By a Newsnet reporter

A senior Tory peer has praised Alex Salmond's attempts to argue in favour of a social union with England, and has said that Scottish independence is an “inevitability.”

Peter Fraser, who holds the title Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, was Conservative MP for Angus South for eight years and served as Solicitor General and Lord Advocate.  Mr Fraser is due to take part in a debate organised by the Conservative supporting Spectator magazine, where he will argue in favour of a motion that it is time to "let Scotland go".

He said on Monday: "For the first time in my lifetime I am detecting a sense in England that basically says 'we thought it was a good marriage, but if you do not feel that way do not lie there uncomfortable'."

Mr Fraser added: "He [Alex Salmond] said something about England 'losing a surly partner and gaining a good neighbour'. It is a good line that, and it has carried a lot of weight."

The Tory peer also claimed the continual decline of the Conservative Party in Scotland meant ''siren voices'' within the Tories are now questioning the usefulness of the UK.

The comments will come as an embarrassment to Tory leader Ruth Davidson, who has sought to portray her party as leading the anti-independence campaign in Scotland.  North and south of the Border, the Tories are struggling to keep a lid on apathy or even outright opposition towards their staunch anti-independence stance.

This is the second time within the past few months that Mr Fraser's remarks have caused deep embarrassment to Ms Davidson.  In March this year the peer provoked outrage and derision in equal measure when he claimed that after independence Scottish airports would be undefended and could be captured by an unspecified foreign power or terrorist group.  Mr Fraser went on to claim that England could find itself forced to mount bombing raids on Scottish airports as a result.

Mr Fraser's apparent change of heart on the inevitablity of independence highlights a slow shift in opinion amongst senior Conservatives.  In a recent radio interview, Michael Forsyth, the last Conservative Scottish Secretary, admitted that Scotland and England were now close to the point where independence would be in the interests of both, and revealed his unease that many of his English Tory colleagues were no longer Unionists. 

Meanwhile, Peter Cruddas, the former Tory Party co-Treasurer, was secretly filmed by the Sunday Times in March saying that the Tories should "be seen" to be fighting for the Union, even if they don't agree with it.

Amongst Scottish Conservatives, attitudes to independence also show some signs of shifting and breaking with the line taken by Ruth Davidson and her political allies. 

Long-serving Scottish Tory fundraiser and Midlothian council candidate Peter de Vink clashed with the party over his views on independence after he came out in favour, he went on to be elected on 3rd May after standing as an independent.  Mr de Vink and a Green councillor have now entered an agreement with the SNP group on the council, wresting it from Labour control.

Writing in the Scotsman about Mr de Vink's resignation from the party, Conservative commentator Brian Monteith admitted that many Tories had come round to the position that the current Union is not viable, saying:

"In the absence of any coherent and positive advocacy of maintaining the existing Union, de Vink and many other Tories I know have gradually become convinced that the only viable Union has to be a new arrangement, a New Union, a far looser Union than what we currently have."

Commenting on the latest signs of splits within Tory ranks, Angus South MSP Graeme Dey commented:

"Lord Fraser's thoughtful comments stand in stark contrast to those of Ruth Davidson, who is trying to position the Scottish Tories as the leading anti-independence party in Scotland.  If she can't persuade one of their leading lights of the benefits of the union, how on earth can she expect to persuade the voters?

"Lord Fraser seems to be the latest in a long line of prominent Tories who are less than enthusiastic about the union.  Ironically, long-serving Tory fundraiser Peter de Vink was probably only elected to Midlothian Council because he ditched the toxic Tory brand and stood as an independent, after the party refused to consider anything other than outright opposition to independence.

"As Lord Fraser says, the argument that England would gain 'a good neighbour' through Scottish independence is one which carries a lot of weight.
"The best relationship between Scotland and the rest of the UK is a partnership of equals – independent countries maintaining our close bonds and history through a social union.

"Many people who consider themselves unionists, once presented with this argument, quickly realise that independence will actually strengthen our relationship with the rest of the UK – not weaken it."

Lord Fraser's comments coincide with claims by UK PM David Cameron that he was "not fussed" about the timing of the independence referendum.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman insisted that the Union benefited Scotland.

"This is the biggest decision the country has faced in 300 years and there is all to play for," he said.

"Scottish Conservatives know Scotland is better off in Britain."


# oldnat 2012-05-15 21:59
"A Scottish Conservative spokesman insisted that the Union benefited Scotland."

What a spectacularly weak response!

What positive evidence do they have for that? Simple assertions that x is better than y are rather pathetic.
# Aplinal 2012-05-15 22:00
"Scottish Conservatives know Scotland is better off in Britain."

Then let's have the reasons, we've all been waiting to hear them for years.

What is the benefit to Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom? Discuss
# EphemeralDeception 2012-05-15 22:11
Well the use of 'Britain' is ambiguous. Maybe he means better off as part of the British isles. In which case I guess most people would agree that geologic disaster is to be avoided.
# proudscot 2012-05-16 09:09
Quoting Aplinal:
"Scottish Conservatives know Scotland is better off in Britain."

Then let's have the reasons, we've all been waiting to hear them for years.

