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Scotland has to decide whether it wishes to continue to be part of the UK.

Its current devolved powers already constitute a significant degree of separatism from the original concept of one parliament. This is something that needs to be matched by establishment of an English Parliament.

If Scotland proceeds even further with ploughing its own furrow, then bye bye UK.

Has anyone considered a solution that brings the UK closer together, rather than drives it further apart?

The first and foremost priority must ALWAYS be to preserve our country intact. As David Cameron said, I would prefer an imperfect union to no union at all....Fiscal autonomy might make philosophical sense, but let there be no doubt, it will make separation inevitable, and that would be an unforgivable stain on the Conservative conscience

Calman ToR:
"... to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom."

If Scotland's position has still not been secured after 300 years, then maybe it is time to regard it as a failed experiment and do something to unscramble the situation.

"Should Conservatives back more power for Holyrood?"

No No and No again, these talking shops may have to stay for now but their powers should be trimmed. One parliament for the whole UK.
One United Kingdom under one Crown.

the brit establishment have treated England and the English like something you scrape from the bottom of your shoe since devolution began. not one English politician will come out for the people who elected them in England.England is just one big open prison for politicians to mess around with. shame on you all.

I'm a bit torn about this.As a Unionist I do not want to see anything happen that will put the Union under further pressure,however, the Scottish parliament currently has quite a lot of power but does not have fiscal responsibility for its decisions. This is leading to resentment in other parts of the UK which would decrease should the Scots be seen to be paying themselves for their own decisions.

I can see that we need to keep the assembly in Northern Ireland because it is part of a settlement that is working and keeping the peace. As for the Scottish and Welsh talking shops, as far as I’m concerned they are simply a waste of public monies. I think devolution was mostly about Jobs for the boys when Labour pushed them through and they have backfired badly.
The feeling here in Wessex is often one of outrage, in so much as the rest of the union is being treated differently from England. When we get back into power there will be real pressures to cut the outrageous cost of these institutions. I think the Conservatives would find that the bulk of the English and the Majority of the unionists in the other countries don’t want these places to remain a thorn in the side of the English Parliment. A worthy experiment maybe, but the Likes of the SNP have subverted the original intention.

By English Parliament I of course mean the Parliament of the UK. I do apologies for the error. As we have already wasted a great deal of money on these buildings perhaps there is something to be said for holding meetings of the Scottish members of the UK parliament in Holyrood at times.

The constition is already unbalanced because Holyrood's control over Scottish affairs has not been matched by an equivalent reduction in the remit of Scottish Westminster MPs (and peers) over English matters. If Holyrood is to get any more powers this must be accompanied by an immediate and complete answer to the West Lothian Question. The only complete answer is a separate English Parliament and Executive.

"...and continue to secure the position of Scotland within the United Kingdom."
I think this should refer to "...and continue to secure the position of Scotland as a region of the EU", shouldn't it?

The Union is not sacrosanct. Its continuance should rest of the consent of the people of all four British nations. It should be affirmed or rejected in national referendums.
The majority of people in all four nations seem to wish it to continue though they have never been formally asked. Perhaps they wish it to continue in an adapted form? Why should the Scots not have greater autonomy in their own country? (The UK is a multi-national state rather than a 'country'.) The same applies to the English, N Irish and Welsh. If the Union does enjoys wide support it is not weakened by allowing a greater degree of self-government agreed in a referendum - this after all was the original justification for limited devolution to Scotland and Wales. All the Unionist parties however draw a blank at England. Their view is that England can enjoy NO political existence without destablising the Union, a view not shared by the majority of the people of Scotland or England. Unionists claim that because England has a majority of UK MPs at Westminster it does not need any national representation but these MPs owe a duty only to the own constituents within the UK and have no obligation to speak for any English national interest. Why then should the people of England continue to support the Union? Unionsts never clearly spell out the advantages for England.
Unionist intransigence is more likely to lead to the break up of the Union into four separate nations. Allowing greater self-government for all four nations, anchored in popular support, could lead to a modified Federal system that could well last another 300 years.

"North Britain"
The union could not get more "imperfect"than it is at the moment.
England is just a money box,
The English must have their own Parliament, and as Mr.Cameron has said, he does not want to be the P.M.of England, I am sure that can be arranged

Who cares! lets have a reality check here, England predates this null and void "Union" by 700 YEARS and needs Scotregion for absolutely NOTHING.

"The Union is not sacrosanct."

I don't agree. I think you are forgetting that the Queen is the head of state of all four nations. Scotland cannot get out of the Union as easily as perhaps the SNP would have people believe. How could the Queen give up Scotland ? How could Scotland keep the Queen and not her elected Parliament ? I think the Union is sacrosanct and I consider Alex Salmond to be verging on treason.

E Justice, well said.

