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By Russell Bruce

Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness has said that the British state has "changed forever" and has called for a "serious conversation" on whether bodies like the Northern Ireland Office need exist at all.

Speaking at the London School of Economics on Monday evening Mr McGuinness referred to the Easter Rising as the beginning of the end of Empire and the Good Friday Agreement as part of changes that are reconfiguring the constitutional status of the British State.

Referring to events in Scotland and Wales, Mr McGuinness said:

“This belief has been strengthened and confirmed not just by what is happening in Ireland but also with events elsewhere, with the demand for Scottish independence and indeed greater Welsh autonomy.  The constitutional fabric of the British state has been changed and changed forever.”

The Deputy First Minister also called into question the continuing value of the Northern Ireland Office and the continuation of the position of The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland quoting what Ian Paisley had said to him at their first meeting:

‘Martin, we can rule ourselves, we do not need these direct-rule ministers coming over here telling us what to do.’

“And I agree with him!” Mr. McGuinness told his audience at the LSE adding that the transfer of remaining powers “would be a massive vote of confidence in our political institutions and the Peace Process, as well as a massive saving to the Exchequer.

"The role of the British Secretary of State continues to diminish, and rightly so, and in my view, it is time for a serious conversation on whether there is a need for the NIO and the Secretary of State job to exist at all.

“And I say that, not to be provocative or to engage in rhetoric but to simply mark out a significant landmark on the historical road which has led us to we are now.

“The years preceding and following the First World War were a time of great political and constitutional upheaval for the British state.  And I firmly believe that we are now living through a similar period of massive change – obviously not as dramatic as 100 years ago but significant change nonetheless".

BBC Northern Ireland reporting on reaction to the speech quotes Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Vernon Coaker MP, who said there were "still important matters" relating to Northern Ireland that were decided in Westminster.

"Northern Ireland needs a strong voice to speak up for it at UK government level," he said.

Martin McGuinness may have answered that point succinctly when he told his LSE audience:

“This British Government needs to embrace the inevitable constitutional changes rather than waste money, effort and time fighting progress.”

Comments  

 
# RaboRuglen 2012-05-01 06:17
Hi there,

Mr. McGuinness writes :- “This British Government needs to embrace the inevitable constitutional changes rather than waste money, effort and time fighting progress.” but so far I see little evidence that they will do so. Every concession of transfer of powers from Westminster has had to be wrung out of them and to date only the bare minimum of progress has been achieved. Look at their response to the SNP majority in Holyrood - after much and prolonged cogitation and despite the pressure from the electorate, they came up with "Calman minus".

These people only have one view of democracy - what they perceive as serving their own interests, leaving devo-max what it will always be - an illusion.

The only way to progress Scotland's interests is to VOTE YES IN 2014.

Regards,
 
 
# Wave Machine 2012-05-01 06:33
I'll be voting YES.

However, what frustrates me from an intellectual point of view is the golden opportunity that presents itself to Westminster to engage in a process of reform that would benefit all the people who live in these islands.

Cameron, or indeed anyone in the present Coalition, could carve themselves a place in history by proposing vast constitutional change, short of Independence. The Scots might not accept it, but he could still propose it. Wrap it up in whatever way is required to sell it to Middle England, or whoever the sensitive audience is, get people from all shades of politics onboard and make it happen.

I'm sure that most of those who read NNS could have a fairly dscent stab at darwing up a framework that underpinned the future relationships between the current nations of the UK as an exercise in constitutional remapping. A relationship that was fair, economically strengthened and socially just.

I personally think that it is a no-brainer and in that respect, I think I've summed up what the probable barrier is to those in Westminster who can't seem to take the obvious step.
 
