By Paul T Kavanagh

Ever since the independence referendum was announced, Scotland has witnessed a gradual deterioration in the standard of debate, with scaremongering in place of reason and myth masquerading as truth.

This has left many Scots bewildered, and sadly, hopelessly misinformed.

As an antidote to the very many claims put forward by those who would oppose Scotland and her people taking back all of the powers currently reserved to Westminster, Paul T Kavanagh has compiled a humorous but informative A to Z that debunks many of the wild assertions that have made their way into the ‘Great Debate’.

The list is updated periodically and checked for accuracy.  We hope it both educates and entertains. 

Non-commercial use of this article is positively encouraged.  Feel free to copy, quote or share.


Abandoning the English:  We’d abandon the English to decades of Tory rule.

Alex Salmond:  Alex Salmond stirs up divisions.

Anti-English:  Scottish nationalism is motivated by hatred of the English.

BBC:  You’ll not get the BBC on telly after independence.

Benefits:  An independent Scotland couldn’t afford to pay the bill for everyone on benefits.

Bombing airports: Scotland’s airports would be bombed by England.

Border controls:  There would be border controls and we’d need passports to visit Newcastle.

Border disputes:  There will be disputes about the border between Scotland and England.

Braveheart:  The woad to independence.

NEW British identity: After independence, Scots can no longer share in a British identity.

Brussels rule:  With independence we’d just be swapping London rule for rule from Brussels and Berlin.

NEW Case for independence:  Supporters of independence need to argue their case and supply precise details of how independence benefits Scotland.

Central bank:  We can’t really be independent without our own currency and a central bank.

Continental shelf:  If Westminster retains control of Shetland, Orkney and Rockall, Scotland will have no oil resources.

Credit rating:  Scotland would lose the AAA credit rating it enjoys as part of the UK.

Cybernats:  There’s a concerted and organised campaign of vitriol and hatred from cybernats.

Darien: The Darien scheme bankrupted Scotland and we were saved by the Union.

Debt:  Scotland would be unable to service the amount of debt it would be required to take on.

Defence:  Scotland would be defenceless without the UK armed forces and would lose thousands of defence jobs.

Devo-max:  If we vote against independence we can have devo-max instead.

Divisions:  Scotland is too divided to be independent.

Embassies:  It will cost a fortune to set up separate Scottish embassies everywhere.

EU membership:  Scotland would be forced to reapply for EU membership.

Euro:  Scotland would be forced to use the euro.

Expats:  I’m an expat, independence means my English children would become foreigners to me.

NEW Freebies:  After independence Scots would lose our ‘freebies’ like free prescriptions, free education, and bus passes for the elderly.

Gaelic:  Public employees would be forced to learn Gaelic.

Gay rights:  Scotland would allow homophobes to dictate policy and introduce anti-gay legislation.

Greece:  An independent Scotland would end up like Greece.

Greed:  Scotland benefited financially from the UK before the oil was found.  It’s just greed to keep it for ourselves now it’s our turn to share.

History:  We have 300 years’ of history in the Union, we shouldn’t throw that away.

Independence negotiations: Independence negotiations will drag on for years.

International influence:  The Union allows Scotland to punch above her weight internationally.

Investment:  The independence debate threatens inward investment in the Scottish economy.

Nationalism:  Nationalism is regressive and backward looking.

Northern Ireland:  Independence would undermine the Good Friday agreement.  Violence in Northern Ireland would spread to Scotland.

Oil:  The oil is running out and won’t last much longer.

NEW Oil:  After the oil runs out Scotland will not be able to afford to pay for public services.

One party state:  Under Alex Salmond and the SNP, Scotland would become a one-party state.

Overseas business:  Independence would destroy Scotland’s say in the world – removing the ability to do big business overseas.

Partition:  If some parts of Scotland vote no, but others yes, then we could find the country partitioned.

Positive case for the Union:  The anti-independence parties will make a positive case for Scotland remaining within the Union.

Postage charges:  It will cost a fortune to shop on eBay as postal charges from England will increase.

Pound sterling:  Scotland wouldn’t be allowed to continue to use the pound.

Poverty:  Scotland is too poor to be independent.

Public sector workers:  Scotland is over reliant on public sector employment  Without Westminster we’d lose all those jobs.

Queen: Scotland won’t be able to retain the Queen as head of state.

Racism:  The SNP is just a neo-fascist tartan version of the BNP.

Redistributive union: If we believe in the idea of Scotland as a progressive beacon, why would we turn our back on the redistributive union, the United Kingdom?

Referendum legality:  A referendum held by the Scottish Parliament would be illegal and non-binding.

Rejoining the UK: An independent Scotland would not be able to rejoin the UK if everything went wrong.

Rennie’s Riddle:  If 51% vote for independence, but 99% vote for extra powers, independence wouldn’t be the choice of the largest number of people.

Royal Bank of Scotland:  The cost of bailing out RBS would have bankrupted an independent Scotland.

Separation:  Nationalists want separation.

Service personnel:  My son’s in the Royal Navy.  He’d lose his job after independence.

Shetland and Orkney:  Shetland and Orkney aren’t really Scottish.

NEW SNP:  I’m a Labour / Lib Dem / Conservative / Monster Raving Loony voter.  A vote for independence is a vote for the SNP.

Social union:  The SNP doesn’t know what it means by independence if it talks about a “social union”.

Spain:  Spain would veto Scottish membership of the EU.

Subsidies:  Scotland depends upon subsidies from the UK to run our economy.

NEW Terrorism:  An independent Scotland would be a terrorist threat.

Togetherness:  We’re stronger together than we are apart.

Travel abroad:  Independence would prevent Scots from travelling safely in foreign countries.

Trident: Scotland would have to pay for the removal of Trident and the cost of a new base in the rump-UK.

UN Security Council:  The UK will lose its seat on the UN Security Council.

Unanswered questions:  Too many unanswered questions remain about independence.

Volatile oil price: Scotland is over-dependent on the volatile price of oil.

World War 2:  We fought Hitler together, independence betrays the memory of those who fought WW2.

Young voters:  The SNP want to allow children to vote because they’re more likely to vote yes to independence.

Abandoning the English:  We’d abandon the English to decades of Tory rule.

The Stewart Lee argument, the rightful role of Scotland is to act as an airbag to help protect non-Tory voters in England from the car crash of the Conservatives.  For Scotland it’s a bit like being asked to be a fireman who’s constantly called upon to put out the flames in an arsonist’s house.  Even if every single Scot voted Labour, we still couldn’t prevent people in Buckinghamshire from playing with matches.  We tried that all the way through the 80s, and a fat lot of good it did anyone then, it was arson a go-go with Maggie Thatcher.

Under the FPTP system beloved by Westminster, Labour, the supposed alternative which is meant to protect us against the Tories, finds that the only way it can get elected is to offer Daily Mail readers free matches and a bonus can of petrol.  After 18 years of Thatcher and Major, we got Tony Blair with his American zippo lighter that left Iraq in flames.  Tories whatever way you look at it.   

However Scotland votes, the electorate in England will still have their Tory car-crashes and a pyromaniac Labour party.  Scotland’s chances of getting the government we want get exploded like an airbag across Stewart Lee’s mug.  The best way for Scots to help our anti-Tory English friends is to offer them a concrete example of social-democratic government in action.  We can only do that with independence.

Alex Salmond:  Alex Salmond stirs up divisions.

I’m sure he has his moments, it’s only human to occasionally imagine seeing those who annoy you deep-fried in lard and served up on a platter along with a Mars Bar, and His Eckness has been the object of a concerted campaign of vilification in the Unionist media.  But Alex Salmond is not personally responsible for the desire for Scottish independence.  This isn’t his show, this show belongs to 5 million of us.  Alex Salmond didn’t get to become First Minister of a majority administration because he voted for himself.

The focus on Alex Salmond is insulting to the intelligence of the Scottish electorate.  The implication is that we’re too stupid to realise we’re being taken in by a snake-oil salesman.  However Scots have already realised we’ve been taken in by snake-oil salesmen – the problem for the Unionist case is that they’re all in the Westminster parties.

Anti-English:  Scottish nationalism is motivated by hatred of the English.

The granddaddy of Unionist myths.  It’s rather like claiming that the anti-racism movement is motived solely by hatred of white people, women only want equality because they hate men, or gay people only want to get married because they hate Catholics.  

This debate is about government and whether Scotland’s interests are served by a parliamentary union which denies Scotland basic democratic control of many aspects of the administration of our country.   It’s not about England and the English at all.

