By First Minister - Alex Salmond 
It is a privilege to give a lecture in honour of Hugo Young. At Hugo’s memorial service, Chris, now Lord, Patten said “the quality of what Hugo wrote, and the standards he set for himself and others, brought distinction to a profession too often demeaned by tawdry unreason."
One of the reasons for Hugo’s excellence became evident five years after his death, when The Hugo Young Papers were first published. They revealed the sheer diligence and accuracy of his working methods over the course of his career.

As any self-respecting politician would do, the first thing I did when I saw a copy of the papers was to look up my own name in the index. In more than 800 pages it only features once! But the context in which it appears is fascinating, and now seems very prescient. It is during a discussion with Donald Dewar in May 1996, in which Hugo reports Donald as saying “People should not underestimate how fragile the Union now is in Scotland. He was surprisingly emphatic about that, when I pushed him to correct his sepulchral language. The SNP regularly got 25% in the polls. That was about their standard support across the country. But it could grow.”

Donald went on to predict that Labour would do well in 1997, but suggested that I was waiting for the 2001 election, when there could well be a significant increase in SNP support.

Well, although that statement was partly wrong about timings, support for the SNP has indeed advanced, both in 2007 and 2011.

My view is that the election result in 2011, in particular, reflected a recognition of the achievements of the first SNP administration; a vote of confidence in its optimistic view of Scotland’s potential; and a desire among people in Scotland for their Parliament to have significantly greater powers than at present.

That desire for greater powers is, of course, a key part of the context to this lecture. The future of Scotland is for Scotland alone to determine, but I recognise that it is of great interest – and potentially concern -  to all of you. I therefore welcome the opportunity to speak about it here in London.

I count myself as a staunch Anglophile. It was my Labour predecessor, bafflingly, who seemed to spend an entire World Cup supporting teams playing against England. I am sure Trinidad and Tobago welcomed his support! 

The views of people here have understandably not played much of a part so far in the debate on Scotland’s future. I am reminded of Chesterton’s reference to “the people of England who never have spoken yet”. Of course the people of Scotland haven’t spoken yet, at least not conclusively!

England does not have any veto in the debate on independence, and I suspect that the vast bulk of the people of England freely recognise Scotland’s right to determine its own future. This week’s research from the Institute for Public Policy Research certainly suggests that people in England are waking up to the unsustainability of current constitutional arrangements. They are not sustainable because they are not fair. Not fair to Scotland, and not fair to England. Most importantly, these relationships will be more positive and stronger when our nations are clear and equal partners.

Scottish government’s right to hold a referendum

Given the events of the last two weeks, I want to start this evening by reaffirming the Scottish Parliament’s right to decide the terms of a referendum on Scotland’s constitutional future. But I also want to move beyond that question, to say more about why I believe that independence is the most natural state of affairs for a nation like Scotland. And I will close by making it clear that the social union which binds the people of these islands will endure long after the political union has been ended. My contention is that independence is good for Scotland, but also that it is good for England.

First, though, I want to reflect on the astonishing, and increasing, pace of change in Scotland. Devolution took a century to be delivered. The last decade embedded the Scottish Parliament as the focal point of public life and Scottish democracy. We now have a Scotland Bill changing by the day and overtaken by events before it even reaches the statute book. The momentum and direction of the people of Scotland is unmistakable.

It is therefore right that in 2014, people in Scotland should have the opportunity to vote on whether to become independent.

During the 2011 Holyrood election campaign I made two key commitments in relation to the constitution. I promised that in the first half of any new SNP administration, we would work with the UK Government to strengthen the Scotland Bill to give it economic teeth and powers.

My second commitment was that we would legislate for a referendum having made constructive proposals, and hopefully secured additional powers, during the Scotland Bill process, we would then stage a referendum on independence in the second half of the Scottish Parliament’s five year term.

These commitments were endorsed overwhelmingly by the Scottish people, and I consider them binding.

The argument currently being adopted by some people - people who have always opposed a referendum full stop - that because independence is such an important issue, a referendum should be rushed, simply does not stand up to scrutiny. It is precisely because independence is important that we intend all stages of the process leading up to a referendum - from the consultation on its enabling legislation to the referendum campaign itself - to take place over a timescale which allows the Scottish people to reach an informed decision. 

The further argument that Scotland’s economy is being damaged by a supposed delay does not resonate with voters in Scotland who in the last year have seen Amazon, Michelin, Dell, Gamesa, and Aveloq, among others, announce major investments. 

As the Financial Times said two weeks ago Westminster’s “pretext for accelerating the poll – that uncertainty is damaging the economy – looks disingenuous at best. As threats go, the risks posed by separatism are as a fleabite compared with the all-devouring Eurozone crisis.”

This has been endorsed by the great arbiter of accuracy in current UK politics - the Channel 4 fact check - which pointed out that international inward investment is now more successful in Scotland than any other parts of these islands, including London.

In addition to dictating on timescales, the UK Government also appears to want to close off discussion about other key elements of the referendum. As someone who strongly believes that independence would be preferable to enhanced devolution, I believe that the argument for independence could and would be won on a yes/no basis.

However I recognise that there is a significant strand of opinion in the country which might want to consider an alternative for Scotland which lies between the status quo and outright independence.

To consider an additional referendum question which takes account of popular opinion is simply being democratic. The fact that such an option might be popular isn’t a good reason for denying people the right to choose it.

The Scottish Government’s consultation paper on a referendum, which will be published tomorrow, will encourage a wide debate on this issue - involving all of Scotland’s political parties, but crucially also civic Scotland, that is the organisations and communities which make up the fabric of the community of the realm of Scotland.

The paper will also make clear that we intend the referendum to be overseen, impartially and independently, in a way which leaves no possible room for doubt about the integrity of the result.

But our starting point in all of this is that the Scottish Parliament ultimately has the mandate to determine the referendum process. Westminster legislation which dictates rather than enables would not just be unacceptable to the Scottish government. It would be contrary to the rights of the people of Scotland.

Why independence is the best option for Scotland

The Scottish National Party will campaign confidently for independence not just as an end in itself, but as the means by which the Scottish economy can grow more strongly and sustainably; by which Scotland can take its rightful place as a responsible member of the world community; and by which the Scottish people can best fulfil their potential and realise their aspirations.

For much of the postwar period, people in Scotland largely embraced the great social reforms which were implemented by Clement Atlee’s government and sustained through much of the 1950s, 60s and 70s. National insurance, housing for all and the establishment of a national health service commanded a consensus which spanned political boundaries and national borders.

There is a view that some of these postwar institutions – perhaps the NHS above all - fostered a sense of cohesion and common purpose among the people of these islands. Professor Tom Devine, for example, has expressed the view that in the postwar period the welfare state became “the real anchor of the union state”.

I am not sure that the welfare state was, in truth, ever a direct consequence of the union. As the Nordic countries show very clearly, common aims in social policy do not require a common state. But it probably is the case that Scotland subscribed particularly strongly to the values of the post-war consensus.

There is a revealing account in The Hugo Young Papers of a discussion with John Smith in which Smith “volunteered with pride that Scotland had always been consensual… that there was this sense of community unriven by so much class segregation, without seeming to see that this made his English task possibly harder.”

I don’t want to press this argument too far. The disparities in life expectancy between different parts of Scotland, for example, are just one piece of evidence demonstrating that Scotland still needs to do far more to reduce inequality. 