 
# Dances With Haggis 1320 2012-05-01 10:12
Since Middle England has swallowed the propaganda of "Skintland the subsidy junky" hook line and sinker it would never accept Devo-Max as they would view it as Scotland keeping all its revenues whilst England pays for its defence and welfare, on the other hand Middle England seems to be half way to accepting the idea of Scots full soveriegn independence although this is based on the above propaganda and they have no idea that it would have at least in the short term very serious negative economic consequences for them. Also its doubtful he could get it past the most rabid right wing Tory MP's who are potential UKIP members

Cameron and the britnat's main problem at the moment concerning attitudes of Middle England to issues of the constituition is not so much one of selling them change it's one of getting them fully behind and supporting the union. this is where the britnat "Skintland the subsidy junky" propaganda has seriously back fired on them.
Camerons strategy is a gamble, an all or nothing position. If it loses then he will try and squeeze the best deal from Scotland that he can and try and hobble us at the outset in order to still be able to exert some external control on behalf of the ruling class of rUK.

If however he wins, the strategy he hopes would damage the SNP so badly it may take a generation to recover he will then put the boot into Scotland and emasculate Holyrood turning it into the "parish council" that Blair wanted it to be and making sure it could never again hold another referendum on the question of independence, the Tories will slash Scotland's budget and force through privatisation that mirrors whats happening in England at present.

Scots holding a unionist position should be made to realise that as we have gone this far the Tories and their ruling class masters wont forget and they will exact a heavy price on Scotland which would be a disaster for both Independence supporters and Unionists alike.
 
 
# Soixante-neuf 2012-05-01 12:37
To be fair to Blair, as I understand it his "parish council" remark was actually a statement in favour of Holyrood having tax-raising powers. When confronted by those who opposed these powers, he said it was only fitting that the Scottish parliament should have some revenue-raising powers, after all, even parish councils had that.

Er, why would I want to be fair to Blair? Oh, as you were....
 
 
# Dances With Haggis 1320 2012-05-01 16:23
Point noted M8
 
 
# eibbar snrub 2012-05-01 18:19
"...If it loses then he will try and squeeze the best deal from Scotland that he can and try and hobble us at the outset in order to still be able to exert some external control on behalf of the ruling class of rUK..."

What nonsense! If Scotland votes for Independence, the Westminster Government will naturally try to obtain the best deal for its people that it can. It is its duty. Just as it is the Scottish Goverment's duty to do likewise. But "external control", how and more to the point why?
 
 
# Dances With Haggis 1320 2012-05-01 22:27
I suggest that you read up on how the Brit Establishment handled the decolonisation period where although the colonies became Independent they ensured that the new Govts still served the interests of British capital with preferential deals for British corporations for those countries resouces, They did this by various means usually backing corrupt dictators and govts and new ruling elite ensuring nothing really changed for these countries and there ppl.

Now there is no way that I am suggesting that Westminster would try such crude methods or that there is any chance of us falling into a dictatorship, I am merely pointing out the mindset of the Brit establishment that has not really changed its view of Scotland, Wales and N.I as being mere natural colonies to be controlled whether independent or not

Westminster will hoping that the SNP will be so desperate to get formal Independence that they will make huge concessions and try to land us with so much debt as to hobble us at the outset also they know that our biggest trading partner would be rUK, until we can expand out trade links to other countries.

As well as decolonisation period there are lessons to be learnt on how the Brit Establishment managed to split the nationalist movement of Ireland [resulting in the civil war where one side was using british weapons to kill their fellow irishmen and women]. Throughout Irelands history from 1ndependence in 1922 Westminster could always cock a snoot to anything that Dublin complained about simply because of Ireland's over relience of trade with the UK.

Now the above cases may be extremes [at least when talking of our situation they still do it abroad] and Scotland situation does differ in qute a few respects, but anyone who thinks that the Brit establishment is going to have gentlmanly negotiations without underhand dirty tricks and attempts at divison is from the Ostrich school of History, they have the full might of the British state behind them and 300 years of colonial devide and rule experience.

