2007 - 2022

A Question of Legitimacy


Today’s YouGov Scotland poll seats: SNP 48 (+42) Lab 9 (-32) Con 1 (=) LDem 1 (-10) are causing widespread panic. As the reality of the future hits home information about our power-relations are spilling out into the public domain.

The extent of official collusion and manipulation during the referendum is the first.

Today we discover that the Treasury leak to highlight the RBS story that it planned to move to London in the wake of a Yes vote was none other than Robert Mackie, the son of Catherine MacLeod who was Alistair Darling’s press adviser. MacLeod, had been the UK political editor of the Herald, became an adviser to Alistair Darling in 2007. The BBC regularly put Macleod on as an impartial journalist.

The Sunday herald reports that “The Treasury email on the issue of RBS plans in the event of independence was sent to journalists at 10.16 pm on Sept 10, around 25 minutes before the RBS board meeting on the issue had finished.”

SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson commented: “These revelations leave the Treasury with serious questions to answer about its conduct during the referendum. The people of Scotland deserve the truth on this matter.”

Most of this we knew already. None of this is a surprise, it’s just the detail.

But this contempt for process and the impartiality of the civil service is rife.

Now we’re told by Sir Gus O’Donnell (the country’s former top civil servant) that a huge rise in the number of SNP MPs at the election in May will cause a “democratic legitimacy issue”. O’Donnell – speaking at an event University College London’s Constitution Unit – said the outcome of the election in May would be “legitimacy questions about the voting system” and “why is the relationship between votes cast and seats so wildly out of line”.

Discussing the prospect of an SNP landslide he said: “That’s going to cause quite a legitimacy issue.”

Suddenly they’re all worried about PR?

Faced with an excess of democracy Britain just threatens to change the rules.

Unfortunately for MacLeod, Darling and the coterie of officials breaching their own rules and guidelines, the legitimacy question is not the one they raise, it is their own legitimacy and the edifice of the British state that is exposed.

As the slide towards oblivion and exposure gains momentum the sheer venal and base attitudes that many career politicians hold are opened up.

Andrew Rawnsley, veteran political columnist and presenter writes: ” I bumped into a Scottish Labour MP, a sane chap who this time last year would have thought himself a shoo-in for re-election: he has a five-figure majority. “I’m fucked,” he declared. The SNP was going to beat him. He morbidly remarked that he was only fighting the seat “to get the redundancy”.

He concludes: “The Blue Emperor and the Red Emperor campaign as if the old duopoly were still intact. Yet everyone can see that they have no clothes.”

The truly sad quote from the Labour MP about picking up a pay check stems from a system that has bred politicians as functionaries. As Michael Sheen said so eloquently a few weeks back:

“In today’s political climate, where politicians are careful, tentative, scared of saying what they feel for fear . . . all political parties drift into a morass of bland neutrality and the real values we suspect are kept behind closed doors. Is it any wonder that people feel there is little to choose between . . . You must stand up for what you believe, but first of all, by God, believe in something.”

We’re faced with the opportunity and the burning need for real change. PR won’t do that. Changing the structure and the system of how we experience politics and how we relate to power will. Voting for the tired old system and the tired old Union won’t do that either, that’s why we’re seeing the political classes in blind panic heading for the exits.




Comments (56)

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  1. JBS says:

    Labour, the Tories, and the Libdems wanted Scotland to remain as part of the Union so they did their damnedest to secure a majority No vote at the Indyref. Well, they got their wish; Scotland is still a part of the UK. Let them suck it up.

  2. Great piece.

    But PR is part of the radical change that is needed. It is not an obstacle Scotland extricating itself from Westminster, but means our neighbours can also extricate themselves.

