ask for more effective allies in his campaign to break up the Union than sour Little Englanders who cry 'good riddance' when independence for Scotland is suggested."

But don't bother too much about minor matters of factual accuracy like that.

As for Priscilla Cullen @ 12:41 - "we have now got land borders just like Ireland" -that displays an astonishing degree of ignorance. The border between Ulster and the Republic is an international border between the United Kingdom and another sovereign state; the border between England and Scotland is an internal border between two parts of the sovereign United Kingdom.

whether the borders are international or intranational the effect is the same; different treatment of the respective citizens, based on a land border, all the more reprehensible intranationally as those who are denied the benefits pay for them for the others through their taxes.

Denis , pray forgive me for spelling your name with two n's .
It was , without a doubt , a terrible thing to do .

You wrote
"However I agree that stirring up unnecessary antagonism is stupid, and particularly stupid from an English point of view when the Parliamentary Union with Scotland is still crucial for the defence and security of England itself. Do these idiots really want the problems which come with a land border- "

- from which one might be excused from divining that you are aiming the words " particularly stupid " and " these idiots " at the English .

One small point which appears to have escaped you -
-as far as the vast majority of the English are concerned they would be only too happy not to have the problems associated with a land border including that between England and Scotland which , until 1998 , were a matter of almost academic interest , given that Great Britain was a unitary state with one parliament etc .
With the Scotland Act 1998 ( you might recall ) all that changed and the unitariness of the British state was ended .
You might also recall that the English were not consulted at all on devolution at the time .

All real voting in Scotland (forget their polls) show the Conservatives gaining somewhat. What is needed NOW is loads of cash and help from the English party to make a breakthrough there next year. It can be done. Failing that, the SNP will take the country on the independence road...and allow the Conservatives an easier road to power in our own country. However, that is the worst of positive options....rather erode Labour in Scotland and get more MPs from there in Westminster.

If Mr. Cameron is in Scotland wooing them with tax cuts (not for England) and a public holiday to celebrate their Patron Saint (not in England), I'll just wait to hear the next insult he'll throw at the English.
To date;
"Little Englanders"
But he will take these people "head on" oh! how I wish Mr. Cameron (I'm Scottish, no I'm not I'm English) will somebody tell him what he is. (no bad language please)

Jake @ 14:23

Actually, the English were consulted on the devolution changes. We live in a representative democracy and the Scotland Act was passed by a majority of Scottish, English, and British MPs. If there is demand for an English Parliament, then it should be pretty easy to fufil given that 82% of the British Parliament's MPs represent English constituencies. I think the fact that English MPs do not represent their constituents interests is a matter for you to take up with them, not blame on the Scots.

Patrick @ 14:34

David Cameron did not refer to "the English" as "sour little Englanders", just the rapid fringe, of which you clearly belong, choose to spin it that way. Cameron has not offered "tax cuts for Scotland but not for England", and the fact that you need to twist the facts so much really illustrates that you don't have an intellectual argument at all but are simply driven by a much more hateful and destructive agenda.

Shug @ 13:12

Labour are not "propped up with seats from Scotland". At the last election Labour won 92 seats more than the Conservatives in England. Even if we were to discount the 41 Labour MPs and single Conservative elected in Scotland, (and 3 in Wales), Labour would still hold 286 seats to the Conservative's 194.

Jake - two (probably) contradictory observations:

Scotland and England have always had two different legal systems so Britain is not as unitary as all that.

Having said that though, the 1998 Act allows for devolution, not independence which means that the British Parliament can choose to overrule whatever the Scottish Parliament does at any time of its choosing.

So, although it might not feel like it, England still has the whip-hand in the relationship.

Personally, I'm not expecting the return of the Young Pretender any time soon so am quite relaxed about the land border issue!

Having said all that, however, I still find it irksome that Scottish Nationalism is perceived as somehow righteous and wholesome while English Nationalism is immediately assumed to be fascist in nature - I assume that there are nasty pieces of work and honourable men and women in both English and Scottish Nationalism.

Justin @ 12:55

Given that only 9% of the Scottish electorate voted for pro-independence parties at the last election in Scotland, I fail to see how the Conservative Party could revive their fortunes by favouring the break up of Britain. How many people voted for candidates supporting English independence at the last general election? Or even English devolution, come to think of it?

In any case, Conservative Party policy should be about what's best for the whole UK, England, Scotland, N. Ireland and Wales, not about what gives us party political advantage. I'd say it's pretty low to dismember the country just because you think you could benefit electorally from it.

