I’m Irish and I want to talk about Scotland’s Independence Vote

Alex+Salmond+Makes+Keynote+Speech+SNP+Autumn+J3QZCJTQtVDl

This feels like a dangerous article to write. As an Irish person living in Scotland, I will have a say in the forthcoming independence referendum on 18 September. British people living in the rest of the UK will not be able vote on whether or not Scotland stays or leaves the United Kingdom. As support for the Yes vote continues to gather pace and a realisation that this might actually happen, there is a sense that some people in the rUK are becoming incensed.

I moved to Scotland to attend university in 1997. I met my husband to be and then, in 2001, emigrated to Australia for five years before returning to the country that me and my children call home – Scotland. I am Irish and refer to myself as such. I will always be Irish. I did not change my name when I got married as I like my difficult-to-pronounce surname. It is part of my identity. My children call themselves Scottish and do not seem to have any sense of what being British is. Maybe this sense of “Britishness” is something that comes with age as they learn about their position in the world. Right now, at the ages of two and four, they love to shout “Come on Scotland” louder than I can shout “Come on Ireland”.

As a non-Scot who has studied, lived and worked in Scotland, I have views on independence and, although I do have a vote, have been a bit reluctant to speak out. After reading Fiona Laird’s comment article in the Guardian recently (‘I’m British and I want to talk about Scotland’s independence vote’), I felt I needed to. I do want Scotland to leave the UK. But I take great offence to the suggestion that supporters of the Yes movement are primarily motivated by the ruling parties in Westminster. The primary motivation of the Yes movement is about Scotland, not England, or even the rest of the UK. What I’m trying to say is – it’s not you, it’s me.

The assertion that the Yes campaign is based on an “anti-posh south-easterners sentiment; anti-Tory; anti-Cameron and Osborne; anti-Eton; and anti-London” and worst of all “not pro-Scottish” demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the real yes movement that is happening in Scotland.

The Yes campaign is absolutely pro Scotland. It is not about anti-English sentiment. The suggestion that the increasing support for the yes vote in Scotland is purely based on anti Tory rhetoric, suggests a bigoted, naive electorate in Scotland. That is simply not the case.
The people of Scotland do not underestimate the magnitude of the referendum ahead of them. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a nation to have a say in how they want their country to be governed. Opportunities like this do not come about peacefully and democratically very often, as us Irish folks know all too well.

The 19th C Irish politician Daniel O’Connell strived for independence “attained not by the effusion of human blood, but by the constitutional combination of good and wise men”. Ireland could not realise O’Connell’s aspirations of a peaceful resolution; Scotland can.

Because of the magnitude of the decision we face, people are asking questions, town hall meetings are popping up all over the country. Artists, academics, business people, hairdressers, friends are all talking about it and searching out qualified information that will help them make their decision. Personally, I have carried out a lot of my own research; looked for answers to questions that are important to me. I have a copy of the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence. I would love an equivalent from Better Together, but there is none. The Better Together campaign’s message to people living in Scotland is that things will get worse for us if we go independent. The message from the Yes campaign is that things will be better – regardless of who is in power in Westminster.

Scotland is a wealthy nation. Based on GDP per capita, the Scottish Government estimates that Scotland will be ranked the 14th wealthiest nation in the world after independence. It is worth noting that Ireland, which is smaller than Scotland in area and population and, despite recent difficult times, is currently the 12th wealthiest nation in the world, above Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark (figures obtained from the World Bank). Ireland is positioned well above the UK at 24. I point this out because it supports the belief that Scotland can survive economically as an independent nation. Scotland has a lot more valuable oil and renewable resources than Ireland and is not recovering from the troubles that plagued Ireland for many years in their independence hangover.

While we’re on the subject of money – the insistence by George Osborne that there will be no currency union post independence does not seem to be in the best interests of rUK. On the one hand we are told we are better together – but apparently this does not apply to economics if Scotland votes for political independence. For me it doesn’t add up and the tactics of Better Together don’t help. They have preached from on high and don’t appear to be making any effort to speak to the people that live in Scotland. This is how it will be. No negotiation. No discussion. No respect.

It is a fact that Scottish voters have very little influence on which party controls the Westminster parliament. The UK has a population of 60 million people. With a population of 5 million, Scotland represents just 8% of this. While I have a dislike of the UK strategy of concentrating investment in the South East of England to stoke the flames of a massive financial firehouse, in reality I find it understandable that UK government does little for Scotland. Politics is politics. And when it comes to Westminster, the Scottish vote doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. So why should they waste time trying to appease the Scottish voter? There are nuclear weapons on the Clyde. Near Glasgow. We really do not want them there but we can jump up and down about it as much as we like. As part of the UK our protests are about as useful as a moth trying to break through the glass of an energy-efficient light bulb.

To Fiona Laird I would like to say that I agree that this referendum is too important to be fought on such a narrow prejudice as anti-Englishness. And to suggest that is the case is frankly insulting, but also evidence of a lack of understanding of the real conversations that are happening in Scotland. Maybe you do need to be here to really get a sense of the reality of the issues and the debate. Yes Scotland is not a sound piece for the SNP. It is a collective voice of people across all political parties in Scotland. Yes Scotland are arguably not even the most influential voice in the independence debate either. Independent, non political groups such as Women for Independence, Bella Caledonia, Business for Scotland and the right-wing Wealthy Nation group are providing valuable information to educate the debate. People are engaged in this debate like no political event I have ever experienced. And we are not ignorant or naive. For the past three years my family and I have taken our summer holiday in England rather than travel abroad. My husband frequently travels to London as he works for a global investment bank. This will not change if Scotland becomes independent. I love England, it is a wonderful country with wonderful people. We are important allies and friends and will continue to be if Scotland votes for independence. Our strong ties will not dissolve overnight.

Scottish independence offers opportunities for people across the UK to examine their lot. We are only going to get one shot at this – I for one, do not plan to point the shotgun at my foot. The impact of the Scottish independence movement is already being felt across the UK as it is forcing people to question the way they are governed. If others in the UK feel strongly about their fate, they need to stand up and shout about it. Desperately hanging onto Scotland so that we can collectively have no voice is not working for any of us.

In the eloquent words of Irish President Michael D Higgins on his recent historic address to the UK Houses of Parliament, “We can and must reflect on the ethical importance of respecting different, but deeply interwoven, narratives. Such reflection offers an opportunity to craft a bright future on the extensive common ground we share and, where we differ in matters of interpretation, to have respectful empathy for each other’s perspectives.”

 

 

Background information sources:

World Bank 2014 GDP per capita ranking: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?order=wbapi_data_value_2012+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=desc

Michael D Higgins speech: http://www.president.ie/news/address-by-president-higgins-to-the-houses-of-parliament-westminster/

Comments (72)

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  1. “I take great offence to the suggestion that supporters of the Yes movement are primarily motivated by the ruling parties in Westminster.”