What is the benefit to Scotland remaining in the United Kingdom? Discuss

Righto then, here we go:
Reason 1. Stronger together, weaker apart.
Reason 2. More lucrative expenses levels for MPs at Westminster.
Reason 3. erm ... I'll get back to you ...
# clochoderic 2012-05-15 22:06
Seems that some are hitting below the belt at wee Ruthie's cage fighting club aka the SCONS.

"The Scottish Tories need a new direction"

"In all honesty the local council elections tell the story with our support falling yet again. This time to an embarrassing 13% and with the loss of power in local councils which were once safe Tory areas. The direction the party is currently travelling will not lead us to success. If by some scientific breakthrough the conservative membership were able to travel back in time to the leadership elections knowing the results they know now, would they be quite so hostile to Murdo’s idea of a new centre-right party in Scotland?"
# oldnat 2012-05-15 22:20
Not every Conservative lost support in the local elections.

Peter de Vink (chucked out of SCon for supporting independence) not only out-polled the Tory candidate, but also the previous LD councillor who had defected to Labour.
# EphemeralDeception 2012-05-15 22:07
Actually Salmond stated 'Surly lodger' not surly partner. Not at all the same nuance.
# truth 2012-05-15 22:31
All these Tories coming out in favour of independence has got to be a ploy to discredit the notion of independence in the eyes of the electorate.

Never trust a Tory.
# oldnat 2012-05-15 22:41
Your moniker seems to be in conflict with your post!

Supporting independence is nothing to do with a position on the left/right spectrum.

Right wingers support independence.

Left wingers support independence.

Centrists support independence.

You want to tell any of them to pee off, cause we don't want their votes in the referendum?
# ubinworryinmasheep 2012-05-15 23:17
There must be room in an independent Scotland for true Scottish Torys. I was going to say 'a use' but realized I was setting myself up for 'doorstop' or 'sewage worker' etc.
# truth 2012-05-16 11:14
I refer you to Fungus' post below which gives an example

I am well aware you can be left, right, or all over and support independence, what I am postulating is how the "opposition" will try to win a no vote.

It seems to me the only chance they have is to paint the Tories as demons (as usual), link the SNP to them, and then have Lamont bash them for being closet Tories.

Next time, play the ball, not the man.
# Dundonian West 2012-05-16 11:25
Fall back position for Labour in Peril:---
SNP,"Tartan Tories"
My Grans heard it all before----it's all Labour will have left in their armoury.
The cupboards bare.
Lord Fraser and others are undermining Lamont's mantra of "Stronger Together than Apart".
# ButeHouse 2012-05-16 13:35
Dundonian west says: it's all Labour will have left in their armoury.

Not quite DW. SNP: Scottish Nose Pickers

was a favourite 60s jibe which only died following the Dundee East by election and the two 1974 elections.

VOTE YES in 2014 a date which PM Cameron is no longer 'fussed by'. Bless.
# John Lyons 2012-05-16 15:02
That might work unless something strage happenedto screw it up like say, Labour being more closely linked to the oies due to the large number of councils the share control of...
# scottish_skier 2012-05-16 11:29
Aye, and the more the English Tory party appear to have given up on Scotland, so Scots Tories will give up on the UK.

That's what happened 1979-97 and has continued at a slow but steady pace up to today. The old Scottish unionist voters that used to make up 50% of the vote didn't just vanish into thin air. They were just as unhappy with london-centric right-wing neo-liberalism which accelerated under Thatcher as others (think of their reaction to the 'Sermon on the Mound'). They left the Tories to vote closer to the centre / liberal / home rule advocates again (SNP and the Liberal Democrats), just as the old Scottish Unionist party were (mainly modest right of centre liberals and social [e.g. religious] conservatives).

In fact the old Scottish unionists were generally very nationalistic.

John Buchan (Scottish Unionist MP)

"I believe every Scotsman should be a Scottish nationalist"

They just believed in a Strong Scotland within the British Empire.
# chicmac 2012-05-16 11:01
Yes, an intelligent insight to a possibility.

The Flip-flopping of Fraser and others could be real, could signify a number of Tories are on the edge of a Damascene moment type paradigm shift or catharsis, but... who knows how devious people can get? especially politicians, especially Tories.

My advice, accept at face value, but keep your powder dry.
# xyz 2012-05-15 22:44
"Tory peer concedes Scottish independence now "inevitable""

of course! .. but only after 1.5 trillion pounds worth of oil revenues have been squandered.

Watch out for this new angle to turn into: "vote no, but get independence eventually anyway. honest .. because we shouldn't rush such a momentous change"
# bigbuachaille 2012-05-15 22:46
"David Cameron (said) that he was "not fussed" about the timing of the independence referendum."
What was the UK Consultation all about then?
Remember these jibes?
#Sooner rather than later.
#Delay is harming business.
#Uncertainty is blahblahblah..........
And then all that CITIBANK propaganda about it being bad for the financial sector.
Any bets on what Cameron will select as his next non-fussed item? Votes for 16 year olds?
You can definitely count on an almighty semantic storm over the words "Do you agree....."
# scottish_skier 2012-05-16 11:15
"I'm not fussed if Scotland is independent"?

Saving face is important for a PM after all.
# jafurn 2012-05-18 12:16
Do you agree that you owe me fifty quid?