    James Kelly writes:
    “So if the London establishment are no longer enjoying the supposed “advantage” of first-past-the-post (i.e. single-party elective dictatorship on a minority vote), they might just conclude that they have nothing left to lose by . . . introducing proportional representation to weaken the SNP’s influence. Let’s hope so – even when the right thing is done for stupid and offensive reasons, it’s still the right thing.” http://scotgoespop.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-ultimate-irony-anti-scottish.html

    We need to continue to take the long view, one that builds our credibility and integrity in the eyes of others. Having another Tory Government might seem like a gift to the independence cause, but it wouldn’t be. Just as having Thatcher elected again and again didn’t radicalise the left, it shafted it. We need good change to be happening across the board, and that’s the beauty of what could happen if the SNP can wield a strong hand in relation to Labour – they can build for independence while building support across these islands for self-determination, anti-austerity, anti-Trident and – beneath all that – a democratic system south of the border that takes its lead from what we already have north of it.

    1. hatfinch says:

      Your comment sums up perfectly my thoughts on the matter, Justin.

  3. Peter A Bell says:

    “Faced with an excess of democracy Britain just threatens to change the rules.”

    The British state summed up in a single sentence.

    It is important to note that it is not only Scotland that is affected by the British state’s contempt for democracy. It may be Scotland which is bearing the brunt of the British establishment’s vengeful ire at the moment, but when the state gives itself licence to disregard the proprieties and legalities of civilised democracy it will not readily relinquish the power it is afforded by this latitude. That power will find a purpose. It will be deployed in the service of the ruling elites. And democracy can only be further diminished.

    1. maxi kerr says:

      Totally correct Peter,the question is “how and when will their plan be implemented”?.

  4. bringiton says:

    Westminster decides what is legitimate and what isn’t.
    English MPs clearly see Scottish MPs who are not under their control as a threat and
    it will be interesting to see how they react after May.
    Perhaps they may come to the conclusion that it will be best to rid themselves of the troublesome Scots forever and continue to have absolute rule of a smaller domain rather than
    being challenged and thwarted at every turn.
    We wish!

  5. emilytom67 says:

    We need to be very very aware of the the government/lackies and their neo-con slavish kow-towing to the Americans,Fallon Hammond this week telling us about the threat from Putins Russia when in fact it is the opposite,it is driven by the lunatics in Washington,we have no say whatsoever there is a very grave danger of this escalating and getting out of hand.

    1. Jim Bennett says:

      You forgot the Atlanticist Murphy and his defence of the Israeli attacks on Palestinians.

  6. Brian Powell says:

    Should be said,and oft repeated, that the BBC is an integral part of this whole rotten system of entitlement and corruption.
    All the creatures lurking under the stone are being pulled out into the light.

  7. Bob Agassi says:

    Please let the Scottish Labour MP be the Chairchoob.. or Sarwar.. or Curran .. or Murphy.. oh hell please let it be them all 😀

  8. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    Some of them should be heading for The Hague.

  9. Robert Graham says:

    this state and this system is incapable of change or reform they and we know its only a matter of time ,right minded people here need to start to adopt the mind set this union is and has been f/kd for some time ,plan for life wihtout Westminster we cant and never will be able to work with them on their terms a total break is the only way

  10. Ken MacColl says:

    It would be interesting to have the identity of the “sane” Scotlab MP. I went through the lists twice and I am still baffled!

  11. scot2go2 says:

    excellent blog… detail that is now exposed for what its worth… bbc “”impartiality”” … joke… head mandarin… who has never been elected… never stood for ANY political party…. yet blatantly displays his unnatural proclivities… without censure!!… RBS collusion??… yet how much of this will the daily fail or it’s sister paper the daily vow…. headline these facts… to inform ALL sides of Scottish society the truth??… which is clearly something that is as foreign to them as snow in the Sahara…

  12. Corporatist Hell says:

    No panic here.

    Right now, by my calculations / the pollsters I go with, Conservatives 284, Lib Dems 23, DUP 8, = 315. Magic number practically is 323. So they need only 8 more. 54 days to go.

    That’s with SNP on 55. (I hope Dim Jim loses too … Lib Dems probably survive in Berwickshire).

    Even your SNP on 48 won’t make Labour the largest party.

    Milibean and Labour crumbling north and south of the border. Still mixed noises in the English marginals, but recent change is Conservatives creeping ahead of Labour in the polls on overall vote for the first time in three years.

    The next government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be a coalition between the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats and the Democratic Unionist Party.