    You mean none are? Really? Are you really arrogant enough to think you can honestly speak for everyone’s motives in being a part of the Yes campaign? That an antipathy (at the very least) to the British State is not an important element in some people’s motivations?

    1. Juteman says:

      Primarily.

    2. Robert Graham says:

      well cockburn if thats your whole contribution to a excellent article why do you bother wasting time trying to rubbish someone’s personal view of the september referendum it dosnt make you smart or clever just petty have a nice day now

    3. Thank you very much for that contribution. I too am Irish, thought I suspect from a different tradition and I too seek an independent Scotland for pretty well the same reasons as you do. Thanks again

  2. DaveW says:

    Yes, it does say ‘primarily’ quite distinctly and I’d go along with the article but I’d also add that a lot of people in poorer areas are worried what further cruelties and inequalites are going to be forced on them by the ConDems they never voted for.

  3. Canuckistan says:

    To Paul. Two important things; 1) In the words of Bob, ‘simmer down’, and leave the foam flecked ad hominem crap to the astroturfers. 2) Please, please, engage brain before engaging keyboard.

    Thenkyou.

  4. Mike says:

    I may be wrong but is there not a very strong sentiment within the halls of Westminster within the pages of the state sympathetic media and within the great uninformed public of the rUK that Scots and Scotland has far too much say in what goes on in Westminster within the union?
    Irrespective of the fact that Scottish constituency representation amounts to little over 5% within the chambers of the Westminster Parliament and that representation is motivated first and foremost by party loyalty, UK union loyalty, loyalty to the crown and then last and least a pretence at service to a constituency.

    Now they want to tell us that its unfair that the rUK doesn’t have a say in what is going on within the Scottish Parliament.

    The overwhelming domination of English concerns within the Westminster Parliament has ensured that there has been no Scottish referendum or Scottish concern on Scottish matters for close to 300 years.
    Our very first real taste of “concern” for Scottish interests didn’t occur until 1999 and the restoration of a small part of our own Parliament given the barest essential powers necessary to allow it to be seen and represented to the people of Scotland as a “Parliament”

    And yet still the unionist ideologically driven parties continued to insist on devaluing it by referring to the leading chamber as the “Scottish Executive” as opposed to “Scottish Government”.
    This allowed the “Scottish Parliamentary executive” to be controlled and manipulated by the same party in Government within the English dominated Westminster Parliament. Parliament by proxy!

    Not until 2007 did the “Devolved Executive” of the Scottish Parliament allow itself to develop into a “Scottish Government” showing for the first time in 300 years a truly Scottish Parliamentary representation with concerns motivations and a driven desire to serve Scottish interests and ONLY Scottish interests.
    Since then “Scottish representation” in Scotland hasn’t looked back. Meanwhile in Westminster the Scottish representation or more aptly the Scottish under representation continued to decline from the heady days of 74 seats in the commons and 16 seats in the Lords to todays level of 52 seats in the commons and 16 seats in the lords.

    We now finally have a chance as a nation state to fully represent ourselves in the manner we were denied in 1707 and since 1707 due to English dominated concerns and priorities by the God given right of the sovereignty of the people of Scotland to exercise a democratic mandate hard fought for and won and I still have to read and hear bleating and whining about the concerns of those given priority of Government for over 300 years of unbalanced union.

    If England wants a referendum on their own constitutional concerns then by all means fight for one within England for England and England alone! Dont come crying to us because we’ve finally got to a place where we can act on our God given mandate to self determination and home rule.

  5. Mike says:

    “Scotland represents just 8% of this”

    Not true!

    Scotlands true full representation within the Westminster Parliamentary system of Government is 52 seats in the House of commons and 16 seats in the house of Lords giving a combined total representation of 5% not 8%. Please ensure this error isn’t repeated as it is a very important distinction and also highlights the undemocratic nature of the Westminster regime by reminding people it has a second house of unelected representation. A representation of what and who you should be asking on a daily basis.

    1. “Please ensure this error isn’t repeated as it is a very important distinction “

      A bit patronising there, especially when 1) she wasn’t talking about our parliamentary representation and 2) your numbers are wrong.

      It’s 59 seats we have, not 52. It’s also a bit odd to include the HoL really, because they represent no one but themselves – nobody elected them. I may not have voted for Anne Begg, but as my MP she can at least claim to represent me. No lord can do that. It doesn’t matter if there are 16 Scottish peers or 160.

      That’s beside the point though – the “this” that Elaine was referring to was the population of the UK. So Scotland is indeed 8% of “this”.

      (Well, to the nearest whole percent anyway – 5.3 million is about 8.4% of 63.2 million, which is the UK population. But that’s just nit-picking.)

      1. Mike says:

        52 was a typo if you do the sums you will see that having 59 seats in the commons added to the 16 we have in the house of Lords out of a grand total of 1442 you will see our total representation in Westminster is 5% to the nearest whole number. And as you say having a 8.4% population ratio shows a significant under representation.
        You cannot discount the HOL as insignificant to representation in Parliament especially as they don’t represent an electorate but still have powers to interfere and influence Government so in the context of representation the following statement she made is in error in the sense that it is 5% not 8% representation.

        “It is a fact that Scottish voters have very little influence on which party controls the Westminster parliament. The UK has a population of 60 million people. With a population of 5 million, Scotland represents just 8% of this”

        I get the jist of her overall text and agree with the thrust of it but its vital that people do recognise the under representation within the Westminster Parliament from our perspective as its being claimed using only the house of commons ratio that Scotland is over represented in Westminster!

  6. joseph O Luain says:

    Steady up Mr Coburn. I seriously doubt whether Ms Mulcahy can be accused of arrogance, even although I do appreciate the point you are making. I profoundly disagree with her assertion that Daniel O’Connell was a great Irish freedom fighter. O’Connell, if anything, was a great fighter for Catholic bourgeois emancipation, which helps explain why, unlike James Connolly, who truly was a great Irish freedom fighter, O’Connell had the main thoroughfare of the Irish capital named after him.

    1. Well said Joseph. Elaine has written a great response to Fiona Laird’s ill-informed piece, a response which resonates very strongly with me as an Irishman in Scotland. However the O’Connell reference was the only bit that jarred. I dearly hope we can be having a post-independence discussion about the dichotomy of class interests in a new Scotland represented by O’Connell and Connolly.

  7. bjsalba says:

    “I take great offence to the suggestion that supporters of the Yes movement are primarily motivated by the ruling parties in Westminster.”

    I don’t care who the ruling parties are, but I care HOW they have ruled – and they have directed their efforts exclusively at the rich and the South East, totally disregarding the rest of the UK.

    As they have sown, so shall they reap.

  8. Dave Coull says:

    While there is a lot in what Elaine Mulcahey says that I like, I did notice one rather odd thing.

    I agree that the independence movement is much, much more than either the SNP or Yes Scotland. The Radical Independence Campaign held a conference in Glasgow which was attended by a thousand people, and RIC groups have been very active in cities and towns throughout Scotland.

    The thing I found slightly odd is that Elaine mentions “the right-wing Wealthy Nation group” (which might, or might not, have more than half a dozen members) yet she did NOT mention the RIC.

