The Illusion of Power

BxFASuzCMAAjyXyChloe Burges assesses the fallout and suggest that what we are essentially being given is the illusion of power, with a probable accompanying sweeping budget cut.

With the announcement of the result of the Scottish independence referendum now several days behind us, the mood throughout the country
is still slightly uncomfortable. Some people are delighted, others are devastated. However, even more (from both camps) are left somewhere in
the middle feeling slightly violated and wondering what the hell just happened.

The last two weeks of the campaign brought a torrential onslaught of fear and doomsday forecasts, the likes of which we had never seen. Even staunch “No” voters started to waver in their convictions, as they began to question everything they were being told in light of the seemingly indisputable assertion that the world may, quite literally, end in the event of a Yes vote. Could it possibly be true that a
declaration of political independence of a small country in a peaceful and democratic manner could cause the next worldwide great depression? Were our pensions and savings really going to instantaneously disappear, while our mortgages quadrupled in size? Was immediate attack by religious extremist groups and even aliens inevitable? Would we be unceremoniously expelled from every worldwide organisation which Scotland had contributed to the inception and growth of?

Then, with the fear, came the love-bombing. A terrible word in its own right, but even more deeply uncomfortable when coming from the mouth of a politician. “ Scotland, we love you”, they told us. “Please don’t go. Let’s stay together. We are Better Together.”

In the immediate aftermath of the ultimate victory of the Better Together campaign, its stunning how quickly “Scotland, we love you” started to take on an entirely different tone.

Scotland, we love you (r natural resources and plentiful oil.)

Scotland, we love you (paying more tax into our economy that you will ever get back, while still having to suffer the obviously false
assertion that you are subsidised.)

Scotland, we love you (having no choice but to allow us to auction off exploratory fracking licenses for your most populous regions.)

Scotland, we love you (but we are cutting your funding.)

Scotland, we love you (but don’t mistake that for actually giving two hoots about you.)

Welcome to North Britain, indeed.

The independence movement gained considerable ground during the course of the two years of the debate. Westminster largely and pointedly
ignored the argument, feeling that a comfortable victory for the union was unquestionable. In the last two weeks of the campaign however, the
ground began to shift. “Yes” took the lead in the opinion polls and Westminster politicians found themselves collectively sitting in a pile of their own brown and sticky muck. Thus, the grand trio of Imperial Masters; Cameron, Clegg and Miliband, were dispatched to Scotlandshire – the theory being that the peasants would be so overcome with gratitude at such magnificence on their own home soil that they would instantly side with the union.

Even for a lot of No voters, the actions of the Better Together campaign in the dying weeks of the debate were more than faintly ridiculous. Instead of focusing on the positive case for remaining in the union, they chose to hone in with microscopic detail on fear and uncertainty, while simultaneously telling us that it was all too hard to think about and we should just say no. We were told that if Scotland were to become independent – the earth would open up and swallow us, our children would turn to stone and our toenails would turn to razorblades. As increasingly ludicrous as the claims became and as increasingly transparent the outright lies were, the sad truth of human nature is that fear has enormous power. It did no service to a movement that was all about hope and whose greatest crime was unfettered optimism to be met with what were portrayed as iron-clad guarantees of bankruptcy, homelessness and abject failure for a whole nation.

In a technique widely used by professional interrogators, once we were broken down to the ground and paralysed with terror, they offered us
solace and veiled kindness. “How about some Devo-Max?”, they said. On the surface of it, that does seem like a good option to many – more
powers for Scotland but still under the umbrella of the UK, with whatever protection that may afford.

Let’s just say I’m cautiously skeptical of how that will turn out. As it turns out, the Devo-Max mystery box was exactly what the unionist campaign needed to seal the deal. And with no proper guarantees (except the front page of a tabloid newspaper and the word of a backbench Labour MP), no real sense of what these “powers” would be and consequently no ability to examine in detail what this might actually mean in real terms for Scotland, 55% of the country voted “No” to independence.

The next day, many a tear was shed. Scotland, they said, has rejected independence. 45% of the voting population casting their ballot against a proposition has been seamlessly rebranded as a decisive victory that “settles the question for generations, if not a lifetime.” In other words, get thee firmly back in thy box, Scotland.