The Communists in the former Soviet Baltic countries thought nationalism would save their skin, and look where they are now!!


the English overwhelmingly voted for a Labour government in 1997, and again by a very large margin in 2001, and also I think by a small margin in 2005 when postal votes are included. Anyway, the 1997 Labour manifesto promised that they would hold referenda on whether electors in Scotland and Wales wanted devolved assemblies. OK, so maybe not everybody in England noticed that part of the Labour manifesto in 1997, or understood the implications. But by 2001 it was already clear that this government hates and despises the British people, and above all the English - it was certainly very clear to me long before then - and yet the English voted them in again. You can't blame the Scots for what the English have brought upon themselves, and getting rid of the Scots is not the answer.

Also as a matter of law, it simply isn't true that the unitariness of the British state was ended by the Scotland Act 1998. Section 28 of that Act:


covers how the Scottish Parliament "may make laws, to be known as Acts of the Scottish Parliament", but to the chagrin of Scottish nationalists it ends with an explicit statement of the continuing supremacy of the British Parliament:

(7) This section does not affect the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Scotland.

RKO @ 15.02

About 35% of votes cast (constituency + regional) in the 2003 elections were for people or parties with independence as part of their platform. Also remember that the SNP was having a stinker of a time around then so there vote was probably lower than can be expected this time round.

Stephen B @ 15:02

English nationalism is perfectly honourable. What is not honourable is anti-Scottish hatred, as espoused by Patrick Harris and Jake. It is a shame that the worthy cause of English nationalism is being dragged through the gutter by people such as those two, and I am sure their narrow minded, bigoted agenda does not represent the mainstream of English nationalism.

Priscilla, try sending British police officers or a unit of the British armed forces across the border between England and Scotland border, and then try sending them across the border between Ulster and the Republic, and you will find that the reactions are very different. Try setting up a Royal Navy or RAF base or any kind of UK government installation in the Republic. If Scotland had become an independent sovereign state a hundred years ago there's a fair chance that we'd all be speaking German now - and by "we" I mean the Scots as well.

I agree with Eugene, what we Scottish Tories need is cash and support from Central Office, and a bit of Cameron charisma, to fight next May's elections.
I think it's crazy to be talking of independence either as a party or a nation.
As a party, yes, we might enjoy a slight rise in popularity if Scotland became an independent nation, thanks to a few right of centre nationalists joining or voting for us. But we would also be condemning ourselves to perpetual opposition due to the overwhelming majority of Scots voters being left of centre in outlook.
At least, within a UK set-up, we have a chance of forming a government. In Scotland, the best we could (probably ever) hope for is being the junior party in a coalition.
As for independence being good for the nation, I remain to be convinced we'd flourish (although I accept the argument can be made) and we'd have to be damn sure we'd be better off to embark on something from which there would be no turning back.
In short, the Tories in Scotland should avoid looking for a reckless short-term boost in support that may (although may not) result from flirting with independence and try to inject a bit of the Cameron factor into the Scottish party.

I'm not a Cameron fan, but in fairness this is the last part of the BBC report yesterday:

"Mr Cameron denied his campaign to solve the so-called "West Lothian" question - where Scottish MPs can vote on issues which affect only England like health, law and order and education but not vice versa - was pandering to a "little Englander" agenda. He said: "We need to make devolution work...one part of devolution that doesn't work is that Scottish MPs can vote on matters that don't affect their own constituents.""

TomTom is totally wrong. The official title and the one that appears on ballot papers in Scotland is the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

I must agree with the piece above that the best hope for the Scottish Tories is to rebrand themselves completely and come up with a new separate identity and name as right wing scottish nationalists.

I don’t think advocating independence would make the slightest improvement in our fortunes. The SNP are polling little better at this stage than they were last time round and I suspect the death of the Union is a long, long way off yet. And for those of us that believe passionately in the Union (I would think this would be a fairly large chunk of the membership in Scotland) there would be no way we could remain part of the party and it would suffer as a result.

What we need, in my opinion, is a very traditional Tory message that will enthuse the core vote to ensure we get a good result in what will be a very low turnout election. I doubt there is much point in trying to attract floating voters as I very much doubt all but the most committed will bother to vote in May.

I entirely agree, Max.

Max, I don't know if you noticed this but in the 'gay adoption' debate in parliament recently, there were a significant number of SNP members who either voted against the measure or spoke out against it and then abstained which seems to me to indicate a significant social conservative element within the SNP as well as the Tories.

Not sure how this affects the Tory party and the need to deliver a very traditional Tory message though!