Now according to unionist argument I would be able to get a lot of people to agree just by asking them that question in that way.
It is just ludicrous.
# Dowanhill 2012-05-15 23:09
So what is Frankinstein Moore take on all this 'not being fussed' about the date of the referendum?
# bigbuachaille 2012-05-15 23:12
He'll be told he is no "fussed" either.
# jafurn 2012-05-15 23:21
Quoting bigbuachaille:
He'll be told he is no "fussed" either.

Ha HA HA ....
# Jim1320 2012-05-16 08:00
The worrying thing is I can see him genuinely not being fussed if he is told not to be fussed. He will suddenly behave as if it was never an issue.

I think from Cameron's perspective Scottish independence is a headache he could do without right now and consequently 2014 is starting to look attractive.

Lord Fraser is a Unionist and he would understandably like the Union to remain. However, his analysis and thoughtfulness on the subject is considerably more nuanced and reflective than most and especially people like Davidson or Foulkes.
# hiorta 2012-05-15 23:18
"Scottish Conservatives know Scotland is better off in Britain."
They also know that England is better off in Britain, but true to their usual sales pitch, present it as in your interest-not in ours.
Scotland has been very naive in ever trusting perfidious Albion, a mistake we will never make again.

Other Nations with an interest in this matter will have picked up on this point.
# Hugo 2012-05-16 07:49
Don´t confuse England with the egocentric London and home counties. The people north of the Watford Gap are well aware of the difference.
# Dál Riata 2012-05-16 06:26
The real fight, I believe, will not be against those who proclaim themselves as being Tories, but against Labour, especially that which uses its name north of the border.

In Scotland, at the moment, the Conservative Party is of no major significance (As an aside, I believe if they were to reform as a centre-right party they would do quite well in an independent Scotland.).

The (Scottish) Labour Party, though, is of major significance and still has a hold on the psyche of many voters. Those are the voters who will play a huge part in whether or not Scotland becomes independent. Old habits die hard, of course, and some will not be persuaded no matter what. If a majority, though, can be 'allowed' to see that a Yes vote is not a vote against 'their party', but a Yes for a better and more prosperous Scotland then that will be a huge achievement.

I used 'allowed', above, as the Labour naysayers have a tenacious grip on the MSM, UK- and Scotland-wide. Their only raison d'etre, for now, is to implant fear and loathing into people's minds about Scotland in the build-up to the vote. Not being 'allowed' to see, hear or read the truth has, and will continue to have a profound influence, especially on those who rely on the MSM for what they believe to be 'The-truth-and-nothing-but-the-truth'.

Scottish Labour (and those journalists who support it without actually pledging their allegiance) has already stooped to scare-mongering, smears and misinformation, perhaps even more so than others of the 'UK Parties United Against the SNP and Independence' cabal. I very much doubt this state of play will change before the vote in 2014.

Yes, the Tories will put up a fight. But they probably believe that even if the do 'lose' Scotland they'll still do alright in what remains. Labour, though, has the most to lose, and don't they know it!

The fight, for those of us who believe in an independent Scotland, has to be taken to the (Scottish) Labour party and their MSM minions. That is where the 'war' will be won or lost.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-16 07:00
I'm of the opinion the Labour party will defeat themselves on this issue without actually needing any signficant help. They're off to a good start and the grand Labour-Tory coalitions being put together at council level should move things along quite nicely.
# Fungus 2012-05-16 07:29
Quoting scottish_skier:
They're off to a good start and the grand Labour-Tory coalitions being put together at council level should move things along quite nicely.

If they hear about it. Reporting Scotland had a piece about an SNP/Tory coalition in the Borders a couple of nights ago. No mention of any other coalitions any where in Scotland, just a woman with a microphone letting the world know that the SNP were in cahoots with the Tories.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-16 08:06
But the SNP were 'in cahoots' with the Tories for much of 2007-2011. That's who helped them pass legislation. The centre (left a tad) can work with either side; the left or the right as appropriate to build consensus. I get the impression the electorate considered this just fine.

As noted in various posts, it is the old Tory-hating left Labour voters that interest me. They went out and voted Labour and I imagine will be taking an interest in who formed their council. I'd hazard a guess that unlike their party, they think 'anyone but the Tories'.
# john__ 2012-05-16 09:31
I'm sure that you remember that labour voted more often with the tories than the SNP did...

# scottish_skier 2012-05-16 09:56
Yes, but I'd say the party that opposes the SNP the most - even if they probably agree - would be Labour.

I've posted a few comments in response to people worrying about the SNP perceived to be voting with the Tories and why we should not worry too much about it. I am not a Tory voter and will never be. I'd say I'm a economically centrist social liberal. Thats why the SNP - who are just a little left of centre economically and likewise centrist on the social scale fit my views well, never mind independence.

However, as I'm in the centre I am not against the SNP working with left, the right / other parties at different ends of the spectrum as I think all sides should be listened to if they actually propose something sensible. I might support a policy perceived as economically right, but at the same time support one which is left if you catch my drift. I judge each on merit, not on ideology. My impression is that many who vote for the SNP are the same; after all, it is a broad church.

So when the SNP decide to work with the Tories, the Liberals or Labour - as long as it seems they are not sacrificing some vital principle but doing it pragmatically, then I - and I suspect other SNP voters - will not disagree. God forbid the SNP ended up opposing for oppositions sake like Labour.