There are legitimate, and serious, questions of democratic representation in Scotland under the Union.  Although this concept may be difficult for Daily Telegraph readers to grasp, the desire for Scottish self-determination is not about England and the English.  Shocking but true.  England is not the centre of the Scottish universe, that would be Scotland.  Perhaps that’s what they’re really objecting to.

BBC:  You’ll not get the BBC on telly after independence.

Some would argue not getting the BBC is a good thing.  There’s only so much Strictly Come Celebrity Weakest Link the human mind can take.  With independence, there’s at least a slight possibility we’d get celebrities we’d actually heard of.  And then there’s Jeremy Clarkson, who’s a whole argument for independence all by himself.

Scotland contributes an annual total of approximately £230 million in licence fees to the BBC.  Yet BBC Scotland has an annual budget of £120 million, an amount which is being cut.  Scotland has 8.6% of the UK population but only receives 3.7 % of the BBC’s programme making expenditure.  (See here.) In addition, the BBC makes money from selling programmes to other broadcasters.  

After independence Scotland would get its own national TV network.  Assuming the licence fee system remained in place, the Scottish Broadcasting Corporation would have double the budget currently received by BBC Scotland.  Scotland would also be in a position to sell its programming to other broadcasters and retain the revenues.  This would allow the ‘SBC’ to buy in all those BBC programmes we actually like.  Dr Who and David Attenborough being cuddled by gorillas would be safe for the nation.

But if you really can’t live without Nicholas Witchell on the 6 O’Clock news gushing on about how maaarvellous Charles and Camilla are, just do what they do in the Republic of Ireland.  Those within range simply get an additional antenna and point it at the nearest UK transmitter to receive the full Freeview package.  Those outside that range get a satellite dish.  Sky viewers in Ireland get the full BBC output.  If you prefer not to give any money to Rupert Murdoch, and who could blame you for that, with a generic satellite decoder you can pick up all the free to air broadcasts, including all the main UK channels.  You’d also be able to watch Downtown bleedin Abbey even when STV shows something else.  And you’d not have to pay a licence fee to the BBC for the privilege either.  Of course people would laugh and point fingers at you for wanting to watch Nicholas Witchell, but that happens now anyway.

Benefits:  An independent Scotland couldn’t afford to pay the bill for everyone on benefits.

This myth was put about by leader of the Scottish Tories, Ruth Davidson the Action Krankie.  Her great strengths are abseiling, kick-boxing and making a face like a lemon whenever anyone mentions “independence” or “Tory irrelevance”.  Ruth is deeply concerned about the ability of an independent Scotland to pay its welfare benefits bill, because after independence she’ll be unemployable.

Ruth said that the amount Scotland spends on welfare benefits is greater than the amount we receive in taxation from North Sea Oil.  So we wouldn’t be able to afford bus passes and old age pensions.

Ruth can tie ropes together, but either she struggles to cope with joined up thinking or she imagines Scottish voters do.  Her statement rests upon the bizarre notion that no one in the country pays any taxes at all and we have no industries, economic activity or employment, except the oil. 

The whisky industry alone contributes £800 million annually to the Scottish economy, then there’s tourism, manufacturing, the financial sector, and all the other jobs that have so far managed to avoid the swingeing cuts being imposed by Westminster.

So as you get up out of bed to go to work of a morning, remember that Ruth thinks you don’t have a job at all.  Since her own job as leader of a non-existent party is pretty much a non-job, it’s easy to see why she’s confused.

Course the reason that Scotland has a high benefits bill in the first place is because of Westminster economic policies that see fit to dump thousands of Scots on the scrapheap of unemployment.  Ruth’s party wants to reduce the benefits bill by forcing people with terminal cancer to go on work experience interviews, where they’ll be told to inform potential employers there’s no problem with a short-term contract.  The Tories also intend to force unemployed people work for free for private companies even though slavery is illegal.  Ruth forgot to mention those bits. 

Scotland receives less from the Union than it contributes, according to the UK government’s own figures: see Subsidies.  We more than pay our own way already, we more than pay for the benefits received by inhabitants of Scotland.  According to the most recent Government Expenditure and Revenues Statistics (GERS), the annual benefit bill is a lower proportion of Scottish revenue than it is across the UK as a whole.  All benefits paid out in Scotland total 40% of all revenues collected from Scotland.  Across the UK as a whole, the benefits bill makes up 42% of all expenditure.  This means that Scotland can more easily afford to pay decent benefits to its citizens than the UK as a whole is able to.  We don’t depend on Westminster to foot our unemployment bill, we only depend on Westminster to create mass unemployment in the first place.  That’s something Tories have historically been quite good at.

It needs to be pointed out that in the GERS figures a notional share of expenses for “UK national expenditure” is allocated to Scotland even though these monies are not spent in Scotland.  The London Olympics and the high speed railway between London and Birmingham are deemed to be “national expenditure”.  Scotland is also allocated a share of the cost of Trident and an overblown defence budget which is wasted on aircraft carriers without planes and the cancellation of Nimrod after spending billions on the project.  The GERS figures don’t represent the government expenditure of an independent Scotland accurately, they portray a worst case Westminster scenario.  In reality we’d be considerably better off.

After independence we’d have more to spend on state pensions if we choose, not less.  We would not have to force terminal cancer patients to go on job training schemes either.  We could afford these things because we would no longer be paying for Westminster politicians’ egos and their desire to strut their funky stuff on the stage of world politics doing Tarzan impressions like the Action Krankie swinging from a Trident.  (See: Defence)

Bombing airports: Scotland’s airports would be bombed by England.

Sometime in the future, there will be a ceremony to award a bunch of red white and blue sour grapes to the most outrageous and ridiculous scare threat made by Unionists during the independence campaign.  Peter Fraser, former Conservative Solictor General and latterly Lord Advocate, has already made his bid for the prize.

In March 2012, Pete claimed that England could be forced to bomb Scottish airports after independence.  According to Pete, who was sober at the time, Scotland would be undefended and Glasgow airport would be taken over by evil-doers who’d use it to launch air strikes on England.  In order to defend itself, Westminster would be forced to order bombing raids to flatten the Paisley area.  Apparently he was being serious, although there were those who believed Pete had been taking lessons on guerrilla comedy from Ali G. 

Pete thinks that an independent Scotland would have no defences at all.  In fact this is pretty much the situation we find ourselves in under the Union.  In December 2011, storms forced a Russian fleet to take shelter in the Moray Firth.   In a country with normal defences, naval vessels would have been ordered to shadow the Russkies immediately, but because Scotland has no navy, a ship had to be sent from Portsmouth, leading to a delay of over 24 hours.

Scotland has one of the longest coastlines in Europe, yet due to Westminster defence cuts our sole naval capacity – apart from the UK’s nuclear subs and their attendant protection – consists of two tiny patrol boats and an inflatable crocodile.  Scotland has no long range marine surveillance capability, no naval helicopters, no maritime electronic intelligence operations, no means to screen for undersea threats and no way to conduct long range search and rescue operations.  We are already undefended, thanks to Westminster.

With independence, Scotland would control its own defence.  The money we send to Westminster, where it’s squandered on expensive toys that don’t work, aircraft carriers without aircraft to put on them, unusable weapons of mass destruction, and foreign wars that serve no purpose, would be spent on giving Scotland a modern defence capacity appropriate to the needs of a small northern European nation.  (See Defence)  Denmark, Norway, and Sweden all manage just fine without being taken over by evil baddies who want to launch airstrikes on neighbouring countries.  Scotland would do just fine too, and England has nothing to worry about.

Mind you, it’s quite possible that Westminster would order a bombing raid because it is inhabited by mental giants like Pete who confuse Balerno with Baghdad.  But this being the case it’s even more likely that they’d bomb Middlesborough by mistake.

Border controls:  There would be border controls and we’d need passports to visit Newcastle.

The anti-independence parties want us to believe there would be an electrified fence, a moat and magic towers with long-haired princesses guarded by a dragons all along the border.  Sadly for those of us for whom being strip-searched by big burly men sounds like ideal Saturday night entertainment, this is untrue. 

There are no passport controls between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.  Neither are there passport controls between the UK and the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which are not only outside the UK, they’re not even a part of the EU.  

The anti-independence parties claim that Scotland would be forced to join the Schengen free travel area after independence, meaning we’d be able to visit Paris and Lisbon without passports, but we’d need a passport to go to the Metro Centre in Newcastle for a Saturday shopping trip. 

