Lessons from Yes

1410893869063_wps_81_GLASGOW_SCOTLAND_SEPTEMBEReading through the Commonweal report “The Yes Volunteers – Capturing the “Biggest grassroots campaign in Scotland’s History” and responding to some of the discussions from yesterday, here’s some further points.

Some people have accused this of being ‘navel-gazing’ and seem confused that it is self-congratulatory. It’s neither. It is the first comprehensive analysis of a large sample of people about what was the biggest political event in our lives. If people want to debate or question its methodology that’s fine – but they need to be specific about where they think it’s flawed.

One complaint made was that ‘the task is to persuade voters not activists’. Which is quite right but also completely misses the point. The survey analyses how and why and when people were inspired to take part and what work they did. Any campaign on this scale, in the past and hopefully in the future requires mobilising large amounts of people to do a lot of campaigning. The reality is there was simply no equivalent of the Mass Voter registration campaigns on the Better Together side, and this work came (almost overwhelmingly) out of RIC.

The second complaint heard yesterday was that this represented a far-left perspective that would alienate small ‘c’ conservative Scotland, the ‘middle classes’ or people in Aberdeen, for example. I’m not sure how you can represent a bland unthreatening case for independence that suits all and ignores the socio-economic crisis we face. This seems both politically illiterate (as it ignores the motivations of people wanting real change) and strategically incoherent. It also feeds into the tendency to put-off all and every political discussion until after.

rsz_scottish_anarchismThe political task is to engage people to see an entirely different future, not to stay within the current paradigm of political thinking. An example of this is desperate measures taken to persuade people that there would still be a massive employment in the military in an independent Scotland. There shouldn’t be and we shouldn’t make that case.

If you want to present a case that is based on ‘nothing will really change’ go for it, but don’t expect me to take part.

But the arguments is wrongheaded for another reason. The defining attribute of RIC, the National Collective, Women for Indy (or a dozen more such groups) was not that they were of and from the left, though they clearly were, but that they were self-organising. So they acted as we wanted to become: independent. They encouraged open and free thinking, from base principles and were open to tackling difficult subjects and were inclusive to all. These were the hallmarks of these groups, and it should be said, much of the wider sprawling chaotic Yes movement. It is this characteristic – self-organisation – thinking for yourself – which fuelled the movement.

As the report states: “As RIC, WFI, BfS and National Collective were grassroots organisations set up out with the official Yes Scotland campaign, this is evidence of the empowerment and
grassroots nature of the overall movement.”

The report asks:

Which Yes groups did they join?
• 71.8% were members of a local Yes group
• 66.2% of volunteers said they were active in more than one Yes aligned group
• 39.2% were active as part of the Radical Independence Campaign (RIC)
• 67.7% of women were active with Women for Independence (WFI)
• 30.8% were active with National Collective
• 23.8% were active with Business for Scotland (BfS)

Within organisations certain groups were found to be more or less active:
• For WFI, RIC and National Collective, the 25-34 age group and those identifying as lesbian or bisexual were more likely to rate themselves as having been fairly or extremely active
• In RIC and National Collective, the under 25 age group were more likely to rate themselves as having been fairly or extremely active.
• Among Business for Scotland members, men saw themselves as more active

Self-Deception

There is a ‘but’ to all this though. The case for winning hearts and minds of No voters through rational argument (and inspiration) is clear. But we also need to face up to the reality that whilst the campaign was inspiring for hundreds of thousands of us, the ‘spectacle’ of packed live events was mirrored by the sullen stay-at-home No voter with their empty window. We became enthralled to the phenomenon and detached from the others reality. That’s a challenge for any campaign and its one of many we’ll need to change for next time.

So we seem to have succeeded in ‘reaching out’ to the disaffected and the marginalised, to demographic groups who had been actively or passively encouraged NOT to participate, including women, young people and low-income groups to see common cause. What we need to do now is to inspire an even wider base of society that their interests are better served in a functioning democracy. That is not the same as convincing them that things will be exactly as they are now. They will not.

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  1. Stewart Bremner says:

    One topic we might want to investigate, should we get another chance at this, is that of how to connect with older people. Last time around this was overlooked, leaving a gaping hole in electorate coverage that no one seemed to notice. To my mind this was a major oversight and, when mixed with the overwhelmingly hostile corporate media, led to the result we saw.

    The majority of volunteer groups involved previously seemed to run effective and passionate campaigns and I doubt that they could have done more than they did.

    1. Eric Morrison says:

      I despair when I hear of “older people” being referred to with the assumption that they are all brain dead, have no interest in reading/listening to political arguments or worse still believing the unionist media.
      Some of them, granted, may not be computer literate but unfortunately it would appear that many older people just did not want change of any description – it was all too much for some.
      Instead Independence groups should have been more savvy in being able to quash rumours/lies about threats to jobs and pensions AND had stronger arguments about currency in a post Indy Scotland.
      For your info I am +70, computer literate and made sure I had the facts available.
      Sadly it would appear that many couldn’t contemplate perceived upheaval. Sadly too some are also dyed in the wool unionists or self satisfied conservative pensioners who feared an erosion of their middle class lifestyle.

      1. Stewart Bremner says:

        For the record, I don’t think older people (which I know is an imprecise and bad descriptor) are all brain dead.

    2. florian albert says:

      If supporters of Independence want to win over older (or any other) No voters, avoiding gratuitous insults might be a reasonable place to start.
      Mike Small writes of ‘the sullen, stay-at-home No voter with their empty window.’

      It does not appear to occur to Mike Small and many his ilk that, what the Yes campaign, which he views in an entirely positive light, actually alienated a lot of potential supporters.

      The referendum could have been won by Yes. At the heart of their failure was a campaigning failure by the SNP and the rest of Yes Scotland.

      1. Steven Milne says:

        Excellent point Florian. The Yes campaign has painted itself into a corner by only looking to the left for votes and demonising No voters.

        Most No voters were not diehard unionists but were put off by some or all of the following characteristics which they associated with the Yes campaign:

        Extreme socialism
        Anti- English attitudes
        Economic illiteracy
        Sense of moral superiority
        Intolerance
        Aggression
        Lack of dignity and manners
        Resentment

        1. Redgauntlet says:

          Okay, Steven so how would you characterize what has been done to Scotland for the last 300 years? 300 years of servitude in my opinion, so many have to leave our own country to earn a living. Look at the population figures and see the story of national decline.

          Okay, maybe sometimes our passion gets the better of us, we’re all human…but the root cause, the complete injustice, the sheer contempt England has shown Scotland since Thatcher, these are things which demand a robust response…

          1. Steven Milne says:

            Over the past 300 years Scotland has been part of a United Kingdom which has punched well above it’s weight on the global stage and played a huge role in the advancement of human civilisation through the Industrial Revolution, Enlightenment and World War 2.

            Can you be more specific about “the sheer contempt England has shown Scotland since Thatcher”.

            Standards of living in Scotland have improved immensely in Scotland since Mrs Thatcher became PM in 1979.

