By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has said that it is the only party that can be trusted to protect free education in Scotland, after Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont said that she was not opposed to back-door tuition fees for Scottish students.

The nationalist claim follows comments from the new Scottish Labour leader in an interview where she implied that tuition fees may return if Labour regain power in Scotland.

Labour claimed before last May’s Holyrood election that it would not reintroduce back-door tuition fees in Scottish universities, which the SNP Scottish Government scrapped in 2007. However, in an interview with the Times Educational Supplement, Ms Lamont has now ditched that pledge.

Speaking to the Times Educational Supplement on 3rd February, Ms Lamont was questioned about the statement by a Labour colleague, former education secretary Des McNulty, that a contribution by graduates to the cost of their university education was “inevitable”.  Ms Lamont said:

“Certainly, I wouldn’t be in favour of upfront tuition fees.  But if you’re funding your determination not to have a graduate contribution on a 20 per cent cut to further education, a political debate is needed around that.  I’m not rushing to have a graduate contribution, but if current policy means colleges will not serve the needs we want, and lots of people continue to be deterred from higher education, there’s a problem.”

Shortly before last May’s Holyrood elections, Labour’s then leader Iain Gray committed the party to free university education, saying:

“If I am First Minister, a Labour government will not introduce any upfront fees or graduate contribution for access to higher education in the lifetime of the next Parliament.  There will be no price tag on education.”

Ms Lamont’s comments will be seen as a signal that Labour has abandoned this policy, and is prepared to consider the introduction of a graduate contribution. 

SNP MSP for Edinburgh Central and member of the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee, Marco Biagi, said:

“No one should be surprised that Labour are reverting to type on charging young Scots for their education.

“It was the Labour-Liberal coalition that introduced back-door tuition fees in Scotland – which were then abolished by the SNP – and Labour which brought in tuition fees south of the border.  Iain Gray claimed before the Holyrood elections last year that they would support free education, but that commitment has lasted less than a year.

“Just one week ago, statistics showed that while applications in England and Wales have plummeted in the face of spiralling tuition fees, in Scotland – where access to university is based on the ability to learn, not the ability to pay – the level of student applications has been maintained.

“That proves that in times of economic hardship it’s all the more important that financial barriers are not put in the way of access to university education.

“The SNP will never price Scottish young people out of an education. With Labour now joining the Tories in backing back-door tuition fees and the Lib Dems having proven that they can’t be trusted on this issue, the SNP is now the only party which stands by the Scottish tradition of free education.

“The principles of higher education in Scotland will remain the same under the SNP; protecting the outstanding reputation of Scotland’s university sector and ensuring access to education for young people from across Scottish society, regardless of their ability to pay.”


# RaboRuglen 2012-02-08 08:40
Hi there,

“But if you’re funding your determination not to have a graduate contribution on a 20 per cent cut to further education, a political debate is needed around that.”

Yes, dear. The debate is called Independence. You cannot expect the Scottish Government to sustain the level of cuts imposed by Westminster (by the way the cuts so far have been those imposed by the last Labour government. Remember Gordon Brown? Yes, him.) and not expect that very hard decisions have to be made.

In any case I simply do not believe that the education budget is being cut in the manner she claims.

Vote yes.

# rhymer 2012-02-08 17:58
[quote name=”RaboRuglen”] i simply do not believe that the education budget is being cut in the manner she (labour) claims quote]

You are right. Just waffle and avoiding any real plans of their own.
What was a BIG surprise was willie rennie’s praise of the budget.
Yup I said praise, not unadulterated but very positive.
# Vincent McDee 2012-02-08 09:01
Honestly, who cares about what any labourite or libcondem may think?

Their opinions are like zeros before the point, not changing the figure at all.

000000000000000  00000000.1 = 0.1
# tartanfever 2012-02-08 09:08
We all know Labour Westminster’s policy of introducing fees. Labour London would cap them at £6,000 apparently.

There’s absolutely no reason to believe that Lamont and cp. would do anything different up here.

What a mess Labour have left the country in. No matter what happens to the economy in England, university fees are here to stay. Now they have been introduced, people learn to live with them.
Labour have destroyed one of the principles of a governing state, to provide education.

What an utter disgrace they all are.
# Robert Louis 2012-02-08 09:08
Make no mistake, the Labour party policy is for the return of tuition fees in Scotland.

Only last week, their Labour party peer, George Foulkes tabled an amendment to the Scotland bill in the house of Lords, to take the control of tuition fees away from the Scottish Government, and give it to the Tory Government in London. The only consequence of which would be tuition fees being imposed in Scotland.

That is what Labour do.

Labour in Scotland are so obsessed with London and Middle England, they will do anything, even if it is damaging to Scotland.
# Robert Louis 2012-02-08 09:11
Watch out for that twisted and quite cynical phrase;

‘No UPFRONT tuition fees’

Weasel words.
# Exile 2012-02-08 10:45
Yeah, but she then went on to say and no graduate charge either, which makes the words less weasel. But, whatever, I wouldn’t trust her or her pals as far as I can spit.
# call me dave 2012-02-08 09:19
Let’s clarify this for accuracy. The labour party are content to hand over all the resourses of Scotland to Westminster and hope that they get back enough pocket money to get by.

In addition, they are willing to be drawn into any conflicts around the world at the whim of another political party and to store weapons of mass destruction in Scotland against the will of the Scots.
A clear vote winner Johann – – – for independence !
# Sleekit 2012-02-08 09:28
I, like many many others, would simply not be able to afford to pay UP FRONT £24,000 Fees for my daughter to go to University.

The WEASEL WORDS of NO UPFRONT FEES just highlights that it will be either a Graduate Tax, in which case the person would not be better off financially for their efforts, or a loan repayment scheme in line with the current Student Loans, with interest applied.

If they go down the back fitting of Fees then they are removing the choice from students and FORCING them into debt before they even have a job.

How can an indebted graduate start a business when they cant get start up capital because of their debt???

How can an indebted Graduate contribute to the economic recovery when their money is being leeched off them???

Afterall, it’s a fact that they will pay more tax in the long run on higher wages later in life, which more than offsets the cost of education.

They should be free to spend their cash earlier in life to stimulate the economy. We will get the money back in the long run.

This will reduce social mobility and leave a generation of working class on the scrap heap looking for McJob’s!!!
# Robert Louis 2012-02-08 09:36

You make a good point, which has always been the case. Graduates, if they earn more as a result of their education already pay more in income tax. It’s not called ‘pay as you earn’ for nothing. The more you earn, the more you pay.

This simple fact was always understood, until Labour spin doctors and an ever so compliant media in the UK started talking about graduates having to pay more. The fact is, they already pay more via PAYE.

I personally came from a poor background and would simply NEVER have had the opportunity to get a degree if tuition fees , in any form, had been in place. As a former Labour voter, it makes me angry at what Labour are up to. Really, really angry.

It beggars belief that it is Labour who are helping to push the idea of tuition fees. They really are just Tories with a different badge.

# snowthistle 2012-02-08 09:45
that old phrase of knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing springs to mind.
The graduate is not the only one who benefits from the graduate’s education. Educating our young people to the best of their ability benefits our society as a whole. Did we not learn this from the enlightenment?
# Robert Louis 2012-02-08 10:07
Quoting snowthistle:
that old phrase of knowing the cost of everything and the value of nothing springs to mind.
The graduate is not the only one who benefits from the graduate’s education. Educating our young people to the best of their ability benefits our society as a whole. Did we not learn this from the enlightenment?

The Scottish enlightenment is EXACTLY why the Labour party are so very wrong. The historian Tom Devine, has discussed the reason behind the enlightenment in Scotland, and one paragraph from his contribution to lts is very important in this discussion;


“The final thing I would draw attention to is the revolution which occurred in the same period in the Scottish universities. There had been three universities before the Reformation; by the time of the Enlightenment there were five: two in Aberdeen – Kings College and Marshall College – one in Edinburgh, one in St Andrew’s and one in Glasgow. At the time England only had two. The Scots used to boast about this – Aberdeen City had as many universities as the whole of England combined!”

Prof. Tom Devine on the Scottish Enlightenment, source;…/…

It is NO ACCIDENT that so many great scientists, physicians and engineers came from Scotland.

