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Any Scottish Chewers?
APlanning to leave us? If so, why?

I can understand the sentimental, 'heart' feelings but it's a shame the lying toad Alex Salmond is their salesman.

I'm of Scottish descent, so I have a little bit of interest in what's going on.

Personally, I'm against leaving the UK.  I get the sentiment of wanting to go it alone and be a sovereign nation, but I question the economic viability of the country on its own without the economic diversity of the entire UK.

AScotland and Quebec should join forces.
AI had a Scottish great grandmother so there's a bit of Scot in there. I have a feeing if I was fully Scottish I'd be quite into the idea of independence. It's an exciting idea, to strike out on your own and carve your own destiny. And they can probably get away with it, so long as the oil lasts at least.

As an English Brit, though, I'll be sad if they go. Politically and economically, fine - let them be as free as they want. But culturally, I like Scotland and it's nice having these distinctive nations under one umbrella. Just having England, Wales and N. Ireland would feel lopsided, somehow.

Also if they go we might need to change the Union Jack, and all the proposed alternatives I've seen look like shit. Think of the flags, people!
AHalf Scot, lived in Edinburgh for 8 years.

I'd leave the UK. Snark is: abandon the sinking ship; reality is see what you can do from scratch. See if you can make a constitution that actually represents the people, be allowed to govern yourselves, just see what you can do.

Alec Salmond is only around for a little bit, this decision is for keeps. Something great could be forged.

Ive goy No and Yes mates. Listening to both sides has helped form my opinion. No just seems to be "what if its wrong, its comfy here.." blah. Fuck the status quo. Its not working.

Freeeeedom! (Last bit is a joke - I hate Braveheart)
AThe problem is Salmond has not been honest the Scottish people. He either ignores or downplays the economic realities and exagerrates the benefits from oil (which most experts agree will run out in about 35 years). He wants to build a socialist paradise but has no credible plans to fund it. And the Governor of the bank of England just said the SNP's preferred option, a currency union, is incompatible with full independence!
AThe Governer of the Bank of England says its imcompatible? When the PM of England doesn't want a split? Shock me.

There's an air of desparation. If Scotland would be so fiscally fucked, why is Parliament so keen to keep them? It can't just be about history and given the Gvts, at best, downplaying the interest of Scots its not for the benefit of Scottish people.

And Ive seen enough Dirty Politics in NZ recently to know that lobbyists can obfuscate anything. The fact is no-one actually knows about the possible economy. Its all so much supposition to support the "what if it goes wrong" argument.

The UK government need Scotland more than the other way round. Scotland should be allowed to govern itself. The UK governments intransigence in letting that happen has whats led to this "all or nothing" debate. I dont see anything they do as being for the benefit of what is a marginalized part of the electorate.

As an outsider looking in I'm split. Yes seems fun just for watching the fireworks and the sentimental reasons a history buff may have. On the other hand, I like the way Scotland pressures the UK's political system from the left. I fear that without Scotland the UK may turn into a mini US.

AAs a Buchanan on my mother's side, I mostly just want to see someone besides the Muslims have a civil war every now and then.

Originally Posted by Andy Bain View Post

The UK government need Scotland more than the other way round.

Were that true, England wouldn't be bankrolling Scotland even after independence. As it stands, the Treasury spends £10,152 for every Scot, and  £8,529 for every English citizen.

AIf the Scottish are keeping the £ as currency, does this not lend itself to some significant issues if you've got a whole other government with a potentially disparate idea of how to handle the same currency? Will they establish their own currency to avoid such a clash?

I'm of course speaking from a place of relative ignorance.
A[quote name="Warren Peace" url="/community/t/151578/any-scottish-chewers#post_3772622"]
Were that true, England wouldn't be bankrolling Scotland even after independence. As it stands, the Treasury spends £10,152 for every Scot, and  £8,529 for every English citizen.

Really? Got a source for that? Not being arsey, genuinely interested. The more you know and all that.

Dad was born in Scotland, and I still have family there.

I'd vote "yes," were I able to. It'd be one thing if there was no European Union, and Scotland was looking at going it completely alone. In that context, the Scots can likely build something that more reflects their values and political priorities, which seem to get drowned out in London. It'd be nice if the currency question had a more concrete answer, as neither the currency union with the rump U.K., nor using the Euro, seems satisfactory. The oil revenue (and gas, if they have the same kind of gas extraction boom the U.S. is having,) will carry them through the short term, as long as they're smart about planning for the long term.

