Double Standards. No voters speak #noway

Alistair Darling at the Better Together rally

In response to your request from No voters about how we think and feel now.

A little brassed off with it all, if I’m being honest. Post-referendum Scotland strikes me as a country refusing to learn the lessons of the last 2 years. We were lied to. Yes by Westminster, but we know that’s the nature of Westminster politics and the media who report it. For the avoidance of doubt, and before anyone puts words in my mouth, the “but” in that previous sentence does not mean I’m happy about it. At all.

What drove me crackers all through the referendum debate, and still does, is the point blank obstinate refusal by Yes voters in general, and SNP voters in particular, to apply the same standards to Holyrood as they are so happy to angrily apply to Westminster. Salmond, Swinney and the Yes entourage were lying to us as well. Bare faced, through their teeth, every day a new spin on the same old lies…. and yet. And yet not once have we seen them called to account for it.

I voted No for one simple reason: absolutely nothing I saw in either their words or their actions told me that the SNP were interested in genuine meaningful change. They haven’t spent their time in Govt trying to pass laws and regulations dedicated to improving the lives of Scottish people only to be stymied by the evil narcissists of Westminster. The SNP have been lying, spinning and/or standing idly by watching while we get on with things as best we can, and all their efforts go into trying together to blame Westminster for all the ills of the world while simultaneously patting themselves on the back for anything good that happens.

They can’t have it both ways. And if Scotland is going to be the successful country we all want it to be, independent or otherwise, that needs to start with honesty. We aren’t getting that from our Govts, be they based in London or Edinburgh, and we didn’t get it from either campaign during the referendum. I’m not going to vote for the biggest political, bureaucratic, administrative and social change in the country’s history based on a pack of lies. I’m not going to vote for the undeniable hard times that would follow a Yes vote without knowing that I can trust those who have asked for my trust.

It’s nothing to do with fear. There will be those angry and disappointed Yes voters who stand at the side chanting “scaredy cat scaredy cat”, just as they did during the referendum. Keep it up kids, you’re putting a smile on my face, just as the pupils I teach do when they try and fail to act like grown-ups. For any serious person who wants to understand what they can do to get my vote at the next Indy-ref I’d say this: give me a balanced objective description of why I should vote with you. The Yes campaign failed, utterly and completely, to do this. Again, to avoid doubt, this isn’t a binary world and saying that the Yes campaign failed to do this is not in any way saying the No campaign managed it (and that, in itself, isn’t a way of saying the No camp didn’t manage it either!). The Yes camp wanted me to vote for unprecedented change, and it was up to them to demonstrate why I should trust them.

They failed, and now instead of constantly harping on about it, they should belt-up, learn some lessons, and let the country get itself back together.

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  1. John Page says:

    Thanks, Nigel………could you clarify please? To which “country” do you refer to in your final sentence?

    1. Andrew Skea says:

      Nationalism is an obsession with “country”, borders, defining people.

      1. John Page says:

        The writer used the expression “country” and I politely asked what he meant.
        i am not interested in your opinion of nationalism unless you take up Bella’s generous offer to write a piece on why you voted No (if you did) in which case I will read it with the same respect I have shown to this week’s contributions. It would be interesting to see you writing a joined up positive piece as I find your short negative contributions to be a bit off putting. i assume that you would need to give your full name.

      2. John Page says:

        ………ignore the bit about your full name

  2. bjsalba says:

    Could you be more specific about these barefaced lies please?

    And while you are about it could you tell me exactly what laws for the benefit of Scotland you would like to see passed? I am sure that the Scottish Government would be very interested.

    1. Andrew Skea says:

      90% of the power to get people out of poverty is already devolved – Education, Education and Education. SNP have cut the FE budget and cuts teachers in schools for people who are are on poor pay if not poverty, while subsiding lots of stuff for the the middle classes – e.g. Free Uni education, frozen council tax,
      The have deliberately neglected the poor because they are easy converts to Nationalism, while trying to bribe the Middle Classes. Absolutely disgusting.

      1. Frank M says:

        John Page has already noted your obsession Andrew. Shows us where you get this figure of 90%. As a scientist, I like to see figures backed up by evidence, but I doubt if you could do it. If you have nothing positive to say for your own stance, then please defer from comment.

      2. muttley79 says:

        Care to give a figure for social security spending in Scotland, which comes direct through Westminster? Also, how can Holyrood properly target poverty when it does not have access to the most taxation powers and welfare powers? Hence, there is very little scope to grow the Scottish economy. The reason the SG has cut spending is because the block grant is being reduced year on year, due to the austerity agenda being imposed by Westminster.

      3. Andrew Skea says:

        Ok – the 90% is my personal assessment – I used to to emphasis the importance of Education as a long term solution to poverty. Feel free to suggest other powers that provide such long term benefits (and not just sticking plaster solutions like welfare).

        And regarding muttley79’s question about Welfare – can you tell me why it matters if welfare comes from UK or Scottish government? I accept that there might be reason to tweak some benefits to suit our unique situation – but I believe the power is being devolved to do exactly that. Where the first 95% of Welfare comes from does not really matter – it is the last 5% that makes the big difference since it targets the real need as defined by the Scottish Parliament.

        Fortunately the old Black Grant excuse will no longer hold water when the SG has power to vary many more taxes.
        It was the excuse used to cut Further Education and Classroom teachers (while passing generous bribes to the middle classes through Uni funding, free prescriptions and council tax freeze)

      4. muttley79 says:

        So the 90 per cent is based on a personal assessment of yours and not on actual evidence. You never said this in your post, would it not have been relevant? What are these new taxes you speak of? Are they major ones? No they are not. They are the least significant that have been devolved. Westminster retains control of most of the taxation and welfare powers, as well as broadcasting. This is no accident.

      5. cdrfuzz says:

        The powers to get people out of poverty are fiscal powers. All the eductaion in the world will not get everyone out of poverty if there ar not enough well paid jobs to satisfy the demands of the labour force. That is a problem that cannot be solved without control over fiscal policy, which means not just the power to fiddle, in a limited way, with a few taxes but the power to issue currency as well.

      6. cdrfuzz says:

        An awful lot of words used here without really saying anything substantive.

      7. Virgohaze says:

        Only middle class people go to university? Students paying tuition fees creates a barrier and makes it difficult for people without financial backing to go. Having no tuition fees means the only barrier is intelligence, so regardless of background a major financial burden is removed. I would say this benefits people from all backgrounds and creates a level playing field. It is offence and demeaning to state only the middle classes benefit from university education.

  3. Jane Paterson says:

    Thanks Nigel, could you expand on the bare faced lies bit. This is a big accusation with no facts to back it up.

    1. Andrew Skea says:

      The SNP lie about needing more powers – when they don’t even attempt to use existing powers. If they did use existing powers they could make big improvements – especially to Education and the fight against poverty – but they don’t do that because they don’t want people to have hope and opportunity within the Union – they want to stoke resentment within the Union.

      1. jimnarlene says:

        That’ll be the same powers Labour didn’t use, for the same reasons Labour didn’t use them. If we raise more money through taxation, the block grant will be cut, therefore, the Scottish people will be doubly penalised.

  4. IAB says:

    Here’s a few reasons to vote Yes – free prescriptions, no university fees, free travel for the over ’60’s and I would be grateful to see details of the SNP spin. I must comment about your line ‘Keep it up kids, you’re putting a smile on my face, just as the pupils I teach do when they try and fail to act like grown-ups.’ – I teach too and I smile when I see children growing up and becoming adults, I don’t smile at their failures.

    1. Andrew Skea says:

      (A) these things were all delivered within the Union.
      (B) these things are bribes to the middle classes – at the expense of schools and further education that could get people out of poverty.

      1. Frank M says:

        More comments without any evidence here.

      2. Andrew Skea says:

        You want Evidence to prove that free prescriptions, no university fees, free travel for the over ’60’s were delivered within the Union??????????????????????????????????????????

        You’ll want evidence that the earth is round as well I suppose!

      3. gerry parker says:

        They may have been delivered within the union, but they were not delivered by the union.

      4. SqueuedPerspextive says:

        I would like to see some data regarding the cost of free prescriptions versus the cost of administering prescription charges combined with estimates of the savings of reducing additional treatment by patients actually following up on medication. Anecdotally within the NHS (where I currently work) it is believed that this saves money in the longer term.

        Similarly other preventative measures (e.g. early diagnosis of gestational diabetes and bowel cancer screening) have an up-front cost which can be mitigated longer term and improve overall health.

      5. wee162 says:

        Do you understand why universal benefits are important?

        Do you consider child benefit to be a bribe to the middle classes?

        How about the old age pension?

        Because these are middle class bribes that run to costs of billions and not the millions you’re talking about if you’re going to be consistent.

        And of course the reason why they won’t be touched by any politician is precisely because they’re universal. The way to secure benefits and a minimum standard of living for all is by ensuring that they’re available to all. Because as soon as you chip away at the universal principles around these things, they immediately become the victims of “why should they get that” resentment whipped up by politicians and their compliant right wing colleagues in the press.

        And I’ll say the same to you as I say to others when it comes to cuts in spending under the SNP. What would you cut instead? Given that the level of cuts imposed by Westminster would have resulted in an increase in council tax of around 60% to cover the spending lost, are you suggesting that this was the way ahead? Cause I’ll say that I earn a reasonable wage, but an increase of around £7-800 in my council tax per year would have left me feeling way more skint than I am at the moment, and that money would no longer have been getting spent in my local community. I’m fine with paying tax for services. But Council Tax is wildly regressive.

      6. Jake Gittes says:

        (A) Not for much longer as super bonecrushing austerity kicks in as Westminster has to find the cash to pay the interest on the £1,500,000,000,000 National UK Debt. Resulting in less of our taxes coming back to Scotland – maintaining the same annual pattern for the last 40+ years.

        (B) Free prescriptions, free bus passes….. middle class bribes??? Free University tuition……… is that another middle class bribe? Maybe you think working class kids should never get to university – if so come clean and say so.

  5. donnywho says:

    Arg clickbait, look you might be right, salmond might have told porkies, but it is up to you to reveal them. Blanket, they are all the same, arguments only work if there is proof. Slander and innuendo washed down with miss reporting only count as proof to the already bedazzled mind. The SNP are not perfect they make mistakes but deliberate lies… I think not.

    1. Andrew Skea says:

      Lies about our budget deficit with/without oil.
      Lies about is real plan for currency (in quite the pound was just a stepping stone).
      Lies about the need for more powers while failing to use existing powers.
      Lies and no plan for our financial services sector which depends on the rUK market.

      1. Frank M says:

        Yet again no evidence. Just rhetoric.

      2. Andrew Skea says:

        I say there was no plan for how our financial services would integrate with rUK.
        That means there is no plan – i.e. no evidence. It is up to you to prove me wrong!

      3. IzzyH says:

        Yes, lied about talks with the EU, with the Bank of England and so forth – and are well documented. Salmond’s attempt to get the principal of St Andrews to retract her concerns about the threat to to research funding posed by independence doesn’t reflect well either. (Scotland’s world class universities do very well out of the union.) Also well documented.

  6. stephen says:

    After Dewar, Labour lacked imagination and became stagnant in Scotland. Though not solving every issue, the SNP have governed much better. Westminster has failed the whole of the UK since Wilson. Not one single government has shown vision but instead they have been divisive, dogmatic and self-serving. People with entrenched opinions will never be swayed.

  7. D. Burns says:

    If progress hadn’t happened, would you be using the belt on the pupils you teach to instil discipline?

  8. So Double Standards of double standards? You criticize the Yes campaign for lying, cheating and generally making you not want to vote for them, but in the same breath state the No Better Together Thanks campaign did the exact same; yet you voted FOR them. Surely by your own *standards*, you shouldn’t have voted at all. Make your mind up, because from my point of view hypocrisy should be a foul taste in anyone’s mouth.

    1. maxi kerr says:

      My thoughts as well caber, He sounds a wee bit like what you do to the caber at the games?.