Good education, that was the key. it still is!!!
# Jiggsbro 2012-02-08 10:11
Not just good education, but valuing education rather than pricing it.
# dogbite 2012-02-08 22:11
aye but with a belief in God that the more hard work the less time for the devil to do his work. Education was driven by a fear of God instilled by the presbyerian enlightenment
# chicmac 2012-02-08 20:23
I think Tom Steel summed up things rather well and succinctly in his history of Scotland – ‘Scotland’s Story’:

“In 1696 the Scottish Parliament passed an Act for Settling Schools,
to reinforce the wish that every parish should provide schooling,
it’s schoolmaster paid for by local Landowners”.

“Even by the seventeenth century a large number of able Scots
children were realizing that educational attainment and acquisition
of formal qualification were the means to escape from poverty”

“Scotland’s universities were unique. The students at Edinburgh,
Glasgow, Aberdeen and St Andrews were for the most part drawn
directly from parish and burgh schools. Unlike England’s two
universities at Oxford and Cambridge, those in Scotland were open to
all ranks of society. The poor Highland student, armed with a sack
of oatmeal a barrel of salted herring to keep him during the
university terms, was indeed a reality…”

“In no other country in the world did such people dream of going to
university and education became a Scottish obsession: knowledge was
the best way to escape from the narrow hard life of the glen or the
urban slum.”

“At school as well as university the son of the laird sat with the
son of the ploughman.”
# GerrySNP 2012-02-09 05:37

So strongly agree and appreciate your piece. Indeed the clear Scottish love of Education and its place in and for Society is one of the major differentiating points between the two nations of Scotland and England – and a major reason for my belief in the need to maintain a Scottish nation free and independent to use its resources and people to form and grow the better Society. We (certainly I ) would put Education nearly up to the NHS as one of the pillars of that Society, and one which has to be maintained and improved for the future of our land.
Just for the record, I believe that we have not yet returned to the “Free Education” of the 50s to 90s – at least not until we have managed to afford and put in place a system of living grants – unless you would think that an NHS which didnt charge for your stay in hospital but insisted on your paying for the cost of food and hospital bed while there, was “free at the point of need”
# Exile 2012-02-08 10:50
“Afterall, it’s a fact that they will pay more tax in the long run on higher wages later in life, which more than offsets the cost of education.”

I reckon this is precisely the sticking point, sleekit. Johann and the other New Tories are clearly gearing up for a brave new world in which the rich pay little or no tax, so the paying for your education via your income tax argument will no longer apply. That’s what this is all about. With a proper system of progressive taxation in which the rich cannot dodge their responsibility, there’s loads of money for free education. But if/when the rich (e.g. City of London) don’t pay their whack, higher education becomes a privilege for the rich alone.

That is the stark choice facing the Scottish electorate in 2014.
# rai1869 2012-02-08 09:34
Liebour = Torys = tuition fees = students not going to uni = students from poorer backgrounds being efectivly banned from furthering themselfs at uni = a seriouse hit to our reserch and developement = scotland loseing out in reaserch opertunitys and our status and one of the great reaserch nations in the world, one question, WHY THE FECK SHOULD I VOTE UNIONIST????????
# alexmc8275 2012-02-08 11:15
Come on Rai surely by now you know we are stronger together weaker apart what other reason do you need .
# brh206 2012-02-08 09:48
I’m just surprised the headline didn’t read’ The SNP Force Labour into reintroducing Tuition Fees in Scotland ‘ Given the sub-standard reporting we all have to endure in Scotland. On to the issue, tuition fees need to stay well away from Scottish Higher Education. While we can all accept that funding for further education is tight, funding for everything is tight. I haven’t had a pay rise in 3 years now and won’t see one for at least another 3 so we are all suffering. While it’s a good thing that student numbers have stayed the same level I have advised both of my teens to stay on school as long as they can. There are no jobs for young people just now, that might change in the longer term but certainly not in the short term. Now unless we bring in major long term capital investment, let’s say building things, fixing the roads etc we will not see a huge impact on youth unemployment. My personal view for my own kids is delay college / uni for as long as you can in the hope that by the time they enter and leave their job prospects will have improved. I work with young people and too many are leaving college / university with a bit of paper but can’t find any work. We need to be honest with our young people, we need to look at creating work, but while we do that let’s not give them the added burden of worrying about major debt on top of everything else. It doesn’t matter that you don’t pay until you start to work, the worry is still there.
# Macart 2012-02-08 09:53
It can all be stopped. Just vote YES.
# thomsor 2012-02-08 10:03
Well put Sleekit. Why are the labour and lib dems determined to tax, tax and tax again. I understand the Tory mentality, its in their DNA, but realy the last thing the Scottish people need is to pay more tax. The SNP need to spell it out loud and clear at every opportunity, No Tuition Fees in Scotland
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 10:20
I’m of an age when early schooling in a wartime rural school meant one old teacher, (who should have been retired), one younger infants teacher and a head who also took the, “Qualifying Class”. The two teachers had 3 classes each. By secondary school age we were in Edinburgh/Leith and things were better. Only rich folk went to University unless they got a bursary. I left for an apprenticeship with the Admiralty who had their own college and taught to University 2nd year standard. They then offered the chance for some top apprentices to finish their education at University at second year level in the science/Engineering fields. There were thus a great many very able apprentices who did not get the chance to be educated beyond 2nd year Uni level. Most went on, as I did, to take special courses in specialised fields. Some at very high levels. For my chosen field I had to delve into radioactivity, medicime, physics and chemistry. Aye! even quantum physics. Would it not have been easier for me, and for my employer, if we just had free higher education in the first place?
# Marga B 2012-02-08 10:40
Auld Bob, I expect that you wouldn’t knock all village schools. Like rural schools today, many had inspired staff who were part of the community and gave a humanitarian education in difficult circumstances.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 18:16
I’m not knocking them. That old teacher, “Auld Maggie”, ran three classes, each between 30-40 pupils, each at a different stage, and she did it magnificently. The Infants teacher had three infant classes and they all learned to read & write. That village school taught children from an area the ran from Ratho to Pumpherston and included Oakbank and most of the Calders. Quite a feat for two teachers and one Headie.
Believe me I don’t recall a single pupil who left that school either illiterate od innumerate, (Mind ye my own spelling is not of the best).
# Exile 2012-02-08 10:57
They’ve all become acolytes of Ayn Rand: tax the poor, not the rich. Globalisation, particularly the freeing up of capital movements around the world, is returning us to the medieval system of a rich international elite living off the back of the mass of serfs. The SNP and Independence provide the Scottish people with an escape route, to become an island of decency and democracy in a very sick world, or, as AS hinted recently, a beacon of progressiveness in the stormy oceans of Gordon Brown’s New World Order.

Vote YES for all our sakes!
# rhymer 2012-02-08 12:58
Quoting Exile:
They’ve all become acolytes of Ayn Rand: tax the poor, not the rich. !

A big bit overstated regarding Ayn Rand’s ideas.
Anyway they “rewrote” the fountainhead script for the movie so you shouldn’t base your idea on Hollywood or libdem fantasies.
# Siôn Jones 2012-02-08 10:11
Lamont is such an invaluable asset for the SNP that she must be protected at all costs. Almost single-handedly she will swell the ranks of independence voters to landslide proportions.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 10:37
Aye! Siôn Jones, but there are those, as the old MP Willie Hamilton used to say, “If you selected a collie dog and stuck a red rosette on its collar, the Fifers will vote for it”. I got thrown out of his public meeting for replying, “Aye Willie, I know, for I’m looking right at it”. He was not amused.
# GerrySNP 2012-02-09 05:41
But downgrading Lamont is not the answer – we who want it are going to have to prove to the voters that they want and will vote to have the Independence that we want. Those who are not positively convinced will have the fall-back option of the “Status Quo” or NO!
# Ken500 2012-02-08 10:20
Outrageous behaviour from the Labour Tories.

The most able students already can’t afford to go to University because loans are means-tested. Scotland is losing the abilities of the most able students.

The young are already paying the price for illegal wars based on a lie, Trident and fraudulent bankers. The old the young and the sick paying for price and carrying the burden for corrupt politicans.
# Caledon 2012-02-08 10:22
It is indeed simple then, vote yes!
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 10:38
Quoting Caledon:
It is indeed simple then, vote yes!

Yes indeed, but you are speaking to the already converted.
# Louperdowg 2012-02-08 10:26
Morning all.

Here’s an idea that just came to me over coffee.