But John Smith’s basic point, that egalitarianism, is a strong driving force in public life in Scotland, is undoubtedly true.

It is why we recognise that some forms of social protection work very well, and that the constant urge to ‘reform’ can be, in the wrong hands, code for attack.

It is why policies which exacerbate inequality and remove basic safety nets are always likely to encounter fierce opposition in Scotland.

And it is why anyone who accepted the union partly because of the compassionate values and inclusive vision of the post-war welfare state, may now be less keen on being part of a union whose government is in many respects eroding those values and destroying that vision.

When I was in Liverpool last year for an appearance on “Question Time”, I got an extraordinary, warm response from the studio. Perhaps the strongest support I got was when I made a plea to the audience not to let the three biggest Westminster parties destroy England’s National Health Service – just one of many issues where the Westminster class are out of touch with the people of England. 

And looking at the problems of health reform now, I thank the heavens that Westminster’s writ no longer runs in Scotland on health issues. But the looming issues of welfare reform exemplify why Scotland needs the powers to make our own policies to meet our own needs and values.

The Scottish Government’s policies attempt to protect many values which would be dear to any post-war social democrat in these isles. For example, we have promoted what we call a living wage - £7.20 an hour.

And we have made a conscious decision to provide certain core universal services, rights or benefits, some of which are no longer prioritised by political leaders elsewhere – such as free university tuition, free prescriptions, free personal care for the elderly and a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies across the public sector

We do this because we believe that such services benefit the common weal. They provide a sense of security, well-being and equity within communities. Such a sense of security is essential to a sense of confidence – and as we have seen over the last three years, confidence is essential to economic growth.

And the social wage also sets out our offer for people who want to live in Scotland, regardless of their background.  We will provide a secure, stable and inclusive society. And by doing so we will encourage their talent and ambition. Scotland will be a place where people want to visit, invest, work and live.

Achieving this has required some difficult decisions – for example major departmental efficiency savings – far more rigorous than those in Whitehall - and an effective freeze in public sector pay. But those are easier to implement if your policies clearly have fairness at their heart.

The social wage exemplifies one reason why people in Scotland want additional powers for their Parliament – the fact that they largely like what we have done with the powers that we already have.

An obvious example would be Scotland’s introduction of the smoking ban. The smoking ban was suggested by an SNP MSP, initially resisted by the Labour/Liberal administration, then adopted.

It didn’t take a generation, a decade or even a year for the people to see they had made the right decision – it took a month or two. Everyone abided by the new law, people adapted, and now nobody would choose to go back.

There are other examples of how even the constrained ability of Scotland to make independent decisions has had a beneficial effect on wider policy debates. We are currently championing minimum pricing for alcohol, a policy which may be copied elsewhere. And we have established the Scottish Futures Trust, as a way of promoting long-term infrastructure investment without resorting to the wastefulness of PFI. The UK Government’s current call for evidence on infrastructure investment options suggests that it is interested in aspects of the Scottish Future Trust’s approach.

This innovation benefits Scotland – which can respond to specific Scottish problems and circumstances. But it also benefits the rest of the UK, and potentially the wider world, by providing a precedent for policies which other countries can then either adopt or not.

An independent Scotland could be a beacon for progressive opinion south of the border and further afield – addressing policy challenges in ways which reflect the universal values of fairness – and are capable of being considered, adapted and implemented according to the specific circumstances and wishes within the other jurisdictions of these islands and beyond.

That, I believe, is a far more positive and practical Scottish contribution to progressive policy than sending a tribute of Labour MPs to Westminster to have the occasional turn at the Westminster tiller – particularly in the circumstances of the Labour opposition’s policy increasingly converging with that of the coalition on the key issues of the economy and public spending. 

In passing, can I reflect that Labour might be doing better with English opinion if they were to consider offering an alternative rather than a substitute for current policies.

The problem with Scotland’s current constitutional settlement is that we cannot innovate as much as we would like. Policy choices made in Westminster, by parties whose democratic mandate in Scotland is negligible, are constraining the policy choices made in Scotland, for which there is an unequivocal mandate.

It is worth remembering that in 1999 comparatively few additional powers were granted to the parliament in Scotland that had not previously been devolved to the Secretary of State for Scotland.

The shift from administrative to legislative devolution was, of course, momentous in itself. But it still left Scotland with fewer powers than the German Lander, most American states, parts of Spain such as the Basque Country or Catalonia, or, within these islands, the Isle of Man.

The economy is currently where this is felt most deeply. In Scotland, my party’s manifesto for last year’s election made it clear that the economy would be a top priority for us. We are still deeply aware, as are many places in England and Wales, of the lasting damage done by the mass unemployment of the 1980s, which left a legacy of alienation, ill-health and hopelessness which endured long after economic recovery had taken hold.

For that reason, the Scottish Government has given a guarantee to all 16-19 year olds of a training opportunity or education place for those not in a job.  

We are also doing everything we can to safeguard capital investment in Scotland, while the UK Government is slashing public investment in real terms by about a third between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

This “Plan MacB”, as I call it, is endorsed by our Council of Economic Advisers. The Scottish Government knows that it does not have a monopoly of wisdom on economic policy, so we have appointed a council of advisers including Professor Joseph Stiglitz, Professor Frances Ruane and Professor Sir James Mirrleas to advise on our economic strategy. 

But however careful we are at directing spending towards areas which protect welfare and promote economic growth, we cannot escape the consequences of the UK Government’s macro-economic policies.

Nobody denies that the UK Government’s budget deficit needs to be tackled. However the sheer scale of the austerity measures decided upon by the UK Government is proving counter-productive -  particularly in the cuts to capital spending.

It doesn’t require a Nobel laureate in economics to understand that it is difficult to sustain an economic recovery on export-led growth when your major export market is enduring significant problems.

If there is a double dip recession, and that is at best a risk it will not only be the fault of the Eurozone – it will be something  which Westminster has helped to manufacture by not adjusting policy quick enough to meet changing circumstances.

But we still see regular assertions that Scotland would be weaker or more impoverished if it were independent. Many of these statements are straightforward scare stories. For example,  sources close to the Chancellor of the Exchequer warned that an independent Scotland would not be allowed to use the pound.

Of course the interesting thing about these suggestions is not just that they are economically illiterate – since sterling is a fully tradeable currency, the UK Government has absolutely no power to stop an independent Scotland from using it. But more importantly, why would any sensible person wish to stop England and Scotland sharing a currency.

Sunday’s Scottish Daily Mail reported William Hague as threatening that if Scotland became independent, British embassies would no longer promote Scotch whisky. That I think was scraping the bottom of the cask.

Incidentally, for the Foreign Secretary’s benefit, he should know that receptions to promote Scotch whisky or any other goods at British embassies are charged by the foreign office! But I rather suspect that the whisky industry would in any case get by without the promotional efforts of the British foreign service. If I could adapt an old Scots ditty –

       “how nice it would be

       if the whisky was free

       and the embassies full up to the brim.”

And the Daily Mirror tried to argue that if Scotland voted for independence, the Edinburgh Zoo pandas might somehow be seized by the UK Government. I can tell you that I have decided to grant Tian Tian and Yang  Guang political asylum, while reflecting of course that the UK government did not contribute a single RMB to the cost of the pandas’ arrival in our capital city.