    2. Nigel Calvert says:

      2nd last paragraph mate. I know it was a long and rambling post so you may not have made it that far first time around. In a Binary vote you have to pick a side, but the thought processes that drive you there are anything but binary.

  9. Iain says:

    I have had a quick read of both of the current No voter articles and the thing that strikes me about both is the sense of righteousness tinged with anger that seeps through.

    This particular individual is keen to point out that the SNP and Yes movement in general were / are a bunch of rogues, scoundrels and liars. He complains that the Government in Edinburgh is not held to account and has done nothing to help people although he does give any examples to back this up. He must be watching a different channel to me then and of course it is stating the obvious that the Parliament in Edinburgh is only a pretend affair anyway, they have no real power to change anything. That was the point.

    Of course in his eyes Westminster is just as bad but hey ho we expect that from them so that is ok and apparently a good enough reason to hand them back the remote control no questions asked.

    “give me a balanced objective description of why I should vote with you” – why bother as you don’t seem capable of imaging a better world. I feel sorry for the children you teach, not much chance of you being able to inspire them to dream.

  10. Peter A Bell says:

    Another one bleating about Yes campaign lies whilst totally unable to point to a single one.

    1. Andrew Skea says:

      Lies about our budget deficit with/without oil.
      Lies about is real plan for currency (in quite the pound was just a stepping stone).
      Lies about the need for more powers while failing to use existing powers.
      Lies and no plan for our financial services sector which depends on the rUK market.

      1. Frank M says:

        What are the lies? Evidence please!

  11. donnywho says:

    Still I sleep better at night knowing that the Union is protecting me from Robinsons “threats from space” … Maybe Isis has intercontinental missiles and WMDs and can get us in 45 minutes, now somebody took us to war for a “truth” like that.
    Maybe you prefer intercontinental lies rather than wee parochial Scottish lies.

  12. Maurice Hickey says:

    “what they can do to get my vote at the next Indy-ref I’d say this: give me a balanced objective description of why I should vote with you”

    and I presume you expect this ‘balanced objective description’ to be put out on the BBC and all the rest of the media that is dead set against Scottish independence

    what is sad is that reading between the lines I think you could vote for independence but you don’t seem to realise that you are not going to be spoon-fed the answers you want, sometimes a little more effort on your own behalf is all that’s needed.

    the other thing is that the vote was not about the SNP, it was about building something different from Westminster by ourselves, again that takes effort and it requires your involvement, it won’t be gifted to you

  13. Jason says:

    I’m glad you weren’t my teacher Nigel, anyone who smirks at their students when they “fail” doesn’t sound like the sort of person I’d like to engage with or who would be particularly open to a free thinking debate, you sound pretty set in your ways.

  14. Alan B says:

    If you don’t believe in either Holyrood or Westminster surely you should have abstained? I would suggest that your argument for voting No boils down to “better the devil you know”, which is exactly the kind of fear based position from which you seek to distance yourself. I took the position that an independence gave a better prospect of the kind of reform I would like to see in our country than the existing system which we seem to agree is deeply unsatisfactory.

  15. DavieS says:

    So as you perceived it there was no clear path to change on offer from the SNP. So you voted to do nothing. It should be obvious that we were not voting for or against a political organisation but deciding whether Scotland should be an Independent Country.
    The type of country that Scotland might have been was not in the SNP’s gift. It was a decision for the people of Scotland.
    It is utterly depressing to me that people voted in a referendum according to their perceptions of particular individuals(labelled liars without evidence) rather than the validity of the question to be decided.

  16. Brendan says:

    I agree with many of the comments. Nigel accuses the YES side of telling lies and , yet, does not give us a single example. Does that not echo so much of the BETTER TOGETHER campaign? On the YES side we can point to many serious lies that were told to the Scottish people ( pensions, longevity of oil production, supermarket prices, Great Ormond Street hospital etc etc) The arguments on the YES side were plentiful and convincing and often backed by experts. Nigel also accuses the SNP of not being interested in “……genuine, meaningful change.” and yet I would have thought that, that is the very definition of independence. The overall impression is that Nigel is just someone who never listens and will always shout “Liar ” at the other side of the argument, maybe just like his less mature pupils.

  17. kendomacaroonbar says:

    So much anger in that article. Genuine question now, can you cite some specific instances of ‘lying’ from the Scottish government ? I genuinely would like know what you are referring to.

    As for your No vote and I quote “….absolutely nothing I saw in either their words or their actions told me that the SNP were interested in genuine meaningful change.” By simple comparative analysis between Scotland and England for prescription charges, for University fees for freezing of domestic rates.

    Are they not tangible evidence of a government doing meaningful things FOR their citizens as opposed to doing things TO them ?

  18. Dennis Webster says:

    Bland statement regarding lies from Cabinet Ministers without examples. How can we know if there is credence in your statement?
    Scottish Government “standing idly by watching while we get on with things as best we can,” I think records will show this Administration has created and passed more meaningful Legislation than any other since the inception of our Scottish Parliament.
    None of your negative comments and reasons to vote No outweigh the need and requirement for an Independent Scotland to make this a better, fairer place for us and future generations.

  19. Alan says:

    Hi Nigel, obviously I’m guessing you know this is a blog that quite central to the yes campaign and thus most of the comments you’re going to get will be from people that voted the opposite way of you, but I’ll try and explain why, to me anyway, your thoughts haven’t changed me mind.

    I think most importantly is you build your grievances around double standards. I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of yes voters call out supporters of the union on their double standards, and vice versa (as you are doing now) my problem with both sides in this sort of confrontation is that double standards ultimately don’t mean anything practical. They attack a lawmaker rather than a law, they compromise an argument occassionally, but not in a real practical way. Unfortunately this trivial tit for tat, stream of discourse claiming to expose people, makes up a large number, probably even the majority of the argument. I just don’t find any sound reason to hate the SNP because a man filled a trolley in Asda, because they tacitly supported the union by suggesting price increases in and independent scotland, and left it there. Was it childish? a bit. Was it a seering political symbol of Scotland’s problems? No. Yet a noted Labour activist spent a whole afternoon attacking this person. It just seems like an awful waste of time to me. There are times when the moral position of politicians and commentators do need to be questioned, mostly because they attempt a high ground and when it conflicts with their role serving the people (for example the guy, who’s name escapes me, that took a position for a private healthcare company while sitting in a house of commons debating the future of healthcare) but in most of these cases those attacks go beyond simply attacking a double standard and delve into the full moral correctness of the situation. (that example to me, it would not matter had this matter been exposed by someone who also sat on a private companies board)

    For the most part though, I think we can both agree that there are large swathes from both sides that indulge in childish name calling and facile argument. My tact during the referendum was to focus on the more mature commentary. This is where I would criticise you directly, children play with childish things, if you spend all your time immersing yourself in the silly name calling side of the debate then do not expect to find intelligent, logical argument, similarly, don’t expect to be able to make any. It shocked me how many people at the tail end of the debate still spoke about the problems of denying people in England a vote, or perhaps saying wishing to keep the Queen compromised independence, to name two examples. These were covered so thoroughly, so absolutely, from the first days the referendum was announced that by 2014 I just felt sorry for people that still hadn’t grasped such rudimentary parts of the debate.

    That said, if you really do think that you were bare-faced lied to and that the SNP have made a poor job of government I can see why you voted no. for me, personally I don’t think the SNP have done an awful job, certainly not ideal, but not awful. Then perhaps though different things are important to us and in the areas that are important to you you feel let down by policy. For me voting yes was not about a country being what I wanted it to be, but for the opportunity to have it closer to being what I wanted to be. Perhaps you do not feel the union compromises that, where I very squarely feel it does.

    That said it is those issues I think both parties need to focus on, where is the Scottish Government (and not necessarily the SNP as we could well have a labour lead Holyrood in 2016) letting you down, where are they failing to be transparent, and talking about them in a real way.


    1. david steel says:

      Quite right – many people missed the big picture. It wasn’t a vote for the SNP or labour or anybody else it was a vote to enable the Scottish People to put the government into Holyrood of their choice with all the powers of any national government. It was then up to that government to deliver the aspirations of the people. if they didn’t they get turfed out. It was up to the people of Scotland to choose the type of society we lived in – and we gave away that opportunity.

      1. maxi kerr says:

        Did we David, did we really, i got the overbearing sensation of being hornswoggled after the vote.All those purple politicians(red and blue mixed) joined at the hip with their media serfs who were handing out fear and despair in every issue of their rags.There was ,and is,a large section of the general public in Scotland ,unable to grasp the gravity of being ruled by people ,who believe they are born to rule,and run our country, to steal and pollute our amazing natural resources We must be prepared for the mass Murphy propaganda assault, that is building up a head of steam prior to the elections.

  20. Jim Bennett says:

    Rather unpleasant article. The YES campaign is equated with the SNP, this is an error. The YES campaign was much wider than that.
    The writer fails to say why he supported one set of “liars” over the other. I wonder why he was content to do this?

  21. The profession of teacher does seem to require the confidence to stand up and declare one’s statements absolute truth- even when one lacks the evidence or research to justify them.

    A common theme in the No voter’s reasoning is that ‘Yes did not convince me’. In this we see the effect of the No media monopoly. The real clinchers for Yes were not found in the campaign material, but in the GERS reports, in the demographic data, in political voting records, in compassions with similar countries. You had to go out and find information! The real sadness for me is that so many failed to do their homework and copied the incorrect answers from Better Together’s crib sheet.

    1. Andrew Skea says:

      I’m shocked that so many Nationalists are so oblivious to the concerns of No voters. Do you all live in a Nationalist cocoon? I know that you all expected to live in a land of milk and honey after a Yes vote – it appears you already live in a fantasy world.

      1. Iain says:

        And of course you are here to enlighten us with your evidence based approach. At no point during campaign did I ever hear a YES spokesman claim that we would be living in a ‘land of milk and honey’ far from it, that is pure Unionist hysteria. However it probably says a lot about the kind of view on life people like you have with your glass half empty, I’m alright jack rhetoric,

        Also the same stick you are wielding can be applied to you. Why is that people like you refuse to accept that Scotland could to do better standing own its own two feet? I got tired of asking this of Unionists because you can’t or won’t give an answer but why not, go on please convince me, why should Scotland be part of a unitary state with a dominate partner who holds all the real decision making power? Why is that good for the people that live here when we look at other similar countries that surround us that are doing far better than us?

      2. Steve Bowers says:

        Andrew, can I ask, did you believe what the better together leaflets told you ? The reason I ask this is because when I read those same leaflets they mostly used HM Gov as the source of their information, for me you just can’t use yourself as the source of collaboration for the info you’re puting out ” the moons made of Orkney cheddar, I know it is cos I said so” it just doesn’t have the slightest ring of truth. By the way, no one ever said it was going to be the land of milk and honey.

      3. Thor says:

        @Andrew Skea

        This “land of milk and honey” mantra was cooked up by the Unionists and has no basis in fact. Indeed neither the Alex Salmond nor the SNP has ever pledged that an independent Scotland would be a magical land of milk and honey. Salmond constantly pointed out that oil and whisky wouldn’t paper over every crack, that there will be bumps in the road, that Scots will have to work hard to create the country we want.

        “This is a great opportunity, a historic opportunity. If we vote Yes, then we’ve got a platform to mobilise our natural and human resources to build a very special society here in Scotland.
        Will everything be, you know, flowing with whisky and oil and will everything be perfect? No, it won’t all be perfect [and I] daresay we’ll make a few mistakes along the way.” (STV, June 2013)

        “We know that tackling these issues isn’t straightforward – building a better country isn’t be the work of a day. Nothing is going to be handed to us on a plate. Independence isn’t about waking up one day with three taps labelled whisky, oil and water. It’s about working hard, and taking the right decisions, so that over time we can build a fairer and more prosperous country.” (Speech in Liverpool for the Financial Times, June 2014)

        “Alex Salmond has said Scottish independence would not solve all the country’s problems.
        He told an audience at the Mitchell Library theatre in ­Glasgow that independence would not lead to homes being fitted with ‘three taps, for oil, whisky and water’. He said: ‘I’ve never argued that. I suspect we’ll never have no problems, but I’m certain we can do better than we are doing now.’” (Public interview with James Naughtie in Glasgow, reported in the Herald, January 2014)

      4. Evidence? Does any of that enter your British Nationalist cocoon?

      5. Andrew Skea says:

        I think there are some areas of government that are best shared with UK, some that are best shared with EU, some that are best retained in Scotland. Why would one unitary state be best for everything?
        How could we run a currency or defense better on our own? How would a small internal market for financial services provide better more diverse products and more jobs than the UK?

        it is my opinion that the Uk is better for some parts of our government – I’m not blinded by Nationalist dogma. And equally, I have a very open minded approach for further sharing with the EU. (Stuart – is there any basis for you British Nationalist Cocoon comment – our are you just throwing your toy out of the pram?)