The Unionist Party, referred to as the Scottish Unionist Party outwith Scotland itself, was the main Tory organisation in Scotland between 1912 and 1965................The origins of the Scottish Unionist Party lay in the split of the Liberal Party in 1886 and the emergence of the Liberal Unionists. The Union in question was that of the 1801 Irish Union, and not the 1707 Union...............the Scottish Unionist Party's belief system was demonstrated when members of the party left to establish the Scottish Party, which eventually merged with the National Party of Scotland to form the Scottish National Party...............reforms in 1965 brought an end to the Scottish Unionist Party as an independent force. It was a renamed Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party and constitutionally came under the control of the UK party. These, and further reforms in 1977, saw the Scottish Conservatives being viewed as a regional unit, with its personnel, finance, and political offices under the control of a leadership in London./

what was the turnout last time? I also agree with max

By the way it is legitimate to point out that a larger per capita share of public spending goes to scotland but I think that it's important that we don't express this in a tabloidesque manner or the argument swiftly reduces to a debased scots v english slagging match which is very boring.

We need to lead the way on resolving the west lothian question and cannot rely on gordon brown. for all we know he believes, like Lord Falconer, that "the best way to answer the west lothian question is not to ask it"

TS - It was a shade under 50%. I doubt it will be any better next time.

To illustrate my point in a seat like Eastwood/East Renfrewshire we would in all probability win the seat just by getting those who voted for us in the general election to turn out for the Holyrood election.

One of the polls that showed the SNP doing well was predicated on a turnout of 65%, I think that is very unlikely which is why I am very doubtful they will do as well as is suggested.

Very interesting Tomtom.Now,what would you propose the Conservative party should do?

" Actually, the English were consulted on the devolution changes. "
- well , actually , we were completely and pointedly left out . The general election manifesto does not really count . what counts is a referendum which applied to Scotland and Wales as such and specifically AS NATIONS . England was ignored and not offered devolution as such . What we were belatedly offered was a referendum in the North east of England carefully designed to bring about the abolition of England via division into euro provinces - it was rejected by a massive majority .
Denis ( and others who are determined to find consolation in regarding the Scottish parliament as simply an oddity of an all powerful British state )

- I suspect that is not how the Scots perceive it . Or the rest of the world . You can kid yourself all you like that article 7 of the Scotland Act
" This section does not affect the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Scotland. "
- conserves the British governemnts ' position - I suppose it does , on paper .
Political reality is different though . I am sure Mr Salmond would just love the British government to put it to the test !

Stephen B
"English nationalism is perfectly honourable. ( yep ) What is not honourable is anti-Scottish hatred, as espoused by Patrick Harris and Jake. It is a shame that the worthy cause of English - -

I cannot speak for P Harris . For myself I defy you to show anything I have said above that consists of antiScottish hatred . My main point is that England is ( almost ) completely bereft of defenders within the British state . As a result the British government gets away with the Barnett Rules and much else . An English Tory party should be stout in defending the interests of England within the Union . Instead we have endless dodging of the point because harping on about Britain when you mean England ( eg the NHS ) which provides virtually all Tory comment with a particular anaemic flavour and draws the Tory sting every time .

Bliar must be still hardly believing his luck on this one .

Stephen – I’m not sure what it tells us. Fergus Ewing is a genuine right-winger. I’m less sure about the other. Brian Adams is a Mormon so probably voted against for religious reasons and that may be true of some of the others.

I would think that in places like Angus, Perthshire, Aberdeenshire etc there are quite a few socially conservative SNP voters but I’m not sure how you convince them of the joys of Unionism!

RKO @ 1452

You obviously did'nt listen to the Scottish Conservative leader Mr. Mcleichie (apologies if spelling is wrong) he announced a 2p reduction in Scots taxes in return for Conservative votes in his last address, I am not a sour little Englander, I just want the same as Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland, A parliament or assembly where English matters can be dealt with by English representatives, I do not want to have to go to Scots or Welsh voters cap in hand and ask them to vote out a minister at Westminster who is doing a bad job e.g. Brown, Browne, Hain etc.I also want the same amount of money spent on my university children as is spent in Scotland, I take exception to paying for Scots childrens tertiary education and Scots elderly social care, I will have to sell my home in the not too distant future. Tell me that this is fair. On the subject of democracy which Conservstives hold so dear, why won't they hold a referendum in England as was done in the other constituent countries of the Dis-United Kingdom

Patrick @ 16:58

Yes, McLetchie has *discussed* a tax cut, although this is not confirmed policy for the election in May in Scotland. In any case, it's a long journey between McLetchie discussing the policy (who hasn't even been leader for about a year now) and "Cameron wants tax to be lower in Scotland than in England". You contrived rage really would be more credible if you didn't manipulate the facts so much.