I hear occasionally from the Prime Minister how he is just about to make a positive case for the union. On the evidence of the last two weeks, I think it is still on the drawing board. 

Fearmongering about constitutional change is nothing new. But it is disappointing to see such an approach being adopted – therefore, as an antidote and a counterpoint, may I attempt to present independence for Scotland in a way which is positive about Scotland and positive about England.

Firstly, I question the credibility of the current set of UK leaders as far as the people of the country are concerned. I have here the leadership ratings of messrs Cameron, Clegg and Miliband according to the Sunday Times Yougov poll. According to this, their popularity stands at minus 22%, minus 59% and minus 70% respectively in Scotland. That minus 70% for Miliband included 81% who thought he was doing well and 11 % who thought he was doing badly. These are all dismal assessments of UK political leaders in Scotland and it is true that in each case they are worse than the UK figure.

However it is also true that the UK figure for the leaders of the Conservative, Liberal and Labour parties are also all in negative territory. I am told that today, given the ICM poll, that the Guardian was bought by more Tory MPs than at any time in the paper’s history. But they should reflect on the fact that this does not mean that the Prime Minister is popular, merely that he is less unpopular than the others.

The unpopularity of Westminster leaders in Scotland is largely based on their hamfisted interventions in the debate on Scotland’s future. Their unpopularity in England is based on their inability, in these tough times, to present a positive vision for the future of England.

Talking down to a country is never a good idea, and failure to present a positive vision to a country is always a bad idea.

In truth, it is absurd to suggest that an independent Scotland would struggle to make its own way economically. On current figures, we would have the 6th highest per capita GDP in the OECD as an independent nation - the UK currently ranks 15th, and, incidentally, would still rank 15th without Scotland.

As Norway, Sweden and New Zealand demonstrate, many small nations are coping better with the financial crisis than many larger ones, such as the UK, Italy or Spain. But all Western nations, large and small, have been affected.

What independence would do is to give us the tools– corporation tax, for example, or alcohol excise duty - which we could use to get on with the job of promoting recovery and improving people’s lives. 

In international relations, too, Scotland would benefit from a voice of its own. In Europe, perhaps the defining theme of Hugo Young’s journalism, the recent veto used by David Cameron has significantly weakened the UK’s reputation and influence, for few evident benefits.

When Jose Manuel Barroso delivered this lecture in 2006, he posed the question of whether the United Kingdom in Europe wanted to “shape a positive agenda... or return to sulking from the periphery?” The recent answer provided by UK Government actions is probably not the one that he had in mind.

Scotland as an independent nation would play an active and responsible role in the international community  – contributing on issues where it could, such as climate change, but without delusions of grandeur. Climate change provides an interesting example. The Scottish Parliament achieved legislative competence for climate change by accident. Part of Donald Dewar’s genius in devising the Scotland Bill was to specify what was reserved rather than what was devolved. Climate change was not seen as an issue worthy of being reserved in 1997 and so it ended up devolved. But the Scottish Parliament’s world-leading climate change Act  - passed unanimously in the last parliament - has shown that a parliament trusted with the big issues can rise  spectacularly to the occasion.

I don’t agree with the counsel of despair that some on the English left have of their prospects for mobilising support on an English basis. As already said, the effect of privatisation of the health service is just as unpopular in England as it would be in Scotland, while the illegal war in Iraq was resisted by English opinion just as it was by Scottish opinion. Indeed, as people will know and understand, I have never had much time for the former prime minister, Tony Blair, largely because of the war in Iraq. However before he got carried away into believing that Britain’s role in the world was to ride shotgun on the Deadwood Stage, he did, in 1997, sweep a commanding majority in England on the hope of progressive reform and mobilised opinion in this country in a way which neither Neil Kinnock or John Smith ever truly managed. 

Endurance of the “social union” between Scotland and the rest of the UK

Much of what I have spoken about relates to differences between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. That is, perhaps, inevitable in making the case for independence. But I want to stress also the areas of common interest which will endure after independence.

Current constitutional arrangements mean that policy differences sometimes inevitably become squabbles – especially if they involve money or constitutional issues. In fact, we have seen quite a lot of evidence of that in the last two weeks!

Andrew Fletcher of Saltoun addressed the Scottish Parliament in 1706, before it was adjourned - for some three hundred years.

He observed that: "All nations are dependent; the one upon the many. This much we know.”

But he also warned that if "the greater must always swallow the lesser," we are all diminished. The argument would be that incorporation can foster resentment and grievance. Independence encourages mutual respect.

Independence for Scotland would still leave us free to work together in the many areas where we do share common values and interests.

The most meaningful bonds between the countries of these islands have rarely, in truth, been about the 650 MPs at Westminster. Indeed, it has always seemed to me to be deeply ironic that right of centre parties base so much of their unionism on the taxing and spending powers of the Westminster parliament.

If Scotland becomes independent, it will continue to share close ties with its neighbouring countries. Some will be institutional. Scotland will continue to share a monarchy with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some will be cultural – Scots will still discuss Eastenders, watch the X-Factor and enjoy the Grand National and Wimbledon - particularly once Andy Murray gets round to winning it.

Some will be economic. We will continue to trade freely within the European Union, and people will still move job from Manchester to Glasgow and back again. And some will be practical. At the height of last year’s riots, for example, Scottish police sent officers to help the police forces down here in England. During last year’s water crisis in Northern Ireland, Scotland sent hundreds of thousands of litres to Northern Ireland. That level of co-operation would continue, because it’s the sort of thing that good neighbours do.

The British Irish Council already provides a model of how all of the people of these islands can work together on issues of shared interest. Earlier this month, in Dublin,  we discussed youth employment. The British Irish Council currently includes two independent states, three devolved governments and three island groups. Does anyone here believe that the Council would look massively different with three independent states rather than two?

The Nordic Council provides another, similar model of a forum where neighbouring countries gather to co-operate with each other. And in the European Union, on the many occasions when Scotland agrees with the rest of the UK, we will have greater collective influence, and more votes, operating as two nations rather than one.

On areas from energy grids to emergency policing requirements; from fisheries policy to defence co-operation; from telecommunications to transport links; Scotland will work with its neighbours for a common good.

But most of all, in addition to these institutional, cultural, economic and practical links, Scotland shares ties of family and friendship with its neighbours on these islands which never can be obsolete, and which I expect will continue and flourish after Scottish independence.

And when you consider our shared economic interests, our cultural ties, our many friendships and family relationships, one thing becomes clear. After Scotland becomes independent, we will share more than a monarchy and a currency. We will share a social union. It just won’t be the same as a restrictive state, which no longer serves the interests of either Scotland or England.

When the Her Majesty the Queen visited Ireland last year, she spoke warmly of the ties between the United Kingdom and Ireland and stated that these “make us so much more than just neighbours, (they make us firm friends and equal partners.”

I like the phrase “firm friend and equal partner”. It will be true of Scotland too.

My ambition is for Scotland to enter the global community of nations – and to participate in that community on a basis of equality, responsibility and friendship. We won’t have a nuclear deterrent. But that is not the sort of power we seek – we seek only the power to make a positive contribution to the world, and to improve the wellbeing of our people.