        Shared sovereignty is the way forward, Nationalism is the way back.

      6. Frank M says:

        Oh dear, Andrew. As I have pointed out on 3 other occasions, you show no desire to find or provide evidence for your statements. I also note that you use the word Nationalist as a derogatory term. One cannot have a proper dialogue with you as you are committed to making statements without any justification. I think you should consider that it is better to remain quiet and be thought a fool, rather than open your mouth to confirm it.

      7. Andrew Skea says:

        It’s only a derogatory term if you think it is.
        Feel free to be proud to be a Nationalist if you want – but count me out.

  22. Andrea says:

    You know it doesn’t matter which country you are in (I’m in Australia – so didn’t vote in the referendum) politicians are …well politicians……A different breed at times…

    However, if they were Scottish politicians and ONLY scottish politicians – at least you could VOTE THEM OUT.

    if you haven’t learned anything since Thatcher – that should be the one lesson. Why should other voters convince you of anything? It is the natural scheme of things for a COUNTRY to self govern, not be dictated to by another larger country,.

    Scotland has NO POWER to change the calibre of politician who spends their tax dollars as long as people like you think the way they do…

    Voting no because you don’t like the SNP is well…..words fail me

    There has to be a more intelligent reason ..surely????

    1. Andrew Skea says:

      Voting No to Nationalism is an admirable objective.

      1. Alistair says:

        You must have missed the “No” voting nationalists (or was that “Loyalists” because “Nationalists” didn’t fit the BBC’s narrative) that tore through George Square harassing and intimidating ethnic minorities, giving nazi salutes and singing God Save The Queen. The only scenes of snarling, racist, violent nationalism that marred the whole 2 year campaign was your own British nationalism. But you are clearly unable to accept that. Well it turns out that it was the Yes voters who were voting No to nationalism all along.

      2. Andrew Skea says:

        I do accept that there was Nationalism on both sides. I’d prefer to devote my attention now to confronting narrow minded British Nationalism – but unfortunately we are still fighting nationalism on two fronts.

        You are in denial if you think there was no Nasty Nationalism from the Yes camp – I found it daily. Arguments that we are different (read superior) from people from rUk.

      3. Frank M says:

        In what way is it admirable Andrew? Explain! Tell us why! Again, you make statements, but provide no facts. You are demonstrating that you are inebriated with the exuberance of your own verbosity. Please apply some reasoning and thought if you wish to enter a discussion.

      4. Andrew Skea says:

        I’m all for debate about various solutions to the problems we face – e.g. should we spend more or less on education, defense, NHS, and should we increase or decrease Income Tax, VAT etc.
        But Nationalism is all about dividing people – it does not provide any solution – all it does is divide and bully people. I therefore think it is admirable to confront Nationalism.
        I think many on the Yes side have valid and admirable arguments and objectives – but they were drowned out by Nasty nationalism – the prospectus that everything would be better if we were independent since rUK (the English?) is against us,

      5. Andrea says:

        Nice easy BT catch phrase Andrew – but doesn’t mean a lot when you want to start talking about democracy in Britain.

        Do we accuse New Zealanders of being ‘nationalists’ because they are independently governed. Portugal? any other country?

      6. micVV says:

        Voting No to real political change is not

  23. fragslag says:

    I think the whole business of accusing either side of lying falls down when you consider they were both being asked to articulate a vision of a future that hadn’t happened yet. I heard someone suggest the Yes campaign failed because a burden of proof was placed upon it which was always going to be impossible to fulfil.

    The difficulty for No was that they had to sell the sorry state of the UK as it is now as a good thing for the future. The difficulty for Yes was around making the case that the present sucks and the future could only get better. If you have 99% of the MSM supporting the former idea whilst trashing the latter I think on balance getting to 45/55 was a great achievement. The policies mentioned above represent good evidence that the SNP are indeed genuine about progressive left of centre social policy, and I think it was a great platform for making the independence arguments. They can always go further (which is why I joined the Greens on the 19th), and an independent country we would allow all parties and policies to be presented to the Scottish electorate.

    Ultimately Nigel will remain in the 40% of people who will never be convinced, even if Marty McFly appeared in a DeLorean in the middle of Buchanan street from an independent Scotland 20 years in the future saying it meant we’d won the World Cup, the Tory party had been abolished for crimes against humanity and Tony Blair had been convicted for war crimes. To be honest I think we’d be better off hearing from those who are open to being convinced at some point in the future but credit to Bella for being open minded enough to offer the likes of Nigel a post.

    1. Peter A Bell says:

      But the anti-independence campaign did lie. Their lies are a matter of record. They lied about pensions. They lied about Trident-related employment. They lied about the bank bail-out. They like about mobile phone roaming charges. They lied about the post-independence infrastructure set-up costs. In fact, it is difficult to think of anything they didn’t lie about.

      This nonsense about both campaigns being the same is utter nonsense based on intellectual indolence and a distorted sense of of what it means to be even-handed.

      1. Andrew Skea says:

        They did not lie about currency.
        In secret the SNP planned that the pound was just a stepping stone.
        Look at the Rubble today!

      2. fragslag says:

        I stand by my argument that things were more nuanced than ‘You’re a liar, naw YOU’RE a liar’. We weren’t dealing with absolute truths and inarguable falsehoods. Neither side could offer irrefutable proof that the arguments the other were making were lies but the burden of proof was placed firmly on Yes rather than No because there was no existing frame of reference for their offer whereas No was basically ‘as you were’, which people understood.

        My point, and perhaps it wasn’t clear, was that the electorate were invited to vote Yes as a leap of faith because it could never have been based on black and white proof of how this or that would unfold after independence. When Deutchebank said a Yes vote would usher in a new great depression, even such a glib statement as that couldn’t be disproved as such so if folk were inclined to believe such nonsense then they would. We’re not rerunning he arguments here, the purpose of the exercise is to understand the motivation.

      3. Andrew Skea says:

        As you say – many things could not be proved or disproved.
        Why then did the Yes camp cry “Liar” and “Scaremongerer” at everything opportunity instead of presenting an alternative vision. The use of these words was a Lie – and the Yes camp were champions at using them.

        I don’t remember ever seeing any description of possible end points for currency – all the Yessers said was Liar / Scaremongerer when currency was discussed.

        I don’t remember ever seeing any description of possible terms of membership of the EU – just “liar” and “scaremongerer” when the No camp listed the benefits that might not be obtained.

      4. Frank M says:

        They lied about currency as well Andrew, as you are also doing now. You will find evidence for this on the web. Go to Jim and Margaret Cuthbert’s web site. They are respected economists. Also go to Business for Scotland and check that out. However, I suspect that you are not really after the truth.
        As Peter has so clearly pointed out, the anti-independence campaign lies are actually on record – many, many lies, designed to promote fear. Yet you cannot point to any factual evidence for your assertions.
        You say that the SNP planned in secret … Blah, blah, blah! How do you know this? That’s all we hear from you “blah, blah, blah, blah”. It is very tiresome.

      5. DaveyM says:

        Andrew, I think you’ll find that Better Together very much lied about currency. Alastair Darling admitted that Scotland could use Sterling in the second debate, yet BT printed a tissue of falsehoods over currency in their campaign material. Or did you just miss that bit of the campaign? 😉

        It’s funny that you seem to know what the SNP were planning in secret, yet don’t produce any evidence for it. Issues over currency post independence WILL be decided by the people in a referendum (because, let’s face it, it’s still going to happen within the next twenty years), and can’t just be decided on a whim by the SNP – particularly because there’s no guarantee that they’d be in power. Although you seem to make a tacit admission that Labour wouldn’t be in power in an independent Scotland (certainly closer to the truth).

  24. Pauline Taylor says:

    I’d expect a No voter to be more upbeat. You did win, after all. Instead we have disgruntled accusations of SNP lies. The referendum was not run by the SNP but by an alliance of all parties and none. Would they have acquiesced to lies? I suspect this gentleman has been rattled by the support for independence, and the ongoing positivity, and sees his world about to change, despite voting for the status quo.

  25. Elaine Black says:

    Nigel – very interesting to hear your view.

    The SNP are not beyond criticism. The referendum was fought in the media on whether you trusted the SNP’s financial models or not. Your answer above is to that question.

    However, I find it telling that you do not give us your views on the many, many, other issues that Independence supporters (not just the SNP) have been discussing, meeting and discovering over the last two years.

    You do not comment on, for example, whether you agree it is time to aspire to a less ambitious but more locally based economy.

    Or, devolving powers to smaller municipalities which are also in charge of their own energy and the profits pertaining from it.

    Or do you think it is a good idea that energy companies profit from resources owned by us all, and then crazily tax payers have to mitigate fuel poverty by subsidising those who can’t afford to pay.

    Or whether you like the economic models they have in Norway or Denmark that have been very successful. What are your views on land reform?

    Do you think it is time to end aggressive and expensive roles in global politics and follow the example of smaller northern European countries that may not set the heather on fire but since the war have economically been more stable and equal in terms of wealth distribution?

    How do you think we should solve the problem of an old-fashioned (almost unique) FPTP parliament in Westminster with voting power on policy resting with an increasingly right-leaning SE electorate and a modern ( if flawed) proportional parliament in Scotland and a nascent social democracy. Would a fully federal UK be the answer and how do you think that can be achieved within the present system?

    Or if you disagree with all of the above, why?

    If your answer is, you don’t think any of this is an issue for you and nothing needs to change, then I suspect you would vote NO whether the SNP won the argument on the economy or not.

    I would honour your opinion but disagree.

    1. Hi Elaine, thank you for a lovely and thoughtful reply. There were many good reasons to consider a vote for independence, and your post highlights many of them.

      A less ambitious, more locally based economy sounds great, how would Scotland’s current economy firstly transition out of the UK and secondly transition into your vision? What would be the effects, and how long would it take, how would noble ideas such as increased social justice be impacted by the transition?

      I think it’s bonkers that energy companies and rich land owners profit from resources that could be made to work for us all. The SNP have been actively pursuing a policy of increasing the number of wind farms that directly hikes up our energy bills and gives the money to these companies and land owners… given Holyroods constant failings in this area I’m at a loss to understand how independence would change things.

      The economic models in Scandic countries would appear to be amazing. But they work with different peoples and different cultures than what we have in Scotland. Did you know that you’re only entitled to 12 months unemployment benefit in Norway? Or that child benefit is cut off after 3 years as you are expected to return to work, meaning that taking a career break to bring up a family is a privilege of the rich? Can you imagine the protest in this country if someone were to attempt to introduce that? These countries can pursue different economic models because their peoples have different outlooks and expectations.

      Land reform is a nice idea but I have absolutely no idea how it would be introduced at the same time as protecting current land owners rights under international and EU law.

      I would be delighted for Uk/Scotland to take a step back from aggressive roles in international politics, however while it may save money on armed forces bills, I don’t believe it would do much to make us safer or happier.

      I don’t like the FPTP system at Westminster, nor am I a fan of the adversarial politics on show there. Democracy in Scotland has it’s own flaws tho, with central belt domination a direct parallel to the problems of SE England. I don’t think a federal system can be achieved in the current system, and the result of the referendum has given the UK a golden opportunity to reinvent itself. A federal UK is my preferred option.