Cameron did say he did not want to be Prime Minister of England, paradoxically though this is exactly what he would be, as only really the English will vote Conservative and the "British" Government rules only England with virtually no say whatsoever on Scottish, Welsh and N Irish affairs....as they all have their own governments and EU Regional Assemblies.

So yes, thats all Cameron would be, the De Facto Prime Minister of England, just like that anti-English no mandate man communist Scot Broon is at the moment.


The paradox of the Union: Holyrood needs more, separate, powers to strengthen the Union but England should have no identity whatsoever as this would be a threat to the Union.

Enough grooming north of the border, already.

We’ll keep quiet for now because there are bigger fish to deep fry but please don’t push it.

In Scotland all we hear is the English down south moaning about how much they subsidise Scotland and how good the Scots have it, blah blah blah. I would happily see my country gain independence from the bankrupt UK and then Scotland can keep her oil wealth and invest in Scotland rather than subsidise the farcical over inflated boom crash and bust housing areas of the south east.

As long as Scots can't see the relationship between socialist levels of government and socialist levels of taxation they will continue to vote for leftist parties.

England's hand-outs continue to insulate Scottich taxpayers from the profligacy of Labour and the SNP.

As long as Scots can't see the relationship between socialist levels of government and socialist levels of taxation they will continue to vote for leftist parties.

England's hand-outs continue to insulate Scottich taxpayers from the profligacy of Labour and the SNP.

Rubbish, More dross from the ill informed English, Scotland subsidise the UK to the tune of billions each year.

The North Sea has almost as much oil left as has already been extracted, a BBC Scotland investigation confirms.

Experts believe between 25 and 30 billion barrels could still be recovered over the next 40 years.

The revelations come in a landmark BBC Scotland film which shows how the modern history of Scotland is intrinsically linked to the 'black gold' being pumped out of the North Sea.

Drawing on the personal testimony of the key players in the story of North Sea Oil in the last four decades, the film celebrates some of Scotland's great unsung achievements surrounding oil and examine some of the mistakes that have been made along the way.

Speaking ahead of the transmission tonight of 'Truth, Lies, Scotland and Oil', SNP MSP Alex Neil called on the UK government to ensure revenues from North Sea oil are invested for Scotland’s future.

Mr Neil warned that lessons must be learned from the 1970s, when the Treasury hid the true worth of the North Sea reserves to halt the progress of the SNP.

"Only if we learn those lessons can we secure the benefits of oil revenues for future generations," he said.

“The UK government clearly think Scotland can be fooled again. There is a real sense of déjà vu. Listening to the UK government’s response to high oil prices anyone would think the oil was running out next week. However, the evidence clearly shows that North Sea Oil will last for another 40 years.

“Scotland’s oil industry is going from strength to strength with new fields opening, an estimated 30 billion barrels of oil still to be extracted, new technology developing and a central role in the global oil industry.

“There is as much oil left in the North Sea as has been taken out of it – and much more than half of the revenues. Scotland’s oil industry has a positive future. With the UK making £250 billion of revenue from North Sea oil over the last 30 years in real terms, it is now time to ensure that future revenues are invested properly for Scotland’s future.

“While Alasdair Darling tries to deny the £4-5 billion tax windfall the Treasury is making from current high prices consumers, everyone knows that this multi-billion windfall has been flooding into the Treasury every day since the Budget.

“The lessons of 30 years ago must be learnt – and applied. Scotland’s First Minister has asked Westminster for Scotland’s share of the current oil windfall to form the beginnings of a fund for future generations.

“In the 1970’s requests for an oil fund were turned down – a repetition of this failure by Labour in the 21st century would be unforgivable.

“The UK Government must see the error of its ways and enable Scotland to invest our own oil revenues for our future.

“Oil has become the new taboo for Scottish Labour. It must not be another missed opportunity for Scotland.”

Scotland is the only country in the world to have discovered oil and not benefited from it directly.

The Norwegians prudently ploughed oil revenues into an oil fund which became part of a sovereign wealth fund now worth £186bn.

The US state of Alaska also has an oil fund so does the province of Alberta in Canada. The Alaskan fund is worth £19 billion and the Alberta fund £8.8 billion.

SNP Shadow Spokesman for the Scotland Office, Angus MacNeil MP has questioned the value of the Union after it emerged that every Scottish household’s share of the
UK Government’s debt will rise to almost £50,000 by 2014.

Commenting from the House of Commons, where he has been participating in an emergency debate on the Pre-Budget Report, Mr MacNeil said:
"According to the Pre-Budget Report, additional borrowing per UK household for present year is £3,058. Next year, it will be £4,192. Over the next 6 years, borrowing per household will increase by over £20,000.

"UK cumulative debt per household last year was £23,630. By 2013/14, it will be £48,384. So much for the so-called Union dividend.
"For years, Labour claimed that independence would cost every Scottish household £5,000. Labour figured that was the size the bogeyman would need to be to scare Scots from the SNP and independence.