Membership of the Schengen area is not a precondition of EU membership.  Romania and Bulgaria are EU members, but are not members of Schengen.  Since Scotland’s only land frontier with the EU is our border with England, part of the British Isles Common Travel Area, we’d continue to remain a part of the existing Common Travel Area.  

But if you do fancy being strip-searched by big burly men, well there are nightclubs for that sort of thing.

Border disputes:  There will be disputes about the border between Scotland and England.

The short answer to this one is: “No, there won’t” accompanied by a sigh and rolling the eyes.  Unlike many nations which don’t have independence, the territorial extent of Scotland is not a matter of dispute.  Scotland is the territory to which Scots Law applies, and it’s marked on every map. 

Another clue is on every road into the country, where there’s a big sign saying “Welcome to Scotland / Fàilte gu Alba”, with the obligatory gaggle of tourists legs akimbo so they’re in two countries at once, getting a photie taken to show to Auntie Yoko in Kyoto.  They can do that because everyone knows exactly where the border lies.  Even Auntie Yoko in Kyoto knows.

Scotland is considerably more fortunate than many nations without a state.  Basque and Catalan nationalists have the problem that the lands inhabited by Basques and Catalans are divided into a number of regions spread across parts of Spain and France, and even a town in Sardinia in the case of Catalan speakers.  

There are no territories or regions outside Scotland which are inhabited by people who regard themselves as Scots and which Scots claim to be a part of Scotland.  Many people in Northern Ireland claim Scottish heritage, just as many in Scotland claim Irish heritage, but Scots don’t claim Belfast is a part of Scotland any more than Irish people claim that Glasgow is really a part of Ireland. 

The Isle of Man and some parts of northern England used to be Scottish.  But “used to be” isn’t the same as “is”.  Baldy men used to have hair, as I know from sad personal experience, but no one would say I’m hairy.

There is the matter of Berwick.  The truth is that for most people – that would be just about everyone outside of Berwick – the matter of Berwick doesn’t matter that much.  It’s ancient history, and no one wants to revisit the 15th century, except David Starkey and he’s only interested in England anyway.

Braveheart:  The woad to independence.

Gibson’s Law, if a Unionist mentions Braveheart in a discussion about Scottish independence, they’ve already lost the argument and you are at liberty to guffaw at such braying nonsense.  But for some it’s far more comforting to imagine that Scots are so gullible and easily led that we only want independence because of a Holywood movie that involved lots of people getting stabbed.  The same sort of people usually believe that Scots are especially keen on stabbing, so there’s a kind of poetic circularity to it all.

But back in the land of the grown-ups, a Unionist who goes on about Braveheart is behaving like a talking donkey, because they saw one in Shrek.  

NEW British identity: After independence, Scots can no longer share in a British identity.

According to Labour leader Ed Miliband in a speech made in London in June 2012, Scots will lose any sense of a British identity after independence.  Ed made these remarks during a speech in June 2012 when he also confessed to resembling plasticene man Wallace of Wallace and Grommit.  Ed got it 50% right, he was spot on about Wallace, but sadly wide of the mark in in comments about the Scots and identity.  Perhaps it was because instead of the faithful and resourceful Grommit at his side, Ed’s got Johann Lamont.  Johann is unclear on the difference between Scottish independence and the Curse of the Wererabbit.

After independence, Scots will transform into 15 foot tall bunnies who steal vegetables.  Ed believes the Caledonian Werebunnies will prevent the village of Middle Englandshire-on-Acid from punching above its weight and winning the prize for the largest parsnip that’s shaped like something rude.  Apparently this is a terribly un-British thing to do and Scots will never be welcome at the village fete again. So that’s us telt.

Many Scots will react with a shrug to Ed’s claim that it’s only the political union of parliaments which creates a sense of Britishness.  A growing number of Scots don’t feel British at all.  Most of the rest report feeling more Scottish than British, and for many of these people a British identity is rather like a Latin identity, only with embarrassing self-consciousness when doing the samba.  Others say that Britishness should be like feeling Scandinavian

Ed displayed that fine grasp of political history possessed by policy wonks with a politics degree from Oxbridge.  He got his history sadly wrong, and while history is done and dusted, in this case history disproves Ed’s assertion.  ‘Britishness’ was invented as a marketing ploy by the Scottish king James VI, after he inherited the English throne in 1603.  Jaimie decided that instead of being Jaimie the Saxt King o Scots and James I King of England, which didn’t look nice on letterheadings, he’d be King of Great Britain, which was a whole lot shorter plus he got to design a new flag, thus creating endless opportunities for the manufacturers of commemorative tea-towels and ornamental bric-a-brac.  All this was 104 years before anyone thought about a Union of Parliaments, that didn’t happen until 1707.

The referendum debate is a debate about the 1707 Union. The Union of 1603 will remain intact.  Scots who feel that Britishness is a part of their identity can continue to feel so after independence.  Your personal feelings are not for politicians to decide.

Ed’s assertion that British identity depends upon Westminster may also come as something of a surprise to the inhabitants of the Isle and Man and the Channel Islands.  The islands are Crown Dependencies, and although British are entirely self-governing.  The make their own laws, raise their own taxes, and have their own parliaments.  The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not even a part of the EU.  Despite this, the islanders maintain that Britishness is an important part of their identity. 

Ed’s remark that only Westminster can allow people to develop a particular personal identity is an example of that same arrogant presumption which allows Westminster politicians to solemnly inform us that our English and Welsh friends and relatives will become foreigners to us if Scotland votes for independence.  It takes some gall for anyone to assert that they can decide for us how close we feel to our own families and friends. 

Westminster politicians are further up themselves than Jedward’s hair, and display about the same amount of talent.  They’re so up themselves that they actually believe they have the power to wave a magic wand and determine how us common folk think and feel.  No wonder Westminster has been described as Hogwarts on steroids, but the only similarity between the two is that their magic powers of mind control are equally fictional.

Brussels rule:  With independence we’d just be swapping London rule for rule from Brussels and Berlin.

This is the UKIP argument, but it’s often repeated by europhobic Conservatives.  Anyone who believes that Brussels would exert greater control over an independent Scotland than Westminster currently does also believes that a person who joins a  a darts club loses more personal autonomy than a granny whose arm was twisted into giving power of attorney to an avaricious relative who proceeded to raid the bank account and flog off the family inheritance before putting arsenic in her Ovaltine.  The only difference between Scotland under Westminster and a whodunnit is that we already know whodunnit.  We don’t need Hercule Poirot to tell us it was Westminster.

Brussels does not collect all UK taxation and then decide how much it’s going to give back.  Westminster does that to Scotland.  Brussels doesn’t even set the rate of VAT, Westminster does that.  Brussels doesn’t have the power to insist we keep nuclear warheads on the Clyde.  Westminster does that.  We wouldn’t have had to ask Brussels for permission to regulate our broadcasters, but we had to ask Westminster’s permission to set up a Gaelic language TV channel, because Conservative MPs from Surrey need to be consulted before punters in Portree can watch Gaelic soaps.  Brussels wouldn’t have been able to commit a Scottish defence force to the invasion of Iraq, but Westminster tells us what countries we’ll go to war with.  Brussels doesn’t have the power to tell us how much the state pension for the elderly would be or what administrative hoops disabled people have to go through in order to get benefits, only Westminster does.

If the UK decided to hold a referendum on leaving the EU, there would be an outcry if Brussels decided it would determine the timing and question of the vote, yet that’s what Westminster wants to do in Scotland.  Eurosceptics say within the EU we’re dictacted to by an undemocratic superstate.  Being dictated to by an undemocratic state is a perfect description of the situation of Scotland under the Union.

NEW Case for independence:  Supporters of independence need to argue their case and supply precise details of how independence benefits Scotland.

There’s a scientific maxim, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence”.  It means that if you want prove something that runs entirely counter to common sense and the existing evidence, you need mountains of data and acres of detail.  You must supply sufficent evidence in sufficient detail to remove any doubt, and to rule out all other explanations. 

So for example if you wanted to prove that George Osborne was really an alien lizard from another planet, you’d have to come up with, at the very least, a video of him changing out of his human skin and gubbing down a guinea pig pasty whole.  Mind you, many perfectly sane and reasonable people suspect Osborne is an alien lizard, so perhaps this is a bad example. 

The anti-independence campaign would have us believe that Scottish independence is extraordinary, and a bit like claiming that aliens built the pyramids.  In fact it’s the other way about, it’s the existence of the Union which is the extraordinary state of affairs.  Normal countries govern themselves. 