Now, we have to move on in our discussions from the independence question and on to the subject of further devolution for Scotland. A loaded question, if ever there was one. When I turned on the TV on the day that the result was announced, much of the talk was of how much devolution London City could be afforded in this new UK-wide constitutional reform. Scotland seemed to have been immediately consigned to the history books as the people who bravely paved the way for the improvement of life in the south of England. I wasn’t aware that nearly half of all who voted in Scotland had voted for devolution of London. I suppose the goalposts must have been moved while we were asleep.

Please don’t misunderstand my meaning here. Of course, other UK nations should have devolution, if that is their desire. With different areas of the country holding dear such a wide array of differing priorities and requirements, a broadly decentralised governance policy does seem potentially desirable. Obviously, the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland should not be left behind. However, nobody can possibly have failed to notice that this is not what the previous two years of debating and arguments have been about.

The rest of the UK deserves a voice, of course, but should that voice be, what is actually in fact, Scotland’s voice? With the hindsight and trials of two years of relentless campaigning behind them, you must forgive some of the battle-wearied foot soldiers of the Yes movement for occasionally feeling that the rest of the UK must not only be afforded the basic dignity of deciding for themselves but should ultimately probably fight their own battles.

There are many who suggest that devolution may actually be a barbed gift, particularly for Scotland anyway. It is no secret that Scotland currently receives more money per head than England – a peculiarity which many refer to as a “subsidy”, despite the fact that Scotland pays for that extra cash and considerably more in our tax and oil revenues. I wouldn’t be remotely surprised to see this “extra funding” suddenly start to disappear, as the highly and carefully selected set of powers devolved to Scotland are configured to allow a sneaky recalculation of the formula which decides our budget. What we are essentially being given is the illusion of power, with a probable accompanying sweeping budget cut. It does not seem remotely beyond the realm of possibility that we are being hoodwinked. Feeling the way that many of us, both Yes and No voters, do about the political establishment with their morally corrupt and self-serving manners, this may come as no particular surprise. Perhaps those who feel this way are wrong. It remains to see how it plays out. However, it is difficult to argue against the proposition that the London establishment only ever has the interests of the London establishment at heart. If there is any conceivable way to wrangle yet more money out of Scotland, I would be frankly astonished to see the politicians not seize the opportunity.

Let’s face it – Scotland has no real clout in UK general elections anyway. The Conservatives have one solitary MP here and traditional Labour heartlands are loudly expressing wide and passionate discontent with how they were spoken to by their party during the debate. With the independence question “settled” and the North Sea oil revenues that aid so heavily in attempting to balance their books now safe, Westminster have no real solid reason to keep Scotland happy.

One extremely important and pivotal point of this is widely completely misunderstood. At the end of the day, this Yes movement was not, at its heart, entirely about the ideal of independence alone. Indeed, a lot of people saw independence as a vehicle to achieving a much loftier set of goals revolving around social justice, political reform and environmental responsibility. It was about disengaging both physically and metaphorically from a corrupt and broken system that serves only the interests of those who run it. It was about recognising what issues affect us all and how we can potentially work together to achieve a better future. It was about the ability of ordinary people to stand up in front of their government and say, “You do NOT represent me.”

Wars, discrimination, gender inequality, fracking, climate chaos, nuclear weapons, greed, hero-worship of bankers and a completely London centric view of the universe? I do not want any of these things. But thank you for never once asking me. Not even once.

Now, with the referendum behind us, a lot of those who weren’t part of “Yes” are jumping enthusiastically on board this ship – realising that while for years we have been forced into wildly different rhetoric, a great many of us have the same core values. For a growing number, there is no longer Yes/No and instead we are focussing on “Now” and “What’s next?”. Amidst all the current turmoil and anguish, we can see the shape of a more united, vocal and inspired Scotland starting slowly to form. And it’s absolutely beautiful.

Despite the battle of independence for Scotland being lost for now, there is absolutely no reason why the trend of holding our elected officials to account for their actions should come to an end. We have an essential right to demand honesty, integrity, selflessness and compassion from all of our politicians – although it might take a long time to achieve this. As a country and a population so inspired, we have it in us to change the path and light the way. I can only hope that we rise to the challenge.