"The plan put forward by the Labour Government will cost each Scottish family £50,000. A household debt coming for everyone which will be almost TEN times higher than the straw bogeyman Labour manufactured.

"Indeed, when I made this point in the Chamber, former Chancellor Kenneth Clarke MP agreed
that Scotland was owed an apology for decades of scaremongering."

Please can we steer clear of the usual who-'subsidises'-whom exchanges.

These obscure the fundamental principle of constitutional equity for England. If England's position is resolved, then the financial situation will resolve itself in consequence. If instead such equity is achieved by re-establishing the UK, then I accept that there will be money flows in varying directions at different times between the constituent counties (i.e. local, not country-based), etc, according to fluctuating needs.

What is unviable is the Union-at-any-price standpoint.

Ian Campbell above has it right: "Unionist intransigence is more likely to lead to the break up of the Union into four separate nations."

-as does Dorian: "..paradox of the Union: Holyrood needs more, separate, powers to strengthen the Union but England should have no identity whatsoever as this would be a threat to the Union."

Fine, Omar Kader. So why don't you screw your courage to the sticking point, demand a Referendum, vote for independence and leave us in peace, free from the obligation to subsidise your chippy way of life.
You won't because you know that, to quote someone or other, the finest sight that ever greeted a Scotsman's eyes is the high road to England.

Apparently, the Calman Report has been skewed in favour of the government's own view, so it is totally worthless anyway.

And what about England? Do they really think we'll be this patient forever? They must be off their heads!

Should Conservatives be thinking about making Scotland fiscally autonomous ?

If this question were put to the English the answer would be a resounding
YES!!! and about time !!!!

After 32 years of the Barnett Rules the English during which the British state has secreted perhaps £100 billion out of England and sent it to the celtic fringe the English are generally heartily sick of subsidising Scotland and equally heartily sick of the grotesquely unfair and discriminatory policies in the areas of health, education,devolution etc deployed by the British government against the English.

More to the point, shouldn't there be fiscal autonomy for England?

The notion that the Westminster parliament is integral to Britishness and the Union is wrong. The original idea of British Union - highly popular in Scotland but not ever very warmly thought of in England - was of a defence, foriegn policy and customs Union which still included separate parilaments and systems ie a confederal Union. The actual part federal Union that was bounced on both England and Scotland in 1707 was an unsatisfactory hybrid then and remains so. It is even worse after Blairs cackhanded devolution.

There is still a role for the British Union but not without a logical and popular basis. This must include separate parliaments, governments and fiscal systems for the component countries with an overarching British parliament.

Scotland is the only country in the world to have discovered oil and not benefited from it directly.

It has higher public spending per head, no tuition fees, etc. It has also has land-based benefits from the oil industry in Scottish towns.

So I don't know how you can claim that Scotland in the only country in the world to not have benefited from the oil.

"In Scotland all we hear is the English down south moaning about how much they subsidise Scotland and how good the Scots have it, blah blah blah. I would happily see my country gain independence from the bankrupt UK and then Scotland can keep her oil wealth and invest in Scotland rather than subsidise the farcical over inflated boom crash and bust housing areas of the south east.

Posted by: Omar Kader | December 01, 2008 at 10:47"

Absolutley Pitiful.

Firstly, when you vote "Independence" (if you ever do that is) then Salmond is committed to FULL EU membership, so he will sign you away to be ruled from Brussels, so you wont be "Independent" anyway, fact.

Secondly, "oor oil" again eh, pathetic, its "British oil" wether we like that or not, do you honestly think scotland, a region of a measly 4-5 million, could afford to pay for the upkeep of an entire Oil producing industry?, not that all of the oil and gas revenues are in 'Scottish' waters anyway, yes the maritime borders have been tinkered with you see, and if or ever when Scotland votes for "Independence" they will be re-adjusted, as most of the gas is in 'English' waters, to use your geographical terms.

Also as Scotland receives a lot more per head of population than the rest of the so called "UK" than you can have a more generous share of the "UK" Dept, yes a Scot elected in Scotland has just doubled our entire national debt, you must not think your region will walk away 'Scot Free'.

As for your portion of the Oil revenues, the EU will take that from you and reclassify as a "Shared EU resource".

Take "Your" Royal Bank of Scotland, that would have gone the way of the Dodo if it wasnt for England bailing it out!.

Get that chip off your shoulder you pitiful inferiority complex ridden bitter and twisted people.

Omar Kader, what you are forgetting to factor into your calculation is the financial and human cost of the civil war that would be the inevitable consequence were any traitors to attempt to dismember this country.

"In Scotland all we hear is the English down south moaning about how much they subsidise Scotland and how good the Scots have it, blah blah blah. I would happily see my country gain independence from the bankrupt UK and then Scotland can keep her oil wealth and invest in Scotland rather than subsidise the farcical over inflated boom crash and bust housing areas of the south east.