Proof is simple to find.  Ask any Norwegian if they would prefer to send representatives to the Swedish parliament and be governed from Stockholm and you’ll get a big fat nej.  Ask anyone in Iceland if they would prefer to return to Danish rule, and they’ll snort derisively.  Portuguese people do not hanker for the restoration of Lisbon’s brief union with Madrid. 

Normal countries don’t send all their tax revenues and income to a parliament in another country, and then get back the loose change that Westminster finds at the back of the sofa, which we’re told is a subsidy.  Normal countries, at least democracies, get the government that the majority voted for.  Scotland gets the government our neighbours vote for, despite the fact we returned a single solitary Tory MP.  Our governmental system is so warped that we have to take David Mundell seriously, even though he’s a representative of a fringe party of a tiny minority.  Taking David Mundell seriously is not normal in any universe.

Maintaining this extraordinary, indeed surreal, state of affairs ought to require an extraordinary standard of proof, yet the positive case for the Union is most notable for its absence.  Demands from the anti-independence parties for detailed evidence of the advantages of independence are nothing more than a distraction tactic.

Independence supporters have produced acres of detailed evidence supporting Scottish independence from an economic, political, and cultural point of view.  The pages of Newsnet, Bella Caledonia, and other online publications are full of thoughtful, reasonable and detailed articles supportive of independence, but little of it gets reported in the mainstream Scottish media.  That doesn’t mean there is no positive and detailed case for independence, it just means that the Union gives Scotland a one-sided media that doesn’t want to tell the whole story.  And that’s yet another reason for independence. 

Central bank:  We can’t really be independent without our own currency and a central bank.

The Scottish Government proposes that after independence, Scotland would continue to use the Bank of England as its central bank and would negotiate with the rump-UK to form a new sterling area.  This would benefit both the rump-UK and Scotland as it would guarantee financial and economic stability for both parties.

Despite its name, the Bank of England is the UK central bank, and as such Scots have a percentage share in it.  As an independent nation we would not be without influence in the central bank, as we are shareholders in it and would be party to negotiations to form a new sterling area.  At the moment we only have the influence of George Osborne and Danny Alexander, even a minority say in the Bank of England is better than that.  But more importantly we’d have full control over our own tax and spending.

Having your own currency is not the definitive mark of an independent nation.  Quite a few independent nations manage quite happily with shared a central bank and a shared currency.  Apart from the 17 countries in the Eurozone, there are six independent Caribbean states who share the East Caribbean dollar (EC$), which is currently pegged to the US dollar at the fixed rate of US$1 to EC$2.70.  The British territories of Anguilla and Montserrat also use the East Caribbean dollar.  All eight share a single central bank.  In Africa, eight nations share the West African franc and a single central bank located in Senegal.  Another six African nations share the Central African franc and a single central bank located in Cameroun.  Four southern African nations, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia and Lesotho, share the rand as common currency.

The key is sovereignty, not an independent currency or an independent central bank.  The point is that all the independent nations who share currencies have the right to decide for themselves whether to continue with the shared currency or to leave it.  They can remain with a shared central bank or they can set up their own if the shared bank no longer suits.  They can make these decisions based upon their own economic and political needs.   Scotland does not currently have any choice, we’re stuck with Westminster’s policies whatever our needs may be.  With independence, we’d have the choice. 

Continental shelf:  If Westminster retains control of Shetland, Orkney and Rockall, Scotland will have no oil resources.

If Scotland becomes independent Westminster won’t be able to hang on to Shetland, Orkney, Rockall or any other part of Scotland (see: Shetland and Orkney). 

However, even under the hypothetical circumstance that this occurred, Westminster wouldn’t be able to retain control of the oil fields anyway, so ya boo sux.  These matters are regulated by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which the UK is a signatory.  International law specifies that a state controls the continental shelf and associated mineral and fishing rights up to 200 nautical miles (230 miles or 370 km) off its shores.  When another state possesses an island within the continental shelf of this state, special rules apply.

The continental shelf off the Atlantic coast is Scotland’s to exploit and develop, even if Westminster clung on to Rockall like a plook on the face of an adolescent sociopath.  According to the Law of the Sea: “rocks which could not sustain human habitation or economic life of their own would have no economic zone or continental shelf.”  Westminster could pauchle its way to keeping Rockall, but as far as oil and fishing exploitation rights are concerned, they’d be entitled to rockall.  

Neither would Westminster gain much by holding onto Shetland and Orkney.  When an island belonging to one state sits on the continental shelf of another state, the islands are treated as enclaves.  This matter was discussed in detail in a legal paper published by the European Journal of International Law:  Prospective Anglo-Scottish Maritime Boundary Revisited

Most of the rights to the continental shelf would remain Scottish, Map 2 on page 29 of the legal paper shows the most likely sea boundaries.  Westminster would be entitled only to a small zone around the islands, and the waters between Orkney and Shetland.  This area contains no oil fields.  If Shetland and Orkney were to remain under Westminster’s control, Shetland would no longer have an oil fund.  The map is reproduced here, so you can do a reverse Jeremy Paxman and sneer derisively at Westminster’s pretensions. 

Westminster’s Shetland threat is a bluff.  Westminster knows it’s a bluff.  They just don’t want us to know too.

Credit rating:  Scotland would lose the AAA credit rating it enjoys as part of the UK.

This scare story is based upon a single article in the Financial Times.  It’s all based on the unresearched opinion of a single guy in a trading room somewhere in the City of London, that noted hotbed of pro-Scottish independence sentiment.  It was a guess, as was reported in the original report in the Financial Times.  We could just as legitimately “guess” that Scotland would have a secure AAA rating but what’s left of the UK would be downgraded to a ZZZ.  Zzzz is the best response to these scare stories.

Credit ratings are based upon the market’s assessment of whether creditors are likely to get their dosh back if they lend it to a government.  There are many countries of Scotland’s size which have a triple A credit rating, most of which are not blessed with Scotland’s embarrassing abundance of natural resources, a healthy tourism industry, the whisky trade, an English speaking populace with easy access to European markets, and a budget surplus over the past five or six years – despite the financial crisis.    

The recent news that the UK and the Bank of England have been put on a negative outlook by the credit ratings agency Moody’s shows that the much prized AAA rating is by no means secure within the UK.

Cybernats:  There’s a concerted and organised campaign of vitriol and hatred from cybernats.

There is no organised campaign from “cybernats”.  It’s just that there are thousands of individuals who feel strongly enough about independence that they take it upon themselves to comment online, to share information on FaceBook and to Twitter their way to Scottish independence.  We don’t get paid, we’re not party hacks, and no one is orchestrating us.  We are a cloud of Scottish midgies, devouring Unionist arguments.

The anti-independence parties have to discredit these private individuals any way they can, because there is no similar mass outbreak of pro-Union sentiment.  It gives the lie to their claim that most Scots resolutely oppose independence.  If that were true, then where are all the Cyberunionists?  The fact is that most Scots who claim to support the Union really don’t feel that strongly about it, and that in turn means they’re open to persuasion. 

Instead the Unionists have to cherry pick the ravings of a tiny and extreme minority, the kind you find in any unorganised mass movement, and use them to attempt to discredit the vast majority who argue for independence with logic, facts, reason and wit.  It’s a Unionist distraction from the fact they have no arguments of their own.

Some people dislike the term cybernat, considering it a term of abuse.  But let’s adopt the Gaelic strategy with this word, let’s take it from the Unionists and use it against them.  The name Gael, from Gaelic Gàidheal, wasn’t originally a Gaelic word.  It comes from the Brittonic language of the Romano-Britons, who regarded themselves as civilised Romans with a taste for Italian stuff, like pizzas that aren’t deep fried and wine that wasn’t made in Buckfast Abbey.  They looked down upon their Celtic cousins beyond the borders of the Empire, who scoffed at olive oil and thought low-fat milk was blasphemy.  The Romano-Britons called their neighbours Goidel, a word meaning ‘those of the forest’ or ‘wild’.  And the Celts beyond the Empire went “Wild?  Naw – livid.  We’ll show ye wild.”   And they did just that, they started to call themselves Gaels, ganged up with the Picts to end Roman rule in Wales, Cornwall and Northern England, and then founded the Kingdom of Scotland. 

Let’s show the Unionists what cybernat means, and make Tam O Shanters out of tinfoil just to annoy them.  I’m a cybernat, and so’s ma dug.

Darien: The Darien scheme bankrupted Scotland and we were saved by the Union.