    The SNP will have no more power than a pre-coalition Liberal Democrats. The SNP are going to spend the next Parliament ranting, impotently, from the sidelines.

    And you can forget your share of the £180bn pocket money Nicola is demanding – you’ll get none of it.

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      It’s 326 you need for a majority in the Commons.

      1. Corporatist Hell says:

        Technically 326 required for a majority.

        Practically 323 would be sufficient to survive a no-confidence vote – so 323 would get you in government.

      2. Jim Bennett says:

        Strip out the venom from Corporatist Hell and its possible he could be correct. (Dean, Sinn Fein don’t take up their seats, so a lower than expected no. of seats is needed).

        To be honest, I think the focus on coalition possibilities and voting numbers should really be played down at this stage. The focus should be on policy and programme. The obsession with the possibility of who might get what reminds me of the last days of the referendum campaign when the YES campaign was celebrating the campaign instead of winning votes. The focus needs to be on winning people over to the last day.

        Corporatist Hell isn’t worried about the SNP. Am I bovvered? Nah… It means that the democratic illegitimacy of the place that Scotland has in the UK state will be exposed again and again. Also, there’s a deal to be had on us maximising our own powers in exchange for taking Scottish MPs out of voting on matters not concerning us.

        However, let’s focus on policy, not potential deals.

        1. bellacaledonia says:

          Policy where?

    2. david agnew says:

      So much for better together and best of both worlds. We are faced with the stark choice of voting for Team EVEL or Team Stupid and hoping they give us at least one lick of the jam spoon. Or we vote SNP and get locked out of Britain. You know, you could be forgiven for thinking the NO campaign had lost the referendum the way they’re behaving.

      The success of the union in Scotland was pragmatic politics. Somewhere along the way that was forgotten. Instead its just bluster and threats. The thames foaming with blood, the entire legitimacy of the electoral system being questioned, because Scotland couldn’t be arsed carrying Scottish labour anymore. How very unwelcome and democratic of us.

      All they are succeeding at doing is making Scotland’s place in the union untenable. Which does make you wonder what Better together and Westminster had hoped to achieve back in 2014.
      Reconciliation? Emotional ties to the concept of British identity? A family of nations within a united kingdom? It now seems to be the furthest things from their minds.

      When I am asked to consider the alternative in the name of “national unity” – I look at the cartoonishly inept array of parties like Labour, Conservatives, Lib-dems and UKIP and think: “You want me to vote for those arseholes? You have got to be yanking my chain”

      Seriously though, I have to ask. If the no camp won such a decisive victory, how in the name of God did it manage to go from being a winner to such a snide two-faced little loser?

  13. Frederick Robinson says:

    How can you talk about ‘official collusion’ with a straight face when the governing party in power in Scotland organised the referendum, gave it official support, aid, and backing, and led the ‘Yes’ campaign with the country’s First and Second Ministers leading the charge? It is as if in Soviet Russia, the Kremlin organised and led a ‘referendum’ (accessible only to those the Kremlin deemed ‘Russians’ or ‘Soviets’) on the popularity of the existing situation, and complained if – at the last minute, and reluctantly, with embarrassment, ‘the West’ pointed out some of the nation’s weaknesses. And continued to complain after the referendum had produced the ‘wrong’ result.

    1. Robert Graham says:

      Are you out for the day ? , this care in the community has a lot to answer for ,it’s not working is it ?

      1. Phil Robertson says:

        Keep the Jeremy Clarkson humour to yourself.