Posted by: Omar Kader | December 01, 2008 at 10:47"

Incidentally, Scotland was BANKRUPT in 1707 and was BEGGING England to join in Union.

Just admit it "Omar", you havent got a clue what you are talking about have you????.

Rather than worrying about giving Scotland more power, perhaps some of our useless MP's would care to consider the plight of the Country that doesn't have any representation at all ENGLAND!

What we have is an almost obscene situation where our MP's worry about whether Scots have bread pudding and cranberry jelly to go with their turkey, while English people have to scratch around for constitutional crumbs.

Certainly not! Not as long as it remains part of the UK and while people from Scotland can come down to England and dictate to the English what laws they must have, while they themselves are not subject to those laws! A much more pressing issue is fairness for England. England must have the same power as Scotland to bring forward its own laws and to have the exclusive vote on its own laws.

Iain Martin joins this debate:

"Instead of joining the gang at Holyrood, palling around with nationalists and Labour devolutionists who got Scotland into this mess, the Conservatives would have been better off adopting an entirely different approach.

The gap in the market for the Tories in Scotland should always been as the one party in the devolved parliament which stands up for taxpayer value and limits on the excesses of the other parties on Planet Holyrood. Post-PBR, with a spending squeeze and tax rises planned, such a stand makes even more sense."


Incidentally, Scotland was BANKRUPT in 1707 and was BEGGING England to join in Union.

Just admit it "Omar", you haven't got a clue what you are talking about have you????.

Eh??, utter rubbish..Scotland may have been down in the dumps but the majority of Scots never had a vote on joining the union and would have never done so.

If Scotland is so god dam poor, well why do you all persist on keeping Scotland as part of the bankrupt union ? Is it a case England will feel just that little bit smaller ?

I the UK parliament was in Edinburgh you lot down south we have had an English independence party.

BTW, Scots make up 3% of England's population (around 850,000) yet hold 20% of all top jobs in England. Food for thought.

Oh and David Cameron's father is Scottish.

Well surely the Scots should have a say in all this?

Okay, so Lord Forsyth has his view, but the Scots in general need to decide whether or not they want to be part of the United Kingdom and on what terms.

We in England are not obliged to accept Scottish terms for remaining part of the Union, but its clear that the mechanisms for preserving the Union, such as the Barnett formula are getting rather clunky.

I look forward to the SNP's referendum as a means of determining which way the Scots want to go. If they vote for independence then its a game changer.

If the Scots decide they want to stay, well then its got to be on terms that everyone can agree on and stick by.

I think i will pop into this blog a little more often when i have the time and keep you lot on the right track, its clear from my side of the border that you lot down south are in need of some urgent economic mantra.

Lord Forsyth is quite right about any extra powers. The Scottish 'Parliament' should have been an 'Assembly' like Wales and NI and England should have got one too. Thereby allowing a degree of 'federal' localism but preserving the sanctity of the UK 'Parliament' and Kingdom. Alex Salmond has self-styled the Scottish Executive (i.e. the corporate title for Scotland's devolved administration) as the 'Scottish Government' in breach of the Scotland Act which brought in devolution. This is brain-washing the next and future generations of children into the mentality of independence. Who is willing to fight this in the courts or at Westminster as ultra vires?

Sensible as his comments are, however, quite how Lord Forsyth squares this sensible 'conservative' approach to the British Constitution with his campaigning to end the Act of Settlement I do not know.

Ending the Act will drive the final nail in the coffin of The Union, disestablish the Church of England and lead to a Republic. The same arguments about unnecessary changes apply there as here. A change will also force Her Majesty to break her Coronation Oath and will be utterly shameful - unless you are a Republican of course, when it makes perfect (if loathesome) sense.

Let's be clear - the enemies of the British state are hard at work on devolution, the Act of Settlement and EU appeasement. Brown is pandering to the SNP and minority troublemakers in Scotland in the hope of preserving seats at Westminster. The Unionist population up here feels utterly isolated and disenfranchised with their British patriotism and loyalties derided or ignored by the media and most politicians at every turn.

Wake up Britain: England will be next with EU Regionalism! The Europeans traditionally used Scotland, Ireland and the undermining of our independent Monarchy as the entry points to attack England/Britain and they're at it again - could someone please bang Drake's Drum? We need him!

Alex Salmond has set out the case to claim that Scotland could follow the example of countries such as Finland and Norway as being among the few expected to continue to grow their economy in the coming year.

In a St Andrew's Day article in Scotland on Sunday, the SNP leader and First Minister hits back at the UK government for damaging Scotland, by cutting back on public services in the medium term.

He writes:

"SAINT Andrew’s Day is a day of national celebration that allows all Scots to commemorate our patron saint and mark our distinctive place in the world.