The Westminster election will not be for another 3 years at least and David Cameron has made it quite clear he will not be offering tax cuts or publishing tax proposals until much closer than then. I think if you wait until then you will find that Cameron is a tax-cutter and there will certainly be no discrepency in tax rates between Scotland and England.

Your argument about "going cap in hand to vote out a minister" is rather ridiculous as well. We do not elect ministers but Members of Parliament. If I am unsatisfied with the performance of a minister, the only way I can vote him out is by living in his constituency and voting against him. Therefore, you would also have to go "gap in hand" to the voters of Sedgefield if you wanted to get rid of Tony Blair, or "cap in hand" to voters in Bolton West to get rid of Ruth Kelly. So your argument about the democratic deficit doesn't hold true.

Parliament for England, sure. English MPs dominate Westminster and if there were demand for a separate English Parliament one would surely exist, but, as I explained earlier, the votes for candidates or parties advocting such a proposal are just not there. Iain Dale is a high profile campaigner for an English Parliament, for example, and lost almost 10,000 votes in a marginal seat. It is not "the Scots" who deny you a separate English Parliament but lack of political will and English politicians in Westminster.

Funding arguments we can do to death, but David Cameron, our next Prime Minister, has publicly stated there is no "English subsidy" of Scotland I think he's more believable than you are. Certainly with your contrived rage and falsified facts your arguments do not hold up at all.

Has anybody ever thought about asking the English what we want?

Whenever devolved government or indepedence is brought up, for some reason it is only Scottish opinion which is supposedly of any relevance.

When English activists write to the national (British) media (with different issues for Scotland from those in England) their views for an English Parliament or English independence are ignored.

When people write to British parliamentary parties saying they want an English Parlaiment, they are invariably rebuffed with fatuous comments like "there is no desire amongst English people for an English Parliament"

There is a groundswell of opinion supporting English independence (30% according to an SNP poll) and 41% of English people want a devolved parliament in England.

However, as has been the case for the past 299 years, it is Scottish opinion which is considered all important.

Almost as important as the Scottish blood running through David Cameron's veins that he bellows to the world about in one breath.

In the next breath he's saying gordon Brown can't be PM because he is Scottish......duh!

"David Cameron, our next Prime Minister, has publicly stated there is no "English Subsidy" of Scotland". Given that this Berkshire Highlander is the author of the economically illiterate false choice between tax cutting and some mythical "stability", why we should we attach any importance to what he has to say about Scottish funding? He was brown-nosing a Scottish audience when he said it. And before you bang on/rant about me being a little Englander, I can assure you that I am many things but English is not one of them. I am a proud Celt. I just happen to have a brain too.

RKO @ 17:23

Cameron is Scottish? Maybe of very, very distant descent maybe but I don't think many sane people would look at him and think of him as Scottish.

I think what you're doing is quite similar to Karl Leuger in Austria, whose famous quote was "I decide who is a Jew". In other words, you see a Scottish conspiracy around you wherever you are and everyone involved is "Scottish", regardless of fact!

As I pointed out before, England *was* consulted in the devolution referendums and the current political set up has been sanctioned by a majority of English MPs with the winning votes of the English electorate. It is not the Scots responsible for your political misfortunes, so deal with it and cut it out with the contrived outrage which is, quite frankly, getting boring!!

RKO @ 1709

I cannot think how you attribute "ranting" and "rageing" to a written article, my arguement is put calmly albeit forcefully.
I can only perceive that the rage belongs to you because you can find no defendable
arguement as to why there is a difference between the constituent countries that could not be put right simply by a referendum that could be held in tandem with next May's local elections. I didn't get the chance to vote for Scottish devolution but I sure as hell want a vote that concerns the future of my country. Don't be so naive, the break up of the UK and the attempt to break up England into regions has nothing to do with national politics, It is all at the behest of the European commission - to make it easier to rule. Oh dear I've mentioned the E word. It's a pity Cameron doesn't. More rage expected. calm down dear, it's only the future of England that's at stake.

I am not sure what all this quibbling is supposed to show. I am pro-devolution (although not pro the unfair way in which it has operated). There was minimal electoral consultation on the 1998 devolution settlement outside Scotland and Wales. It was part of the small print of the 1997 Labour manifesto even though it was a major constitutional change; suited Labour's narrowly partisan interests; and was opposed by the Tories. Can you think of another country (Zimbabwe?) which radically alters its constitution on the say-so of the Prime Minister without consulting the entire electorate on the specific issue?

