By G.A.Ponsonby
Claims by Lib Dem peer Jim Wallace that the Scottish Government does not have the power to hold an independence referendum have been summarily dismissed by First Minister Alex Salmond.
Speaking after the Westminster based Lord’s speech in Glasgow yesterday afternoon, Mr Salmond said Mr Wallace had a “limited electoral mandate” and suggested the Lib Dem peer had now politicised the role of legal advisor on Scots law to the UK coalition.

Mr Salmond was responding to comments by the former Scottish Lib Dem leader in which he repeated threats by the Westminster coalition that any referendum faced a legal challenge unless sanctioned by London.

Speaking on Radio Scotland the SNP leader said Mr Wallace would do well to assume some modesty before claiming to know better than Scotland’s senior judicial office which has advised the 2014 ballot to be within the law.

“We’re confident about our position.  It’s the lack of confidence that makes the Westminster government field the law officer, who should have nothing to do with politics incidentally normally, in the position he’s in,” said Mr Salmond who added:

“I think the difficulty Jim Wallace is in at the moment is that we now know - as advocate general, a post that most people have never heard of, in the House of Lords, an unelected chamber, appointed by the party which came fourth in the Westminster elections and fourth in the Scottish elections - is now claiming to know better about Scottish justice than either the Scottish parliament or the Lord President the Senior Judicial Office in Scotland.

“I think that Jim Wallace would do well to assume a posture of some more modesty in his limited electoral mandate before he starts instructing the Scottish people on what we can and can’t do.”

Lord Wallace, in an earlier radio interview, had repeated claims made by Tory and Lib Dem UK Cabinet Ministers that the Scottish Government's independence referendum was not lawful.

Speaking on Good Morning Scotland, Lord Wallace suggested a referendum that failed to adhere to the conditions set down by the Tory/Lib Dem coalition would also be unfair and not decisive. 

He also rejected calls for 16 and 17 year olds to be allowed to participate - despite lowering the election age being a long term goal of his own party - and insisted that there should be no third option.

However the explanation given by the Lib Dem peer appeared to suggest that it was the period after the ballot that was a legal grey area.

Wallace told radio interviewer Gary Robertson that it was the Scottish Government’s pledge to start negotiations if the ‘Yes’ campaign won, that implicitly contravened the Scotland Act.

Asked whether legality depended on the phrasing of the question the peer said: “I think there’s been some red herrings about advisory and consultative.” and added:

“If they [Scottish Government] win that referendum, they want then to move on to negotiate independence.  That’s why ... an advisory referendum doesn’t actually get them out of the difficulty that’s there.”

Pressed again on the phrasing, Lord Wallace said: “It’s not so much the question, it’s what the consequence of the question is,”

The admission that it isn’t the referendum itself but rather the possible negotiations that may follow that may lack legal force will be seen by some as evidence that the Scottish Government’s ballot will indeed comply with the law.

It also presents a catch 22 situation for Westminster in that if they refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the referendum then it becomes a powerless consultation, and thus by extension not unlawful.

Recently, respected academic Stephen Tierney when speaking on Newsnight Scotland on January 11th suggested that this very scenario was being played out. 

Many observers have already pointed out that the real power of the ballot is not in its ability to legally bind either London or Edinburgh, it is its potential to become an unstoppable political force.


# Sleekit 2012-01-21 01:16
Lord Wallace...

The UK's expert on Scottish Law

Lord Jim Wallace - Lib Dem Peer

Ex Leader of the Lib Dem Party

Ex Deputy First Minister of the Holyrood Parliament until 2005

Lord Wallace, Baron of Tankerness...

Graduated from Uni in Law in 1977 and got a job as an elected politician in 1983 (4 years after his first attempt)

So to be clear here...

A respected legal academic states that the Scots can hold a referendum and up steps the Ex leader of the Lib Dems, with a grand total of 6 years experience of Practicing Law (But probably less given the Westminster career attempts since 1979).

Clearly Jim Walace is impartial and not an Arch Unionist... no wait.. I got that bit wrong.

on January 11th, the following letter from Dr Matt Qvortrup, an internationally recognized expert in referendums and comparative constitutional studies, was published in The Scotsman:

"When Michael Moore stood at the Dispatch Box at Westminster yesterday he had a simple message; Scotland’s constitutional settlement rests with Westminster and Scottish independence would require the consent of London.

With all due respect, this argument is neither consistent with international law nor is it compatible with the constitutional doctrine of referendums in the United Kingdom.

Leaving aside the issue of whether Scotland should become independent or not, it is important that things are done in accordance with accepted principles of constitutional and international law.

The basic principle in international law is that the seceding country (in this case Scotland) decides whether it wants to become independent.

To use but two examples, Montenegro did not have to ask Serbia to secede in 2006, nor did Estonia seek the Soviet Union’s permission to become independent in 1990 and clearly it would not have been granted it.

The fundamental rule is that countries become independent when they are recognized by the international community.

According to the so-called Estrada Doctrine, if Scotland votes for independence (and if the government is in control of the territory) then the international community will in all likelihood recognize the new state. Just like the cases of the former Soviet states in the 1990s.

Of course, it is possible that only a narrow majority votes for independence. But this need not be fatal. When Malta voted for independence in 1965, only a little more than 50 per cent voted to sever the ties with Britain, yet Westminster still accepted the outcome.

So unless London wants to follow the Soviet Union in 1990, it cannot block Scottish independence. The only ones who can do so are the Scottish voters and the Scottish administration. Thus is the doctrine of self-determination, which has been recognized as a fundamental principle of international politics and law since it was established by US President Woodrow Wilson after the First World War.

So the international case is clear – and runs counter – to Michael Moore. But what about domestic law?

When the Scottish Parliament was established, the Scotland Act 1998 stipulated a number of areas that would be the preserve of Holyrood and some that would remain in Westminster. The coalition argues that the Scottish government is not allowed to hold a referendum under Section 30 of the Scotland Act. To do so would be beyond its mandate. But this argument falls at two hurdles. Firstly, referendums in the UK have tended to be advisory only. Referendums in this country are not legally binding – though they may be politically binding. Until the Welsh referendum in 2011, all referendums in the UK were non-binding. To require that a Scottish referendum should be anything other than advisory would be highly unusual, and it would be difficult to justify on legal let alone on political grounds.

Lastly, Michael Moore believes that a referendum could be challenged in the courts. This is highly unlikely. The assumption is that the Supreme Court could declare a secession referendum illegal or void. But the Supreme Court is frankly unlikely to do that. Indeed in the case AXA v The Lord Advocate (2011), the only case to have dealt with the limits of the powers of the Scottish Parliament to date, the Supreme Court refused to declare an Act of the Scottish Parliament void.

The court held that it respected “the judgment of [an] elected body as to what is in the public interest”. It seems unlikely that the Supreme Court would rule otherwise on an issue which was a manifesto commitment of the elected government of Scotland."

Next scare story please!
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 09:23
Masterly summing up, Sleekit,
I will add to it the obvious fact that nothing in any law passed by the Wastemonster Britnat Cabal can super-cede the Treaty of Union that formed that Wastemonster parliament. First of all that Treaty, and both acts that followed, clearly show that two sovereign nations were forming a joint parliament and NOT becoming one nation. It also states that several things are sacrosanct, one being the Scottish independent legal system. Thus there is no hint that one nation was taking over the other or that one nation was superior to the other. That, along with the fact that the people of Scotland are sovereign and their appointed monarch their subject, while the people of England are subjects of their sovereign monarch. The fact we are a United K-I-N-Gdom only signifies we share that monarch not that Scots also became that shared monarchs subjects. The subsequent event of the United Kingdom becoming a constitutional monarchy where the monarchs cedes his/her sovereignty to the elected government does not remove the Scottish people's sovereignty. In remains part of the main foundations of Scottish law. Thus, the present situation of a Wastemonster parliament with no mandate to rule in Scotland's people's stead while the Scottish people gave Holyrood a massive mandate to do so makes WHATEVER the Scottish parliament decides on our behalf legal in the eyes of both the Scottish sovereign people AND in the international courts.
# Sleekit 2012-01-21 09:35
Thanks, but the summing up is from Dr Matt Qvortrup.

I have merely re-posted his letter
# Jim Johnston 2012-01-21 12:07
Excellent summary of the quality of Unionist championship contender Wallace.

I'm sick of hearing the drivel being blared out about "The LAW" concerning this referendum. I don't think I'm alone either.

I've heard repeatedly that Governments don't publish their EVIDENCE, only their OPINIONS of what the LAW states.

That is fine by me, I'M NOT INTERESTED IN ANYONES OPINION, or what EVIDENCE they have for their OPINION.


My opinion is as valid as any other persons, and it's the only opinion that will lead me determine from the FACTS OF LAW how I will interpret the facts.
So called "Legal Opinion" is totally irrelevant. What the hell is "Legal opinion" supposed to mean ?????? IT'S NO MORE VALID THAN MY OWN OPINION.

When Wallace says "the LAW is the LAW", he is perfectly correct. It's no more his than it is mine.

All Lawyers twisted opinions count for precicely nothing, that is why we have JURIES selected from SOVEREIGN CITIZENS to decide cases one way or the other.

# Sleekit 2012-01-21 01:17
On the same day the following comment by Professor Stephen Tierney, director of the Centre for Constitutional Law at the University of Edinburgh, appeared in The Herald newspaper:

"Constitutions tend not to offer guidelines for the break-up of the state.

It is unsurprising, therefore, [that] the Scotland Act is largely silent on whether Scotland might leave the UK. After all, the point of devolution for the Labour Party was to make the Union stronger, not weaker.

The current dispute between the two governments revolves around different interpretations of what the Act does and, more importantly, does not say. The UK Government line is: The Union is a matter reserved to Westminster by schedule 5 of the Act. In terms of section 29 the Scottish Parliament has no power to pass law that 'relates' to a reserved matter. Therefore a referendum on independence is at least legally questionable and quite possibly illegal.

The Scottish Government replies [that] the holding of referendums in general is not a reserved matter – the structure of the Scotland Act is such that matters not expressly reserved in schedule 5 are devolved and there is no such express reservation of the referendum power – and provided the referendum does not in itself purport to bring about secession unilaterally, then it is within the Scottish Parliament's powers.

The latter position seems to be perfectly plausible. If a question is carefully crafted, asking people whether or not their preference is for independence and making clear this would only be treated by the Scottish Government as a political mandate to enter negotiations, this would seem to fall within competence. We also need to take account of section 101, which is often missed in these debates. This provides that any Act of the Scottish Parliament which could be read to be outside the powers of the Parliament is to be read as narrowly as is required for it to be within competence, if such a reading is possible. It seems it would be possible to read legislation providing for a consultative rather than a binding referendum to be within competence using a liberal interpretation as invited by section 101. But we are at the early stages of this debate and the consultation exercise issued by the Scottish Government will allow these issues to be further explored.

The UK Government's current intervention seems to be less about this point of principle and more about regaining some control of the process issues that surround the referendum itself, in particular the timing of the vote, the setting of the question and a role for the Electoral Commission.

But here it has a problem. For Westminster to pass legislation on these issues would most likely, by constitutional convention, require the consent of the Scottish Parliament. But why would Holyrood trade a general power for a more restricted one? The outcome of a referendum generated from Edinburgh may be advisory only, but the political impact of a Yes vote would surely be irresistible." (Professor Stephen Tierney, The Herald, January 11th 2012)

Next scare story please!

P.S Thanks to franklyfrancoph one on the DR for pointing me to the stories involved.
# clootie 2012-01-21 07:09
Sleekit - Well argued.

It should be of great concern to everyone in Scotland that an unelected peer, of limited academic ability and experience, should attempt to influence the will of the people by distorting legal information in this manner.
# Aplinal 2012-01-21 07:49
Well said. I am not a lawyer, but having worked at the 'practical' end since 1999 in the Balkans, I can attest to the reality of any referendum on the political landscape.

The best examples you identify, but of course an even more sensitive one is that of Kosovo. A province of Serbia that was never previously a national state - unlike Slovenia, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. At no time did the UK (or anyone else in the international community - including Russia) insist that the referendum in Pristina was illegal.

The outcome was accepted by many in the international world - still an ongoing issue, of course. This would be relevant to Wales, for example.

In Scotland's case, we are most easily accommodated with all the former Yugoslav countries. THEIR referendum were endorsed by 'the West' including the UK with no problem. It seems that Westminster believe that democracy is for anyone else except Scotland. (Imperialism is still alive and well - read the 'contributions' on the Torygraph or Daily Heil, for example!)
# Macart 2012-01-21 10:46
Good points Aplinal, fact is there are plenty of current examples in the past 20 or so years since the wall came down, a good number of which are in your post. Add to those seceding ex Russian states and there are plenty of eastern european examples, all recognised by international law and that's just the near neighbours. Wallace n' Gromit Moore don't have a leg to stand on and they know it.
# pmcrek 2012-01-21 16:25
If we go back a bit we see that Westminster basically passes legislation legalising the independence of states such as Ireland or Canada when their position becames untenable in the country.

In Scotlands case this untenable position would simply be a yes vote in the referendum, as its not the 19th century anymore and nobody would seriously consider trying to hold onto Scotland militarily.

Frankly. the UK has more precedent for shedding independent states than any other nation state in the world such that it makes questions of legality sound ridiculous.
# Macart 2012-01-22 10:13
Very much agree.
# tartanfever 2012-01-21 08:21
Good posts sleekit, thanks for making the point so clearly.

Again I'm reminded of Michael Moore's appearance on the BBC last May just after the Scottish election when he told the country that Scotland would have it's referendum on it's terms with no interference from Westminster.
# fynesider 2012-01-21 14:56
... and in case anyone has forgotten what oor Michael said last May it's still available here
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 10:18
The whole game changed when the, *sovereign*, Scottish people withdrew their mandate from the Westminster Parliament and gave it to the Holyrood Parliament..
Perhaps I'm not explaining this well. So I will try again.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Sovereignty thus: -

sovereignty // n. (pl. -ies)
1 supremacy.
2 self-government.
3 a self-governing state.

Scotland and England are both, under Westminster, a constitutional monarchy*.
Defined as : - a monarchy governed according to a constitution that limits and defines the powers of the sovereign.

Overlooking the point about a written constitution, that means, in England, the monarchs power is passed to the elected government. In Scotland, though, the monarch IS NOT sovereign in the first place but the people of Scotland are. It is their power that is given to their ELECTED representatives . Those elected representatives must thus have the people of Scotland's mandate to be a properly elected government.

