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By Paul Kavanagh

It's here! The positive case for the Union has arrived at long last, well tie me up in bunting and spank my Olympic rings. Only it's not really a positive case, it's a +ve case, the symbol that doctors use when they mark your medical notes with the news you've tested positive for some nasty affliction. This may be appropriate, given the circumstances.

So is it worthy of the hype? Is it the answer to all Scotland's hopes and prayers? Or is it like England's football team in the World Cup? The Dug has taken a wee look.

We love Scotland.

And kiss kiss to you too, whoever you are, but I'm guessing you're the Westminster Parlie. It's odd you need to tell us you love us though, but obviously you're just acknowledging that there's room for doubt. Quite a lot of room, come to think of it. But let's press on.

Scotland is always open to a spot of loving, which is why we invented the word hoochmagandie. However gals and guys have gotta be careful these days, so what sort of love did you have in mind? Love is a many splendoured and gendered thing you know. Given Westminster's track record, you're probably talking of love of the "you're going to get screwed" sort. It's the love that dare not speak its name, and certainly not on BBC Scotland.

We are ambitious for Scotland's people and Scotland's possibilities. Our case is not that Scotland could not survive as a separate country - it is that there's a better choice for our future.

All countries are "separate" from other countries. That's what makes them countries and not provinces. Scotland is already a separate country from England or Wales. The term you're looking for is "independent country". But it's nice to see Westminster politicians admit Scotland could survive without the Westminster Parliament. That's progress of sorts.

Some of us recall the McCrone Report, the report you commissioned into Scotland's oil way back in the 70s, but because it said that Scotland would be embarrassingly wealthy without Westminster blagging all our resources, you stamped it secret in big red "bugger off" letters. Then for the next 30 years you kept up a mantra of "too wee, too poor, too stupid". So it's not that you've had a change of heart about Scotland's prospects or her people, it's just that you've been found out.

By the way, it has been noted that you're markedly reluctant to spell out exactly what this "better choice" is. Scotland can have extra powers you say, but you won't say what extra powers you might be thinking of. It's all terribly exciting, like that TV game show where we're invited to open the mystery box, all we're missing is Noel Edmonds. We have Mr Blobby already, but David Mundell was strangely absent from your campaign launch.

This Westminster guessing game sounds like a ghost of the past, during the Home Rule referendum of 1979 (mind how you pauchled that one?) Conservative former PM Alex Douglas Home asked Scotland to vote no, and promised "something better". "Something better" turned out to be Margaret Thatcher, Attila the Handbag herself. David Cameron and Tory rule aided and abetted by Danny Alexander, and the policy wonk triangulations of Ed Miliband sooking up to Daily Mail readers are not a "better choice" in any universe.

So far you're looking like a tired old retread of the 70s. We've been there, done that, chanted the Maggie, Maggie, Maggie, Out, Out, Out, slogans. If you want us to listen and take you seriously, tell us exactly what's on the table. What does a No vote get us? Do something daring Darling - treat us like adults. Jim Murphy in a tracksuit, gold chains and waving a cigar saying, "Now then, now then boys and girls" isn't going to cut it. Especially not when we know your track record for fixing it.

A strong Scottish Parliament within the United Kingdom gives us the best of both worlds: real decision making power here in Scotland, as well as a key role in a strong and secure UK.

Only if the "best of both worlds" is defined as: "We give you all our cash, and you decide how much to give us back and call it a subsidy." And on top of that you won't even admit just how much of our cash you rake in. So it's our own money that buys us our "real decision making power here in Scotland". We don't have you to thank for it.

You omit to say the same about Scotland having decision making power in Westminster. We only get a "key role", which isn't the same thing as decision making power. The guy in the furry animal costume at fitba matches has a "key role" in his team too, but he doesn't get to tell the manager who to put in midfield.

Devolution gives us real decision making over some areas in Scotland, but only the ones you decide to allow us. Whether we're allowed those powers depends on your needs and desires, not those of the Scottish people. You haven't given a single reason why other areas like corporation tax or defence or welfare benefits or broadcasting couldn't equally be areas of real decision making in Scotland. For those things, we're stuck being the guy in the furry animal costume.