            Wages have gone up in real terms
            Rampant inflation is long gone
            More people own their own homes
            Income tax down from 33% to 20%
            More cars on the road
            Foreign holidays no longer a luxury for the few
            More people employed than ever before
            Greater choice of goods and services
            Life expectancy up from 72 to 80

        2. Doubting Thomas says:

          Totally concur.

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            “Punched above its weight”, Steven? You mean imperialism.

            Get out of Scotland now and again. Travel. Listen to what they think of your UK “punching above its weight”. Nobody can stand the country…nobody likes the friggin English, and all your growth and glory has been STOLEN at gunpoint against the Third World…

        3. Papko says:

          Exactly Steven

          The fervent campaign run by YES , did convert many , it also alienated many (I would say just as much )

          All this “first time voters went for YES ” , well it may well have been tru of the sub 18 year olds , but many people regd to vote , that never bother with politics precisely because they wanted to vote NO .

          For evidence I would point to the areas with “yes ” majorities , Dundee , Glasgow , had significantly lower tunrouts , than elsewhere in the country .

          Could not the fact that half Dundee was positively messianic , in the days prior to the vote , have alienated there immediate neighbours , and persuaded them not to vote at all .

          it does seem strange

    3. David Allan says:

      The YES movement lacked passionate inspiration from MUSIC a uniting song of Independence was needed . Not Flower of Scotland a new song of inspiration that could have attracted and inspired the doubters.

      A good rousing revolutionary song that’s what was missing from YES 2014 we need adopt such a song next time.

      An equivalent to Wolf Tones ” you’ll never beat the Irish ” Next time the YES Movement needs a more passionate cultural dimension to express why our nation should be Independent.

  2. Alistair Livingston says:

    The unofficial Yes campaign was DIY politics. I will never forget when Radical Independence Dumfries and Galloway managed to get 50 people to turn out on a November night in 2013 to a meeting in Castle Douglas community centre. Amazing.

  3. Bill Melvin says:

    The dilemma for NO voters is that they never grasped or understood what the real YES grassroots movement was about. Unlike the many who joined overtime, they never go off the sofa to go find out what was going on. Any informed individual who promotes the current set up only gets credence because the mainstream media is so skewed towards the unionist arguments, but in reality the frailties are being exposed by this privileged out of touch Tory executive. Our YES movement continues and we have learned that the YES leadership during the referendum was itself in some ways unrepresentative of the grassroots, but that is already being addressed and next time the YES movement will be unstoppable.

  4. Graeme Purves says:

    The corporate controlled media played a decisive role in bolstering and propagating the alternative reality. I know Labour Party members who, six months before the referendum, were confiding in me that they intended to vote ‘Yes’ and talking about joining the SNP, yet by September 2014 were sporting ‘Naw’ twibbons and condemning independence supporters as sinister blood and soil nationalists.

  5. muttley79 says:

    If you want to present a case that is based on ‘nothing will really change’ go for it, but don’t expect me to take part.

    I think you are misrepresenting or misunderstanding the point some of us were making Mike on the other article. It is not that you make a case for independence in which nothing will change. Of course that cannot be the case. But you have to listen to those who voted No and understand their concerns. Of course a significant element of those who voted No in September 2014 will never vote for independence, because of their strong British identity; they are ideologically opposed to independence, and there has to be an acceptance of this. But there are also those who are more conservative and more wary of the change independence represents. So it is not a case of running a Yes campaign saying nothing will change under independence, but you do not have to have different messages for different groups. You support the radical case for independence which is fine, but you have to understand the limitations and unattractiveness of this argument to more conservative opinion in Scotland.

  6. Broadbield says:

    Everyone seems to have their pet theories, but we’re not going to win next time with a campaign based on hearsay. I would like to see this research followed up by finding out why people voted No (and Yes) so that the campaign can address these issues. Not in a Blairite focus-group way telling them what they want to hear, but genuinely producing arguments.

  7. Gordie says:

    Quite enjoyed the report and found it fairly easy to follow.
    When you try to summarise a 2 year event in a report that curtailed recollection events is not going to ring true to everyone though.

    How do you reach out to people who didn’t want anything to do with the referendum? They weren’t unionists but voted NO on the basis that YES might mean change to their circumstances. They didn’t want their circumstances to change, shunned the event and rolled up on polling day and voted NO. They were entitled to that view but there were plenty of them and I don’t think you can easily reach that constituency if at all. We have the different varieties of British Nationalist voting NO and the traditional media guarantee NO a percentage of the rest (Skintland,Skintland, Skintland). Right now, 10-15% of the punters in Scotland may be open to changing their vote. At most. We might have to wait a bit yet. Hopefully good work will be carried out in the meantime to hurry the day on.

  8. Richard Gunn says:

    Yes, But

  9. Matt Seattle says:

    In one sense, the only way Scotland can become independent is if Scotland is already independent and can make its own laws about media ownership and untruthful and unbalanced reporting. There aren’t enough of the population who read Bella etc. rather than watch BBC, especially the older demographic. As one of that group myself I don’t want to have to wait till we’re aw deid for Scotland to be independent!
    Catch-22
    There is a saying “Only EVERYbody can know” (G I Gurdjieff). It takes all of us to do the knowing and to share the knowing, which is why the YES campaign was so wonderful. “Let’s get together and do it again” (Brian Wilson).

  10. john young says:

    Watching the political debate on tv last night,Nicola looked the very essence of a consummate politician and that is a very very big worry for me,skirting the arguments easily hiding behind the we are waiting for the conclusion of the moratorium,blah blah blah,certainly not what I am looking for,she seems to have slipped seamlessly into the politicians role.

    1. Andymac says:

      She IS a politician – what other role do you expect her to perform?

    2. Alf Baird says:

      I agree John, and the debate was very disappointing, the discussion mainly around whether or not to add less than 2% to the annual Holyrood budget via tax rises. The focus on education seems crude given that many graduates are already underemployed. There was no emphasis on trade promotion, job creation and economic growth, it was as if these things don’t matter? There was no attempt at giving any long term vision for Scotland. Really, none of these mainly ‘establishment’ party leaders are what you could call ‘great’ or ‘transformation’ leaders, the kind of people we need not only to deliver independence but to also offer real change after independence (e.g. clear-oot of a failed overpaid privileged unionist elite).

      1. C Rober says:

        Short termist politicians , with an election around the corner , surely not?

        Like you I would like to have seen more on the debate ie job creation , and some lateral thinking about it ie housing.

        In a country with a housing shortage , coupled with an inability to get on the ladder , then why remove RTB and not reform it as income for councils , creating jobs and training in local areas , empowering councils ones more as home builders once more?

        Private housing is wealth creation for Banks , land owners and developers , with their obscene profits , and ironically where the biggest developers are looking for hand outs for job training from the taxpayer through Holyrood and Westminster.

        More so when Holyrood force councils to sell off land for development , rather than use it themselves , which is creating landbanking price increases through urban lack of supply.

        As long as the Holyrood politician is geared for a housing supply that is the affordable lie , while enabling 100 percent profits for housebuilders with ignoring their own policies , and a private housing supply rate of 30x that of council building , then they will always be taken to task by me at least for it.