At this time the Westminster Government is not mandated to have the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. That mandate is given to the elected Holyrood Parliament.
There is nothing that any Westminster Parliament says or does that is actually legal in Scotland until the people mandate them to be our legally elected representatives . Remember, that international law will either have to rule in Scotland's favour in this matter or become discredited.
# Polstar 2012-01-21 01:25
So Lord Wallace of Tankerness has declared democracy Illegal..hmmm interesting position to take, he does realise thats at odds with international law doesnt he?

Do the lib dems stand for anything anymore?

  • No Longer Liberal because they dont want Scotland having a vote on Independence.
  • No longer in favour of Home Rule despite Federalism being a long standing party objective.
  • No longer in favour of extending the vote to 16 and 17 year olds despite it also being a long term objective.

And thats before we get to their pedges in England like not increasing the cost of going to university!!
# oldnat 2012-01-21 01:25
I am surprised at Wallace's misunderstandin g of the law (actually, I'm not - but I thought I should sound conciliatory).

While the earliest drafts of the question(s) suggested that the Scottish people were being asked to mandate the Scottish Government to enter negotiations with the UK to create an independent Scotland, the latest one

(bottom of the page) did no such thing. It simply asks Scots for their view as to Scotland's constitutional future. There is no implication therein that there will be any consequential negotiation.

It might well be (in fact probable) that, following such a referendum, the FM wouldn't even bother picking up the phone to chat to Cameron about it.

Of course, if Cameron didn't bother to initiate a wee chat about it with Alex, then the UK GE of 2015 and the Scottish GE of 2016 might be fought on the basis that the Scottish Government should negotiate with Westminster to bring about the will of the Scottish people. That would be nothing to do with the referendum, but a mandate derived from the votes of the people.
# ButeHouse 2012-01-21 01:27
Two skills the unionists have: Howling at the Moon and Shifting their Ground as Arguments are lost.

The latest case: It's not the Referendum that lacks legal force, it's the Negotiations for Independence which Follow the Referendum.

In short, they've discovered or known all along that the Referendum is legal so now emphasis switches to the post referendum negotiations as being illegal.

A strange stance to take as the negotiations are likely to be part of the Referendum question, so if the Referendum is legal the questions and therefore the negotiations will be legal. Sharely tae Goad!

# rhymer 2012-01-21 10:59
Quoting ButeHouse:
Two skills the unionists have: Howling at the Moon and Shifting their Ground as Arguments are lost.VOTE YES.

You missed out - grasping at straws
and jumping to conclusions.
(maybe a new london olympic event ?)
# J Wil 2012-01-21 01:39
So he was lying about the legality, or was it a carefully worded point of law intended to mislead?

Well I think all trust has been broken with the unionists so I hope Salmond refuses to meet Moore and goes ahead with the referendum as he originally planned it. Forget the 'legalisation' of the referendum, no electoral commission, no interference from whitehall, drop the voting age.

No more conciliatory gestures. No more dealing with the lying gits.

Even with the EC reporting to the Scottish Parliament there is no guarantee that they will not try to get up to some mischief making.

Lastly, I hope Wallace gets a rocket up him from his party.
# oldnat 2012-01-21 01:44
I've been looking at the suggestions from elsewhere in the UK that their voices should be heard over Scottish Independence. While we all know that the Westminster Governments and Whitehall don't really like democracy that much, the English, Welsh, and Northern Irish will be affected by the dissolution of the UK, so it seems reasonable that Westminster could organise a referendum among the English, the Senedd for the Welsh, and the Northern Ireland Assembly for their Province, should they choose to do so.

Why would we be unhappy if those in the other parts of the UK wanted us to stay or leave?
# chicmac 2012-01-21 02:17
Its not a question of being unhappy, it is simply that it is entirely counter to the principle of self determination as enshrined in the UN Charter and the International Covenant on Cultural and Political Rights.

A legally binding treaty to which the UK is a signatory.

A 'people' may decide for themselves whether they want self-government or not. Even, incidently, 'peoples' which have never ever been a self ruling state before (not that that applies to Scotland).

For almost all of the new nation states formed since WWWII the original incorporating state has wheeled out the dinosauric, imperialistic concept of territorial integrity. In almost every case there has also been an independence referendum. The UN has invariably sided with the referendum result, indeed, on occasions organising and even paying for it in the first place.

To my knowledge there has never been a referendum, even in the case of the most totalitarian and/or imperialistic states, where those other than those who might wish to secede have been consulted.

Self-determination means what it says on the tin.
# oldnat 2012-01-21 02:41
"Self-determination means what it say on the tin."

Of course, it does. I'm not suggesting that those in other parts of the UK should have any control over what Scots decide - simply that they are entitled to express their views in a consultative referendum, just as we have that right.

With all due respect to our Welsh and Northern Irish cousins, their views would pale into insignificance with the wishes of those in England - which is what the UK is all about.

If England decided it didn't want to remain in Union with Scotland - and that would be a decision based far more on an emotional and ill-informed basis than Scots are likely to do - then we gain.

If those in England decide that they agree with their politicians that they should hang on to Scotland because of the economic benefit they get - then we gain.

If the turnout in an English referendum is low, because they really don't care - then we gain.

While the decision is up to Scots, I don't see why we should be concerned about the other bits of the UK from expressing their view. Why should we?

Under the English constitutional model, the views of their subjects don't really matter anyway - only Lizzie, her Lords and MPs matter.
# Holebender 2012-01-21 04:26
You're coming at this from the wrong direction. Voters in England, Wales, or Northern Ireland are entitled to have a referendum on whether or not their country remains in the union, but not on whether or not ours does.
# Alba4Eva 2012-01-21 11:56
I'm all for it... I think the English should be offered a referendum on England becoming a fully independent nation.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 11:45
After many, many years of listening to English people's views of the Scots. When I joined the Dockyard at Rosyth there was not a single Scots person in any supervisory position. The yard was re-opened by importing staff from England. I am well aware of the inate feelings of the average English people and their utter ignorance of the real standing of the four home countries of the United Kingdom. The usual was, and probably still is, The Queen is Queen of England, thus the Royal Navy belongs to England, as does the whole Admiralty, Army and Air Force. The Parliament in Westminster is Her Majesty's Government so that too is English. Add in the Pound Sterling, the Treasury and the civil service. et al. That is the whole problem from the top to the bottom of English thinking. How many times did we hear, during WWII and afterwards, "England stood alone against the NAZI threat. Oh! Aye! So where were the Scots, Welsh, Irish and Commonwealth? What of the TV programmes from day one in Scotland, think about this one, "Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Hitler, if you think Old England's done". Not withstanding John Lawrie and the Welsh guy, the general idea was it was only England that fought the war. Again that ignores the USAsian claims that THEY won the war by fighting for us. The truth is that the USA was still suffering from, "The Great Depression", when war broke out. The USA saw a golden, (and I do mean golden), chance to make a quick buck, (or a billion or six). They legislated for, "The Cash & Carry ACT". This Act was to sell to anyone, with both cash in hand and the means to transport it, weapons and supplies. This acts first words are, "In defense of the US". So just who were they defending thenselves against? They obviously knew that it was also their fight. Anyway, when the allies money ran out, the USA then passed another act, (In Defense of the US), The lease/lend Act. First words also being, "In defense of the US". So they were now selling us on tick, not giving, weapons and supplies to the allies. What is NOT generally known is that while selling stuff to us they were also selling iron to the Japanese who were part of the enemy AXIS forces. We only paid that debt of in the 1990s - the only natoion on the World to do so.

They also exchanged 50 old WWI destroyers for 99 year leases of British bases throughout the World, Bases they still class as USA territory. Some of those old destroyers could not even make it across the Atlantic. It was not until the Japanese declared war on the USA by attacking Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, and Germany & Italy also declaring war on the USA December 11, 1941. Thus the truth is the USA only came to fight AFTER they were officially being attacked by the Axis forces. Now, I am not for a moment saying the USA help was not welcome, I'm not saying much presious USA blood was not spilled. I am, indeed greatful to the USA. However, lies ir chiels whit wull na ding, and the truth is the USA came to fight their own corner, not to cave us.

So let us realise there are many popular beliefs that just are not all they seem.
# chicmac 2012-01-21 16:29
Westminster cannot pass legislation to take Scotland out of the Union if Scots vote 'No'.

England CAN leave the Union if they have a referendum which says yes.

But those two things require two separate and quite different referendums.

To 'evict' Scotland from the UK, England, Wales and Northern Ireland would each separately have to vote to leave the UK then vote again to create a new Union without Scotland.

Effectively arriving at the same end but doing so without the legal implications.

So it is achieveable but in a convoluted way.
# alba 2012-01-21 04:00
I'm not suggesting that those in other parts of the UK should have any control over what Scots decide - simply that they are entitled to express their views in a consultative referendum,

I'd agree IF you were saying should England have a referendum about leaving the Union ie decide for itself whether or not it wants to remain in Union with Scotland. Personally I think its about time they got their own parliament, stopped scrounging of others and made their own way in the world. I'm not concerned about the other bits of the UK expressing their view. I just dont want to hear it. Pretty much in the same way as few Englishmen would have enjoyed reading my opinions on the direction their country should take.

Apart from anything else though, this has got to be a Scottish decision alone. May sound fascist to cry “Our people, our country, our parliament” but its nevertheless true. Sure, we’re part of British Isles, Europe and the wider world, and theres no such thing as “splendid isolation”. But we’ve all, unfortunately, experienced what happens when democracy becomes too centralised. Therefore this must be a “local” (ie Scottish) event. While we cant change the world, we can certainly change this wee bit of it. But it cannot be at the behest or opinions of outsiders – we alone will have to take responsibility for the consequences of our political decisions. And its got to start here.
# Exile 2012-01-21 10:53
"May sound fascist to cry “Our people, our country, our parliament”"

Doesn't sound fascist at all, alba. What a strange idea. Could anybody possibly see it that way, apart from some NuLab fantasist? It strikes me as a mainstream view in the modern world, since at the latest the bourgeois revolutuions across Europe in the mid-19th century.
# Alba4Eva 2012-01-21 12:11
Quote; "May sound fascist to cry “Our people, our country, our parliament."

In the strongest of terms, I completely disagree with that comment. There is nothing 'fascist' about self determination. If you think it might sound that way, then go up to an American, a Pole, a Frenchman, someone from Japan, Turkey, Brazil, South Africa, Costa Rica, Egypt... infact, any one of hundreds of independent countries around the world and ask them; "Do you not think you are being fascist, supporting your country, people and parliament?"

I think you will get an answer fairly quickly... but I would advise you wear a motorcycle helmet with the visor down before you embark on your quest. Health & Safety is always important. *;0)
# alba 2012-01-21 21:52
Being a “fundamentalist ” I have a somewhat unusual perspective on the referendum (although perhaps not that unusual here). For example, I don’t give a brass farthing whether or not I will be financially better off. This is all about my kids’ legacy; to leave them with their own homeland is priceless.

So at the risk of being labelled a tartan nazi (Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer” – free translation: One people, one empire, one leader), I don’t have a problem of outsiders expressing an opinion, but just not in the referendum asked for by Scots seeking to determine the future of Scotland, brought forward by the Scottish Government. Not just a matter of principle but practicality too. For example, will England be so quick to want rid of us when they realise Scotland isn’t a subsidy junky? Democracy when misplaced leads to internment camps; a possible consequence of a UK-wide referendum which has 90% of voters saying “keep the union” and 10% say “end the union”....
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 10:31
It is their right to express their views. It is also ours to listen or ignore.
# exel 2012-01-21 01:52
"don't tell Scottish people what they can do"

Quite right mr. Salmond.

That that is what you have a mandate to do isn't it?
# Old Smokey 2012-01-21 02:10
Can presume that you dont support independence and that you support parties that go against the democracy of a people.
No political party or politician has ANY right to dictate to people as to what the should or shouldnt do.
As far as Sunny Jim Wallace he has overstepped the mark like his idiotic cronies.
So Alex Salmond is actually correct in saying "don't tell Scottish people what they can do"
# chicmac 2012-01-21 02:20
Being mandated to do something IS doing what the people want.
# Old Smokey 2012-01-21 02:30
Your spot on Chicmac. The SNP do have the mandate, something that deludes the unionists
# Islegard 2012-01-21 09:59
Exel as a Lib Dem do you support Wallace's position? If so why?
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2012-01-21 10:26
Your LibDem commemoration knickers are showing again exel. Careful. Your opinion is valued but when a remark is as obtuse as this you deserve what you get.

Don't be bitter. If you have got something to contribute then lets hear it, sniping is the mark of bitterness.

The party that you presently support is morally and ethically bankrupt and will pay dearly / has paid dearly at the ballot box. My party is attempting to create a much better outcome for Scotland by getting rid of a treaty that reached its sell by date years and years ago. There will no doubt be future treaties and alliances, but the SG will come to the negotiation table as an equal or in a position of power.

Have you actually thought things through yet or are you so stuck in the mud with your federal leanings that you cant think of anything else? Independence for Scotland is a no-brainer really. The benefits of doing so will help raise countless families out of the poverty trap. I put it to you that you have considered such things but feel bound by loyalty to a party that up until now have done nothing for your country and in fact have become complicit in actually trying to harm the totally legal process that is taking place. If you have any evidence where they have benefited Scotland, I would like to know, but I'll be surprised if any of it was in recent history.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 10:33
I have to say how are the lib dems federal? Because they say it? Look at how they have treated Scotland. They continually try to block any transfer of power. The Lib Dems are NOT A FEDERAL PARTY.
# Siôn Jones 2012-01-21 11:44
No, the Lib Dems are more a FERAL party.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 12:11
Aye Sion! Pass the paper towel, my keyboard is wet again. It is one of Mutphy's laws that the unexpected joke will always happen when the mouth is full of something.
# farrochie 2012-01-21 11:29
WRONG, exel.
We are telling Mr Salmond what to do, and he is listening.
We told Blair we didn't want a war in Iraq, he didn't listen.
Spot the difference?
# Jim Johnston 2012-01-21 12:42
As always exel you have an absolute right to your views. The fact that you are light years away from a majority view, doesn't mean you should not hold your own views.

I honestly can't see where you are heading exel.
The LibDems have utterly and completely betrayed you, the SNP have fundamental differences in vision and strategy from you, the Tories would crucify you for treason, and Labour don't have any policy to have a view on.
# Exile 2012-01-21 16:21
No, what he has a mandate to do is to carry out the SNP manifesto pledges, including the referendum. What's hard to understand about that?
# rhymer 2012-01-22 11:03
Quoting exel:
"don't tell Scottish people what they can do" Quite right mr. Salmond.That that is what you have a mandate to do isn't it?

