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Ho ho, Brown's authority was last sighted some time before the local elections. Labour Party discipline went missing shortly after. I never thought politics could be so entertaining!

The road to Scottish Independence is being paved with short term tactical tricks by the Labour party.

If they had avoided using the separatist agenda in the 1990's for narrow party advantage (as did the Scots Lib Dems) then the Union would still be at peace.

Apologies for the shameless plug, but the video I have on my blog this morning of Wendy Alexander tells me all I need to know about how much of a joke the Labour Party is on both sides of the border.

"..Gordon Brown pretended that Wendy Alexander hadn't switched position.. "

Where did they go? Where are they? I must find them; I am their leader.


The problem with Cameron's letter is that it places the chance for a schoolboy, Punch and Judy jab at Brown above any strategic consideration on how best to protect the Union.
Why does Salmond want to wait on his beloved referendum? Because he has not yet poisoned enough the public mood and because he is really aiming for a 2010 general election win in Scotland after the Unionist parties reject his calls to let the people speak. He is not actually aiming for a referendum bill in the Scottish Parliament at all - not least because it doesnt have the powers - yet - to grant one. That is because Salmond is a clever principled statesman, albeit for the wrong cause.

Any one with half a brain even, after a lot of effort Wendy Alexander, can see that the only possible Unionist response is to say OK lets have the referendum right now and see how you do but if you lose you cant have another for 20 yrs.

Of course, Cameron could be playing it long by encouraging Salmond in order to let Salmond win and get rid of Scotland for good and England, whilst making ritualistic Unionist noises as cover and whilst point scoring off Labour. How clever and unprincipled a statesman (for the right cause) is Cameron? Cock up or conspiracy - its the old argument.

The fallout in the Scottish Press this morning is unreal. For anyone who knows about Scottish politics since the ‘79 referendum it literally is like waking up in a different country. The thing is people are going to hear the word ‘independence’ every day now for the next three years. People are already not nearly as scared as they were a year ago, business is warming to it according to polls, and straight yes/no polls have given to wins for independence, after three years I think people will assume its just going to happen. Yesterday was like watching a hideous pantomime collapse. The SNP just sat on their hands and watched the new spectator sport. It slowly unravelled that Wendy, due to parliamentary rules, wasn’t allowed to put her own referendum bill forward but had already approved one in principle basically, as said on Newsnight Scotland, you have given all you cards to the SNP, the SLP cannot pull out or risk losing worse in the 2011 election than they already are.

Labour in now in terminal decline. And very fun it is to watch too.

We're also in the last days of the UK, which is a double benefit, and triple if England gets out of the EU too!

Watching Labour's hapless Iain Grey being skewered on Newsnight Scotland by Gordon Brewer was one of the most telling pieces of political theatre I have ever watched.
As Brewer finished "You have not only shown the SNP your hand, you've given them whole deck, the tables and the whole casino" I recognised a truly momentous political event had happened as a result of sorry Labour accident. A Scottish Independence Referendum is now inevitable. The Labour Party in Scotland (which conceals many in its ranks who are perfectly relaxed about Scottish Independence)is in meltdown. The connection between London Labour and Scotland Labour is ruptured, probably terminally. And Wendy Alexander is finished. Problem is they have nobody better. Fifty years in power in Scotland doing what London tells them and never thinking for themselves has rendered Labour in Scotland clueless and without any freethinking or principled element. All serious political thinkers have long since been driven out of Scottish Labour.
What we now await is the first person out of the unionist Parties in Scotland who can read the very big writing on the wall and takes the sensible steps across the floor. May well be a Scottish Tory.
With renewed confidence I look forward to the day that England looses a surly lodger and gains a friendly neighbour to the north.

Wendy Alexander's bizarre volte face merely confirms what we all know- that there will be a Conservative Government by 2010.

As a London Conservative I am frankly not that bothered about the fate of Scotland either way, I just question the right of a rather odd man from Fife to govern me and 50 million fellow English people.

Watching lefites tear each other apart is always entertaining.

Reminiscent of the Judea Peoples party sketch in the life of Brian

Ho Ho Ho

I thought Conservative Party stood for the Union? So please, not so much fun if you live in Scotland and want to keep your UK passport (and all the opinion polls show we are still the majority in Scotland).