Now and in the future Scotland is stronger as part of the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom is stronger with Scotland as a partner.

That's a statement – not an argument. But we can all agree on the second part of it, the UK is certainly stronger if it controls Scottish resources. Sadly you don't explain any benefits to Scotland.

But the first part is seriously dubious. Partners are equal and have equal voices, at least that how it works in my marriage. But Scotland makes up less than 10% of the population of the UK. We're a permanent minority. England makes up over 80% of the UK population. That means that whenever the interests of Scotland and England do not coincide, as happens from time to time, when you've got two separate countries (see what I just did there?) which happen to share a parliament, then the interests of the bigger party will always win out.

We may be a partner, but we're very much the junior partner, and all too often we're the partner who's sent to bed early without any pudding for daring to request to stay up late with the grown ups.
So unless you can give a cast iron guarantee, and you can't, that Scotland's interests will in every detail forever be exactly identical to those of our larger neighbour, then Scotland cannot possibly be "stronger" within a Union where it's a dead cert that we'll be out-voted when our interests do not happen to coincide with those of the larger neighbour. That's why we're currently suffering a Tory led government, despite the fact that no one voted for them.

Is Scotland stronger for having governments we didn't vote for? Perhaps it's like nasty medicine, we need a regular dose of Tories just to remind ourselves how dreadful they are. You say you love Scotland, but it seems to be love of the cruel to be kind variety. You say we're a partner, but you treat us like a child.

In the UK the BBC and the Bank of England were founded by Scotsmen. The NHS was founded by a Welshman. The State Pension system was founded by an Englishman. Partners in these islands. Working together, better together.

Your history is mince and you're trying to take credit for stuff that's got nothing to do with the UK. The Bank of England was founded in England before the Treaty of Union of 1707 – the clue is in the name "Bank of England". So it cannae have been founded because of the UK. The Bank was established to act as the English Government's banker. William Patterson, the Scotsman who had the idea for central banks, was later behind the ill-fated Darien scheme. Westminster's role in that whole can of worms and how it panned out for Scotland is best left unsaid. You could have found a better example. Try Wikipedia next time.

The Scottish NHS was the creation of Tom Johnston and many others who created the Scottish public health provision in the early 20th century, its formal implementation was watered down and delayed by a Westminster politician who happened to be Welsh.

But even so, what's your point here? The Westminster Parliament's foundation document, the Magna Carta, resulted from some Norman nobles ganging up against a Norman king, and it was another Norman, Simon de Montfort, who established the first directly elected Westminster Parliament. Working together, better together with the French.

The Irish contribution has been immense too. It's odd how you've airbrushed them out of this picture. Why's that then? Cannae be anything to do with that independent state they've got eh?

We are proud that we fought together to defeat fascism...

Everyone is proud of defeating the Nazis, even the Germans these days. But it's quite unseemly of you to claim all the credit for Westminster. It would have happened without the Union.

We fought together with Poland, France, Australia, New Zealand, Union of South Africa, British India, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czechoslovakia, the Netherlands, Greece, Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, the USA, China, and even Tannu Tuva, which sent a crack squad of throat warblers. Maybe we ought to be in political union with all of them too? You can already hear Tannu Tuvan throat warbling in Westminster, every time Magrit Curran opens her gob.

But while we're on the subject of incoherent throat warblers, we didn't fight fascism just to keep Mikey Forsyth and George Foulkes in jobs. Just how long is it now you've been promising reform of the unelected House of Lords, hmm? That gives us some indication of just how reliable you are on constitutional promises.

Incidentally, the independent republic of Tannu Tuva joined the Soviet Union in 1944 after its unelected parliament was bribed, suborned and threatened into voting for a union. Sounds familiar doesn't it? It now punches above its weight as a part of Russia that no one has heard of.

We didn't fight fascism just so that everything stayed the same, we fought fascism in order to be able to determine our own destinies, which is exactly what we're doing now.