"I am delighted that today’s St Andrews Day festivities promise to be bigger than ever. They mark the start of a trio of celebrations that bring warmth and cheer to our midwinter months. Our national saint’s day is followed next month by Hogmanay, with the winter festivities rounded off with Burns Day towards the end of January – an occasion that this year has special resonance given that it marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of our national bard.

"That landmark is also a cornerstone of 2009’s Year of Homecoming, when we invite all those around the globe with affinity for and connections to Scotland to come “home” and join us at some point in the next 12 months.

"Homecoming holds the promise of beginning the New Year on an upbeat, positive note – an invaluable boost at a time when the economic slowdown is starting to hit home. National optimism and good feeling cannot be fuelled on sentiment alone though. We need to make sure our economy is given the best chance to ride out the tough times and emerge on the other side in as robust good health as possible.

"For that to happen we need a stimulus package to galvanise our economy by focussing investment where it most needed while at the same time offering targeted tax cuts. Above all, we need decisions taken in Scotland’s best interests.

"The Scottish Government has already gone a long way to meeting the current challenges. Our six-point economic recovery plan includes £100million in funding that has been brought forward for much-needed spending on affordable housing. Our nationwide council tax freeze and our small business bonus have already delivered the biggest tax cut in a generation for Scots, at home and on the High Street. Those decisive measures have put us ahead of the curve in tackling the economic slowdown and are one of the reasons that Scottish consumer spending has been holding up noticeably better than that in the rest of the UK, with higher employment levels and lower unemployment than the UK as a whole.

"We are also guiding the Scottish economy in the long-term, by looking to our areas of substantial comparative advantage, such as renewable energy and biotechnology, allowing us to build the skills and opportunities for the Scotland of the future. However, the scale of the current downturn underlines how necessary it is for the Scottish Government to have the full range of fiscal levers which any normal independent country takes for granted.

"But until the people of Scotland are given the chance to claim those powers in the democratic referendum that we are offering, the country remains adversely affected by decisions taken at Westminster.

"Those decisions, as borne out conclusively by Labour’s pre-budget report last week, have been made with scant regard to Scotland’s interests. How else can we explain the move to cut half a billion pounds – roughly equivalent to half the annual universities’ budget or the entire prisons’ budget – from our finances in 2010-11? That cut will be repeated the following year, resulting in a one billion pound double whammy to Scotland.

"Labour does not even dispute that these massive cuts are coming. Their Holyrood leader Iain Gray has said Scotland “must take its share” of cutbacks.

"This at a time when Scotland’s oil revenues are propping up UK finances on an unprecedented scale. A record £13.2billion is set to flow into Treasury coffers from North Sea oil this financial year, while the total over the next six years will come to a massive £55billion, compared to £41billion over the last six years.

"Of course, Labour’s cuts are being proposed only because, as we now know, the Treasury needed a last-minute plan to try and balance the books after its decision not to push ahead with the plan to push up VAT to 18.5 per cent. This is no way to run public finances.

"The Treasury is already hoarding £1billion of Scotland’s money – including around £120million in the fossil fuel levy – even before the looming cuts are taken into account. And if any further proof were needed of London Labour’s indifference to Scotland’s needs then we need look no further than the debacle over the hike in whisky duties. Alastair Darling may have recanted on his initial move to raise the tax by eight per cent, but the mere fact his original intention to penalise one of our biggest industries was pushed through on the nod lays bare Labour’s attitude to Scotland. Either it is monumental incompetence or it is monumental indifference.

"Scotland is a country of vast potential, but is currently held back by its inability to take the crucial economic decisions needed in its own interests.

"Control of all our own resources and the ability to borrow like any normal government would give us the chance to compete on a level playing field with the other countries currently able to use these tools to best suit them and see them through the global downturn. Unlike the UK, some small independent European nations like Finland and Norway are projected to keep on growing, with marginal growth in the Euro area as a whole, while the UK plunges into the economic mire.

"The SNP Government is determined that the people of Scotland should be given the choice to put our country on that level playing field. Our National Conversation on the country’s constitutional future, which has so far gathered around 450,000 hits on its web pages, paves the way for the independence referendum we are proposing for 2010.

"We believe independence offers the best future for Scotland, but we are open to suggestions as to what other options may be on that ballot paper. So far however, all we have had from the London parties is obfuscation. Their Calman Commission on the future of devolution has, in stark contrast to the inclusive nature of the National Conversation, deliberately excluded the option of independence. Calman is due to issue its interim report on Tuesday, but based on what we have seen so far no one should expect anything remotely matching the substantial new powers Scotland needs. There will yet again be more questions than answers.

"Too often the debate on Scotland’s future lapses into the politics of fear. Nowhere was that better demonstrated than in the fallout from the global financial crisis, which saw the resurrection of the old, discredited scare stories suggesting this country is incapable of governing itself.

"But, as Barack Obama’s historic triumph in this month’s US Presidential election shows, hope can triumph over fear.