      I think plenty could change, I think plenty should change, but I don’t believe that the UK is a terrible place, nor do I believe that Scotland does badly out of being in the UK. We could do better, but I find could to be a meaningless word. We could do better, or worse, or stay roughly the same – these three options apply both to staying in the UK and to leaving it. I’m afraid I just don’t see why independence should be a magic bullet that makes everything better.

      1. Elaine Black says:


        Some good points regarding the over-optimisim of Yes (the fluidity and excitement of the on-line world and savvy SNP/Green/SSP campaigning).

        However, I am not sure that we shouldn’t aim high rather than accept that change is too difficult to implement or overlook a good idea because we are not Scandinavian or the Norwegians get something else wrong.

        Re land reform, Andy Wightman, as I am sure you will know, is absolutely positive that much is possible and long overdue, and that it is only UK-wide political will that is lacking.

        The British political system is terribly out of date. If you want to fix something, you take out its innards and have a good go at fixing them. Ignoring the problem risks it becoming terminal.

        This messy step by step creep hampered by bad tempered and ill thought out concessions is, tbh, ‘brassing’ us all off !

        So, I suppose the answer I would give to you is that proportional representation encourages consensual policies that allow meaningful change, if not perfection.

        Edinburgh has the potential to accept that change because it already has a modern political system. I voted Yes because I believe Westminster is light years away from even considering it.

        Time perhaps for a modern Federal campaign with both Indy and Unionist members such as yourself?

        Idea – if it succeeds an all island parliament with four equal countries coming together for defence and economic policies may save the Union. If it fails, the step to Independence will be clear and painless for said four countries.

        One shared goal even if those working together acknowledge that they want two different outcomes?

        Now that is modern, consensual politics !

  26. macart763 says:

    Any time you feel like pointing out links to those bare faced lies from the Scottish govt. feel free.

    But far more importantly, the referendum wasn’t about the sitting Scottish government. Kinda the whole point of having the referendum was being able to have a govt. and a parliament accountable to the Scottish population. To have the facility to vote for policies and parties which reflect our wants and needs. That we would decide what kind and standard of governance we would accept.

    Maybe too big an ask of some people to separate party politics from constitutional politics eh?

    1. Andrew Skea says:

      Lies about our budget deficit with/without oil.
      Lies about is real plan for currency (in quite the pound was just a stepping stone).
      Lies about the need for more powers while failing to use existing powers.
      Lies and no plan for our financial services sector which depends on the rUK market.
      Lies about the expected terms of EU membership
      Lies about the negative effect that Oil and Aberdeen has on the economy of the rest of the country (while claiming the :London has that effect)

      1. macart763 says:

        What lies about the oil?
        What lies about real plan for currency?
        What lies about failure to use existing powers effectively?

        In fact etc, etc, etc. You get the picture.

        An unsubstantiated claim does not an argument make. Stop trolling and start producing evidence.

        Oh and for the hard of understanding, who gives a shit about party politics? The question we were asked on the 18th of September was constitutional. It was a referendum for the population of Scotland to decide their form of governance, their constitutional standing. The question was, should Scotland be an independent country?

        Apparently not, according to 55%. Apparently they/you felt we were incapable/undeserving/unrealistic/unsuited/incautious/ideologically wrong (delete as applicable) on several different levels.

        The point is directly accountable government would have been the goal. Regardless of which rosette we gave the job to, it would have been a government we put there. But as I said above, “Maybe too big an ask of some people to separate party politics from constitutional politics eh?”

      2. Andrew Skea says:

        Jim Sillars and the Greens advocated a separate currency but they were hushed up by the SNP. There was no open discussion about the real end point on currency.

        And regarding Oil – the SNP made big play of the UK governments low estimates for the value of Oil – what a laugh!

      3. macart763 says:

        I didn’t want a currency union either, your point is… what?

        Once again the oil. All I’ll say is watch what happens in Russia or rather between America and Russia. There’s a clue there for you free of charge. Oh and the oil was and is a bonus. An iScotland would quite arguably be viable with or without it. Volatility and all. 😀 LOL

        I voted yes on the promise of constitutional reform. I kinda got the point of the whole exercise.

        On which point, its noticeable that you haven’t proven a damned thing nor answered my own posts point. You really do do have a problem separating party politics from constitutional politics.

      4. Garrion says:

        Calling something a lie is not the same as defining it as such. Either demonstrate the lie, or stop throwing poop at the wall.

      5. DaveyM says:

        If Jim Sillars and the Greens planned a separate currency but were “hushed up by the SNP”, why did EVERYONE know what their proposals were, and why did they both successfully articulate them during the campaign?

  27. Renton says:

    The conflation of the SNP with the yes campaign is redolent of a mindset that thinks that independence meant the SNP forever. It is absolutely true that Politicians spin, lie and take a mile when an inch is given. The difference betwen independence and Unionism in this context is in giving the Scots a chance to kick out elected officials when they do lie and fuck up. Something the current Union does not offer. The irony is that in voting No, not only are you stuck with a system at westminster that you impotently rage at, giving the combined Scots vote is not enough to change the nature of any individual bill more than 0.6% of the time ( but in giving the siginifcant minority of Yes voters no realisitc place to go but to the SNP, you end up creating a system that will be dominated at Holyrood by them for the forseable future. Something that would’ve been recitified by a Yes vote.

  28. Doug D says:

    Do people feel the referendum has hardened opinion on both sides? Eg I feel there is probably a hard 40% Yes on the yes side – much higher than before – but has the same happened on the No side, are eg 45% of people now hard No, or is it still the 40% Better Together always counted on? Do moderate voters even view the constitutional debate in terms of sides?

  29. Ian Henderson says:

    Nigel – “I voted No for one simple reason: absolutely nothing I saw in either their words or their actions told me that the SNP were interested in genuine meaningful change”

    I obviously misunderstood the whole Referendum, I believed the vote was for either Scotland to be an independent country or to remain as part of the United Kingdom. Once that decision had been made we can then decide on which political party/policies we would like to vote for in Scotland.
    Surely the SNP would splinter into different political groups once Scotland was independent, so Nigel you would have never had to vote for SNP.

  30. Rabb says:

    Nigel Is British, his country is Britain and he wishes to remain British. Nothing any of you do or say no matter how intellectual or far reaching will change that. It is what it is.

    There has to be at least 10% of the no vote that can be convinced to vote yes next time. We should concentrate our efforts on convincing them to take the leap with the steadfast 45%
    Nigel is not in that 10% and no matter how much he protests otherwise it’s a fact. He’s wasting your time & effort and mine.

    Let’s just politely respect Nigel’s view and move on.

    1. david steel says:

      actually just 5.1% needs convinced to change to yes.

  31. Andrew Skea says:

    Lies about our budget deficit with/without oil.
    Lies about is real plan for currency (in quite the pound was just a stepping stone).
    Lies about the need for more powers while failing to use existing powers.
    Lies and no plan for our financial services sector which depends on the rUK market.
    Lies about the expected terms of EU membership
    Lies about the negative effect that Oil and Aberdeen has on the economy of the rest of the country (while claiming the :London has that effect)

    1. Iain says:

      Wow do you think if you copy and paste that crap enough times it shall come true and people shall believe you? You can’t polish a turd.

      Why don’t you do something useful a provide some evidence to back up all those claims?

    2. Frank M says:

      I think your record has stuck Andrew. Story of your life.

      1. Gregor says:

        I see you use the same approach that BT used, if you repeat something often enough someone will believe it, but I for one do not. You saying something is a lie and repeating it is not the same as proving it, you are in a loop and can not think outside it. You are what is wrong with politics but you are allowed your opinion and I am allowed to ignore it.

  32. mrtambo says:

    If you voted no because the SNP were lying to you then you completely missed the point on independence.

  33. Thor says:

    I don’t suppose Nigel would care to name one of these supposed “lies” that the YES campaign is alleged to have told? The NO campaign/Unionist parties are on record as having lied on pretty much every single issue from EU membership, pensions, the “vow” etc

    I’ll even give a couple of clear examples of the Unionist parties lies during the referendum. During the campaign the Scottish Government’s position was that it would be able to keep charging English students tuition fees in an independent Scotland, in apparent contravention of EU law which we only currently dodge due to a loophole because England and Scotland are both in the UK.

    The NO campaign argued that should Scotland go independent then to charge English/Welsh/NI students would be illegal under EU law they argue that here –

    Except, Hang on a second “Better Together” were simultaneously telling the electorate that Scotland wouldn’t just waltz into the EU, they were constantly insisting that Scotland would go to the “back of the queue” for membership and take years, perhaps decades, to be accepted under goodness knows what terms. David Cameron argues that position here –

    In which case, as non-EU members, the EU’s laws about tuition fees wouldn’t apply to Scotland and Scottish universities could charge English students whatever they liked. The media failed utterly to hold the Unionist parties/ NO Campaign to account for these blatantly incompatible lies “Scotland will be thrown out of the EU – but still subject to EU laws”.

    I’ll give another example of Unionist lies, during the campaign the Unionist parties Labour in particular claimed that the idea the Scottish NHS could be privatised was a “big lie” and that there was no posible way for privatisation to be forced on the Scottish NHS. Labour MSP – Neil Findlay argues that position here –

    What a difference a few months (and a NO vote) make!! Here is the same MSP Neil Findlay admitting the NHS is at threat after all due to the USA/EU TTIP deal (skip to 27:21) –

    Here is also Labour’s Shadow Health Minister ADMITTING that the yes campaign were right on their fears over the NHS –

  34. Thor says:

    @Andrew Rea

    “They did not lie about currency.”

    They unequivocally did, during the referendum campaign the Better Together claimed that a currency union was not in the interests of Scotland or England, yet previously none other than Alistair Darling himself ENDORSED a currency union as both “logical and desirable” (skip to 1:39) –

    In the 2nd Alex Salmond/Alistair Darling debate Darling was forced to concede that an independent Scotland could use the £ Sterling (skip to 2:54) –
    This statement directly exposed the NO campaign as hypocrites and liars as they were claiming that a YES vote would mean that Scotland would be unable to use the £ Sterling –

    “In secret the SNP planned that the pound was just a stepping stone.”

    If it’s secret how come you know about it? Feel free to provide some actual evidence to back that statement up.

  35. Mungo says:

    I stopped reading after about 3 lines . This is not about the SNP !!! or any political party ! Join the dots from there !! What’s wrong with you ?

  36. I’m a bit disappointed, but not surprised, that this No voter went through the entire campaign without realising that independence was about building a new Scotland, not about the SNP. It suggests a lack of engagement, which I found to be the hallmark of determined No voters.

    They decided they would vote No, and refused to listen to anyone who could upset their worldview.

    Didn’t go to public meetings, didn’t read anything. Just sat at home and let the MSM spoonfeed them #SNPbad.

    I’m not in the SNP. I want a new Scotland.

    No, I will not shut up and eat my cereal.

  37. Brendan says:

    Andrew, what you quote as lies are in fact, argued positions with which you can agree or disagree according to the weight of evidence. They are, therefore, totally different from BETTER TOGETHER statements that pensions would be lost, despite the fact that the UK Govt admitted that all pensions would be safe. Gordon Brown (irony of ironies ) was still stating that there was a threat to pension days before the vote. Your problem , Andrew , is that you do not know the difference between positions based upon reasoned arguments and outright lies.

  38. eman says:

    Thanks for this article, Nigel – it makes intersting reading. As with many other ‘No’ voters, you seem to have been confusing a vote for independence with a vote for the SNP. I’m not a member of any political party. I want independence for Scotland, amongst other things so that I can have a fighting chance at getting the government I vote for. I want to vote for a government with the strongest commitment to real social change, to promoting equality, to getting rid of Trident. Beyond party politics, this is what many in the Yes campaign were/are striving for – independence as the direct way to gain the power to tackle these issues. I see no chance of this through the Westminster system.
    As a country we in Scotland need to be able to have these debates on our own terms.

  39. Pete Finnie says:

    Please tell me you are not as condescending to your pupils as you appear to be in this article.