  9. deewal says:

    Good article Elaine. Thank You.

    ” Personally, I have carried out a lot of my own research; looked for answers to questions that are important to me. I have a copy of the Scottish Government’s White Paper on independence. I would love an equivalent from Better Together, but there is none.”

    That is exactly the thing that riles me when people ask me for ” Facts and Answers” The information they require is freely available to them but they want me to have it all and to read it to them.

    I also find it sad that President Michael D Higgins address is being ignored.

  10. Thank you very much for that contribution. I too am Irish, thought I suspect from a different tradition and I too seek an independent Scotland for pretty well the same reasons as you do. Thanks again

  11. Dan Huil says:

    Interesting article. Certainly not an “arrogant” one as Mr Cockburn believes.
    Regardless of party, Westminster, not the people of England, are the opposition.
    The British media are of course vehemently unionist – no surprise there – but what is surprising is the panic the media is showing in the face of increased support for Yes. Recent personal attacks on Mr Salmond are an obvious sign of panic.
    This panic is being transferred to many people in the rUK, hence their confused comments in the media and, in some cases, downright hostility to the people of Scotland. Today, in BBC’s Daily Politics David Trimble told viewers Scottish independence would result in instability in Northern Ireland. His insinuation was obvious: vote Yes and the Troubles will return. It was an attempt at emotional blackmail, if not a threat. This kind of nasty British nationalism, fed by the British media, will probably increase. But people in Scotland must remember that most people in rUk respect the right of the people of Scotland to vote on whether to stay in the union or not.
    I think it’s pertinent that someone like Elaine will be voting Yes, and for the best of reasons.

  12. I want independence I NEED INDEPENDENCE, Scotland needs independence.I am as Scottish as anybody,also there are two ways to be Scottish,one being born Scottish and two wanting to be Scottish,me I qualify on both counts,born and want to be Scottish and I am.

  13. bringiton says:

    Thanks Elaine.
    I suppose it comes down to how you view independence.
    Is it the independence of someone leaving home for the first time and looking forward to
    life’s great adventure,or is it the independence of someone getting out of an abusive relationship
    with relief that they can now decide their own future?
    Perhaps it’s a bit of both but it is entirely about us making our own decisions for better or worse.
    We need to leave the dependency culture behind us which has blighted so many of our communities.

  14. novascotia says:

    I’m English and I want to talk about Scottish Independence! I came to Scotland to go to university in the mid 1980s. I have now been her well over half my life. I have a Scottish family. I have seen Scotland and rUK diverging for years, and the rUK scares me. I’m voting YES for a fairer future.

  15. YESGUY says:

    Nice . Liked that Elaine. Everyone has their own views on why they vote and any critics or nit-pickers should remember this referendum has an emotional side and ORDINARY people feel they want to talk. Cant be a bad thing. It’s what we are trying to give. Every one has a voice.
    Good for you Elaine …. YES.

  16. thisgreenworld says:

    The bit that shines out for me is this… “The Better Together campaign’s message to people living in Scotland is that things will get worse for us if we go independent. The message from the Yes campaign is that things will be better – regardless of who is in power in Westminster”.

    …that just about sums up everything it’s all about for me…It’s not about ‘the english’ (whatever that means), or ‘the rich’ (well, maybe a bit…), but it’s about US – all of us, including those we disagree with – making our own future by our own hands and for our bairns/weans/clann/kids.

    lovely story, Elaine

  17. rabthecab says:

    Great article Elaine. What gets my goat more than a little (about the Indy Ref, not your piece!) is this:

    “As an Irish person living in Scotland, I will have a say in the forthcoming independence referendum on 18 September. British people living in the rest of the UK will not be able vote on whether or not Scotland stays or leaves the United Kingdom.”

    I fully understand & accept that giving the vote to the entire Scottish diaspora is a non-starter, but what about *Scottish* people living in the rest of the UK? I moved to London in 1986 & have now been here for most of my adult life, but of course will always be Scottish, and will (I hope) move back some day.

    In fact the only time I have lived anywhere other than mainland UK was the 3 months I spent in South Uist, just before I left Scotland. So why don’t I get a vote?

    1. Dave Coull says:

      Why don’t you get a vote, rabthecab ?

      Because to give the vote to ANYBODY who doesn’t live here would undermine that most basic of democratic principles, it’s up to the folk who live here.

      In 1979, there was a referendum in Scotland, on setting up an “Assembly”.

      Although I am Scottish born, I didn’t get a vote, because, at the time, I was living, working, and raising, a family in London. Yet folk from England living in Scotland got to vote.

      And it was RIGHT that they got to vote, and I didn’t. It is RIGHT that eligibility to vote goes by where you live, not by where you were born, or who your granny was.

      That rule has applied for at least THIRTY FIVE YEARS. It was the rule in 1979, it was the rule for the referendum on a Scottish Parliament in 1997, and it is the rule today.

      The rule was, of course, set by the Westminster Parliament. Even if a majority of MPs at Westminster wanted to change it now (they don’t), with just four and a half months to the referendum, it is already far too late for such a major constitutional change to receive a first reading, a second reading, be passed by the House of Commons, be sent to the House of Lords, and receive the Royal Assent, before September.

      It was right that I couldn’t vote, and it is right that you can’t. But if you are really serious about wanting to vote, there is just one way you can do so, Move back to Scotland. Permanently. Get yourself on the electoral register. The deadline for getting yourself on the register is September 6th. But don’t try to get yourself on the register unless you really are moving back on a long term basis. That would be a serious crime punishable by a term of imprisonment.

      1. rabthecab says:

        You use the phrase “major constitutional change” and that’s my problem with all this – this isn’t just an election is it, it’s a vote to change the Constitution which, like it or not, affects *everyone* in the UK, so why shouldn’t Scots living within the UK get a vote?

        As for your last paragraph, don’t be such a twat. If I wanted to be patronised I would spend my time reading the crap Bitter Together are peddling.

        1. Dave Coull says:

          Oh I can’t be bothered with this. If you wanted to change the voting system before the referendum, that was something for you to take up with Westminster. A couple of years ago. Far too late now.

      2. rabthecab says:

        You know what gets me more than your (totally misplaced) sense of smug superiority, and the barely disguised hostility towards someone you don’t even know Dave? The fact that you are completely & utterly wrong.

        3 questions, 2 of them rhetorical:

        What is the voting age in the UK? 18

        What is the voting age for the IndyRef? 16

        So, did HMG manage to slip through a “major constitutional change” without anyone noticing?

        No, they didn’t. Instead, the voting age for the purposes of the referendum was written into the Edinburgh Agreement. That’s all it would have taken to extend the franchise to all Scots within UK borders, not an Act of Parliament with all that entails.

        Now, why don’t you go & try patronising the French by explaining why their Presidential elections “undermine that most basic of democratic principles”? I’m sure they’ll lap it up.