"Our whole message as a Government is founded on hope and aspiration. We believe Scotland should look after its own affairs not because we are intrinsically better than any other nation but because we are as good as any other. We look forward with hope to the New Year and to the one beyond, when we offer the people of Scotland the chance to choose the independent future that our nation needs to succeed."

This at a time when Scotland’s oil revenues are propping up UK finances on an unprecedented scale. A record £13.2billion is set to flow into Treasury coffers from North Sea oil this financial year, while the total over the next six years will come to a massive £55billion, compared to £41billion over the last six years.

Tell that to your David Cameron, Independence now for Scotland, im sick seeing our money subsidising the English

Omar Kader - your comments are typical of the childish and infantile pro-SNP anti-English lobby.

Perhaps you've taken a day off school - who knows?

My mother's Scottish Clan go back in perpetuity and my father's side as far as a census record can show, but I choose to be British because of our shared island history and culture - and future. As do many relatively 'recent' immigrants, including my friend from Persia, who can't understand this self-destruction of the 'anti-British' British lobby.

You are not representative of my Scotland or my heritage - go and read some history books. Admiral Duncan would be a good starting point for a true Scot - a hero in the British Navy!

If you or anyone else don't like Scotland being in the UK, then you have the freedom to leave it - the whole EU is your oyster. I don't see why my Scotland should be broken off from the rest of my country to appease people who apparently don't like it as it is.

Omar Kader
".. mantra..."

Wot, as in
"What's yours is ours [-UK parliament/govt] but what's ours is our own [-Scottish parliament/govt]".

Yes, have your referendum on independence, and soon please.
If you gain it, then go with my best wishes.
If you stay, then focus on becoming an integral part of UK, rather than being a constant pebble in unity's shoe.

I've just looked at your blog Omar.'nuff said.

I am Scots born but left that land in 1972 when I was 18 and have thus spent all of my adult life in Southern England and am assimilated.

I feel it is time we ditched the sentimentality and let Scotland go its own way. The Union is just over 300 years old now, served its purpose well but is now worn out a fetter to the Scots and a relic to the English.

A good indicator was the 1979 General Election when England swung to Thatcher but her "Vicar of Earth" Teddy Taylor was ousted in Glasgow Cathcart. The Scots have long had the concept of Community and Collectivism etc in their system and it is no surprise that Labour still dominate the scene with the SNP-a Left of Centre Party-snapping at their heels. To be blunt the Conservatives are irrelevant in most of Scotland, are seen as an English London Centred Party, and only hold one Westmister Seat in the Borders. Most of the Tories in the Scottish Assembly are a result of the PR system used to elect members there.

The Ethos and Values of Essex Man or the Affluent Workers of the West Midlands simply do not cut any ice with the Scots and I feel that Conservatives should cut their losses as regards North of the Tweed. An Independent Scotland would mean that the Tories would be the Governing Party at Westminster, where the REAL power exists, in all but a 1945 or 1997 Labour landslide. Labour NEEDS its Scots seats to stay in power, hence their recent big campaign to hold Glenrothes in which they did very well, the Conservatives do not have that requirement.

Labour doesn't need its Scots seats to stay in power. For the last three elections its majority has been bigger than the number of seats it has held in Scotland.


Would Scotland want independance if it weren't for the Oil/Gas ?

If so then independance without any oil/gas revenue will not be unbearable - will it?

If not then it would appear to be more of a land grab than any kind of policical independance.

I don't know what would happen to oil/gas reveneues, but wouldn't the starting point be for the value to be allocated between the separate countries pro-rata based on population?

There seems to be a lot of 'mis-information' when it comes to financial/constitutional arrangements in the UK.

Scotland is third in the league table of spending (after N.Ireland and London)

It is wrong to say Scottish MPs vote on English only matters - Scottish LABOUR MPs do...the conservative/fib dem/separatist ones all abstain - it is therefore a LABOUR unfairness, not a scottish one.

The way Scotland chooses to spend the money it is allotted should bare no relation to how other parts of the country do. Birmingham council has different spending priorities to Wolverhampton for example. Therefore policies such as free personal care or tuition fees is a legitimate policy decision, made possible by existing money, for which cut backs must be made elsewhere... not something newly paid for by english taxpayers

In areas of the highlands and islands - which are some of the most sparsely populated in Europe - it costs more to provide THE SAME level of services (schools, hospital etc) as most parts of the rest of the UK.

Spending in other regions of the UK, such as the North East for example, is also done at the expense of taxpayers in more affluent regions...it has never been the policy that all the money spent in one area has to be raised in one area. We do however ALL benefit from a healthier country.

It is the duty of every Briton to ensure that at all costs our country is preserved!


You people really need to take a look at the rubbish you are putting forward that might seriously endanger the Union.

It is ONLY in Scotland that any serious discussion has taken place about removing Barnett and the like and replacing some more fiscally responsible system.