  40. muttley79 says:

    Andrew Skea constantly litters Bella Caledonia with claims that he never backs up with evidence. I have seen him do this on numerous threads, not just this one. He appears to want to ‘other’ independence and its supporters into a purely nationalist framework, and appears to be obsessed with the SNP and Scottish nationalism. I have never read in his posts an acknowledgement that British nationalism even exists. I am really not sure what this individual is trying to achieve.

    His posts are also very repetitive, almost like propaganda points. He appears to refuse to be willing to acknowledge that the Yes campaign made any reasonable points and arguments. It was all based on big bad Scottish nationalism, (there was no other input from the left in Scotland general, or from the SSP and Scottish Greens), which of course is beyond the pale compared to much more powerful nation states’ nationalism for some unexplained reasons, and the Yes campaign constantly lied. That is the sum of Andrew Skea’s contributions.

    1. Elaine Black says:

      I agree. Re this particular poster, Mr Skea does not have the ring of authenticity. I suspect the aim is not to discuss but disrupt threads.

      In all the other comments here, the personalities of writers, both Yes and No, shine through. His are contrived and rehearsed. We should infer what we can from that.

  41. Darien says:

    This article seems to concentrate on politicians. The referendum question was not about politicians or parties. It was about our nation, Scotland, and whether we would prefer our nation to be independent of power and control exercised by people from another nation. You cannot put a price on nationhood. It is therefore very difficult to understand why a people should reject their own nationhood, preferring instead to be ruled over by another nation and another people. For a few quid more, or less, as the case may be? The very idea of rejecting one’s nationhood for a few quid (or thousands even) is ridiculous. How do you think the world looks upon Scots who rejected their own nationhood? Or for the promises of politicians on either side?

  42. Patrick says:

    I was undecided almost to the day of the referendum, but ultimately voted No. I admit that I probably tended towards a soft no initially, but deliberately kept an open mind, read widely from across the spectrum, discussed the issues with friends and colleagues, and seriously considered Yes for a while. In the end, I wasn’t influenced by “Project Fear” – I am capable of making my own judgements. I wasn’t swayed by “the Vow” – I took it for what it was, a last-minute and fairly desperate example of electioneering; also, I actually read what it said, rather than jumping to exaggerated conclusions about what it implied (and then crying betrayal when what it did not promise in the first place was not delivered). I always take the “MSM” with a massive pinch of salt, and suspect anyone who has only recently realised the necessity of doing so has been guilty of naivety. In the end, I wasn’t sufficiently convinced by the Yes campaign’s predictions about the future. And while continuation of the status quo is an unedifying prospect, when you ask people to endorse a massive, uncertain and irreversible change, then the onus is on you to provide by far the stronger case. That’s in the nature of how people behave. Plus I’m old enough to be deeply cynical about the reliability of any promises of a better world made during political campaigns – experience tells me that the reality never quite measures up.

    Economic issues (currency, debt, deficit, oil forecasts, the limiting influence of globalisation and currency speculators, the Eurozone…) formed part of my reasoning – based on my own knowledge and my assessment of the reliability of the evidence (from across the spectrum) that I read (my assessment was of course imperfect, but I could only do my best). I also voted No in the hope that it would result in further devolution, increasing over time, as my preferred option – which could well be how things turn out. I wasn’t convinced this time, but could be in another 10 or 20 years, by which time I think we’d be more prepared. So, most of the time I’m comfortable with my vote, although I do have sporadic moments of doubt.

    I agree with much of what Nigel Calvert says above. Many of the Yes commenters above *are* guilty of double standards, happy to point out the flaws and biases of unionist politicians and Westminster, without applying the same standards to Holyrood/the yes movement. The yes campaign – but I am mainly talking about the SNP – were as happy to peddle distortions, selective accounts and dubious projections as their opponents. Nigel Calvert keeps repeating what he considers to be ‘lies’ told by the SNP, only to be accused by subsequent commenters not to have done so, or not to have provided evidence. How about their preferred predictions about oil revenue being based on $100 a barrel prices, when they are now trading at under $60? Yes supporters were happy to suggest that No campaign messages about the volatility of oil prices etc. were a form of scaremongering, but look what’s happening now. Although the person who said that it’s difficult to provide evidence of a hypothetical future scenario makes a good point.

    Iain perceives a “sense of righteousness, tinged with anger” from No voters/Nigel. Which is ironic, because that’s exactly what I have perceived from Yes voters since the 17th Sept, although “consumed with anger” may be more accurate in many cases. AnneDon leaps to insulting assumptions about voters like Nigel refusing to listen to those with other views, refusing to read or be influenced by anyone other than the “MSM”, which I find very unlikely. There’s far too much of this kind of thinking out there — No voters were just as likely to have made a decision based on a great deal of thought and debate as Yes, they just reached a different decision. The Yes movement will be doing itself a great favour if it can start to move beyond the ‘project fear, Vow, MSM, Westminster-loving Unionists’ narrative: the reality is far more complex and nuanced than that, as most folk know. One example: I’ve seen plenty of comments about pensioners being ‘selfish’ at the expense of the young, having been lied to that they would lose their pensions etc. But I know pensioners who lived through the war, and remember the creation of the Welfare state – by Westminster. The United Kingdom means something else to them, defined their lives, and who they became, and that is why many of them voted No. The are also wiser than many give them credit for. They won’t be around for ever and the demographics will change, but you have to give them some respect.

    I’m rambling incoherently now, so will sign off. *ducks for cover*

    1. macart763 says:

      No need to duck for cover, you simply strike me as independence not yet. 🙂

      Some folks take more convincing than others is all. Myself? I’m pretty much all for independence for all sorts of what you might call airy fairy reasons. Totally impractical, that’s me. 😀

      Others its all about the numbers, does it add up, do the balance sheets work out. Well, that’d be in the eye of the beholder as it were. Depends on what model you personally believe is for the best and which the more believable. Taking on independence is also an act of faith. An act of faith in yourself, your community, your government and a vision of the future. Its hard for cynics to act on faith.

      We’re about to find out whether not taking that leap pays of or not.

    2. david steel says:

      Patrick – That’s a fine answer / comment . Entirely sensible and understandable. I voted YES but found some of the promises from YES as unbelievable and I took them with a pinch of salt but still thought things would work out better anyway.
      The thing about it is that next time all the arguments must be completely bombproof and I hope lessons have been learned by YES.
      1) Don’t rely on others (e.g british government on currency – no matter how sensible it seems)Have your plans in your own gift.
      2) Have every fact and figure independently and bombproofedly (is that a word?) verified.
      3) Absolutely spell out the big picture that it is the form of governance we are voting for and not the SNP – The white paper did us no good in this respect. Perhaps next time the pro-indy parties could put forward their own manifestos for an indy Scotland and possibly somebody even write up a Tory one just so that people could see the choices open to them.
      4) Mass produce an updated wee blue book that gets sent to every single household – did far more good than the reams produced by Scottish Government / Yes.

      So hopefully somebody has got their finger out and doing this already – I suspect another go might be quicker than many expect.

      1. Patrick says:

        David – you make a good point about the white paper. By publishing that hybrid proposal for constitutional reform/party political manifesto, it was as much SNP themselves who blurred the distinction between independence as principle and independence as SNP power-grab as anyone on the other side.

  43. Patrick says:

    Actually, I misread the threads above – it is not Nigel who keeps repeating ‘lies’ but another commenter. Apologies.

  44. dcanmore says:

    I would like to ask NO voters what is wrong with Scotland aspiring to be an independent nation? Is it just the presence of the SNP or is it more? Why is it wrong for Scotland to be independent but right for other countries?

  45. sam says:


    Here are some reasons for voting Yes.

    For the last 50 years or so the UK has had no sustainable economic model – bust follows (limited)boom.

    The UK has mismanaged the oil and gas industry. The central recommendation of the Wood Review is that management of the industry be removed from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and given to an independent operator. The performance and resourcing of DECC was adversely compared with the management by Norway of its Continental Shelf resources. There is still time for an independent Scotland (had that been voted for) to set up an oil fund and achieve what Norway has achieved.

    Scotland and other areas of the UK have large health inequalities. These do not arise as matters of accident or individual choice. They arise because of the unequal distributions in society of power, wealth and income – bad politics. Academic research warns that the current health inequalities in Scotland are likely to widen as a result of the policies we are likely to see irrespective of which party wins the next general election.

    Given the long periods of mismanagement by successive governments it is unlikely that things will improve if we remain in the UK.

    What can you say to that?

  46. muttley79 says:

    Reading this article I think it is clear that the MSM and the unionists have been very successful in framing independence as an issue solely connected to and about the SNP, and Alex Salmond. Independence/full self government for Scotland is about where should power be located, in London or in Edinburgh. It is not about a political party, individual politicians. That unionists in Scotland still try and frame and portray it as being about the latter shows the lack of honestly at the heart of the No campaign. It also shows that there is still far too many people who did not, and to an extent still do not question why the Yes campaign were being demonised to the extent it was. It was demonised by people and powerful vested interests who were very intent and determined on preventing meaningful change from happening. The Smith Commission was an illustration of this; another watered down, inadequate set of proposals for Scottish political future.

  47. Patrick says:

    Muttley’s comments above are typical of many on this blog, in that they assume that No voters reached that position as a direct result of the influence of unionist campaigners and the way in which they presented the debate. But I wonder how many Yes voters think of themselves as having decided on Yes because they were convinced to do so by the Yes campaign? Or do many of you believe that you largely came to your own conclusions based on your own knowledge, insight and judgement? What applies on one ‘side’ applies on the other.

    1. muttley79 says:

      Patrick, where did I say that I assumed anything about No voters? I said the referendum question was about where power should lie, in Edinburgh or London. Now, of course there is a section of the electorate in Scotland who feel British enough to want to vote No to independence. This is perfectly understandable, it is not a opinion I share, but there you go. However, this strand of view only makes up around 25 per cent in the polls are accurate.

      I am afraid to say the MSM and the No campaign did frame the debate well because they made it about the SNP and Salmond in particular. We saw the most sustained demonization campaign by the British state since the Miners Strike. The MSM are overwhelmingly unionist, and Paul Mason, the Channel 4 journalist, said that the BBC was engaged in the most sustained propaganda campaign since the Iraq War. Now you can pretend that these things do not matter, but they clearly do. I am at a genuine loss as to how you can deny that the MSM and No campaign did not affect the vote.

      1. Patrick says:

        Mutley, you’re right, you did not say that explicitly. But I interpreted your comment as implying that, by framing the debate as about Salmond and the SNP, the MSM persuaded lots of people to vote No, which is sort of the point you make above. Maybe I overstated the degree of absolute influence you implied, and I’m not denying that they were influential, but as someone who is just as capable of parsing the arguments as any yes voter, I resent any assumption by those who reached a different conclusion that I was somehow gulled or tricked or hoodwinked.

        I completely agree that the MSM are overwhelmingly unionist, but lots of us were able to factor that into our thinking. I also thought Paul Mason was one of the best commentators during the campaign, by the way.

        It’s a question of degree, hence my comment about whether Yes voters consider themselves convinced by the yes campaign, or to have reached their own conclusions. What would you say?

      2. muttley79 says:

        Patrick, I don’t think there is much doubt that the No campaign targeted the low information voter. This is a group who by and large rarely take much of an interest in politics. It certainly worked for them. This group are susceptible to media manipulation because or their lack of interest in politics. This could come back to haunt unionist politicians, as they now have to defend everything that happens in terms of funding from the block grant, austerity, the rise of UKIP, the possible exit from the EU, TTIP and further privatisation of public services etc.

        In regards to the Yes campaign; there were errors and flaws. On one hand, Yes did increase support for independence from the mid to late 20 per cent opinion poll ratings a few years ago, to 45 per cent in the referendum, and now just over 50 per cent in polls at the moment. To a very real extent this was a tremendous achievement, given the media bias.

        On the other, there were mistakes, the handling of the EU advice issue at the start of the campaign, pensions issue was not dealt with in a decisive manner, Salmond had a poor performance in the first TV debate with Darling, the currency issue rumbled on and on. I thought Blair Jenkins did not appear to comfortable in his role. I did not expect there to be a Yes vote, given the (small) conservative nature of Scotland.