[email protected]

"David Cameron did not refer to "the English" as "sour little Englanders", just the rapid fringe, of which you clearly belong, choose to spin it that way"

It is no surprise that those who stand up for England are insulted in this way. Cheap shots are just that, cheap. And you obviously are the exemplar of the cheap shooter.

What is expensive though is the Barnett formula, and when English people see their elderly parents having to sell their homes to fund residential care in England, and their child having to pay top-up fees (after they have paid for their eye tests so they can see more clearly) as well as the rest of the punative measures placed upon England by New Labour using Scotish MPs to provide its majority, I think English people have a right to be than sour.

Cameron then has the audacity to say the problems of the UK lie squarely at the feet of the English because of their "ignorance" of the Scots.

If you read that churlish speech even you might see just how crass it was.

"Many Conservatives I know have expressed a strong interest in voting SNP because of their right of centre economic stance and their support for low tax and small business"

I thought the SNP were lefties?


"Funding arguments we can do to death, but David Cameron, our next Prime Minister, has publicly stated there is no "English subsidy" of Scotland I think he's more believable than you are. Certainly with your contrived rage and falsified facts your arguments do not hold up at all"

Hmm, try this for a real fact.
Scotland had 7.68% of new undergraduates yet received 11.51% of all UK Taxpayers Funded Research Monies, if that's not a subsidy what is?

http://www.hesa.ac.uk/dds/PI4ELSS102NNYTO2/pi/0405/r1_0405.xls and click on sheet 2, excell needed to view..

Labour's manifesto stated that it would hold a referendum on whether to create a Scottish Parliament, and whether that Parliament had tax raising powers. That manifesto was rather successful throughout the UK. The UK Parliament then arranged those referenda and implemented the legislation afterwards.

It's not as if Blair sprung this on people, is it? By 1997 it was seen as a dead cert that devolution would pass. Holding a referendum meant it would be implemented. I remember being told by the Tories that I should vote Tory to save the Union. I did but not enough people joined me.

Call it a mess, but it is a mess that the UK electorate signed up for by voting Labour.

As for the West Lothian Question, remember that Rifkind and Forsyth held power over the English that they didn't have over the voters of Edinburgh Pentlands and Stirling at certain points in their careers.

So - England *was* consulted in the devolution referendums and the current political set up has been sanctioned by a majority of English MPs with the winning votes of the English electorate. I don't recall being consulted in a referendun RKO. The MPs may have been consulted but I, as an individual, certainly was not.
The Conservative Party seems to forget that they won the majority of English votes and I for one am getting more than a little fed up of DC's attitude to the English voters.
It is time that we stopped shilly shallying with EVoEM and called for a proper English Parliament.

The broad theme of devolution was in Labour's 1997 manifesto. The all-important detail was deliberately swept under the carpet....and the devil was, and is, in the detail. So Labour's mandate for devolution was very limited indeed, especially as they had little more than 40% of the votes cast and there is no evidence that devolution had much impact on their support.

The Union has become a sacred cow and the Tories certainly don't believe in it: ask David Trimble. The UK should be properly federated, say along the same lines as Germany.

We are the Unionist party. Above all it is what we stand for; if it wasn't we would have joined the SNP by now! We stand for an inclusive state, working together with all the people of these islands, looking outward not inward. What would be the point of spearating, the London party is flourished in success whilst the Edinburgh party is flushed with failure and a lack of progress. The views of Brian Monteith and the like are just those of former politicians who now have no party and are desperately trying to find a position for themselves; spiralling out of control and betraying everything they fought so long to protect

Come out of your rage coma, tell us more about how truthful DC can be.

"David Cameron, our next Prime Minister, has publicly stated there is no "English Subsidy" of Scotland". Given that this Berkshire Highlander ..." Oxfordshire, now.

Jake @ 16:51 - "England was ignored and not offered devolution as such. What we were belatedly offered was a referendum in the North east of England carefully designed to bring about the abolition of England via division into euro provinces - it was rejected by a massive majority." A correct account, but having campaigned for one England and against euroregional assemblies, more or less since their inception - mostly against SEERA, that being where I live, but a group of us from here also spent some days in the north east for the referendum campaign - I'm not now going to do the bloody EU's work for them by advocating the dissolution of the United Kingdom.