Pressure will have to be put hard on the Scots govt so they do not settle for anything less that what is rightfully ours
 
 
# UpSpake 2012-05-01 06:49
The single greatest obstacle to any form of change in the UK is the British Establishment and the dominance of England and english views on what constitutes the UK.
Britain = England. England = Britain. The others constituting the rest of the UK can by the system always be marginalised and so, are !.
Remnant offices such as Governors General are a manifestation of control and not democracy, ignoring the cost of it all.
Look at how long its taking the UK to sort out the House of Lords, look at the resistance by entrenched and vested interests in any sort of change then ask yourself why people in the constituent countries are so compliant in accepting the existing status quo ?.
Scotland is speaking with a loud whimper and true to form, being almost totally ignored.
Whatever happens Thursday in terms of the 'established' parties results they too will be ignored by Westminster as a blip on the radar that they cannot read as the sun is shining on the screen obliterating the obvious.
If the SNP take Glasgow then the writing is on the wall for Milliband not strangely Lamont, she is too thick to read the writing unless its on bold type on a piece of paper she can wave in anger at Salmond.
Sweeping success for the SNP on Thursday followed by inaction will create a sense of bitterness towards the ever receeding goal of change.
 
 
# Louperdowg 2012-05-01 07:31
That last sentence is important because I think that if the SNP do well in the council elections, particularly in Glasgow, then they need to be positive and bold and sweep people along with a new broom.

Let people see how Scotland can change for the better and how the old Labour way is well past its sell by date.
 
 
# Puskas 2012-05-01 10:49
Quoting Louperdowg:
That last sentence is important because I think that if the SNP do well in the council elections, particularly in Glasgow, then they need to be positive and bold and sweep people along with a new broom.

Let people see how Scotland can change for the better and how the old Labour way is well past its sell by date.


The Labour Party as they always HAVE hit the sectarian button when in touble.. Nothing to offer on behalf of policy other what I have said.
The local council Elections hopefully do not get hit hard by Catholic / protestant unionists ... Opposite reasons but fear comes into both sets of thinking.
I can only hope I'm wrong but I do fear our SNP nationalist local polititions are not hit hard by the media propaganda that has hit the fan in recent weeks and months.
re - Lamont, Gray, McConnell and all the old we where schoolteacher tripe.

Thank goodness all our kids are now in safe hands and well away from these imbeciles who called themselves teachers.
Unionista activists who had nothing to offer our education system.

Each offering of them at FM Question time and political programmes proves what I have said every time they show.
 
 
# Marga B 2012-05-01 11:17
Sadly, even England = London.
 
 
# Jim Johnston 2012-05-01 13:13
Hi Upspake,
I seriously doubt that Lamont can see the wall, never mind the writing on it.

Milliband has yet to reap the wrath of the Unions who put him where he is, but it's coming no doubt. The unions hold the purse strings and he will have to learn the hard way I think.
 
 
# Exile 2012-05-01 20:50
You make some interesting pojnts, Up Spake. As a long-time resident of Finland, the scenario you present in your final paragraph makes me think of Finland in 1917/18. The country had had a unicameral parliament elected by universal adult suffrage since 1906 (the first in Europe), but all the badly needed reforms voted through by the Social Democrats had been vetoed by the Russian Czar (as Grand Duke of Finland). By the time Independence came at the end of 1917, the workers in southern Finland were so disillusioned with the democratic process that they rose up in revolution, leading to a very nasty and bitter civil war, which is still this day a very sensitive topic in Finnish society. Democratic will frustrated can turn nasty.
 