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44 replies

  1. ” Indeed, a lot of people saw independence as a vehicle to achieving a much loftier set of goals revolving around social justice, political reform and environmental responsibility.”

    Chloe, it strikes me you are positing a false dichotomy. Surely liberation struggles everywhere on planet earth are always about achieving better governance, the social justice etc you refer to. I contend it is part of the colonisation of Scotland’s collective consciousness that allows (or forces?) you to see these goals as ‘loftier’ than Scottish independence, rather than integral to it. Otherwise, i liked your article. Thank you for your contribution to the ‘what next’ debate.

  2. Two changes could be made now.
    – Councils free to set their own council tax rates in response to local needs and demands
    – MSPs free to vote in committees and in Parliament as their conscience dictates, rather than being whipped to follow a party line. MSPs should be responsible to their constituents for their decisions, not their political club.

    • Crubag, your point number 2 strikes me as unreasonable, given MSPs are elected on a party ticket. Point number 1 has its attractions, but I can see they could be outweighed by the negative effects of such a policy on hard-pressed households in Labour-dominated areas. Unless your idea is to encourage people to abandon Labour totally. As I said, it has its attractions.

      • Disagree. Whipping MSPs to vote along party lines is a denial of their intelligence. We should trust that, having decided to join a particular party, they share the ideals of that party. Their voting decision should therefore be made with a view to achieving a best fit between furthering those ideals and doing the best for their constituents. An MSP should be capable of exercising this judgement without being forced in one direction or another.

      • Are they elected to serve their voters or someone, somewhere else who is not democratically accountable? The list system used in Scottish Parliament elections supercharges this – it becomes about showing loyalty to party controllers if you want to retain your place on the list. That closes down debate – which is why we elect them in the first place.

        On the first point, if we’re serious about local democracy, that’s going to include the power to raise and lower taxes. We may want to redraw some council boundaries to reflect economic realities (Glasgow!) but we may also want a lot more local councils too. As Lesley Riddoch points out, the average Norwegian commune has 12,500 people, the average Scottish local authority 162,500.

        Who knows, we could even decentralise the policing of our communities!

    • Councils free to set their own council tax rates? NO WAY! I don’t know about your council but city of Edinburgh council is a corrupt and unaccountable monster and no way will I sanction giving them such power! Nearly one billion spent on a useless tram that takes longer to get to the airport than the bus? This was a pure vanity project of a discredited Labour clique which the SNP government didn’t have the balls to rein in. The SG is quite right to freeze council tax to these out of touch dinosaurs. Councils are even more despotic and corrupt than Westminster. They are next in line! And you want to give them more jam? Are you crazy?

      • I’m with you on this one.

        It exactly what JoLa wants – wheeling, dealing, back stabbing, bullying behind closed doors.

        I think a lot of people would be ‘astonished’ at the amount of money Glasgow city council has wasted over the years.

        The less control councils have over money the better.

        Re the tram project it wasn’t so much a lack of balls, 2007 SNP minority, out-voted by the other 3, 2011 had to take over completion when it found it was tied into a contract that would have cost more money to cancel.

        Any project the SG have taken over since SNP were in charge has finished under budget and on time.

        If we had an uncorrupt media this would be common knowledge.

      • With further cuts coming, I don’t think the Scottish Government will have any choice but to allow councils to adjust council tax. Council budgets are going to be cut, give the council the option to adjust their own budget. This is exactly the same scenario as Chloe describes in her article regarding Westminster passing to Scotland more power along with a huge budget cut.

        It can clearly be argued that the the council tax freeze is the kind of centralised power that we should be fighting against.

        As for Edinburgh, why should an SNP government continue to take the heat for the trams fiasco when the unionist parties both at government and local level were to blame ? Why should other parts of Scotland potentially be denied funding because Edinburgh council and others made a huge cock up. Citizens of Edinburgh (of which I’m one) should be paying for this, not the rest of the country. Presumably you are also in favour of HS2 which will see Scotland paying £billions for a rail network we will never use ? It’s exactly the same scenario.

        Many people think the re-opening of a Scottish Parliament has been a good thing – with devolved powers we have been able to take a different route. The flip side however, is that it allows Westminster to take less responsibility, and politicians tend to like that. Bank of England now sets interest rates, Secretary of State for Health is no longer responsible for providing healthcare and so on. Many unionists in Scotland now squarely place all of Scotland’s woes at the door of Holyrood ever since the SNP came to power.