  48. Darien says:

    “I voted No for one simple reason: absolutely nothing I saw in either their words or their actions told me that the SNP were interested in genuine meaningful change.”

    Nigel Calvert has to be kidding. How could anybody say the SNP objectives were not about meaningful change? Meaningful change was set out for everything from welfare, to Trident, childcare, defence, energy etc etc etc etc. And what of Scotland’s priceless nationhood? Is that worthless to him? The author clearly has no passion whatsoever for Scottish nationhood. I wonder why that is?

  49. Brian Powell says:

    What I find odd about this and much of the No vote, OK they didn’t want Scotland to be Independent but they didn’t use their No vote to demand improvements for Scotland.
    The smith commission wasn’t for the No voters, it was to get people to vote no, and as we can see it’s a largely empty set of proposals.
    Wales and Northern Ireland are both strongly unionist, one under Labour and the other under a ‘conservative’ and Conservative admin, both are failing.
    Scotland is the only one succeeding, and I would say that is down to an SNP Government and the energy of the Independence supporters.
    The writer of the article sounds like he would never have really considered Yes and would be happy if we just acted like the admins in Wales and NI.
    Just settling for what you have isn’t the way to make change.

  50. Darien says:

    Perhaps the author’s considerable dislike of the SNP has something to do with the fact the SNP Gov are looking to reform the private school set up in Scotland?

  51. Valerie says:

    I find it strange that the No voters are crowing about the price of oil dropping. The point of Scotland getting control would have been to at least go towards an oil fund, not to live off of. The UK will now suffer the results of dropping prices, for the very reason they never established a fund, and the OBR have overestimated receipts.

    With continued austerity, a £1.4trillion debt, mounting war costs, fracking, within weeks of the No vote, not to mention the Smith Commission looking like a farce, I’m still baffled as to why we are Better Together.

    The SNP have done more for social justice in 7 years than we have seen in decades, juggling the pocket money.

  52. Patrick says:

    Valerie, I don’t agree with all of your conclusions. Because we’d have taken on a share of the £1.4trillion (among other reasons), I believe that we would not have been able to afford to put anything significant into an oil fund at current prices. I agree that an oil fund would have been a good idea in the 70s or 80s, but it would be little help for the forseeable future if we started now, and we can only make decisions from where we are now. I’m not sure that the claim of SNP delivering social justice really stands up to scrutiny, either – universal benefits such as prescription charges direct govt funds to the wealthy that could otherwise have gone to those more in need. And freezing council tax does not really allow local authorities to deliver better services to those who need them. I was concerned was that when it came to it, in the short to medium term, we could have found ourselves facing even greater austerity under independence – and thus would not have been able to deliver the social justice that most of us want to see.

  53. epicyclo says:

    “…give me a balanced objective description of why I should vote with you…”

    Simple. Democracy.

    The UK is an oligarchy which is run for the benefit of those at the top. The unelected House of Lords full of appointed members, bishops, people who made large party donations, and hereditary peers is a travesty. They stay there unaccountable, election after election.

    Any govt we get in Scotland can be changed completely, so even if you don’t like the SNP, that can be sorted after independence.

    Support for the SNP is strong because people support independence. After independence I suspect it will fragment.

  54. Iain Donald says:

    It’s an odd position to have. You say that Westminster and Holyrood lie and you are not going top vote for liars, yet you voted for Westminster by voting No, so you actually did.

    Also, you keep talking about how the Yes side failed to convince you to side with them by voting Yes, as if you wanted to be spoon fed the answers. A Yes vote was not for them, or Alex Salmond, or John Swinney or anyone else. It was for you! It was for your countries Independence. Try living your own life without it, whenh you want it back it won’y be for anyone other than yourself.

    Independence was never going to be easy, it was going to be a chance to break away from the corrupt system that is WM.

  55. junius45 says:

    If Nigel wasn’t convinced by two years of discussion, nothing said here is going to change Nigel’s opinion. Why am I even responding to anybody called Nigel? I must be losing the plot Nigel. A bit like Nigel actually. 🙂

  56. Nigel Calvert says:

    Thanks for all the comments. I’m not going to get into conversations as there are just too many possible conversations to have. I’ll just try and address some of the commonly made points.

    1. A number of responders seem to think it both necessary and accurate to determine my character and teaching ability based on the monochrome prism of a single internet post. To these I say thank you, from the heart of my wretched bottom, please don’t change.

    2. Many more serious responders ask how I can conflate the Yes campaign with the SNP. I gave it some serious thought during the referendum, and having good friends who are Greens and pro-Indy was well aware that the two groups represent different things. However, there as always 2 sides to that coin. We’ve seen how much political hay the SNP have been able to make out of the referendum… imagine if Yes had won? The SNP would be virtually unbeatable (even more than they would currently appear to be!) at the next elections. In fact, in the event of a Yes vote, the SNP, with their declaration of “independence day” being just before the next Holyrood elections, would be going into those elections being judged on both the Yes result and the subsequent negotiations… negotiations which would’ve given them almost limitless capacity for public arguments, finger pointing and blame association with a Westminster that would’ve been in utter disarray and in no position to effectively respond. In that sense, a Yes vote would’ve given the SNP an 18 month, tax-payer funded election campaign. And that made it very much a vote about the SNP. It’s worth noting that it was the SNPs own politicking that created that situation. Had they held off on announcing an Independence Day, or at least not so cynically placed right before the next Holyrood elections, myself and many other No voters may not have been quite so turned off by their naked attempt at manipulation.

    3. The Yes campaign lies. It rather reinforces my point about double standards that Yes voters have even asked for the lies to be specified. No-one has asked for the Westminster lies to be specified, they are just taken as read. But claim that SNP/Yes politicians lied, and the affronted “WHAT? WHERE? WHEN?” comes out. But as you’ve asked, and apart from the lies listed by others in this thread, just in the final weeks of the campaign we had the claims that the Scottish NHS faced imminent threat of privatisation that only independence could protect it from; and from only slightly further back we had the claim that only with independence could hard working mothers in Scotland get some decent childcare help. Yet almost within hours of the result, Swinney stood up in Holyrood and bold as brass stated that the Scottish NHS was both secure and fully funded, in utter direct contradiction of the previous scaremongering from the Yes campaign. And then several hundred million pounds were in fact found to improve childcare, again in utter contradiction of the woe-is-us victimhood narrative of the Yes campaign. Just 2 of the many many lies.

    4. Finally, for now, the question of democracy. A government of our own was, superficially at least, a powerful and emotive argument in favour of voting Yes. But as with so many things in the Yes campaign, scratch the surface and you quickly develop some profound concerns. Mainly that so many Yes voters were from such a concentrated geographical area. The Borders was consistently and powerfully against independence, so to Aberdeen and Edinburgh. Had the Yes vote won, huge swathes of Scotland would’ve been forced into an independent country against their strongly held and expressed desire. Whither democracy for the good folks of the Borders in that situation? If it’s unacceptable that a geographically small area of England hold sway over a much larger section of the country (UK), why is it acceptable that a geographically small area of Scotland should be allowed to hold sway over the rest of us? Again, you can’t have it both ways.
    And the idea that we can simply vote out a Scottish Govt we don’t like? I tried voting out the SNP at the last election, and yet they walked back in with a majority Govt, despite getting less than 25% of Scottish voters to back them. Democracy? Well, yes it is democracy, at least how we implement it. It seems that a number of Yes voters struggle to accept democracy when it doesn’t suit them.

    I’m taking a wee break, I’ll try and check in tomorrow or the day after. I’ve got a Baileys cheesecake competition to prepare for. I know I know, woefully bourgeois of me, typically bloody middle class, spit spit spit, etc etc etc

    1. Elaine Black says:

      Irish cream? Really?????????

    2. SqueuedPerspextive says:

      Nigel, can I first thank you for taking the time to set out your thoughts in a way that benefits us all. This debate only serves to enrich all our knowledge and raise questions to which we would all like answers.

      I think the fundamental question of the referendum was wrong. It should have been (something like) “Do you think the Scottish Government should negotiate an exit from the ‘Treaty of Union’ and present the result of that negotiation to the people of Scotland at a further referendum ?”

  57. sandra says:

    I often wonder if the ‘NO’ voters ask themselves what it would be like to live in a Free country with all the challenges and opportunities that would bring.

    They seem obsessed with money, I’d gladly be poorer and live in a free country.
    Just like the 190 or so countries around the world.!

    Are they all nasty nationalists ? or are they enjoying a freedom the Scots can only dream about.?

    Why they prefer the people in Westminster to make all their decisions and thinking for them, is just totally mystifying to me.

  58. arthur thomson says:

    Patrick, I see some reasoned argument for your voting No and whilst my conclusions would be different to yours I respect you for sharing your thoughts. I for one will look again at your perspective to see what I can learn from you. Please take the opportunity to comment on this and other sites in future and please try to provide reasoned arguments for me and others to think on. Whether or not I agree with you I will certainly welcome your input.

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      Jeez Arthur – you just said that you value reason. Is this your first time?

    2. Bothy Basher says:

      ”Insults and intimidation were exactly what I and anyone else who publicly stated their belief in Scottish independence were subjected to over the last 70 years.”

      I thought you were bit long in the tooth, Arty.

  59. bringiton says:

    The only people who want to retain the block “grant” are the Westminster establishment and it’s accolytes.
    Why would that be I wonder?
    If Labour are,as I sincerely hope,trounced at the election in May,there will be no more fig leaf for Westminster to hide behind and a strong voice from Scotland demanding an end to English “benevolence” through the “grant”.
    The “grant” is the core issue blocking decentralised power within the British Isles and once it has been erradicated will lead to more harmonious relationships between the family of nations within these isles.
    Money is power.

  60. Anne says:

    Interesting and respectful debate, thanks Bella. I voted yes because I visit Denmark regularly and can see iScotland be very similar. It was not because of the Yes campaign as I’d been advocating iScotland for over 30 years. I voted Yes because I’m outraged that the House of Lords still exists, totally undemocratic but defended by a Labour and Conservative Party focused on English voters which is unfair to rest of UK and depressing in the extreme. To me it was a chance to govern our country, Scotland, ourselves. From Nigel’s comments I don’t think he will ever understand me, which is sad.

  61. Iam Scott says:

    You seem very angry and it would appear your No vote was more of an anti SNP vote.

    You absolutely right, politicians lie to win arguments, and no matter what side they represent this is reprehensible.

    But the way I see it, we were given a chance to determine our own future.

    In an independent Scotland we could have changed politics and made it more honest.

    We would have had more power to rid ourselves of the rule of the dishonest politicians and parties as our government would have been determined by ourselves and not the votes of the SE of England.

    Various sections of the Yes campaign were talking about putting in safeguards in the new Scottish Constitution that would prevent and hold any politicians liable for lying.

    It could have been just as you wanted…if you had only voted Yes.

  62. Valerie says:

    Patrick, I don’t need to number the changes that SNP have wrought here as opposed to England, which will count as social justice, but will instead just state one – bedroom tax.

  63. MBC says:

    It’s pretty obvious that Nigel voted No because he simply hates the SNP and he cannot see beyond that. He is a partisan of another party, clearly.

    I voted Yes for the principle of independence. Nothing to do with the SNP or the White Paper. Because independence means democracy. And democracy means self-actualisation, a thing we are vitally short of. And because every similar sized country to Scotland in the western world that is self-governing does just fine. New Zealand, Denmark, Norway… even tiny Malta, population 450,000, is not exactly desperate to come back under the fold of the British Empire. It celebrated 50 years of independence this year. It has no natural resources.

    Patrick strikes me as far more pragmatic and open minded about his reasons for voting No. He didn’t see the economic case being better or worse. Just the same. So why bother. Why take the risk. This was pretty much the conclusion that BBC’s Robert Peston came to.

    Why take the risk then?