So, when the SNP work pragmatically with the Tories, it does not harm them. And there are Scots Tories who have a right to a voice, whether we agree with some of their views or not.

Labour is another kettle of fish. Their core vote in the poorer inner-city/ex-industrial areas is still left-wing and very anti-tory. However, their party is neither increasingly. I am interested to see how those traditional voters react to Labour-Tory alliances. Only time will tell.
# Soixante-neuf 2012-05-16 09:04
But the SNP are not in coalition with the Tories in the Borders! That's completely untrue!

The Tories returned the largest number of councillors, beating the SNP by one seat I think, but the SNP has formed a coalition (or possibly a pact) with the LibDems and the independents to keep the Tories out. The biter bit, in this case.

I have the emails and the minutes of the councillors' meetings where this was discussed. The report was that the SNP group could see no common ground with either the Conservatives or the Borders Party (Tories in sheep's clothing), but found constructive discussion with the LibDems and the independents, And that's what happened.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-16 14:17
" Borders Party (Tories in sheep's clothing)"

Hmm, after looking into the Borders party I felt they seemed a little Tory. A distinct nimbyness came across. I decided not to give them my third vote.
# call me dave 2012-05-16 09:43
Quoting scottish_skier:
I'm of the opinion the Labour party will defeat themselves on this issue without actually needing any signficant help. They're off to a good start and the grand Labour-Tory coalitions being put together at council level should move things along quite nicely.

Fife Labour minority but with the Tory trio giving them support ( Glenrothes Gazette) so it must be true. They hope to get their policies through on a case for case basis!

Oh dear, bumpy ride and I can't see it lasting the full term.
# Willow 2012-05-16 10:15
BBC Scotland had a piece about Fife council on their website, but when the Dumfries & Galloway council news broke they removed it.

"BBC who's running your council" now have Fife listed as Labour minority, however according to the present SNP council leader Peter Grant it goes to vote on Thursday before it's official.

I'm still hoping the Indies will back SNP & Lib Dems, you never know, they just might!
# call me dave 2012-05-16 14:24
Thanks for the link (read it before it was taken down)

It's a close run thing and I hope that the independents will go with the SNP/Libs at the first meeting when the vote takes place.

Rumours are: 'talking still going on'

Like you I believe there may be a glimmer of light yet!
# xyz 2012-05-16 07:06
Reason does not worry the minds of some Labour followers. International socialism is what they ~think~ Labour stands for. Of course any reasonable person would observe that the Labour party is as perverse a socialist party as you will ever find. .. Iraq, Tony Blair, Westminster/Glasgow corruption, Square mile worship, Corporate capture, power at any cost etc ...

The reality that a progressive Scotland will be a force for good in the world must somehow penetrate .. The evidence is already there in the policies of the SNP ... but that makes them angry and resentful .... On the other hand the majority will surely be persuaded with the economic case .. if only the message gets past the lies of the MSM/BBC
# mealer 2012-05-16 06:53
The NO camp realise they will have to reposition themselves.They would have liked a straight Indy or Status quo vote,but they percieve that to be too risky now.They're currently on the "vote NO and we'll give you more powers later" strategy.It hasnt done anything to stop the drift to YES.I suspect they will,between now and 2014,come to a decision as to what they think they can get away with and make a firm offer of a devo-max as an alternative to independence in a straight-forward YES/NO vote.
This is,in fact,horse trading about how and when the union will end.How formal the "social union",with particular regard to defence,will be.And,of course,financia l matters.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-16 07:01
By golly, I think he's got it!
# mealer 2012-05-16 07:25
So what will be Londons "line in the sand".It has more to do with powwer than money.they want to keep their seat on the security council and keep face.The perception of power atleast.So their offer might be
"you get to keep the British armed forces,you get to keep most of the oil revenues and have full fiscal autonomy.We get to keep trident and pretend we're important".
# Macart 2012-05-16 08:00
There has by all accounts been growing unrest within the blue rinse ranks for some time. It really does speak volumes when senior members are breaking ranks to say that which shouldn't even be thought. But beyond all else Conservatives are political pragmatists and if they see the writing on the wall they'll alter attitudes accordingly. Watch for Murdo post referendum.

Apologies ed O/T - Does anyone know how the FM got on with his first U.S. aired interview last night? I think it was on the Late Late show with Craig Ferguson. Apparently the show is based in Scotland for the whole week.
# xyz 2012-05-16 08:28
I saw a clip from the interview weeks ago I think it may even have been reported on the detestable BBC.

Craig asked the question of AS .. "What will relations be like between Scotland and the US, post Independence" .. AS said .. 'friendly' .. there followed some jokey 'it better be' from Craig and some laughter .. and then an affirmation of Scotland US historical ties.
# Macart 2012-05-16 08:39

Be interesting to catch the whole interview. Might do a bit of surfing to see how it went down across the pond last night.
# gus1940 2012-05-16 09:04
Can anybody in their wildest nightmares imagine Lamentable Lamont appearing on The Late Late Show and try to imagine further what the US audience would think of her?