        Thats a handy escape route for Westminster.

      • I agree, The way councils act is unbelievable at times. Your point Liz about the contracts that the council was tied to regarding the trams is a good example! WHO was it, in the council’s legal team who read this contract and then advised the thick headed mouth pieces to sign it in the first place and WHY have they not been sanctioned over any of this? What caliber of a legal team were they?
        I live in Midlothian. our council has just built a beautiful new High School and sports complex.
        This replaced the existing Bonnyrigg community leisure centre.
        However this has left a perfectly good community building in the local park closed and boarded up.
        A local group was formed called the community HUB who approached the council to take over the running of the building for local groups and a community HUB.
        Guess What the answer was a resounding NO.
        The building remains closed and no doubt they will get away with demolishing it.
        Remember the building of the Scottish Parliament. £700,000,000,000
        Councils need to be completely re structured they are too big too powerful and too unaccountable.

  3. By the way, doesn’t Gordon Brown look ever more like Richard Nixon. I suppose moral turpitude has its costs after all.

    • Brown in the Red Paper for Scotland suggested that if the Union of 1707 did not serve the working people of Scotland we should get rid of it!!!!!!! He in his saxon coat serves Westminster and his own deluded ego cosmos as a world saver. Im sure he thinks he saved the Union……..

    • Richard Nixon – The thought of Gordon Brown giving ‘peace signs’ makes me quite angry !

      • The thought of Gordon Brown makes me extremely angry. I don’t know about him looking like Richard Nixon, but he’s definitely got a face like a slapped arse.

  4. I would be very suspicious of any No voters joining the Yes ‘movement’. The British state will attempt to do what it always does. It will try to infiltrate, and subvert any movement it sees as a threat. The Labour Party is a prime example.

    • I think there were a lot of soft Noes. Some are now wakening up to ‘what the hell happened?’ and realising what they have done.

    • I think it’s more than a little unfair to stereotype people who voted No in that way. A lot of them would have been the people who were always more in favour of further devolution, so opted for a No once that was (falsely) promised to them. Other didn’t see through the fear, sadly. To effectively say that they are (part of?) the ‘British state’ does our side of the argument a gross disservice.

  5. How do you know Gordon Brown is telling lies ?

    Answer, he’s moving his lips.

  6. “Even staunch “No” voters started to waver in their convictions, as they began to question everything they were being told ”

    Shouldn’t that read “yes voters”?

  7. Ha, yet another upside down Union Flag. Traditional signal of distress.

  8. Who promised Devo Max?
    What is Devo Max?
    What powers are at the top of our list?

    • We have to stop using this weasel term.

      Start saying: FULL FISCAL AND LEGISLATIVE AUTONOMY excepting defence and foreign policy.

      Spell it out. Keep repeating it. So there is no doubt.

    • The Devo max term, like it or not, is useful because it has been used for the last two years by many politicians and journalists to describe all powers except defence and foreign affairs.

      There are many tv interviews where both BBC presenters, journalists and Unionist politicians use it and then go on to define it. When it comes time for the Scottish populace to shout ‘swindle’ the term ‘devo-max’ will be central to our argument.

  9. really good piece Chloe. Yes, the anti-terrorist techniques of love-bombing and blasts of hysteria at the same time were effective. There is no SETTLED WILL OF THE SCOTTISH PEOPLE. It was deliberately muddied and turbulent to the point of insanity by the Westminster elites who DO THINK THEY OWN SCOTLAND. To them we are a complicit colony who must obey and the Labour MP’s are their people; without Labour MP’s in the way SCotland would be a nation state where we could put the Scottish national interest first. Labour hold that back. I cant see the Tory pack (vile) give more power to our parliament: they do NOT WANT A STRONGER SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT! they want it weaker! They want the SNP wiped out. So do Labour. So the paradox for London is how to appear to give the Scottish parliament power and fool the people and put a noose round the neck of the SCottish government to get them out of power in SCotland. The forces reigned against us are extreme and alien to democracy. Money and power of the Westminster elite need the oil revenue and nuke base and they will not relinquish this without a battle every time we act for Independence.