    Because you’ll never know what you missed out on. You’ll never know what you could have been had you decided to fly the nest and seek your own fortune in the wider world rather than staying at home nice and comfortable and familiar at your parents’ house in the same job trot. You’ll never know what you could have achieved if you had control over your own destiny and took it in your own hands. We are back seat passengers in a double decker bus being driven by rUK. We go where they go. Our own journey is put on hold, for better or for worse. We can’t reach self-actualisation with the limited powers we have at present.

  64. Doug Daniel says:

    “The Yes camp wanted me to vote for unprecedented change, and it was up to them to demonstrate why I should trust them.”

    Independence isn’t “unprecedented change”, it’s a tried-and-tested solution to a democratic deficit. It’s something most of the countries in the world have been through over the last 100 years or so. This is perhaps the most infuriating thing for Yes supporters, seeing people talk about independence as if it’s some alien concept and Scotland were being asked to be the guinea pigs. It’s not, it’s completely and utterly normal. That’s all we were asking – for Scotland to become a normal country, with the same rights and responsibilities as anyone else in the world.

    “I voted No for one simple reason: absolutely nothing I saw in either their words or their actions told me that the SNP were interested in genuine meaningful change.”

    I dunno about you, but my ballot paper did not say “are the SNP interested in genuine meaningful change?” Mine said “should Scotland be an independent country?” The SNP weren’t mentioned anywhere. If that’s genuinely your reason for voting No, then you voted on a false premise. I would guess that you did so because deep down you always wanted to vote No, and you just wanted justification for doing so. We’re never going to win over people like that.

    “For any serious person who wants to understand what they can do to get my vote at the next Indy-ref I’d say this: give me a balanced objective description of why I should vote with you. The Yes campaign failed, utterly and completely, to do this.”

    It baffles me when someone accuses people of failing to act like grown-ups, only to display such childish naivety about how debates work. The Yes campaign’s job was to make the best case they could for independence. As a supposedly mature adult, it’s your job to decide which arguments you do and don’t believe, perhaps with the help of an intermediary to balance the arguments against each other. If lack of balance is your issue, then take that up with the people who should have been providing it – the media. It wasn’t Yes’s job to be their own watchmen, so of course they failed to do it.

    This bizarre idea that the onus was on the Yes campaign to do everything is a classic case of setting unrealistic expectations – the kind of thing a child does. The irony of you laughing at your pupils for trying to act like grown-ups is not lost on us.

  65. A very interesting debate. Good stuff in the main.

    I faced similar arguments from some Unionist friends. The one I did not particularly like was the case that the Yes side had to make all the arguments to convince people to vote for Independence while having virtually no access to the MSM. There was no need for the No side to justify their case. A sImilar thread here as well?

    Perhaps that will change now that the pro-Independence vote is leading in the polls. Just what are the real benefits of staying in the Union?

    Why did I vote Yes?

    I just want democracy for my country – Scotland.

  66. Patrick says:

    I really enjoyed the open and respectful nature of the debate for most of the campaign, the willingness of most to consider multiple viewpoints, the creative surge of ideas about how we could make things better, the realisation that once you start to examine structures that are taken for granted, many of them no longer hold up. That all changed towards the end, as feelings intensified, positions hardened, and the realisation that it was going to be close raised the stakes. In the last few weeks I think the public debate then became fairly unpleasant and intimidating, with both sides trying to shut down opposing voices by whatever means – and from my perspective, a vocal minority of Yes supporters were pretty vociferous. I started to keep my views to myself.

    MBC – in the immediate aftermath of the vote, I did spend a lot of time wondering if I had just been too cautious and risk averse, or the gullible victim of false consciousness, and had squandered a once in a lifetime chance. But over the next few weeks, the tone and nature of the response from a large number of Yes supporters actually made me more certain of my decision, and made me more confident that some of my doubts had been justified. Emotions were running high, and I completely understood the hurt and disappointment, but the tin-hat conspiracy theories, the vengefulness, the tribalism, the failure to accept what had after all been a legitimate democratic decision, the sudden reversal of the ‘once in a generation’ claim all made me wonder about the value and maturity of the views that those same people had espoused all along.

    It seems to me that post-result grievances and reactions are still dominating the yes movement, which is a shame. If you believe in independence, then of course you have to keep making the case, and pressing for more powers in the interim and so on. But in parallel with that, we should all (Yes and a lot more of the Nos than you might imagine) could continue that healthy and vibrant debate about how to make our country better, before that spirit is lost and forgotten. A lot of the good ideas that emerged from the campaign could be implemented now, even if it has to be in a watered down form. You should be holding Holyrood’s feet to the fire too, and making sure the SNP government responds to your progressive agenda. There have been a few good articles to that effect on Bella Caledonia, but plenty more that seem less constructive to me. Sturgeon is making positive noises about land reform and other issues, which is encouraging, but the electorate needs to keep the pressure on. If everyone keeps wailing ‘no fair’ and fixating on taking revenge on the Labour party, more opportunities for change will be missed.

    In the spirit of giving Bella readers an insight into a No voter’s thought processes, a few more points. There is an element of truth to the ‘land of milk and honey’ claims – not literally, but in spirit. Yes had a strategy of promoting a positive message, presumably having calculated that that was the way to convince the largest number of undecideds to go for Yes. But for sceptics like me, it was off-putting, because it lacked credibility. If they had said ‘We’re going to do this, it’s not going to be easy, there are some big risks, we will make some mistakes, it will involve sacrifices and belt-tightening for maybe 10 to 15 years, but in the long term it will be best for the country and the younger generations etc. etc.’, I would have been a lot more receptive to the message. Granted, that would have been a difficult way to win the vote. Also: trident. I’m no fan of nuclear missiles, especially when parked up the road from Glasgow (and so expensive at that). But rejecting trident while joining Nato and thus knowing we would be protected by the nuclear missiles of our larger and more powerful next-door neighbour struck me as trying to have your cake and eat it. The Queen? What was all that about, if not a cynical attempt not to frighten off the old people? And on the currency, if the eventual plan genuinely was to move to our own currency, as some have claimed above, why didn’t they say that currency union would be an interim measure until the conditions were in place to introduce an independent currency with the minimum risk? That would have also have been more credible.

    Penultimate point – a sense of Scottish cultural identity had little influence on my vote. I feel Scottish anyway, was born and grew up here, live here now. But I also lived and worked in London for over a decade before returning ‘home’, and am more comfortable with that lot than many. In my experience, they are not all filled with antipathy towards Scotland or bent on colonial domination, but are rather pretty oblivious about us. Which is bad, but in a different way. When I go to Drumchapel station and see a sign that says ‘Druim a Chaibeil’, I find it all a bit forced, bogus and unnecessary. Culturally, I wish we’d spend more time reaching out to others around the world and less time obsessively picking our own scabs.

    Before signing off and getting on with some work, I want to say thanks to Bella for publishing these No responses. We are in danger of dividing into two tribes of them and us, each holding a simplified and exaggerated caricature of the other lot in our heads. But that’s not going to get us anywhere.

    1. MBC says:

      Patrick, I personally felt suicidal in the aftermath of this lost opportunity. What was the point of life, of Scotland, of community? It was gone, an illusion. Things I believed in, the old Scots kindliness, the neighbourliness, were exposed as a chimera. There was no society, no community, no Scotland. No solidarity. I had been deceived. I had been betrayed. It was an illusion. Fault mine, I was not seeing the fact that 2 million Scots were at best lukewarm about Scotland. They were Brits, not Scots. My goodwill was for nothing. What therefore was the point of kindliness?

      I don’t think Noes have any grasp of what their decision has had on the 1.6 million of the nation that voted Yes. The sheer pain, and the feeling that we were living in a country of foreigners, our good neighbours and fellow Scots who unbeknown to us all this time were secretly in league with the forces of darkness, a thing which in our naivety and basic optimistic good will we had not realised before; that Scots like you were offered sovereignty, painlessly without bloodshed or even having to fight for it, and when there was a fair chance of making a go of it, but refused and accepted subservience – will haunt me until my dying day. I find it hard to explain the existential angst your rejection of sovereignty caused, but when I read of accounts of East Germany under the Stasi, when you could trust no-one, no single person, not even your mother, son or daughter, husband or wife, not be living a double life and plotting against you to a hated state – what deceit, poison, and treachery on that scale does to your head – it begins to sum up how momentarily I felt. For a few days I thought I was going mad. Profound grief at what was lost was mixed with a profound sense of sudden alienation and dislocation. When what was familar is suddenly alien and unfamiliar. It was like in those movies where the aliens take over by entering the heads of people and people you know all your life start behaving oddly, in subtle ways, and it gradually dawns on you that not only have you somehow escaped this fate, but also the aliens’ hellish purpose gradually unfolds. Any safety you once felt evaporates. You realise you have no where to turn and that you are their next target. It’s the mixture of profound grief and loss with sudden cultural dislocation that does your head in. Please try to understand that for many of us that was the shock we went through.

      The one thing that has kept me sane was my fellow Yessers and the fact that a good proportion of the Noes were duped and could have just as easily leapt our way. No was a spectrum, not an absolute.

      So it helps me to hear your account. You strike me as a good person but one who is basically cosmopolitan in outlook. Scotland for you is not a place that you feel any deep sense of connection with. You like it here but could just as happily live in any other western country at a comparable level of development. Scotland has no particular specialness for you. I’m fine with that. You are pragmatic, and all I would ask you to consider is that regardless of your not feeling any deep connection with Scotland, to observe that factually, it is a different place from rUK. Different resources, different geo-strategic position, different climate, different history, different potential. Potential that is not being realised, potential that is being squandered. In 1707 we were 1/3 of the UK population. Today we are 8%. Every year 40,000 of our young people aged 16-24 leave for better pastures never to return except for occasional holidays. That has been a pattern for 307 years. We are subject to centrifugal and centripetal forces. The UK pulls us and our resources towards their centre; our own sense of history and identity resists this and pulls us back together, develops our own centre, but the long term pattern is clear. Sovereignty, now lost, was the opportunity to reverse this pattern. To be at the centre of our own world; not at the periphery of someone else’s. To me, that loss was a tragedy. Nobody died. But Scotland continues to struggle in her bonds. And for me, the pain of this is profound.

      1. macart763 says:

        Great post.

        Well said.

      2. Patrick says:

        Well expressed, MBC, and that does provide me with some perspective, if the intensity of your feelings is common among Yessers. One thing I’d say, with no disrespect intended, is that it sounds like you had made some pretty big assumptions about Scots and Scotland which, as you say, were then disproved. I think some of the stuff that Gerry Hassan has written about the myths that Scots tell each other about themselves is perceptive on that stuff. Also, did the polls not give you a sense of the divide throughout? Few societies are that homogenous.

        Your assessment of my position isn’t that far off the mark – I do feel a strong connection with Scotland and love many aspects of it, but I don’t feel that it defines my very essence. There are a fair few things about the place that I’m not so keen on too. Whatever patch of mud you happen to be born on seems pretty random to me, and does not imbue you and yours with any special qualities per se. So you’re right, it was a pragmatic decision for me, and I accept that we have different circumstances that need different responses — although I also think that can be overstated, and feel that a devolved parliament (with a few more powers) could do a fairly good job of dealing with many of them if it wanted to. The thing that most appealed about Yes to me was the chance to build a better democratic system, and I regret that we won’t get that any time soon. But for other reasons outlined elsewhere here I voted No.

  67. jim hogg says:

    A significant part of this debate depends on personality/character of the individual – obviously, but one particular aspect of character is very important to this issue imv. It reveals itself in all sorts of ways, but at root the difference between some Yes and No voters is their degree of risk aversion. Many Yes voters were/are willing to take a risk on a Scottish run future. Many No voters weren’t/aren’t. The security first, risk averse types are more inclined to stick with what they know, the union – regardless of how flawed it is. The risk takers are more at ease with the prospect of a future that isn’t, and realistically, can’t be mapped out too precisely.