But in the interests of balance, if you want to get into all that "we fought wars together" stuff, you should also mention that we fought together to wipe out the Aboriginal Tasmanians and native Newfoundlanders. So you could add "and committed the world's first successful genocides together". Westminster wisnae always the good guy.

... and worked together to build a welfare state.

There you go again - it's all about Westminster. For someone trying to pitch togetherness you've got a severe case of the me-me's haven't you. Are you suggesting that no other country has a welfare state and that it was entirely your idea, or that if there had never been a UK then we'd never have had a welfare state? If it's not uniquely British (and the UK originally copied the German model) then why are you crowing about it?

If Scotland had never been a part of the UK, we'd still have a welfare state. We'd have one because we're a prosperous northern European nation and that's what all prosperous northern European nations do. It would probably be a system more along Scandinavian lines - making it a damn sight more comprehensive than the battered wreck of a welfare system we currently endure.

Incidentally, the current Tory/Lib Dem government of the UK seem intent on destroying much of the welfare state, and while in office Labour beat up on benefits claimants with as much enthusiasm as the Daily Mail could muster. So it's terribly bad timing that the launch of this "Better Together" campaign comes in the same week that Eton educated rich kid Davie Cameron - you know, the guy who cut taxes for his millionaire pals - announces it's time to end the "culture of entitlement". He'd know a lot about that then.

If Scotland stays with Westminster, we'll dismantle the welfare state together. But welfare is one of those matters you refuse to allow Scotland control of, so it's more accurate to say that you'll dismantle it while we bitch uselessly from the sidelines doing an impression of a guy in a furry animal costume. Only independence can allow Scotland to build on our welfare system to make it fairer and more just.

But the case we make is about what's best for Scotland's future.

Oh now you tell us. But if your vision of the future is as half baked as your vision of the past, and your Westminster rose-tinted view of the present, then we're in for a bumpy ride.

PROSPERITY

Times are really tough at home and really turbulent internationally.


If everything was just daffodils and primroses in the international garden right now, you'd be saying that we shouldn't become independent because it might lead to an outbreak of slugs. Periodically, times are always really tough and really turbulent internationally, doubtless in a few years they'll calm down again. But in the meantime, some people are going to suffer the consequences of the failures of the banking system.

The question is: who is best placed to look after Scotland's interests and to minimise the consequences to ordinary Scottish people. Would that be:

a) The very same people who created the mess in the first place with their hands off approach to rapacious capitalism at its worst (Yes, we're looking at you Alistair Darling), and the Tories who are hell-bent on making ordinary people cop the whack for it. All operate within a parliament which has only a small minority of Scottish representatives, under a government which marshalls Scotland's resources, talents and abilities in the interests of the City of London, and kindly allows us what's left over.

or

b) A parliament Scotland actually voted for and which represents the people of Scotland, with a government which marshalls Scotland's resources, talents and abilities for the success of Scotland.

When times are tough, you want to be looked after by people for whom you are the top and only priority. Scotland is quite a long way down Westminster's list of priorities, in fact Westminster only ever seems to pay Scotland any attention at all when it's trying to stave off independence.

Northern England, Wales and the rest of the so-called UK periphery suffer from the same neglect. Scotland can offer those places a different way of doing things. It's the overweening hegemony of the City of London and the south east of England that has undone the UK. Voting to keep the Union will only encourage and hearten that hegemony, it will make things worse. We owe it to Newcastle to vote for independence.

In the future Scotland's prosperity will be strengthened by keeping the British connection.

A wee bit of evidence would be nice. Unsubstantiated assertions appear to be the Westminster parties' stock in trade, or is Westminster is going to increase our pocket money? The No campaign is always demanding details from the independence camp, supplying some of your own would be nice.

It's difficult to see how Scotland's prosperity can be increased by Westminster over and above how Scots can increase it for themselves, especially when Scotland doesn't have to give Westminster all its resources and income and get pocket money back, and when the Scottish government can introduce measures designed to boost Scotland's economy without having to pay towards the Olympics or London's sewer upgrade. Or perhaps all our lives are enriched by convenient and modern flushing facilities in Westminster's lavvies. It makes it easier for them to pee our future down the drain.