    2. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

      rabthecab,
      you could always move back to Scotland. There are quite a few Yes campaigners coming home for the vote – just check out Wings.
      We are going to build a better country together.

      Not too many No voters though – I wonder why that is?

      1. rabthecab says:

        See my reply further down the page.

    3. rabthecab says:

      Oops, silly me. Turns out all 3 questions were rhetorical.

    4. darrener says:

      Because you choose not live in Scotland.

    5. yerkitbreeks says:

      I lived in Kent for most of my life, and now am back here. While in England peer pressure ( not intentional, obviously ) meant there was little interest in remote Scottish affairs, and so it is with all my friends still down there. They are unanimously NO, but in my opinion only so since they have no motivation to seriously investigate the iScotland issues – there are more pressures in the S of England to use the time to check one’s stocks and shares !

  18. manandboy says:

    Thank you Elaine for your piece.

    May I be so bold as to raise a conundrum with you.

    The Irish in the Irish Republic would not dream of voting for a return to British Rule.

    While many Irish and Irish descendants in Scotland will vote No in the Scottish referendum.

    This is something that puzzles me.

    1. The problem of the Irish Roman Catholic community being relatively resistant to Scottish Independence has long interested me. When I worked in Dalkeith the Labour politicians were unionist in Scotland and Republican in Ireland.
      Part of the problem was that the Irish Community in the 1930s had a pretty rough time with both politics and the Kirk being anti Irish. as a result I suspect that they would rather stick with the UK than trust the Scottish people. Labour has built on this and as there are relatively few Irish Catholics involved in the SNP they have not risen in the organisation. It was once pointed out to me that the SNP Cabinet did not have any West of Scotland Catholics as members, this proved discrimination in the view of this Labour Supporter.

  19. YESGUY says:

    Rabthecab This a referendum not an election and the rules are there. If you dont live here you cannot vote simples. Many will feel its not fair for all reasons but i ask you why should you get a vote ??? You may never return to Scotland and even if you do in future you will get a voice in the new Scottish Gov when you do come home. Ifeel strongly that this is for the people of Scotland to vote. But you do have a wee point and Rab i’m not being patronizing but MSM up here gets different news pumped by a biased media inc the BBC. Most scots cybernats are not Anti-English while our own press are having a campaign of SMEAR after project fear failed so badly. There are people all over Scotland seeing the state using Msm to interfere with the democratic rights of this country.Take a look at Wings over Scotland and the many others who are fighting to get the truth out. Come hame Rab and add your voice. where it will be heard

    1. rabthecab says:

      “i’m not being patronizing but MSM up here gets different news pumped by a biased media inc the BBC” You think I don’t know that?

      Both you and Dave “Oh I can’t be bothered with this” Coull would appear to be labouring under the same misapprehension, namely that I support the Union; You couldn’t be more wrong.

      “Take a look at Wings over Scotland and the many others who are fighting to get the truth out” Eh, I already do, why do you think I’m reading Bella?

      1. Dave Coull says:

        “Both you and Dave ‘Oh I can’t be bothered with this’ Coull would appear to be labouring under the same misapprehension, namely that I support the Union”

        No, Rab, that was NOT my impression. But the rules are the same regardless of which way you would vote if you had a vote but you don’t. People who live here can vote. People who don’t, can’t. That isn’t going to change. End of story.

  20. YESGUY says:

    Rabthecab. I can see by your replies your NOT pro-union. And i have family in England who feel like you do and i admit you have point albeit a small one. If the vote was given to Scots in England how can we have faith that you will get the information and truth when the MSM lie day in day out. We have had months of scaring and its fair to say many Scots in England think we are Subsidy junkies and whingers. It’s at grass root level the word has spread up here. And check out he T.v papers . The vast majority of pro union Scots live over the border and have lost touch with whats happening. My own family down south think this way as its churned out day in day out for months.

    If you feel so strongly Rab come hame…

    The wee lass is writing “her” story and most echo her sentiments . This is an emotional response And she has the right to do that but you know if she wrote in the MSM it would have chucked in the bin before they where half way through reading. There’s a new feeling up here that i think you want to be part off and we can do with all the more help.Most people would be very angry that votes for independence would go to any out of our homeland. You dont live here and thats the rules.

    Your down south Rab give us your views on how the rest of uk see us. We cant get that on MSM cause its utter drivel and so biased.But dont be too shocked to hear Scots down there Slag us off as Anti-English subsidy junkies. We get it EVERY BLOODY DAY..

    1. rabthecab says:

      “If the vote was given to Scots in England how can we have faith that you will get the information and truth when the MSM lie day in day out”

      The very fact that this discussion is taking place on a website renders your point on the MSM moot.

      “You dont live here and thats the rules.” Yes, but why is it? Why shouldn’t Scots resident elsewhere within the UK get a vote?

      1. Dave Coull says:

        Rabthecab, you have already been told, repeatedly, that the reason it is the rule is because WESTMINSTER says so. This is the same rule on residence that has applied for at least THIRTY FIVE YEARS , since the 1979 referendum in which I was not allowed to vote because I was a Scot living in London.

        I happen to think the rule is fair. I thought it was fair when it was ME that was prevented from voting.

        But if you think it unfair, the reality if that you are far too late to try to get it changed in time for this year’s referendum. The only thing that continuing to challenge this rule (made by Westminster) might achieve, is that some bitter opponents of independence might see it as an excuse to “postpone” the referendum indefinitely. Like, forever.

        Anybody continuing to push this, knowing perfectly well they can not in fact achieve getting a vote, but just might achieve indefinite postponement of ANYBODY getting a vote, would be an enemy of independence and an enemy of democracy for Scotland.

      2. rabthecab says:

        “you have already been told, repeatedly, that the reason it is the rule is because WESTMINSTER says so”

        Yes, and as I said, WESTMINSTER also says that the age of majority for voting purposes is 18, yet 16 & 17 year-olds have a vote in September. You haven’t even tried to explain that anomaly.

        As for your attempt at emotional blackmail (or is it supposed to be seen as a (rather pathetic) threat?) don’t be so bloody silly. If you think the referendum will be put off “Like, forever” by one person voicing his disappointment on a pro-Indy website then you obviously feel more insecure about the result than I do.

        How’s it going with the French?

  21. effi says:

    Liked the way the opening paragraphs pastiche Fiona Laird’s Guardian diatribe.

  22. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

    Thank you Elaine,
    I very good article – very perceptive.

    You are very welcome in Scotland and I have always felt very at home in Ireland.
    I was very proud to be thought of as a local in a Ballinskelligs where they thought I had “no accent at all”. I have never had that experience in the South of England.

    The Highlands and the West of Ireland do indeed have a lot in common – except we do not have our Independence – yet.

  23. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

    p.s.

    I had a discussion with some No voters last week and they just could not believe that Ireland was a richer nation than the UK. They just could not understand this or accept this – Ireland is just a poor, stupid country – like Scotland.

    Such is British Imperialism – complete delusion.