        But then again why are so many politicians or their partners landlords?

        Why is housing so important , and its control?

        It is after all the biggest single financial outgoing of any voter , followed by a car , usually on credit. Yet car makers profits are sub 10 percent , so perhaps the option here is to decrease the profit margins of housebuilding to along those lines.

        Google Toyota houses for a moment , juxtapositioning my car and home profit for a second and see how housing can change.

        With the 3 billion earmarked last October for housing by Holyrood this sort of industrial scale housing , with its 65 year warranties , this could and should be the way forward to creating personal wealth as well as housing , not just for that of the established few , through lower personal household expenditure on 30 year mortgages.

        If we could reduce that 30 year mortgage to 10 years , or even half it to 15 , then the householder has more personal wealth , ie direct income , not instead living as a life long mortgage slave putting more than 50 percent of their income on housing costs.

        This my friend is the way forward , to change housing , and the removal of wealth for the few increases the wealth of the masses themselves.

        With some consideration , ie a home is for life , we could easilly see a 10 month working year for the employed , creating further employement from personal enjoyment.

        1. Steven Milne says:

          Regarding the obscene profits of banks, I would point out that RBS has made a loss in every one of the past 7 years.

          Can you let me know which housebuilders are making 100% profits as I would like to invest in their shares.

          1. C Rober says:

            Rbs and other banks should have failed , but were bailed out by the taxpayer for casino banking. Posting a loss for 7 years is nothing as banking operates in generational time frames , not short term or indeed an average persons lifetime , bank bailouts Robin Hood in reverse , just look at Iceland , fecked for a term , now on track…. The Uk though , still muddling through.

            Dont get me started on the profit to be made from the shares in RBS , just look at LLYODS and the under valuing , enabling the investment funds to make fast money , rather that simply given back to the taxpayer – or indeed kept as an asset to slowly sell off by HMG itself offsetting the deficit.

            They all invested in non items like sub prime , mortgages that should not have been sold , and even in the case of Larger american banks , those that held all that bad debt originally , just sold it on globally and bet for it failing – win – win. Where is America today , the greenhouse of the crisis , well its back on track we are told to pre crash levels.

            But for the taxpayer lose-lose. What should have happened is that the UK mortgage books should have been socialized , rather than the bad debts themselves , but as long as the Uk is a services and housing bubble based economics it will never happen…. wealth of the few is and always will be protected.

            http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/26/recession-rich-britains-wealthiest-double-net-worth-since-crisis

            Even after 8 years of warnings , and need for banking change it is still there , a need exists to protect high st banking from global casino banking , protecting the taxpayer , saver and mortgage payer from blackmail from the banks on their govts , aka too big to fail and the generational austerity for the serfs that resulted from it.

            Those loans to GOVTS for taxpayer bailouts are from the central banks , which are not STATE banks which most of the population seem to think , but are privately owned ones , whom are laughing all the way to themselves – as their bad investments are ALWAYS paid for , ie the loans to high street banks that actually failed.

            While you may think that developers posting 30 plus percent profits in a year arent the 100 percent obscene profits I mention , you forget one thing , land banking , which is not included into their profits and turnover until resell. During the crisis the land banking from cheap credit has increased , as has planning applications , see link below.

            In the Uk these companies are banking land , with planning and sitting on it with its YOY value increases , along with market manipulation on supply to keep prices rising. They are aided by both Holyrood and Westminster in doing so , not punished for not doing so by them in a time of housing need.

            This is something that has to change , either withdraw the house-building from private developers and give it back to councils , or punish them for not using land and granted planning to slowly deflate pricing , even to the point of increasing self building as the only source of land sell off by councils would help remove the affordable housing lie.

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-housebuilders-restricting-the-supply-of-new-houses-to-keep-prices-unnecessarily-high-a6906016.html

  11. Steven Milne says:

    The Yes campaign was a broad coalition of traditional nationalists, socialists who felt abandoned by New Labour, Irish republicans and environmentalists.

    It appears all that unites them is a dislike of the Conservative Party and of the UK state.

    They are mistaken if they believe that anyone outside this broad coalition is not a true Scot.

    The comment made by the author regarding military employment is telling. It implies that anyone who believes in a strong military cannot also support Scottish independence.

    This view may earn plaudits on ideologically pure Web forums but it is repellent to a large number, probably a majority, of voters.

    1. I Clark says:

      “The Yes campaign was a broad coalition of … Irish republicans …” I never heard Irish republicanism mentioned once.

      “It appears all that unites them is a dislike of the Conservative Party and of the UK state.” Even if that was “all”, it would be sufficient. Occasionally it is enough just not to be something else.

      “They are mistaken if they believe that anyone outside this broad coalition is not a true Scot.” This has hints of a straw man, but is probably a ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy.

      “The comment made by the author regarding military employment is telling. It implies that anyone who believes in a strong military cannot also support Scottish independence.” It implies no such thing. The author wrote “If you want to present a case that is based on ‘nothing will really change’ go for it, but don’t expect me to take part.” He clearly indicates he is expressing a personal value which other independence supporters may reject.

      “This view may earn plaudits on ideologically pure Web forums but it is repellent to a large number, probably a majority, of voters.” Somewhat ambiguous final sentence. Is it referring to the article as a whole or only the reference to the military? If it’s referring to the aggressive militarism – masquerading as ‘defence’ – beloved of many a Britnat, then yes it may worry a lot of Scots (Britnats and others). But the claim that it is repellant to a large number will not bother many of us. Ideas about homosexuality being within a range of ‘natural’ behaviour, slavery being wrong and the idea of universal suffrage would have once been repellent to many people. Democracy is important, but it depends on people having sufficient and trustworthy information to make proper choices. For many of us, the role of the military is related to opening people’s eyes to all of the state and corporate propaganda they so often unwittingly consume.

  12. C Rober says:

    Believe or not I personally dont think indy was lost to unionists , but selfists.

    The rebound with the Westminster election , the Labour unionist lies being punished by the electorate themselves , this would not have happened without a turn around in the voters mentality from their actions during project fear , so what caused it?

    The selfists , those that were the 10 percent or so needed for crawling over the majority line during indy , well they saw it made not one jot of a difference continuing a biased union within weeks of voting for unionist protection promises. The media headlines of NHS during indy ref 1 of civil service , benefits , pensions etc were not safe or protected with indy , well they soon changed to job losses , privatisation , civil service closures etc , so the Selfists revolted , and returned the biggest defeat to Labour in Scotland ever seen for their taking of the silver.

    That audience must continue to be active and engaged electorally , or end up saying why vote anyway if it makes no difference….. voter apathy is the enemy here.

    So the new question should be just “How can we expect those revolters to vote for indy when there is no perceptible benefit , personally and financially , for doing so? This is especially important when the currency question itself is applied.

    The largest single demographic during indy that voted no had no allegiance to any unionist doctrines per se , ie the pensioner , so this is where the next game will be won or lost one again.

    Protection though for that demographic is not a voters benefit with indy , that is unless its for pension income or the NHS.