Scotland cannot lose its British connection, on account of the wee fact of geography that Scotland makes up around one third of the landmass of the island of Great Britain. Westminster doesn't own the island, it just thinks it does.

Unless Westminster is proposing to dig a deep ditch all the way along the Border - it will be in the next Conservative manifesto as one of Cameron's workfare schemes - then Scotland will not only remain connected to Britain, it will remain a part of it.

We need more growth, more jobs, and more prosperity in Scotland.


Well, d'oh. This is just waffle. Like anyone's going to say: "More growth, more jobs, and more prosperity - nonsense! It's a cauld bath and a spot of suffering that we need." The problem is that it's a cauld bath and a spot of suffering that Westminster is really offering us. It's for our own good, allegedly.

Fortunately, Scotland is the prime part of the UK for foreign investment. In addition to our resource based economy, that's a great help. But we could do a whole lot better.

Scotland's growth is being held back because our interests do not coincide with Westminster's. Scotland's investment in renewable technologies is stymied because we have a government inhabited by Tory climate change deniers, who have constituencies populated by retired senior civil servants and investment bankers who don't want nasty wind farms spoiling the view from the gazebo.

Whatever your view on climate change, Scotland possesses over a quarter of all the wind and tidal energy resources in Europe, but Westminster is making it harder for us to develop those resources. Only independence can give a Scottish government the tools it requires to unlock their potential for all of us. And unlike the oil, it's never going to run out.

We don't need uncertainty, instability, and barriers for our businesses.

What barriers would those be? Independence supporters want Scotland to be a member of the passport free Common Travel Area comprising the present UK, the Irish Republic, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. There is free movement of trade and people throughout the EU. Independence supporters are committed to ensuring that will continue post-independence, so the question is, are you planning to put up barriers, and if so what and why? Or are you just scaremongering again?

What uncertainty and instability are you talking about? This is a bit rich coming from you lot. There's the uncertainty caused by the fact that you refuse to spell out what we get in return for a No vote. Is the Scotland Act really a line in the sand as Ruth Davidson claimed, or is it just a milestone on the road to greater powers, as the Lib Dems and Labour would have us think? Then there's David Cameron's vague promise to "consider extra powers" for Scotland.

Westminster politicians have spent the past year creating uncertainty and instability for Scottish business, like when David Cameron told the House of Commons that businesses should be concerned about investing in Scotland. Then there are the periodic wrecking motions from Conservative back benchers which threaten cooperation with our European partners, that creates a whole other layer of insecurity and instability.

Seems like the only way to end this uncertainty is to vote for independence, then we can be certain that we'll never have to put up with Westminster and its lies and broken promises ever again.

So far you're basing your case for the UK on insinuation, innuendo and implied threats. Not really looking too good for the positivity, is it.

In these tough and turbulent times, the size, strength and stability of the UK economy is a huge advantage for Scotland's businesses.

The greatest single strength of the British economy is that it's backed up by over a trillion quid's worth of oil and gas reserves, which I think you'll find are largely Scottish. Apart from that there's a financial sector, which hasn't exactly been a force for social good and prosperity of late.

A few years ago these weren’t “tough and turbulent times”. In a few years time, they won’t be again. However, an independent Scotland, with its positive balance of payments would continue to contribute to the economy of the British Isles. Haven’t you bothered to look at the deliberations of the British-Irish Council and the determination of all its members (within and outwith the UK) to create an even bigger, stronger, and more stable economy?

Scotland's largest market is the rest of the UK.

You're clutching at straws now. Ireland's largest market is the rest of the UK too. You can still buy Kerrygold butter and cans of Guinness in Waitrose in Colchester you know, it won't be any different for an independent Scotland. Or are you expecting a mass outbreak of English people refusing to buy whisky in the future?

The UK is the world's oldest and most successful single market and the UK has the oldest and most successful currency - the pound.