Scotland wasn’t bankrupt in 1707. But even if it was, so what?  Norway was a basket case in 1707, Finland was a poverty stricken remote forgotten corner of Sweden, and Switzerland was a collection of remote mountain valleys with an economy based on cheese and yodelling.  The state of the Scottish economy over 300 years ago isn’t relevant to our economic potential in the 21st century.  Bringing up Darien just goes to show that the anti-independence argument is stuck in the 18th century.

Even if this Unionist claim were true, are we supposed to base our decision on the future of our country because of a good turn done to us over 300 years ago?  We’ve repaid that debt many times over.  But the truth is that Scotland was not bankrupt in 1707, we did not need England to bail us out.  They didn’t bail us out, Westminster just bribed some lords, the ‘parcel o rogues’ Burns wrote about.

Scotland in 1707 was doing quite well for itself.  According to the historian Michael Lynch, the Scottish economy was growing at 2.5% annually – a rather more impressive figure than we’ve managed these past few years under Westminster.  Scotland, like other countries in Western Europe at the time, was beginning to develop a middle class and an urban working class.  The towns and burghs of Scotland were cash rich, and were beginning to agitate for greater political power.  This went down as well with aristos of Scotland and England as a Craig Whyte and Neil Lennon karaoke double act would go down at Gers fans night out.

The Darien colony was largely bankrolled by Lowland lords.  However the idea that Scotland might embark on some colonialist adventurism off its own bat was anathema to Westminster, which believed it had a monopoly on imperialist ambitions.  England sided with Spain and blocked Scottish access to all English colonies, as a result the Darien scheme was doomed even before it even got started.

Failure of Darien left the Lowland Lords in financial strife, and they were threatening to default on the bills they owed to their mainly English creditors.  With war looming between England and France, Westminster was determined to secure its northern border.  The infamous ‘English gold’ was sent north.   The money paid by the English Parliament was in the form of bribes to private individuals to vote for Union, it was not a payment to bail out the Scottish national exchequer. 

Debt:  Scotland would be unable to service the amount of debt it would be required to take on.

Scotland would inherit her share of the UK national debt.  However if Scotland is expected to carry a share of the UK’s liabilities, then she would also be due a share of the assets.  Westminster can’t have it both ways, they just want us to think they can.  

Scotland owns 8.6% of all UK assets, other than fixed assets located within the territories of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  That means that we own over 90% of the oil, because it’s located in Scottish waters.  We own 8.6% of all UK embassies, 8.6% of the Falkland Islands, 8.6% of the Bank of England (which despite its name is the UK’s central bank) and 8.6% of the Royal Navy.  We also own 8.6% of Jeremy Paxman, but we’re likely to pass on that.

Defence:  Scotland would be defenceless without the UK armed forces and would lose thousands of defence jobs.

If we were to believe the Westminster parties, after independence the Scottish defence capability would consist of a freefone number and a recorded message saying “We surrender” in six languages.  We’d be defenceless against the Faroese hordes invading Muckle Flugga.

There’s a chasm between an independent Scotland’s approach to defence and Westminster’s approach.  It’s a conceptual difference Westminster is unable to grasp, and it explains Michael Moore’s recent plaintive whine that an independent Scotland would not be able to go off on its own bat and invade some Middle Eastern country, like that would be a bad thing.  An independent Scotland only requires a defence capacity, Westminster requires an attack capacity.

Scotland’s notional share of Westminster’s Department of Offence spending amounts to around £3.5 billion annually.  Less than £2 billion of that is actually spent in Scotland.  Even if we were to maintain defence spending exactly as it is now, we’d still have an extra £1.5 billion to play with.  The savings we’d make by no longer coughing up for Westminster’s pretensions to Great Power status would alone pay for investment in Scottish jobs and industry which would more than compensate for any loss of defence sector jobs.

Jim Murphy claimed recently that the Clyde shipyards depend on the Royal Navy for orders, and after independence “thousands” of jobs would be lost.  In fact the main defence employment casualty of independence is likely to be Jim Murphy.  Jim’s defence expertise extends to a faultless grasp of the fine military art of camouflage, he makes himself invisible whenever Labour get into a spot of bother in Scotland.  According to an independent report by a professionally respected defence analyst, the defence jobs in the Clyde would continue to flourish after independence, and in fact could do rather better than they do just now.   

Devo-max:  If we vote against independence we can have devo-max instead.

Not if David Cameron gets his way you won’t.  The Tories have described the discredited Scotland Bill as a “line in the sand”.  Cameron says separate tax and benefit powers for Holyrood are “incompatible” with remaining in the UK.  Since it’s quite likely the Tories will form a majority administration after the next Westminster General Election, they’ll abolish the Barnett Formula, imposing swingeing cuts on Scottish public services, and neuter the Scottish Parliament so it can’t ever give them the heebee-jeebees about independence ever again.  

The Lib Dems have been supporters of a federal UK for about 100 years.  They’re still nowhere near coming up with firm proposals.  Menzies Campbell was an Olympic sprinter, but he can only write really slowly.  Promises from the Lib Dems have as much credence as the promise of an alcoholic never to drink again which lasts as long as it takes him to persuade you to lend him a tenner.

Labour says that they’re open to discussing extra powers for the Scottish Parliament, but only after there’s a no vote against independence, when there won’t be any pressure on them to pay Scotland heed.  Remember that Scottish Home Rule was Labour policy for the best part of 100 years, but it took the threat of independence for them to act on it.  Without the threat of independence hanging over them, it will take them another 100 years to get around to granting Scotland more powers.  As always, Labour promises jam tomorrow, but they can’t even tell us what flavour it will be.  Let’s give them a raspberry.

“What do we want?” “Constitutional tinkering!” “When do we want it?” “When Westminster decides to give it to us!”  Not really convincing as a slogan for the No camp, is it?

Divisions:  Scotland is too divided to be independent.

According to the Unionists, after independence the Lowlands would invade the Highlands, the gulls on Rockall would secede because they’re not on speaking terms with the terns on St Kilda, Glesca would demand a skwerr go with Embra behind the bikesheds after school, and Airdrie would build a wall to keep out Coatbrig.  It’s only thanks to those nice people in Westminster that we’re forced to behave like grown-ups.

The truth is that all countries contain regional and other divisions, Scotland is no different.  It’s these differences which give us a vibrant national culture.  But under the Union all of Scotland’s rich and varied traditions, and our different regional needs, get lumped together as the Jockoland Safari Park where posh blokes from the Home Counties go to blow the buggery out of wee birds every August.  Apparently they go shooting as well.

Independence is the only way to ensure that the regions of Scotland get a voice in government that counts.  And we might even get that bloody A9 upgraded at last, since it will become a major national trunk route and not just a caravan trail for tourists.

Embassies:  It will cost a fortune to set up separate Scottish embassies everywhere.

We already own just under 9% of existing UK embassies and contribute the same percentage to the wages of British diplomats.  If the rump-UK wishes to act like a toddler who’s never learned to share and retain them solely for itself, it will have to pay Scotland compensation.  Alternatively we can all act like grown ups and share embassy facilities.   

Embassy sharing between friendly nations is not new.  Recently the Visegrad group of nations, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, announced plans to share embassies in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and to share consulates in former Soviet states, in order to save costs and boost efficiency.  This allows the four countries to maintain a diplomatic presence in more states than they otherwise might.

In either event none of this is going to cost us any more than it currently does.  And Scotland will possess the immense advantage of having its own direct representation with foreign governments instead of having Conservatives like David Cameron telling other countries what Scottish people think. 

EU membership:  Scotland would be forced to reapply for EU membership.

This all hinges on whether Scotland would be considered a successor state to the UK, or whether it would be considered an entirely new state.  Would Germany, which imports much of its oil from Scotland, want to ensure Scotland remained a part of the EU?  Or would Merkell and Sarkozy go along with Davie Cameron, who royally pisses them off and brings nothing to Europe except an Etonian sense of entitlement?

Let’s assume that the EU decides to support Westminster in its epic sulk, and demands that Scotland reapply to join the EU but England-Wales-Northern Ireland remained a member.  This would mean that Scotland is considered an entirely new state.  In that circumstance, international law is very clear that Scotland would not be bound by any of the obligations of the UK.  Amongst other things, that means that Scotland would not be required to take on a single penny of UK national debt.  UK national debt is a UK obligation.  The UK ruined the banks, so the UK can pay for it.  

It’s very much in Westminster’s interests to ensure that Scotland is treated as a joint successor state and that Scotland remains a member of the EU, otherwise we get to walk off Scot-free and without any national debt at all.  We could leave that mess to Westminster to sort out, and begin independent life as an energy rich debt-free nation.  In that fortunate financial circumstance, surviving a couple of years as we apply for EU membership may well be worth it.  