We all have family, friends and colleagues that remain enthralled by the lure of the Union and the magic of the stories that they tell about Scotland being crap.

How about having a wee competition (with small wager, of course!) involving sending each other e-mails every time you came across a good story that supported your side of the argument.

As an example, an Independence supporter could post this story.

I’m not sure what the Dependence supporter would use, maybe the story about Alex Salmond being a Nazi because he said Gauloise (I know) or something horrible.

You could make up your own rules for deciding the winner, or loser.

Just remember, no fighting or falling out 🙂
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 10:42
Quoting Louperdowg:
Morning all.
…. … …
Just remember, no fighting or falling out 🙂

Oh! Bummer! All my family left for other climes way back in the early 60s when the writing first appeared on the wall.
# Louperdowg 2012-02-08 10:59
Could you not read, Bob?
# rhymer 2012-02-08 13:00
Quoting Louperdowg:
Could you not read, Bob?

He could read but didn’t have a wall.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 18:28
Quoting Louperdowg:
Could you not read, Bob?

Oh! Aye! Ye started out saying, “We all have family, friends and colleagues”, My family are now Australians, I’m retired and disabled so often stuck in the home. My best friend is, “Petit Fleur”, a wee papillion bitch, who I trained as a, “Therapet”. We used to go out and about to homes, hospitals and hospices. That is until my own disability got too bad. I still make a few visits but only standing in for others ill, on holiday or otherwise unable to keep a routine visit.

That’s why I Cybrernatter. Oh! And by the way, Don’t dare feel sorry for me – I’ve had a bloody good life.
# Mako 2012-02-08 10:28
A little help please….

Am I correct in saying that we have had £3bn taken out of our budget this year and that we do not get Barnet consequentials for education?
# tartanfever 2012-02-08 10:42
Can’t remember the exact reduction in the block grant, but around £2b or £3b – and yes, the Barnett/Education payment has stopped.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 10:47
Quoting Mako:
A little help please….

Am I correct in saying that we have had £3bn taken out of our budget this year and that we do not get Barnet consequentials for education?

I don’t know the figures for the first but the second is correct. Which is why the SG charge tuition fees only from English would be students. It means the Treasury has already deducted that funding from the Scottish Block Grant for that particulat would be student but then wants the Scottish government to educate them for free.
# Dowanhill 2012-02-08 10:31
6k a year tuition fees, Council Tax thro the roof. This is what Scottish Labour is proposing. This needs to be shouted from the roof tops.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-08 10:47
Hospital A&E;’s closed

More credit card PFI projects to be paid many times over at interest.

Less police officers

Less attempts to attract inward investment (except for where politicians have a personal invested interest)

Increasing poverty gap

No action on Scotlands Alcohol problem

No progress on challenging sectarianism and bigotry.



…mass depression setting in, throughout all threads of Scottish society.

What we could expect from Scottish Labour does not bare thinking about!
# Exile 2012-02-08 11:01
The New World Order: serfdom.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 18:42
Quoting Dowanhill:
6k a year tuition fees, Council Tax thro the roof. This is what Scottish Labour is proposing. This needs to be shouted from the roof tops.

What needs also to be shouted is the reply Ken MacIntosh made to John Swinney’s budget.

He had a dig at the SNP’s drive for Independence but then said they were doing so by keeping the Pound Sterling and Bank of England and were thus letting a foreign countrie’s government and institutions dictate to Scotland.

Has no one in the Labour Party told this so ignorant person that the Pound Sterling is the United Kingdom Currency and there were only two equal sovereign countries that signed the Treaty of Union? Has no one in the Labour Party bothered to teach the numptie that the Bank of England is not English? Does he not know that the United Kingdom nationalised The Bank of England in 1946? Has none of his London Masters informed him that Gordon Brown granted the United Kingdom’s Bank of England their independence from the United Kingdom? Which is a damnd sight more than he was ready to do for his country of birth.
# ianbeag 2012-02-08 10:31
O/T Nicola spreading the gospel in Europe yesterday. Note also the contrast in the interviewing style from the BBC norm where the subject is never allowed to complete a sentence without interruption.…/
# J Wil 2012-02-08 11:57
It was very reassuring to hear it straight from the Europeans that the introduction of minimum pricing of alcohol is not illegal.

That should have hit that one on the head, but there will still be the residuals who keep beating the drum about it.
# J Wil 2012-02-08 16:36
Hold it though! It was announced on Radio Scotland a few minutes ago that the Europeans are now contesting this.

BBC Scotland pretty quick off the mark when it comes to SNP bashing.
# J Wil 2012-02-08 10:31
It is amazing how the pendulum swings.

At one time the Labour party and others were advocating that university education should be available to all and the whole system was expanded and changed to accomodate that, with some colleges getting university status. Now it is fashionable to say that not everyone should go to university and the screws go on to ensure it. The same people will now be deprived of educational opportunities, by financial considerations that Labour were trying to avoid in the first place.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 10:51
Ah! But! They changed their mind after the Wastemonster stopped the Barnett consequentials for education in the Scottish Block Grant.
# Jiggsbro 2012-02-08 10:58
Quoting J Wil:
Now it is fashionable to say that not everyone should go to university and the screws go on to ensure it.

Labour get their policies from focus groups of middle-Englanders in marginals. These are not the brightest or best-informed people in the country. They’re the sort of people who believe any superficially attractive argument they’re presented with. If you ask them “Why should the dustman pay for the doctor’s daughter to study medicine?”, they’ll think for a microsecond and say “yeah, that’s not right”. They won’t consider that the dustman pays a very small amount of the cost of educating the doctor because the dustman benefits out of all proportion by having access to high-quality medical care, and the doctor ends up paying a lot more because they earn a lot more. But there are no votes in trying to explain complexities to people who just want to read Heat. Better to just change your policies to appeal to the ignorant minority who effectively hold the balance of power.
# Ken500 2012-02-08 10:36
Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to have free Tertiary (Church) education. Recognised all over the World. Scottish invention shaped the modern world.

China calls Scotland ‘the Land of Invention’. Telephone and TV led on to telecommunicati  ons and the Internet.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-08 10:40
I dunno why the SNP are bothering to look for support on their Budget……/…

Even if the SNP turned around to the Labour, Tory and Liberal party’s and said; “OK, the block grant is £xxxx, you guys decide on the budget.”, the opposition party’s would still vote against it.

OK I suspect that the Greens and Margo will be offered concessions for their suport, but as for the rest!

Do you think William Hill will take my bet that Labour will vote against the budget?
# Jiggsbro 2012-02-08 10:50
Quoting Alba4Eva:
I dunno why the SNP are bothering to look for support on their Budget…

Because they appear inclusive and statesmanlike by trying to achieve a consensus. And Labour look like petty, tribal politicians by refusing to get on board. Scotland has one the most astute and politically able governments anywhere in the world. All they need now is a nation to run.
# dogbite 2012-02-08 22:14
the big blether on Radio Scotland said it was to share the blame on difficult decisions.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 22:49
The Big Tangerine blether was wrong. My take on it is that the SNP have got the measure of them all. They do this to draw then out into the positions they adopt. Positions that will hang them. Every one of them said something that, ss the polis caution, will be taken down and may be used against you”.
# alexmc8275 2012-02-08 11:27
Don’t think it would offer great odds probably best to put a fiver on them agreeing, then if they do you could probably half the uk deficit with some of your winnings , and probably still have enough to buy Glasgow.
# J Wil 2012-02-08 11:43
“I dunno why the SNP are bothering to look for support on their Budget…”

Although the SNP have a majority and they don’t need to bother, as you say, they prefer to have consensus in matters which are important to Scotland. Labour and the others I suspect will not want to give them that consesus just because they are who they are. Nothing to do with the greater good of the counrtry. They simply don’t recognize moral principle. Self interest comes first.
# ianbeag 2012-02-08 10:41
History clearly shows that referendums on independence led to secession in the cases where there is public support for it. Since the First World War there have been 76 referendums on independence. Most of these, 70 to be exact, have resulted in a yes vote.

O/T For those who missed it in yesterday’s Herald this is a quote from a very informative piece by Prof. Matt Qvortrup and well worth a read. The article can be viewed here…/…
# Ken500 2012-02-08 10:43
Westminster borrows and spends beyond it’s means, and then burdens Scotland with 9% of the debt. Scottish Oil sector taxed at 61% while the Multinationals in the City of London avoid tax and pay little tax or get off scot free.