We're now beginning to plumb the depths of the ridiculous. This is just British nationalist posturing. Lots of states created a single market long before 1707, China, for example. The Chinese formed a single market during the Qin Dynasty in the 3rd century BC. That beats the UK by 2000 years. And China's been pretty economically successful of late. They certainly spent more on their Olympics.

Then there's the interesting thing that happened to the UK single market in 1922, which was when most of Ireland obtained independence. The single market between the UK and the Irish state continued pretty much unabated, as it does to this day. The independence of Scotland is equally irrelevant to the single market of the nations of the British Isles. And I've not even mentioned the European single market

The UK has the oldest currency still in use, is what you should have said, but only if the former English currency is considered to be the same as the UK currency. The fact that you consider a currency to be an important symbol of your identity is a bit of a worry. Seems rather like the very definition of the man who knows the price of everything but the value of nothing.

If you truly believe that a vital part of your personal sense of being is symbolised by a pound coin, seek professional help now. You can go private. If your personal sense of identity is based on money, paying for stuff is probably theraputic. This could explain why the UK government is determined to introduce privatisation into the NHS in England. Only independence can guarantee that the Scottish NHS remains publicly owned and operated.

Again, your grasp of history is rather poor, and that's a bit of a worry since your case so far depends upon rather a lot of backward looking romanticising.

Scottish businesses are increasingly having to win orders against smart, efficient and productive firms in foreign markets. These competitive challenges will only get tougher in the years ahead.

You want us to believe that economic decisions are best determined by a government in thrall to the financial sector of the City of London, which has presided over the mass destruction of the UK's manufacturing sector. Its strategy for boosting competitiveness and productivity consists of taking an axe to the public sector, wage freezes, job losses, and blaming it all on the poor.

Scottish businesses will do better when they have a government whose sole focus is on growing the Scottish economy and has all of Scotland's vast resources in order to do so. That's a government which can truly support Scottish businesses.

The UK is better placed than a separate Scotland or England to help our businesses find and win new orders across the world.

There you go again. Unsubstantiated assertions without a shred of evidence. Businesses get foreign orders on merit not because they're Scottish, English, or British. Unless, of course, the orders are being placed by the London Olympics. Our taxes and lottery bets are funding this event, but Scots companies have been frozen out.

SECURITY

In an uncertain world Scotland's security will be strengthened as part of the United Kingdom.


Seems quite the opposite to me. An independent Scotland would join the ranks of small inoffensive countries that crazy finger-wagging terrorists tend to ignore.

If an opinion poll company was to ask 1000 crazy finger-wagging terrorists, weighted for newspaper readership and suicide belts, to list the qualities they associate with various countries, Scotland would prompt responses like Loch Ness Monster, Shrek, Braveheart, and Jeanette Krankie, whereas the UK would provoke responses like "Running pig dog colonialist lackeys of the Yankee imperialist Great Satan. I spit in their cous-cous." No one has, as yet, found Jeanette Krankie to be a satanic threat to their religion, but Westminster thinks it's just a matter of time.

Indeed, posing as a big brute when in fact you have neither the strength or capability to back it up without assistance from an even bigger bully is a recipe for attracting trouble, because it makes you the big bully's weaker friend and marks you as the first target for the aforesaid finger-waving terrorists.
They ought to introduce a check for waggy fingers at airport security. They'd soon be able to lock up all terrorists and everyone's grannies. Then they could just let the finger waving terrorists and the finger waving grannies sort it out between themselves. The grannies would win, easy.

Then there's this worryingly phallic obsession you've got with very big missiles. Almost half the Scottish population are within 30 miles of one of the biggest nuclear arms dumps in the world. It's a prime target for a preemptive strike by some baddie or other. But being evaporated is safer than the long slow death from radiation poisoning the rest of the UK would get to enjoy. Gosh, we feel so secure knowing that.

What is the point of Trident anyway, other than giving the UK its much prized seat on the UN Security Council. Scotland is expected to contribute to Westminster's pretensions to be a great power, whatever the cost, and we're in the front line if it all goes wrong, to no benefit to ourselves. That doesn't make us safer.

The British Armed Forces that protect us are the best in the world.