    Self reliance is not a voters benefit unless it increases personal income , with the increased costs , after all during indy did the unionists not portray protection of services , personal income etc as the biggest benefit of the union – via its media with project fear?

    Currently Holyrood is playing shop , with cap in hand money , that south of Carlisle opinion wise it “should be grateful for” , and from the same money that had it been independent since 1979 would have made it , in politicians words , ” The Kuwait of the North”.

    While the next campaign will want to avoid the oil question , given the current price , as long as the unionists roll it out like a battle weapon , then the standardised answer should be done before replying in any form whatsoever.

    The answer that should be on every Pro indy campaigner lips , “Were Scotland independent since the oil discovery it would have been , as your previous TORY AND LABOUR politicians said at the time , and hid from the voter during two indy referendums , “The Kuwait of the North”. Instead that wealth was used then as the income that bankrolled and stopped the WHOLE OF THE UK becoming the Greece of today , which created and continued the North South economic divide , and only really benefiting the wealth creation , or protected the wealth of London and the South East”

    So if oil can be used to prove their point in the rear view mirror for the unionists propaganda needs , ie todays price , it should be used against them in just the same hindsight manner.

    Media control.

    Holyrood need to take control of the Press complaints body , removing bias through state or personal wealth in the process , ie the King Maker and his political pals (or his serfs depending on your opinion).

    The only way to do exactly that is to have 24 hour turnaround on press complaints , judicially paid for by the press themselves , not a self operated PCB , with full page apologies that will hurt circulation and income. Turn project fear if you will on its dogs as well as its masters judicially and financially.

  13. john young says:

    Get the cost of everything down,put money into the pockets of the ordinary punter they will spend it alright.

  14. Redgauntlet says:

    Scotland free or a desert….

  15. john young says:

    Steve you never re-plied,what is wrong in people wanting to govern themselves,people throughout the world are dying for the chance,never mind the financial arguments there are none if there was then the banking collapses would never happen,the so called experts no as much as you and I.

  16. Craig says:

    Can you vote No and be a “Proud” Scot? Scotland is either a country or it isn’t. Or are many No voters 80/90 minutes Scots?

  17. Chris Downie says:

    Some of you will have to come to terms with the fact that the overall YES campaign, for all the noises of being a broad church, was oftentimes a coalition of the Left. We had many grassroots organisations such as Wealthy Nation, the SDA and many on the Libertarian Right who were, at best, bit-part players. They could have been invaluable in enticing voters in more affluent and aspirational areas like Edinburgh and Aberdeen, yet we instead saw 60% NO vote in both cities.

  18. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    As an SNP member, I say thank God for the grass roots campaign. I don’t think we would have got anything near 45% with them.

    If there is another referendum it will be won and lost over the economic arguments.

    The SNP will have to produce a radical economic proposal, based upon a post-oil economy. I think they realise that. Based upon the fiscal deficit they will have little choice. That will offer an opportunity.

    Firstly, the current structural deficit (if accurate) represents gross negligence on Westminster’s part, with regard to Scotland’s economy. I don’t think any intelligent and reasonable unionist could argue otherwise. Unless they think the deficit is acceptable.

    The figures demonstrate Scotland’s financial position in the union. Not Scotland’s position as an independent country. We could easily save circa £3bn a year by reducing defence and administration (GERS figures have Scotlands share of admin as £4bn. No explanation or breakdown) expenditure, as well as debt interest repayments.

    If we consider that Scotland’s % of tax to GDP is circa 35%, we would have considerable scope to increase revenue. Denmark and Sweden have tax rates of 43%. If we replicated that, we could increase our revenue by £12bn! I not saying we should, but we would have the option. Norways % is 39%. Another £6bn on that basis.

    We could and should adopt an aggressive growth strategy. Investing e.g. a minimum £3bn a year to finance a nationalised Investment bank to build affordable housing, green energy projects, new business enterprises etc.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      Raising an additional £6 billion in taxes equates to a tax hike of £2,500 per annum for every person in employment.

      This would undoubtedly lead to a mass exodus south of the border.

    2. Steven Milne says:

      The socialist policy of central planning, eg a nationalised investment bank, has failed to create wealth time and time and time again.

      China, India and Eastern Europe have seen their economies transformed since they abandoned central planning in favour of the free market.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Steven,

        The Asian idea of the ‘free market’ is for the state to plan the nation’s needs and to then invite the private sector in to build and operate assets, with the land still owned by the state and activities regulated by the state. Hence Singapore, Oman, Dubai, China etc get new assets and infrastructure in a state-managed and regulated process. The result is modern infrastructure and economic growth.

        The UK idea of the ‘free market’ was to sell off public assets/utilities incl. of property rights and in some cases regulatory powers, much of which are now owned by Cayman Islands ofshore bankers, and to let them do what they want – which is usually not to invest in new infrastructure but simply to exploit existing ageing infras, e.g. Forth Ports, Edinburgh Airport, and our energy firms are a good example. The result is obsolete infrastructure which constrains economic growth.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          To adjust, slightly:

          “The result is ‘increasigly’ obsolete infrastructure ‘and higher prices’ which constrains economic growth.

          See: http://reidfoundation.org/2016/01/sort-out-our-ports/

          1. Steven Milne says:

            … but the Uk has the fastest growing economy in the EU?

        2. Steven Milne says:

          Having worked in the electricity industry shortly after privatisation I know that it was chronically inefficient in the state sector and that privatisation has led to savings for consumers.

          I remember being told that all of our firms vans had built-in cookers so that the employees could stop work at 10am and make themselves a cooked breakfast.

          1. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

            I believe the Republic of Ireland’s growth last year was 7.5%.

          2. Alf Baird says:

            Steven, like most folk with business experience I would agree with you that state-run ‘operations’ tend to be inefficient. What you need to distinguish between here is three key aspects: regulation, ownership, and operation. It is perfectly possible, and advisable, for any state to secure private sector investment in and responsibility for the ‘operation’ of key national assets/utilities (such as airports, ports, power plants/energy networks, water etc), and in most countries this is done via tenders and offering industry actors long-term operating concessions. However, in most other countries the regulation of these activities and perhaps the ownership of the key assets employed such as the land on which such utilities depend remains within the public sector. This is a different form of ‘regulated capitalism’ to the one applying in the UK. In the UK, for most key utilities the state has transferred responsibility for all three aspects – land, (self) regulation and operation to the private sector (i.e. the offshore bankers/funds). The people and the UK economy/consumers are paying the price for this negligence, hence we continually see rising energy poverty, an uncompetitive economy, export trade collapse, widening wealth gap between rich and poor etc). People should understand that the extreme form of de-regulated ‘capitalism’ in the UK is not necessarily the same as ‘capitalism’ in other countries. I am reminded by my former academic colleagues in Flanders, Germany and Spain who referred to the unique British privatisation approach as “The Anglo Saxon Model”, which is essentially illegal/politically unacceptable in most other states worldwide.

        3. Steven Milne says:

          Which powers to regulate utilities are now owned by bankers (from Cayman Islands or anywhere else)?