Another reason Westminster is blustering on this issue is that the UK was formed by the Union of Scotland and England in 1707.  The state formed by that Union signed the EU membership treaties.  When Scotland becomes independent, then the UK ceases to exist, and England-Wales-Northern-Ireland are in exactly the same legal situation as Scotland, because the state comprising England Wales and Northern Ireland didn’t sign the EU accession treaties either.  This is the opinion of a former Labour Lord Chancellor, who was asked about it by no less a person than Norman On Yer Bike Tebbit, no fan of Scottish self-determination.  Tebbit quoted the unnamed Lord Chancellor as saying:  “But what about the new state of England, Northern Ireland and Wales? Would we remain members? After all our new state would not have been a party to the Treaty either.”

This opinion is also shared by EU lawyers.  According to a report in the Scotsman, the EU would treat Scotland and the rump-UK equally as successor states.  Both would continue as EU members, but would have to renegotiate their terms of membership.  That puts Westminster’s precious opt-outs at risk, so you can see why they’re keeching themselves on this issue. The matter would be decided by a majority vote in the EU Council, so no country could veto Scottish membership.

Euro:  Scotland would be forced to use the euro.

No country can be forced into the euro.  The Czech Republic joined the EU in 2004, after the euro had been adopted as the common currency of the original 11 members of the Eurozone.  The Czechs won’t be bounced into the euro, and have consistently refused to make moves to adopt it.  

In January 2012, Czech Prime Minister Petr Nečas stated that the country did not require a special opt-out in order to retain the koruna as its currency.  Mr Nečas said: “No one can force us into joining the euro … We have a de facto opt-out.”  Candidates for euro membership must sign up to ERM II for at least two years before adopting the euro as currency, however it is entirely up to the discretion of each individual member state when to sign up to ERM II and member countries can legitimately delay this indefinitely.  But Mr Nečas said all this in Czech, so it wasn’t reported in the Anglocentric Unionist media.

This approach has also been adopted by the government of Sweden which has likewise declined to join the Eurozone but has no negotiated opt-out.  Sweden says nej to the euro.

Expats:  I’m an expat, independence means my English children would become foreigners to me.

In the normal world, children inherit their parent’s citizenship.  If you become a Scottish citizen post-independence, your children would qualify for dual nationality.  They’ll get to be Scottish if they want, and citizens of their country of birth and residence.  The UK already recognises dual citizenship, that’s not likely to change after Scottish independence – just witness the number of people who qualify for both Irish and British passports.  

Your English child will only become an alien to you if you disapprove of the latest boyfriend or girlfriend with an abundance of tattoos and metallic face-furniture and say you’re not going to the wedding.  No one else can help you with that.

NEW Freebies:  After independence Scots would lose our ‘freebies’ like free prescriptions, free education, and bus passes for the elderly.

No, we wouldn’t.  Our “freebies” are safe, we’re already paying for them.  They are paid for out of the pocket money that Westminster deigns to return to Scotland, which in turn comes out of the revenues Scotland sends to Westminster.  We get back less than we give.  That’s happening now, under the Union, but because Holyrood has adopted a different set of spending priorities from Westminster, we get our “freebies”.  Much the same happens in Wales, where prescriptions are also free.  England could have these “freebies” too, but Westminster chooses to spend the cash on other things – like introducing privatisation into the NHS in England. 

Currently we’re subject to Westminster’s whims, and should the Tories and their Lib Dem hangers on decide to cut public spending even further, then Scottish public services are at risk too.  Scotland will have no say in the matter.  Do you trust Davie Cameron with your granny’s bus pass?

After independence, all Scottish revenues would accrue to the Scottish Parliament, which would give them a bigger pot than they currently have.  We’ll also have a Parliament that is free to make the spending decisions that the Scottish electorate votes for.  Only independence can guarantee our freebies.

Gaelic:  Public employees would be forced to learn Gaelic.

This myth is at least as old as the 80 year old Tam Dalyell.  We should call it the Lodainn an Iar Question.  And like its English namesake, it’s a pile of càc or keech.  Gaelic and Scots would almost certainly be recognised as official and national languages of Scotland after independence, but so would English.  Absolutely no one is proposing to force English speaking Scots to learn Gaelic or Scots against their will.  Although there’s a distinct possibility we’d force former BBC presenters to speak Weegie, just because it would annoy them to have to say “Hullawrerr fae Pacific Quay.  An here’s ra weather, it’s pure stoatin doon so it is by ra wey.”

Gay rights:  Scotland would allow homophobes to dictate policy and introduce anti-gay legislation.

According to a recent public attitudes survey, more people in Scotland were in favour of gay marriage and approved of gay relationships than in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.  We are in fact more likely to burst into a chorus of the torch-song drag queen’s all time favourite root vegetable song, A Yam What A Yam, than anywhere else in the UK.  

Greece:  An independent Scotland would end up like Greece.

Post independence, Scotland is more likely to end up like Denmark, Finland, or Sweden.   We have more in common with those countries than we do with Greece.  But for some reason Unionists only like to link Scotland to failure.  I wonder why that is?  Just how poorly does a political class have to perform in order to believe that the only fair comparison of a country with Scotland’s potential and resources is to compare us with nations on the verge of bankruptcy?  Either they’re spectacularly incompetent and feckless, or they think that we are.  Gotta be one of the other, and I know which my money is on. 

Greece’s problems have been caused by rampant corruption and tax evasion combined with a weak economy.  Scottish tax offices are considerably more efficient, and the Scottish economy is much broader based and stronger than Greece’s.  Greece maintains a very large defence expenditure, having a recent history of war and invasion and territorial claim and counter claim with all its neighbours.  Scotland does not have any territorial disputes.  Tourism alone counts for 15% of Greek GDP.  Greece receives approximately 19 million visits from tourists every year.  Scotland receives a similar number of visits from tourists, yet tourism represents just 3% of the Scottish economy.  Scotland is blessed with major fisheries, Greece is beside the almost fished-out Mediterranean.  Scotland has a surplus of energy to an almost embarrassing degree, Greece has few indigenous energy sources and imports over 99% of its oil and gas.  Since the tides in the Mediterrean are almost non-existent, Greece has no tidal energy potential , and since it’s far from the open ocean, it has limited wind energy potential.  Scotland sits beside the Atlantic Ocean and has an estimated one quarter of all the tidal and wind energy potential in the EU.  Much of Greece is affected by water shortages, which seriously hamper its agricultural potential, Scotland is famously damp and fertile.  Scotland has a multibillion whisky export industry.  Greece exports ouzo, which is an acquired taste few outside Greece take the trouble to acquire.  I could go on, but you get the drift, and this isn’t an exercise in doing down Greece. 

But there is a way we’re just like Greece.  Greece is a beautiful country full of potential and a talented populace, but it’s been poorly served by its political class.  Scotland has been poorly served by its Unionist political class too.  In Greece many public officials receive their jobs due to political interference and personal links to politicians.  Corruption involving property deals is rampant.  We’ve seen a lot of that under the Union in Labour controlled local authorities in Scotland.  Glasgow is the Athens of the North of the 21st century, but not in a good way.  Scotland’s cities are already like Greece, only without the nice weather.  Independence is the only way we have of escaping Greece’s fate.

The reason the anti-independence parties compare us to Greece is because they behave like Greek politicians.

Greed:  Scotland benefited financially from the UK before the oil was found.  It’s just greed to keep it for ourselves now it’s our turn to share.

Scotland was the Vorsprung durch Technik of the Victorian age and the first half of the 20th century.  Glasgow wasn’t once known as the “Second City of the Empire” because it specialised in the manufacture of Olympic silver medals.  Before the oil was found Scotland was a centre of heavy industry.  We were one of the UK’s major industrial and trading powerhouses and exported goods all over the world.  That’s where our famed prowess as mechanical wizards came from, and the stereotype it created was so powerful we got lumbered with thon Canadian guy with the appalling accent playing the engineer in Star Trek.  Every time Captain Kirk said beam me up Scottie he was reminding us of the economic clout and technological prowess of Scotland.

Even before the oil money started to flow, Scotland more than paid her own way in the UK, as this article from a former senior civil servant makes clear.  There were never any Westminster subsidies, Westminster spent on Scotland rather less than it took from us in taxes and said it was doing us a good turn.  Meanwhile Scotland was blighted by poverty, poor housing and appalling health, but at least we had jobs.