You are firing blanks again,exel.
(and missing the target too)
# Old Smokey 2012-01-21 02:34
Slightly O/T
You dont hear from these ermined peers from the unionist ranks form one years end to the next. Suddenly we have not only Sunny Jim Wallce, but George Robertson doing his bit in the Scotsman
You have to hand it to these Scots exiles they love to poke their oar in with their loathing of the mother country
# oldnat 2012-01-21 03:01
"they love to poke their oar in with their loathing of the mother country".

I think you are quite wrong there. Their "mother country" isn't Scotland, but Britain. They want to save it.

I understand that attitude. I want to save my country.

The problem is that the Brits want to include my country in theirs. We can't both win. Either their nation survives or ours does. This is one of those situations where the different views can't be accommodated.

Devo Max would allow Scottish control over all domestic affairs, while also allowing the Brits to continue with their post-imperial pretensions (which is why it isn't my favourite option!).

Robertson is, of course, an ultra-Unionist - and we all know how poor his political judgement is. "Devolution will kill Nationalism stone dead" That worked well!
# Siôn Jones 2012-01-21 11:47
The thing introducing Devo Max into the discussion has done is to focus the attention onto whether the Scots want to retain Trident, and continue to see their young people sent to die in foreign wars that are illegal, and not of their own country's making. Whether it makes it onto the ballot paper or will have served its purpose.
# Jim Johnston 2012-01-21 12:46
Hi Smokey,
You're right, I thought Robertson was died an' awa'.
The Unionists are a farce.
# Vincent McDee 2012-01-21 06:48
As my fellow posters have said already most what it should, with the exception of using the term "ermined" maybe, when the correct and proper one is "skunked", I'll like to clarify something else:

The office of Lord President is the most senior judicial office in Scotland and the office holder is responsible for leadership of the entire Scottish judiciary, in addition to chairing the Board of the Scottish Court Service.

This position is actually being under appointment, following notification of the current Lord President, Lord Hamilton’s, intention to retire in June 2012.

The First Minister has established a selection panel to make recommendations for a new Lord President.

That appointment process has begun today with the office being advertised and applications being invited by 31 January 2012.

The selection panel will interview shortlisted candidates and make a report to the First Minister with their recommendations shortly after that.

The selection panel consists of:
Sir Muir Russell (Chair), Chair of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland;
Professor Andrew Coyle, Lay member of the Judicial Appointments Board for Scotland;
Rt. Hon Lord Hardie, Senator (Inner House), and
Hon Lady Dorrian, Senator (Outer House)

As the salary for the position is £214,165, I should recommend any one interested here to ask for an application pack:

N.B. I don't think Jimmy boy should bother to, though.
# fynesider 2012-01-21 15:09
"N.B. I don't think Jimmy boy should bother to, though."

That's not likely to stop him tho' is it?
# clootie 2012-01-21 07:44
What a great forum (thanks newsnet) and what a valuable source of informatiom (thanks to posters and article writers)
# Barontorc 2012-01-21 07:59
Agreed Clootie. If NNS can muster up this amount of freely given advice, which to me a layman in these matters, seems to prove the stupidity and weakness of Wallace's intervention, then why the hell are we paying for all the legal advisers to be at bampot Wallace's beck and call in this obscene political machine?

AS is right on the ball with every piece of odure thrown at Scotland by these pisspots. PS, Ed, mod this out if you like it's how I feel.
# Albalha 2012-01-21 08:15
Sort of O/T but the electoral commission story which seemed to break late afternoon yesterday is imo rather unfortunate, not because of the EC but rather the SNP senior source as the basis for the story. I thought the SNP were doing rather well in being out there and open up until this point. I hope this doesn't mark a change in tactics. Below the quote for the BBC story and the full link.

A senior Scottish government source told the BBC the commission's involvement was no longer seen as an "impediment".
# Lupus Incomitatus 2012-01-21 08:56
Did Blubber break that, did he say he saw the minutes and has a sleekit copy?

Just joking.
# Sleekit 2012-01-21 08:58
Hello Albalha,

I believe a compromise has been reached where the Electoral Commission will report to the Holyrood Parliament rather than Westminster for the referendum.

Essentially it denies the Unionist parties the ability to gerrymander the vote by controlling the question, timing and voting age.

It is also unlikely that the SG gave up any of their demands to achieve this. Its more likely a face saving measure by Westminster to try and say they forced AS and the SG into agreeing to their demand for the Electoral Commission to oversee the referendum.

Also I'm not sure that the SG has agreed yet. Last I saw was it was a "Source" saying this and Mickey Moore was going to offer the SG this when he talks to AS this week.
# Albalha 2012-01-21 09:38
Yes re Holyrood that's correct, my only niggle is allowing the ' a senior source said' to creep into the debate.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 10:05
Not quite. The Electoral Commission has been shown in the past to be bias and prone to political influence. Look at the Wendy Alexander fiasco. The fact Westminster are hell bent on them being used tells you they feel using the Electoral Commission will favour them.
# rhymer 2012-01-21 11:07
[quote name="Albalha"
A senior Scottish government source told the BBC the commission's involvement was no longer seen as an "impediment".

It is still only a BBC rumor at this point. I'll won't believe it until I see the consultation document on wednesday.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 12:29
There are many interpretations of the phrase, "no longer important". To me the dispute about who should be the best authority to supervise this particular referendum is the greatest chance yet to involve an international body in the disagreement between the unmandated Westminster Parliament, I'll rephrase that, between the unmandated by the Scottish voters, Westminster Parliament and the overwhellmingly mandated by the Scottish people, Holyrood Government. We really do need to involve the EU, Council of Europe, United Nations or whatever other international body you can think of. The last authority in the World to call upon is one appointed by the United Kingdom as they, whether they say so or not, are an interested party.
# farrochie 2012-01-21 12:46
I too believe that "international oversight" of the referendum is highly desirable. I know the international community will be watching carefully, and the international press will be gathering in Scotland for the occasion. But a formal oversight would put Westminster in its rightful place. It is a body that is subservient to the Scottish people and the English crown.
# UpSpake 2012-01-21 08:18
Scotland is a nation. As a nation, it is perfectly entitled, without interference from anyone and anywhere to persue its desire for independence from a mother state which is ranked against it from every aspect.
All the rhetoric surrounding legalities, having power etc is all just unionist fog and obfuscation designed to scare, confuse and divide the electorate.
I cannot condone the idea of years of this for however inaccurate, and illegal the actions of Westminster is, can certainly have the effect of sowing doubt in the minds of the politically uninterested in Scotland.
We need to put a stop to all this now. I would hope, nay pray, that the SNP will address this on Burns Day. However, if past performance is to be our judge, I am not filled with hope.
I now look elsewhere should this transpire for leadership on this issue. It is just too important for it to be left unaddressed.
# tartanfever 2012-01-21 08:37
That's the pertinent issue UpSpake - press and publicity, and Albalha has touched on this subject in her post above.

Westminster is painting the SNP as undemocratic, they have nothing to lose and with events over the last week with Cameron's outbursts and the soaring rise in SNP membership, it seems that they will just continue on this path regardless.

Yes, they may change the face presenting the unionist case, Cameron, Moore, Wallace, Darling etc - but the message is the same.

And this is the unfortunate issue - they all get the tv air time, most importantly on Reporting Scotland etc - the most watched of our daily news bulletins. As we have witnessed recently, look how the mis-reporting or selective editing has helped the unionist case.

Jackie Baillie's false NHS figures - made the headline news and were uncontested. The figures were questioned and shown to be false on a less significant programme.

Joan McAlpine - the full story not shown, and selective editing made her comments look questionable.

Glasgow City Council's precarious financial situation and the questions over land deals for the Commonwealth games.

This continues unabated. The BBC closes down blogs, re jigs it's staff bringing in a known Labour supporter in a a senior news position. this is where the real battle lies, the formation of a solid unionist camp within the media institutions.

Fill the media with unionist support and you can say what you like when you like and how you like.

This for me is where the battle is going to take place and probably be the decider in a referendum, this is what the SNP have to come up with an answer to.
# Albalha 2012-01-21 08:41
Just wondering re this post if you are referring to Alba's post higher up or my, Albalha, post?
If it's mine then the 'he' is a she.
# tartanfever 2012-01-21 08:58
Sorry Albalha, I did mean you and I didn't think when i was typing.
Many apologies, I'll correct it.
# Albalha 2012-01-21 15:50
# Sleekit 2012-01-21 09:06
And is a ginger cow on occasion??? :-)

Nice to see you on NNS Albalha


Sleekit / Sneekyboy
# Albalha 2012-01-21 09:18
Ah you see unlike you wherever I post I keep the same name ......
# Sleekit 2012-01-21 09:39
I doubt most Guardian readers would understand Sleekit. :-)
# Albalha 2012-01-21 14:25
Thought that may be your reasoning ....
# Albalha 2012-01-21 08:54
You also talk about Reporting Scotland and how poor it is something that should be of concern to people as well as the loss of Newsweek is the decimation of BBC Scotland radio staff. Overall BBC cuts are around 16% this 8 out of 27 BBC radio news production staff represents more than 30%, apparently the theory is that a programme like Rep Scot has more viewers than GMS has listeners. Anyway I see NNS is now running a poll on the programmes to be cut may I suggest standing up for a properly staffed GMS as well? I appreciate a lot of posters here think it's a biased waste of time, personally I think we need GMS in the coming months. The idea that Rep Scot would have the lions share of resources is most scary given how poor it is.
# tartanfever 2012-01-21 09:01
I agree, it's a shame to lose any jobs in Scotland and all news programmes are important. The positions that need to be changed are the editors and senior staff who set the tone for the reports.
# Albalha 2012-01-21 09:24
To be fair to day to day staff a 3 hour long live news programme with limited resources is no easy task. And of course the BBC charter does not say the BBC retain programmes on the basis of viewing/listening figures, remember the 6 music battle? Of course that was a high profile sustained campaign, not sure who a good poster boy/girl would be for BBC Scotland radio news programmes ....
# tartanfever 2012-01-21 09:44
No, programme production on that scale is very difficult. Daily broadcasts of that length does require 'bums on seats' purely because of logistical reasons in filling that kind of time slot.

However, the newsweek model that may look at the 'bigger' picture in a more reflective mode does not require that kind of man power. It's a case of a few studio guests and some pre-recorded stuff - a lot less man power than the GMS style instant news reporting programme.

Which begs the question, if GMS is the kind of programme replacing Newsweek (surely it can't be, even politicians need their Sunday rest), then whilst cutting staff, how can BBC Scotland justify a programme of this format, that by it's nature requires a higher number of staff ?

It will be interesting to see what happens.

As for the BBC Charter not retaining programmes because of viewing figures etc, we both know in practice that this is not the case! In fact I have a lovely e-mail from Reporting Scotland when i queried the constant coverage of Rangers and Celtic and the lack of coverage of any other sport. Their response was bluntly that more people were interested in Rangers and Celtic, hence why we receive blanket coverage.
# Albalha 2012-01-21 14:24
More complicated really, think of it in staff hours one person devoted full time to one hour of programming, with additional assistance towards the end of the week. It mounts up in terms of cost,

Re a Sunday Newsweek is Saturday am, so no need for politicians to pitch up on a Sunday.

The point I was making re listening/viewing figures is it's a tough case for BBC management to make and win as said before see 6 music.
# fynesider 2012-01-21 16:16
"Anyway I see NNS is now running a poll on the programmes to be cut.."

Location on this site please....
# rolfh 2012-01-21 08:36
Wallace's anti-democratic nonsense was just ripped to shreds by Derek Bateman on Newsweek Scotland. It's the only balanced, intelligent programme on the entire of BBC Scotland's output and I've just read that it's to be scrapped!

Bateman sounded genuinely annoyed with Wallace. He suggested, with consternation, that Wallace's legal argument meant that Scotland was probably the only democratic parliament in the world that couldn't legally consult its people through a referendum. No wonder the BBC want rid of this programme.
# J Wil 2012-01-21 08:55
It was suggested on the programe that Wallace's own party won't be too chuffed at what he is doing.

Also, I may have missed it, but it did not come out too strongly, if at all, that it was not the referendum that was illegal but what comes after, viz the attempt at negotiations (as suggested in the above article). If that message doesn't get out to the public then it is useless.

Wallace seemed to be sticking entirely to his original stance. His replies to Bateman were full of weazel words.
# Sleekit 2012-01-21 09:09
Yes I saw that in the intereest of "quality" that Newsweek was to be scrapped as is another Politics program and a radio show...

But not Call Kaye...

Or Newsnicht...
# Albalha 2012-01-21 09:29
As this is the area I know most about the reality is that the top of BBC News in Scotland wants to divert radio news resources into TV which re my post above is why they are proposing to cut over 30% of radio news production jobs. When K Adams took over the phone in it was moved from the radio news dept to features therefore the staff that work on that are not inlcuded in the 8/27 cuts. Maybe there should be a campaign to bring back L Riddoch for the phone in.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 13:40
I was going to repost the whole frozen web page's text, about BBC Labour Party involvement, the text of which I extracted from the web page but, it really will serve little purpose. We all know the score there. Let us just remember that BBC stands for Biased Broadcasting Clique.
# Wave Machine 2012-01-21 08:40
It looks very likely that after a referendum, David Cameron or whoever is PM, may just do a General De Gaulle and simply say "No(n)".

I wouldn't put it past the British Nationalists.

Looking at it from the BritNat viewpoint, with a seat on the Security Council looking wobbly, nowhere to berth Trident submarines etc.

It's scarey stuff for the UK.
# Lupus Incomitatus 2012-01-21 08:53
What is there to say after Sleekit's demolition job on Wee Jim Wallace, who sold the LibDems for a Ministerial Mondeo and a path to ermine.

So, he who pays the Piper, calls the tune and, on cue, up pops the flea bitten Piper to play his bidding. His Master's Voice, so to say.

My take was that, after the positive referendum and a yes vote, his Master would just tell us Sweaties to bugger off and ignore our will.

This has been demolished as I said by many of the afore posters but, it tell me much about this fetid union's mindset and their arrogant disregard for anything that is not their advantage.