          1. Alf Baird says:

            Steven, upon privatisation in 1991, Forth Ports assumed all the statutory powers of the former ‘Forth Ports Authority’, including control of navigation in the Forth between Barns/Fife Ness (i.e. the North Sea) and Stirling, imposing of dues (i.e. taxes) on all shipping entering, issuing by-laws, pilotage and towage, prohibiting navigation, issuing licenses, safety/VTS etc.; all of these statutory powers as well as port land ownership is now all in the hands of Cayman Island bankers. Why do you think private equity bankers buy such easy money monopolies?

            This type of private regulatory (and land ownership) model is illegal in most of Asia, the rest of Europe, and indeed in North America – where statutory public authorities have been retained. The UK is an oddball – hence the reason we see a lack of private investment in new infrastructure, dependence on outmoded crumbling infrastructure, and an uncompetitive economy.

          2. Steven Milne says:

            Can’t reply to Alf’s post so will reply to my own.

            A public utility is a business that furnishes an everyday necessity to the public at large e.g water, electricity, telephone service.

            The customers of a port are clearly ship operators rather than the general public so it cannot be regarded as a public utility.

        4. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

          Also, funding new business starts, where the state takes an equity is common practice is countries such as Germany and Denmark.

          Steven. There are different ways of increasing the tax take. One way is to reduce tax reliefs. I’m not suggesting reducing personal income tax allowances.

          The cost of pension tax reliefs alone is circa £48bn a year in the UK. The majority of which disproportionately favours the wealthy. I could go on and on, but that’s for another day.

          1. Alf Baird says:

            Steven, I appreciate the idea of a port or airport as a public utility may be new to you, however this is very well understood in many nations and certainly by transport economists internationally. Of course the term ‘utility’ relates to issues of consumer choice and also to monopolies, and in that sense it is evidently far from easy for any individual or business to create a new massive infrastructure asset such as a major seaport or major airport, hence consumers depend on such ‘utilities’ just as much as they do on other largescale infrastructure to provide energy, water, etc. We should also remember that trade (incl tourism) is commonly regarded as the economic ‘lifeblood’ of any economy (at least in most other countries if less so in the UK or Scotland) so essential transport utilities (ports/shipping, airports, railways and roadways etc) must be protected in this regard (i.e. incl. free from exploititative self-regulating monopolies which currently exist in Scotland).

  19. JohnEdgar says:

    Since the Referendum, the forces for change towards an independent Scotland are increasing. Historical change is a progression where groups through interaction cause change. The demographic composition has already begun to change. Generation shift is gradual.
    Look at the evidence already. The last year was the general election 2015. The “nawbags”, if you pardon the term, reached the grand collapse of one MP each. The turnaround in the shift towards the pro independence groups resulted in the election of the SNP MP’s. The UK, aka English msm and its outlets north of the Tweed, still only think in terms of the trumpeted three- party system. The msm myopic focus is deceiving.
    In the “sath”, how does one interpret the chaos at Westminster? Only a tussle between English Labour and Tory or something of a crisis at the heart of the so- called UKOK? The two main English parties are on crisis. I use English because with one MP each from Scotland, their greater-British make up is no longer there, especially for Slabbers. Brexit and its Westminster adjunct, EVEL, shows the English establishment in the UK reasserting or struggling to find its identity after 2014. As English, Scottish and Welsh facets of the UK’s ancien regime diverge, perhaps England will be first to leave the Union and get rid of the “subsidy junkie Barnett Formula whingers”.

    1. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Aye, but they couldn’t keep sterling. That’s the UKs!

      1. JohnEdgar says:

        That’s right. And any country that is part of the UK and has contributed to sterling has rights to share it as well as a share of the accumulated UK assets that have been shared. Just the same as if England left the Union. There seems to be this assumption that the UK/Treasury assets belong solely to England or rUK.

  20. Frank says:

    I have not read the study in detail but I do wonder if there was a methodological problem in relation to weighting the sample given the fact that so many RIC campaigners appear to be represented in the figures? In many rural areas of Scotland RIC was non existent. Allowing for the fact that there are no methodological problems I would be wary of drawing the wrong conclusions from a report like this, namely that the ground is fertile for an electoral breakthrough of the radical left, or that indy ref 2 if there ever was another referendum should be more overtly left wing – yes it may be true that activists are more to the radical left end of the spectrum, but in my experience radical activism is increasingly a lifestyle choice for those disaffected by ‘the system’ – typically young people with a bourgeois education without the economic benefits of being bourgeois.

    1. Hi FRank – thanks for this – you can stuDy the report from the PDF in the article. What I DONT DO is argue “that the ground is fertile for an electoral breakthrough of the radical left, or that indy ref 2 if there ever was another referendum should be more overtly left wing” – I do argue that the way that people organised is significant and that the oreganisers were of the left and had IDEAS.

      If there is another group, perhaps people arguing modest or little change as a result of society – that you think will be highly motivated or organised, I’d be extremely surprised to see them.

      1. Frank says:

        I never accused you of arguing that position editor. My comments were aimed at leading lights in Rise who have been drawing exaggerated conclusions on social media from this report. I agree with the narrative of the SNP leadership that ‘vote independence nothing will change’ is unlikely to win people to independence, but I’m equally unconvinced by the self appointed ‘radicals’ who preach mainly to the converted and seldom reach out beyond the 45%. The irony is that when you strip them of their inflated rhetoric and moral outrage at neoliberalism, they turn out to be leftish social democrats, and really not that radical (witness the nostalgia for 1945!). For me, the lack of ambition from the radicals only shows the extent to which our political culture has been neoliberalised. I find the whole Rise thing very post-modern. They are a social media brand which who are cleverly marketing themselves as revolutionaries. I sometimes wonder if they are aware of the irony.

      2. florian albert says:

        The ‘way that people organized’ may (or may not) have been significant in the run up to the Referendum.
        What has happened to the Left since then is certainly significant.

        The SNP, ruthlessly, made it clear there was no prospect of a ‘Yes Coalition’. As a result, the stunning victory in the 2015 General Election was 100% SNP; the Left was sidelined.

        National Collective imploded.
        Women for Independence has been mentioned frequently in the press recently; mainly in relation to Natalie McGarry.
        R I C, after much hesitation, has morphed into RISE. (In Edinburgh, RISE election posters have a picture of Colin Fox on them. This suggests that the SSP, with a very poor record in elections since the big fallout with Tommy Sheridan, will be the dominant force within RISE.)

        As for ideas, it looks as though the election will be won almost effortlessly by the ultra cautious SNP; a party whose record on ‘ideas’ is not impressive.
        The Left’s ideas, such as they are, are unlikely to get a look in.

  21. florian albert says:

    Has anybody done independent research into the impact of different bodies on the result of the Referendum ?
    On Bella Caledonia, it tends to be assumed that the left leaning groups, e g RIC, had a positive effect on the Yes campaign.
    Others, such as Doug Daniel, posting on another thread yesterday, suggested that left wing, Clydeside groups were – viewed from the North East – more of a hindrance than a help.