When the United Nations was founded, it had just 51 member countries. Now there are almost 200. As recently as 1990, Europe had 35 countries – now it has 50. Of the 27 countries which currently make up the EU, six of them did not exist as independent states before 1990. The current United Kingdom, as an incorporating union, where one nation will always prevail simply by virtue of its size, seems increasingly like an anachronism in the modern age. And independence – with the right to participate as an equal on the international stage – appears more and more like Scotland’s normal and natural state of being.

I quoted GK Chesterton, a quintessentially English writer, earlier. I hope you will understand – especially given the date – that I want to close by quoting Scotland’s bard, Robert Burns - nationalist and internationalist.

I thought of a number of possibilities – for example his timeless description of the multi-party UK government of his day –

“yon mixtie-maxtie queer hotch-potch,

       The Coalition"!

Another of his songs, “Ae fond kiss, and then we sever” also has a certain resonance – although I may not sing it to the Prime Minister any time soon! But ultimately, it is a line from one of Burns’s great egalitarian poems that best sums up the likelihood of independence.

For a’ that and a’ that, it’s coming yet, for a’ that. 


# GrassyKnollington 2012-01-24 22:04
Gaun yersel Eck.
# cjmjr 2012-01-24 22:08
Seconded. Great speach well set out and a credit to our nation Well done First Minister.
# brusque 2012-01-24 22:34
I'm delighted that Newsnet were able to reproduce this important speech from our First Eck.........even more delighted to be able to read it unabridged, or editted.

Surely there can be little doubt amongst Eck's many doubters, that he is truly worthy of the title "Statesman" and one to match or better him will not be found in these British Isles!

Congratulations Mr Salmond, once again you've shown them how it should be done:-)
# Legerwood 2012-01-24 22:39
# jafurn 2012-01-24 22:40
Is there anywhere this can be HEARD / SEEN
# tartanfever 2012-01-24 22:50
jafurn, it will be posted later I'm sure. all the previous speeches are available, like you, I'm dying to see the man in action in the flesh. I wonder what the reaction was like ?
# Fortitudine 2012-01-24 23:06
Apparently it's on BBC Parliament on Sat 28th at 10pm, no doubt in usual BBC edit form though.
# Marga B 2012-01-24 23:42
jafurn - excerpt on the Guardian:

Accompanied by no less than 4 knocking articles "Salmond accused" "Critics turn on Salmond", a Willie Bain piece (say no more) and something quaint on Home Rule which I haven't felt very motivated to read.
# ahumscottish2 2012-01-24 22:46

Need to watch new night paxman compares Scotland to Zimbabwe and Alex to Mugabe !!??!!?!

Complaints at the ready
# Hirta 2012-01-24 22:52
Pointless viewing. A bit like Newsnight itself, Paxman too has had his day. *yawn*.
# Briggs 2012-01-25 17:37
Not a fan of Paxman and I'm not trying to defend him, but basically he gave Eck a pretty easy ride.

I noticed a wee sardonic smile on Paxman's chops and to me at least, it wasn't sneering in the least.

I think Paxman might be a Salmond Fan, or fast becoming one; to be fair it's hard not to be.
# Hirta 2012-01-24 22:46
Lives up to his "Briton of the Year" award!
# red kite 2012-01-24 22:46
Says it all really. This is one of those speeches which will go down in history, and I believe it will be well received by its audience.
# Talorcan 2012-01-24 22:49
Well done Mr. Salmond, very well done indeed.
# Hirta 2012-01-24 22:51
BBC Radio 5 Live even lead with this at their 10:30pm bulletin.
# km 2012-01-24 22:53
I hope that everyone in England and Scotland reads this. Many English I speak to have preconceived notions of the SNP and Salmond. This speech is vintage Eck, it dispels the myths, and highlights the illogicality of the union. It deserves to be made available in video, hopefully someone can post on YouTube if it is.
# Angus 2012-01-24 22:56
I wonder if the BBC will show it?
# balbeggie 2012-01-24 23:00
yes, on BBC Parliament on the 28th - I think at 10.00 pm.
# tartanfever 2012-01-24 23:19
also 'google' search reveals that the Guardian tends to post these speeches, they still have Nick Clegg's speech from last year available.

No sooner had I written this when BigB posts a link up further down the page. Nice one.
# McHaggis 2012-01-24 22:57
In passing, can I reflect that Labour might be doing better with English opinion if they were to consider offering an alternative rather than a substitute for current policies.

Ooosha! Labour are gonna be spitting feathers tomorrow over that one! belter!
# bigbuachaille 2012-01-24 22:59
Keep it positive - that's the way to winning the independence vote. The FM used the word 9 times in this speech.
# Jiggsbro 2012-01-24 23:05
The sort of mature, positive approach to politics that finally persuaded me to join a political party.
# daveniz 2012-01-24 23:09
well after that display from paxman time to call for him to be sacked that was the most offensive interview and biased I've ever seen!
# Jester 2012-01-24 23:40
Quoting daveniz:
well after that display from paxman time to call for him to be sacked that was the most offensive interview and biased I've ever seen!

Finally after much waiting someone asked the question- how much of ENGLANDS assets do you want? The look on Paxmans face face when he was told the same percentage as the debt we'll take on, 8%, said it all.
# bigbuachaille 2012-01-24 23:10
Mark Hennessey (Irish Times) refers to Paxman's performance as 'the patronising Englishman.' References to Mugabe and a one party state by Paxman are bang out of order. Get the complaints in to the BBC.
# Jester 2012-01-24 23:32
Quoting bigbuachaille:
Mark Hennessey (Irish Times) refers to Paxman's performance as 'the patronising Englishman.' References to Mugabe and a one party state by Paxman are bang out of order. Get the complaints in to the BBC.

Why. He is employed to be an obnoxious git. He did it rather well.
# J Wil 2012-01-24 23:48
Gerry Hassan had a go at Paxman too.

Will Paxman be bothered? I doubt it. His reputation is on the slide like Big Ben.
# edinburghdave 2012-01-25 00:17
Quoting bigbuachaille:
Mark Hennessey (Irish Times) refers to Paxman's performance as 'the patronising Englishman.' References to Mugabe and a one party state by Paxman are bang out of order. Get the complaints in to the BBC.

Here is a copy of my complaint to the beeb:

I wish to complain about the interview by Jeremy Paxman with Alex Salmond.

Not only was Mr. Paxman incredibly rude not allowing Mr. Salmond to answer questions fully, being constantly interrupted with disparaging remarks, Mr. Paxman indulged in an irrelevant trivilising of the issues at hand with his personlised rant about 'armoured rail cars ferrying gold accross the country post independance. (I paraphrase).

Secondly, and most importantly was Mr. Paxman's assertion that Mr. Salmond was behaving like a dictator, comparing him to Mr Mugabe and Scotland to the political strife of Zimbabwe. Can I remind the BBC that the SNP were democratically elected by the people of Scotland, and that current political dominance is of no fault to either the SNP or Mr. Salmond. But perhaps the inability of the OTHER p[arties to form proper opposition? These comments are utterly unnaccepatble and Mr. Paxman should be made to apologise to his viewers, particularly of Scotland.