    Our teacher contributor seems to think that the future is more “known” under the union . . . however the experience of history seems to me to show that the future is a vast complex of unknowns, and that an inclination to believe that the future under the union is more “known”, more fixed, seems to be based on myth (of our own creating much of the time), and MSM and political narratives. Even so called expert economists have little knowledge of what lies ahead. The great financial crash took almost all experts and politicians by surprise – though many have become very insightful after the fact (though they haven’t learned its lessons unsurprisingly). And even facts are not much evident within that narrative: the rising “national” debt is obscured by both the MSM and politicians – it’s hardly even mentioned by the opposition, who stand to gain most, we might have thought, by using it to expose Osborne’s failures to make the “knowns” become reality during the life of the current parliament.

    The future has its own secret agenda. Nothing in life is quite as it seems, even in the here and now of course, for various reasons. And to add to its complexity, we all see it differently, and, we should all be aware of the implications of that. And yes, Salmond is a career politician and like all other politicians he knows how to spin, but in the political game of setting out the future for the referendum debate he was playing with a very weak hand compared to Westminster, which had the MSM, much of big business and the Queen even to call on. So, we all had to try and make sense of what we could see and hear, and square that with what we wanted for the future.

    It’s no surprise then that the risk averse in such circumstances voted to stay with what they thought was secure, and that some of the risk takers should opt for an apparently less certain future that appealed to their ideas of justice and self determination, with a vision, paradoxically perhaps, of more control over our future once the hard yards were behind us. And given the advantages of the unionist campaign, it’s no wonder that so many on the Yes side feel the outcome was unjust and unrepresentative of what would have happened had the dice not been so heavily loaded against a Yes result. More objective unionist commentators should surely be able to see this, understand the sense of grievance that some Yes voters feel, and perhaps even some will feel just a little bit relieved that it wasn’t a fairly conducted affair.

    There’s also the issue of democracy. How do we see it? As an ongoing, living flowing thing? Or a tool to advance self interest only by whatever means possible. It seems to me that westminster is unable to handle the first version. As well as looking hard at our understanding of what the future might and might not hold, we maybe should be having a long and serious debate about the meaning of democracy too.

  68. Patrick says:

    Jim Hogg – that’s reasonably fair, in my own case, and probably that of a lot of other fence sitters. Others are more ideologically no, though.

    1. Patrick says:

      Although I might add that pessimists are known to predict the future more accurately than optimists 😉

  69. ian says:

    The sad fact in my fairly limited experience is that there are many “no” voters who voted for the following reasons a)Did’nt like Alex Samond b)Because??? c)I’m doing all right d)We are better together? and no matter how bad it gets they will continue to vote in the same way.I have two brothers one living in England who would have voted no not because he had considered all the arguments but because?The other one because he had read that there would be job losses,he based his decision on one issue or should i, say two he did’nt like Alex samond as well.
    Many voters are not well informed or are they particularly sophisticated when it comes to putting their x in a box.Any message thats put out in the fture has to be short,sharp and to the point.
    As for the No voter above,well what can you say.

  70. MBC says:

    Yes and No, Patrick, re my ‘assumptions’. These were not ideas as such but ‘affect’. I momentarily lost the bond of affection I normally feel towards fellow Scots in the aftermath. Of course I normally feel a bond of affection for non-Scots too, dependent on the individual; don’t get me wrong. All I meant to explain was the sudden emotional distance that opened up between us that was not normally there, and it shattered me. It shocked me. It unhinged me. What we Yessers experienced was grief as in a profound loss or bereavement. The closest thing I can link it to is that it was like when my mother died, and I looked on her still warm but lifeless body as I stood by her side in the hospital, the body so normally cheerful and warm, the breath no longer flowing, her now inert body, no life within, the conversations we would no longer have, the awful, searing, finality of death. The total irreversibility of it. It hits you like a wall. It felt like that, only if anything, far, far worse. Because I felt like I had lost a whole line of mothers. My whole people, my mother’s mother, her mother, and all our mothers, a thousand mothers gone, because Scotland was gone – ‘our toils (finally) obscured, and a’ that’. What had it all been for? What was Scotland? If Scots didn’t even care to vote for it when the chances were fair? And with that grief came rage, rage against those who had voted No. Did they even know what they had done? Did they care?

    As in any bereavement, when emotions are raw, families often fall out, because grief and death affect people differently. Most families manage to keep together, but for some the rifts are permanent. I try to detach myself from my reactions. Have self-control. I know, intellectually, that when you are upset it is not a good time to make decisions or to do anything that you might regret later. I have perspective on myself. And others. I know that what people say and do when they are profoundly upset is not always what they really, finally, mean, but what seizes them in their moment of extremis. So I try to have compassion and to forgive. And that’s what I would ask you to do, in response to the many heightened reactions of Yessers in the aftermath that you said you found so unpalatable: they were hurting; really, really, hurting.

    For me, healing has come in the solidarity of other Yessers, and with it I return to the perspectives I had before the vote – that No was a spectrum, and that many people were afraid, others lukewarm, a few, outright hostile, and others, because they simply felt British. It also helps me what a No friend said to me about her reaction; that she had felt no sense of triumphalism, as in defeating a foe; only sadness and regret that so many Yessers and fellow Scots were hurting. This brought me back to my starting point: that this was a battle not fought on ground of our own choosing, but on that selected by Cameron, to divide and rule. For if we had been allowed to have the third option we would not be at this impasse today.

    So I have come to regain my composure, my sanity, and to refuse to be divided from my fellow Scots, just as you come to forgive a family member or close friend with whom you momentarily fall out with because death has separated you; whilst life, and hope, unites.

  71. Patrick says:

    MBC – I won’t trivialise your heartfelt and profound comments by going off on any more tangents. Thank you for sharing those reflections here. It is interesting that in the depths of your grief you experienced a sense of temporary madness, for that was also the character of the collective reaction, as I saw it. I will consider that impression more seriously and less critically now, as a result of your posts. I also want to say that I felt not an ounce of triumphalism either, and nor did those close to me who I know to have voted no (not many, for I’ve kept my cards close to my chest). On the morning of the 17th I felt a very faint sense of relief, but one that was heavily tempered by conflicting feelings of doubt and uncertainty. I had sort of wanted to persuade myself to vote yes – yes was the more hopeful option, the progressive option, the more youthful and glamorous option – but in the end my doubts and concerns prevented me from doing so (I became more comfortable with my vote as time went on). I felt a kind of unspecified fatigue and emptiness, as one does after any major, intense event that has been long anticipated and is now over. I felt anger towards Cameron, and his crass and opportunistic EVEL announcement. And I felt worried that the aftermath of the result might affect my relationships with Yes-voting friends and family members, while at the national level creating a schism that would take years to resolve itself. Fortunately, those fears proved unfounded at the personal level, but after exchanging views with folk on here over the last couple of days, I am if anything more worried about the national schism. I hope we can all find a way to come to terms with what happened, for if we don’t, it will be to Scotland’s disadvantage.

    1. Darien says:

      Scotland’s advantage depends on Scots who believe in their own nation. Scots who willingly forfeit their own nation for the dubious promise of being a few quid better off is a difficult issue to come to terms with. More especially when they hand the nation over to our Eton/Oxbridge red/blue tory friends to do with as they will. That all seems highly illogical to Scots who believe in their own nation and its people, the 45%. Thankfully independence now seems inevitable, despite your vote of no confidence in us Scots to govern our own nation.

    2. MBC says:

      Thank you for this sensitive reply. It is good to learn you didn’t feel any sense of triumphalism either. It helps me to recover and to build life anew. I think that must be the same for a lot of Noes, as those that I think voted that way have been very quiet, and I do not detect any sense of smugness from them either. For me, the struggle for indy goes on, for it is a struggle for democracy, for freedom, and for progressive politics. These are struggles that no decent person ever gives up on. The key to it is education. Scotland is a nation, England is a nation, but the UK is an imperial, feudal, pre-modern, artificial construct which is run in the interest of the largest nation, perhaps more by default these days than by intention; but after 307 years the default position cannot be reset by anything other than independence for Scotland. Federation was briefly discussed in 1707; it was roundly rejected by the English commissioners and it is not seriously discussed now. The English have no interest in it. Why should they? They have no need of radical change to the UK’s structure and they are 85% of the UK. ‘Incorporating’ union was to be the order of the day in 1707, but it was a weird sort of incorporation that left most of Scotland’s institutions intact. This has been the difficulty – it was a fudge, neither one thing nor another, and after de-industrialisation and the loss of the Anglo-Scottish empire since the 1960s, the imperial project for which the Union was created, matters have now come to a head. The Union is an anachronism, an imperial relic, and in 2014 it is a millstone around Scotland’s neck. That we flourish to the extent that we do is testament to our own determination, and to an extent to the lucky discovery of oil. De-industrialisation would have been far more severe without it.

      What sustains me is knowing that No was a spectrum, many vulnerable people were terrorised, and that Cameron has attempted to divide us but I refuse to be divided. I hope you will join me in that. I do understand caution, and my own view is that the fact that the UK has become so centralised in the 20th century with the machinery of government like HMRC being based in England – that for many Noes, when they thought about indy, it was like they were staring into an abyss. Complete new systems of tax collection and administration would need to be set up and disaggregating the fiscal arrangements of the UK would have been complex and lengthy. For me that wasn’t a problem; I merely thought that the SNP’s 18 month timetable for the transfer of power was a tad optimistic. But heh, when you’ve waited 307 years to recover the sovereignty that a bunch of headless chickens ineptly negotiated away in 1707, what’s another three years? I am a rational person and I believe that problems like that can be solved, one carefully planned stage at a time. Once a particular part of the machinery of government was set up in Scotland then the powers for which it was intended could be transferred in an orderly phased manner, one tranche at a time.

      Like most Scots I would have preferred a gradualist approach, would probably have opted for the third option, but that wasn’t the choice we were offered. But in reality, had it been Yes, a gradual transfer of powers over a three to five year period would have been what would have happened anyway.

      It will be interesting to see what Smith will deliver. The devil is in the detail. If more of the fiscal machinery of government can be set up in Scotland then I will be reassured. But if the proposals to ‘devolve’ income tax mean that it is still collected and calculated in England and then sent back to us, I will despair.

      1. MBC says:

        Hi Patrick, the above is a reply to you. All the best.

      2. Patrick says:

        Thanks MBC, it’s been good having this virtual conversation. I only read Bella every now and then, but I’m glad that I happened across these articles. After the last couple of days, I realise that I am still working through my own indyref baggage! Even though I can’t get the date of the referendum right. On reflection, I think the SNP’s boosterish claims, such as that about the 18-month timetable and the ‘£8bn better off’, which I strongly distrusted, may have partly obscured the desirability of the central prize for me. In my case, that would not so much have been about nationhood as such but about being part of a modern and properly functioning democracy. It’s obvious that I’m cautious and sceptical, so if a more gradualist path to full independence had been on the table, I would have seriously considered it, and if DevoMax had been available, I definitely would have gone for that. (Although if you believe the Guardian’s long article this week, Salmond had already decided to go for a Yes/No, but pretended otherwise in order to strengthen his negotiating position.) I’d probably be happy being part of a fully federal, reformed UK (with English regions), but if that is unlikely ever to happen, then what are my options? I remain in favour of increased/better devolution, and hope that Yes and No can find some common ground on that.

  72. Jim Cassidy says:

    It would appear there are none so blind as those who shall not see.

  73. Helen Glassford says:

    Nigel says of Yes voters:

    “Keep it up kids, you’re putting a smile on my face, just as the pupils I teach do when they try and fail to act like grown-ups”

    You sound like a dreadful teacher Nigel!

  74. arthur thomson says:

    I have come back to this after a day away. I am wondering what is the big deal about there being a schism. There always was one but it was hidden by the fact that one side held all the power. Insults and intimidation were exactly what I and anyone else who publicly stated their belief in Scottish independence were subjected to over the last 70 years. A number of things changed – including the discovery of oil – and that enabled more people to declare their desire for independence when they were afraid to in the past. I never accepted living in a box and I hope that the rest of the yes movement will continue to say a very vocal ‘no thanks’ to those who think they should go back in the box.

    1. Bothy Basher says:

      ”Insults and intimidation were exactly what I and anyone else who publicly stated their belief in Scottish independence were subjected to over the last 70 years.”

      I thought you were bit long in the tooth, Arty.

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