Another nail in the coffin then, bang!
# parsonrussell 2012-01-21 09:13
I'm just wondering when this positive campaign the pro-union parties keep talking about is going to start. I'm getting really fed up already with all the negative huffing and puffing from them, and there's a wee while yet to go till we get to vote.
# Wave Machine 2012-01-21 09:46
I'm going to say something potentially controversial now.
With the UK position on the UN Security Council on a shoogly peg in a world where there is an Independent Scotland, there are several big players out there in the wider international commmunity who would benefit from just such a position.

Without Scotland, rUK will lose the Trident Base and the Oil to fund it. The rUK position in the world is suddenly diminished.

It isn't the case where nuclear bombs call the shots any more, it's now economic clout.

There is a queue of nations lining up to make their voices and influence heard.

China is the obvious one and they would dearly like to see the rUK off the security council; a gnat that makes for an annoying buzzing sound that they would just love to swat away.

India is an emerging regional and world power. Then Brazil and Germany; they have such powerful economic clout that it's a joke that they don't have permanent seats on the UN Security Council.

The gulf states would probably benefit as well.

It's no coincidence that China has been very keen to do business with Scotland.

What I'm trying to say is that there are others in the world who would love to see Scotland Independent. Rest assured they will pull what ever strings are available to them. Brazil is a member of Mercosur and has backed Argentina recently in the Falkands dispute. So they have strings to pull.

Jolly old Blighty has far to many enemies and not enough friends to begin throwing it's weight around against Scotland.

I can see subtle pressure being applied from some of these nations to assist a drive to Scottish Independence.

Jim Wallace and the other British Nationalists are acting out their bit-part neo colonial fantasies oblivious of the real world around them. They and their childish, outdated viewpoints are those of yesterday, when a gunboat on the Yangtze, the jailing of activists or an Amritsar massacre would have been the natural course of action.

What Jim and co are forgetting is that these displays of Imperial loyalism will not be forgotton by Scots. It makes you wonder about their mindset; are they stupid, blind loyal to London or do they see this playing out in a different fashion? They are not following a script that I think is sensible and they have overlooked the other actors on the stage, and that stage is global!
# silvermcg 2012-01-21 09:57
as i am new ti this forgive me if u have read the following,there is a new head of the law office in the european parliment who it would seem might be disposed to helping a country who might be being bullied also read the news reports from bbc thanks to (news sniffer)which details there are 3 reports with different endings depending on how eck responds to this latest B/S.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 14:12
Hi, welcome silvermcg, no need to beg forgivness, or for anything else for that matter. In point of fact whatever Eck says is not the point. What is the point is that since the Declaration of Arbroath it has been the basis of Scottish law that the people of Scotland are sovereign and the monarch is not. Then, when Scotland, (well the UK as a whole really), became a Constitutional Monarchy, that translated into a legal situation where the sovereignty of the people of Scotland was delegated, not then to the appointed leader, the monach, but to the people's properly elected representatives . So Wee Eck, as the head of that properly elected goverenment, takes the place of the monarch, who remains now a figurehead. Thus the law says it is the people of Scotland who remain sovereign and Eck is our properly elected leader. The law also says that, just as we could choose a leader as our king/queen, and also choose to sack him/her, we can do so with our leaders.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 10:10
I've wondered about this too. The british have many enemies worldwide. Helping Scotland in any way they can will bring about the downfall of their enemy.
# Ard Righ 2012-01-21 10:16
British? you mean English.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 10:34
Same thing.
# Alx1 2012-01-21 11:11
Not quiet!
The English only use British when they can no longer, or don't want to use English.

English riots become British.
English football holigans become British.
Great Scottish inventions become British.
Beautiful Scottish countryside becomes British countryside. Whereas English countryside is English.
The allies winning the 2nd world war becomes England winning.
Tim Henman is English where Andy Murray is British.
And so on!
# Islegard 2012-01-21 11:24
Are you british? I'm not I'm Scottish. If that's how you want to identify yourself though that's fine. I identify myself as Scottish not british. If I respect your identity you should respect mine.

As you pointed out the English use british to refer to the conquered surrounding nations as being called English would just be too much.
# Alx1 2012-01-21 11:28
I don't quiet think you got what I was saying.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 11:32
No I understand. There is a lot of confusion about british on this site. There is a reason for this it has been used as a political weapon. I agree with what you said but I will in no way identify with the identity they want us to adopt.
# Alx1 2012-01-21 11:39
You don't islegard and probably the majority on here, but unfortunately for the rest of the world, like it or not, we come under the Great Britain/UK banner.
I don't like it, but for the time being that's how we are perceived by others.

As I said;

"The English only use British when they can no longer, or don't want to use English."

When it suits their interest.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 11:50
I agree with what you say. However "we come under the Great Britain/UK banner."
Yes politically. However most other races who are conquered and assimilated don't identify with the conquerers moniker. The Irish in no way call themselves british and didn't when they were under british rule. The same with Palestinians or Kurds etc. You choose your identity. Did the French under Vichy become Teutonic?

The English use british to push on the Scots because it is classic conquerering/assimilating technique. When you conquer you attempt to strip the identity and seperateness of who you conquer and assimilate them into your identity like the Romans.

Let me put it this way outside of the ambitous Stewarts. Pre-1707 no Scots would have called themselves British. Actually I have seen passenger liner records that show in the 1930's british wasn't used where Scots, English etc was its a recent tactic.

"unfortunately for the rest of the world, like it or not, we come under the Great Britain/UK banner."

A lot of this is perception. When I go overseas I never say I'm british if someone asks I say Scottish and explain to them the political situation and how I don't agree with it.
# Alx1 2012-01-21 12:04
And I agree with you on the British assimlation technique, but that is not what I am saying.
Their (establishemt) utterance of British when things are bad and Enlish when good is not, IMO, designed for Scottish consumption, it is designed for English, foreign consumption splashed with self assurance, ignorance call it what you like.
Muddy the waters and fog of war stuff, to confuse and deceive.
Your point of British and English being the same thing is not under the circumstances I have quoted.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 12:22
We'll disagree to agree! I pretty much agree with you and you agree with aspects of what I meant!
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 14:26
Whether you like it or not you are Britsh. That is unless you are not from the British Isles. Here is the dictionary definition of, "British".

British // adj. & n.
1 of or relating to Great Britain or the United Kingdom, or to its people or language.
2 of the British Commonwealth or (formerly) the British Empire (British subject).
n. (prec. by the; treated as pl.) the British people.
Britishness n.
[Old English Brettisc etc. from Bret ‘Briton’, from Latin Britto or its Celtic equivalent]

The term British is geographic as is Great Britain - this is often disputed but there really is no contest.
The Great in Britain distinguishes the main island from the archipelago of island made up of Great Britain, Man and the Channel Islands. To put that a different way - Great Britain is Scotland, England & Wales.
# Exile 2012-01-21 18:42
Actually, the Great in Britain designates Scotland. England and Wales were referred to as Britain pre-Union. Great Britain was James VI and I's big idea when he first envisaged uniting his two kingdoms.
# Edna Caine 2012-01-21 21:25
Auld Bob - agreed.

Why do so many committed supporters of self-determination for the nation of Scotland get so carried away with pedantic word-play of what is "British", "English", "Scottish", etc.

Are the divide and rule tactics of the UK Unionists beginning to work?

And please, please, let no-one start using the word "RACE" in any discussion like this, as has been done above!

Keep your eyes on the prize!
# Islegard 2012-01-21 21:35
"Why do so many committed supporters of self-determination for the nation of Scotland get so carried away with pedantic word-play of what is "British", "English", "Scottish"

Edna are you quite mad? Mind you you are a tory. If there was no use for these terms we would'nt be seeking independence. We would be one.

Also I cited other examples previosly but I continue to come back to Ireland. Because they are most similar to ourselves not because I must be a Celtic supporter as Alba4Ever believed.

Ireland was called britain and british and refused to accept this identity. Unfortunately there are Scots who have been conditioned and converted to being british. In society there are always easily conquered collaborators.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 21:51
We are as much british as Estonians are Soviet or Russian, Croatians are Serb or Yugoslavian. Though these countries have people with more self respect than Scotlan. I am not british and when you get brit collaborators refusing to accpet your right to self determination its a tad annoying. It is akin to the argument Scotland has no right to self determination because it is a region of England/Britain.

Pre-1707 our ancestors would never have been described as british. You do them a dishonour. as well as dishonouring yourself.

"The term British is geographic as is Great Britain - this is often disputed but there really is no contest." According to you.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 22:09
Tory Edna how would you describe yourself?
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 14:16
Whoa! The Scots are British too. However, there will be no British Government after Scotland becomes independent. There will be an English Government but it will need to be elcected by the English Voters. That lot down at Westminster just now are members of the UK, (British), government. England has no government. There will be no rump UK.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 21:42
What is the origins of the term british? A Roman term for England Scotland was Caledonia.
# tartanfever 2012-01-21 10:42
Wave Machine, I think you hit on a very pertinent point. the old model of how the United Nations was structured has changed. After WWII the allies were predominantly given the ruling seats, Germany obviously was not, these positions were re-inforced in the Cold War era.

Now as you point out, those days are gone. Time has passed, Germany probably deserves more recognition as the power house of Europe, economic trade has brought closer ties with China and India and Brazil is another economic power house.

Shifting patterns will surely have to be recognised within the UN for it to remain a viable institution ?
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 14:48
I don't knoiw whagt you are bothered about. After independence there can bo no United Kingdom Government and the present United Kingdom Government IS NOT the English Parliament. That Parliament has no legal right to run England if the only two signatories of the Treaty Of Union that brought them into existence is disolved. The members, including those from Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales were not elected as English MPs. What passes as a United Kingdom Constitution, (it is written down - just not all in the one place). Rules that there are no country specific constituant parts, (constituencies ), they are all considered equal. They do not even recognize political parties as such. A member, (MP), represents ONLY the electors, (whether they vote for him/her or not), of that constituency. Why do you think the parties can expel a member? How can a member just ditch his/her party mid-term and join any other party of his/her choice, (or become an independent)?

The fact is that the elected members are all equal as MPs but they elect the House chairpersons etc., from within their numbers. It is her majesty who chooses who will form, HER Majesty's Government. Not the party with the largest number of seats.

No, the truth is that Westminster IS NOT the English parliament and cannot legally just assume that it is. Just see what international law will say to them if they try.
Do you think that Germany, for example, will miss the chance to throw a former United Kingdom Prime Minister out of any EU or UN committee because they are NOT the United Kingdom Government? Best Cameron & Co., can expect is that they are offered the chance to agree with Scotland just who the UK, (not the UK government), representative will be.
# Exile 2012-01-21 18:45
Actually, Bob, I don't think 'international law', whoever he may be, will care one way or the other. westminster will just carry on as if nothing's changed (just as they did in 1707), and why not?
# maisiedotts 2012-01-21 11:06
You've hit the nail on the head Wave Machine, I've been arguing this point for months on Guardian.
# Macart 2012-01-21 11:24
Well they have had some warning shots across their bows. On this site as memory serves, an EU lawyer backing the FMs position on renegotiation as opposed to the expulsion scare stories bandied about by Westminster, effectively stepping on one of their more well used myths.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 14:00
Let's get something straight, Wave Machine, After Scotland leaves the Union, a treaty beween ONLY two equal sovereign nations, there will still be a United Kingdom as long as we have a common monarch. There will NOT be a rump United Kingdom NOR will there be A Parliament of the United Kingdom. The very word Kingdom indicates it is about the monarch. The United Kingdom came about in 1603. The joint Parliament of the United Kingdom came about after only TWO countries signed a Treaty Of Union, 103 years later, in 1707.


Furthermore, there will be NO United Kingdom Parliament OR English Parliament until Her Majesty summons someone, (there will be no UK civil Service to advise her), to form Her Majesty's English Government, but a very big but, there are no legally elected Members of the Elected English Parliament to form that government from. The Westminster Members are, one and all, elected members of United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland Parliament which will no longer exist.

Westminster is not the English Parliament nor is The Houses of Parliament, a purpose built building to house the UK parliament paid for with united kingdom tax money. The original building burned to the ground. There is no English Treasury nor an English Civil service. No English army, navy or air forve. These too are all United Kingdom assets NOT Elglish. You are obviously making use of the terms that you have been brain washed to use. Facts, though, do not bear them out.
# farrochie 2012-01-21 15:05
"That the United Kingdom of Great Britain be represented by one and the same Parliament, to be styled the Parliament of Great Britain."

Parliament of Great Britain I think is the correct term, but it's difficult to overcome centuries of inaccurate usage.
# smerral 2012-01-21 10:10
I don't think that's controversial at all Wave Machine - you make some extremely valid points. Britain is regarded in many parts of the world as an interfering busy body too big for its boots. And this whole process needs to be viewed in an international context.
# cjmjr 2012-01-21 10:14
Re. the Legality question,any law passed to deny a nation its right to self determination,m ust be a bad law. Were Robert Mugabe to pass such a law there would be world wide condemnation and rightly so.Westminster claim such a law is in place here in the Uk,made to prevent the Scottish Nation from self determination, they appear to be proud of this fact and have been on national television to boast to the fact.Shame on Westminster shame on the BBC for broadcasting such a piece. Vote Snp.
# Jimbo 2012-01-21 10:40
Did they also make a law to prevent the English, Welsh and N Irish peoples from voting for self determination, or does it only apply to the Scots?
# Alx1 2012-01-21 12:05
Falkland Islands?
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 15:15
How many times?
Get the legal score right.
It is not an English Parliament that is passing these, "laws", it is a United Kingdom of Great Britain & Norther Ireland", parliament that is doing so.
The weakness, (as far as England is concerned), is that the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland is now not legally represenative of Scotland. As I've attempted to drum into everyone the Scottish people have something the rest of the people goverened by that parliament do not have. Our independent legal system. Everyone else is under the English Legal system and the beauty of this is that the very Treaty Of Union that formed the Parliament of The United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland stands as guarantor of that Scottish independent legal system. Witness how the international courts insured that The Lockerbie Bombers Trial had to be conducted under Scottish Jurisdiction. Not even the mighty USA could take that away from us, (even if they did breach the rules by bribing the main witness). The point is there is a precedent in international law that protects the Scottish Legal jurisdiction. As to that Scottish law much of it is based upon the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. That is why we have had legal right to roam since the Declaration of Arbroath. It is also why no private landlord can clamp a vehicle and demand money to unclamp it. It is now, for the first time ever, that it makes the Westminster Parliament not legally representative of the people of Scotland. They do not have our mandate to rule and we are sovereign. Holyrood, though, does have a very large mandate to rule. Thus the Scottish Government are legally our chosen leaders and delegated to use our sovereignty.