HMRC negotiated £25Billion++++ tax avoidance for banks, phone companies and others making £Billions of profits.
# Ken500 2012-02-08 10:46
Dr James Wilkie is against Scottish full membership of the EU. How can the EU monitor and protect the Independence movement fully if Scotland is not a full member.?
# deepwater 2012-02-08 15:12
At the present time Scotland is a member under the UK umbrella.
If we were already in a place of self determination and not a member – it might be different, but I don’t believe anything would stop EU intervention then if the EU, specifically CofE were requested except an internal decision on the request after it was made.
# John Souter 2012-02-08 15:46
Ken 500 -The institutions Wilkie is referring to are not part of the EU – though the EU is a member of them.
# Ken500 2012-02-08 10:50
The Lanbour Party want to put up tax. They want to borrow and spend even more.
# Jim1320 2012-02-08 10:55
Labour has become a right of centre party and their instincts are now neo-liberal. Gray had to swing back towards the centre when he realised that the SNP manifesto was the more popular but that is water under the bridge. Milliband is sounding ever more Tory lite in an effort to win the Home Counties and SLab will not be allowed to wander off on its own. The silence that often follows events from SLab suggests that they still wait for a lead from London before speaking.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 11:24
Quoting Jim1320:
Labour has become a right of centre party and their instincts are now neo-liberal.

That happened when Tony started NuLabour, by detecting a wee gap on the political spectrum that opened up as the Conservatives started to move leftwards toward the centre. After the slogans – remember the slogans, “The Unacceptable face of Conservatism”? This, of course moved Labour into that rightmost place on the Spectrum that was the rightful domain of the Tories. This left the Tories with nowhere to go as The Liberals had shifted, quickly, into old Labour’s natural domain. The public were fooled and elected NuLabour. Then began the fight for all three parties to get into that Old Tory domain on the political spectrum and we have the present situation. They are all jostling in that one wee bit of the Political spectrum as the Red/Yellow/Blue Tory alliance.

There’s Tweedledee and Tweedledum,
Then there is Tweedle Dem.
Ye Canna shove a fag paper ‘tween ony twa o thaim.
# bringiton 2012-02-08 10:57
Labour are about destroying anything which gives Scotland a unique identity.
If they are allowed back into power in Scotland we will see everything being brought into line with policies hatched in Westminster.
They do not believe that Scotland is a country in it’s own right and so must be ruled from London as is the rest of the UK,effectively putting themselves out of a job at Holyrood.
The referendum is about who governs Scotland,Holyro  od or Westminster and the winner takes it all.
# FREEDOM1 2012-02-08 11:45
The Tories,Libdems and Labour are ‘Hammers of the Scots’ but it wont work. Even Longshanks could not do it. We Scots hold our Independence dear to our Hearts and none of these crawling cringers can change that. Roll on Independence.
# J Wil 2012-02-08 15:05
“Labour are about destroying anything which gives Scotland a unique identity.”

I agree. However, even when the truth stares them in the face, they get a bit sensitive when they are accused of being anti-Scottish.
# Mac 2012-02-08 11:24
Q. What is it about devolution that Labour does not get?

A. Everything!

This act of sheer stupidity by Lamont has consigned Labour (nay Red Tories) to more electoral failure. No one is going to vote for a party that not only regularily flip-flops on education but also health, transport, welfare spending, etc, etc.
# Clarinda 2012-02-08 11:39
“flip-flops” which implies having the gumption to alter one’s thinking is perhaps a compliment too far when the correct description of Labour’s inability to think before engaging speech is ffffffffflounde  ring?

Of course university education must be paid for – but it is the manner by which it happens that is vital in not compromising our national economic, educational or cultural product. Every inticement must be front-loaded to nurture ambition and effort – Miss Lamont appears not to grasp this fundamental and historic Scottish principle.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 11:43
Quoting Mac:

No one is going to vote for a party that not only regularily flip-flops on education but also health, transport, welfare spending, etc, etc.

Oh! Yes! They will!

I was among those people way back when there was a firm Communist base within both the Unions and the Labour Party in Scotland. My union purged all known communist party members but they didn’t go away. They just flew under the false flag of Labour. Now the first principle of these guys was internationalis  m, they sent support to the Russians after all. That legacy still rules within Scottish Labour today. They want just one big, unhappy, family with equality for all, (but, of course, for party leaders, “Some are more equl than others”.

I remember one of those guys in those days holding a union meeting.
“The government will own all the houses and everyone will have a house”, (crowd) “Yes! Yes!”
“The Government will own all the transport and everyone will have free access”.
(crowd) “Yes! Yes!”
The government will own all the farms and everyone will have equal access to food.
(crowd) “Yes! Yes!”
The government will own all the cars and everyone who needs one will get a car”
(crowd) “Yes! Yes!”
But a voice rang out, “Here! Hing oan brither! Ave goat a caur”.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-02-08 11:40
O/T Interesting read from the Burd today. She’s not awfully keen on the way Newsnet approaches the News at times and commenter Doug Daniel says
Mind you, the comments sections remind me that I’ve got a long way to go before I could be classed as a bona-fide “Cybernat”

and poster Indy adds
I seriously thought Newsnet Scotland was a satirical site until quite recently. I thought it was really cleverly done – a kind of nat version of the Scotsman. But I have noticed people using it as a serious news source recently. Still find it hard to believe it’s not an elaborate joke!

I’m curious about these type of comments from independence supporters as although I certainly don’t agree with all the comments on Newsnet I’ve never felt the need to boast about distancing myself from them. I just wonder who the “distancing” is aimed at.
# balbeggie 2012-02-08 11:46
another interesting article in the Huffington Post too,…/…
# GrassyKnollington 2012-02-08 11:59
thanks for that balbeggie Michael Greenwell’s article is a refreshing change from the usual fare.
# Robabody 2012-02-08 20:47
Cerebal Nats perchance? Nats that quirky would have loved?

Anyway, glad they looked in, just hope they come back and contribute. They’ll have to come down from Olympus of course and join the common Nat crowd. Most of whom, from what I read, happen to think this site is providing a valuable service that others aren’t.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-02-08 22:53
yep Robabody it’s nice they deign to have a glance down here at economy occassionally even if it’s just to smirk.

Frankly it’s an honour just to be dismissed by such elevated ponderers.

We’re not worthy.
# zedeeyen 2012-02-08 21:24
I reckon the burd is right on the money. NNS was on the verge of something cool and useful at one point – a tonic to the relentless drivel of the traditional media, and then the high heid yins fell out and since then it’s reverted to a ranty, ultra-tribal pro-SNP blog site with an occasional salient or amusing article.

Taken for what it is it’s fine, but it could have been so much more.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-02-08 22:56
you should start one yourself then zedeeyen then you can set your own standards and keep them.

Apologies if you already have one, maybe you could provide a link and we can judge the quality for ourselves.
# govanite 2012-02-08 11:42
University funding is a real union breaker.

Despite Education being devolved, the Scottish Government is not given a free hand in funding strategies. Witness the impact of EU rules about overseas students for example combined with Labour’s student fees in England and the subsequent tory increases.

The problem is that the current UK structure forces our Government in Scotland to tackle the issue with its hands tied behind its back. These restrictions mean we can only consider solutions within a narrow selection, driven by the financial controls of Westminster.

The Scottish Government should be allowed more flexibility, for example:
Changes to VAT or corporation tax for industry/university collaboration.
Changes to the benefits/allowances system for students.
Changes to the general income tax system & tax rates.

Now, how do you suppose we achieve that ?
# RTP 2012-02-08 11:45

Fire ice fuel of the future may lie in the ocean depths west of Shetland

The North Sea could have reserves of a potentially valuable new fuel dubbed “fire ice” – which is tipped to … Full Article

Scottish seabed could hold fuel of the future

energy.reporter | 08/02/2012

THE seabed off the coast of north Scotland could hold key reserves of a valuable new fuel, energy chiefs have … Full Article

If there is any truth in this two stories Westminster will do anything to keep Scotland under there control
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 12:20
Links please the ones quoted do not work.
# Pete The Jakey 2012-02-08 12:39…/……/…

To read the full articles you can sign up for a free 4 week trial.
# RTP 2012-02-08 12:41
Sorry Bob it is in the P&J; but you have to pay or buy the Paper before seeing these stories.
# Shug MacTamson 2012-02-08 20:22
Fire ice fuel of the future may lie in the ocean depths west of Shetland
Energy: Methane gas hydrates could be powering our planet when the oil reserves start to run out

energy.reporter | 08/02/2012

WHAT LIES BENEATH? Technological devices like Wally the Crawler are being used to seek methane gas hydrates under the ocean floor
The North Sea could have reserves of a potentially valuable new fuel dubbed “fire ice” – which is tipped to become the world’s next major energy resource.