    1. James says:

      Ireland wealthier than the UK?? On what planet?? I’m a year late to the party here, but I had to comment because that may be the most incorrect thing I have ever read in my life. GDP of Ireland: 232 billion USD. GDP of the UK: 2.68 TRILLION. The GDP of the UK is over TEN TIMES the GDP of Ireland! There is literally no measure in fathomable existence by which Ireland is wealthier than the UK! What measure are you using, pray tell?

  24. Simon Chadwick says:

    It’s my understanding that the Scottish independence movement is overwhelmingly a movement of Civic national democracy. Hence those that live here, are part of the community on the ground, the real community (not the virtual diaspora), get to vote.

    If you don’t live in Scotland you are not participating in Scottish society and culture on a day to day basis. If you live in London you are by that token a Londoner really. You can vote for the London Mayoral elections.

    I’m originally from England, I work regularly in Ireland, I live in Scotland. I only expect to vote in Scotland in Scottish elections and referenda. Of course I’m interested in politics in England and Ireland, and political decisions there do affect me, but I would not expect to be abel to vote on them.

    1. rabthecab says:

      If this comment was intended for me, allow me to point out a problem with it – nowhere have I said that I “expect(ed) to be abel to vote…” I was merely stating my disappointment at missing out on an Independence vote for the 2nd time – if only the voting age had been lowered in 1979 this whole debate might never have been needed!

    2. rabthecab says:

      Two things:

      1. I am a London resident, NOT a Londoner. Not now, not ever. I am 100% dyed-in-the-wool proud Weegie, and that will never change.

      2. “You can vote for the London Mayoral elections.” Please tell me you aren’t trying to equate that with the Indyref, that’s real apples & oranges nonsense (or, as we’re talking about London, maybe that should be apples & pears.) There is no comparison whatsoever.

  25. Dave Coull says:

    There are loads of countries where the voting age is 16. In 1967, FORTY SEVEN YEARS AGO, Winnie Ewing used her maiden speech as an MP at Westminster to advocate lowering the voting age to 16. Support for this has gradually grown over the years. As it turns out, the first time for this country will be in September. It certainly won’t be the last.

    David Cameron signed the Edinburgh Agreement with Alex Salmond. Under the terms of that agreement, certain specific powers were delegated from Westminster to Holyrood. One of the powers specifically delegated from Westminster to Holyrood by that agreement was the power to lower the voting age to 16.

    The Agreement still had to get the approval of the Westminster Parliament (which it did).

    And there still had to be a vote of Holyrood on lowering the age. The vote at Holyrood was overwhelming for votes at 16. MSPs of all parties backed the move, with only a handful voting against.

    The Edinburgh Agreement did NOT delegate powers to Holyrood to change the residence requirement for voting.

    If Alex Salmond had suggested this, David Cameron would not have agreed, and there would have been no Edinburgh Agreement.

    In the unlikely event that AS had suggested it and DC had agreed, the proposal would have been rejected by the Westminster Parliament.

    In the even more unlikely event that AS had suggested it, DC had agreed, and the Westminster Parliament had said “okay”, the proposal would still have had to be put to the Holyrood parliament. Unlike votes at 16, any such proposal would have been extremely controversial at Holyrood. Instead of MSPs from all parties voting in favour, you would have had MSPs of all parties voting against.

    In the as-close-to-utterly-impossible-as-makes-no-difference situation of such a proposal being proposed by AS, agreed by DC, approved by Westminster, and passed by Holyrood, the referendum would have been denounced by both supporters and opponents of independence as fraudulent, it would have been condemned internationally, and there would have been a campaign to boycott that fraudulent referendum. I know, because I would have been one of the organisers of that campaign.

    However, fortunately, none of this has happened. The referendum is based on where people live, not on where they come from. There is going to be a massive turnout, and there is going to be a decisive majority for YES

    1. rabthecab says:

      Still using upper case letters to make a point, or are you SHOUTING?

      What makes me laugh like a drain is one simple fact:

      I was merely expressing my disappointment that as a non-resident Scot I won’t have a vote. All I did was point out that it could have been made possible. You, for reasons known only to yourself, chose to throw your toys out of the pram & turned what was intended merely to be that expression into an argument.

      Westminster initially opposed the lowering of the voting age, but it was later included in the Edinburgh Agreement. It is however only for the purposes of the Referendum. If (God forbid) the result is no, then the voting age will revert to 18.

      The Scottish Independence Referendum (Franchise) Bill passed through Holyrood, not Westminster; “A senior UK government source told the paper that Westminster could do nothing to stop the SNP lowering the franchise.” (Daily Telegraph 10th Oct 2011.)

      “…it would have been condemned internationally…” Would it really? As I alluded to, but which you obviously didn’t bother to check, in the French Presidential election French citizens resident in the UK had a vote, so would they condemn it? Doubtful.

  26. YESGUY says:

    Rab this has never happened before so when rules were drawn up the 16-17 year olds were included because as tax- payers husband/wives /fathers/mothers the vote effects them substantially . The “kids “as they are often called , join our armed forces have families so most agree they should vote. As an anomaly its been dealt with . Your passionate in you views and i respect that and your not alone with this view but its too late for that. If you feel so strong about your lack of vote come home. There is still time and no matter whats being said online or off it the Referendum is up and running and cannot change now.

    We are in the process of something huge , historical and the time for arguments over who can and cannot vote is over buddy. It’s down to choice now and you still have time.

    Which takes me back to Elaine and her piece which started this debate. The emotion is always going to play a part on how choose. It’s different from others but its reminder, as you yourself show in your exclusion from voting. Anger / passion its all there . You should see it up here . Everyone is talking about it . 16y/o pensioners. Its nice to hear these views cos it’s not just about political stuff.

    P.S the no vote is dropping like stone and the yes is gathering a momentum that has surprised most in this country and looks like its going to keep going up. Its not a prediction just my view and i am delighted with this. So that Scots every where including you Rab will have a home where you dont have to leave to find work or a living wage, Scotland brightest and best leave this country in droves . It;s a crying shame.

    Independent Scotland . IT will still be your Scotland They canny take that away

    1. rabthecab says:

      “If you feel so strong about your lack of vote come home.”

      As I’m chronically ill & under the care of 3 separate hospital Consultants, even the transfer of care would be a logistical nightmare. Add to that 28 years worth of stuff, not to mention the entire contents of my flat, and you might just get the idea that it isn’t that simple – this isn’t 1986 when all I had to do was chuck some clothes into a holdall & cadge a lift.

      “16-17 year olds were included because as tax- payers husband/wives /fathers/mothers the vote effects them substantially…”

      Yes, and there are 4 generations of my immediate family in and around Glasgow, they too are going to be affected substantially. I want it to be for the better, which is why I would, if I could, vote Yes.

      I have always been passionate in my belief that Scotland can & should be independent, and it hurts that I can be no more part of it than I currently am. Wouldn’t it you?

  27. YESGUY says:

    Sorry Rab thought you where a lot younger and fitter. Am in a similar position. Moving would be a nightmare. We up here have heard some nasty things about the NHS down south , i hope to god your getting the help you deserve.