It's impossible to contemplate.
# Macart 2012-05-16 09:22

Egad, I'll have to carry that image all day. I've been doing a little surfing and noted that the DR is carrying a small piece on it

but as yet nothing across the pond, they'll still mostly be in their pjs yet. It may be tomorrow before we get any stateside feedback.
# Willow 2012-05-16 09:52

Here's a link to to the full interview, it's on youtube
# Macart 2012-05-16 16:34
Thanks Willow.

Now that was a civilised interview. Thane of Cawdor, Guardian of Scotland. Heh, love to here what the stateside view of the interview is going to be.
# Marga B 2012-05-16 08:04
Reading this in the context of Joan Riddoch's article yesterday, would it be right to say that what you've got is not London Labour or local Labour but Labour as one of the many heads of the hydra called the establishment. It's not politics its power and the class system.

So Labour will never run out of helpers. And the SNP will never be part of the establishment. It's a tall order.
# Caadfael 2012-05-16 08:45
Aye Marga, I'm minded somewhat of the rubbishing Jack Vettriano got from the opinionated so-called art critics of "the establishment" in the early days.
Look at him now!
# Marga B 2012-05-16 09:27
OT, sorry - Caadfael - They still don't really accept him but have been forced to pay lip service.

Also the way they treat the Scottish Colourists in my view is much the same. Too accessible or whatever the problem, they don't even get their own room and only come out in themed or one-off exhibitions. Curiously (Vettriano's home ground) Kirkcaldy Museum is the only place that does them justice.

Sorry about the rant.
# Legerwood 2012-05-16 10:10
marga B,
interestingly the bulk and possibly all of the collection of colourists in the Museum and Art Gallery in Kirkaldy came from the collection of Michael Portillo's grandfather who was a prominent businessman in the town.
# Marga B 2012-05-16 11:47
Yes, Legerwood, and it's just a happy coincidence that Vettriano was born around there too.

It's such a pity that a town like Kirkcaldy is in the state it's in, and more than a few jewels still remain. (Mr Brown, are you listening?)
# Legerwood 2012-05-16 15:19
The first time I went to the Museum and Art Gallery there was to see a Vetriano show. It had attracted people from all over. I was impressed by the Museum and by the area around it. I feel they could make more of the Museum etc. and, as you say, GB could do more, much more to help Kirkcaldy
# MajorBloodnok 2012-05-16 14:16
I wandered into Kirckcaldy Museum by mistake when I was waiting for a train recently - what a fantastic place! Worth a visit to Kirkcaldy just for that.
# ianbeag 2012-05-16 08:54
Here is a brutal internal assessment of the Tory performance at the Council elections from Andrew Hardie one of their own leading lights, himself a candidate. His opening paragraph reads
"Over the last week I have looked into the main areas that were to blame for the appalling election results of the Scottish Conservatives. I am being quite clear here, no sugar coating, this election where we lost a fifth of our councillors is our biggest setback in almost 20 years. It was our worst result since 1995. This is a fact. No matter who tries to spin about Conservatives being the third party of Scottish politics- that is only by virtue that we did less badly than someone else. So don’t listen to anyone who wants the party to adopt Ostrich mode and pretend nothing happened, we have got to take this election result seriously. We have to learn the lessons, and we have to make some big changes" Continue reading the full piece at

No solace there for Ruthie!
# Soixante-neuf 2012-05-16 09:05
This "debate" seems a bit of a joke. For independence - Peter Fraser and Kelvin McKenzie, God help us all!

I've followed Peter Fraser's appearances in connection with the Lockerbie debacle with rising astonishment. Let's just say my opinion of his judgement, his good sense and indeed his sobriety is not especially high. And we all know Kelvin. For independence - one guy who really, really supports the union but can see the writing on the wall (possibly along with the pink elephants), and one guy who passionately (and insultingly) wants England to get shot of these lazy good-for-nothing Jockanese scroungers.

Is the Spectator serious?
# mealer 2012-05-16 09:18
There is a section of the tory party who are content to just carry on regardless.To let the party wither and die rather than change.Because they dont like change.Not really into the "conserve what is good but change what is bad" philosophy.Their only real concern is that the party should last long enough to see them out.As for the UK wide party,well they seem to be fed up hearing about Scotland.Its not impossible to imagine London coming to an agreement with Mr Salmond (involving the timescale for the removal of trident) whereby they can support the YES campaign for an independent Scotland in a new rock solid social union of equals equals.We get independence.They get to save face and keep their seat on the security council.
# RTP 2012-05-16 09:20
Sorry for being O/T but this should be seen by everyone.

Russian billionaire brings convoy museum step closer

Plans for an Arctic convoy museum in the Highlands moved a step closer yesterday thanks to a donation of £50,000 from a Russian billionaire businessman and £5,000 from Veterans Minister Keith Brown.

This story appears in the P&J and does it not put to shame the British Government of all colours who have not even at this late stage struck a medal for all those sailors who took part in the convoy's many who lost their lives.

Maybe NNS could write an article about this story.
# Marga B 2012-05-16 09:32

Can anyone get hold of the full story?
# RTP 2012-05-16 09:52
It is in the print edition if you want to see the story you have to pay for online one.
# tilly 2012-05-16 09:26
According to The Herald neither the word "Union" nor presumably, "Unionist" will be used in the cross-party campaign to keep Scotland in the “Union”, which will now be known as “pro-UK”.