    Living in Leith during the campaign, I was struck by the difference between the campaign and the outcome.
    A visitor to Leith would have assumed that it would vote overwhelmingly Yes.
    In fact, North Edinburgh and Leith constituency voted 60% No; significantly better, for No, than the national average.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      Florian – are you familiar with the saying “empty barrels make most noise” ?

  22. e.j. churchill says:

    disclosure: i am a non-dom, in the city and i am an i-banker. i can’t vote, can’t contribute money … and other than various governmental e&f (in)competencies that affect positions & investments, i care not one whit if Scotland is free or a province.

    that said, i am a keen and cynically neutral observer of hard-ball politics, played well & ill.

    independence … ain’t going to happen for a lot of reasons, but the FIVE main ones are:

    – under no combination of carefully-imagined, reasonably-argued (i.e. nothing like the insulting assertions of last time) can a plausible medium-term (10-15yrs) case for economic SURVIVAL be crafted.

    – snp has already well-argued the moral case for separation, and under the absolute most favourable conditions, against the most incompetent defense imaginable in the history of political idiocy (g. broun ? really??) lost by a huge, immense margin. morality will never break 40 again. never. the zealots, mouthbreathers, couch-surfers and useful idiots of the snp were NEVER well-advised how to win, and 80yrs of ‘bannockburn drivel’ added nothing.

    – the tories would be in charge if a sec 30 waiver happens again (it won’t) and the tories know how to win. bt-labour – the inventors of ‘project fear’ (g. broun and damien mcbride 1997) very, very carefully did not say anything positive abt the government – not even impossible-to-duplicate superb export infrastructure: concrete, glass fibre, finance. think about it.

    – it is increasingly hard to argue that ns/js/as EVER work in the best interest of ‘scotland’ vis-a-vis the interests of snp, #1 & 1a and that is noticed by all. 1-2% points off the whole base? 3points? HUGE loss. 10-12% off undecided, soft & marginals.

    other than those, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?

    CB

    – tinkering at

    1. Steven Milne says:

      Spot on analysis. In 2014 the separatists had the perfect storm:

      They chose wording of question
      They chose date of vote
      They lowered voting age to 16
      Oil price was close to all time high
      Disllusionment with politics as usual
      Uk party leaders all upper middle class men from South East England
      Uninspiring NO campaign

      … and they were still comprehensively defeated.

      I don’t think many separatists have the self-awareness to realise this though. It appears to be a general habit of left wingers to blame some other group of people rather than to think about what they themselves might do differently.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        “and they were still comprehensively defeated”

        Hardly:

        – 45%/55% is not a wide margin, especially given the enormous UK media bias (never mind the questions over postal votes)
        – 3 unionist MP’s in Scotland against 56 MP’s advocating independence?
        – even more Indy MSP’s to be returned in May?
        – effects of EVEL/Brexit and a worsening UK deficit still to come?

        The trend seems clear, at least to those with eyes to see.

        1. e.j. churchill says:

          Alf, respectfully, in the narrow world of politics on the blue planet under the yellow sun, your eyes are squeezed shut, you are listening to siren song, ‘yes, but’ and ‘reality’ is a minority group construct.

          The various (serious) academic studies destroying (YOUR restatement of popular myth) have never been seriously challenged, much less countered. The SNP ground game sucked. Their GOTV effort was nonexistent. They got ONLY their votes in-pocket, and no slop-over.

          The ‘moral argument’ has been judged; it’s a loser. Swelling the moral argument with more real & imagined angst … is a loser. Should you doubt, Quebec is your guidepost and polestar, and PQ was significantly larger the second go-round.

          The ONLY prayer of a chance for separation (until/unless Osborne or Boris wills it – unlikely) is for a mature, civil, competent SNP (HA!) can make a *plausible* business case for a modest, (mostly unsubsidized) nation in 10-15 years or so. Hard … very, Very, VERY hard. Will the mouth-breathers and useful idiots still be around?

          A plowing mule is not likely to win Ascot, and that is your vision. Sorry.

          CB

          1. Steven Milne says:

            Salmond targeted the mouth breathers and useful idiots in an attempt to achieve 50% + 1 in referendum.

            Attempting this tactic has removed any intellectual or moral credibility from the pro independence movement.

          2. e.j. churchill says:

            Salmond was a brilliantly-skilled and chosen leader. He is the very best European demagogue since DeGaul. That said, his weakness’ were as significant as his strengths. Like boiled cabbage, he started a crowd going both ways, and he liked picking fights, which is usually costly, and and his were EXPENSIVE. He got almost no ‘Undecideds’ … ‘Maybe, just maybe he can pull it off – I’ll have a go with him.’ broke 80 : 20 NO.

            In another ‘pointer’ of what is at stake: our bank has a division to aid companies re-domiciling and/or reducing their footprint or exposure in business-hostile environments. Beginning the week after the election, when it was clear the SNP would disregard the results, we have had a steady and increasing stream of clients. – this is a deep cut to a small economies tax-base, and nearly death to a that of a long-distance trading nation.

            We are moving three more people into Scotland, and there are two other banks with similar competencies. They are covered up, too.

            Yes, it IS very possible to ‘win’ and ‘lose’ simultaneously.

            CB

      2. Frank says:

        Perhaps if you framed your language in a more objective tone – and avoided terms such as ‘useful idiots’ or ‘separatists’ which you know is a term of abuse, then you might get a fairer hearing for what are otherwise textbook arguments against independence?

        1. e.j. churchill says:

          Frank, those words were my mine of yesterday, a few posts up. If you want to look up, you may become more offended, but could be no more wrong. Words are p.d. you’re welcome to them too.

          I’m a non-dom and don’t care abt Scotland, except as the boost or f.u. the economy.

          I am completely free to be as cynically neutral as I wish, and the rude and pompous arse-en-pee are a no-effort target.

          Sorry, but facts on the ground, and using ad hominems make anything you say, more pitiful, still.

          CB

        2. e.j. churchill says:

          Frank, I’m sorry I missed this: “… for what are otherwise textbook arguments against independence?” there are – AFAIK – NO affirmative arguments for independence. None, Non. Zero. Zip. Zilch. There WERE, but that’s decided.

          What is left for the arse-enn-pee is re-hashed arguments, whining & sour grapes.

          FWIW, I lost a LOT of money on the election … 😐

          CB

  23. john young says:

    Oh that we had the bravery/fortitude of the Irish of 1916 and threw of this yoke.

    1. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      I’ve thought that many times John.

      1. Alf Baird says:

        Sounds like a job for Scotland’s/Salmond’s 56 “roaring lions” (if they can drag themselves out of Knightsbridge eateries).

        1. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

          Salmond could challenge Cameron to a pistols at dawn dual. Winner takes all.

  24. john young says:

    Part of the reason inmo why so many Scots dislike the Irish,they have shown “bottle” over the best part of a millennium,never bowed never completely subjugated,proud and brave unlike so many of our fellow countyrmen unfortunately,England well knew what it was doing when it cleared what remained of those brave enough to show resistence,we were left with a lowland rump of forelock tuggers/knee benders,we have never recovered and won,t in my lifetime.