No one is knocking the bravery and professionalism of people who get shot at for a living, but let's be honest here, this is just meaningless puffery. The UK Government is slashing conventional forces to pay for Trident, so it has to be questionable just how proud you are of them. It's certainly true that the British armed forces have been on the winning side in recent history, but quite a lot of other nations can make similar claims. Uruguay has never lost a war, and they've won the World Cup - twice.

The UK was only saved from getting its collective backside kicked by the evil Nazis during WW2 by the intervention of the USA and Tannu Tuva. Apart from that, in more recent decades the British armed forces have tended to be up against smaller and weaker sides like Argentina, assorted insurgent groups, or have been bit players in American wars.

So we have no standard of comparision here. The British armed forces are certainly funded disproportionately well, compared to other European nations. Much of that funding comes from Scotland, and perhaps that's what you're worried about. Without Scottish resources it could be that the UK armed forces are a bit like a fitba club that spends millions of borrowed cash on expensive star players then loses the money and has to play against Clyde or Stirling Albion. Rangers is about to find out what that's like, so perhaps they'll let you know.

In Scotland we are proud of the Forces and proud of the vital contribution that Scotland makes to them.

We'd be equally proud of Scottish forces. Especially because they'd still have the funding for the star players. Scotland is subject to a defence underspend of over £5.6 billion on current levels, we're paying in a lot more than we get back. Scotland could double the pay of every Scottish soldier, and still have spare cash to buy them lots of new toys. Plus we'd be proud not send them off to die in illegal and pointless wars, which has to be a win-win for everyone.

Scots have historically been over-represented in the British armed forces, although at least until recent decades they were overwhelmingly found in the ordinary ranks while Scots were under-represented amongst the officers. Which is why officers are referred to as Ruperts, and not as Malcolms.

Studies of ethnic groups with a propensity to enlist in the armed services have found that these groups also tend to be poor and marginalised, joining the army is one of the few avenues of escape from poverty and a lack of opportunity at home. That's nothing for a society to be proud of. It's a good thing to join the army if that's your free and unforced choice, it's not so good if joining the army is simply your least worst option, and that's the kind of choice Westminster has forced upon generations of Scots. Some of us want something better for our kids.

As part of the UK we have real clout in the UN Security Council, NATO, the EU and we have Embassies around the world.

Oooh that's just a porkie pie. In fact we could say that you're Tannuing our Tuva. Scotland has no clout whatsoever in these international forums. We have as much influence in the UN Security Council as Tannu Tuva. It's in a union with Russia remember, so by your standards it has real clout and a permanent seat on the Security Council. They're yak herders to be reckoned with.

Any clout belongs to the UK Government, and Scotland is just a bit player in selecting the UK Government. All too often we have no influence at all on the UK Government, because a separate country (oops I did it again) which which we happen to share a parliament insists on voting Tory.

Embassies aren't special to the UK, and if the UK Foreign Office was any good you'd know that already. Other countries have embassies too. The UK's embassies belong in part to Scotland already, so it's not like you'd get to keep them all to yourself in the event of independence, you'll have to share them fairly with Scotland. Quite a few countries share embassies to reduce costs. We'd simply be equal partners, which is what you want after all.

INTERDEPENDENCE

As Scots we believe there's nowhere better, but we understand there's something bigger.


There's positively (see, I can be positive too) oodles of bigger things. The Crab Nebula is pretty big, umpteen light years across in fact. Almost as large as George Osborne's ego. Neither of those places is somewhere you'd want to live, although we don't get any choice from Westminster in the matter of George Osborne, who's allegedly the mastermind behind this entire sorry No campaign. Dave Cameron thinks George really understands Scottish people.

Bigger isn't necessarily better. And the bigger thing in question isn't necessarily the Westminster Parliament, the one which thinks George Osborne is the best guy to save the Union and which isn't anywhere near as big as it thinks it is. Other big thing products may be available, who knows what may be salvaged from the wreck of the eurozone.