Its the first pass the post system that means we don't have many Conservative MPs in Scotland, but support for the Conservative party here is just as great as in many parts of Northern England, and nobody argues the North of England should be ditched.

People down south really need to understand a little more about the SNP. In order to gain support for its core policy it has built the Red Ken type coalition - targetting the usual range of protest/interest groups - anti-nuclear, anti-military, greens, new migrants. Actually its very LiB Dem/Guardian in its positioning. But what a post Independence Scotland would look like is very carefully concealed.

Electoral system? EU position? All under wraps apart from reassuring noises about being a good neighbour/keeping the Queen etc. However the reality is the leadership and core ideological support of the SNP (maybe 10% of the population at most?)is very similar in its outlook to Irish Nationalism (1930s de Valera style at that, Gaelic road signs, the works!) and sees the Irish Republic as the role model. Salmond has already let slip he favours the Euro and signing up to Schengen. This means a seperate currency and border controls with England, hardly good neighbourly or in Scotland's economic interests!

I don't think the Nats will actually win, but like everything these days I think it all comes down to how much more soveriegnty is ceded to the EU. One of the many reasons I want to stay British is that given the choice between EU federalism and the UK it will be the UK because it is a free UK (i.e. democratic common demos to use the jargon) But obviously the more that is ceded to the EU the weaker the argument for such a free UK gets. Why the Labour Party (which I think is genuinely unionist) cannot see this I can't understand.

Therfeore I think Mr. Noble is wrong in thinking "losing" Scotland will help hold the line against the EU in England. I'm sure most people here don't like the EU any more than he does, and feeling pleased that part of the UK could be picked off by stealth under a pseudo-nationalist wrapper is sad.

Scotland may be a nightmare for Gordon Brown but it could become one for David Cameron - south of the border.

The English are becoming increasingly aware, and frustrated, at the way their future is being mapped out without them having a say in it. Referenda for everybody except us, yet we have to accept the decisions, good or bad, which are made for us by a fringe element of our nation.

English votes for English matters for MPs is fine, as an academic exercise, but it doesn't cut the mustard for the majority of English voters who want a much more positive say in their own affairs - like everybody else. We've rejected Prescott's regional gerrymandering, now let's hear it for the English nation.

Time for some bold decisons, Dave!

The Scots are parasites who live off of the English tax payers back. It's time for a referendum in England to ask the English public if they want Scotland to be part of the UK. The Scots always love to portray themselves as hard done by - especially by the English. If the Scots were on their own it would be great as they couldn't blame anyone but, themselves. However, if Scotland did become independent we'd probably have to build a Berlin style wall to stop the mass infux of Scots trying to flee an independent Scotland.

Independence would be bad for both Scotland and England, but neither nation currently accepts that: the English have increasingly had enough of Labour being kept in power by Scottish MPs with very different political priorities, whilst the Scots feel that Westminster is too distant to ever represent them.

Devolution was sold on the basis that it would alleviate these pressures, but this appears (from my English perspective) to be far from the case. For one thing the SNP under Alex Salmond have campaigned very effectively and taken considerable support from Scottish Labour, putting independence squarely in the mainstream of political opinion.

The Unionist response has yet to offer any more compelling vision of the constitutional relationship between the two nations than 'more of the same' and without strong voices able to explain the benefits of this position all that's left is the appearance of a knee-jerk reaction against a change which many now view as inevitable.

This situation can be salvaged, even with the current arguments in favour of the Union, but it will be an uphill battle and in my personal opinion misses much of the point.

The value of the Union is that it places both nations under a single Head of State, presenting a common Foreign Policy to the world and maintaining a common Defence Policy: all the things our European neighbours aspire to, and which our nations have enjoyed for over three hundred years.

The Unionist cause could gain considerable traction by embracing further devolution within that framework, suggesting ways in which the two Parliaments could work as equals to ensure the safety and prosperity of the United Kingdom whilst pulling the teeth from the Nationalist argument.

Perhaps it is even time to contemplate removing the Scottish constituencies from Westminster altogether and solve the never-tired sore of the West Lothian problem...

Derek Tomnay, go back to your cave.