I (and many, many others) are beginning to dispair at the BBC. If this is the "quality" of debate over upcoming constitutional issues that will be presented by the BBC, then perhaps the BBC need to be reminded of its own Editorial guidelines to impartiality: Section 4.4.13 of the BBC's own editorial Guidelines makes this quite clear.
# Electric Hermit 2012-01-24 23:16
Excellent speech! Much as I would have expected. The man has form.
# bigbuachaille 2012-01-24 23:19
video of the Hugo Young lecture here:
# km 2012-01-24 23:23
Cheers bigbuachaille
# tartanfever 2012-01-24 23:25
Thanks for the link BigB.

Unfortunately the Guardian have edited this with a heavy hand into nothing more than a collection of soundbites.

Hopefully they will make the full speech available like they have done with previous speeches, but after reading the full speech here, I find it quite unbearable to watch these edited highlights.
# call me dave 2012-01-24 23:22
Come out of the dark room a while ago and read this.

It reinforces my view that 'The First Eck' is a master politician.

Soft words and sensible proposals but with plenty of hard hitting points made just the same.

Missionary work down South of the first water and no mistake!
He'll have ruffled plenty of feathers and he was playing away from home too.

He didn't directly mention the oil either it was a wee masterpiece right enough and it has cheered me right up after that rubbish about the Northern Islands!

Now all you undecided and unionist visitors can Cameron; Clegg; Miniballs Lament; Ruthless or Rennie even come close?

I doubt if all the speech will be reproduced in the MSM which is a pity.

Independence is the box to tick!
# Kinghob 2012-01-24 23:22
A great speech to give to the people of these Isles, but may I say particularly to the people of England, so spoon-fed the Kelvin macKenzie negative sneering about important constitutional politics that affect each and every person within the British Isles.

I have only read it-I have yet to see it orated, (I have tried) I imagine It won't be disappointing though as a spoken set of aspirations for a future (positive and fruitful) with a commonwealth of countries within what used to be the uk!

We will get on with each other even if Willie Hague acts the goat in panic-a more ill imagined silly shotgun to the foot the 'british' embassy (whisky ban because it is manufactured in Scotland) dumbs down british diplomacy somewhat as an obvious rather laughable knee jerk!

Cheers to Newsnet-I knew I would find it here first so I looked here first and wasn't disappointed!

That's a service I hope for and one that is required for the next two and a half years (that most of all) and I give you a monthly subscription to show appreciation and it is about to increase by 50%!

Great as anything I am sure you will agree as I have worked out it is now about the level of buying an expensive broadsheet three times a week.

Something I didn't do when they were more representative of Scottish public opinion!


# Marga B 2012-01-24 23:46
As you can see from the edited version on the Guardian, Kinghob, very laid-back and statesmanlike. Instead of confrontation, logic and the hand held out.

Then the Guardian has to go and spoil it with their 4 knocking articles. Will they never learn?
# Mad Jock McMad 2012-01-24 23:29
The stress on social democracy will bite hard at the growing resentment in England to Westminster's neo-liberal capitalistic approach.

"Fair fa' yer honest, sauncie face,
Great chieftan o' the Scottish race.
Aboun them aa ye'll take yer place,
Kier, Maxton and McLean.
Weel wordy are ye o aa grace
As lang as ma airm."
# Macart 2012-01-25 06:15
Like :0)
# roboftheburnawn 2012-01-24 23:35
Could the spin doctor's of the Lib/Con/Lab ever manage to produce a speech of this statute - No
The reason being - He speaks the Truth and they don't do the truth
# tartanfever 2012-01-24 23:35
The EBC have a news page up with an interview between Nick Robinson and Eck.

Watch the interview, then notice how they edit to various pictures of the Scottish parliament building etc rather than showing his face while the interview continues.

I've never seen an interview with any politician edited in this way on the BBC. It's a disgrace.

Furthermore, the article contains this quote from Willie Rennie

"It a damning indictment of the first minister that his idea of progressive policies includes giving Sir Fred Goodwin a £3,000 discount on his council tax."

First i've heard, can anyone shed any light on this one ?
# jafurn 2012-01-24 23:54
I saw the quote from Mr Rennie here....

Commenting as the First Minister delivers his Hugo Young lecture, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP said:

"The First Minister is treating his lecture tour like some sort of royal progress through England.

Mr Rennie does himself a disservice with his 'snide' comments..
# Jiggsbro 2012-01-25 00:13
Rennie also said:

"The real worry for Scotland is that his desire to split Scotland from the UK is now dominating his work and that of his government. They are relegating the economy and jobs to the side-lines"

"The First Minister can't answer basic questions about the future of Scotland under independence such as the currency and armed forces. He couldn't even answer questions last week about his police reforms"

Am I the only one seeing a contradiction in those two paragraphs?
# farrochie 2012-01-25 10:16
Willie Rennie decides that digging a deeper hole for the LibDems will somehow enhance their standing in Scotland?
# J Wil 2012-01-24 23:43
It looked to me that the Paxman interview with Salmond had been edited. A few jumps were obvious where the ends of sentences were curtailed.
# govanite 2012-01-24 23:43
Another superb performance from our First Minister, Great speach and good interviews with the British Broadcasting Corporation. Scotland all over the telly again. Honestly, how could anyone even consider going back to what went before ?
# Alba4Eva 2012-01-24 23:53
Can someone please post a Youtube link when it becomes available please. (Entire unedited of course). Tnx
# macdoc 2012-01-24 23:53
I think the independent Scotland newspiece and The Paxman interview that followed must have been (even by the bbc's own standards) one of the most insulting patronising pieces of propaganda to ever be Televised. I almost threw the remote at the TV and must have woken up the neighbours by the profanties that I spewed at my television screen.

To cherry pick one particularly bad financial year (the only one where Scotland was in deficit) in which the whole of Europe was affected and imply this is normal and not mention at all that relative to the UK, Scotland per capita is in a better fiscal position even in that year than the UK. This had to be one of the most shameless things that have ever been spouted by the BBC.
# govanite 2012-01-25 00:09
Dear Blubber

How large is the UK's national debt ? Do you know by any chance ?
# mato21 2012-01-25 00:57
Dear Govan

The numbers are big there's mony noughts
That means they owe somebody lots and lots
But we have oil spouting so don't you see
On independence we'll no owe a bawbee

Toodle-oo Flubber
# scottishwatersnotforsale 2012-01-25 00:36
to whom it may concern,Martin Comp(s)ton the actor (with the braw teeth ) is a nationalist.
# chapmanbilly 2012-01-25 00:37
I firmly believe that long after we're all dead and gone this speech will go down in history as being on a par with the best of Martin Luther King's speeches. Mature, insightful and forward thinking. It's pro England and pro Scotland as separate, but close and equal partner nations with social union but without political union. It also clearly demonstrates the differences between the outlooks, priorities and ambitions of the two nations. Brilliant stuff!
# Legerwood 2012-01-25 00:42
Some sound advice for Mr Cameron from the Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph [sections in bold are my emphasis]:

"The solution [for Mr Cameron] surely must lie in discretion, courtesy and a disciplined avoidance of any language that amounts to questioning Scotland’s capacity for self-government, its ability to prosper, or its willingness to reason. That Scotland could be a successful, moderately well-off independent nation is not in doubt and should not be misrepresented. Whatever the questions that must be asked about the details of partition, be it the allocation of national debt, the division of defence arrangements, or the feasibility of currency union, Mr Cameron must avoid being lured into any comment that will allow him to be portrayed as an evidently English prime minister.