    2. Richard Anderson says:

      I agree that there is something From the eastern bloc about this. It wasn’t the Scottish Government that set up the foreign office campaign to invite all nations to criticise the ideas of scottish self determination. I will never forget that the UK government invited Putin of all people to intervene! The evidence from Cochers and others shows the extent to which maniplulation of the press was a central plank of the campaign by No.recent revelations in the Sunday Herald and today’s National show the collusion of civil service. the current propaganda from the scotland office allied to union flags flying from every building and bridge and motorways suggest internal colonialism is on its way. Playing with the voting structure is bound to happen (gerrymandering) and we can expect the lessons of the Irish Independence movement from the late 19th century, not to be learned. The Commonwealth Games were turned into UK propaganda moments by Cameron where wealthy elite athletes are paraded in support of the state following the Olympics extravaganza. The more I think about it, our elite athletes confirm the kremlinisation of the UK body politic. You can be assured that the true costs of the exercise will be well hidden while the money spent by the Scottish Government will be trumpeted throughout the land. But we lost. I don’t believe anyone here disagrees with that fact. Your kremlin ideation of the point only serves to show your support for propaganda over democracy. The democracy bit is happening now. People who voted No as well as those that voted Yes seem to want change. I would have considered voting No if the UK government had come forward with a credible vision of Scotland within the UK. I felt betrayed and alienated by that failure. It still hasn’t done so and the need for real change is all too obvious. Change is coming anyway. The UK government can’t afford to spend the next 50 years propagandising in Scotland and the main westminster parties are congealing in to one homogenous clot. It is a most interesting time.

  14. Robert says:

    all these years our votes never altered the outcome of who would end up leading the country,but now it will and now there is something wrong,double standards as usual,if it is not what you want change the rules to get what you want,typical corrupt politicians who want everything to suit them and to hell with the people.How can we trust such a corrupt government,and they have the audacity to pass judgement on other countries with corrupt politicians ,pot and kettle come to mind.

  15. JLT says:

    As each week passes, the general public; even those who may not follow politics attentively, are very much aware that something is wrong. That that ‘something’ is not only making the mainstream Unionist politicians nervous, but the actual nation of England itself. They don’t even have to read it in a newspaper. They switch on TV, and literally every night, they hear stories of the horror car crash that awaits Britain should the SNP not only send 50 MP’s to London (I think 35 is more likely), but that they are going to create an unholy alliance with Labour to govern the nation.
    Now …there are still going to be Labour supporters out there who voted ‘No’ in the referendum, that will be sitting there and feeling absolutely insulted. Fair enough that the SNP may send a majority of MP’s down to London, but there will still be a few Labour MP’s going down to, and whether they like it or not, those same supporters will want to see a coalition between the two parties.
    But to hear again, and again, and again from the media, that the Scottish nation is determined to ruin Britain; these stalinist-right wing-left wing-racist-Nazis Scots are going to bleed England dry is doing more damage than the media companies actually realise. Not only are they quietly angering the Scottish nation, but they are fuelling the English Electorate into a state of real resentment.
    How this plays out after the May election is still open to question …but what may be almost certain, the harmony that exists between Scotland and England may have changed, and instead, we may hear both nations talking about the state, and even the future of the Union. By painting the Scots black, the media may just fracture the Union to a point, that no amount of spin will repair it.

    1. Corporatist Hell says:

      ‘the media …fueling the English electorate into a state of real resentment … the harmony that exists between Scotland and England may have changed … by painting the Scots black …’

      Always with playing the victim card, and blaming the ‘mainstream right wing media’.

      There is indeed a growing sense (across the spectrum) amongst some English voters along these lines.

      But who started this? SALMOND.

      With his threats and bluster, towards the rest of the UK, and the EU. On currency union, Scotland taking on its share of the debt / accepting a deficit. Those ridiculous threats towards the EU about access to fishing waters (rUK has skin in that game) whining about being ‘bullied’ etc. etc.

      Take a look closer to home about where all this started. And give it a rest with the victim / persecution complex.

      Sturgeon in fairness is trying to build bridges (while angling for a deal / bribe with Milibean for ‘an end to austerity’ i.e. more pocket money)

      Born in Scotland but spent second half of my life in England here, fyi.

      And completely supportive of you making your own choices up there – Indyref 2 now, I say.

      1. Bob Agassi says:

        But who started this? SALMOND.

        With his threats and bluster, towards the rest of the UK, and the EU. On currency union, Scotland taking on its share of the debt / accepting a deficit. Those ridiculous threats towards the EU about access to fishing waters (rUK has skin in that game) whining about being ‘bullied’ etc. etc.