Bigger is only better when all parts that comprise the whole are equally fulfilled, nurtured and allowed to develop. But that's not going to happen with the Westminster Parliament, which is concerned above all with the interests of the City of London and the South East of England.

Only when Scotland has an equal voice with other nations of the world, and we're no longer relegated to the back seats with Tannu Tuvan yak herders, will Scotland be able to find its true place within something bigger, where we have a real voice and don't have to be the guy in the fluffy animal costume all the time. It's a safe bet that bigger thing won't be George Osborne's ego.

By contributing to and benefiting from the multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural United Kingdom of the years ahead, Scotland's society and culture will be enriched.

This is another example of something that will happen with or without the Westminster Parliament. For a Parliament which claims to understand there's something bigger, it's incredibly parochial. Perhaps Westminster politicians ought to try understanding other cultures and experiences instead of just patting themselves on the back about how tolerant they are.

The period since WW2 has witnessed the greatest global migrations of human beings in all of history, although the mass flight from the UK to holiday beaches in the sun in order to avoid the bleedin' Olympics may yet rival it. New arrivals establishing themselves in Scotland, and becoming valued parts of our communities, have only been a small part of a much bigger picture that's repeated across the world. Everywhere is multicultural these days.

The entire world is becoming increasingly interconnected, that will continue with or without Westminster. It's also another reason why we need to connect ourselves directly to that interconnected world, without Westminster as an intermediary. It is the rusty gasket in our conduit, the Victorian sewer in our plumbing, the dial-up modem in our broadband.

An independent Scotland will be able to determine its own migration policy. Scotland has different needs which require different policies. Scotland is not over-crowded like the south east of England, where antagonism against migrant communities is rife and there is strong support for extremist and racist groups like the English Defence League and the BNP. Such groups enjoy far less support in Scotland.

But really Westminster, be honest here, this is a not so subtle attempt to imply that an independent Scotland would be a more racist country. There's not a shred of evidence for that, and you know it, which is why you merely insinuate. Lose 10 points from your already shrunken positivity rating.

Hundreds of thousands of Scots and English have made their homes in each other's nation. Half of us have English neighbours.

We all have English neighbours. That's what happens when two countries are next door to each other. You'd be amazed how many Swedes have Norwegian neighbours. Go to Portugal and you'll trip over Spaniards, possibly literally if it's siesta on the beach time.

Our English neighbours won't suddenly become foreigners to us on the day of independence. They'll still be our neighbours, and as Scottish residents they'll also be Scottish citizens.

Hundreds of thousands of Scots were born in England. This interdependence - the coming together of family, friends, ideas, institutions and identities - is a strength not a weakness, and is an ideal worth celebrating. The truth is we're better together.

Focus Darling, focus. No one is saying it's a weakness. I'm not sure what argument you're trying to win here, but it's not one with supporters of independence. We're talking about the Westminster Parliament, not about Auntie Jessie in Wolverhampton and her membership of the local amateur dramatics society. Our identities are shaped by many factors, the Westminster Parliament is really very far down the list. It's a breathtaking arrogance for any Parliament to claim that it determines the family ties and loyalties of private individuals.

Scots have family ties all over the world. Many thousands of us have relatives and close family ties in Ireland, Australia, Pakistan, the USA, or other countries. Are we supposed to feel more alienated from our Irish or American relatives than we do from our English relatives? Do we love them less? But much as we love our American, Irish, or Pakistani relatives, that doesn't mean Scotland is best served by sharing a parliament with them.

Our links to our English families and friends will remain unaltered by independence, because they've got nothing to do with Parliaments.

Our case is that Scotland is stronger now and will be stronger in the future - economically, politically, and socially - as a partner in the United Kingdom.

Was that it then, that's really the best you could do? After all the hype and promises of a positive case. You lot are the self-proclaimed big hitters of Westminster, you've had plenty of time to do your homework, yet this collection of irrelevances, fluff and unsubstantiated assertions is the best you can come up with. It reads like something you scribbled on the bus on the way into school. This isn't a positive case for the Union, it's your epitaph.

The Union will come to an end with the words: Westminster, it's a bit rubbish isn't it.

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