Apparently, “There are several solid reasons for avoiding the label of Unionism. The first is that in much of the west of Scotland and the Central Belt the term is bound up with union with Ireland as well as England and Wales”. I may be missing something but I assumed that fact has been pretty obvious to the electorate for years.

It would appear to be okay for Unionists to re-label themselves pro-UK supporters but to arbitrarily re-label independence as separation.
# mealer 2012-05-16 09:53
Quoting tilly:
According to The Herald neither the word "Union" nor presumably, "Unionist" will be used in the cross-party campaign to keep Scotland in the “Union”, which will now be known as “pro-UK”.

Apparently, “There are several solid reasons for avoiding the label of Unionism. The first is that in much of the west of Scotland and the Central Belt the term is bound up with union with Ireland as well as England and Wales”. I may be missing something but I assumed that fact has been pretty obvious to the electorate for years.

It would appear to be okay for Unionists to re-label themselves pro-UK supporters but to arbitrarily re-label independence as separation.

Excellent.They are pro-UK.We are pro-Scotland.
# John Lyons 2012-05-16 15:56
Time to play them at thier own Game then.

They are and always will be unionists. It doesn't matter what colour they are, red blue or yellowy orange. And they are not Pro UK, they are in support of Dependence. (The opposite of independence, obviously!) Aiming to keep people dependent is a bit like subjugating a major populace. Not a nice thing to do...
# bigbuachaille 2012-05-16 09:48
Here is a link to Baroness Whit d'ye cry her. She made this speech at the Scottish Tory Party Conference on 23.03.2012.

She reiterates how they will argue FOR the Union, uses "positive", "stronger" etc. But the phrase that seems relevant to Peter Fraser's acceptance of Independence is this one:
"Many have pointed out that lopping Scotland off the electoral map could guarantee us future majorities at Westminster."
Whilst many have pointed out that Scottish Votes have historically NOT been necessary to ensure an non-Tory UK Government, you have to ask yourself if this is not the Tories' real aim in this whole business.
# bigbuachaille 2012-05-16 10:02
O/T But great PR. AS and Craig Ferguson at Arbroath Abbey.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-05-16 11:39
Thanks for that link bigbuachaille. A really optimistic piece and a rare pleasure to see the First Minister interviewed by someone who's not out to push their own unionist agenda, belittle or ridicule him.
# tartanfever 2012-05-16 11:44
Thanks from me also big-b. I quite like Craig Ferguson's chat show, and what a relief to see a friendly, jovial interview for a change.
# Dundonian West 2012-05-16 13:09
bigbuachaille MANY thanks for the Alex link.
I've given it the thumbs up and passed it on----I have a YouTube channel.
Highly recommended.
A breath of fresh air.
# Dundonian West 2012-05-16 14:18
bigbuachaille There's a lot of comments being uploaded,as we speak,on to your Alex Salmond /Craig Ferguson chat YouTube worldwide.
# xyz 2012-05-16 10:16
OT - The Scottish Plantation is on. Over here in Moray walk around Elgin, listen to the accents. Get a delivery from Asda or Tesco ..visit BandQ, Majority? pure English unmodified accents.

I believe that the big UK firms are moving people from south of the border. .. No wonder Cameron is sanguine about the timetable .. they need time to overwhelm the population. Remember the 1979 vote was fairly close ... .. Who are these people? former UK civil servants, MOD GCHQ MI5 ... ?

There I said it.
delete as appropriate.
# FREEDOM1 2012-05-16 15:35
xyz 11:16 I think it has already happened in Wales.
# Legerwood 2012-05-16 10:17
From the last paragraph of the editorial in today's Herald:

Prime Minister David Cameron made a welcome intervention of his own last night when he accepted 2014 as the year for the independence referendum. He is standing his ground on there being one question. We look forward to hearing his arguments, but the decision is not his to make.

The bit in bold is my emphasis.
# art1001 2012-05-16 10:18
There is a real fear I think in London that the cuts agenda required after the last Labour government could propel Labour back into power and start the whole disastrous cycle again.

Labour are double edged sword to them. They are useful to keep Scotland in thrall but they are disastrous in Government. The balance of advantage may now be moving towards getting rid of Scotland if that means keeping Labour out at the next GE - especially if a face saving deal could be done that would let them keep up their global power pretences.
# Legerwood 2012-05-16 10:21
O/T but it looks like the Scottish jobless figures have fallen again for the 2nd month in a row.
# daveniz 2012-05-16 10:25
the so called Scotsman paper is getting ridiculous:

firstly the headline says "separate Scotland" then the first sentence says "Independent Scotland" must be the Scotsmans version of balanced journalism!

secondly it fails to mention that it will cost and independent Scotland £2 billion for an a decent size well equipped army not £3.3 billion as it currently does by Westminster for a undersized badly equipped army!

thirdly the so called Scotsman suggests we need Westminster and the MOD to have contracts to build ships on the clyde what rubbish they talk has it not got through to them we can build our own with our own contracts or contracts from abroad or is that beyond there brain power to understand that we don't really need them if Westminster and the MOD want to be petty and deny a skilled workforce just because Scotland decided to be independent and thus denying them there oil cash cow so be it! theyll just show themselves up in front of the world and probably attract new contracts to Scotland because they are such a skilled workforce! also I wouldn't care if the MOD will not be involved in Scotland anyway they have such a poor record in Scotland anyway and treat Scotland badly! ( dalgety bay 50 years and still no clean up or nuclear waste leaked into loch long that gets sweeped under the carpet whenever it happens and London and especially labour mp for the area ignores it sounds like dalgety bay where Gordon brown pretends he is fighting the MOD to clean it up for political gain even though he has known about it for decades and done nothing when he was prime minister!