  10. Wanted to give my thoughts on the post-Referendum chatter I’m seeing all over the internet. I might be in the minority but I’m getting tired of hearing ‘Glasgow said Yes’ and ‘Dundee said Yes’ etc. Do we have to be parochial even when it comes to Referendum results? Parochialism in Scotland is one of the things that has kept the country back for centuries. It’s childish, and will do more to alienate people from voting Yes again than anything some of the No people might say. There’s hardly a Highlander/Islander alive who hasn’t been called an f-in tcheuchter by his fellow citizens at some point in their lives, and pointing the finger at geographical areas of the country that were majority No is not going to help Scotland become independent. There are staunch Yes voters in every single area of the country, so please let’s stop referring to ‘Yes’ cities and ‘Yes’ towns.

    • I don’t think it’s parochial Stuart, people are just trying to cheer themselves up, is all. The fact that two of our four major cities voted Yes is an achievement worth celebrationg, surely? But I agree we need to consolidate on from that, not take it as granted and try and address what caused people to vote No in the end. There was a lot of agreement between Yes and No beforehand as to what kind of Scotland we wanted. We just differed on who or what best to deliver it. It comes down to who you trusted more – a bankrupt and corrupt Westminster, or an untried radical solution with few friends in the international order, it seems.

      There’s an interesting piece by George Kerevan on Newsnet about why world markets were so spooked by the thought of the break up of Britain, where he posits that it might be because there is a tacit understanding that the UK with its heavy reliance on financial services and institutions is on a knife edge.

      • I agree MBC, and it is great that they voted Yes. I probably haven’t worded my comment correctly, but I’m just saying that there’s a danger that Scottish parochialism is in danger of being fed again by constantly referring to which areas said Yes and which said No. I could be wrong, and I’m not in any way suggesting that people on this site stoop to these levels. I just think it’s something we need to be aware of. I know that a lot of people from Up North (outside the Central Belt) have felt that, over the years, they’ve been treated with more respect by English people than they have by their fellow Scots. Until we start to treat each other with respect across the whole of Scotland, my fear is that we’ll struggle to get a Yes majority in many areas of the country. I for one am sick of seeing that familiar wry smirk break out on the face of people from the central belt whenever I open my mouth, as the accent means I’m obviously from ‘Up North or Somewhere’. I’d like to see the day when Scots begin to regard all their fellow Scots as brothers. p.s. I’m a Yesser till I die.

    • Stuart, Personally I think it’s worth mentioning the OAP vote more as (from what little information we do have on the breakdown) this seemed to be the key statistical difference.

      This is not too bash OAP’s with, but as more young people voted Yes, there are clear generational differences that could lead to some useful and productive discussions within families.

      If OAP’s did vote No out of feeling vulnerable, then what does that say about our society and family connections ? Some difficult discussions should be taking place – but if we are mature, caring and sensible about it, then they could be very healthy.

      • Really good point, tartanfever, completely agree. I read a fantastic post the other day by Andrea in the article Bella Futures (23 Sept, 03:05). It was on that very subject of OAPs. One of the best posts I’ve ever read. Cheers.

  11. “Even staunch “No” voters started to waver in their convictions, as they began to question everything they were being told in light of the seemingly indisputable assertion that the world may, quite literally, end in the event of a Yes vote. Could it possibly be true that a declaration of political independence of a small country in a peaceful and democratic manner could cause the next worldwide great depression? Were our pensions and savings really going to instantaneously disappear, while our mortgages quadrupled in size? Was immediate attack by religious extremist groups and even aliens inevitable? Would we be unceremoniously expelled from every worldwide organisation which Scotland had contributed to the inception and growth of?”

    I’ve heard about voters terrified into voting No by the above who’re now planning to leave Scotland, figuring that independence is inevitable sometime this decade. Imagine tens of thousands of No votes leaving Scotland in this way.

    Wouldn’t that be the ultimate irony and self-fulfilling prophecy? That the Armageddon horseshit meant to save the Union was in the end what helped destroy it.