So again - if Scotland leaves the Union the Westminster Parliament is no more and, as it is not the English parliament, the English have no parliament. No seat at any table and no legal right to grab one.
# Ard Righ 2012-01-21 10:18
This ConDem unionist faffers opinion is important because...... oh wait a minute it's not.
This year will be thickly characterised by most in the public eye making no sense whatsoever. Especially those desperately clinging to old forms of domination of thought and life such as imperialism, usury banking models, corporate irresponsibilit y and surveillance.

They are simply no longer relevant.
# mealer 2012-01-21 10:21
off topic,but what % of known oil reserves are in Scottish waters ? And what % of the gas ?
# tartanfever 2012-01-21 10:43
Thought it was 90% for oil, not sure about gas.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 10:47
I seen figures on this site for 96% oil! Need to find out and reference.
# Sleekit 2012-01-21 11:19
Scotland's geographical share of oil production stood at 97 per cent in 2010, while its geographical share of gas production remained at 58 per cent. Scotland's share of total hydrocarbon production was 81 per cent in 2010, up marginally from 80 per cent in 2009.

How about straight from the horses mouth??? :-)
# Sleekit 2012-01-21 11:21
GERS is suuch a useful document...

I love the map too!!
# Sleekit 2012-01-21 11:37
The total remaining oil and gas reserves are between 15.5 billion and 25 billion barrels of Oil. This suggests that between 30-40 per cent of total UKCS oil and gas reserves (by volume) have still yet to be recovered.

Scotland's geographical share of oil production is estimated to remain relatively fixed at approximately 96 per cent of the UKCS total, while the share of gas production is estimated to rise to 67 per cent.
# Alx1 2012-01-21 12:17
Also bear-in-mind that there are several new gas reserviors coming on stream in a few years time.
bp Andrew (phase 2?)
Clair ridge project.
Shehalian (don't know project name/title)

So expect Gas production and share of UK total to go up dramatically in the next few years.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 13:00
I like the fact that GERS states although 97% of oil is Scottish we would only get 8-9% as part of the UK.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 15:20
Hard one to answer - the percentage changes all the time. Wells go off stream for maintenance, to make changes to pipelines, due to weather and so on. However, it runs from around 95% to 98% on average being from Scottish waters. There was a large chunk of Scottish waters stolen by the UK parliament. Believe it or not. If you swim out from St Andrews for a little bit you are swiming in English Waters, (according to Wastemonstr). As to gas, that is even more obscure.
# Holebender 2012-01-21 18:18
You'd have to swim an awfy lang wye oot.
# Jim Johnston 2012-01-22 11:18
Hi Bob,
It's ownership that matters not past, present or future production figures. I'll trust to International Laws and Conventions to confirm Scottish ownership. That is why Westminster are in such a panic.

Only areas where oil and / or gas fields straddle International boundaries are tax revenues split by %ge between nations. That is the case right now.
# EricF 2012-01-21 10:31
I'm going to quote a bit from Sleekit - way back up there, regarding the need for the Scottish government to agree to any constitutional changes that would hamper its right to call a referendum:

"For Westminster to pass legislation on these issues would most likely, by constitutional convention, require the consent of the Scottish Parliament. But why would Holyrood trade a general power for a more restricted one?"

Isn't that just the danger of a unionist majority getting back in Holyrood, if there DOES happen to be a "No" vote in 2014?
# Jim Johnston 2012-01-22 11:26
I think you are correct there EricF, the Sottish People need to be warned, again and again, that this is a massive gamble if they vote NO.... The Lab/Tory/LibDem pact would hand the lot over to Westminster like a shot.

Vote NO and Scotland will be hung drawn and quartered 100 time worse than Maggie managed.
# Seagetagrip 2012-01-21 10:33
Heard Derek Bateman having a go at Wallace this morning. Unfortunately, he Derek,is too polite and Bully Wallace repeatedly shouted down his pointed questions

Frankly, think it is high time Fiona Hyslop earned her corn and had a go at the Pacific Quay hierarchy.

I shall e mail re Newsweek and Derek Bateman and would urge others to do likewise
# Diabloandco 2012-01-21 10:40
OT but did anyone read the dribbling garbage on Biased BBC?
Almost as bad as Allan Cochrane and that sure is saying something.
# Jim Johnston 2012-01-22 11:35
Cochrane will still be an a bit of a pet for a while, as he was last Sundays Politics Show Scotland. Isabell Fraiser tried hard not to laugh, but best just leave him to pick up his dolls himself and get back in his box.
# govanite 2012-01-21 10:53
Wallace & the LibDums are being made to look stupid by the tories. The referendum will happen and all these claims about legality will be shown as false.
How will that reflect on the LibDums ?
# cokynutjoe 2012-01-21 10:55
We need a law passed in the Scottish Parliament abolishing the use of phoney titles in Scotland, Sir Fred, Lord Tankerness Lord Forsyth etc' ad nauseum. There may be a case for ancient hereditary stuff but in the 21st century this fantasia is absolute bollox!
I realise that Lord Tankerness & co will put up a cast iron case for their retention, so post independence then, when their gravy-train hits the buffers.
# RTP 2012-01-21 11:08
Just listened to Wallace on Newsweek is he saying the "Claim of Rights"now mean nothing also heard the man from the north Slaging off London and the S/E so it is not only the Scots who is against Westmidden.I wonder what the Wallace of long ago would think of his namesake.?
# J Wil 2012-01-21 12:54
I think what he was trying to say was it still retains its meaning and that it hasn't been undermined. It's just more chaff being thrown out to confuse the population. False reassurance.

Will this be the premise on which the unionists agree to sign up to the Claim of Right again? Sheer confusion.
# Marga B 2012-01-21 11:32
On the international aspect, the failed Basque Referendum 2008 might be worth looking at. See the wikipedia article:

"The proposed 2008 referendum was a poll intended to occur in the Basque Country in that year, but prevented by the Spanish government. The poll was to be a consultative referendum, in which two questions were put to the electorate, concerning self-determination from Spain. It was scheduled for 25 October 2008 but the decision to hold the vote was appealed by the Spanish government to the Constitutional Court of Spain, which ruled on 11 September 2008 that the referendum could not go ahead. In turn, the PNV appealed this ruling, to the European Court of Human Rights, which later upheld the Spanish Constitutional Court ruling in February 2010.

The 2008 referendum was proposed by former lehendakari (president of the Basque country autonomous community) Juan José Ibarretxe. The first question was to concern whether to engage in talks with ETA; the second was to be on whether there should be a political debate on the "right to decide about the Basque people", a coded reference to the issue of whether the Basque Country should remain in Spain.

The questions were:

Do you agree to supporting a process of dialogued end to the violence, if ETA previously declares unmistakably their will to end it once and for all?

Do you agree that the Basque parties, without exceptions, start a process of negotiation to reach a democratic agreement about the right to decide of the Basque People, and that the aforementioned agreement will be submitted to referendum before the end of the year 2010? (continued)
# handclapping 2012-01-21 11:32
So let me get this right. The Calman Commission was not illegal but Fergusson allowing a debate on it's outcome was.

Does this also mean that the Committees on the Scotland Bill are illegal?

None of this sounds very Liberal or democratic to me but then he was a divorce lawyer.
# Marga B 2012-01-21 11:38
Constitutional Court

The Spanish government appealed the vote to the Constitutional Court of Spain, thus suspending the referendum plans. The suspension occurred on 17 July 2008. The Court ruled unanimously on 11 September 2008 that the referendum was unconstitutiona l, as only the central government could call such a referendum.

The court said that only Spain's central government could conduct referendums and that the issue that this one wanted to raise, the possibility of changing the Basque region's relationship with the rest of Spain, is something that all Spaniards would have to decide on, not just Basques; in turn, Ibarretxe said he respected the court ruling, while adding that the court was "acting for political reasons disguised in a legal veneer".

He subsequently called on "the Basque people" and its political parties to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights to take Spain to task over the court decision.

Following the PNV's appeal, in February 2010 the European Court of Human Rights upheld the Spanish Constitutional Court ruling, ruling that the Spanish government had not violated the European Convention on Human Rights.


On the day the vote was to have taken place, Saturday October 25, 2008, up to 20,000 protesters rallied in six Basque cities demanding a referendum on proposed moves towards independence. It was intended that the vote would have allowed for a potential dialogue with ETA, as well as negotiations towards a full referendum on independence within two years. This followed a march earlier in the month by a few thousands Basques demonstrating to demand secession, including some scattered supporters of ETA. The vote followed Kosovo's declaration of independence, supported by the EU, which had been thought by some to be influential on an independent Basque country. Furthermore, calls for a referendum on Scottish independence in 2010 were in line with the Basque case."

Incidentally, in Spain too the national socialist and conservative parties formed a united front against the holding of a referendum.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2012-01-21 11:44
So what you are saying by what you've reported here is that there would be no use in taking any case to the ECHR because they would look back on this and would rule the same.

Have I got that right Marga?
# Marga B 2012-01-21 12:13
I don't know, Saltire, because I haven't found the reasons for the rejection by the ECHR (ETA was also involved in the referendum, after all). Will try to find out more. But a judgement was given to that effect.

Also the ECHR recently rejected another appeal against a Spanish Constitutional Court judgement raised by Catalan activitists, when the CC somewhat surprisingly struck down many of the clauses in a kind of "Catalonia Act" giving Catalonia extra powers, which had been passed by the Spanish parliament and also put to the vote of Catalan citizens and approved by them. Catalans were outraged but impotent.

It seems it is very difficult to get the European Court to over-rule any decision of a national Constitutional Court.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 12:26
Don't you have to have a constitution to have a constitutional court?
# Marga B 2012-01-21 12:30
It seems in the UK you can - see the UK Supreme Court, which now has the last word on constitutional issues.

In Spain they have both Supreme and Constitutional Courts and some people think the CC should be abolished, with the Supreme taking the decisions (I believe I've got that the right way round).
# Islegard 2012-01-21 12:32
The do just make it up as they go along.
# Marga B 2012-01-21 12:37
Yes, that's the general feeling. But who's going to challenge the system, at any level?

If courts (some of distinctly dubious provenance, like the Spanish CC, with at least 1 serving judge left over from Franco's days) can over-rule national parliaments and the stated will of the people in referendum and get away with it, there's not much anyone can do.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 17:19
This is where the present situation with the Westminster and Scottish Parliaments disputing things is favourable to the Scot. Such documents as matter are well known and have been long in the international public domain.

We have to start by establishing at what point the International community acknowledged that Scotland was a sovereign & independent nation. Easy one this - the whole World knows the Declaration of Arbroath. The history is that After The Bruce killed the Comyn on the alter steps of High Kirk of Dmfries the Pontif, then the known World authority not only excommunicated the Bruce but the entire population of Scotland too. He even ruled that every church service in England read out a curse upon the people of Scotland. After the Declaration of Arbroath, though, everything changed. The Pontif accepted that Scotland was an independent sovereign nation. However, as the Bruce had been excommunicated there was no way he could claim the Divine Right of Kings and become the King of Scotland. But the crafty cleric who drew up the Declaration had though it all out. The Declaration claimed that in Scotland it was not the king that was sovereign but the people of Scotland. Furthermore, the king, as the king did not have the divine right, the sovereign Scots had the divine right to choose their monarch, (leader), and even more startling, had the right to give him the heave if he didn't come up to scratch. Scottish law was changed for ever and has been baserd upon that permise ever since. That letter established in international law Scotland was a sovereign country and that the Scottish people are sovereign and the King/Queen of Scots was not sovereign. The monarch is designated as King/Queen of Scots ever since. The second historic event was the Union of the Crowns of Scotland & England. Wales was alread under the English Crown as a principality and the prince being his parents subject. The Irich crown was also on the English monarchs head so all four crowns were on the same monarchs head but Scotland was still a sovereign country while Wales and Ireland were not. Not until 103 years later The Scots & English, ONLY signed the Treaty Of the Union of The Parliaments. They signed as equal sovereign countries. This too is an international treaty. Then each of the two countries pased Acts of Union in their own Parliament but as equal sovereign countries. In time the joint parliament became a constitutional monarchy but, as each country has a different status in soverignty, the effect differs in each of the two. The Scots people gave their sovereignty to their elected representatives while those in the rest of the United Kingdom remained as the monarchs subjects and the monarch delegated her/his soverignty to the people's elected representatives . In law the Monarch remains sovereign in England, Wales and N.Ireland and the people are subjects of the monarch. In Scotland the people delegated their sovereignty to their elected representatives but with the added right to choose their leader remaining with the people meaning that the Scottish people remain sovereign and that has the effect that, as they have the right to choose their monarch, they also retain the right to sack their elected representatives if they so wish. The beauty of the Treaty and both acts of union is that the treaty and acts all safeguard the Scottish independent legal system and that legal systyem is based upon the sovereignty of the people of Scotland.
So where does that leave us now? It leaves us with the right to sack any representative body that we have not given a mandate to as our delegated representative. At present Westminster only has a single Conservative MP and 11 Libdems - that is not a mandate in anyone's language. However, the Scottish people have given a massive mandate to their elected Scottish parliament.
# Holebender 2012-01-21 18:39
Hold on a minute... the term King (or Queen) of Scots long predates the Declaration of Arbroath. You make some good points, but you also have a tendency to make things up to suit your argument.

You also have a tendency to ignore anyone who corrects your false statements so I fully expect you to ignore this and keep posting that "King of Scots" was invented in Arbroath in 1320.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 16:16
Islegard, there is a written constitution - it is just all not written at the same time or is not all in the same place.

You can attempt to fathom the rules of how things are done but it is really, really difficult to get things sorted out.
Try here -
# Islegard 2012-01-21 23:14
Hi Bob can you give me a link to the british constitution rather than customs? How is Crawford these days?
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 15:33
You do realise there is nothing to compare between that case and Scotland. No where has anyome made a legal challange that Scotland, or England, are not countries. Spain is one country. The United Kingdom is a political union of countries.. As my old grandfather used to say, "The USA is a group states united as a single country - The United Kingdom is a group of countries united as a single state".
# Marga B 2012-01-21 23:00
Auld Bob - I agree no 2 countries are alike. But maybe the Basque Country is more like Scotland than we think because it was never conquered (Catalonia was). And Spain is only as old as the UK.

The point is that similar kinds of appeal on the grounds of human rights are going to Europe and so far, their upholding of the right of a people to its freedom is proving to be distinctly unlikely - I know people talk about that here too.