Look at the Steel Commission - which has great detail. Far more than Ken Clarke's group ever came up with and shows that there is more than one Unionist party with its eyes open.

Look at the Calman Commission. The Tories are a useful contribution to that, given that they may have to implement any sensible proposals it has thorugh Westminster.

Both have looked at serious financial and political rebalance in a way that simply has not happened south of the border.
Where is the English Constitutional Convention?
Where is the English Steel Commission?
Where is the recognition that Boris in London is part of the devolution process, not just civic reform (and that his sacking of Ian Blair was a substantial extension of devolved powers - with no recourse to Westminster)?

The vast majority of Scots only ever wanted Parliamentary Scrutiny over the Devoved Administration that had existed for over a century.
Home Rule was not invented or completed or ownded by New Labour.

So get a bit of perspective, you guys, before the debate passes you by (and please, please leave the EU rants out of this - the EU Regions stuff is so tired old witterings that it debases a serious debate).

If I had my way I would abolish the Scottish Parliament which is a bunch of amateurs playing at being big boys in the political world. One only has to look at the calibre of Salmond's ministers, Sturgeon and Robison, two naive wee lassies, Hyslop's extreme ignorant arrogance and our so called Justice Minister MacAskill who in interviews comes accross as the most ignorant man in British Politics.

"It is the duty of every Briton to ensure that at all costs our country is preserved!"

At the cost of English equality? I don't think so. When the integrity of a State is put before the equlity and rights of its citizens then is has lost the argument to exist.

As for different spending, when Gordon Brown was organising his own coronation, he stated that the NHS was the most important to him, what people didn't ask him which NHS, the English NHS, Scottish NHS, etc, and that has a baring for hgis last act as Chancellor was to slash the capital spending of the English NHS a third....As By Chris Giles and Nicholas Timmins reported in the FT.....

Gordon Brown quietly slashed by a third this year’s hospital building and equipment budget in one of his last acts as chancellor.
Prompted by the tightness of the public finances, the new prime minister, who has placed the NHS as his “immediate priority”, cut the capital budget of the English NHS for 2007-08 from £6.2bn to £4.2bn. The move could delay the government’s hospital building and reconfiguration programme in England.
However, Mr Brown avoided equivalent cuts to the Scottish and Welsh NHS budgets even though the funding formula for the UK nations suggests they should have shared the pain. That decision leaves him open to criticism that he favoured patients in his home country......

So there is more than just the argument about the allocation of resources, its a question of who is making them for whom!

Sir Hillary
"Where is the recognition that Boris in London is part of the devolution process, not just civic reform (and that his sacking of Ian Blair was a substantial extension of devolved powers - with no recourse to Westminster)"

If you examine the Act that created London's present status, it is a local authority writ large, not a devolved region with anywhere near the same status as devolved assemblies/parliament. It does not for example have primary legislating powers. Boris did not sack Ian Blair, as he had no powers to do do so. He made the latter's position untenable by indicating that there could be no satisfactory working relationship.

"EU Regions stuff is so tired old witterings that it debases a serious debate"

Actually the EU aspect is crucial to the UK constitutional argument -- unless one fervently believes in progress towards a United States of Europe, in which case none of the Anglo/Celtic/Pictish squabbling is of relevance because none of the present UK components will be independent.

However, if one is a little less keen on a USE then it is most certainly a relevant factor. Indeed the great flaw in the SNP case is its policy of EU membership: how could Scotland be independent whilst working towards subsuming that independence within the greater whole of USE?

Oh, and while you all bemoan the wonderful "subsidised" life in Scotland, explain this one away if you can:


"Third of Scots 'breadline poor'"

Blame that on Barnett too?


What you singularly and completely ever fail to explain is where exactly you are getting this "USE" stuff from.

There is NO blueprint, secret or otherwise, for EU comprised of the Regions.

There is probably no Head of Government or State, with the possible exception of Luxembourg, who really believes in political integration now beyond their own fairly narrow) interpretations of deeper co-operation between Member States.

Sarkozy et al. as anti-France? I don't think so.

It just ain't ever going to happen. And Lison would have made that more apparent than ever.

Following on and yet intimately connected with any consideration of fiscal autonomy is the consideration as to what to do with the British national debt.
After several years of pressure on this matter,not least from English sources, it is now widely accepted that the real debt is far higher than the current market value of gilts (August 2008 was £637.4 billion.)
ie the figure which British governments have always liked you to believe is the one to watch.

We now appreciate that the effective debt including pension debt,PFI and other debts is of the order £1-2 trillion or more. The present government,ie Brown, has put much efort into confusing the issue and playing it down. It would be far better that a future Conervative government, instead of attempting to continue this policy, conducted a public review of the National Debt, with a view to apportioning the debt equitably between the countries of the UK and those countries taking legal responsibility for their debts .