As a resident of the north-eastern U.S., I feel the pain of being yoked to a bunch of people who's politics are diametrically opposed to yours, and prevent what your region would see as progress. I wish we could have a referendum, too.

ADid a bit of digging.

God I hate politics. You can spin anything, including, indeed especually treadury calculations.

Im sure this happens on both sides, but as the below points out doing an analysis on the basis of finance alone is meaningless. At the end of the day I'm an optimist and I want to see Scotland do well, on its own merits. Ive got no real facts or figures to back me up.
AFucking BP want the Union left intact.

Suppose they need to pay for their massive fine for fucking the gulf of mexico somehow.

If independence fucks BP, so much the better.

Reminds me of the Republican spin on Obamacare, where EVERY possible scenario (likely or otherwise) is trotted out to make the opposing case. Did the Treasury calculate the estimated financial burden incurred by a large asteroid hitting London? No? Well, isn't THAT convenient!

AWell, at least they've got the important stuff covered!
ANiall Ferguson ways in on the Scottish independence debate. I think he's being a little dramatic when he says Scotland would be dead outside the UK but overall I agree with his arguments:

Much as I despise him, I'm with Galloway on this one. There's no way Scotland will be able to enact any sensible left based policies with a neo-con competitor on it's southern border. Companies will just fleece both countries, pressuring for lower business rates and favourable tax regimes or they'll just migrate a hundred miles north/south.

Personally, I think I'd like to see it happen, if only to throw a spanner into the horrific White Elephant that is Trident. I'm of Welsh descent but I'm a Londoner.  I think the four seperate countries should be allowed self governance. It's the only idea that makes any sense in a European context.

However, I do think the Canadians, Spanish, French, Belgians and Germans (all of whom have seperatist segments), would punish Scotland, if only to make an example. If we split messily, it's likely we'd do the same.

No matter what happens, the vote is going to be 50/50. It's not going to be pretty in Scotland for a few years after this.


Irvine Welsh backs independence.

From an outsider looking in, I am amazed that in over 400 years of shared monarchy, and 300 years of shared government, that culturally both sides of the arguments don't see the other as the same culture. Has there not been more assimiliation on both sides, a melding of Scot and English to make a British person? As much as some Southern statists claim to want an independent South, culturally, Americans tend to be Americans, especially with the advent of radio, film, and television. I read a study about regional accents dying out because of the media. Regions of the US, which post Civil War were dominated by born and breds, are now a mixed up topsy turvy of people who have lived in other places. I never want to live in Michigan or New York or Massachussets, but that is because of weather, not because I would feel like a cultural minority or out of place.

I understand why the Irish fought against British consolidation. Between the use of war and the forced concentration of power in a religious minority, Britian never truly attempted to get the Irish to assimilate. In a similar vein, As much as we laugh about Quebec's cultural holdouts, the government seems to have done an impressive amout of bending to incorporate the diversity that is Canada. I find it so odd that Scotland and England never managed to assimiliate into a cohesive whole.  Is Tom Jones going to come out and advocate a Free and Independent Wales? Normally, geography tends to make similiar peoples culturally similiar. So why on this collection of islands is there about to be 4 nations?

Can any UK Chewers help me out? I am really interested in what barriers separate these peoples?

(History aside: Is it seriously as simple as Caesar's invasion of the islands or Hadrian's Wall? Because that is mindblowing to me if it boils down to that.)

AWales (Cymru) is waay more nationalistic than Scotland. The signs are in Welsh first, then English. Welsh is spiken a lot.

By comparison very strong efforts, which are by and large failing, have to be made to keep Gaelic going in Scotland.

Now this is just my perception but I think the Scottish national identity hasnt retained its ACTUAL roots in the way that Wales has. It all seems enforced shortbread box tartan and bagpipes. A lot of which is an Englush invention.

As such there's more resentment, for many reasons. Even though im half Scot I very much have an English accent. Living in Edinburgh was rough because I woild, genuinely, get a lot of abuse for it. Even from mates if they were pissed enough. My own cousin HATES the English with a passion. It must gall her terribly to have English relations. There were parts of Edinburgh I just wouldn't go to, or if I did id keep my mouth shut. When the World Cup is on any team playing against England will have a massive upsurge in sales of their replica kits.