  12. The more affluent No voters will certainly be paying more income tax as a result of their decision. Barnett will be retained, but the percentage will be cut thus blowing a big hole in the SG budget. Income tax but not Oil taxation will be devolved. Poor people can’t pay more tax so the better off will have to. Mildly amusing

  13. The power to recall MPs is one possible way to hold them to account
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/56449

    Here is what they are planning on adding to devolved powers
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/scottish-independence-referendum-whats-next

    Here is where we can give evidence to the Select Committee on how post-referendum devolution should progress
    http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/political-and-constitutional-reform-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/devolution-after-referendum/
    I think this is separate from the thing Lord Kelvin is doing but I don’t know

  14. I’m sorry if some folks may have received this before but the Brown-‘devo-max’ deceit needs to be exposed in its historical context of Perfidious Albion.

    I want to decry Dr. Gordon Brown for his damned defence of Unionism in the light of his intellectual capacity honed in history. In particular I condemn Dr Brown for dishonouring his education by ignoring the centuries of historical struggle for dignity through self-government in Scotland from the post 1707 riots to the historic vote in 2011.

    Dr. Gordon Brown (First Class Honours MA History Edinburgh 1972, PhD History University of Edinburgh 1982) is an amateur economist, professional politician but a genuine academic historian (PhD thesis “The Labour Party and Political Change in Scotland 1918-1928).

    So he would recognize that the neo-colonial form of colonial administration (permitting some local participation) was very much part of Labour Party policy in the post-war administration of Attlee. Indeed (Dr. Brown will know the details) the joint London- rule shared with nationals of the colonies would offer the eager colonies devolved petit-Government authority (education, sanitation, health) and even in some cases taxation. But the three- power troika of finance, foreign policy and fundamental change remained with Westminster.

    It is a version of this he seeks to offer Scotland now.

    Creech Jones a major player in the Labour Government’s decolonization process suggested that granting full responsibility for LOCAL affairs was only right but he did not see this as ‘ involving the elimination of British power’.

    In 1952 there was a Foreign Office paper called ‘the problem of nationalism’. In it the FO argued that it was possible to ‘ draw the constructive forces of nationalism to the British side by offering limited political authority in order to minimize the threatened erosion of British power’. Dr Brown would be familiar with the games Whitehall can play in offering new limited powers while retaining real power.

    Dr. Brown, et al have conjoined in policy with David Cameron and are now offering the Scottish people an ancient constitutional duality of dynarchy (from the Indian Raj) : the system of joint Governance like a devo-max. What should we say? “Thanks you massah or thank you sahib”. We are` so grateful.”

    Surely the historian Gordon Brown if not his politician-doppleganger must realize that this patronizing political (profanity deleted) negation of dignity is unworthy of a Scottish scholar never mind a national democrat.

    Scotland as a sovereign state is the only honourable course to rid Scotland of its subaltern status within the failed UK. Though Scotland’ relationship with London was never quite colonial, nevertheless this granting of additional powers so gratuitously offered by the Unionist parties reeks of coloniality. History is unforgiving to those who fail to learn from its more pernicious narrative.

  15. We need to get rid of all this ‘Devo-talk’. Devolution is tinkering at the edges. The call now should be for full autonomy over just about everything except foreign affairs and defence – the same sort of autonomy that Gibraltar and the Channel Islands have, for example.

    • I understand your sentiment, but read my post above about how the term ‘devo-max’ as uttered by Brown and others could be very useful to our campaign.

      The Scottish electorate over the last few years has heard the term in dozens of news broadcasts and newspaper reports. We clearly understand it to mean full fiscal autonomy – basically all powers except defence and foreign and some Bank of England stuff on currency and interest rates.

      It is a very clear and defined term. When Westminster renege on powers and we start shouting, one of our key arguments that the electorate have been duped will be based specifically on the term ‘devo-max’.

      We should be shouting devo max from every rooftop and re-affirming our understanding of the term. It will only pile more pressure onto Cameron, Milliband and co.