UK Energy Minister Charles Hendry yesterday said the government believes it is “possible” that methane hydrates are present in the deep waters west of Shetland.

Experts estimate there is twice the amount of energy in the untouched global reserves of ice-trapped gas as the total for all other fossil fuels put together.

Experts in Japan believe fire ice could fuel the country for 300 years. And it is already ploughing huge sums into test drilling, with commercial production scheduled for 2016.

Asked about the estimated level of fire ice in the UK, Mr Hendry said: “The presence of methane hydrates in deep waters west of Shetland is possible, but has not been established. In the absence of any commercial technology for exploiting such resources, no estimate of reserves can be made at the present time.”

Professor Bahman Tohidi, director of the Centre for Gas Hydrate Research at Heriot-Watt University, said: “For methane hydrate you need water depths of more than 1,640ft.

“The only place we have those water depths is west of Shetland. We haven’t seen any hydrates yet but there could be some there.

“If there is a potential, it needs to be investigated.

“I would say there are chances of it being in UK waters, but even if there is nothing in the UK we should be developing the technology.

“It definitely will be a major industry. I always say it is far too big to be ignored – it’s like the elephant sitting outside your doorstep and we can’t ignore it. Sooner or later we will develop the technology.” Fire ice is described as a sherbet-like substance consisting of methane trapped in water ice.

Initially thought to only be present in the outer solar system, the ice-trapped gas is now known to exist under Arctic permafrost and on some seabeds.

Fears have been raised that extracting the methane hydrates could carry major environmental risks linked to disrupting the seabed and causing a release of methane into the sea, which could accelerate climate change.

However, some scientists believe the fuel could help tackle global warming if technology is developed to replace the methane in the seabed with CO2, similar to the concept of carbon capture and storage.

A spokeswoman for industry body Oil and Gas UK said: “We’re not aware of anyone investigating it in the UK but the volume of methane trapped in hydrates is believed to be very large worldwide.”

Alex Kemp, renowned Aberdeen University professor of petroleum economics, said: “I haven’t heard of it being present in any significant amounts in the UK continental shelf.

“In other countries, for example New Zealand, it is regarded as having a big potential. They think they have large amounts. There is the question of what technology to use to extract it. It’s all very futuristic.”
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 12:27
Quoting RTP:

Fire ice fuel of the future may lie in the ocean depths west of Shetland

It is not the only big story on the fuel front, (unless it is the same one), BBC Ceefax carries a story, headed, “Solar Study may put oil under sea”. Seems that Glasgow University is working towards technology that can extract greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, use Sunlight to transform it to oil, and store it in the empty North Sea oil/gas fields.
# J Wil 2012-02-08 13:08
This is a long term project related to photosynthesis. The Scientist said there were major obstacles to overcome and wanted considerable funding to get it moving. He also said it could be a number of decades (possibly 2050?) before anything useful would come out of it.
# Edzell Blue 2012-02-08 13:20
It was on Newsnight Scotland last night and is on the BBC web site at:…/…
# J Wil 2012-02-08 13:04
“Fire ice fuel of the future may lie in the ocean depths west of Shetland…”

This seems to be the same activity that the Japanese want to grab with both hands as they import all their fossil fuels and there is a large quantity of this newly recognized resource on the seabed around Japan. However, it seems that this type of fuel would not help the basic global warming argument, as it is, I believe, a greater producer of CO2 than other forms of fuel.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 14:25
Aye, but link it with the Glasgow university study to use CO2 and Sunlight to make oil and you solve trouble with both projects. The Fire-ice one extracts the solid from undersea and to extract it they pump in the oil produced with CO2 and Sunlight. One big problem with Fire-ice is that it could cause the seabed to sink as you are taking out solids. However, fill the void with photosynthasise  d CO2 oil and you have somewhere to store your fuel and no void to sink.
# J Wil 2012-02-08 15:08
It would also destroy the flora and fauna on the sea bed.
# Ready to Start 2012-02-08 12:13
O/T Other than Stephen Maxwell’s excellent letter in the Scotsman to-day, which not directly about Alex Salmond’s ban, I find it astonishing that The Herald and Scotsman have not printed any letter criticising London BBC’s political decision…………….

The BBC’s spurious reasons for blocking Alex Salmond’s TV appearance at Murrayfield on grounds of being too close to Local Elections in May and the “heightened tensions” over independence gives real concern that their London political editor will not ensure any balance between now and 2014 ……………………………….will all programmes discussing independence have an equal number for and against or will it be the three anti Scottish independence parties V SNP……………………………….Will SNP get weekly appearances on Question Time………………………………… …… Last night’s Sports Nation programme was claiming that the SNP would use 2014 Commonwealth Games for political; propaganda………………..will there be a ban on David Cameron et al promoting Britishness during the Olympic Games.?
# J Wil 2012-02-08 13:13
It seems that Cameron and his cronies are trying to make Scotland look like a pariah state simply because its people want to improve their standard of liviing.
# Legerwood 2012-02-08 20:56
I find it astonishing that The Herald and Scotsman have not printed any letter criticising London BBC’s political decision…………….

Although the Sunday Herald lead with the Story on Sunday by Monday the story had changed to the AS and the ‘Nazi’ slur. This changed the focus of the story away from the BBC and thus provided them with the excuse not to pursue the BBC/censorship part of the story and thus not print any letters on that spect of the story even if they received them.

If the ‘gauleiter’ analogy had not been used then perhaps the main focus would have remained on the BBC/censorship and there would have been letters printed about it.

When David Dimbleby on Question Time stopped Nicola Sturgeon talking about Scotland because the programme was being broadcast to the whole of the UK there were plenty of letters printed in the herald descrying the BBC’s ‘censorship’
# G. Campbell 2012-02-08 12:42
Help! Help! Is there a doctor in the house? Mr Bendy has gone all Douglas “sewer rats” Fraser at the Hootsmon website (comment #8).

“The comments on my article include the usual nationalist trolls.”

“I joined the Labour Party when my wife – Wendy Alexander – became leader of the Scottish Parliament Labour group. Being a member of the party made it easier for me to obtain credentials to attend Party events with her.”

“Attempts to smear myself or my wife are no substitute for serious debate and suggest a poverty of argument.”…/…
# Training Day 2012-02-08 12:55
The Scotsman along with other MSM outlets are really ramping up the message that ‘bullying’ and ‘smearing’ is the only resort of nationalists. George Robertson’s article yesterday in that same paper referred to being ‘shouted down by an angry mob’, we have seen the reaction to Salmond’s (in my view ill-considered) Gauleiter comment in the MSM, and Ashcroft attempts a similar line of argument in his comment left on his own piece (good to know that this ‘objective’ commentator has no difficulty employing the phrase ‘nationalist trolls’ by the way).

These systematic attempts to portray the democratically elected government of Scotland as intolerant and authoritarian no doubt constitute the ‘positive’ case for the Union..
# balbeggie 2012-02-08 12:42
O/T I don’t think the MSM will be highlighting this report that is not tune with the Westminster’s Govt thinking.…/…

‘Contrary to the views of the UK Government and a number of influential commentators, on this blog and elsewhere, we believe that the legality of a referendum Bill passed under the Scotland Act as it currently stands is a more open question than has been generally acknowledged. In other words, we believe that a plausible case can be made that such a Bill would be lawful, and believe it is important that these arguments are clearly set out. The case for legality rests on a particular reading both of the purposes of a referendum Bill, and of the purposes of the Scotland Act……..