I think the attempted redefinition of genuine Scots culture as an attempt to subsume it into English is where its vome from. The Scots have been defined by the English and naturally this fucks them off. And this was a very deliberate English tactic.

And this isnt the merging of disparate colonies. This is two very old cultures, one of which has attempted to subsume the other.

But I'm speaking from the heart, I dont really have much in the way of fact at my fingertips at the mo.
AThat article is great. Love this quote:

WELSH: Yeah. And always will be. I'm kind of - I'm not United Kingdom; Britain - I mean, I'm loyal to the British Isles. And that's where all my friends and family kind of come from and originate from. But we don't need a centralized government in one of these countries telling us what to do to be together. Being together and being unified is about having shared experiences and shared friendships and shared cultural values. It's not about having a shared government of elitists out of touch tossed from Eton.
ABut the English govetnment doesn't really tell Scotland what to do. They already control Health care, education and will soon have much more fiscal control.

His last line about Elitist Etonians really shows what he and a lot of Scots really think. It's a hatred of Tories that drives them, as much as or maybe more than a desire for independence.
AHere, have our nuclear submarines probably pissed a few people off.

Trialling the poll tax as well. Devolution and actually having a a scottish parliament is still very recent.

And an awful lot of britain would be united against the Tories, especially if you lived through the 80s.
AWell they would be wrong to, considering the mess the country was in in '79, but even so that's not a reason to kill the United Kingdom.

And recently the yes campaign have twisted the argument into 'Save our NHS', as though the evil Tories are going to destroy the Scottish health service. It is simply not true. Period.
AA mostly excellent summary from The Economist of why Scotland should vote No. I'll post the whole article as I don't know if the link will work:

Ditching the union would be a mistake for Scotland and a tragedy for the country it leaves behind

Sep 13th 2014

SCHOOLCHILDREN once imagined their place in the world, with its complex networks and allegiances, by writing elaborate postal addresses. British youngsters began with their street and town (London or Manchester, Edinburgh or Cardiff), followed by England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland; then came the United Kingdom (and after that Europe, the World, the Universe…). They understood that the UK, and all its collective trials and achievements—the industrial revolution, the Empire, victory over the Nazis, the welfare state—were as much a part of their patrimony as the Scottish Highlands or English cricket. They knew, instinctively, that these concentric rings of identity were complementary, not opposed.

At least, they used to. After the referendum on Scottish independence on September 18th, one of those layers—the UK—may cease to exist, at least in the form recognisable since the Act of Union three centuries ago. As the vote nears, Scotland’s nationalists have caught up with the unionist No camp in the opinion polls, and even edged ahead (see article). More and more Scots are deciding that the UK, which their soldiers, statesmen, philosophers and businessmen have done so much to build and ornament, does not cradle their Scottishness but smothers it. This great multinational state could be undone in a single day, by a poll in which just 7% of its citizens will participate. That outcome, once unthinkable, would be bad for Scotland and tragic for what remained of the UK.

The damage a split would do

The rump of Britain would be diminished in every international forum: why should anyone heed a country whose own people shun it? Since Britain broadly stands for free trade and the maintenance of international order, this would be bad for the world. Its status as a nuclear power would be doubtful: the country’s nuclear submarines are based in a Scottish loch and could not be moved quickly. Britain would also be more likely to leave the European Union, since Scots are better disposed to Europe than are the English (and are less likely to vote for the Conservatives, who are promising a Euro-referendum if they win next year’s general election). The prospect of a British exit from the EU would scare investors much more than a possible Scottish exit from Britain (see article).
The people of Scotland alone will decide the future of Britain, and they are not obliged to worry about what becomes of the state they would leave. But—perhaps not surprisingly, given the endurance and success of the union, imperilled though it is—Scots’ own interests, and the rest of Britain’s, coincide.

At the heart of the nationalist campaign is the claim that Scotland would be a more prosperous and more equal country if it went solo. It is rich in oil and inherently decent, say the nationalists, but impoverished by a government in Westminster that has also imposed callous policies. They blame successive British governments for almost every ill that has befallen Scotland, from the decline of manufacturing industry to ill-health to the high price of sending parcels in the Highlands. Alex Salmond, Scotland’s nationalist leader, is broad in his recrimination: Labour and the Tories are of a piece, he suggests, in their disregard for Scotland.