        Whit! !Alex Salmond wrote racist disparaging comments about the rUK… never seen that one..
        And threats and bluster about currency union WTF it’s Scotland’s pound too and if we don’t have a currency union how can we service our share of the debt, that’s not a threat it’s just a fact.

        And we were told that if Scotland voted Yes we would find ourselves outside the EU so how in God’s name is he threatening the EU, FFS if we’re not in it how can the other nations fish our waters..

        Born in Scotland but spent second half of my life in England here, fyi

        Aye you’re a wee bit out of touch.

      2. JLT says:

        ‘Always with playing the victim card, and blaming the ‘mainstream right wing media’.’

        ‘But who started this? SALMOND.’

        ‘With his threats and bluster, towards the rest of the UK, and the EU. On currency union, Scotland taking on its share of the debt / accepting a deficit. Those ridiculous threats towards the EU about access to fishing waters (rUK has skin in that game) whining about being ‘bullied’ etc. etc.’

        ‘Take a look closer to home about where all this started. And give it a rest with the victim / persecution complex.’


        Ehhh! I’ve got to agree with Bob Agassi in his comment below. What on earth are you talking about???? Something tells me you’re trolling here, but you know what, I’ll play along.

        To begin with, your assessment on what ‘Salmond did’ is so off the mark, that you must be trolling.

        Secondly, have you seen the Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Sun, etc in the last 2 or 3 weeks with their constant attacks not only on the SNP, but on Scotland in general?
        Thirdly, Nicola Sturgeon looking for ‘more pocket money’ …Priceless, mate! Nicola isn’t angling for more pocket money. She’s angling for ‘Home Rule’ …as promised in the broken ‘Vow’ made by the 3 Unionist leaders. That means all tax revenues, including all the oil and whisky revenues, will now stay in Scotland; full control of the media in Scotland, which in turn, will see the end of the Barnett Formula entirely!

        If true, and you were ‘Born in Scotland’ as you say, ‘but spent half of my life in England’, then sorry to say, pal, but you are way out of touch with political matters here in Scotland. However, I do suspect that you are just a troll. Instead of worrying what we are doing in Scotland, I would be more concerned about the lack of vision emanating from the Unionist Parties of Westminster, who are literally dancing to the tune of UKIP. Want advice …vote for the Greens, and start thinking about democracy in its proper form, and not what the media seem to tell you what it is …which by the way …is owned by the ‘right wing’ otherwise known as …’the Establishment!’

        Glad to have enlightened you!

      3. JLT says:

        Ah! A troll.

        First of all, let me just state that your counter argument to mine comes across as foolish and makes you look absolutely clueless. Your ‘Salmond’ argument reveals you clearly that you have no idea what you are gibbering on about. Remember mate …everyone here on this site is a supporter of independence. You’re the sore thumb that sticks out. We all KNOW what we’re talking about when it comes to Scottish and UK affairs.
        If you were ‘Born in Scotland but spent second half of my life in England here’ as you state, then you’ve been away from Scotland far too long, and therefore, really don’t have a clue as to what is going on up here.

        However, I will give you a piece of advice. Vote for the Greens and thus, proper democracy. You will not only be enlightening yourself, but will be helping the rest of the UK to a better future. Voting for any of the mainstream Unionist Parties is a complete waste of time since they are dancing in fear to the tune of UKIP, and well, they are just going to shaft you some more if they do get back in.

        And oh, by the way ….when you say ‘Always with playing the victim card, and blaming the ‘mainstream right wing media’ …then, heads up, mate …the media are owned by the right-wing of society …otherwise known as ‘the Establishment’.

      4. JLT says:

        Hi Bob Agassi …my last entry was not directed at you, mate. Totally agree with your argument to Corporatist Hell. Cheers!

  16. ScottishLass says:

    I feckin love it!! Mon the Scots!!

  17. macart763 says:

    Sir Nicholas MacPherson, the clue was always in the title. “people are seeking to destroy the fabric of the state”, and to “impugn its territorial integrity”. People? Strange term to use when describing the citizens of a political partner deciding whether they wish to remain politically joined at the hip, most especially when they are deciding the future of their very own country and governance.