  25. Redgauntlet says:

    Give me passion, give me Argentina, give me Spain or Greece or Italy….not the friggin English…the worst people whoever walked planet earth…what a bunch…

    “Than you god, for football, for Maradona, for these tears of joy….for this Argentina 2, England 0….”

  26. Redgauntlet says:

    At the height of Thatcherism and the Falklands War, and Diego goes and scores that goal?

    Oh yes, Diego, oh yes, what a fckin goal you scored against the Empire….what a goal against the sons of Thatcher…..Diego should be made a Scottish national hero…he is God….what a goal and for once, the English had to take a clamp….

    ….”from what planet did you come from to leave so many Englishmen trailing in your wake…?”

    Oh yes, Diego…!!! What a fckin goal….

    Siempre en tu deuda, Diego….

    1. Steven Milne says:

      You seem a fairly typical Yesser in that you can only express your Scottishness in terms of anti-Englishes.

      Those of us who voted No generally regard this attitude as puerile and embarrassing.

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Steven, I think you’ll find that there is a worldwide trend of having a vague and general dislike or at least distrust of England. It is all the rage on planet earth, and the reasons are very simple and obvious. Everywhere they ever went, they f´cked people over….excuse my French….

        …we´re not talking about a dislike of English people per se, mind. We are talking about a dislike of the English State and everything it stands for…..

        Fantastically funny to see somebody like yourself falling for this “family of nations” crap.

        How many of have to leave the country? How come they have overcrowding in the South East and we have a flat-lining population? People like yourself are an embarrassment to Scotland in my opinion….

        …what a bunch of sado masochists the Scots are…..300 years of brain washing….

        1. Steven Milne says:

          If you hate Scotland being part of the UK them nobody is stopping you moving to another country whose politics are more agreeable to you eg North Korea or Zimbabwe.

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            I live in Spain, don’t bother yer arse…I have been living here for 24 years and I know the whole Spanish speaking world has a general, low level, vague disliking of England….when they discover you are Scottish, they relax….they dislike England, and for very good reasons….the friggin Empire which you seem to be a fan of….

            …shame on you, sir.

  27. Redgauntlet says:

    “And Maradona starts on the right, there he goes the genius of world football, always, always, always with Maradona, genius, genius, genius…ta ta ta…

    …..gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool!!!!! I want to cry, what a goal Diego…

    …I’m sorry, I want to cry…one of the greatest runs of all time, from what planet did you come from to leave so many English trailing in your wake? So that the whole of Argentina is a clenched fist cheering for Argentina….

    Oh Die-gol, Die-gol,… Diego Armando Maradona……!!!!

    Than you God, for football, for Maradona, for these tears of joy, for this Argentina 2 England 0-….

  28. john young says:

    Steve you will get anti this anti that no matter where and plenty in your homeland ,I know having lived there over many years,there are good and bad all over the world.Why does a good % of the English detest the EU detest being governed by themfor the very same reason good % of Sots do not want to be governed by another nation,what do you find wrong in this.

    1. Steven Milne says:

      Scotland is not governed by another nation.

      It is a member of a United Kingdom of nations.

  29. arthur thomson says:

    The blood and soiled Britnats are surely out in force on this thread!

    A useful reminder that there is no point in arguing with stupid.

  30. Redgauntlet says:

    When Diego scores that goal, he doesn’t score it just against anybody…he scores it against the friggin English….after 300 years of gunboat diplomacy, Diego puts History in its place…..he rewrites it….

    …we will always love Diego…a poet with the ball….what a goal Diego, what a goal….GOLAZO!!!

    1. c Rober says:

      Though I do wonder whats up the other Argentine sleeve with the recent ruling on maritime claims found valid by the UN , rendering the oil around the Falklands mostly to the corrupt Buenos Aires politico and pals…. Well at least they wont be SW1 non doms once they fleece their people unlike the Russians.

  31. Redgauntlet says:

    Why do we have to be the country of exiles? MacDiarmid even compared us to the Jews….the exiled people….

    …and we get people lie Steven Milne coming on to Bella, happy clappers, back of the packet of a fag box nationalists, doing the numbers for independence from a country which contains the biggest shower of wankers the world has ever seen. The country which invented the concentration camp. Hee hee hee…

    ..what was that line by Woody Allen which applies to England? “You people are the opposite of paranoia; you think people actually like you…”

  32. Redgauntlet says:

    Come on friends, let’s talk about what England has done in the Spanish speaking world, and then we will see that there is nothing irrational or petty about a vague antipathy to England. Let’s talk about how the British Army ran amock in Badajoz: Wellington. Only Franco has more blood on his hands.

    Let’s talk about what they did to Paraguay. Eh? One million deaths. Another million in Ireland. Several million in India….

    Are we daft in Scotland for a vague antipathy? I don´t think so.

    And we love Paul Mason, we love John Harris, we love Ken Loach….but as a Nation State we have every right to dislike England….

    1. e.j. churchill says:

      I will freely acknowledge the ex-colonial world has unpleasant memories of their former owners, and I cannot speak to most of your citations of English excess, but as far as the Peninsular war goes, you are filled to the brim with prunes.

      It was Napoleon v. Europe, a war of conquest, and was probably the most noble, unselfish war in all of history.

      As far as specific criticism: is your moan of Badajoz. one of six fortresses the allies (Wellington & a small army of Portugal and some mercs) had to invest before they could run Napoleon (occupier & investor of Spain) back to France and destroy (eventually) in Belgium.

      Cuidad Rodrigo, Badajoz, and the other 4 were commanded, controlled, staffed, supplied, supported by the French army.

      Did Badajoz have Spanish citizens who were looted, plundered, killed? Of Course, but they were not targets.

      _
      Por favor guante rojo su conocimiento de la historia de su país de adopción parece débil . investigar un poco más antes de escribir de nuevo es mi sugerencia.

      graciàs

      CB

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        e.j churchill, gracias por intentar a responder en Castellano, a pesar de sus descaradas impertinencias. Se lo agradezco.

        Lo de Badajóz es basante infame en España. ¿Que hacía Inglaterra en España? Como siempre, dominando a los demás. Y Napoleón hizo más para Europa que ha hecho Inglaterra nunca jamás en toda su malnacida historia…

        Lo de Badajóz es notorio. Le refiero a usted a Wikipedia, hijo, que allí está:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Badajoz_(1812)

      2. Redgauntlet says:

        When did Spain ever massacre 4000 British civilians…? And we´re meant to forget everything and just say that everything is okay? Sorry….glad and proud to be an Anglophobe….

        ….”The siege was one of the bloodiest in the Napoleonic Wars[2] and was considered a costly victory by the British, with some 4,800 Allied soldiers killed in a few short hours of intense fighting during the storming of the breaches as the siege drew to an end. Enraged at the huge amount of casualties they suffered in seizing the city, the troops broke into houses and stores consuming vast quantities of liquor with many of them then going on a rampage. Threatening their officers and ignoring their commands to desist, and even killing several,[3] the troops massacred about 4,000 Spanish civilians. It took three days before the men were brought back into order.”