Dennis Cooper at 1836
Re Seera - then you will know that of the 76 "appointed" councillors on the board of Seera, 51 are Tory, DC says he is against regional assemblies - another truth from DC
are you reading RKO

If there is a split then there is always the possibility as with the Ulster Unionists that in Westminster their allegiances might end up being different, supposing in a future election in a dispute between an English Conservative Party and a Scottish Conservative Party, one or the other decided to back a Labour government much as the Ulster Unionists did in 1974, or another party.

Surely such a situation would be a move towards the position of the Conservative Party becoming some kind of Umbrella Alliance?

I wonder if any people in England have heard of a beautiful place called Wales? Britain and the UK is not a question of England + Scotland, there are 4 partners involved. If the Scottish party splits, it leaves a British party not an Eglish one in its place, likewise for Scotland per se. Admittedly the historical and constitutional technicalities complicate things, but this fact still stands.

Perhaps the English ignorance of Wales, is mirroring its historical attitude towards Scotland. Don't misunderstand me, I am a staunch Unionist, I will protect it till the end. I am not anti English either, but as DC recently said, to protect the Union - as we all must - England needs to be more aware and inclusive of the rest o us.

Jake @ 16:51 - I think you have a greatly exaggerated idea of the degree and the nature of the power which has been devolved. In many ways, the powers of the Scottish Parliament are comparable to those enjoyed by a county council in the thirties, before the process of centralising control in London really got underway. It's even arguable that some of those powers should be devolved further down from Edinburgh to county councils across Scotland, and similarly back down from London to county councils across England and Wales. Apart from the catch-all Subsection 28(7) of the Scotland Act: "This section does not affect the power of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to make laws for Scotland", the matters which are at the core of a sovereign state's power are explicitly reserved to Westminster. Wikipedia has compiled a convenient list:


"The following is a list of reserved matters:[1]

constitutional matters
UK foreign policy
UK defence and national security
fiscal and economic policy
immigration and nationality
energy: electricity, coal, oil, gas and nuclear energy
common markets
trade and industry, including competition and customer protection
drugs law
Elections and the registration and funding of political parties
some aspects of transport, including aviation, railways, transport safety and regulation
employment legislation and health and safety
social security
gambling and the National Lottery
data protection
firearms, extradition and emergency powers
medicines, abortion, human fertilisation and embryology, genetics, xenotransplantation and vivisection
equal opportunities
treason and misprision of treason
regulation of time zones and Summer Time [2]"

Talk about Scotland now being "independent", or the England-Scotland border now being no different to that between Ulster and the Republic, is pure fantasy.

As a long-term friend and admirer of Brian I'm not surprised at his call.

The Scots Tories are still just that - Tories.

I'm not sure where Cameron is taking the English party.

Richard at 1802

"I thought the SNP were lefties?".

For the most part they are but, by all accounts, people like Jim Mather are creating a favourable impression within the business community.

I also suspect that some people might be motivated to vote SNP with the following logic:

    "We're never going to get anywhere with this permanent ineffective Lib/Lab coalition, why don't we press for independence on the basis that when it's done, those in charge of the economy (of whatever party) will need to come to their senses and look to implement a grown-up economic policy."

Denis Cooper.
Enlighten me. If England and Scotland were each independent, why would the English wish to send either troops or police across the border without the consent of the Scottish Government? There is no current continental threat. The implication of your concern is that if one were to arise and English forces north of the border were necessary to counter it, Scotland would not cooperate with us and might cooperate with our enemies. Possibly you are right, but you clearly have little faith in the Scots.

The again, perhaps the Scots will revert to border raids on Northumbrian cattle?

On the plus side, one certain defence policy consequence of Scottish independence would be that new aircraft carriers will be built at Devonport, not on the Clyde.

If the Scottish party splits, it leaves a British party not an Eglish one in its place
The Conservatives have always had difficulties in Wales, many of Labour's safest seats have been in Wales - they aren't in a much better position in Wales than in Scotland really, if there is going to be a separation of the Conservative Party in Scotland (including the Islands), then probably one in Wales would follow soon after and next there might even be arguments for a separate North East Party or Northern Party.

Of course separation of countries and separation of parties are not the same thing, indeed parties can be local, regional, national and can even cross national boundaries.

If things went to the extent that the nations of the UK broke up into separate countries then how long would it be before England, Scotland and even perhaps Wales broke into smaller states - not only that but if the UK broke up then it is not clear if any of it's successors would have a permanent place on the UN Security Council and certainly Scotland and Wales could not maintain an Independent Nuclear Strikeforce and it would be a heavier burden on England alone than on the UK.