    Then of course there was Deputy Director Marco Pisani of the govt’s. Referendum Unit:

    “We all had something in common, we’re trying to save the Union here, and it came so close. We just kept it by the skin of our teeth.

    “I actually cried when the result came in. After 10 years in the civil service, my proudest moment is tonight and receiving this award.”

    He added: “As civil servants you don’t get involved in politics. For the first time in my life, suddenly we’re part of a political campaign. We were doing everything from the analysis, to the advertising, to the communications. I just felt a massive sense of being part of the operation.”

    And with these admissions not only has the civil service lost any credibility it may have had, but utterly destroyed the credibility of the government narrative of non interference. Of course they interfered, from the lobbying of big business to pressure and pleading of international assistance. The state in action when threatened.

    An outbreak of democracy on their watch? That would never do.

    1. steelewires says:

      Surely these boasts by McPherson and others invalidates the result of the referendum? What can we about it?

      1. macart763 says:

        It doesn’t invalidate it, but it does cast serious doubts on its credibility as a result. As any politician will tell you there is no way you can hold a process to account or indeed a politician for telling lies during a campaign. The onus is on the voter to smell out the flaws in both the process and the politicians statements.

        That the state was going to seriously bend the rules was a given as was the fact that even the supposed non partisan (oh jeez) civil service would be used in the fashion they were. That their politicians would seriously colour their statements was also a given. What was unexpected was the shear arrogance of both post referendum to declare their bending of said rules as a badge of pride. That they had deliberately coloured content of releases and manipulated with intent to effect an outcome favouring the state, which they perceived to be under threat. So much for ‘a decision for Scots alone’.

        All they had to do was keep their face shut, but no, they’re quite proud of destroying the credibility of their department in their service to the state. The thing is, with such conclusive statements comes a price. Since HMG did indeed do all of the above, just why should we sit on our hands for several more decades of further abuse? Why should the Scottish electorate, knowing what has taken place, sit down and shut up about it?

        The plain fact is we don’t have to. We can opt for another referendum any time we feel like it and we wouldn’t require any section thirty permission either. 😉

  18. How many hundreds of years have they had to change the fundamentals of the voting system?

    How many governments have been elected by having less than 50% of the electorate?

    How many months have they taken to decide that the current system is not fair?

    Any guesses why?

  19. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I think we stand here potentially on the cusp of a momentous result on May 7th. What happens over the next immediate period will be very interesting indeed. I sense a real aggressive desire to assert Scottishness growing which renders all the competing campaign themes entirely irrelevant. There is also a huge appetite to punish Labour. If this continues and grows (and it is beyond reason) we could end up with majority of the vote as well as a majority of the seats.
    But,then again it can slip away as quickly as it has built up. I rather wish I was writing this on 30th April

  20. Proportional representation – and by corollary – allowing minority voices to have decent representation in Parliament, is pivotal for transforming politics. If the SNP seriously can unlock that by panicking Westminster, it is a *massive* win for democracy.

  21. steelewires says:

    Surely the boasts of McPherson and thers that they acted to save the British state and territory invalidate the result of the referendum? What can we do about it?

  22. Johnny come lately says:

    “We’re faced with the opportunity and the burning need for real change. PR won’t do that”.

    I wouldn’t quite agree with that remark as a standalone. When asked how it can be that Great Britain has went from being the world’s largest industrial country to where it stands now, most historians point the blame squarely at Britain’s political system as the culprit.
    Changing the two party system to a PR system would change everything, which is the reason being that Westminster is so reluctant to change it. As for the “legitimacy question”, if the system is changed because of Scotland, then it will have to be changed throughout the entire island for Westminster elections, which really puts the ruling elite in a bind. Interesting times indeed!

  23. Johnny come lately says:

    @Corporatist Hell

    Quite a little rant there, however you are missing the elephant in the room. It could be the SNP will not have influence after the results come in, but what is most important is that they have a majority of Scottish Westminster seats.
    My understanding is Westminster cannot enact legislation for Scotland without the agreeance of the majority Scottish Westminster MP’s. My understanding is also, that Holyrood need only agree that certain be transferred (not devolved, which is powers loaned) and if the majority of Scottish Westminster MP’s are in agreeence, then they powers have to be transferred. The reason being is that the will of Scotland is paramount in law! Henceforth the panic! You could find that if Scotland returns a simple majority of Scottish Mp’s to Westminster who are representining Scotland’s interests, then the cat has been set amongst the pigeons with or without a coalition!