    We have been a wee bit hard on you Rab , Your opinion is as valid as is any but the scare and fear by Govt and MSM has made many angry. I don’t doubt your reasons but the rules were laid out . It’s a pity that you . and many more, did not get any information at the start. The govt attitude was its no big deal we’ll win end of story.

    I stand by what i said earlier tho , no one outside Scotland should vote purely on the grounds of it doesn’t effect people outside. As to the effect it will have on Scots in England i see your point. My family feel it might cause an anti- Scots feeling and i think it might just do that . As for “caring” about the effect on England ,all you have to do is read the comments on the daily rags.We do care about these effect and have sympathy for all . But and this is the point Rab. Regardless of the vote it has effected the rUK. And we cannot go into a choice for independence worrying what the rest will do/ feel. As you are well aware this is a huge decision. Its just a pity you couldn’t walk about any of the towns and city’s up here because it’s the biggest thing to happen to Scots ever. Many don’t trust the scots down south because the views are tainted with the drivel the MSM throw out. Look at the sunday mail , guardian daily express if it wasn.t so serious it would be laughable. We get that every day.My cousin in Manchester say’s vote no we are better together because – and then tells me the same rubbish the MSM up here have given us and be proven wanting on facts. If my cousin got the vote the vote would be no………. They have no plans to return home ever . NO bloody chance cus .

    You wont get a vote Rab and maybe thats a shame . Your a YESGUY too and knowing we have support in the rUK gives us all a big lift. You should know when i cross the yes vote Sept 18th i’ll remind myself it’s a wee proxy vote for you too.

    We are going to see major changes over the next couple of years. keep in touch Rab we.ll make you proud . This internet revolution is just the start. and i have a sneeky feeling the ruk are watching to see if there is a better way. Who knows ?

    1. rabthecab says:

      No problem, I just wish some people could see that saying “You can always move back” is glib nonsense, and folk get rather p*ssed off hearing/reading it. It isn’t that easy for all of us.

      I have to say I’m surprised at the reaction my comment got; I’m used to having insults thrown at me on Twitter & being called a Salmond-lover (not in a million years) a fool & a hypocrite just for having a #Yes “twibbon” on my avi, but I didn’t expect the same on here.

      I don’t read any newspapers, used to get Saturday’s Daily Record & the Sunday Mail, cancelled both when the Record ran McCoist’s “Who are these people?” rant on the front page. And while I may follow links to MSM I will never, ever read anything from the Daily Mail after the sensationalist (& blatantly untrue) headlines they put online on the night of the Clutha tragedy.

      Best case scenario for me? It’s a resounding Yes, and Cameron, in a fit of pique, decides to forcibly repatriate all Jocks living south of the border (won’t say Hadrian’s Wall, as that is actually in England!) Trust me, I’ll be on the first cattle truck up.

      We really have a fight on our hands down here trying to save what’s left of the NHS & I will be voting for/supporting the NHA party in future elections where they have a candidate standing. For now though I have to be content with challenging the lies & negativity spouted by Bitter Together supporters online.

  28. YESGUY says:

    You are gonna be in my thoughts Rab long after the ref. Even if the vote say NO the feelings up here , and all over are things really will have to change. A Weegie in London you’ll feel a long way from home I still get homesick on my holidays and i’m in my 50’s . If you ever need repatriated Rab write a wee note on Bella and we’ll see what we can do to ease your return home. I would check with the doctor if you can have a wee nip both sides of the border . In with the new oot with the old.

    I’ll make a point of being there with my to lift a glass to your return…… you wont be the first or last i think my friend.

    godspeed Rab

  29. Barry says:

    As another Irish person living in Scotland, i find it a bit sad that such an interpretation of Irish history is invoked on the side of Scottish independence. An almost apologetic self reflection of how ‘we’ were unable to carry out a peaceful petty bourgeois revolution. There is only one lesson that the Scots need to learn from the Irish; “If you remove the English army tomorrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain. England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole army of commercial and individual institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs. (…) Nationalism without Socialism – without a reorganisation of society on the basis of a broader and more developed form of that common property which underlay the social structure of Ancient Erin – is only national recreancy.” – James Connolly. The elephant in the room is class antagonisms. Changing the border will not emancipate the working class here, just look across the water to Ireland. So ask the question; Am i a socialist or a nationalist? As a socialist, i’ve rejected the empty business class promise of crumbs from the table. Its time for a radical change built on class lines. This change must come from below, not on the advice of ‘Women for Independence, Bella Caledonia, Business for Scotland and the right-wing Wealthy Nation’.

  30. BigFoz says:

    As an English person living in Scotland, i too get a vote. Currently I’m undecided, but the YES vote is selling a far better case than the “better together” campaign, who seem to be overwhelmingly negative.

    Reading the White paper, the summary provides for a country I feel I could happily live in, while I doubt that I could settle back into England for a third time, having lived overseas and now in Scotland. UKIP and the Conservatives show a side to Britain I suffered for growing up overseas and frankly, detest.

    As for those of Scots descent living away who pine to vote, sorry. It’s called “skin in the game”, move home and you’d have the same skin in the game that I currently have…

    1. YESGUY says:

      Glad to hear BigFoz, and spot on too every union figure list scares after scare and its negativity is so depressing its a big put off. When you see the positivity from the YES side its a breath of fresh air, It says we could do this and we could do that and more and more people are getting the message.

      The worry now is the BBC and almost all the MSM are causing division adding sectarianism and anti English more and more into the mix.

      The stunning and abusive assault on the Weirs show they have crossed the line and we could have accepted it if the abuse was aimed at Alec Salmond . He.used to all but the bile aimed at the Weirs is an absolute disgrace.

      Many no voters saw that and where shocked .. ………. Top London journo’s stooping to the level we call the gutter press. I truly worry for the rUk when we leave. Apathy is rife down there at least the referendum up here has us all talking. And we can see another way.

      Please join us BF . every vote counts and Scotland will suffer if we vote no , thats very clear now.

      BIGFOZ lets build a new improved country. YES

    2. rabthecab says:

      BigFoz

      Couldn’t agree more with your sentiment; however I find your last paragraph both patronising and unnecessary – please read my response to YESGUY posted on 5th May before commenting further.

      1. chris says:

        I can’t wait for this, they will come back with there tail between their legs begging us when the oil runs out which is past peak, they can forget the pound and will not be taken seriously by the eu they will crumble, the yes campaign are totally deluded in thinking Scotland will benifit from this nonsense.

      2. rabthecab says:

        Chris

        Any chance of rewriting this in a way that makes at least a modicum of sense? I can’t even figure out who you were addressing.

    3. Douglas says:

      How can you oppose the lies of the yes campaign without sounding a little negative? I have lived in Scotland for 30 years and am still amazed by the Scottish jingoism. I talked with a Yes campaigner for about half an hour yesterday, and at the end suggested that if there was a UK football team then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. He agreed – which is a sad reflection of what this is really all about.