and finally does the Scotsman not realise that an independent Scotland will get 10% of the UK military assets even though we probably have contributed 10% more but will never see as it was spent on behalf of Scotland with not one penny of that money spent in Scotland! and also all the billions of £s for the military that Scotland contributes will no longer be sent to Westminster to spend on our behalf and fund there military excursions like Iraq, Afghanistan etc. but that money will stay in Scotland to spend on the military needs of Scotland and not the needs of Westminster! also even if we don't build warships theres always ferries (we need new ones) also there are lucrative contracts for cruise ships etc. to say only warships is to be built is one dimensional with a skilled workforce like we have in Scotland there will be jobs in other markets because the experience of building quality warships will be very appealing to cruise liners or ferry operators or scientific exploration ships etc. jobs won't be lost like they like you to beleive the ships they are building now have to be completed that will tie us over till 2016 by that time I'm more than sure they'll be other ships to build!
# tartanfever 2012-05-16 10:29
I understand your frustration daveniz, it's a rag of a paper.

My message is to ignore it - don't buy the paper, don't visit the online site. The more visitors the website gets, the more chance they have of enticing advertisers to use the website and increase their profits.

Ignoring them will harm their business, and thats what I'm proposing, hurt them where it counts - in the wallet.
# Dundonian West 2012-05-16 11:08
Where now for Lamont's Labour? The Tory support for the union is slowly crumbling.
Labour will soon be left 'holding the baby' of unionism----a self destructive position as their core support and the Trades' Unions voters begin to actually THINK,and enter the polling stations having made up their own minds independent of political affiliations.
The time has long gone when institutions in Scotland could expect their supporters to 'follow orders' so to speak.
Labour and Lamont have a major headache defending the indefensible alongside the Tory party, and an increasingly politically aware people/voters.
My guess is they'll come up with some sort of Devo Max,but retaining their overpaid/underworked Westminster MPs and the North Sea and Scotland revenues/taxes going to Westminster as per normal.
That won't do at all,at all.
# cirsium 2012-05-16 11:15
Quoting daveniz:
the so called Scotsman paper is getting ridiculous:

the Scotsman has been ridiculous for some time now, daveniz, which is one of the reasons why the price of Johnston Press shares has declined in value from over £4 five years ago to 6p today. Ashley Highfield, the new CEO, had a role in setting up the iPlayer for the BBC and his plan is to switch to online reporting with a weekly paper. Online sites still need revenue from advertisers. So, as tartanfever advises, don't visit the online site and don't buy the paper.
# Dundonian West 2012-05-16 11:33
AGREE.This needs repeated.
Why contribute to the newspaper by visiting a site where half truths are purveyed on a daily basis.
The advertisers will soon get the message,and association becomes commercially poisonous .
# ituna semea 2012-05-16 10:33
Since when did the outpourings of Peers, Tory or otherwise come to be taken without a large handful of salt.
# scottish_skier 2012-05-16 10:51
When they actually say something that makes sense. He's not said he supports independence, but that it is inevitable. He's correct. Whatever the outcome of the vote in 2014, the UK will never be the same again. Have a look at Quebec - the rare (I believe only) example where an independence referendum did not get a yes vote (just a smidgen shy of 50%). It is all but independent now; Devo Maxxed to the limit.

If you research how the current independence movement got to where it is - which will take you back to at least the 1920's - then you will conclude as he does. It's not a passing fancy you know.

C'est la vie.
# daveniz 2012-05-16 10:53
Quoting tartanfever:
I understand your frustration daveniz, it's a rag of a paper.

My message is to ignore it - don't buy the paper, don't visit the online site. The more visitors the website gets, the more chance they have of enticing advertisers to use the website and increase their profits.

Ignoring them will harm their business, and thats what I'm proposing, hurt them where it counts - in the wallet.

I know would love to unfortunately my addiction is to know what my enemy says and counter any argument with facts and it motivates me to discover the facts for myself and others! I would love to ignore the rags but we can't win the argument if we don't know what the enemy are doing or saying!

as the saying goes "keep your friends close and your enemies closer!"
# gus1940 2012-05-16 16:05
Good point - we must keep ourselves informed of what the enemies in The MSM are up to.

I stopped buying The Scotsman in disgust after buying it daily for 44 years but still torture myself on a daily basis by accessing the appalling 'new improved'.

The only paper I ever buy now is The Daily Mail about 3 times a week on the basis that it is the worst of a bad lot as far as anti-Independence propaganda goes plus it has a good TV Supplement on Saturdays.
# tartanfever 2012-05-16 18:35
True, but all it takes is for one person to visit the website and post the gist of the article here or elsewhere, not hundreds of us visiting the website to post comments.