    1. Corporatist Hell says:


      Thanks for replying.

      Rant? In what way is it a rant? I’ve even supported and welcomed Indyref 2, as soon as practicable.

      (In manifesto for 2016 SPGE – IR2 2020 before SPGE 2021?)

      The opening paragraph of the article referred to ‘widespread panic’.

      However, re. post May 7, you’re right, fair points, and this may come to pass.

      Where I live (Greater Manchester) we are on the up and ploughing our own furrow, and on a personal level me and the family are doing great, so we have no worries – or ‘panic’ about the future.

      I have no problem with additional powers for Scotland, devolved, transferred or otherwise. Carry on, do your own thing.

      In this new landscape / that beyond 7 May, I do have a problem with Scotland and Scottish MPs interfering in our business.

      E.G. this notion of Scottish MPs voting on matters relating to e.g. the English NHS (though again in GM we are going to plough our own furrow on that)

      I can understand to some extent the perspective about wanting to ‘thwart’ privatisation (even though that’s not on the cards – of course the Labour Party’s howling since 2010 that it would all be privatised by 2015 have not come to pass), protecting the Scottish NHS budget etc.

      But again, that’s why I’d say, if you are not happy, Indyref 2 as soon as possible, and you can sort yourselves out, and we won’t have all this trouble.

      In a sense we do have one thing in common – in GM, Labour (as in the Labour Party) are increasingly seen by those leading the GM ‘project’ as part of the problem, not part of the solution.

      On ‘cat amongst the pigeons’. In practice, it remains to be seen the lengths some of the ‘mainstream’ (and maybe other) parties will be prepared to go to thwart you, filibustering, etc.

      I am curious to see how the new SNP MPs do, especially the most inexperienced ones, 350 miles away from the Mothership.

      (I’m not condoning this behaviour by the way, just sayin’.)

      1. JBS says:

        Thank you for supporting independence for Scotland.

  24. MBC says:

    I think we are in really interesting times. If the SNP returns as many MPs as polls suggest, and if they are locked out of power, one way or another, for instance if Labour refuses to negotiate with them or the Lib Dems decide to support the Tories not Labour, and if the new government imposes laws on Scotland with the SNP being denied any influence on them, then it will become rapidly apparent to the 55% who voted No that Scotland is to be treated like a colony with no democratic input whatsoever in the UK.

    And that the UK is a toxic bind on Scottish aspirations for a better economy and a fairer society.

    It would certainly mean that the constitutional question is going to dominate the next government of the UK. As the 55% are not going to like being slapped in the face. They lent the UK their vote, out of fear, and out of a vague sense of it being the more co-operative and constructive thing to do.

    When it rapidly becomes obvious that the UK have shafted them, them most will turn.

  25. George Gebbie says:

    Didn’t the UK Government hold a referendum on changing the voting system from FPTP to a proportional system in 2011? Wasn’t that a ‘No’ Vote? Why can’t they just accept the result and move on???!!!

  26. Johnny come lately says:

    @George Gebbie
    A government think-tank (in 2010 I think) had advised the government of the day that future governments no longer could enjoy huge swaths of the population voting for them due to societal changes.
    The report warned that failure to move over to a more representative voting model would inevitably lead to the political system being destabilized.
    The answer of course was to chose the most complicated and least attractive voting option (as this was easiest to shoot down) as a sop to the Libdems. Now the bill has arrived.
    A system which was designed to give one party a thumping majority on less than half of the vote is failing and indeed you can almost feel the whole system beginning to wobble.
    I would like to point out that it is Wesminster who is talking about not accepting the result of its own refererendum on the matter. Life can be absurd sometimes:)

  27. Phil Robertson says:

    Do you believe that the news that RBS was considering moving to London should have been hidden from the public?