His reticence is required not because it will deprive Mr Salmond of something to complain about, but because he must reserve himself for the consequences of the vote. Whatever the outcome of the referendum, there will have to be a renegotiation of the terms between Scotland and the rest of the Union. Whether Scotland chooses independence or opts to remain, there must follow a detailed rebalancing of the political and financial relationship. Be it the “devo-max” Mr Salmond speaks of, or some other arrangement, Mr Cameron must be in a position to negotiate as a respected equal after Scotland has decided.

Many on his side will urge him to stick it to Scotland, to deploy the same kind of tawdry politics Labour made the mistake of using. His successful use of brutal tactics in last year’s AV campaign might encourage him to play hardball this time, too. Yesterday’s revelation that the SNP tried to forge academic evidence to back its argument for a two-question referendum reminds us that he is up against a parcel of rogues.

Mr Cameron should resist the temptation and stick to language that is gentle and dispassionate, in between lengthy periods of silence. When the time comes to hammer out a final settlement with Scotland, he will want the conversation to be a civil one, untainted by bitterness and recrimination. Let no one say that this Conservative Prime Minister and his campaign gave the Scots yet another reason to feel resentful".
Benedict Brogan Deputy Editor of the Daily Telegraph, 25.01.12

One sentence spoils the overall effect and I guess I do not have to point it out to anyone but overall it is fairly measured by the standards of some articles that have appeared recently.
# tartanfever 2012-01-25 01:08
Yesterday’s revelation that the SNP tried to forge academic evidence to back its argument for a two-question referendum reminds us that he is up against a parcel of rogues.

- whats this about ? Does this not concern you Legerwood.
# RandomScot 2012-01-25 01:49
I guess that is the Qvortrup incident where the FM's briefing said that they had support from the Dr when they hadn't

The FM came back to the chamber to tell all and take responsibility

Then he engaged Dr Qvortrup as an advisor

Dr Qvortrup was recently published in the Scotsman supporting SNP's right to hold the Referendum, but I doubt the a telegraph will tell you that
# Holebender 2012-01-25 04:21
But that wasn't yesterday, and the article specifically says "yesterday's revelation".
# RandomScot 2012-01-25 05:59
Yes, but YESTERDAY is when they "revealed" it

Old news here

Shock surprise there
# Holebender 2012-01-25 06:34
Ahh... I see.
# farrochie 2012-01-25 10:21
Remember the MSM is in the business of googling for their stories. There is little real journalism now. Even the BBC admitted yesterday to paying private investigators, so poor are their journalists at investigative journalism.
# Legerwood 2012-01-25 16:36
Exactly RandomScot. The Daily Telegraph ran an article on it about two days ago as if it had just been uncovered when in fact it happened some months ago and was dealt with as soon as the mistake was realised.
# Briggs 2012-01-25 17:43
Song for David Cameron.

Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

Suddenly, I'm not half to man I used to be,
There's a shadow hanging over me.
Oh, yesterday came suddenly.

Why they had to go I don't know they wouldn't say.
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.

Yesterday, politics was such an easy game to play.
Now I need a place to hide away.
Oh, I believe in yesterday.
# bigbuachaille 2012-01-25 11:23
Here's the Scotsman article. Pretty well sums up the facts. We will be recognised as an independent country by the international community, once we have voted for independence. p_scotland_does _not_need_permi ssion_to_go_it_ alone_1_2047506
# Legerwood 2012-01-25 16:34
Tartan fever.

I did point out in my post that there was one sentence that stuck out like a sore thumb in what was otherwise a fairly considered section of the blog.

This is recycled news on the part of the Telegraph since it dseals with an incident some weeks ago that was fully explained by the FM as RandomScot has pointed out.

The Telegraph printed a story on it a day or two ago as if it was a 'new' revelation and there had been some sort of cover-up when in fact it was old and there had been no attempt to cover up the mistake that had been made and since corrected by the FM.

Some of the sentiment in this section of Mr Brogan's blog does in fact chinme with what the FM has said in his speech.
# macdoc 2012-01-25 01:07
Just one of the dirty tricks Westminster uses in there calculation of expenditure.
# Alba4Eva 2012-01-25 10:17
Thanks for that... very useful. ;)
# Old Smokey 2012-01-25 01:09
Mark Hennessey of the Irish Times, interviewed on last nights Newsnight Scotland, following the disgraceful Paxman interview was spot on with his assement of Paxman, calling him a 'patronising englishman' (noted that Isobel Fraser didnt go to defend Paxman). What was good was the other guest in the studio, Gerry Hassan, did likewise, so the BBC will have a problem brushing over the issue.

But for me the more interesting aspect of the discussion on Newsnight Scotland, was the remarks by Mark Hennessey , in relation to Scotland becoming independent. In that it will have a profound effect on Northern Ireland.
This is something Ive been beating a drum about for some time.
With the ending of the union, you get the ending of the United Kingdom and the ending of the Union Jack, the comfort blankets of Ulster unionism will evaporate, so what will they do. The natural progression is for Northern Ireland to either associate itself with England, or associate itself with Scotland or become a semi autonmous state with the republic.
Mark tried to talk more about this, but was stopped in his tracks by Isobel Fraser, who said that was 'something for a later date'. I feel personally this issue will become the elephant in the room and is possibly something that Westminster are very reluctant to talk about
# agrippinilla 2012-01-25 11:42
Quoting Old Smokey:
But for me the more interesting aspect of the discussion on Newsnight Scotland, was the remarks by Mark Hennessey , in relation to Scotland becoming independent. In that it will have a profound effect on Northern Ireland.
This is something Ive been beating a drum about for some time.
With the ending of the union, you get the ending of the United Kingdom and the ending of the Union Jack, the comfort blankets of Ulster unionism will evaporate, so what will they do. The natural progression is for Northern Ireland to either associate itself with England, or associate itself with Scotland or become a semi autonmous state with the republic.
...I feel personally this issue will become the elephant in the room and is possibly something that Westminster are very reluctant to talk about

The ripples from Independence would spread across the world. Not only would N.I. and Wales have to consider their status, but Crown Dependencies like The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man would have to consider what that "crown" is that they depend upon. British territories and possessions across the world would no longer be British, but they may not wish to become merely English, or even to belong to a rUK (if Wales and N.I. remain).

Scotland earned a huge amount of respect across the Empire of old, and is still held in high regard today. Being a possession of England may not hold much appeal for these Dependencies, so if they aren't considering their future status yet, now is the time to start.

And I'm sure Cameron will uphold all their rights to self-determination...
# doonhamer 2012-01-25 01:40
Full speech now available.
# highlander 2012-01-25 03:12
Macdoc, thanks for that link.

Absolutely staggering the deception and dirty tricks involved.

We have to pay for our share of the costs of the olympics as it benefits all the UK even though it's at least 350 miles from us yet we have to foot the entire bill of the commonwealth games which are just 50 miles from England and a large % that visits the games have to come from southern airports.

# Macart 2012-01-25 06:21
No bad, no bad at all!

That's oor FM. :0)
# Alba4Eva 2012-01-25 06:34
O.T. Go on Andy Murray! *;0)
# Macart 2012-01-25 07:04
The bunnet has a certain style. :0)
# wee folding bike 2012-01-25 07:23
Complaint lodged with the BBC. Even the memsahib might join in.
# exel 2012-01-25 08:26
Is this speech an example of "Scotland First"?