Mr Tomnay you are a moron.

Well if this is really going to be the begining of the the end for union, we are really going to want to speed up that application to the UN for annexation of that part of the South Atlantic we have our eyes on from the Falklands, Sandwich Isles to the Antarctic claim. Then we can develop the Falklands for mineral and oil development. Argentina will complain but pfff.

It is important to realise that Scotland's population is dramatically declining. If you are a natural apparatchik, you require a political host with tax-income in order to become a successful political parasite. The SNP realise that demographics are not on their side. They have to move quickly to qualify for preferential subsidies from the EU (like Eire) before Scotland's population is hollowed out, Scotland becomes a scenic destination for Tourists, and they end up running surly B&Bs.

surely tomorrows headline should be

Brown Breaks Britain

hes dead in the water anyway but this added to his treasonous behaviour over the EU treaty will demolish his ratings

It takes fewer voters to elect an MP in the Western Isles or the Shetlands than pack on to the average London tube train each morning. Yet these non entities get the chance to vote on my schools and hospitals in London, while my MP is denied the same rights in their constituencies.

Added to that we have the manifest absurdity of having to take lectures from MPs in places like Caithness and Fort William [Kennedy] about the benefits of immigration, when their areas are 99.99% local and feel zero effects of the right-on policies they are so quick to foist on others.

The Scots made an informed choice in 1997. Please let a country ten times its size now do the same.

Well Labour created this mess so it is only right that they now reap their just desserts.

David Cameron should take note. If Scotland proves to be Brown's achilles heel, then England is likely to be Cameron's.

Under Brown there is absolutely no hope of resolving this so we will have to wait and take a Conservative Government to task over it when they next take power.

In the meantime, as an Englishman I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the chaos being wrought in the Labour Party by Alexander, Salmond and the Big Feartie whilst feeling some sympathy for the Scottish electorate.

Derek T - please read David Cameron's splendid speach in Edinburgh, Dec 07 - at the risk of appearing a bit of a "Brown Nose" I think this says it all - perhaps the Editor could kindly make an easy link?

London Tory - remote regions of Scotland suffer most in the UK from many of Labour policies - post office closures, fuel duty etc., etc.

The posts from Mark, Edinburgh and Derek Tomnay are particularly pathetic. There of course will be no Border Controls if Scotland becomes independent unless England withdraws from the EU and decides to set them up. What's the problem about currency? The SNP policy is to shadow sterling for some years (as Ireland did)and eventually adopt the Euro, though my own preference if for a dual currency economy which is easy to run. I would have thought that even some of the lamebrains posting on this topic would have noticed by now that rampaging Scottish Oil Revenues are now hugely subsidising the whole UK economy.
I see no reason for the stream of abusive anti Scottish tripe that tends to disfigure these discussions

Editor. Do us a favour and deal with this anti Scottish vitriol. It demeans those who write and brings us all into disrepute.

We are the Conservative Party that represents people across the UK. In order to win the next general Election we need to win seats in Scotland.

For the record, your average Scot is Conservative in outlook. They vote Labour or SNP at present because of historical problems with arrogance at the end of the last conservative government that alienated huge swathes of the population (Mr Portillo). So, lets stop the sniping and start ensuring that the union is supported. This Union like any other has it.s faults but has stood the test of time. The different parts of the Union bring different elements to it. It is not just about money.

"Do us a favour and deal with this anti Scottish vitriol. It demeans those who write and brings us all into disrepute.

We are the Conservative Party that represents people across the UK."

I agree to a point, but its hardly as bad as the abuse Cameron levelled at English people, it takes a lot to out do him calling us 'sour faced little Englanders'! But perhaps English peoples immoderate language can be excused in light of all the c**p we have been expected take, and frustration in not finding anyone speaking up for our interests in the British political establishment.

Fact, the Scots are now going to get a referendum on the break up of the UK ( of course as is usual English people won't ), yet who is going to negoatiate on our behalf ? Are we expected to accept have ever comes from the deliberations between Alex Salmond, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling? Will Cameron have stirred himself to engage on constitutional issues by then? Or will the Conservative party still be playing the role as Union referee, and there will still be no one speaking up for English people?

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