 
# Displaced Patriot 2012-05-01 07:26
Mr McGuinness is absolutely correct.."This British Government needs to embrace the inevitable constitutional changes rather than waste money, effort and time fighting progress.”......that is and has always been the problem with Westminster , from the Americas through to Ireland ,Cyprus ,,Palestine,Ind ia ,Aden ,Ulster ,Kenya etc etc .
Now it is refusing to listen to Scotland and like the previous occassions it will all end in tears if Westmnster does not embrace change.
I personally have spent my entire adult life fighting for Scottish indepndence I will not waiver.
However if those that want some kind of confederation to remain massive and immediate reform of British Governance is required.
I do not see htat happenning there is too much arrogance within the entire Westminster bubble, from politician to broadcaster and MSM.
The great British Nationalist W..S Churchill once said "you cannot look forward without firstly looking back"
Westminster looks back but just does not see, the end of the British tate draws nearer every day they just refuse to accept or embrace the inevitable
 
 
# Harry.Shanks 2012-05-01 07:56
Martin McGuinness could seek a common cause with politicians in Scotland who are on record as saying there is no longer a role for a Secretary of State for Scotland.

People like Michael Moore for example.
 
 
# uilleam_beag 2012-05-01 16:13
Hah, nicely done.

The oldies are still the best...
 
 
# Jester 2012-05-01 08:13
Please do not demean this site by giving oxygen to the views of terrorists like McGuinness.
 
 
# Displaced Patriot 2012-05-01 08:41
Quoting Jester:
Please do not demean this site by giving oxygen to the views of terrorists like McGuinness.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter
 
 
# Alba4ever 2012-05-01 08:56
Quoting Jester:
Please do not demean this site by giving oxygen to the views of terrorists like McGuinness.

And Nelson Mandela, perhaps?
 
 
# proudscot 2012-05-01 10:41
Quoting Alba4ever:
Quoting Jester:
Please do not demean this site by giving oxygen to the views of terrorists like McGuinness.

And Nelson Mandela, perhaps?


I seem to recall from what little Scottish history I was taught at school, that our William Wallace was also regarded as a terrorist by our now English masters oops, I mean neighbours ...
 
 
# alexb 2012-05-01 08:56
Quoting Jester:
Please do not demean this site by giving oxygen to the views of terrorists like McGuinness.

Absolutely correct, Jester. We must be careful whom we associate ourselves with.
 
 
# Juteman 2012-05-01 18:04
Quoting Jester:
Please do not demean this site by giving oxygen to the views of terrorists like McGuinness.


If you live in the past, then you will never look forward.
 
 
# A_Scottish_Voice 2012-05-01 08:16
Sorry for being O/T but I know some people wanted to see the RT report on BBC Bias.

www.youtube.com/.../

All credit to D_A_N
 
 
# Robert Louis 2012-05-01 08:40
Quoting A_Scottish_Voic e:
Sorry for being O/T but I know some people wanted to see the RT report on BBC Bias.

www.youtube.com/.../

All credit to D_A_N



This is excellent, now it is on youtube. The fact that the BBC are quoted in response, shows that they know about this.

Good to see B Taylor and A Neils 'training' (indoctrination ?) videos used as evidence.
 
 
# km 2012-05-02 00:32
Thanks! Interesting that there are so many other people, from all different areas, claiming bias against the BBC, including their coverage of European elections, and welfare reform.
 
 
# Drew1314 2012-05-01 08:17
O/T

Heads Up

"Labour's hypocrisy over phone hacking"

Joan McAlpine's blog on finding her phone had been hacked

blogs.dailyrecord.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# Gaavster 2012-05-01 11:13
Great piece by Joan McAlpine Drew, the gloves have really come off....

Thanks for the heads up
 
 
# Marga B 2012-05-01 12:05
Re. strong comments from a "Mary" who claims that press regulation is not a reserved matter.

Indeed, it seems that in the Scotland Act, Under Schedule 5 (“Reserved Matters”), Head K (“Media and Culture”), only broadcasting is listed. I quote: “Section K1. The subject-matter of the Broadcasting Act 1990 and the Broadcasting Act 1996.” In other words, “The British Broadcasting Corporation.”