  16. Oh come on! I sat here in Australia and watched that unfold. It was a rigged result. Saw it coming when the first polls showed Yes in front and we suddenly got a flurry of polls reversing the trend. Those polls were rigged too I expect and were used to set up the end game. The bottom line is that as far as I and many others could see, the majority of Scots wanted this. The elections were so crappily done, as to be an embarrassment, lucky the Western media doesn’t report anything unhelpful to their masters’ cause or people may have noticed the very real and obvious issues just with the counting procedure which Russia pointed to. You didn’t have a referendum worthy of the name, elections in Donetsk and Luhansk put this show to shame in their transparency. Iran’s democracy is in better shape that the UKs. They can afford to allow independent observers since they have nothing to hide. Not this silly placebo though, like the USA you pretend you’re so perfect that you don;t need observers, those are just for other “democracies” you look down on. It is shameful to see.

  17. I believe Chloe should add at least one more line to the Love-boat message as follows.

    Scotland, we love you (but we are coming for your water ).

    Only days after the referendumb mother england started making noises about a serious water shorter in the immediate midlands and another further south. Suggestions were that the existing pipe lines around the border area be joined.

    england is to import water from Norway. and increase its sea-water distillation facilities.
    And ” studies have been made of the Tay and Loch Ness.” They are already pumping from the Trent and Severn. englands two largest rivers which together dont match the Tay.
    Lochness holds more fresh water than all other lakes and lochs COMBINED.
    Do you think they are going to keep shipping from Norway ?

  18. To hear Brown, smugly on radio 2 announce how he SAVED THE UNION with a brash proud arrogance that if harnessed could keep ever OAP in Glasgow from fuel poverty.

    But it cannot be harnessed sadly, and I have no doubt the fuel poverty those OAP’s, and many working men and women like myself, will not even be a thought in policy. He, will go back to his £200,000 all expenses paid EX PM salary burning bank notes on the fire while those suffer and die.

    Devo Max, will not materialise, if it does it will not be anywhere near “max” with at best only basic income tax and welfare spending being offered at the table, of which neither actually give any real control over the Scottish economy and the welfare of its citizens.

    The man, I can say with certainty, has a price on his head now. Sadly it does not match the price we will be paying for his contempt of his fellow human beings.

    • So, Gordon Brown has a price on his head, eh? Let me get this right, for daring to disagree with you, is that it? And who put the price there and who is going to cash it in? You again? I can understand people being frustrated with the outcome of the referendum, but this is puerile. It is at the same level as that other contributor who made personal comments about Brown’s looks. How easy this is, so much easier than making a case for what you believe in. And I can’t resist saying that it so very easy to posture as an avenging liberator as you sit there in your slippers hiding behind the anonymity provided by the Internet.

  19. Would YES people stop trying to talk on behalf of NO voters! the 2 million scots men and women who voted no did so because they wanted to remain part of the UK can you please accept this and stop trying make it fit your views, stop thinking oh they actually wanted to vote YES but were too scared poor souls, Rubbish! They wanted to vote NO so they did, they don’t agree with you so accept it.

  20. Ed Milliband,why was the saviour of the Union not heralded at the Labour conference?Could it be that you were aware that this mans contribution was a pack of lies?Scaring pensioners about their pensions.The simple fact on pensions ,its the individuals pension,the individual owns their pension,they put their money into the pension pot and the government has no ownership of anyones pension.The biggest disaster ever as a Prime Minister and the same for his chancellor role,Darling was the second worst chancellor ever,how stupid can people be?if either of these individuals went south and voiced their opinions on any matter the English would chase them back over the border.Keep the Yes voice alive.Dismiss any view that says the result is final,it is everyones right in a democratic set up to advance and promote their preferred political opinion,Ruth Davidson and co in the Tory party,how dare you tell those of a Nationalist persuasion that they should abandon their political beliefs,outrageous dismissal of democratic will,I have more support in Scotland than she has,disgraceful betrayal of democracy,if the result had been Yes would I have the right to tell NO voters to give up their position?

  21. The BBC Scotland website is running a story on North Sea Oil. It states that at least half of Scotland’s oil reserves are still under ground and that the technology to extract it has been developed…..

    “Technology boost for Scotland’s oil reserves in North Sea” “Mr Sohrabi said: “It has the potential to make a huge impact on the current output of the North Sea’s oil production.”

    Why wasn’t this making headlines before the referendum? (Rhetorical question, I know)

    We need independence NOW, not after the oil runs out. Any business start up needs capital investment to get it off the ground and that’s what the oil money will do for Scotland. It will enable us to finance the extra infrastructure needed to be an independent country. All this talk of Devo Max is a waste of time!