But Scotland’s relative economic decline is the result not of southern neglect but of the shift of manufacturing and shipping to Asia. If Westminster has not reversed all the deleterious effects of globalisation and technology, that is because to do so is impossible. The nationalists know this, which is why, sotto voce, they would continue many of Westminster’s policies. Instead they make much of minor adjustments, such as abolishing the “bedroom tax”, a recent measure designed to nudge people out of too-large social housing. To break up a country over such small, recent annoyances would be nuts.

The nationalists’ economics are also flawed. Scotland would not, in fact, be richer alone. The taxes that would flow to it from the North Sea would roughly compensate for the extra cost of its lavish state, which would no longer be funded by Westminster (last year spending was some £1,300 per person higher in Scotland than elsewhere in Britain). But oil revenues are erratic. They would have earned Scotland £11.5 billion in 2008-09 but only £5.5 billion in 2012-13. If an independent state were to smooth these fluctuations by setting up an oil fund, it would have less cash to spend now. In any case, the oil is gradually running out. In order to maintain state spending after it is gone, taxes would have to rise. And a crunch might come much sooner. Foreign investors and big businesses that mostly serve English customers could well move south.

Westminster has ruled out a currency union (see article)—correctly, given that the nationalists propose a deficit-widening fiscal splurge and that the assets of Scottish banks are an alarming 12 times the country’s GDP. It might relent, but only if Scotland agrees to such strict oversight that independence ends up meaning little. The nationalists say that kinks over currency and the like could be worked out amicably—that it would not be in Britain’s interests to antagonise its new northern neighbour, particularly since (they hint darkly) Scotland could refuse to take on its share of the national debt. They are far too sanguine. If Scotland goes, the rest of Britain will be furious, both at the Scots and at their own leaders, who will be impelled to drive a hard bargain.

Mr Salmond is on stronger ground when he argues that if Scotland does not leave Britain it might be dragged out of the EU against its will. This is indeed a danger, but in going independent Scotland would swap the possibility of an EU exit for a certain future as a small, vulnerable country. Its best hope of remaining influential is to stay put, and fight the Eurosceptics.

A lot to lose
In the end the referendum will turn not on calculations of taxes and oil revenue, but on identity and power. The idea that Scots can shape their own destiny, both at the referendum and afterwards, is exhilarating. Yet Scotland already controls many of its own affairs (even if Mr Salmond’s Scottish National Party, which runs the devolved government and is driving the Yes campaign, has not done much with its powers so far). Moreover, as Westminster politicians of all stripes have hastily made clear, if Scotland votes No, the devolved administration will soon get so much clout that the practical difference between staying in the union and leaving it will narrow. That would also lead to the distribution of power away from Westminster and to other bits of Britain, which should have happened long ago.

So by staying in, Scots will not just save the union but enhance it, as they have for 300 years. For the UK, with all its triumphs and eccentricities, belongs to Scots as much as it does to the English—even if increasing numbers of them seem ready to disown that glorious, hard-earned heritage, and to simplify their identities by stripping out one of those concentric rings. That goes against both the spirit of this fluid century—in which most people have multiple identities, whether of place, ethnicity or religion—and the evidence of the preceding three. For all its tensions and rivalries, and sometimes because of them, the history of the union shows that the Scots, Welsh, English and Northern Irish are stronger, more tolerant and more imaginative together than they would be apart.

Comments (239)

Readers' comments
ASo: we'll lose credibility + usual fiscal argumenrs + its a bit scary. Seems to be the same argument again.

I quite like this article about it being the idea that is important. I think if your mind is made up there's not much going to change it. And for most people, who apparently still havent made up their mind it will be the idea rather than figures that decides it.

Discussing the Tories is for another time and place Smile
AAbout those Tories though. This is good. Pros and cons.

This thread has made me realise that, Apparently I'm still quite left wing. I genuinely thought id become more reactionary as I became older/a father. Seemingly not as much as I thought.

The key one I get from the below is the increase in poverty/inequality. But thats coz I'm still a bit lefty Smile
AShit. Apparently a yes vote will wake Cthulu..
AMy $0.02 (or £0.02, whatever).