Finally, it is a curiosity of the UK Government’s position that, in assessing the effect of a referendum, they seem to be assuming that the yes campaign will win. Hence it will confer a political mandate to negotiate terms for independence and will lead inexorably to the dissolution of the Union. Should the outcome be different, though, the effect, it would seem, would be to reinforce the Union. If the key test of legality is practical effect, would the referendum legislation in that case be lawful? Of course, it would be absurd if the legality of a referendum Bill were to depend on outcome of the referendum, not least because the outcome is unknowable at the point at which any challenge is likely to be heard. This then points to the true meaning of the ‘effect’ of a Bill as being its legal effect, rather than its practical effect. Since the legal effect of a referendum Bill is indisputably simply to seek the views of people in Scotland – and any further effect is both non-binding and speculative – this again points to the narrower, consultative, interpretation of the legislative purpose as being the correct one.’
# RandomScot 2012-02-08 12:45
Either I’m getting forgetful

Or there’s a glitch in the comments system

Or my comments are disappearing, raising BWB style fears
# balbeggie 2012-02-08 12:48
there appears to be a glitch.
# RandomScot 2012-02-08 13:16
That’s no fun. Can’t even enjoy my paranoia now!
# rhymer 2012-02-08 16:29
Quoting RandomScot:
That’s no fun. Can’t even enjoy my paranoia now!

Look out behind you!
# Stevie Cosmic 2012-02-08 13:18
Not half. I timed out after writing about 4 paragraphs and when I logged in again, an entire thread about the SDA had vanished.
# J Wil 2012-02-08 14:58
As matter of course and as a precaution, as soon as I have composed something substantial, I copy it before attempting to send it. However, any problems I have had were on the Guardian and Daily Mail websites, not on this site.
# daveniz 2012-02-08 13:25
heard this the other day and thought it is really true when you take the whole picture “nationalists are inclusive and unionists are exclusive” nationalists will TALK about the case for independance unionists will TELL you the case against Independance! (because the unionists don’t have a factual argument!)
# jafurn 2012-02-08 13:30
Ian Davidson’s committee is meeting again today
Watch live coverage of MPs taking evidence on the functioning of the electricity grid in Scotland, from 2.30pm on 8 February 2012.…/9693472.stm
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 14:30
Bummer! John Swinney’s budget amendments are on…/…
after the Pause fot though at 02:30 too.
# jafurn 2012-02-08 14:51
Quoting Auld Bob:
Bummer! John Swinney’s budget amendments are on…/…
after the Pause fot though at 02:30 too.

Cheers for that Auld Bob…
typical wait ages for a relative programme and then 2 come along at the same time.

PS the budget debate is also on here……/9693400.stm
# rhymer 2012-02-08 13:40
I have decided that since we still can’t comment on the Beebs Scottish news ste it should be renamed from blather with brian to –
“Why bother with Brian”
# daveniz 2012-02-08 13:50
ha ha David Cameron has basically let slip and revealed the truth on north sea oil revenues and showed why they don’t want Scottish independance because the revenues service jobs in ENGLAND! 12:31pm roughly (give couple minutes) 8/2 /2012 pmqs for reference!
# oldnat 2012-02-08 13:57
Where was that?
# D_A_N 2012-02-08 19:07
PMQ’s aint up yet so if you go to iplayer. channel 2 and select ‘daily politics’ it’s at the one hour mark

or click…/…
# Louperdowg 2012-02-08 14:01
Has anyone clocked this story on the Herald?…/…

The Electoral Reform Society has put its weight behind the legitimacy of the Scottish Government deciding on key issues relating to the referendum, which is proposed for autumn 2014.

The society’s Juliet Swann said: “At the Electoral Reform Society Scotland we’ve spent time poring over legislation, talking to experts, taking on board opinions and mulling over the options that would best respect democracy.

“To that end, we are recommending the Scottish Parliament be provided with a no-strings-attached legal mandate to call a referendum at a time and with a question or questions of their choosing.

“We also believe that the Scottish Electoral Commission is best placed to monitor the referendum, but they should be accountable not to the Westminster Government but to all members of the Scottish Parliament.”

Ms Swann, campaigns and research officer at ERS Scotland, added: “The Society supports votes for 16 and 17-year-olds and, given the importance of this vote, we see no reason why this opportunity shouldn’t be taken to extend the franchise”.

Its great news!

Can’t wait to see Jackie Burd giving it full prominence tonight 🙂
# pmcrek 2012-02-08 14:17
Yes the hypocrisy of Labour and especially Lib Dems who are members of the vote at 16 campaign is ridiculous.

Full support from the Scottish Greens on this issue, 16 and 17 year olds must be afforded their rights to vote.
# nottooweeorstupid 2012-02-08 14:19
wow – and the herald even has it in a prominent spot … for now!
# rhymer 2012-02-08 16:36
Quoting nottooweeorstup  id:
wow – and the herald even has it in a prominent spot … for now!

Yes. The Herald seem to be doing a one day -tell the truth and the next day print anti-independence propaganda.

I suppose this alternating news system is better than their previous “just print labour press releases” version of real news reporting.
# Robabody 2012-02-08 20:59
Maybe they are having to relearn that fine old skill – “thinking for your self” and are currently only able to do alternative days.
# Legerwood 2012-02-08 20:58
It is still there in a prominent spot as it was in the paper edition too.
# mato21 2012-02-08 14:01
Posted this on another thread but for those who may have missed it

For example, if the Scottish Parliament takes responsibility for the country’s public institutions, then the country will have its own broadcaster – a Scottish Broadcasting Company. And the Scots probably won’t to create a scale model of the British original. After all, the BBC has a pretty poor record on investigative reporting. While it is proud of its investigation into alleged corruption at FIFA, it dropped the ball on Iraq, the financial crisis, the MPs’ expenses scandal and the criminal conspiracies at News International. The BBC is great at costume drama and nature documentaries. As a check on power it leaves something to be desired.

‘A progressive beacon’

From AlJazeera Not overly impressed with the BBC I would say
# pmcrek 2012-02-08 14:15
Al Jazeera on freeview for a couple of hours has been great, we should offer them the license fee.
# pmcrek 2012-02-08 14:13
I’m starting to think Lamont is an SNP double agent.

The electorate have already utterly mauled Labour over their introduction of fees, statements like this make Labour frankly unelectable across most of Scotland. Surely they must know this? What the hell is going on?
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 15:26
Quoting pmcrek:
I’m starting to think Lamont is an SNP double agent.

The electorate have already utterly mauled Labour over their introduction of fees, statements like this make Labour frankly unelectable across most of Scotland. Surely they must know this? What the hell is going on?

Well actually she may not be. It may be more like she is firebird and not a firebrand. You know! Firebird – Phoenix – die – rise from the ashes?



Oh! Please yersels.
# call me dave 2012-02-08 17:25
Aye Bob! We get it.
It always sounds funnier in your heid before you say it.

LOL #;+)

Do appreciate all your posts. keep up the good work.
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 19:09
Quoting call me dave:
Aye Bob! We get it.
It always sounds funnier in your heid before you say it.

LOL #;+)

Do appreciate all your posts. keep up the good work.

Well I didn’t think folk wouldn’t get it – it was, “Just the way you tell them”.
# Pushka 2012-02-08 14:17
Today from Peter Murrel, Membership has 2,000 more since Jan. 8. up 10%.

Got to keep on getting the Independence message out there.
Vote YES
# daveniz 2012-02-08 14:20
oldnat – it was said after labour mp talking about the north sea oil £2 billion tax affect on jobs on tynside then David Cameron stood up after saying it was vital to aberdeens economy and then said that the north sea oil tax was used to reduced fuel tax duty and won’t have affect on servicing jobs in England and Scotland (like an after thought the way he said it)!
# Islegard 2012-02-08 15:29
Only Scotland pay the highest fuel tax duty in the UK. I assume he means further south?
# Auld Bob 2012-02-08 19:23
Quoting Islegard:
Only Scotland pay the highest fuel tax duty in the UK. I assume he means further south?