Found in article by David Torrance, whose views are known here, but is he right in this interpretation?

www.mugwump.org.uk/?p=50

and

www.mugwump.org.uk/
 
 
# Scotlandfirst 2012-05-01 08:32
To use, the "The wind of change....... speech, of an ex UK Prime minister,

The wind of change is blowing through Scotland and whether Westminster likes it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact. Westmister must accept it as a fact, and its policies must take account of it.

The strange thing is that though Westminster is capable of recognizing this wind of change in other nations, when it comes to their own backdoor they mistake it for a small draft which can be easily plugged up.

Come 2014 the UK will never be the same. The sooner Westminster recognises this, the better for us all, but more importantly for them. Unfortunately Westminster's political control freaks are not renowned for seeing much further than their own self interest before that of the wellbeing of the 4 nations that make up the UK.
 
 
# taimoshan 2012-05-01 08:38
Get over to Joan's page in the Retard and comment - i've tried and after typing about 500 words my comment was deleted. Either jiggery-pokery or something else. There's a comment from Mary G that needs rebutting!
 
 
# Stevie Cosmic 2012-05-01 09:38
An utterly ridiculous comment at that. I've seen some fallacious logic deployed by many a Salmond hater of late, but this is quite something.
 
 
# RTP 2012-05-01 09:35
I am no Lab supporter but I detest this from Cameron just shows his posh bully ways.

n one exchange, Mr Cameron rounded on Dennis Skinner, a veteran Labour MP, saying: “He has the right at any time to take his pension and I advise him to do so.
Am I allowed to copy this from the I paper.
David Cameron's line to Dennis Skinner, 81, reveals more about him than its intended victim. His reply to "the Beast of Bolsover's" suggestion that Mr Cameron was keeping Mr Hunt in his job to "prevent bullets hitting the PM" was dismissive: "Well, the honourable gentleman has the right, at any time, to take his pension and I advise him to do so."

Mr Skinner has delivered many a caustic barb over his 42-year career as an MP. Most recently, his "when posh boys are in trouble, they sack the servants" jibe at Mr Hunt for keeping his job while special adviser Adam Smith took a fall went viral. That's what backbench MPs do.

What Prime Ministers do not, or should not, do is insult one of the more senior members of the House on the grounds of age. Certainly not a senior member who does not miss a sitting, believing it is every MP's duty to be there, every day.
 
 
# Scotlandfirst 2012-05-01 12:54
Really not unexpected, but hey, that's what Alex Salmond has to deal with all the time. I'm surprised his Labour colleagues didn’t come to his defence. Is it any wonder that the Conservative vote is a wasted vote in Scotland?
 
 
# Barbazenzero 2012-05-01 10:28
Interesting to see that the BBC are employing one of their alternative "fair and impartial" strategies on this story by reporting on it reasonably with their "Martin McGuinness questions need for NIO and Secretary of State" at bbc.co.uk/.../... but then linking to it only from their News Northern Ireland - bbc.co.uk/.../northern_ireland - page, currently as eighth item, with no picture or summary text, and no mention at all on either the Northern Ireland Politics page - bbc.co.uk/.../... - or the main News Politics page - www.bbc.co.uk/news/politics/.
 
 
# spcarraig 2012-05-01 10:33
Having a Northern Ireland cabinet minister accountable to the people of North Shropshire constitutes a flagrant democratic deficit. If the current Scottish secretary is made redundant in 2014, the existing Southern England bias evident in the then 'Former United Kingdom' will become glaringly obvious. No bad thing of course as it will shine a light on the true nature of Westminster to those not aware of its failings.
 
 
# Robert Louis 2012-05-01 10:44
O/T Wow!

Tom Watson in culture committee at Westminster, during report on News international hacking, has just said he regards the verdict on Tommy Sheridan where he was found gulity of perjury, as unsound.

Live on TV now
 
 
# Davy 2012-05-01 11:08
This last couple of months I have been watching the LabConDem parties spend all their time trying to tell us in Scotland that we were wrong voting in the SNP majority last year, that they and their supporters are right and we are all fools. Well come thursday I believe an ass-kicking is going to come their way and Scotland will yet again show them who is actually the fools.