My family's of Scottish descent, but we've lived in the States for the last few generations, and in Nova Scotia several generations before that. Neverthelss, I've always had a strong sense of "Scottishness" instilled in me by my dad, who from childhood taught me Scottish history and culture generally and our family's history in particular. On the one hand I'm quite American, but on the other I have a very Celtic name (my last name starts with "Mc" and is hard to spell and pronounce) and have always been aware that I'm descended from Gaelic-speaking Jacobite Highland clansmen, so all things Scottish obviously strike a rather personal chord with me.

That said, I'm a tad ambivalent about the independence vote. It seems a shame for the Union to break up, even if done so relatively amicably (at least compared to Ireland). And whatever's left of the U.K. ("the United Kingdom of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland"?) will need some serious sorting out. But I also think Scotland's ready to be an independent nation again, and I think the arguments against independence, whatever their merits, don't honestly rise to the level of outweighing full national sovereignty. Yes, there'll be political and economic uncertainties. There always are when a country gains its independence. This isn't some unprecedented phenomenon. Given all the relatively young countries in Europe and elsewhere that didn't just throw their hands up and give up because independence brought with it some issues to resolve, I don't see why Scotland should be an exception.

Most importantly, I think, is the fact that this vote isn't being held in the midst of some huge political or economic crisis. The question isn't "Should Scotland be independent in the context of event X or Y?," it's "Should Scotland be independent?," period, full stop, as a matter of principle. That, I think, should lend the vote, however it turns out, more long-term legitimacy. (As opposed to people later being able to say, "Yeah, Scotland only voted for (or against) independence because such-and-such was going on at the time.") Scotland lost her independence in 1707 as the result of temporary circumstances (the economic crisis resulting from the failed Darién colonization plan, and the political uncertainties surrounding the succession of the House of Hanover). I'd hate for Scotland's independence to hang on short-term considerations again.

My alterate-history fantasy scenario would be England, Scotland, and ireland never having formed a United Kingdom in the first place, and all three having continued on (with their own monarchs or not) as three separate kingdoms with their own laws, parliaments, institutions, etc. That not being an option, ending the Union of 1707 is an acceptable alternative.

There are a ton of newly independent countries in Eastern Europe that sprung up after the Iron Curtain fell. All of them started with less than Scotland and some are actually doing fine now. All the doom and gloom scenarios for an independent Scotland's future are purely politically motivated.

ANot necessarily, Labour would lose 41 MPs if Scotland becomes independent, making it very easy for the Conservatives to keep power for the forseeable future. But the Conservatives want to keep the union intact.

Not sure what institutions such as the Institute of fiscal studies and the IMF have to gain politically by pointing out the potential ramifications of independence.

The pro- independence campaign's plan is based on half-truths and exaggerations. Salmond's plan to build a socialist paradise on a lake of oil should be exposed for the madness it is.

He wants to spend more, tax less and reduce borrowing! Crazy.

The IMF, by their own admission, miscalculated and the program they proposed threw Greece into a depression twice as bad as they thought. After that, their scientific opinion on fiscal matters means little to me. They're as blind as anyone.

A[quote name="Bluelouboyle" url="/community/t/151578/any-scottish-chewers#post_3774023"]

Both campaign's are based on half-truths and exaggerations.[/quote]


Politics man. It stinks. Our own PM is resorting to ad hominem attacks on a journalist at the moment. The world needs to rethink how democracy should actually work.
Quote:Ah, there’s nothing like a primitive, quarrel-torn, disastrous Third World country. And Scotland has everything it needs to be what old-school foreign correspondents fondly call a “shit-hole.”

Plus Scotland is conveniently located for aging journos like myself. It can be “covered” from the comforts of The Ritz in London, and there will be plenty of unemployed Scottish unionist refugees hanging around waiting to be hired as drivers and translators.

Scotland’s economy will be the requisite Third World shambles. Scotland’s two dominant political parties are the leftist Scottish National Party and the leftist Scottish Labor Party. These can be counted on to vie in out-lefting each other. Cuba-with-chilblains, here we come!

The Brits won’t let the Scots keep the pound. The EU needs another Greece or Portugal dragging down the euro like the EU needs another bureaucrat in Brussels. Scotland will be reduced to using the 16th century pund scots, value soon equaling the Zimbabwe dollar—to the delight of bean-counters employing journalists who have expense accounts.

And as a guarantee of a Third World economy in shambles, Scotland is oil-rich. Proceeds from its North Sea drilling rigs will insure corruption and kleptocracy on a Nigerian scale.

PJ O'Rourke: A Free Scotland Would Be a Hilarious Disaster

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