    Kenneth Gibson clearly doesn’t do irony with his comment about “the people of Scotland deserve the truth on this matter” when he means the truth about who leaked rather than the truth of the contents of the leak.

  28. macart763 says:

    No, Mr Robertson he does not.

    You do realise that such a briefing is highly confidential? That the person who leaked this information was in breech of their own brief in releasing market sensitive information on a corporate body to the media? That clearly the reason they took such a chance was to effect as adversely as possible the outcome of a public referendum? This from a body charged with impartiality?

    It really doesn’t get any more serious as a charge in parliamentary terms.

    This information was released to the media by the treasury before the formal release to the markets. It was always intended for release, but in their haste to derail the YES campaign, they committed a possible illegal act. They have certainly badly damaged their own credibility and confidentiality as well as that of wider government.

  29. Phil Robertson says:

    You seem to be ducking the issue.

    If releasing the information is being impartial that implies that the SNP had a benefit in hiding the information from the public (as they did with advice about EU membership).Given the choice I prefer the information to be in the public domain rather than have SNP politicians keeping things hidden.

    Again I find it ironic to describe letting the public know what is going on as” to effect as adversely as possible the outcome of a public referendum” (sic).

  30. macart763 says:

    No, you are ducking or rather diverting the issue. There are rules to be observed in the release of corporate information via the market and rules to be observed by the civil service. The person who leaked the information to the media broke those rules with intent.

    Sensitive market information is released at the time and choosing of the company involved. Confidentiality and impartiality is the remit of the civil service. The leak flagrantly flaunted those rules, broke the code of impartiality and confidentiality and exposed both the civil service and HMG to a compromised position.

    As has been stressed previously, you can’t have a more serious charge levelled. The civil service’s impartiality has been compromised and by their own admission.

    That and only that is the issue at hand.

    1. Phil Robertson says:

      The rules about releasing sensitive information apply to the company. I’m not sure that they have any hold over third parties. Secondly there was no great change in the RBS price as a result of the leak.

      As regards impartiality it is difficult to see how the release of bald facts shows any partiality. That would only be the case if some comment or gloss was applied to the information which was released in response to a press query.

      Much more worrying was the SNP view that the information should be hidden from the voters.

      1. macart763 says:

        Still ducking and diverting the issue I see.

        A government official released this information to the media ahead of the company’s own scheduled release. A government official charged with impartiality.

        As for your utterly nonsensical charge of the SNP covering up said company release? Oh please!

        Its not within the SNPs power to do so even if they wanted to. This was corporate information which the company themselves were set to release at a time of THEIR choosing.

        Direct quote from the Herald piece:

        “The communication was also issued while the RBS board was meeting to discuss the matter and before the bank had first made a statement to the financial markets, breaching trading rules.

        Now the civil servant who issued the communication can be identified as Robert Mackie, the son of Catherine MacLeod, who was a special adviser to Better Together leader Alistair Darling when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. It is understood the link will be highlighted in former first minister Alex Salmond’s autobiography, which is being published this Thursday.”

        Seems straight forward enough.

        I think also both Sir Nicholas and Mr Pisani left us with little doubt as to where the civil service’s much vaunted impartiality stops and ‘territorial integrity’ begins.

        But to be sure let’s hear from Sir Nicholas one more time;

        Speaking in January at the inaugural event of the Strand Group, a seminar series established by the Policy Institute at King’s College London, Macpherson defended the Treasury’s role in the referendum, stating: “Her Majesty’s Treasury is by its nature a unionist institution. The clue lies is in the name.”

  31. Phil Robertson says:

    “A government official released this information to the media ahead of the company’s own scheduled release. A government official charged with impartiality. ”

    In case you didn’t notice the Chancellor announced the sale of £9bn worth of Lloyds shares (not the company). I repeat for your benefit that third parties are NOT subject to trading rules. To quote, “Rules to that effect are contained in the FSA’s Disclosure and Transparency Rules (DTR) and apply to companies with a full listing on the London Stock Exchange.”.

    And you still haven’t indicated how releasing the information showed as lack of impartiality given that it was an honest answer to a query from the press.

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