At least, as I see it, unless the people concerned seize their independence, in which case it is usually accepted. But then I haven't really studied the matter.
# ianbeag 2012-01-22 00:52
"Marga B" At least, as I see it, unless the people concerned seize their independence, in which case it is usually accepted".
Marga, that's a great thread you started and extremely interesting. Would it not be the case that Westminster's response would depend greatly on the measure of support for a 'Yes /No' question? Their response to a 52% Yes majority would be regarded as a marginal victory and could lead to any number of devious plans and plots to stall or oppose the result whereas a solid vote of around 65% would silence the Unionist opposition and discourage them from taking any further action
# Macart 2012-01-21 11:44
There's an awfy lot o' jaikets on shoogly pegs in trougher central. So the latest is, it's no the referendum it's the action taken on the result.

Let me guess, if the result is NO, well its perfectly legal.

If the result is YES, then it needs tae be challenged.

Is that aboot the size o' it? Not in this or any other country. As many other excellent posts above attest, Westminster would find any challenge difficult if not impossible to justify. The real bug bear, should the vote prove to be YES will be in how protracted and painful they could make the divorce in the name of concessions/negotiation. From some of the sabre rattling over issues from Faslane to Longannet, Peterhead to Kinloss you can see a pattern forming in possible exit strategy.

Or mibbies ahm overly suspicious?
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 15:52
You are. After all, after independence day there will be no legal United Kingdom Government to deal with anyone. It is NOT the English Parliament. There is no one elected as an English Member of an English Parliament. Wales has an elected house, N.Ireland has an elected house, Scotland has an elected house - show me just one person elected as a member of the English Parliament? No doubt the present members will claim they are the English Parliament but the constitution, (there is a written constitution, just not all at the same place). The constitution states that an elected person only represents the voters, (all of them), in the constituence that elected the member. The member chooses to join or not to join a party. The member can leave, or change, or become independent anytime they wish. What they cannot do is change which voters they represent. So the member for the most offshore island is just as much a United Kingdom Parliament as the member for Westminster itself. There simply is no English parliament at Westminster or otherwise. But here's a thing. The Queen calls someone to form Her Majesty's English Parliament. Assume it is Slippery Cameron, now if my memory serves me well, he can call anyone to serve in his cabinet elected or not. Did not Gordon do that as well as Cameron? However, Cameron was called by Auld Liz to form Her Majesty's United Kingdom Government not Her Majesty's English Government. So just who will be able to legally claim to represent England?
# Macart 2012-01-22 10:21
You may very well be right Auld Bob, I'm definately no constitutional expert, merely distrustful of Westminster by long experience.
# Siôn Jones 2012-01-21 11:52
What strikes me most about these occasional ill-tempered and half-baked salvoes from the unionists, apart from how uninformed and counter productive they are, is that they (the unionists) can be depended on to act in bad faith if they think it will win them an advantage. Absolutely despicable.
# Alx1 2012-01-21 12:28
Sion Jones,

Don't know if you have seen this?
Seems their having a wee debate about your homeland now.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 15:53
Nah! They can be depended to ALWAYS act in bad faith.
# farrochie 2012-01-21 12:04
Is there an individual version of the Claim of Right?
# Islegard 2012-01-21 12:11
If you get another 99 people the Declaration of Arbroath would do.

I'll be the second one(I don't want to be a number 2) so 98 more.
# taimoshan 2012-01-21 12:12
Just declare UDI -i'm sick of the unionist stories that could be written by little kids.
# bramley 2012-01-21 12:25
Let me turn one comment on its head - "What strikes me most about these occasional ill-tempered and half-baked salvoes from the independence supporters , apart from how uninformed and counter productive they are, is that they can be depended on to act in bad faith if they think it will win them an advantage. Absolutely despicable." Alex is his own worst enemy. His rhetoric will become more and more arrogant and will only alienate people.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 17:58
There is agreat difference between arrogant and assertive, Alex Salmond has never been arroant. What do you expect the man to be when faced with such obvious claptrap? Do you axpect he should tug at whar remains of his forelock and say, "Yes Sir, Yes Sir, Three bags full sir"? I've never known the man to be arrogant to anyone but also never known himr to back off if he is right.
# Marga B 2012-01-21 12:46
Thanks for Huff Post link, Aix1.

Nice quote from John Osmond, Institute of Welsh Affairs:

- But for Osmond it’s difficult to compare Wales and Scotland: “When parliament first met 12 years ago in Scotland the parliament was in a keystone place in the already existing structures, Scotland. A lot of Scottish institutions already existed like the Scottish education system, the Scottish legal system and all the rest of it.In Wales there is none of that – or very little. So when the assembly met for the first time in 1999, it wasn’t as though the keystone was placed in an arch, we had to make an arch.”

The Scottish parliament as the keystone in an existing arch - nice image. Also reminds Scots that at some point, that keystone had been removed. But interestingly, the arch did not fall.
# Briggs 2012-01-21 12:56
- But for Osmond it’s difficult to compare Wales and Scotland: “When parliament first met 12 years ago in Scotland the parliament was in a keystone place in the already existing structures, Scotland. A lot of Scottish institutions already existed like the Scottish education system, the Scottish legal system and all the rest of it.In Wales there is none of that – or very little. So when the assembly met for the first time in 1999, it wasn’t as though the keystone was placed in an arch, we had to make an arch.”

Very Masonic? no bad thing of course.
# Marga B 2012-01-21 14:12
Ha, hadn't noticed that. But it is a recognition of Scotland's position which we haven't heard from Westminster.
# UpSpake 2012-01-21 13:01
Scotland unequivocally, conforms to the United Nations defination of what constitutees a recognisable nation, for so long lodging within its own defianable borders and with its own unique culture, language and stable population.
For any mother nation (England) to frustrate and obfuscate the reasonable aspirations of the Scots for self-determination is a direct violation of the United Nations Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Vienna Convention.
Westminster/England and its establishment are liable for all the force of international sanction that can ba applied to them.
Notification to the Council of Europe of this subvertive activity will draw into doubt the veracity of Westminsters committiment to national aspirational democracy and will result in the examination of the activities of the Blair administration towards the restrictions placed on the Scots Parliament upon re-constitution.
If the SNP will not take up this cudgel then others most certainly will.
# exel 2012-01-21 14:40
UpSpake 2012-01-21 13:01
“Notification to the Council of Europe of this subvertive activity will draw into doubt the veracity of Westminsters committiment to national aspirational democracy and will result in the examination of the activities of the Blair administration towards the restrictions placed on the Scots Parliament upon re-constitution.”

Couple of interesting concepts there Upspake: “national aspirational democracy” and “upon re-constitution.”
You will have to explain the first one I think.

And by the second I assume you mean the reconstituted Scottish Parliament.
I am sure the united nations are waiting with “bated breath” for that notification.
# oldnat 2012-01-21 13:11
Some may remember the Citigroup report suggesting that Scottish renewables wouldn't be economic.

They now seem to have had a look at more information.

Yesterday Citigroup released an interesting note mulling the break-up of the UK:
"We certainly do not rule out a break-up of the UK over time. ONS data suggest that an independent Scotland would have a slightly better fiscal position than the rest of the UK [assuming Scotland gets its geographic share of oil and gas receipts]. Scotland could have a viable future as an independent country, although there are a lot of questions that would have to be resolved before that happens."
# Islegard 2012-01-21 13:18
Seeing as you are here. I remember a discusion where you laid out Scotlands boundary change by Blair was legal and right. Would you mind explaining again because I'm quite interested and I know other people here have stated it was illegal. I'd like to know a bit more.
# oldnat 2012-01-21 13:59
I presume you mean the maritime boundary?

Article 6.2 of the Convention on the Continental Shelf (1958)

is quite clear "Where the same continental shelf is adjacent to the territories of two adjacent States, the boundary of the continental shelf shall be determined by agreement between them. In the absence of agreement, and unless another boundary line is justified by special circumstances, the boundary shall be determined by application of the principle of equidistance from the nearest points of the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of each State is measured."

People often think that the boundary should run directly east-west from the land boundary (which is how the UK used to delineate the Scottish/English border), or follow the direction of the land border at the coast. Both are wrong, with regard to the Continental Shelf.

As independent countries, Scotland and England could agree to any maritime boundary they wanted, of course, but in terms of a dispute the current line is roughly in the right place.

Depending on the exact methodology used, the are three possible routes that the principle of equidistance could be used to place the boundary as it approaches the current UK/Norwegian boundary. (I've always assumed that the UK chose the route that best suited Westminster!)

Where this has happened with other countries, they have often chosen to define the area bounded by such lines as a "Common Area" for exploitation.

I haven't argued that the boundary is in exactly the "right" place - but that the general route that it takes is correct.

This map shows the current boundary and the fields.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:01
That's the one thanks. Upsake how does that fit with the SDA?
# cirsium 2012-01-21 14:32
Islegard - another view on the issue
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:51
Thanks Thistle!
# Holebender 2012-01-21 19:00
Ah... I just love that map. A map of the oil and gas fields with a border shown on it. But wait! What is that border so clearly marked among the oil and gas field? Let's look at the key, shall we? Why! It's the boundary for renewables! Now why would an official UK Government publication do something so misleading?

As a matter of fact the England/Scotland jurisdictional boundary for the oil and gas fields is still as defined in 1968. To all intents and purposes it is the line of latitude at 55° 50' North. That line is shown on the map as the boundary between two sets of rectangular blocks just slightly north of the eastern end of the land border. If you see the rectangle with the number 34 in it, just offshore from the end of the border at Berwick, 55° 50' North is the southern end of that box.

So, Oldnat, I generally agree with what you say about the line of equidistance but it is all buggered up by precedent. There is the precedent of the original pre-union maritime border, and there is the precedent of the pre-1999 maritime border (which is still in effect today).
# Alx1 2012-01-21 13:20
One to keep in the back pocket oldnat.
Can you also provide a link please?
# UpSpake 2012-01-21 13:25
Isegard. web-site of the Scottish Democratic Alliance, Scotland's National Borders section.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 13:45
Thanks Upsake.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 13:54
I note they state "It is SDA policy that the mediaeval anachronism of foreign government of Scottish territory should be brought to an end with the restoration of Scottish administration of the Berwick enclave."

How would International Law apply oldnat previously stated the change of boundary by Blair was in line with International Law. Is the SDA statement an aspiration or can it be upheld under International Law?
# oldnat 2012-01-21 14:20
When you look at the SDA paper, you'll note that they refer to the "territorial sea" - that's the 12 mile limit. It has nothing to do with the Contiguous zone or the Exclusive economic zone. Indeed, if you take their argument as being based on the historical precedent of 1707, the territorial sea was only the distance out from land that you could fire a cannon!
# oldnat 2012-01-21 14:02
I see you still haven't updated this to take account of the international convention. Why are you still relying on Dr Wilkie's analysis?
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:25
Upsake are you involved with the SDA how does this fit with you? If the SDA information is wrong can it be updated as it's a great source.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:00
O/T It's often said Scotland hasn't been independent since 1707. This is in fact wrong from 1745-1746 Charles Edward Stuart freed Scotland and declared it independent as well as being crowned Charles III at Holyrood.
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-01-21 14:13
Hi aa body - been down all week with a laptop crash now using a desk top.

Maybee Lord Tankedootness should remind himself of the principle that lies at the core of Scots Law and Scottish constitutional practice:

"Yet if he should give up what he has begun, and agree to make us or our kingdom subject to the King of England or the English, we should exert ourselves at once to drive him out as our enemy and a subverter of his own rights and ours.....for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule."

By his insistence (as Lord Advocate) on the subservience of Scots Law to English Law, Lord Tankedootness is in breach of this fundamental right of the Scottish people, one that even the mealy mouthed authors of the Union Treaty would not contravene for this very legal precedent.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:16
The problem we have is they are always contravening the Treaty of Union. However no-one does anything about it. How about a Scottish minded unemployed person employing legal aid lawyers?
# oldnat 2012-01-21 14:40
In reality, something is only illegal or unconstitutiona l if a court says it is. Without statehood, there is no mechanism to bring the Treaty of Union into play - other than its use to persuade other countries to recognise an independent Scotland.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:56
If the Treaty of Union "protects" Scots Law. Surely Scot's Law can be used to force adherence to the Treaty of Union?
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 19:04
Actually there is no breach of the treaty until someone takes the matter to law. Where were they to take it? English Court, Scottish Court or house of Lords?

The only option was the International courts. However, there were two things missing that are present now, a Westminster with a goverenment not mandated by the sovereign Scottish people and a simultanious Scottish Parlliament with a party ready to act that had a clear mandate. We now have both.

All that is now required is for some matter to be disputed by both and then the international courts can be brought to solve the problem.

It is now looming large - they either allow the referendum as an undisputed Scottish right by law or they take legal action to prevent it. At that point they need to enforce it and that is when the sky falls on their head. They find that Scotland has left the union and that there is no rump UK as the Westminster parliament is not the English Parliament and they have no legal right to run England without a correctly elected English parliament. The truth is that as Westminster is the Union Parliament there are no Members elected to an English Parliament. There is no way that an MP who is elected to a Westminster Parliament can claim to be elected as a member of the English parliament. If so then those MPs from Scottish, Welsh and N. Irish constituencies have as much right as the MP for an inner London constituenct has. There really is no constitutional case for any MP to claim to represent any UK particular UK country. Do you think that if they could do so they would not have banned all Welsh, scottish and N.Irish MPs getting to vote on what they think are England only matters? England is funded as the UK and that makes them all the concerns of the UK Members.
# creag an tuirc 2012-01-21 14:23
Welcome back MJM, you've been missed.
# creag an tuirc 2012-01-21 14:25
OT: SNP welcome Saturday voting proposals for referendum.
# oldnat 2012-01-21 14:27
Sounds good - especially if Celtic and Rangers play on that Saturday, but all the other teams play on Sunday!
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:29
The 24th of June is a Tuesday :(
# creag an tuirc 2012-01-21 14:29
Yeah, I'm going for November 29th as the day, then free on St Andrews day :-)
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:31
Shouldn't Scotland-UN be recalled?
# creag an tuirc 2012-01-21 14:35
I was thinking the Scotland-UN committee could have been used against Westminster and the BBC. Maybe John G. McGill still has some clout with the UN?
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:38
I believe there are ex-members frequent this site. Their input would be quite usefull.