Scots generating is also charghed to connect electricity into the grid but near London the get subsidised to do so. However, the whole idea of Enectric current travelling down the line to London is mince. It is a grid with multiple inputs and muntiple outputs. So what you get is a web kept charged at a certain potential and getting kept at that level. Then we get the guff of the wind turbines being paid to NOT feed the grid. The guff is that the whole idea of paying generators to go off-line is across the entire grid. Some types of generation can go off line in an instand other can not. The job of the grid companies is to load-balance to meet differing conditions. Hydro is great as it uses power at low load periods to pump water up-hill and holds it until needed at peak times. Wind can go off-line quickly but coal, gas, oil take a while. Nuclear cannot be turned off except for a long time as it takes time being shut down and time to run back up again. Then we have the mince about big subsidy to wind, the truth is that they are all subsidised but the most subsidised is nuclear but the subsidy is hidden and they never count the cost of decommisioning and disposal of waste or reprocessing.
# bigbuachaille 2012-02-08 15:16
It is worth considering the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as an independent European body to oversee the referendum. They have experience of supervising elections all over the world over many years, and they far exceed the Electoral Commission in experience. They cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as partial. A further advantage would be that the referendum process would thereby be internationalis  ed, thus securing the support and awareness of our European colleagues which could be a crucial factor in 2014. I’m sure our European friends would be delighted.
In addition there would also be the sweet knowledge that any European involvement would get under the skin of you know who.
The website of the OSCE can be viewed here:
# steveb 2012-02-08 15:32
An excellent development. Ho Ho Ho! You can hear the panic building. Now to stick it good and proper to the State Broadcaster.
Against all the unionist endeavours, we might be getting a more level playing field.
Best news of the day!
# Islegard 2012-02-08 15:36
I’d like to see a Newsnet piece on this. Living in Scotland it is always better to contrast and compare information and opinion. Rather than take it as read. It certainly sounds interesting. Do these bodies have to act on the request of a group? What will happen next?
# balbeggie 2012-02-08 16:58
John Swinney’s Budget speech to Parliament:…/budget-scotland
# oldnat 2012-02-08 17:00
“English Tory MPs to campaign against Scottish independence”…/…

Except that the Tory MPs involved aren’t English. They are MPs who left Scotland to represent English constituencies.

Given the paranoia south of the Border about Scotland, I wonder how their constituents are going to respond to their “Scots” MP telling them that they benefit greatly from keeping Scotland in the Union.
# Jiggsbro 2012-02-08 17:03
“Backbench Tory MPs are being urged to join the battle to prevent the break-up of Britain by persuading the English they are better off in a union with Scotland”

Good luck with that. Has anyone explained to them that the English aren’t getting a vote?
# J Wil 2012-02-08 17:43
Have any of these Scottish, expat MPs explained to their constituents how much of a financial deadweight Scotland is to England? Will they be arguing that the reverse is true now?

BTW, does anyone know how many Scottish born MPs are representing English constituencies. It’s not a figure I have seen bandied about much given all the invective about the Scottish mafia in Westminster. It always surprises me that there seems to be so many when they pop up to ask a question at PMQs.
# bringiton 2012-02-08 17:34
Scottish rejects.
# Teri 2012-02-08 20:14
I believe Ruth Davidson was down at Westminster on Monday drumming up support from Tory colleagues and asking them to urge their constituents to back the case for the Union.
I dont suppose there are enough Tory supporters in Scotland to make their voices heard thus resulting her plea to Westminster.
# bigbuachaille 2012-02-08 17:05
Afraid the budget speech by J SWinney is well down the priority list for the State Broadcaster: Item 1 on the BBC Scotland news – apparently a Ha*** R****** is not guilty. Looks like there is a major drive by BBC Scotland to convince us we’re really British, after all the wall to wall Dickens hysteria yesterday, then Team GB in Miami.

Comment edited by NNS Mod Team
# daveniz 2012-02-08 17:08
found this and it shows north sea revenues are servicing 55% of oil and gas jobs in England and only 45% in Scotland! considering Scotland owns 90% of off shore oil and gas this shows how England is benefiting from oil and gas with the majority of jobs and proof that Scotland is not benefiting as much from north sea oil revenues than it should be! Westminster don’t want us to have independance as it will risk all the jobs in England coming to Scotland!…/oilandgas
# bigbuachaille 2012-02-08 17:11
Yep. Makes you regret having all that natural wealth. We’ve just become poorer, smaller and stupider since 1970. How com Norway managed it?
# A_Scottish_Voice 2012-02-08 17:35
Is it just me or are posts going missing from here.

[Online Editor – Some comments have been unpublished for the time being for legal reasons.]
# .Scot 2012-02-08 17:52
Tuition fees? PAH!!

The BBC have also turned over their lead story today to the Labour Party. Seems the BBC spoke to an EU assistant who denies his boss supported the Scottish Alcohol Bill? Since the only claim ever made by the SNP has been that it is not in breach of any EU law, there is little point in claiming that the EU have given tacit support to any Scottish bills. Unfortunately, the whole piece is again written as an attack on Scottish politics, the Scottish governmen and the Scots, as stupid, ignorant and incompetent.

Disgraced Holyrood liar, Jackie Bailie is given carte Blanche (yet again) to drawl all over the piece with diatribe and rubbish such as [“Perhaps if the SNP spent more time on the substance than the spin they might come up with policy that was actually competent – not half-baked policies that are wide open to legal challenge”] Jackie Bailie, Labour Health Spokesperson.

I thought she was opposition health spokesperson. I confess to having no idea who Labour’s health Spokesperson actually is. Is it Maggie Becket, John Healey or Uncle Tom Cobbley and all?
# Marga B 2012-02-08 17:55
This Burdz eye view has certainly got its knife into Newsnet. Have people seen recent comments?

You can always learn from criticism, especially when it contains valid points like: “The disconnect politically between the SNP nationally and locally is a curious thing.”

Thinking about the forthcoming elections when the SNP certainly can’t rest on their laurels, which seems to be the case for now, or is it just that the news isn’t coming out?
# Kinghob 2012-02-08 18:04
“Yeah, but she then went on to say and no graduate charge either, which makes the words less weasel.”

A bit mickey mouse that. “less weasel’ is hardly even an average standard of rhetoric is it?

The words stated by the labour leader of the scottish branch are about charging for university education in Scotland as opposed to her supposed party commitment to free higher education-this is a U turn and is exactly the sort of thing labour should be pulled up on and asked to elaborate on.

Foulkes is also trying to make an arse of himself and the Scottish Parliament by trying to insert clauses into the soon to be booted out ‘scotland bill’ a unionist load of twaddle that is irrelevant……….the fact is that Lamont should be asked clearly and directly to explain exactly how much support she has (and her party) for the likes of Foulkes trying to remove devolved powers from the Scottish Parliament.
# balbeggie 2012-02-08 18:08
Something to hide?

FOI request on Scottish & Welsh Devolution vetoed by Attorney General…/…

Attorney General (Dominic Grieve): I have today given the Information Commissioner a certificate under section 53 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (‘the Act’). The certificate relates to the Decision Notices dated 12 September 2011 (ref. FS50347714) and 13 September 2011 (ref. FS50363603). It is my view, as an accountable person under the Act, that there was no failure by the Cabinet Office to comply with section 1(1)(b) of the Act in these cases by withholding copies of the minutes of the Cabinet Ministerial Committee on Devolution to Scotland and Wales and the English Regions (DSWR) from 1997 and 1998.

The consequence of my giving the Information Commissioner this certificate is that the Commissioner’s Decision Notices, which ordered disclosure of most of the DSWR minutes, cease to have effect.

A copy of the certificate has been laid before each House of Parliament. I have additionally placed a copy of the certificate and a detailed statement of the reasons for my decision in the Libraries of both Houses, the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.

This is only the third time the power under section 53 (otherwise known as the ‘veto’) has been exercised since the Act came into force in 2005. In that time, central government has released an enormous amount of information in response to FOI requests – including in October 2010 the minutes of the Cabinet discussion of the Westland affair.
My decision to exercise the veto in this case was not taken lightly, but in accordance with the Statement of Government Policy on the use of the executive override as it relates to information falling within the scope of section 35(1) of the Act. I have placed a copy of that policy in the Libraries of both Houses.

In line with that policy, I have both assessed the balance of the public interest in disclosure and non-disclosure of these minutes, and considered whether this case meets the criteria set out in the Statement of Government Policy for use of the veto. I consider that the public interest falls in favour of non-disclosure and that disclosure would be damaging to the doctrine of collective responsibility and detrimental to the effective operation of Cabinet government. I have concluded, in light of the criteria
set out in the Government’s policy, that this constitutes an exceptional case and that the exercise of the veto is warranted. A detailed explanation of the basis on which I arrived at the conclusion that the veto should be used is set out in my statement of reasons.