        Viva España…

      3. Redgauntlet says:

        ¿Tu me vas clases a mí sobre la historia de España, querido? Igual te la palmas allí, es decir por seguro que te la palmas, hijo….un señor con apellido de Churchill a dar clases al embajador no oficial de Escocia en España? Je je je…¿Y encima te lo crees? Me descojono….

        Si yo con Escocia hasta la muerte y con España hasta la muerte….

        1. e.j. churchill says:

          New World border patois was my 1st tongue, made only somewhat more understandable by South American Nuns – but I am glad you appreciate mine (and Google’s effort) to communicate.

          I am a casual+ student of wars, and more specifically, leadership and strategy in (facially) unwinnable wars, and the Peninsular wars where where two Military genius’ collided.

          Yep, a lot of Spaniards (and others besides frogs & rosbeifs) died by virtue of time and place being wrong, but they were not targets.

          It happens in war. If you would like to know more of Badajoz (and the other seiges) I have better primary and contemporaneous sources other than Wiki I would be glad to share.

          Please note, I disagreed with no opinion you voiced, only your historical shortness.

          rgds

          El banquero mal

          1. Redgauntlet says:

            El banuquero MALO tendria que ser Churchill…¿a ver si me tomas en serio el español, que es el idioma más bonito del mundo…? ¿Eh? ¿Aunque sea eso?

            You’re a nice guy, god bless and good luck…

          2. Redgauntlet says:

            El mal banquero se puede decir, pero el banquero mal, no. Ha de ser el banquero malo. No me preguntes porque es así, pero lo es.

            No hay nada que hacerle. Los españoles son así, tienen sus cosas, ¿que se le puede hacer a los españoles? Si son su propia regla, son anarquistas, todo el país, de izquierdas o de derechas, da igual….van a su bola, y hay que quererles, no queda más.

          3. e.j. churchill says:

            Soy ‘ irlandés negro ‘ como va la historia – superviviente de la suerte de la armada invencible (HA ! ) 1588 continuación helvética, más emigrada , pero el libre albedrío y libre pensador .

            llámame ‘ Casandra ‘ he confiado poco, pero leer mucho .

            más amables saludos personales en ‘ Inglés España ‘

            CB

  33. Redgauntlet says:

    The War of the Triple Alliance, organized, sponsored and paid for by Britain:

    “A death of over 60% of the Paraguayan population, if it occurred, makes this war proportionally one of the most destructive in modern times for a nation state.[80][page needed]
    Paraguay suffered massive casualties, and the war’s disruption and disease also cost civilian lives. Some historians estimate the nation lost the majority of its population. The specific numbers are hotly disputed and range widely. A survey of 14 estimates of Paraguay’s pre-war population varied between 300,000 and 1,337,000.[81] Later academic work based on demographics produced a wide range of estimates, from a possible low of 21,000 (Reber, 1988) to as high as 69% of the total prewar population (Whigham, Potthast, 1999). Because of the local situation, all casualty figures are a very rough estimate; accurate casualty numbers may never be determined.
    After the war an 1871 census recorded 221,079 inhabitants, of which 106,254 were female, 28,746 were male, and 86,079 were children (with no indication of sex or upper age limit).[82]
    The worst reports are that up to 90% of the male population was killed, though this figure is without support.[77] One estimate places total Paraguayan losses—through both war and disease—as high as 1.2 million people, or 90% of its pre-war population.[83] A different estimate places Paraguayan deaths at approximately 300,000 people out of 500,000 to 525,000 pre-war inhabitants.[84] During the war, many men and boys fled to the countryside and forests.
    In the estimation of Vera Blinn Reber, however, “The evidence demonstrates that the Paraguayan population casualties due to the war have been enormously exaggerated”.[85]

    A Brazilian priest with Paraguayan refugees coming from San Pedro, 1869 or 1870.
    A 1999 study by Thomas Whigham from the University of Georgia and Barbara Potthast (published in the Latin American Research Review under the title “The Paraguayan Rosetta Stone: New Evidence on the Demographics of the Paraguayan War, 1864–1870”, and later expanded in the 2002 essay titled “Refining the Numbers: A Response to Reber and Kleinpenning”) has a methodology to yield more accurate figures. To establish the population before the war, Whigham used an 1846 census and calculated, based on a population growth rate of 1.7% to 2.5% annually (which was the standard rate at that time), that the immediately pre-war Paraguayan population in 1864 was approximately 420,000–450,000. Based on a census carried out after the war ended, in 1870-1871, Whigham concluded that 150,000–160,000 Paraguayan people had survived, of whom only 28,000 were adult males. In total, 60%-70% of the population died as a result of the war,[86] leaving a woman/man ratio of 4 to 1 (as high as 20 to 1, in the most devastated areas).[86] For academic criticism of the Whigham-Potthast methodology and estimates see the main article Paraguayan War casualties….”

  34. Redgauntlet says:

    Friends, believe me, to live without the English as neighbours is one of the greatest pleasures life offers….hee hee hee…they are the worst….they never stop, they never have enough…..they are insatiable people….

    ….we don’t need them in Spain….sons of Thatcher….

    1. Papko says:

      I did marvel at that Goal by Maradona in 1986 , it was certainly one of the great goals , by one of the best players who ever lived .

      I can well imagine the sheer joy in Argentina and the rest of the Spanish speaking world when they beat England .

      It was only 4 years after the Falklands war , where Britain meted out “no end of a lesson ” , to them who would treat our territories with impunity .

      1. Redgauntlet says:

        Thanks Papko. I remember the Falklands War well enough, I was maybe 14 at the time. And it was quite a significant war because Britain had seemed to have at least begun to shake off its colonial past. Harold Wilson refused to join the US war in Vietnam. Almost all the African colonies had won independence from the UK. There seemed to be a new consensus building that Britain was no longer going to continue with its historical imperialism…

        …and then Thatcher comes along and turns the clock back on History, and with what relish. And then Blair goes into Afghanistan and Iraq, and then suddenly we’re in Libya and Syria too. Where is the end to it? There is no end to it, and what havoc the British have caused to millions the world over, and, clearly, the Iraq war fanned the flames of radical Islam, there is no question of that….

        …the Union of 1707 was signed for imperialist reasons. Scottish merchants wanted access to English trade routes. England wanted to firmly close its back door. Imperialism is part of the British identity, and a fundamental reason for YES was that you would severely undermine the British imperial project.

        I saw Owen Bennet Jones wrote something about colonialism not long ago in The Guardian. I wish more English intellectuals would actually critique English imperialism in a way that, for example, Chomsky does with American imperialism. You get the feeling that even the best of them just don’t really get it…

  35. David Allan says:

    I am catching up on Bella Material , hence late post , all I can say is that individuals like Steven Milne who are feverishly hell-bent on expressing their blinkered dismissive opinions in a failed attempt to undermine the determination of others to pursue what they believe to be the best future for their Country and it’s future generations.

    Steven you are an inspiration,reading your pompous bile re-ignites my passion for independence and my aspiration for something better , a country that has produced an individual so driven to defend it’s continued place in the union is not a country with a bright future.

    Your views will soon be minority views get used to it.

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