  31. adamwoodward says:

    I find this ironic saying as a proud British person of Irish heritage, but I find find some Irish people have found a sense of glee in the independence debate which perhaps hides a sense of anti Englishness. Half at least of Scots and 75% at least of English feel kinship and identify themselves as British, as these people of this blessed Island of ours have…and always will. You no doubt have opinions of how we interfered in your island’s past and yes, most of it is indeed regrettable but I would ask you then to respect the wrongs of that past and keep any opinions to yourselves regardless if biased or otherwise. As I’m very sure you understand, this is our country and regardless of what is decided, in my heart and many more, Great Britain will never ever die. Whatever you think and that is your right, the British even if we are devolved will not die because as we are an identity as much as anyone. We will not fade into history because we ARE a country, a people always and forever, and whatever happens we will always rise against opposition. That is what we do.

  32. GARY CLERKIN says:

    running away from reality is easy staying to pay the bill is more difficult, when I read these blogs all you get is the hope of something sweeter, do the scots want no austerity better social justice[get the long term out of work into jobs[swinneys carrot [what a joke]]. Mental Putins Russia, ISIS, Russia flies 10 to 15 military flights into UK[SORRY Scottish air space] yet you want to go it alone, be independent, we live in an interdependent world we trade as part of uk plc and if you travel asia or africa the do not speak of GB or UK they tend to speak of England, that is how they see us, so spare us braveheart [700 years ago] if that is the case then if we go independent we should declare war on Denmark and Norway as the Vikings did bad stuff 200 years before BH.
    Use your brain vote no
    A proud Scot of Scottish/Irish Catholic background with English partner and who had to put up with holidays to the republic and some of my grandads friend saying when a British Soldier was killed “THIERS ANOTHER BRITISH BASTARD GONE” so be careful of change and what you want take away the English are to blame and we may end up with Scot[left /republican] against Scot [ centre/pro queen] just remember Irish civil war[after British left] and YUGOSLAVIAafter the death of Tito.

    DO not fall for the charm of the new tomorrow beware of the unexpected boxes opened that may be hard to close and think all that change and no bill!!! vote no austerity vote yes austerity

    1. darrener says:

      An excellent illustration of why Scotland should be independent. Thank you.

  33. Elmet says:

    ..I have to write to this site as it seems to me some of the arguments put forward in support of the break up of the UK need re examining.

    Three hundred years ago nationalism wasn’t as it is now and populations in general would not have know what state they lived neither would they have cared. Being part of a state is a relatively new phenomena and the British state came into being in stages as did other states in Europe too. It wasn’t until 1871 for example with Bismark that there was a coherent German state.

    This did not happen by means of coercion but by necessity. Scotland because of a financial crises and Ireland because of its position and trade in the British Isles and the security a bigger state brings. During the 18th century, before the railway age, the east coast of Ireland and particularly Dublin became very wealthy on the back of British trade with the ‘colonies’ (though I don’t like using this word as I know it upsets some Irish people). Dublin became the second city of the Empire and it is easy to see why If you look at a map of the British Isles from the back. It was the hub city fringing the Irish sea when communications were more efficient by boat. The coaching road from London to Holyhead was the fastest route in the country enabling quick communication and commerce with Dublin. Ireland had a population of 9m and Britain a population of around 17m as a result the beautiful Georgian city of Dublin was built on the back of trade with Britain and the colonies which the Irish were happy to take advantage of.

    Neither Scotland nor Ireland were forced into a United Kingdom. After the Great Famine, which also occurred in other countries particularly in Germany and Scotland, there was a rise in nationalism and eventually the Irish Nationalists held the balance of power in the UK with Parnell as their able and charismatic leader. This led to many reforms but the Nationalists were content to support Britain’s role in world affairs and as a result Irish (and Scottish) people took advantage of this and settled elsewhere in the world.

    It is true that nothing is forever so it could be that nationalism as we know it will disappear. England will change but by the same token so will Ireland and Scotland and relations therein. In my opinion, unlike other countries just yet, the British Isles are politically difficult to understand. For those of you who don’t like the term British Isles I’ll continue by using the term North Atlantic Archipelago. (NAA) Though I myself am Anglo Saxon, it is the Celtic part of the NAA that are British and as such were so named by the Romans. This is just one of many anomalies worth mentioning.

    There are many others. England is governed by the English, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish as well as the EU. The flag is the flag of St George. We are though independent since we have are own currency. The Welsh have there own governing body with limited powers, have their own flag and language and are governed partly by the rest of us and the EU. If there is a yes vote Scotland will still have the Queen as head of state and if Alec gets his way will maintain the currency union with RUK though it will have only a part of the Union Jack as its flag and will be a country where a few people will speak a different language. As a result this means that Scotland will not be that independant as RUK continues to control the money and the head of state will still be the Queen. Northern Ireland is part of the UK with its own flag and government but uses the pound sterling. The republic of Ireland is geographically part of the NAA and says it is an independant country with a few people speaking Irish in the west of Ireland. It is though a member of the EU and uses the Euro. As many as 30 institutions are still upheld by Royal Charter particularly concerning medicine in general such as The Royal Institute of Surgeons, science, art music and engineering etc as the Irish must feel it is better in these circumstances to part of a bigger organisation. Membership of the Euro renders the country dependant on the vagaries of its chosen currency which is controlled by the European Bank in Frankfurt and by definition the Germans so taking into account all of the above one has to pose the question how independant is Ireland.

    Furthermore, because England has a large population speaking the same language it has been easy for Irish, welsh and Scottish people to come here when times are difficult in there own part of the NAA. Because of the financial crisis Ireland in particular has seen an exodus of its people to find jobs here. The unemployment rate is still stubbornly high at 14 per cent which is twice the UK average. Either a state is independant and self sufficient or not yet it seems to me England is perceived to be a pretty good country when the going gets tough!

    Then, of course we have many smaller NAA islands which are self governing but have the Queen as head of state and are part of the UK. To further complicate the issue the NAA has at least 5 international football teams. ROI is one but shares the international rugby team with NI. Northern Irish sports men and women can elect which team they would like to represent and the NAA is represented in the Olympic Games by ROI and Team GB, NI choosing their best option. Everybody in Ireland watches British television as they will continue to do in the event of YES vote in Scotland and we English will continue to use Ryanair and drink Scotch whisky. The Irish continue to come to England for abortions for legal reasons and medical treatment as their health service is not entirely free. The Scots will do the same since any system they set up, though they deny this, will probably incur some charging. By the same token we will still take holiday within the NAA and buy property there as well as sharing a joke with them and understanding well their humour and traditions. Mrs Browns Boys and Father Ted go down as here as theyt do in Ireland.