Under Thatcher the Tories had 14 seats in Wales, only slightly behind Labour. We won 3 last time round, with big swings in others, will probably double the number next year, if not do better. We came second in Wales in 2005, pretty significant seeing as the day before we didn't own a single seat there. Wales is a growth spot you should definately look out for!

True, James, "There is no current ... threat." But once the Anglo-Scottish Union is dissolved, it's dissolved forever. Can you guarantee that there will never again be any kind of threat, and that England would not be at a massive disadvantage because it no longer had effective control of the whole island? Our descendants would curse us for re-opening a back door which was shut and locked in 1707.

The answer to the question is YES. Then at least conservatism may survive intact, in Scotland, well away from the Blue Labour spin merchants in London.

A breakup of the United Kingdom would not be followed by a breakup of England.

John Prescott's referendum in the North-East received a sounding No because the English are one people and didn't want to be split up.

Labour wanted to split up England because they feared that an English parilament would otherwise appear, and that they would never win control of it. The only way to plan for future power was split England into pieces, some of which might return a Labour administration.

It was a straightforward piece of attempted gerrymandering.

When it failed, it was back to Plan B, viz denying that there is a problem. "What WLQ? I don't see any WLQ."

John Prescott's referendum in the North-East received a sounding No because the English are one people and didn't want to be split up.
There were people voting no because the assembly wouldn't have enough powers, the major flaw with John Prescott's Regional Assemblies was that they did not match historic divisions - if for example a Lancashire assembly under the historic boundaries and a Yorkshire assembly under historic boundaries and maybe a Cornish Parliament, Wessex and Mercia perhaps - I am sure there would be far more support for them, the whole point though is that if parties keep redefining the areas they want according to where they are at that moment doing well they could end up with ever smaller areas of territory.

Labour wanted to split up England because they feared that an English parilament would otherwise appear, and that they would never win control of it.
Labour had more votes than any other one party in England in 1945, 1950, 1951, 1964, 1966, October 1974, 1997 and 2001. In fact in October 1974 Labour won slightly over 40% of the vote in England whereas in the UK as a whole it was only 39.3% and only 35% in Scotland because of the Scottish Nationalist surge at that point which they have never matched since.

In fact even under the systems in use in Scotland and Wales, it is possible that Labour would form the administration because they won a majority of seats in England in 2005 and the top up probably wouldn't completely narrow the difference, the actual gap between Labour and Conservative was very much hyped up in 2005 - Conservatives got 34.5% of the vote and Labour got 31.5% in England, it is unlikely that anyone would hold a majority - of course so far the only one of the devolved assemblies to have had a majority was the Welsh Assembly where Labour had a majority of 1 for a bit.

Actually what really annoys me about Cameron and his Metrosexual PC clones is all this racist crap about Brown being Scottish and so forth.

Trust a silver-spoon Eton Toryboy to come up with that.

After all the work Maggie did to get the party in the hands of true libertarian conservatives we've ended up with the snotnosed Eton mafia again.

Scotland as much as England has differences from one part to another, there have always been big divisions between rural and urban and between Islands, Highlands, Lowlands, Borders - really devolution in Scotland should have gone deeper to historic divisions more locally, either with different devolved groupings coming together to decide English, Scottish, Ulster and perhaps if there was further devolution Welsh Law, or English, Scottish and Ulster Law could be fused together to create British Law - there was always a problem with Scottish Law and Ulster Law being seperately decided but still decided by Westminster.

Boundaries of England are actually a bit hazy really - Cumberland and Westmorland, and Northumberland were historically Scottish counties and still have more in common with the Borders than either they or the Borders have with the rest of England and Scotland; Argyll and Sutherland have little in common with the Lothians, where ethnically Wales starts and England starts is hard to say.

The boundaries England of are oh so well defined. It's where university students stop paying for their education, It's where Old people don't have to sell their homes to pay for social care, It's where NHS patients get prescriptions for free (written in Welsh so that the English can't nip across the border to cash in), It's where governance is by fellow countrymen and women not foreigners, It's where people can be proud of their nationality and even declare it on a census form unlike the English who have to declare their nationality in the box marked "other" want any more definitions?

want any more definitions?
Those are definitions decided by arbitrary decisions by the authorities, in fact in the cases you cite since 1997; the fact is that it might be better simply to unroll a whole UK wide system on an equal footing - with no referendums, scrap the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly and have something based more on County with no formal power sharing schemes in Ulster, phase out the Barnet formula and then have County Authorities jointly deciding laws at a national level, personally I think that the NHS is a black hole into which no matter how much public money is poured in it won't get any better - transfer it to a private charity and require it to raise it's own money through charging for service.