I'm surprised they haven't been motivated already. Perhaps their years of fighting have left them tired or they have lost interest?
# Tom66 2012-01-21 14:38
Just read this interview with Cameron where he said,

"He added that the issue would be a ''high priority'' for him and expressed his ''profound hope and belief'' that the Scottish people would vote to keep the link with the UK."

He also said that he wanted to see a positive campaign but could his comment above be an acceptance of a Devo Max question which wasn't mentioned in the interview?
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:43
''profound hope and belief'' the Scottish people will continue to relinquish control to him so he can keep on spending Scottish money.

What about the above comment says he wants Devo-Max? The UK parliament could introduce legislation tomorrow on Devo-Max if they wanted it. They wont.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 14:47
If I was married to a sugar mamma I'd want the arrangement to continue.
# Tom66 2012-01-21 14:57
Quoting Islegard:
''profound hope and belief'' the Scottish people will continue to relinquish control to him so he can keep on spending Scottish money.

What about the above comment says he wants Devo-Max? The UK parliament could introduce legislation tomorrow on Devo-Max if they wanted it. They wont.

Maybe I'm reading more into it but there is no mention of Devo Max which I thought was unusual .
# Islegard 2012-01-21 15:01
I believe Westminster would only go down the Devo-Max route if they thought they were going to loose. It would be ambiguous and could be delayed for years.
# Tom66 2012-01-21 15:20
Quoting Islegard:
I believe Westminster would only go down the Devo-Max route if they thought they were going to loose. It would be ambiguous and could be delayed for years.

They must know by now that it's not going well, surely!
# creag an tuirc 2012-01-21 18:28
Yes but they just want that single question and by the time they twig that we will be voting YES, it will be too late to put it in and they can't cry foul, as they had their chance. This is what I think the SG has been doing, closing the door for a get out clause for the unionists nearer the time and they're too stupid to see it.

The SG hasn't even started their YES campaign yet.
# Legerwood 2012-01-21 14:44
O/T but Ian Bell has an interesting article in today's Herald. From the sound of it he is getting browned off with the increasingly risible arguments of the pro-Union camp particularly in the area of defence.
# Clawd Baws 2012-01-21 15:18
I heard Lord Jim of Tanking (Party) Ness on GMS as I was driving to work. After the the red mist and some dangerous driving had passed I realised we couldn't have a better advert for why we need rid of these idiots. And I don't think you need to be nationlist for this stuff to get your back up.
O/T but still on the subject of getting your back up, B Taylor's latest blog is particularly grating. He seems to think Johann Lament played a blinder against AS in a 'personal attack' at FMQ. I've heard the lady for myself and she's much worse than her predecessor. Not to mention the fact that Labour are finished as a social democratic party which won't play well here. Of course you can't comment on account of the fact that the Scottish blogs are disabled. Ah, the red mist descends....
# Marga B 2012-01-21 15:25
re. Herald article - Ian Bell says that Scotland will be forced by logistics and UK and international pressure to retain the Trident, even after independence.

He says the SNP have avoided telling the Scots this and have not even made token moves to build towards a Trident-free future.

Is this a fair picture?
# Islegard 2012-01-21 15:32
What is his evidence for stating this? No evidence he is clearly talking pish.
# Legerwood 2012-01-21 18:12
Marga B 2012-01-21 15:25
re. Herald article - Ian Bell says that Scotland will be forced by logistics and UK and international pressure to retain the Trident, even after independence.

That is not exactly what he said. I have copied the relevant section from the article below. Mr Bell asks some valid questions re Trident and makes some valid points about how Westminster is likely to respond. The SNP will certainly be asked these questions and may already have thought out their responses.

Mr Bell does not say that we can never get rid of Trident but reasonably points out that it may be a more protracted process than some people think and one which will require a deal of horse-trading.

So how do you get rid of Trident, exactly? Or rather, to be strictly fair, when do you get rid of Trident? If Mr Hammond's remarks are any guide, the MoD is in a mood to be obstructive. All of Whitehall's plans for nuclear weapons depend on Faslane, after all. The base is an extremely valuable asset. What happens if a Scottish Government serves a notice to quit and the Royal Navy fails to heed the request?

Mr Salmond no doubt intends to forestall that possibility during independence negotiations. It takes no stretch of the imagination, though, to see any number of technical objections from Whitehall. Mr Hammond has already claimed that it would take "many years" to identify an alternative site and construct a base. How many years?

You needn't doubt Mr Salmond's sincere abhorrence of WMD to grasp the point. Anyone who thinks a vote for independence means the instant removal of Trident is being naive. London will not suspend its nuclear capability because of a mere vote. What follows? The chances are that Faslane will be leased, for a decade or two.
# .Scot 2012-01-21 22:11
Your denial and inaccurate attempt at correction is completely illogical and false as even you have confessed the author claims "Scotland will be forced to retain trident even after independence"! Your support for his fatuous article adds no substance to his very foolish claims. International laws state that the aggressive basing of RUK's WMDs on independent Scottish soil would be an international crime. What follows independence is the removal of all of RUK's WMDs under the treaty. No Nuke sites. No Camp X-rays. No Guantanamo Bays in Scotland. Even the President of the USA stated that America has a “moral responsibility” to walk the “road to zero Nukes” and so too has the morally and financially bankrupt Remainder of dis-United Kingdom.
# Legerwood 2012-01-22 11:08
If your remarks above are addresses to me perhaps you would point out where I said 'Scotland will be forced...'

That section of my post above is a quote from marga B.

And if you read the extensive quote from mr Bell's article contained in my response to Marga B you will not see any mention of Scotland being forced. Rather he says that the removal of Trident is unlikely to be instantaneous.

My post was wholly accurate.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 15:57
I hope you are taking notes, Sion Jones, for when Scotland disolves the UK union so that Wales can take advantage of the situaton that there is no longer a United Kingdom Parliament but that Wales still has a correctly mandated parliament. Just stick two fingers at England, who will have no mandated parliament, and good luck with your Welsh independence. I'm sure the elected Scottish Government will be more than happy to form alliance with you.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 16:02
Auld Bob are you in the Markich region or further a field?
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 19:14
Outskirts of Kelty. Down on the North Road, just near the West Entrance to Lochore Meadows.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 20:46
Where's your local SNP? I bide by the Earls of Rothes Markinch is the local branch.
# govanite 2012-01-21 16:41
What bitter, nasty out-pourings in the Torygraph today.
300 years of union and yet Scotland has apparently nothing worth defending. We are apparently a backwater.
So, that's 300 years well spent.
# tartantommy 2012-01-21 16:42
Aye,the furtiveness & lies of the ermine clad Lords is there for all too see as they commit treason on behalf of the union!

One Scotland,Our Scotland
Alba gu Brath,Saor Alba
# govanite 2012-01-21 16:48
I'm chilled about Trident, I don't expect it to disappear overnight. There will be some negotiations over cash & resources etc.
I do expect Trident to be the last of our nuclear commitments though.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 19:28
Don't you think that all these unequal defence cuts are getting as much United Kingdom assets down south as they can? Not only that but why close an airbase and move troops in? Do not be surprised if the subs, in particular the new Astute class are spirited away to foreign climes. They may think that United Kingdom troops throughout Scotland is a good idea. I mentioned alreadt that during the Dockyard strikes the, "Police", they bussed in and took the locals away were identified as being army guys just back from Northern Ireland. Some, believe it or not were Scots. Worse still they were roughing up an orderly picket line. All day no trouble, those guys arrived and instant scuffles.
# rhymer 2012-01-21 16:58
I'm still confused about the BBC "report" (or misinformation) that "the SNP government doesn't consider the electoral commission" to be an impedement anymore".

NOW that doesn't mean the commission is going to be in charge of the referendum.

AND since we have no name for the "high-placed source" from the BBC it could be as real as the bit of paper that B.Taylor said Iain gray had or whatshernames "infection statistics".

We will all know for sure on the 24th....
# Hamish100 2012-01-21 17:08
So far we have had;
Lord Wallace
Lord Steel
Lord Robertson
Lord Forsyth
Lord McConnell
Baron Nicol Stephen
Sir Malcolm Rifkind (or is he a Lord?)
Dame Liddell or is it Vera? (bag carrier for Sir Robert Maxwell )

Sorry if I have missed out a Lady or Lord, or lesser being here.

How lucky we are as a nation to have so many Lord's and other OBN's providing us with so much drivel over the past few weeks.

A bunch of hasbeens telling us how undemocratic the Scots Parliament is and ignoring the Sovereignty of the People.

Still waiting for Lord Reid (infamous for puting our troops into afghanistan where it would be unlikely they would need to use their guns!)

I think the SNP should have a 1 page advert SHOWING THIS LOT-- I am sure votes would pile in for Independence.
# Hirta 2012-01-21 17:16
How could you forget boot boy Lord Foulkes?
# Hamish100 2012-01-21 17:35
Quoting Hirta:
How could you forget boot boy Lord Foulkes?

I did remember him but the thought drove me to drink
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 19:59
Afu easy to forget the good Lord Ploukes Foulks.
# farrochie 2012-01-21 17:17
Come in Lord Foulkes.
# govanite 2012-01-21 18:03
Aye, Dear Blubber,

How many members of the House of Lords are involving themselves with this debate & how many of them are pro-union and how many are in the SNP ?
# mato21 2012-01-21 18:49
Dear Govan
I think you will find that only pro-unionists have had something to say It may interest you to know, the has beens, who never were, so can never be again, are fearful they may have to rejoin the real world That is the world where you do not get £300 each day for parking your fat lazy bahookie, stuffing your gub with the best food and finest wines that can be mustered and spouting a load of garbage denigrating the land of your birth.Not that that is a concern they must preserve all that they perceive to be their right at any cost to their fellow countrymen

The SNP on the other hand do not participate in the game of hunt the skunk.The poor wee animals look better in their fur coats than vermin in ermine

I hope you find my comprehensive answer to your satisfaction

Toodle-OO_The-Noo Flubby
I was really impressed with the Fragrant one on Thurs didn't she give Alex a good skelping
# Lupus Incomitatus 2012-01-21 19:50
Dame Liddell or is it Vera? (bag carrier for Sir Robert Maxwell

Is that skelly-eyed nippy sweety back from Oz then. I was hoping she was bush whcked.

another bit of Labour nastyness

I often wondered why she was punted off to Australia and came to the conclusion that she had some dirty on somebody and the only way to keep her sweet was a sinecure and the further away the better.

You can gauge what they thoght of Joke McConnel when he was given Malawi n then had it taken back, off him.
# Hamish100 2012-01-21 21:11
Quoting Lupus Incomitatus:
Dame Liddell or is it Vera? (bag carrier for Sir Robert Maxwell

Is that skelly-eyed nippy sweety back from Oz then. I was hoping she was bush whcked.

another bit of Labour nastyness

I often wondered why she was punted off to Australia and came to the conclusion that she had some dirty on somebody and the only way to keep her sweet was a sinecure and the further away the better.

You can gauge what they thoght of Joke McConnel when he was given Malawi n then had it taken back, off him.

She was on Radio 4 with her partner Malcolm Rifkind (NOT IN THE BIBLICAL SENSE) telling us how we cannot govern ourselfs
# farrochie 2012-01-21 17:21
Derek Bateman, Listen Again.
# farrochie 2012-01-21 17:57
I just listened to this Newsweek. Derek Bateman failed to challenge Jim Wallace on the legality of the UK Parliament holding a referendum on its own existence.
The UK Parliament can be challenged for trying to legislate on something that is outside of its legal authority.
# bigbuachaille 2012-01-21 17:55
Please visit the Newsweek Scotland blog and register your strong objection to the removal of this programme by BBC Scotland. Click here:
# velofello 2012-01-21 18:12
This must surely be the best readers' response yet on Newsnet.Many really interesting views and data shared.

Hats off to Auld Bob for his patient responses.

I'd expect REAL politics to come into play over Trident. Where can they go? Does England have a suitable potential port for them? Could England afford the cost of establishing that port and facilities? If the answers are yes, then off they go. If no well they remain here, nuclear weapons disarmed, under joint Scottish/ English control until their working life is over? Disarmed yes, would a Scottish parliament ever sanction the firing of a nuclear missile?
The weaponry at Coulport? Out of Scotland asap.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 20:22
The point is that neither Scotland or England can launch a nuclear attack without the express permission of Uncle Sam frae ower the muckle lochan. No one has the pin number. May I also point out that there are what are known as attack submarines that do not have a neclear weapon capabolity but are nuclear powered. These are a much better, and practical purpose. They are, of course still powered by a nuclear reactor. Note, though, that these bear the usual nuclear downside. They need to be refueled and the old fuel needs re-processed and that generates waste that remains radioactive for extreme periods of time. They quote you a half-life but a half-life is only the time that passes until the streangth of the radioactivity falls to half its original value. Let me put it this way, the stuff I worked with will still be radioactive long after I have passed away, it will still be radioactive after several generations of my offsprings have passed away.
# Edna Caine 2012-01-21 22:07
"Does England have a suitable potential port for them?"

Apparently, and some appear to be considering it -

"The other potential benefit – though not all will see it that way – of an independent and nuclear free Scotland would be the possible re-location of nuclear submarines currently based in Scotland to Devonport. That would, of course, be controversial. But it would also be a potential economic boost for Plymouth and the surrounding area, bringing jobs, wealth and even greater security to the dockyard and naval base."

(The rest of the article is the usual ill-informed bollox.)
# sneckedagain 2012-01-21 18:23
Unlike Ian Bell's usual contributions his piece in today's Herald is seriously uninformed.
Less that 1000 of the workforce at Faslane are involved in the Trident project (and many of them are not local). There is a Parliamentary answer to this effect. The knock on effect to the Scottish economy is virtually zero as the high value work associated with Trident ia all done in US or the south of England (the STUC commissioned report underlines this).
There are 6000 workers at the Faslane/Coulport base, almost all of whom are involved in the use and maintenance of the conventional navy base which the combined bases basically are. This is the best sheltered and deep water port in these islands which will undoubtedly be the major base for a Scottish navy and which will have to be exapanded to accommodate the Scottish fleet in an independent Scotland.