The discovery of the oil coincided with the death of Scottish heavy industry, the UK government embarked upon a deliberate programme of deindustrialisation.  Scotland substituted one means of subsidising the UK economy with another.  We continue to subsidise Westminster heavily, but now we’ve got mass unemployment as well.  Yippee, it’s a Union benefit.  Taking all our money then spending a bit of it on us isn’t a subsidy.  We don’t owe any favours to a government that treats us like a cash cow.

Westminster continues to milk Scotland in the most shameless and outrageous ways.  The most recent revelation is that Scotland is paying £400 million for the construction of London’s sewage system because it’s being paid for out of UK national reserve funds.  That’s our future that Westminster is flushing down a London lavvy.  It’s no longer mere hyperbole to say that Westminster expects Scotland to pay for Conservative MPs’ crap, it’s quite literally true in a very real and toilet papery sense.  They buy the supersoft quilted three-ply with our money, and we’re left with the shiny hard stuff.

It’s only with independence that Scotland can be the Vorsprung durch Technik of the green energy age.  It’s not greed to insist that you won’t be ripped off any more, and it’s certainly not greed to demand that Westminster wipes its own behind and stops expecting Scotland to do it for them.

History:  We have 300 years’ of history in the Union, we shouldn’t throw that away.

Just how do you throw away history?  Put David Starkey in the bin?  That idea does have a certain appeal.  But history, there’s a clue in the name, is already in the past.  The Union will remain a part of Scotland’s history.  

Scotland will continue to make history with England after Scottish independence, but we’ll be making history as equals, and not as a semi-forgotten outpost of the Westminster Parliament.  Independence is about the future, not the past.

Independence negotiations: Independence negotiations will drag on for years.

There’s no reason this should be the case.  In May 2006, Montenegro held a referendum on independence from its union with Serbia.  55% voted in favour, and Montenegro formally declared independence the following month.  When the Czech Republic and Slovakia decided to dissolve their union as Czechoslovakia in 1992, the bulk of the negotiations were completed within a year.  Just as in Scotland, many in the Czech Republic and Slovakia feared considerable economic upheaval, but problems proved to be considerably fewer and more minor than expected. 

The Scottish Government believes that independence negotiations between Holyrood and Westminster could be completed within 2 years, which is allows for a pretty leisurely pace and plenty of time for tea breaks, we’ll even supply the shortbread.

Independence is a novel concept for many modern Scots, but over 150 nations have become independent over the course of the past seventy years or so.  There is already a road map for independence negotiations, there are international agreements and treaties which inform the process.  It’s not a massive leap into the unknown, even though the anti-independence parties would like you to think it is.  It’s a bit like being warned against taking a cruise on a liner across the Atlantic in case you’ll be at sea for years before falling off the edge of the world, but that’s the flat-earthers of the anti-independence brigade for you. 

International influence:  The Union allows Scotland to punch above her weight internationally.

This myth gets trotted out as often as often as mentions of the London Olympics on the BBC.  In the anti-independence parties’ private universe, Scotland is punching so high above her weight that the country has shot off into space and is currently orbiting around Westminster’s Uranus.  Back on planet Earth, the Union makes Scotland absent from the international scene.  

No one ever argued that being a member of the Soviet Union allowed Estonia to punch above its weight internationally.  During the Cold War, the usual colloquial term for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was “Russia”.  Equally, in furren pairts the colloquial name for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is “England”.  The usual term in German for Scot literally translates as “I think you’ll find you’re really English”.  

Scotland currently has zero international influence.  Westminster has international influence.  Westminster does not represent Scottish interests – it represents Westminster interests.  The only way Scotland will have any international influence at all is for us to take up our own party invites to Norway and Finland’s cheese and home-distilled-rocket-fuel parties, instead of allowing Westminster to represent us.  

Investment:  The independence debate threatens inward investment in the Scottish economy.

The evidential basis for this story is ‘something told to me by a guy in the pub’.  Davie Cameron, George Osborne and Wee Wullie “I’m steyin wi ma maw” Bain have all spent a lot of time propping up this particular bar recently.  But none of them were able to name names, possibly this is because they were just making up any auld keech to scare us into line.  

Meanwhile it was reported that Amazon, Samsung, Taqa, Avaloq, FMC Technologies, Aker, Ineos, PetroChina, Dell, Gamesa, BNY Mellon, State Street, Hewlett-Packard and Mitsubishi Powers Systems have all recently announced investment in Scotland, to the tune of £400 million.  Additionally a recent report tells us a record £26.4m was invested in new business start-ups and early stage businesses in Scotland in 2011, up over 10% on the previous year.  Seems like the business world displays a confidence in the Scottish economy which isn’t shared by a Westminster Parliament which is supposed to be looking after our interests.

Nationalism:  Nationalism is regressive and backward looking.

This argument applies equally to British nationalism, which Unionists would have us believe is the non-nationalist’s nationalism of choice.  If nationalism was indeed so unremittingly evil, then these people ought to be arguing for the abolition of the UK and its merger into a European superstate as a prelude to one world government.  In the real world we live in, the ‘nation’ rightly or wrongly is the currency unit of sovereignty.  It’s only when Scotland has recovered its sovereignty that we will be able to become truly international and be able to trade on our nationhood.  

British nationalism is the nationalism of Empire, of the exploitation and colonialisation of peoples in the Americas, Australasia, Asia and Africa. It’s the nationalism of sooking up to the Pentagon in order to keep the flicker of those imperial dreams alive.  British nationalism is the insular nationalism of an island with pretensions to global status.  

Scottish nationalism isn’t insular.  We have borders and we know how to reach beyond them.  Scottish nationalism is the nationalism of loving your country because it’s small and harmless and needs people to look after it.  Historically, British nationalism has been the nationalism of a feral pack of scavenging dugs.  Scottish nationalism is the nationalism of a cute fluffy puppy.  Brit-nats hate it because we keep peeing on the Westminster shag pile.

Northern Ireland:  Independence would undermine the Good Friday agreement.  Violence in Northern Ireland would spread to Scotland.

Even when the Troubles in Northern Ireland were at their worst, the violence did not spread to Scotland.  Violence didn’t spread to Scotland even during the height of the Irish independence war, and in the early 20th century sectarianism was a far more powerful social force than it is nowadays.  If Irish political violence was going to spread to Scotland, it would have done so already. 

The reason for this is that the underlying conditions which created the Troubles in the first place simply do not exist in Scotland.  The dispute in Northern Ireland is a disagreement about national identity, nationalists regard themselves as Irish, unionists as British.  These two identities correlate closely with family religious background, leading to a volatile sectarian dispute where the two sides use religion as a means of telling one another apart. 

However in Scotland, we can agree that everyone is Scottish irrespective of their views on independence versus the Union, and irrespective of their family’s religious background.  There is no sectarian dimension to Scottish nationalism, and most importantly, there is no modern history of armed conflict either. 

Scotland was not a party to the Good Friday Agreement.  That agreement was between the political parties of Northern Ireland, and the governments in Westminster and Dublin.  There is no logical reason why Scottish independence should alter the agreement in any way. 

However it’s certainly true that Scottish independence would profoundly change the relationships between the nations of the islands of Britain and Ireland.  This may lead some Northern Irish Unionists to rethink their loyalties to Westminster, it may not.  However those are questions for the people of Northern Ireland, not Scotland. 

Intriguingly, the most vociferous claims that after Scottish independence Northern Ireland would descend into violence, dragging Scotland with it, come not from Northern Ireland, but from London based commentators.  A particularly egregious example was a recent article in The Week magazine by Crispin Black, entitled “Alex Salmond’s ticking time bomb“, as though the Troubles were his fault somehow.  The article is a charmless trot through stereotypes and slurs that the rest of us had last seen smeared on walls in news reports of a 1980’s dirty protest. 

Crispie is a former British army intelligence officer who now comments for the UK media as a security specialist and expert on terrorism.  He may know a lot about the tactics of roadside bombers, but his grasp of Scottish and Irish politics and history leaves much to be desired.  Still, we must take pity on him. “Nation achieving independence entirely peacefully” is precisely the kind of event that puts security and terrorism consultants out of a job. 

Oil:  The oil is running out and won’t last much longer.

When oil companies are asked to estimate the remaining amount of oil, they become a bit like doctors asked to give a patient’s life-expectancy.  If a doctor tells a patient they could live for another 2 years, but then the patient drops dead 6 months later, the doctor will be faced with angry relatives demanding explanations.  However if the doctor says the patient has only 3 months left, but the patient dies after 6 months, no one is going to complain about it – except greedy Uncle Dave who’s had his eye on granny’s Clarice Cliff teapot and wants to punt it on Flog It in order to pay his pals in the private companies he’s introducing into the English NHS.