The thing is I believe that Thursdays results could very well be the tipping point for the unionist parties in Scotland, it could be when they finally realise that independence may be their only way of survial as a political party in this country.

Who knows we maybe going forward towards an independence vote 2014 as a fully joined nation across the spectrum.

Vote SNP 1 , 2 and maybe 3, vote Thursday.
 
 
# Robert Louis 2012-05-01 11:20
We need the votes first, but I agree if the SNP do well, it may help drag Labour kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

I say it every time however, we can never assume how things will go. We need every single vote. Every one will count.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-05-01 11:37
RL.Last year I voted for my SNP candidates/s,numbering them as recommended.
Worked a treat!
Didn't vote for anyone else----ABSOLUTELY NO ONE.
That luxury will come following independence!
Likewise this year,ONLY SNP.NO ONE ELSE.
Enjoy reading your posts----excellent.
 
 
# Dundonian West 2012-05-01 11:26
BBC Bias on YouTube.
Link.
www.youtube.com/.../
 
 
# Angus 2012-05-01 11:38
Personally I dont want any debate or anything to do with Irish / NI politics, though I have no problem with McGuiness or Paisley for that matter.
I think the Scottish nationalist movement has learned from the Irish exactly just how NOT to go about getting Independcence, and now maybe NI can join in with Scotland and Wales to get their Indepence thru passive means. Sectarianism turns my stomach.
 
 
# Gaavster 2012-05-01 11:46
I take your point Angus, however, there is a relevance to the Scottish constitutional debate when Unionist politicians start bandying about phrases like 'partition' and 'choose to stay part of the UK' for the Orkney and Shetland Isles and the Border region...

We all know from the recent history of these islands how well that has worked out...
 
 
# exel 2012-05-01 12:03
Right on Mr. McGuiness !!

From a letter in today’s herald: !Lack of responsiveness to the voters, except as elections loom, has brought our Parliaments to their present derided state. A sick system needing overhaul if democracy is ever again to be served in our poor country.”

Self-determination is the principle in international law that nations have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no external compulsion or external interference. The principle does not state how the decision is to be made, or what the outcome should be, whether it be independence, federation, protection, some form of autonomy or even full assimilation. Neither does it state what the delimitation between nations should be — or even what constitutes a nation. In fact, there are conflicting definitions and legal criteria for determining which groups may legitimately claim the right to self-determination. Moreover, self-determination is just one of many principles applied to determining international borders.

The key phrase is:” whether it be by independence, federation, protection, some form of autonomy or even full assimilation.”
The people of Scotland voted for one route to self determination (devolution) over twelve years ago after the disintegration of the Westminster system.
Unfortunately devolution (a quasi federal system) was not the answer. Large areas of the UK were still left with their aspirations unfulfilled. In reality the political parties, of all flavours, hoped that it would fail and it did.

There are two main reasons for the failure of Devolution:
1. The UK does not have a Written Constitution. That is “A set of principles governing a state”. The political parties (unionist and nationalist) use this fact to maintain an “Elective Dictatorship”

The UK unwritten constitution has been high jacked by the UK political parties and parliament cannot be held to account by the people other than at the time of a general election. In parliament, the party leader with the most seats is appointed by convention, not elected by Parliament or the electorate, and as Prime Minister, controls and appoints the executive, and thus essentially a party controls parliament. The situation is further exacerbated and democracy diminished, by the “Whip system” on party MPs to ensure the outcome of a vote suits the party line. The fusion of powers currently controlled by the party leader in effect results in an elective dictatorship.

The democratic accountability and citizen involvement with the present system is minimal at best, resulting in apathy and indifference and a justifiable lack of trust in government by the voters.

2. The powers devolved to the four elements of the union have differed so widely that all it has succeeded in doing is increasing the disparity and lack of self determination of the electorate. The biggest partner (England) did not get a devolved assembly/parliament and is now perceived as the favoured area of the union.