    Well where does all that leave me. Confused and it leaves foreigners even more confused as they just don’t understand and cannot distinguish the differences between the various parts of the NAA. My father in law who is French says ‘vous Brittanique vous etes tous dans le meme sac’. In other words we’re all in the same bag so I just shrug my shoulders and agree. Any further breaking up of the British Isles will devalue the supposed independance they seek to achieve and in the long term I am of the opinion it will be counter productive.
    ——————

  34. Ger says:

    A very nice piece of satire but can I just pull you up on a couple of points.
    (1)I understand that because of Scotlands adventure into Empire they were left almost bankrupt and a bailout was offered by London if they would join in Union.Furthermore ,in the event of refusal Scotland were threatened with the aliens Act and English troops were sent to the border area .
    (2)After the 1798 uprising in Ireland with some French support Union between the two parliaments was proposed by London fearing that Ireland would be used as a backdoor to invasion of England by the French.The Irish parliament agreed to union in 1801(protestant ascendancy)on condition that there would be catholic Emancipation in Ireland..despite the promise this did not happen until 1829.Unfortunately it was never an equal or fair partnership and the enevitable happened.
    (3) Unemployment is now 11.2 per cent and gradually dropping .Ireland is now experiencing a mini-boom.

    (4)I am glad to say that approx. 150,000 British citizens reside and work in the Republic of Ireland so it a two way process.

  35. ELMET says:

    I’m sure that there were all sorts of reasons why first Scotland and then Ireland became part of a United Kingdom but whatever the reasons there had to be a consensus or it would not have been possible. There must have been argument but a majority thought advantages outweighed disadvantages at the time.

    Similarly after the Easter rising in 1916 the perceived view is the Irish people were overwhelming for a break with the Union which was not the case since if a system of proportional representation had been in place then Ireland would not have succeeded in gaining independence as they did at that time. The Nationalist vote was only 47 percent yet the result for Ireland was catastrophic as it caused a civil war and partition of the country as a lot of Irish were pro- union and pro-treaty.

    I mention this because people become very passionate about nationalism and usually such referendums are always contentious. Even today in the island of Ireland there are many who prefer to stick with the Union. Demographic changes mean that a united Ireland, of which I would be in favour of, would not be possible. The population of the North is steady if not increasing slowly- there is now 1, 8 m- whilst that of the ROI varies and now stands at 4,6m. A united Ireland could not ignore the traditions of the Unionists. It also has to be said that 14m people in Britain are of Irish descent and a significant number in England are of Scottish (and Welsh) descent so in terms of culture and ideology we are not that different. As I said before Father Ted is hilarious but I’m not sure that the French would find it quite so funny.

    This is born out in the way Ireland runs its affairs and some sections of government would be concerned about a smaller UK within the EU since it is recognised in Ireland at government level that their interest are similar to those of the British interests since a bigger country has more clout. I believe passionately the EU but would be more sceptical living in a small country and being dominated by much larger countries and economies.

    In the blog by Elaine Mulcahy she is trying to make a case that independence for Ireland has been a success which the Scots would be advised to follow. It may be true that average salaries are higher in Ireland but wage distribution is very unequal. This inequality has been fuelled by low direct taxes and higher indirect taxes such as VAT which stands at 23% squeezing those at the margins of society. The highest level of personnel tax in Ireland is 41% whereas in the UK it was until recently 50% and Corporation Tax stands at 12.5%, in the UK its 20%. These taxes have been successful in attracting inward investment but at the expense of lower wage earners. It has been reported that 10% of wage earners take as much as 38% of total incomes-in the UK it’s about 25%- and 250 people own 35% of the total wealth and, as I mentioned before, unemployment is still much higher than in the UK. With regard to Scottish independence Salmond wants to do the same and he is particularly keen to introduce a 12.5% Corporation Tax rate. As it stands the EU tolerate this but do not think it is fair. If there is a YES vote in Scotland this could further aggravate the situation in Europe and especially Northern Ireland and to some extent England and Wales. He says it will create 27, 000 jobs, which will be at the expense of jobs in Europe and especially Ireland as some corporations may prefer to re- locate to Scotland.

    Being a small independent nation does not mean the country will be fairer. I wouldn’t put myself down as a Tory but because we live in a democracy laws are generally fair and if not they are made fair by successive governments and being large means there are many pressure groups to ensure equality. It may be true there is a lot of spending in the south east of England but a lot of people live there, perhaps a 20m or a third of the entire UK population. Notwithstanding this fact money is fairly divided and Scotland is not disadvantaged by this. Scotland for example receives in the region of 10% more funding per capita for health care than the rest of us. Injustices, of course, exist but they do also in Ireland and they will continue to do so in an independent Scotland. Salmond wants independence from RUK to run Scotland’s own affairs but would be happy to be part of the EU and I guess eventually monetary union with much less power and influence which seem to be very weak reasons for breaking up a Union which works.

    ELMET

    1. darrener says:

      “I’m sure that there were all sorts of reasons why first Scotland and then Ireland became part of a United Kingdom but whatever the reasons there had to be a consensus or it would not have been possible. ” LOL! There was rioting in the streets when a few unelected Scottish noblemen voted to form the UK. Parcel o’ Rogues https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js7x3u2GHYs

  36. Ben says:

    “Scotland is a wealthy nation. Based on GDP per capita, the Scottish Government estimates that Scotland will be ranked the 14th wealthiest nation in the world after independence. It is worth noting that Ireland, which is smaller than Scotland in area and population and, despite recent difficult times, is currently the 12th wealthiest nation in the world, above Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark (figures obtained from the World Bank). Ireland is positioned well above the UK at 24. I point this out because it supports the belief that Scotland can survive economically as an independent nation. Scotland has a lot more valuable oil and renewable resources than Ireland and is not recovering from the troubles that plagued Ireland for many years in their independence hangover.”

    I totally agree with the assertion that Scotland is a relatively wealthy nation and would be totally capable of surviving on its own economically. What I find surprising in this independence debate, is that the Yes campaign for Scotland, supposedly a much more socialist country than say England, is arguing that Scotland is rich and should pull the plug on the rest of the UK to keep the wealth for itself.

    In fact, those important statistics listed above miss out a few key pieces of information. The nominal country of England has not only a vastly larger economy that that of Scotland, but also a higher GDP per capita of around $50k, which would place them at around 10 in the world’s wealthiest nations, above both Scotland and the ROI (around $44k and $46k respectively). It is Wales and Northern Ireland at around $30k and $25k that lower the UK’s average position of 24th ($40k). Scotland is performing extremely well from within the UK and to me it seems if anyone should be raising questions about the distribution of wealth, it should be the welsh and northern irish. And indeed, job creation in these countries should be brought forward as a priority. The difference between Scotland and England in this regard is that England is strongly in favour of the union (recent polls show only around 10% are in favour of Scottish exit and a full break up of the union I would imagine to be even lower). Being in favour of the union inherently involves redistribution of wealth and enables services such as the NHS to exist in regions which independently would not be able to afford to sustain them through local tax revenues. I find the argument that independent Scotland will be rich and do well at the expense of the other countries of the UK to be contrary to everything Scotland claims to stand for.

    1. ken says:

      Very well put

  37. Thanks for this article. Your point of view is very relevant.

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