    Can someone please advise me on what I can do to help our cause. I am still finding it hard to come to terms with the result. I need to do something to help alleviate the anger that is festering inside!

  22. Political Energy

    One element of the referendum campaign of which we can be proud is the energisation of a lot of people in our many communities who had hitherto taken little or no interest in politics. What should now happen to ensure that these people can maintain their energy and enthusiasm, and enjoy some successes?

    It will be difficult to sustain these achievements without the stimulation of an imminent vote. Many people – particularly first time campaigners – will lose heart as a result of defeat, not appreciating yet that politics is often a long haul. Others will need new opportunities to revitalise them, and to help them keep going.

    One thing to be avoided is the dissipation of energy along a number of different paths. Now, hardly two weeks after the defeat, there is a potential danger of lack of focus, with some campaigners eagerly calling for a second referendum or declaration of independence, while others – perhaps older, and wiser – have moved, however reluctantly, to accepting the pursuit of maximum devolution within the constraints of the Union.

    It was surprising perhaps that WM allowed the original referendum to be decided on a 50% vote. Constitutional matters in other countries and in organisations often require something like 75% majorities. WM may have displayed ignorance of such matters , or merely an arrogant self confidence that it would win anyway. An independence declaration after a successful election victory by SNP or Yes Alliance candidates would probably require that – or around 3m voters, and this seems frankly unlikely in the near future.

    It was a shock to discover just how many members of the “silent majority” there are. People with a genuine commitment to the UK and its traditions (however tasteless and sentimental they may seem to us) and who feel that somehow, despite the crushing weight of evidence, it is all OK; churchgoing old ladies and their secular equivalents who are personally fearful, and may regard our wonderful “carnival of democracy” as a frightening rabble upsetting the peace of the status quo (and just a wee bit infra dig); and less forgivably, the legions who were conned yet again by Brown and his public school vow-boys (his Declaration of Dunfermline will go down in history as the shameful obverse of its predecessor of 1320). Nonetheless, they add up to a majority, and in the normal hurly burly of a general election, with conflicting party loyalties and ambitions, it will be well nigh impossible to outnumber them.

    Freedom fighters should turn, therefore, to the task of extracting the maximum degree of home rule from the negotiations with the UK government and the parties complicit in its attempt to minimise our gains. It appears likely that there is a great divergence between Broon’s illusory dream of near home rule, and the watery, minimalist offerings of the WM parties. Once again “crumbs from the table” is likely to be the watchword when determining behind closed doors the fate of our “toy parliament”. Political parties are too often prone to compromise at a very low level, so that they can get back to being, well, political! Well organised, well focussed and entirely peaceful public comment and protest (using social media when ignored by the MSM) will have a significant role to play as the process develops, maintaining pressure on the various ferrets as they wriggle in the bag, and successfully making these wrigglings transparent. We should thus persuade the politicians to go the extra mile(s).

    Can we not do more than this? It is time for us to put to bed for all time the cringing image of subsidy junkie Scotland. We have huge natural resources, seen as the true figures regarding oil and shale prospects emerge. We are not subsidised by WM, but already make a generous, positive financial contribution to the UK Treasury. Could we but capture a fair rate of taxation from those exploiting us and our resources, we would be rich indeed. We would have held the upper hand in negotiating a currency union, as the markets freaked at the thought of a deficit burdened England bereft of our natural resources. However, the might of the financial markets and corporate interests working for the UK against an independent Scotland could have easily wiped these truths from the map, and we must accept that. The alternative, of a benevolent England smoothing our path is laughable, as it would require the jettisoning of so many myths about England’s parlous state.

    Is that all? I think there is also a potential role for that energy in our communities, mitigating some of the punishments about to be doled out to the poor by the neoliberal/corporate state. Groups like those so laudably set up by RIC can become the conscience of their communities, genuinely representing the interests of their citizens, supporting and reinforcing smaller organisations already promoting community welfare, taking new initiatives (food banks are only the start!) and working to pressure local authorities to spend what money they have, perhaps through participative budgeting, to match community priorities more closely. European funding might also be available for imaginative ideas.

    This would play a major part in making people’s lives better.

    1 October

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