I think that most people that visit news websites are politically minded and have probably decided which way they are going to vote, we aren't going to win over too many of the undecideds as they just aren't there in great numbers.
# RTP 2012-05-16 11:06
Daily Politics.
AN asks Margaret Curran what % cuts the Gov.has made MC bluster,bluster AN you don't know,MC bluster again AN I will tell you 1%,worth a listen if you can.I am not a fan of AN but Curran is just not up to it.
# Barbazenzero 2012-05-16 11:43
Seconded. She's on again right now with Nick Robinson trying to give her a sensible script. Dire in the extreme.
# xyz 2012-05-16 12:09
Aye but it's a plot to demoralise Scots everywhere. Curran's palpable inadequacy and brutal persona sets Scot's toes curling all over the country.
# Dundonian West 2012-05-16 12:45
She's oor Shadow Secretary State for Scotland-----headin for Dover Hoose, Whitehall come the next election.
She's Labour,and that's all that matters.
End of.
# tartanfever 2012-05-16 11:42
O/T - Everyone has probably read todays figures that unemployment is down again, but it seems, according to the BBC, that Scotland is outperforming the rest of the UK now.

From the BBC website:

UK unemployment fell by 45,000 to 2.63 million between January and March, according to official figures.

From the BBC Scotland website:

Unemployment in Scotland has fallen for the second time in a row, according to official figures.

The number of jobless fell by 10,000 between January and March, following a 12,000 drop in the previous quarterly figures.

So new jobs in Scotland account for nearly 25% of the UK total whilst we have only 8.4% of the population. Thats quite incredible.
# jafurn 2012-05-16 14:36
Well spotted and highlighted tartanfever. I have to admit having looked at both sites I never spotted the significance . So thanks again for pointing that out. More grist to the mill..
# Wee-Scamp 2012-05-16 12:13
Read this and weep!
# balgayboy 2012-05-16 12:18
Yup, let us ignore the constant negativity of the MSM & BBC and focus on the positives that the SG are bringing to Scotland. And more importantly let the people of Scotland hear the positive and genuine news that the SG and their business associates are bringing and will continue to bring more job creation and investments to our country. No more negativity for the positive people of Scotland and their aspirations. Roll on 2014
# taimoshan 2012-05-16 16:52
Wonder if it would be legal to have car stickers with something like "BBC Scotland is not to be trusted" or "BBC Scotland support Labour" printed and distributed in thousands?
# pmcrek 2012-05-16 12:21
Look Mom, its another Tory backtracking:

Scottish independence: Cameron 'not fussed' over referendum date
# 1876 2012-05-16 13:23
Regarding the BBC unemployment figures...

BBC 18 April 2012
Scottish unemployment falls by 12,000
Now standing at 219,000, 8.1% against UK 8.3%

BBC 16 may 2012
Scottish unemployment falls by 10,0000
Now standing at 221,000, 8.2% same as UK.

I'm sure there is a logical explanation,but these unemployment figures always baffle me.
# john__ 2012-05-16 15:27
Can only be explained by people moving in to Scotland (or school leavers?).

I noticed that employment went up 24000, but unemployment went down 10000. I assume that these two figures do not add up tot he total workforce, otherwise 14000 workers must have moved in to Scotland (at least).

Does anyone have an explaination for the different figures?

# ScotFree1320 2012-05-20 19:25
Officially the unemployed figure (Claimant Count) totals those who sign on and are actively seeking employment.

If you don't sign on, you don't count. There can be any number of reasons to not sign on, some of which are: Gaining employment (part- or full-time), Going on holiday (if you forget to tell them!), Emigration, Retirement & Employment Training.

Generally after a year's unemployment most people are offered employment training.

The Guardian published a guide here:
# InfrequentAllele 2012-05-16 13:37
OT - Alex Salmond appeared on the US talk show The Late Late Show last night, hosted by Craig Ferguson. You can see the programme on Youtube here:
# Thee Forsaken One 2012-05-16 13:50
Quoting InfrequentAllel e:
OT - Alex Salmond appeared on the US talk show The Late Late Show last night, hosted by Craig Ferguson. You can see the programme on Youtube here:

Pretty sure you've got the wrong one there. That one was on Monday and presumably you mean Alex Salmond was on the Tuesday night one? If so, it's not up yet.
# jasp303 2012-05-16 14:18
It's on this link...
# InfrequentAllele 2012-05-16 14:21
Oops. My bad.

Here's the right link
# Juteman 2012-05-16 17:06
Thanks for that link.
Nice, pleasant interview. No nastiness. Very unusual!!!
# ButeHouse 2012-05-16 13:39
Watching Politics Scotland where BBC Business correspondent is valiantly trying to smother the excellent new about Scottish unemployment falling to the level of the UK......though no mention of this being the 16th monthly fall.

Sickening on the one hand but lovely to see those BBC unionists squirming as they eek out more stats with which to talk Scotland DOWN.

VOTE YES in 2014
# bigbuachaille 2012-05-16 14:12
ON YER BIKE!!!! Embra in talks to open Tour de France in Independent Scotland 2017. Where's ma bike clips?
# Leswil 2012-05-16 15:02
Beware of Tory ( or any!) lords bearing gifts!
# Dcanmore 2012-05-17 00:38
Saw FM on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Very good I thought and a breath of (Arbroath) fresh air!

Some CyberOnions giving them both a bit of a kicking in the YT comments but being swiftly rebuffed by enlightened :)

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