The actual servicing of the debt could still be done from a continuing British treasury but ownership would not be British,it would be English, Scottish etc.

(England's debt to be reduced pro rata to take account of the 32 years of Barnett Rules plundering by the British state, of course.)

As we descend into the usual tit-for-tatting of relative subsidy maybe we should address the true and undeniable subsidy that England has paid.

The subsidy in representation.

An entire tier of representation has been introduced in three of the four constituent nations of the UK without commensurate representation in the fourth. Ergo, England is actively subsidising political representation in the absence of equivalent representation.

Nothing about Barnetts and barrels but bums on legislative and executive seats.

So, fellow Tories, the Tory party as founded in England prior to the Union, how’s about the English Conservatives? Just like the UUP or the Scottish and Welsh variants. No different. Fair do’s and the British Conservatives can avoid the English party label.

Sound like a move in the right direction?

We should not be blaming the Scots for the inequities of the Barnett formula or devolution. What we should be clearly outlining is a fair way to put these matters right. What we should be looking to do is to find reforms to devolution that are fair to England and that would also find favour with the Scottish electorate.
As I have said before on this site, The West Lothian question should be sorted by having English votes for English laws, and Scottish MPs acting as a proper revising chamber for the Scottish parliament to give them something to do, when they are not sitting during "English" sessions! It would be possible to get around the problem of excluding Scots (or Welsh or NI) from the major offices of state by enabling each party to have a proportionate number of frontbenchers from the devolved regions, who would be able to vote on matters related to their own departments. It is not impossible to find a fair and balanced solution

Nigel, "English votes for English laws" still leaves England without her own parliament or government and still subject to the whims of a British cabinet which will almost certainly include MP's from other countries in the Union.

Sir Hillary

It is true that the Lisbon treaty refers to respecting national structures but this has to be viewed against the whole salami process of EU evolution since it began as an economic bloc. Competences have been surrendered progressively by national administrations under successive treaties. Opt-outs obtained have been surrendered subsequently. How about current speculation of changing government attitudes towards adoption of the Euro?

Against that background, I wonder how reassured can we be of Lisbon phrases such as:

…RESOLVED to mark a new stage in the process of European integration…

…RESOLVED to implement a common foreign and security policy including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence … thereby reinforcing the European identity and its independence…

…RESOLVED to continue the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe…

…IN VIEW of further steps to be taken in order to advance European integration…

…The Member States shall facilitate the achievement of the Union's tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union's objectives…

… The Union's competence in matters of common foreign and security policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union's security, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy ..

.. The Member States shall support the Union's external and security policy actively and unreservedly in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the Union's action in this area…

..The Member States shall work together to enhance and develop their mutual political solidarity. They shall refrain from any action which is contrary to the interests of the Union or likely to impair its effectiveness as a cohesive force in international relations ..

…When the Union has defined a position on a subject which is on the United Nations Security Council agenda, those Member States which sit on the Security Council shall request that the High Representative be invited to present the Union's position…

...When the Treaties confer on the Union exclusive competence in a specific area, only the Union may legislate and adopt legally binding acts, the Member States being able to do so themselves only if so empowered by the Union or for the implementation of Union acts....


When there is such enthusiastic support for the EU ideal amongst “people who matter” in the three main parties, I am lacking in trust that the sovereignty of my country will be maintained/regained.

Against that background, the only bit of Lisbon that I like the sound of is
“ Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements. “

The debate surrounding Scotland's constitutional future can be so tiresome. Perhaps we should advocate a referendum on independence to end this awful question which has been nagging us for the past thirty odd years.

Surely the only way to achieve Lord Forsyth's brand of politics in Scotland - that is, free market conservatism - is to grant Holyrood fiscal autonomy. Surely it is he that is "off his head" by rejecting further powers?

A fiscally autonomous Scotland making its own decisions based upon the desire of the incumbent Executive or 'Government' as the current lot describe themselves, without asking UK taxpayers to fund these choices, would make it harder to blame Westminster (especially if Cameron was PM with only a people-carrier full of Scottish Tories). Thus, fiscal autonomy could act as a bulwark against independence. This may be a risky strategy for many but so too is preserving the status quo.

I also find it funny that this is the same Lord Forsyth that was once quoted in 1997 as saying, "Given the choice between devolution and independence – I’d choose the latter."

As a Scottish Conservative and Unionist, I am never more Jock McHaggis, than when I come on here and someone mentions Scotland.

It is a paradox that should have it's own equation.

The bigotry, hatred and venom just drips off the pages.

will Conservatives please read the following link entitled., No more Great Britain:a blue print for a federal uk.

i quite agree with John i never feel particularly nationalistic other than when i read the wholly predictable drivel on here, the scots are this that and the next thing etc. i rarely bother checking this site anymore but in all honesty nothing has done more to drive me into a lapsed tory membership than the glimpses ConHome provides into the true sentiments of the English Tory Party towards Scotland.

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