To-day the SNP start their consultation with the Scottish People. Yesterday he had one with the English??
# Alba4Eva 2012-01-25 10:00
Oh dear diddums, the baby unionist is awww upset. Anyone see a dummy anywhere?
# tartanfever 2012-01-25 10:06
Hey exel, you're a lib dem aren't you ?

Whats the background on Willie Rennie's claims that Alex Salmond personally gave Fred the Shred a £3,000 council tax rebate ?
# Auld Bob 2012-01-25 12:50
Sigh! Oh!Dear, excel, don't you think that the, "Lecture", given before an invited, mainly English, audience and what will be announce TO THE ENTIRE WORLD, today at Edinburgh Castle just may be two entirely different matters?
# brusque 2012-01-25 18:23
Quoting exel:
Is this speech an example of "Scotland First"?

To-day the SNP start their consultation with the Scottish People. Yesterday he had one with the English??

You are never going to get it? Never!

You are at least reading this site and trying to educate yourself about the position, but maybe you could try to find a friend you could sit down with, and have them explain everything in words of 2, or less, syllables. Believe me, it will be worth the effort to be part of something historic.

I'd be happy to help out, but I'm a curmudgeonly "older" lady with little patience with people who refuse to absorb knowledge:-)
# maxstafford 2012-01-25 09:44
More mischief making and spin. Who actually owns the Herald then, ultimately? I'm guessing someone in the square Mile.
# Hersel 2012-01-25 09:59
Salmond used to annoy the hell out of me with his daft sayings and joker persona. But the man has matured with age in to the statesman we see today capable of delivering this excellent speech which will surely find it’s way into the history books. Could this be the man Scotland has been waiting 300 years for?
# maisiedotts 2012-01-25 21:02
Quoting Hersel:
Salmond used to annoy the hell out of me with his daft sayings and joker persona. But the man has matured with age in to the statesman we see today capable of delivering this excellent speech which will surely find it’s way into the history books. Could this be the man Scotland has been waiting 300 years for?

Yes I didn't much like Eck as a younger man but he's like "Roses" he grows on you! LOL

Yes again I think this is the man we've waited 300 years for.
# farrochie 2012-01-25 10:23
Douglas Alexander's Indy arcticle is posted over on LabourHame.
# mountaincadre 2012-01-25 11:40
Loved the comment by Nigel Ranter,not sure if he's serious or not but it is funny.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-25 13:53
Hi, farrouchie, Just been to Labourhame and posted the following -

Is this person, for want of a better description, for real?
Whether Scotland leaves or remains in the Union the fact that the people of Scotland will remain British will not be the issue.

Let us get things properly defined, shall we?

The United Kingdom became an entity in 1603. The King of Scotland, (note that designation), ascended to the throne of England and became also the King of England, (note also that designation). In doing so The King of Scots, James VI of Scots, also became the King of England. Due to the Irish parliament,"Crown of Ireland Act",1542, that established the Kingdom of Ireland be ruled by Henry VIII and his successors and the simple fact that the Principality of Wales was held as an English Princedom, all four British Isles crowns were worn on the same monarch's head.
The birth of the UNITED KINGDOM was 1603.

It was not for another 103 years later that the Two Kingdoms of Scotland & England ONLY were to form themselves into, "A United Parliament of The United Kingdom of Great Britain". Please note that the Great in Great Britain only refers to the greater, "main", Island of the British archipelago. The TWO countries, (and only the two), drew up and signed, "A Treaty of Union", as two equal sovereign nations. That treaty was an agreement for, THE TWO countries to share a common parliament of the United Kingdom. Neither Wales or Ireland needed to sign as they were legally part of Greater England. Then each of THE TWO countries went home to their OWN parliament and drew up and passed Acts Of Union in 1707. Thus came into being, "The Parliament of The United Kingdom of Great Britain". The point of the King of Scots but the King of England is that the King of England owned all England, Wales & Ireland and so was sovereign of all three but the King of Scots, because of, "The Declaration of Arbroath", were not only declared sovereign but an independent country. The king was THEIR subject and they have the divine right, (sovereignty), to choose their monarch but to also sack a monarch if they so chose.

So the legal situation is, and Mr Douglas Alexander seems not to know, is that all the people in the British archipelago will always be the British people as the term British is a geographic term. The four British countries will always be four countries. With their inhabitants being both British and whatever their home country is at one and the same time. What will change is that the Parliament of the United Kingdom & Northern Ireland, (as it is now named), will cease to exist at the instance of Scotland's independence. The effect will not stop there. There is no properly elected English Parliament and no persons elected as Members of Parliament that does not exist. Furthermore, The treasury of the Parliament of the United Kingdom IS NOT the English Treasury. The misnamed Bank of England IS NOT English either, it too belongs to the Parliament of the United Kingdom and that is NOT England's but was nationalised by the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

So - back to Mr Douglas Alexander, he will be an ordinary member of the public as there will no longer be a Parliament of the United Kingdom. He will indeed still be British but will, as we all will, have the choice as to which country he wishes to also belong to.

Is that quite clear? There is a legal difference between the United Kingdom and the Parliament of the United Kingdom. One can be ended by a change of Monarch between the two countries the other by breaking up the Treaty of Union.

Bet that the cowards who run this site will not print this item. Like Alexander they are shutting their eyes, plugging their ears and chanting LA!LA! LA!
# James 2012-01-25 10:26
Excellent speech by Alex, just a bit short on the international aspects of independence. That is the SNP's weak point. However, he is just doing what the SNP was set up to do, gain independence, and is making a first-rate job of it. The fact that the SNP is also a super government on domestic policies is a bonus. What happens after independence is not for the SNP alone to decide, and that is when groups like the SDA will come into their own.
# UpSpake 2012-01-25 10:39
An archetypal patronising englishman Paxman may well be but I felt uncomfortable with Alex Salmond giggling and chuckling his way through the interview. This may be the lot of a consumate politician which Mr. Salmond no doubt is but is hardly in keeping with his desire to be seen as a statesman on the international stage. I feel he has much more of his apprenticeship to serve there before I see him addressing the UN ?.
# cirsium 2012-01-25 12:08
upspake - laughter was the only way to respond to the superficial questions.
# J Wil 2012-01-25 13:24
Agreed! It was nothing like a normal interview and as far as Paxo was conserned it wasn't meant to be. The little smirk from Paxo at the end said it all.
# Jimbo 2012-01-25 10:57
Paxman interview with Alex Salmond - 24 min 24 Sec in:

Newsnight Scotland:
# Caadfael 2012-01-25 11:11
"Quo fas et gloria etc" The "naughty word" filter has caught itself out here! But look it up and smile!
The motto of the Royal Engineers is particularly relavent right now, given that 39 Engineer Regt is to move to Lossie.
That said, my personal view is that they'd be better deployed to Leuchars, as a lot of their future work will be in Military Aid to the Civil Comunity (MACC) tasks, and would thereby be better centrally based.
Where right and glory lead .. well, AS is certainly right there!
# agrippinilla 2012-01-25 12:00
After Scotland becomes independent, we will share more than a monarchy and a currency.

Is this a typo, or have I misunderstood something? I thought we shared a monarch, but not a monarchy. Still two kingdoms, are they not?