Devolution did however create a more consensual government. The voting system, for Scottish Parliament election, produced a no single party majority, limiting the dictatorial power of the political parties.

That is until the General Election of 2010, the voters decided that not one of the UK political parties could be trusted to govern with a majority. The will of the people was again circumvented by the political parties and the elective dictatorship maintained.

In 2011 the Scottish electorate, albeit with the (nowadays) normal, low turnout, gave the SNP an unexpected bonus, a majority in the Scottish Parliament. In my opinion the same protest vote experienced the year before, for the UK, but a majority under the broken political system we live with. We are to have a referendum on independence.
 
 
# exel 2012-05-01 12:05
continued

There remain two further routes to self determination however:
1. The nationalists prefer the Independence route. That is, secession from the union, going it alone, separation, etc. etc. But to convince the electorate they need to explain what “set of principles” will govern the new state. In other words they must offer and have accepted, by a substantial majority, a Written Constitution entrenching the sovereignty of the Scottish people. Without the written constitution all we will get is a “Mini Westminster Elective Dictatorship”.

Should independence come and we continue with a unicameral system, the possibility of Scotland becoming exposed to a tyranny of the majority cannot be dismissed.

At this time Westminster can avoid both a Written Constitution and secession by Scotland until a majority vote is obtained from the Scottish electorate for Independence. They may not save the UNION but are they bothered?

Of course that may change before 2014.

2. The other route Federalism does not seem to be a priority for Westminster nor for Holyrood.
Although by all accounts it seems to be the preferred option for Scots.

For Scotland to take this route: The Scottish Written Constitution would have to embrace a Federal system of government passing power to the regions. Holyrood would then become the Federal Parliament of Scotland (Congress). Thus removing the danger of the “Mini Westminster Elective Dictatorship”.

For Westminster to take this route: It would have to create regional governments (not the four states, but the existing regions) throughout the British Isles, change Westminster to a Federal Parliment (Congress?) and remove one layer of government, the existing Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish parliaments/assemblies. This would also require a written constitution “The set of principles which will govern the new state”.

Everything now depends on the outcome of the Local elections and the Scottish consultation result with analysis due shortly afterwards. How the SNP present them to the Scottish electorate will, I hope, help us make “The Most Momentous Decision in 300 Years”. But I very much doubt it.

What the UK, or Scotland if we must leave the union”, needs at this time is a statesman with the vision to take us forward to the future.
 
 
# Louperdowg 2012-05-01 12:14
Sorry, Exel, that was unreadable.

With regards to the last sentence, we already have Alex Salmond and his excellent team of ministers.
 
 
# Davy 2012-05-01 12:26
Sorry exel, I have to agree with louperdowg, In AS and his team we are far ahead of any other political party in either Holyrood or Westmidden for leadership. And in the footsoldier standards we outclass all the other lots put together, because we have positive ideas and even dreams to go for and we are not afraid to say it.
 
 
# tartanfever 2012-05-01 15:02
From exel - But to convince the electorate they (the SNP) need to explain what “set of principles” will govern the new state. In other words they must offer and have accepted, by a substantial majority

Personally I would have though that just a majority would suffice. Good ol' exel at it again, bless.
 
 
# Louperdowg 2012-05-01 15:16
Obviously, the YES vote would have to be about 60% while the NO vote would only have to be around 40%.

40% beats 60% in the world of Liberals :)
 
 
# mordor 2012-05-01 14:00
It is interesting that one could effectively pin the end of the age of empire down to 1968 and one could say that this was the date at which the British state began to disintegrate. Not that I am going completely in for historical determinism.
 
 
# Wansanshoo 2012-05-01 15:36
Why have we given the opportunity for the BBC at Pathetic Quay to write such a headline ?

Martin McGuinness is no friend of civic nationalism,as a Scottish nationalist I wish to distance myself from him.
 