Scottish Law was already seperate as was law in Ulster, in the first case a legacy of a messed up union of the parliaments, in the case of Ulster it was from the ending of the parliament at Stormont which should have been left in place as it was and if it had been then the Conservative Party would have had the backing of UUP MP's since 1974 as well as before, but mainly it should have been left in place because it was right.

The only way to plan for future power was split England into pieces, some of which might return a Labour administration.
Some of which also would have permanent Conservative administration, Labour's history over devolution and indeed the Liberal's has been one of responding in an ad hoc basis to crisis that come up, the Liberals gave in to the Irish Nationalists and set up the Irish Free State, in the 1970's Plaid Cymru and the SNP emerged as a force - the Heath Government setup Regional Assemblies in Scotland, the Labour Government following that put forward referendums on parliaments for Scotland and Wales but required a majority of electors to vote for for it to pass - neither Labour nor Conservative have ever sought to introduce a UK wide solution standardising devolution of power across the UK, that's the problem.

Patrick Harris @ 23:28 - "The boundaries England of are oh so well defined ..."

Well then vote in different MPs in England, 84% of the total MPs at Westminster, and get these relatively minor problems fixed. Don't blame the Scots and the Welsh because electors in England voted in the wrong MPs, and don't call upon the English to shoot themselves in the foot by calling for the dissolution of the United Kingdom. And even if there was a separate English Parliament, rather than just a Westminster Parliament dominated by members elected in England, why do you so easily assume that its members would be of a totally different character to those now elected in England to the Westminster Parliament?

Some of these arguments are so short-sighted, wrong-headed and irresponsible that they're almost childish. Potentially they're very damaging to both the future of United Kingdom as a whole, and to the future of England itself, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it emerged that in some cases they're actually being propagated from Brussels as part of their "divide and rule" strategy.

"It's where NHS patients get prescriptions for free (written in Welsh so that the English can't nip across the border to cash in)"

Where's this then? Fantasyland?

RKO @ 1201
Yes indeed, In Wales, at present, anyone under 25 gets prescriptions free, next year gratis prescriptions will be universal, the prescriptions will be dual language i.e. English/Welsh - for the very purpose I outlined earlier. Get up to date if you want to debate.

Didn't anybody teach the Welsh there's no free lunch?

Oh sorry. The English are paying, so there is.

This guy RKO has to be a CCO - sorry CCHQ - troll. "David Cameron our next Prime Minister". I ask you.

Does it not occur to Mr RKO that since Blair will stand down long before the next general election "our next Prime Minister", whoever it is, will be Labour regardless?

>>I think what you're doing is quite similar to Karl Leuger in Austria, whose famous quote was "I decide who is a Jew". In other words, you see a Scottish conspiracy around you wherever you are and everyone involved is "Scottish", regardless of fact!<<

A history lesson for you RKO. Dr Karl Lueger (note spelling) was a charasmatic antisemite who nonetheless had Jewish friends and admirers.

As Mayor of Vienna Lueger was invited to attend a ceremony at the synagogue. When reproached by more extreme colleagues for mixing with Jews he rebuked them with the phrase "I decide who is a Jew".

Get your facts right.

i dont want the union to break up but its going to happen,the moment scotland got its parliament it all became a matter of time before the union ended. Once the tories are in power in westminister and lets face it - the tories will never hold power in scotland, a scottish government will simply not play ball with westminister..the end is nigh!!!

Let's hope so. The sooner you get independence, the better!

musselbu8rgh jas:
"I don't want the union to break up but it's going to happen.The moment Scotland got its parliament it all became a matter of time before the union ended."
The Act of Union said one parliament and one only. Therefore the union already foundered with devolution. Having followed the Scotsman website on this subject for a while now, I get the impression of a strong vote likely for independence parties in May.

The independenistas are variously pro or anti monarchy/ pro or anti Europe/ and mostly anti Trident but voting on the single issue of independence. Post-independence, SNP cannot be assured of longer-term government (- bearing in mind the analogy of Churchill winning the war but losing the election come peacetime). One might thereafter expect Scottish mainstream political groupings to coalesce into a greater variety of flavours than we have on offer in England, so maybe Scotland's Tories should just hunker down and wait for the new order. ...Unless of course this wild forecast gets swamped by the masses voting Labour as did their father and grandfather before them - in which case the Scots Conservatives might as well close down.

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