The Attorney General’s Office
8th February 2012
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-08 18:23
Libdems voted with SNP on budget division. 70 for 52 against.Something stirring? The Labour/Tory Party voted against.(Labtors?)
# Islegard 2012-02-08 18:59
Luckily the Lib Dems are dependable in one way. They are utterly untrustworthy, self serving, stand for nothing and will change any policy or back track at the drop of a hat or power.

Keep this in mind don’t even try to analyse their motives beyond the above. The sooner they are a party of none in Scotland the better.
# Teri 2012-02-08 20:19
Labour never vote in favour of the budget. This has beent their policy since they became the opposition. Labour oppose absolutely everything as they think that is what you do in opposition.
# J Wil 2012-02-08 20:56
They didn’t vote for it even when they put forward an amendment to the bill which was adopted by the parliament???

The result of which was loud mocking laughter in the chamber.
# Kinghob 2012-02-08 18:29
All four of the libdems can do what they like-doesn’t change their unionist uber alles credentials………….the fact that the tories and labour stood shoulder to shoulder against the budget is hardly a surprise.
# J Wil 2012-02-08 20:57
A soothsayer wasn’t required to predict that.
# Seagetagrip 2012-02-08 18:39
Who was surprised?
# macdoc 2012-02-08 18:49
Great closing speech By Swinney. When he gets into full swing he really is a good public speaker. Exposing the Conlabs for theuir hypocrisy. They moan about budget cuts the government has to make despite knowing full well that due to a reduction in block grant there has to be cuts in certain areas and you have to allocate the spending accordingly.

There is one cure for this phenomenum and that is INDEPENDENCE. It beggars belief the mentality and hypocrisy of the unionist cabal. They are an embaressment to Scotland and should be unelectable after Independence.
# Alba4Eva 2012-02-08 19:27
Aye… Mucho Respecto…. He’s a top bloke….…/…
# ScotFree1320 2012-02-08 20:29
I note that the state broadcaster has generally negative commentary about the budget from all parties except the SNP. They also don’t mention the scale of the Westminster cuts which set the scene for the budget. No surprises there then.…/…
# Islegard 2012-02-08 20:39
# sneckedagain 2012-02-08 20:09
Complatey O/T

Interssting poll now running in ther Wishaw Press (About thr London Olympics)
# ScotFree1320 2012-02-08 20:26
I see the graph before voting is pretty much the same as the graph after. That’s a change from the independence vote they had recently which had Yes at ~35% before voting and afterwards it jumped to ~60%. Where does their allegance lie then?

And how can one not know whether or not one is excited by the London Olympics? One either is, or is not.
# Teri 2012-02-08 20:21
Iain Gray only came out with his no tuition fees for students well into the campaign so the Labour could be upsides with, or a better alternative than the SNP. However, I recall that when pushed at a meeting with students in Glasgow, that he modified this to no tuition fees for certain courses.

It was the Labour party who introduced tuition fees and they have never had any real intention of straying from that.
# Legerwood 2012-02-08 20:37
Ms Lamont said:

I’m not rushing to have a graduate contribution, but if current policy means colleges will not serve the needs we want, and lots of people continue to be deterred from higher education, there’s a problem.”

So free higher education, which is the current situation in Scotland, is deterring people from Higher Education therefore we will charge fees and …what? Will they all come running eager to get into debt?

What sort of contorted travesty of logical clear thinking is this?

has she not seen the recent statistics on the relative fall in applications for University in Scotland vs England? If she saw them did she understand them?

Would someone please draw her a picture – or multiple pictures – until she does grasp their significance.
# RandomScot 2012-02-08 22:05

I didn’t realise how much I missed the moderation policy on Blether with brian until today
# A_Scottish_Voice 2012-02-08 22:12
It looks like things will never be the same again.
# enneffess 2012-02-09 00:30
Quoting Ken500:
Dr James Wilkie is against Scottish full membership of the EU. How can the EU monitor and protect the Independence movement fully if Scotland is not a full member.?

Have you considered that as a full member of the EU – something I am personally against at present – an independent Scotland might find itself having English students treated as EU nationals, meaning we would have to pay for their tuition, as already happens with mainland EU students?

Swinney is trying to stop having to pay for EU students, and the only way that will work is if Scotland is not a member of the EU.

Free education in an independent Scotland might become unaffordable, unless the number of places were reduced.

EU membership will cost an independent Scotland a lot – and for what tangible benefit to the bulk of the population?
# Jiggsbro 2012-02-09 00:34
Quoting enneffess:
Have you considered that as a full member of the EU …an independent Scotland might find itself having English students treated as EU nationals, meaning we would have to pay for their tuition, as already happens with mainland EU students?

I believe we have reciprocal arrangements with other EU countries. Where our students can study for free, their students can study for free in Scotland. As our students would be charged in England, the reciprocal arrangement would mean English students being charged in Scotland. Exactly as it is now, and for the same reasons.
# snowthistle 2012-02-09 00:45
Always thought the rules were that we had to treat EU citizens in the same way we treat our own. So if we charge our own folk for uni we can charge folk from the EU but if we don’t we can’t. That’s why EU students don’t pay at the moment
# oldnat 2012-02-09 00:47
You have it right.
# Jiggsbro 2012-02-09 01:26
Quoting snowthistle:
Always thought the rules were that we had to treat EU citizens in the same way we treat our own.

The English are EU citizens.
# oldnat 2012-02-09 01:44
Indeed those English resident in England are EU citizens, but they aren’t resident in Scotland. You do need to take a look at what happens in other parts of the EU, where there are different jurisdictions within a single state of the EU.

If you really want the resources of those parts of the EU who choose to provide free tuition in their Universities to be spent on educating those students from areas who want to charge high fees, then feel free to argue for that position.
# Jiggsbro 2012-02-09 01:48
Quoting oldnat:
Indeed those English resident in England are EU citizens, but they aren’t resident in Scotland.

EU citizens resident in other EU countries are also not resident in Scotland, so that’s a bit of a red herring.

Quoting oldnat:
If you really want the resources of those parts of the EU who choose to provide free tuition in their Universities to be spent on educating those students from areas who want to charge high fees, then feel free to argue for that position.

I assure you that in the unlikely event that I ever do really want that, I’ll argue for it. Or possibly just jump straight to having myself committed.
# oldnat 2012-02-09 02:54
We might visit you!

The point (for anyone of normal perception) was that there is a difference between the provision of EU students having access to University on the same basis as students from a particular jurisdiction, and the arrangements within an EU state, where those rules don’t apply.

I’m quite interested as to exactly how differences such as those in the UK, which are replicated in other parts of the EU, are resolved.

That such details aren’t easily available is significant in itself. I have wondered whether the economic benefits of students from elsewhere might actually outweigh the tuition costs. Alas, I can find nothing on this.

As an expert in this area, you will be able to enlighten me.
# oldnat 2012-02-09 00:46
Austria currently has problems with German students enrolling there from those few German Lander that still charge tuition fees.

It’s not a problem unique to the current UK.

If the EU aspect can’t be solved, there are alternative solutions like charging tuition fees but providing Scottish residents with loans to cover these fees – to be repaid when their earnings exceed £1 million pounds.
# snowthistle 2012-02-09 00:49
Don’t the Welsh do something like that already?
# oldnat 2012-02-09 00:59
# Lucas 2012-02-09 00:52
A grand own goal over at Labour Hame, where Jim Sheridan blasts through his own net. He states that politicians shouls stay out of sport, in reference to the BBC’s bungling of the Salmond at Murrayfield issue. I replied to his piece:

So no Labour (or SNP) party spokespersons will be speaking on any matters related to the Olympics, European football, forthcoming Commonwealth games etc? I’m glad, there will be more than enough rubbish spouted anyway without politicos joining in, and it will be good to know that my peace isn’t going to be disturbed by any ‘anti-separatist’ Labour- supporting sports personalities. Are you sure that you’ve thought this through?

From Wikipedia ‘In November 2008, Sheridan tabled a Commons early day motion backing a Great Britain football team at the 2012 Olympics, saying football “should not be any different from other competing sports and our young talent should be allowed to show their skills on the world stage”. The football governing bodies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all opposed to a Great Britain team, fearing it would stop them competing as individual nations in future tournaments.’ I’m confused -this looks a little like you dragging politics into sport?
# Leswil 2012-02-10 09:40
So Lamont/Labour are hypocrite’s, no surprise there then! For the next couple of months prior to Council elections Glasgow will be focus of their wayward policies.

Trouble is Glaswegians have rumbled them.

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