 
# Wee-Scamp 2012-05-01 16:01
I see uur Brian is being his usual helpful self.....

bbc.co.uk/.../...
 
 
# jim288 2012-05-01 16:21
Can't see anything objectionable.

I've thought his last few posts were rather bland with no real incisive analysis.
 
 
# art1001 2012-05-01 17:07
Maybe Brian is starting to feel the heat on bias especially after he featured on Russia Today on their report on BBC bias. I think the BBC itself might be starting to feel the heat too.
 
 
# Robert Louis 2012-05-01 17:09
Well if they are, it is not before time.
 
 
# Shug MacTamson 2012-05-01 16:41
Quoting Jester:
Please do not demean this site by giving oxygen to the views of terrorists like McGuinness.

Some people just cannot stop themselves playing the sectarian card.....
If Martin McGuinness and Ian Paisley can get along together then surely we can listen to what he has to say. The crack about "oxygen" reminds me of the ridiculous situation in the 90s when we were not even allowed to hear the voices of McGuinness and Adams on the TV in case they were given the "oxygen of publicity". Is this what you would have this site become? A parody of the BBC of 20 years ago?
 
 
# Louperdowg 2012-05-01 16:47
I agree with you Shug.

Is it not far better that Martin McGuinness has been brought into democratic politics to get his way via the ballot and not the bullet?

Its just a great shame that so much blood and tears were spilled along the way.

There is no hope for the world if we can only resolve disputes by bombs and bullets or, even worse, create false wars to appropriate another country's resources and kill its people.
 
 
# Dunnichen685 2012-05-01 18:51
I feel a little uncomfortable when politicians from Northern Ireland comment on the situation regarding Scottish Independence, as I feel it has the potential to complicate matters and detract from our goal of achieving an Independent Scotland.
We have to remember that both McGuinness and Paisley have their own agendas. Both of these politicians have unsavoury pasts and also there main focus is naturally, the future of Northern Ireland, not Scotland, so any comments about Scotland from them should be
treated with caution.
Remember that sectarianism is still rife in parts of Scotland and plays a large part in peoples sense of identity (i.e. Scots-Irish or British Unionist) and may influence voting intentions in 2014.
Lets hope that Scots realise that its the future of Scotland that is at stake here. The Irish and the English can take care of themselves.
Lets vote YES in 2014 and show the rest of the U.K. how a small country can prosper peacefully without any need for violence or hatred.
 
 
# bringiton 2012-05-01 19:16
Agreed,we do not need to hear what the people of Quebec,Cataloni a or even Outer Mongolia have to say about our intention to withdraw (or not)from our union with England.
This is a matter solely for the people of Scotland and will be decided by us on the merits of our particular case.
We also do not need interference from politicians and other vested interests outwith Scotland who are currently trying to determine the outcome of our deliberations in a way which is favourable to them.
The decision to dissolve the UK union is entirely a matter for our people to decide.
Everyone else can butt out.
 
 
# Angus 2012-05-01 21:36
McGuiness and Paisley had the guts to shake hands, and I admire them for this.
BUT Scotland is an entirely diferant situation from that of NI, and any converstaion of NI always ends in a lose lose situation.
We should concentrate on ourselves first, dont complicate the debate, we have learnt from Ireland how not to go about getting our Independence.
 
 
# Wansanshoo 2012-05-02 05:50
"Some people just cannot stop themselves playing the sectarian card"

Martin McGuinness was the Northern Commander of the provisional IRA, he and his opposite number in the loyalist paramilitaries were responsible for sectarian murders over decades. The Kingsmill Massacre and the Miami Show Band Slaughter are two of many sectarian atrocities committed by both sides.

To link this individual in any way to civic nationalism in Scotland is a fundamental error.

I hope this is the last we see and hear of those who used the "bullet and the ballot box" and any parallels drawn between Scottish civic nationalism and warlords be it republian or loyalist
 

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