Don't want to sound like I'm nit-picking through what is an otherwise excellent speech, and one which sets out our stall perfectly.

Great stuff, Alex.
# deepwater 2012-01-25 13:10
Sorry, and it rankles, but since 1707 two countries but ONE kingdom until such time as we elect to change it.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-25 14:06
Nope. Kingdom is devined as -

kingdom // n.
1 an organized community headed by a king.
2 the territory subject to a king.
3 a the spiritual reign attributed to God (Thy kingdom come). b the sphere of this (kingdom of heaven).
4 a domain belonging to a person, animal, etc.
5 a province of nature (the vegetable kingdom).
6 a specified mental or emotional province (kingdom of the heart; kingdom of fantasy).
7 Biol. the highest category in taxonomic classification.
come into (or to) one's kingdom achieve recognition or supremacy.
kingdom come colloq. eternity; the next world.
till kingdom come colloq. for ever.
[Old English cyningdom (as king)
# Holebender 2012-01-25 14:31
So what are you saying? Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Bermuda, etc. are all one kingdom?
# mato21 2012-01-25 12:14
Oor Mike has come down with chickenpox

Lord in the tank is standing by for Fridays talks with the F.M

Wonder if its the chicken bit thats got him or the pox
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2012-01-25 12:53
Oh exel! Give us a break from the sniping PLEASE!

We know it "sticks in yer craw" but try not to show it. Don't forget you're Scottish.
# Saltire Groppenslosh 2012-01-25 13:05
A true statesman at his peak. A wonderful "Ambassador" for Scotland.

My complaint was phoned into the BBC complaints department about the Salmond = Mugabe remark by Paxman and I asked for a written and posted reply because that takes longer and costs more than sending an email to me.

The details for contacting the BBC Complaints are here;-

Telephone 03700 100222 option 1 then option 3 gets a human on the line.

I have saved the number to a text document on my desktop for quick future use, perhaps others on this site would like to do the same. Keep up the pressure on the BBC. I hope that Paxman is drowned by complaints over this.
# Auld Bob 2012-01-25 15:19
You just have to hand it to Willie Rennie. If there is anyway to grab the stick by the smelly conaminated end, Willie will grab it with both hands. He wants the SNP to define DeveMax. The only people who can define DevoMax are the only people with legal power to hand down from Wastemonster the extra powers that will form DevoMax. At the moment that is not even Wastemonster. Unless you count a single Tory From a Scottish constituency and less than a dozen LibDems from a total 59 as being a legal mandate to rule Scotland. Especially when the Sovereign people have elected a majority SNP government to Holyrood. There must be a good case to take to the international court that the sovereign people of Scotlamd's will is being subverted by Wastemonsters dovy dozen.
If Wastemonster attempts to dictate the legality of the Referendum there must be a route in international law to challange them
# John Souter 2012-01-25 17:10
Having first read then listened to the presentation of the Hugo young lecture I think its fair to say it's one of the few speeches that come over better through the personality and commitment of the speaker than it does as two dimensional script.

One major point in its favour was, while the knee jerk comments from proponents for protecting their positions within the status quo were referred to they were given the value and rejection they deserve as the equivalent to water off a ducks back.

Of late, and probably for the foreseeable future we are going to be snowed under by these vacuous fictions claiming to be and paraded as facts. Unfortunately one of the downsides of this is the knee jerk reaction to make equally fatuous retorts. Both are wearisome to an extent they can create parallel negative reactions. The speech by AS shows how we should react by sticking to purpose and conviction rather than the mince of rhetorical hyperbole.

That said and, while it's understandable that for the present the process of the referendum should claim priority there are still major issues such as EU membership etc., being the democratic choice for an independent Scotland and the form of Constitution adopted by Scotland to maintain, protect and empower the sovereignty of its people. In fact so interlaced are the two issues the decision on the EU cannot be legitimately made until the constitutional model is finalised.

I've struggle with this for sometime and as a consequence of being as intellectually lazy and politically naive as the next man, it slowly dawned on me that I was also constitutionall y illiterate. That I knew what I didn't want, which was the model of democracy as practised by Westminster should not be the model adopted by Scotland.

But what form should the new constitution take? And given the wedges driven into the American Declaration of Independence by its Supreme Court. political hegemonies and corporate hijackers, was any constitution binding enough to be impregnable by short term interests in the power game?

The last question is still open,but-and here I have to declare my intent, though I have neither direct nor indirect interest in the books success - while the wearisome Machiavellian machinations of Earls and political mandarins have been rolling on I've been reading Elliot Bulmer's "A Model Constitution For Scotland."

While it doesn't claim to be the definitive version, it does serve as a foundation for debate and analysis on the objectives, construct and purpose a constitution should serve. In truth I found it empowering and a clear indication of just how positively comprehensive and radically democratic an independent Scotland could be.

Perhaps I shouldn't do this: The Books ISBN is 1-908373-13-X Published by Luath Press. £10.99 inc pp.

I look forward to the debate. And in
case its considered I'm completely uncritical of the book, it doesn't quite cover the the Lobbying aspects nor the wedges being allowed to drive cracks in the American version. But that was drawn up two hundred years ago and times do change; perhaps we should incorporate in Scotland's a re-affirmation by referendum every two or three parliamentary terms?
# lumilumi 2012-01-25 17:11
Read the Hugo Young speech, haven't had time to watch it online yet.

Very reasonable, positive and balanced (well, obviously slightly biased, but not to an unreasonable degree), extending a hand of friendship and also encouraging the English people in their national endevours.

AS has a tendency to be slightly too bombastic and jokey, but the text of this Hugo Young Lecture, and his statement today in Holyrood (I watched on Democracy Live) were statesmanlike. He is one of the most adept politicians active in the western world today, everybody supporting Scottish independence must congratulate themselves to have such an advocate for their cause. And not only AS, the SNP seems to have most of the political talent in Scotland today. I'm a big fan of Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney, and the rest of the government seem very competent as well.

AS and SG/SNP have been criticised for not having a clear foreign policy. I think that's a bit unfair. The SG cannot pursue a foreign policy as things stand, as Scotland is not a sovereign nation. They do try, forcing cultural, trade and aid links.

Scotland is becoming better known in the rest of the world as a country, not just as a "region" in "North Britain". The biggest quality daily in Finland has run 4 stories on Scotland in the past 3 weeks, to do with Cameron & co's spats, and Scottish independence referendum, and also the Scottish Government's desire to look north, to the Nordic countries, for a model of modern, advanced welfare states. And the pandas also got a mention. :) (Is the beginning of a new kind of panda diplomacy?)
# alexmc8275 2012-01-25 17:35
I do believe the stoking up of Nationalistic feeling in England may well prove to be Check mate .
# lumilumi 2012-01-25 18:26
I think the English have been sadly neglected in the process of devolution from the late 1990s onward. They're the only home nation that does not have a parliamnet/assembly of their own. A parliament separate of the, I think, undemocratic and rank midden in Westminster. Envisage an English parliament situated in, say, Manchester... The BBC have already moved much production and resources there and it's geographically fairly central, also a big concentration of population outside the grater London area. But noo, Westmister would never have it. Well, maybe the time will come.;-)
# maisiedotts 2012-01-25 21:03
I absolutely love this speech, the sense of humour that runs through it is brilliantly funny. Well done Eck!

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