The "jobs" argument is a difficult one. If you believe something to be intrinsically evil or wrong no amount of jobs justify its operating. You could as well make an argument for staff jobs at Dachau or Auchwitz
# Islegard 2012-01-21 20:39
I think the moral argument outweighs the economic argument. Would you lay off 1000 to free a country of nuclear weapons?
# Auld Bob 2012-01-21 20:47
Here are a few hard facts. When I joined Rosyth Dockyard it was soon after WWII. The yard was full of ships of all kinds. Every available berth against the basin walls and every jetty had ships stacked against the berths. To get to the ship you were workinh upon you might have to cross 5 or 6 ships. Each drydock might have as many as three ships and there were three main drydocks with one having a gate making it really two drydocks. There were also three floating docks, (the one at at Faslane was one of them). There is no doubt that Rosyth Dockyard could take far more ships than any Scottish navy would have. In those days the workforce numbered somewhere in the region of between 8,000 and 10,000 and that is not counting naval staff, or the department of works. nor contractors. Don't tell me that Scotland lacks the capacity for her own her own navy, army and air force.
Here is a little factoid for you. The system of catupulting an aircraft from an aircraft carriers deck was perfected and developed in Rosyth Dockyard. That is still the same system used today. It has hardly changed since those days.
# farrochie 2012-01-21 18:26
Hamilton Advertiser now has a poll. Wishaw went well.
85% YES
14% No

Get yoursel tae Hamiton!
# G.Macp 2012-01-21 18:54
In heard on Twitter that the Hamilton poll is dodgy. You can vote as often as you like. Some of these polls are not very reliable although I suspect the yes vote will be a bit more than the no vote. Based on my desire for it to be. Scientific huh? :0)
# G.Macp 2012-01-21 18:57
Quoting G.Macp:
In heard on Twitter that the Hamilton poll is dodgy. You can vote as often as you like. Some of these polls are not very reliable although I suspect the yes vote will be a bit more than the no vote. Based on my desire for it to be. Scientific huh? :0)

I am ofcourse using anti-independence methodology. Isay so, so it must be true!
# farrochie 2012-01-21 19:00
These polls mean nothing at all. However, they may show people that not everyone is against! So vote away, no harm done, and they are good practice for the day.
# farrochie 2012-01-21 19:32
You can only vote once :(
# Diabloandco 2012-01-21 22:00
Just tested your theory and you can only vote once.
# millie 2012-01-21 19:01
Also very interesting article in Hamilton Advertiser (about South Lanarkshire Council)-
# Harry.Shanks 2012-01-21 19:20
The investigation could start by looking at a now-retired useless Labour MP who shoehorned his equally useless brother on to the Council - who then went on to become the current and clueless Council Leader.
# UpSpake 2012-01-21 19:03
Islegard. I would suggest you e-mail the SDA whereupon you will be put in touch with the author of the paper and he can perhaps set you straight as regards legality.
I am aware that the Scotland - Un committee work which originally appeared on the realmofscotland web-site will shortly be overtaken by the SDA web-site with realmofscotland having served its purpose. In the beginning the fledgling SDA used the realm site as their own think tank.
# Islegard 2012-01-21 20:48
Thanks again Upsake.
# Roll_On_2011 2012-01-21 20:11
This is what may be behind the Westmidden hardball attacks over recent times. They have slowly concluded that there is no nuclear deterrent without Scotland unless it is placed outwith Britain.

The break-up of the UK – and its military – is a realistic, if far from certain, prospect.

Whitehall defence mandarins are slowly realising that a third of the UK land mass - and their entire nuclear deterrent - could be in a foreign country within the decade.

So how are they going to react?

Not well, according to a rare insight from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), the think tank closest to Britain’s smartest military minds.

What is left of the British state, advises one of its analysts, should get tough with the Scots as the two sides thrash out the post- UK reality. The priority? Keeping the Royal Navy’s Trident subs and their weapons of mass destruction behind the razor wire of Faslane on the Gare Loch.
# Fungus 2012-01-21 20:20
O/T but puts a new slant on the too stupid, to wee mantra
# mato21 2012-01-21 20:45
We will always be wee stupid we have never been nor will we ever be
# Wee-Scamp 2012-01-21 21:00
"Chinese firms can gain a competitive edge by partnering with Scottish universities and companies across these critical high growth sectors"

Sorry but I'm not interested in helping Chinese firms gain a competitive edge. I'd much rather it was Scottish firms. With friends like SDI Chief Executive Anne MacColl who the heck needs enemies. I'd sack her.
# Wee-Scamp 2012-01-21 20:57
This is one of the best arguments in favour of Scottish independence that I've read......
# Islegard 2012-01-21 21:01
A very tenious link to Ed the Duck.
# J Wil 2012-01-21 22:06
The super rich, and even the very rich, will claim they put in the blood, sweat and tears to achieve what they have attained. However that argument is only valid within limits. I believe there is a threshold which is reached where they do not have to put any more significant effort into making even more money and acquiring even more power to themselves, the results of which affects all our lives and not for the better.
# .Scot 2012-01-21 21:20
What a wonderful time we live in. Centuries ago, Scottish freedom was inspired by Sir William Wallace and today we have wee Baron Jimmy Wallace igniting the same dormant touch-paper of Scottish insurrection and indignity at absent superiors laying down brutal and unfair laws. Robin Hood tales are all based on the exact same Scottish conviction that equal opportunity, impartiality and tolerance are high held values worth fighting for.

More of the same please, Lord of the subsidised Barflies. Britain has put it's secret plots for Scotland on hold until 2014. Lets inconvenience them a bit more?
# sneckedagain 2012-01-21 21:28
The newspaper polls from Hamilton and Wishaw may significantly represent a generational difference in political views on the independence question.
It will be interesting to see if these papers publish the results.
The big polling companies routinely phone poll and therefore get a distorted view as those open to phone polling are a subset of the population, predominately middle-aged to old and in the more modest social section.
Online polls sound a completely different subset
# rhymer 2012-01-21 22:29
Quoting sneckedagain:
The newspaper polls from Hamilton and Wishaw may significantly represent a generational difference in political views on the independence question.

Generally true but we seem to be well represented by the 50+ group on newsnet
and a lot of us (including me) are a much, much older
# Islegard 2012-01-21 22:19
"Salmond warns Wallace ‘don’t tell Scottish people what they can do’. Ironic when there are individuals on this site who tell us we can't call ourselves Scottish we have to call ourselves british.

I am having individuals on this site tell me I'm british whether I like it or not. That I'm not entitled as an individual to call myself Scottish.
# farrochie 2012-01-21 22:30
This is still a widespread practice. I'm nae as guid as Auld Bob, but this is a poem I wrote following a recent visit to the bank to open a new account where they had mistakenly inserted my nationality as British. I changed it of course.

_______________ _______________ ______

New account, sir, here’s the form.
Name? good Scottish name, where from?
Glasgow, fine city,
Your passport so we can be clear,
Write British here
# Islegard 2012-01-21 22:38
Unfortunately there appears to be no shortage of brit collaboraters on this site as you pointed out.
# Marga B 2012-01-21 23:26
Think how I felt when I had to put up with an identity card (for 3 years, I think) that said:

Nacionalidad: Inglesa

In case you're in any doubt -

Nationality: English.
# Kinghob 2012-01-22 00:35
I have always said that a passport only matters as a means to go isn't a legal document that is retired to be held by every citizen, unlike the absolute legal requirement of registering a birth, a birth certificate which fails to mention the term british pertaining to one's identity.

Getting rid of the financial burden (the moral burden is well know to Scots) of nuclear weapons would leave a massive amount of our taxes free to do better things with the money.

Polls are an indication of a trend but usually pretty dodgy on a subject like the referendum on independence as there is a slight tendency to go for a unionist angle, whether in the poll questions themselves or in the manner they are reported (with a positive unionist bent) or unreported (if they have bad news for the union).

The trend is something I am comfortable with as an Independently minded gradualist I can safely say that.......and my view is helped by the constant knee jerk faux obstacles the westimnster labour tory libdem lot continue to haver about, it tells you they are quite rightly very nervous indeed.

The complacency of the unionists was to ignore the Scottish Government never dreaming that the minority 'glitch' at the Scottish Parliament would end up with the voters delivering a massive majority!

Simple as that-they can't help but kick out blindly about 'legality' and er "fairness' )trustworthines s is what is meant) either word not exactly synonymous with what the public consider when they think about westminster in general.

Quite the reverse actually.
# cokynutjoe 2012-01-22 10:50
Who on this site has told you you cannot call yourself Scottish Islegard?
You're being a bit silly here, we are all Scottish but your passport says British and when you're drunk & disorderly in a Spanish jail it's the British Consul you'll be screaming for.
Some day soon you might be screaming for the Scottish Consul.
Meanwhile "Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State, requests & requires" the protection & free passage of your person.
# velofello 2012-01-22 11:06
Wee Sunday morning tales:
Shopping in rural France, the shop assistant asked if I was English"No I replied, Scots. Same thing". was her response. Before I could react a woman behind me piped up, "Oh no they are not. I'm English, my husband is Scottish. Believe me, they are a very different people",
Many years back, working on an assignment in Algeria, one engineer wished to quit and return home. He was a Scot, had moved to England and declared himself to be English. We had many arguments over this. Anyway, he was experiencing great difficulty obtaining an exit visa from the Algerian authorities..Eventually he was advised to bring his project manager with him to confirm his departure was acceptable. So he and me arrived at this dingy office facing unsmiling local officials. I handed over my passport and declared my nationality as Scots. "Ah, Glasgow, Glasgow Celtic! Tres bon equipe. "Mon ami, M Campbell aussi Ecossais, mais I'l habite en Angleterre." Ah. OK. Signature ici M Campbell, votre visa,bon voyage.
:.I ask you all, please drop this too wee too stupid stuff. We're not and never were.
Diamonds are wee too compared to a lump of coal.
# cokynutjoe 2012-01-22 11:14
VF, my French is no too good, is Ming Campbell involved here then?
# raisethegame 2012-01-22 11:28
Ewan Crawford - lecturer in journalism and one time secretary to John Swinney - was one of the reviewers/guests on the Shereen prog this morning(what a pleasant surprise!). The first item is the referendum. You can listen here:
# balbeggie 2012-01-22 11:40
for those who are deaf, can you summarise?
# raisethegame 2012-01-22 15:06
sorry for the delay! dog-walking duties.

Re Ewan Crawford on the 'Shereen' prog: The reviewers (EC, journalist Graham Spiers, Bill Leckie (The Sun), were talking about the raft of scare stories in the papers re independence. EC said the terms of the debate last week was quite illuminating and rather depressing. Talking about how 'Defence' has been front and centre of the debate, he noted the Westminster Defence Secretary characterising the idea of an independent Scottish Defence Force as 'laughable' and Sir Ming Campbell saying Scottish defence forces would be a 'militia'. EC said what's interesting about this is the whole idea of the Scottish Defence force being characterised as a total joke - that's how these people characterise it, as a joke - and that actually says something about how Scotland as a whole is characterised - because they have nothing per se against small countries having their own armed forces - they would never be critical of a country of 5 million people say Norway, Denmark, Switzerland or Ireland having their own armed forces - what they are saying is, it's Scotland. He says that says something to him.' If we are going to have this for the next 2 years that's corrosive He also talked about Hamish McDonnell ( Mail On Sunday) talking about 'how dreadful independence is' and raising a series of questions saying 'how shameful' that Alex Salmond has not answered them. Ewan Crawford said 'I can answer them in a few seconds! her was invited to go ahead by Shereen. Whats going to happen to the post? (we will still be able to post a letter) Whats going to happen to benefits ?( the state will still pay them out but maybe in an independent Scotland they wont be attacking disability benefit. Will we get into europe? (yes), Will we join the Euro? (no) Will there be border guards on the roads south to England? (no). Will I need a passport to visit by parents in England? (no). Bill Leckie immediatley said the whole point is 'I want to read that somewhere'....'the people who are the experts in the Scottish media, the ones that are right round the story, are too busy bickering with each other to tell us these things"....
# balbeggie 2012-01-22 15:09
# farrochie 2012-01-22 15:22
I listened, and it was exactly as you said. Ewan Crawford's comments were spot on.

As well, I'd like to add:

Scotland will be able to defend itself.
Scotland will be able to manage relations with friendly nations overseas.
The border with England will stay open.
We will have a currency, banks, shops, macaroon bars, fitba and other sports.
Scotland will have teams in the Olympics and other sporting events.
There will be music of all types, and laughter. Births will continue, as will marriages and funerals.
Weights will be weighed and measures measured.
There SHALL BE NO Schedule 5 Reserved Matters.
# velofello 2012-01-22 17:28
Ha Cokynutjoe,
If it had been Ming the Mercenary I'd have kept my mouth shut.
Perhaps uniquely our wee town has a woods plump in its middle. Mercenary Ming acted as counsel for the builders wanting the woods for housing development. against the wishes of the town and the local council. yes he succeeded.
I have nothing but contempt for that charlatan
# velofello 2012-01-22 17:43
Another wee Sunday tale, again in Algeria.

A group of technicians from John Brown Engineering arrived to stay in our hotel, they were installing a gas turbine generating set. All Scots save for one Englishman.
We were sitting around chatting.The Englishman snapped his fingers, "Garcon, cafe". the young Algerian duly delivered his coffee. one Scot diverted the Anglo's attention, another dropped an ice cube in his coffee. " This coffee is cold" the Anglo exclaimed in a whiney accent. " Garcon, cafe is cold". Off trots the waiter and presents a new steaming coffee. The same game is played, however one of the Scots tips off the waiter on the game being played.
So much to the amusement of the Algerian staff and to my aching torso's six pack, at the fourth coffee the Anglo gives up, departing and muttering about stupid indigenous so and sos.
# cokynutjoe 2012-01-22 21:53
A former clerk in the Gas Board VF then he cut his mouth on a bottle and started climbing until he was fund oot!
# Hamish100 2012-01-24 16:51
Quoting Hamish100:
So far we have had;
Lord Wallace
Lord Steel
Lord Robertson
Lord Forsyth
Lord McConnell
Baron Nicol Stephen
Sir Malcolm Rifkind (or is he a Lord?)
Dame Liddell or is it Vera? (bag carrier for Sir Robert Maxwell )

Sorry if I have missed out a Lady or Lord, or lesser being here.

How lucky we are as a nation to have so many Lord's and other OBN's providing us with so much drivel over the past few weeks.

A bunch of hasbeens telling us how undemocratic the Scots Parliament is and ignoring the Sovereignty of the People.

Still waiting for Lord Reid (infamous for puting our troops into afghanistan where it would be unlikely they would need to use their guns!)

I think the SNP should have a 1 page advert SHOWING THIS LOT-- I am sure votes would pile in for Independence.

Now I have to add in Lord Caithness who wishes to change the current Scotland bill going through Westminster -another unelected punter. Also by popular demand Lord Foulkes should be added to my original list --such a parcel of rogues's in a nation..........

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