Oil companies under-estimate oil resources, they don’t over-estimate.  It’s simple business logic.  In addition, there are issues of commercial secrecy, so oil companies are loathe to admit just how much is left.  However most available estimates claim that the remaining worth of known oil deposits runs into the trillions of dollars.  That’s a lot of Clarice Cliff teapots for Uncle Dave in Westminster, or we could use it to create an oil-fund for Scotland to develop our economy for when the oil runs out.  

NEW Oil:  After the oil runs out Scotland will not be able to afford to pay for public services.

It’s unclear how long the oil will last for (see Oil) but most projections say that it will continue to generate a significant income for Scotland for a good few decades to come, and possibly 50 years or more.  As oil becomes an increasingly scarce resource, its market value will only increase.  A 50% drop in oil production doesn’t necessarily translate into a 50% drop in revenue.

Scotland’s oil doesn’t currently pay for Scotland’s public services.  Scotland’s oil revenues contribute to government expenditure across the entire UK.  All the oil income goes to Westminster, along with all the other tax revenues, and Westminster decides how much pocket money to allow the Scottish Parliament.  Westminster makes the decisions on how to spend Scotland’s oil money, but Westminster doesn’t choose to spend it on creating an oil-fund for Scotland, it prefers to pay the costs of privatisations, tax-cuts to the wealthy, London’s sewer and railway upgrades, nuclear warheads, and a host of other things an independent Scotland would neither need nor want.

Only independence can ensure that Scotland’s oil revenues are spent on developing a sustainable and broad economy which will guarantee our living standards in the long term.  If we continue to allow Westminster to control the oil cash, it will be spent on “UK national” projects like the four billion quid upgrade to London’s sewer system.  Scotland’s future is, quite literally, being flushed away down a Westminster lavvy.

If Scotland does not take the opportunity of independence, then after the oil runs out we really won’t be able to afford to pay for public services, which will be privatised by then.  Westminster will have pulled the chain on them.

One party state:  Under Alex Salmond and the SNP, Scotland would become a one-party state.

The SNP are a democratic party in a democratic country.  They don’t require a lecture in democratic values from Unionist parties which appoint relics, failures and convicted criminals to the House of Lords, where they continue to rule over us as the political undead, like Zombie Drunken Dance Foulkes of Zebedee On Acid, Zombie Count Forsythula of Tory Electoral Wipeout, and Zombie Arsonist Watson of I Really Don’t Like Those Curtains.  You can’t kill off a Unionist politician’s career, influence and expenses claims.  The SNP refuses to accept seats in the Lords. 

The SNP doesn’t need to follow the example of Westminster MPs representing Scottish seats who shamelessly vote on English only matters.   Only the Unionist parties do that.

The great geological rift in the Scottish political landscape is the division between independence and Union, the Unionist term for this is “Alex Salmond’s Fault”.  After independence the political landscape will alter fundamentally and there will be a major realignment of the tectonic plates.

Independence will enrich Scottish democracy and debate.  The Unionist parties will become independent too.  They’ll no longer be tied to Westminster’s strings and will be free to develop policies and proposals which appeal to voters in Scotland.  They’ll get more votes that way.  Labour will no longer have to pitch itself like a dockside hooker to the passing ships of voters in Labour-Tory marginal seats in Daily Mail land, and could actually become a Labour party again.  The Tories will develop a centre-right style of Scottish politics and become the You’ll Have Had Your Tea Party.  And the Scottish Lib Dems will become whatever it is that Scottish Lib Dems stand for; no one is really sure, least of all the Lib Dems.

The SNP will not be immune to the shifts in the tectonic plates.  They’ll have to answer the question “Och that wis rerr … Bit noo whit?”  It’s unlikely the party would survive long in its current form, but that’s a question for after independence is achieved.

An independent Scotland will discover the normal left-right politics of a normal European nation, and Johann Lamont will be able to get back to making cases for all those things she keeps saying she’d rather talk about than talk about the constitutional status and avoiding questions on Trident.   She’ll have achieved her dream, no one will be discussing Scottish independence.  You’d think that could put a smile on her face, but that’s a big ask.

Overseas business:  Independence would destroy Scotland’s say in the world – removing the ability to do big business overseas.

Well yeah, Scotland wouldn’t have any embassies or trade missions would it?  We’d not be members of the UN or have passports and Scottish renewal energy technology companies would only be able to sell their turbines to the Isle of Cumbrae community cooncil.  

British embassies only promote Scotch whisky, one of our biggest exports, because Scotch whisky companies pay the UK Foreign Office obscene amounts of money in order for them to bring out the Ferrero Rocher.  We can reasonably assume that Scottish embassies would promote Scottish business, because that’s what we’d set them up for.  We already own 8.6% of all UK embassies anyway, so office space shouldn’t be a problem.

Partition:  If some parts of Scotland vote no, but others yes, then we could find the country partitioned.

Everyone knows partition ends up in disaster, the famous examples being India, Cyprus and Ireland – all disasters Westminster had a direct hand in creating.   But Scotland is not a possession of Westminster for it to dispose of as it sees fit.  Westminster doesn’t get to call the shots in Scotland’s independence referendum.  Scotland does.

The United Kingdom is not a normal unitary state, it’s a union, the clue is in the name.  In this case the union refers to the pooling of sovereignty between Scotland and England (plus England’s associated bits – which would be Wales and Northern Ireland).  The United Kingdom consists of two sovereign units.  Scottish sovereignty rests with the people of Scotland, we just allow Westminster to exercise it on our behalf.  When as a sovereign people we tell Westminster that we’re withdrawing permission, they don’t get to keep the bits of Scotland they’ve taken a fancy to.  It would be a bit like cancelling a contract with a cowboy builder after the new roof fell in, only for him to tell us he’s going to keep working on the bedroom extension because he’d not screwed up there.

In 2009 when Montenegro held a referendum on independence from its union with Serbia, 55% voted in favour.  In the north of the country there were many towns and districts where a majority of people voted against independence, yet they still became independent along with the rest of Montenegro where a majority voted in favour.  The referendum result was accepted internationally.  No one supported calls for partition.  

In the exact same way that the majority party gets to be the government of the whole country, not just the bits that voted for it, the entire country becomes independent if a majority in the country as a whole vote for it.  The unit of sovereignty is the nation.  The nation is the whole of Scotland, not bits of it.  We’re aw Jock Tamson’s bairns, including those of us who decide to vote no.

NEW Positive case for the Union:  The anti-independence parties will make a positive case for Scotland remaining within the Union.

If the anti-independence parties had spent a fraction of the time and energy finding a positive case for the Union as they have telling us scare stories about how Scots would all die of the plague the day after independence, we’d probably not be having this debate now.  But in reality a positive case for the Union is the biggest myth of all.  There’s more evidence for the existence of monsters in lochs than there is for the existence of the positive case for the Union.  Photies of nuclear submarines in the Firth of Clyde count as evidence for monsters, in case you were wondering.

All the anti-independence parties have promised that they will make a “positive case” for Scotland remaining under Westminster government.  It’s always that they’re “going to” make a positive case for the Union, or that they’re “about to”, or “watch this space it’s coming”, or “those nats better watch out because we’ll be doing it really really soon, honest”.  But they never seem to get round to it.  They’re too busy making up scare stories to find the time. 

The closest we’ve come so far was when Davie Cameron attempted to give what he believed to be a positive case for the Union while on a trip to Embra in February 2012.  But as is well known north of the Border, Davie struggles with the Scottish vernacular.  When yer average Scottish punter says “positive case for the Union”, what is meant is that Westminster politicians spell out in detail exactly how Scotland benefits from being ruled from the banks of the Thames by a Parliament dominated by Tory MPs. 

But what Davie thought the phrase meant was spelling out how Westminster benefits from having control of all of Scotland’s resources and economy.  But we all know that already, and it’s because we can see how Westminster benefits at our expense that we want to know what Scotland gets out the deal.  Tory Prime Ministers are incapable of articulating that, because there is no positive spin that can be put on the situation.

What is occasionally presented as a positive case for the Union falls into one of three categories: 1. The irrelevant 2. The outright falsehood, and 3. The delusional.

1.  Irrelevant: There are legions of examples, like waffle about fighting Hitler together.  We didn’t fight Hitler in order to keep George Foulkes and Michael Forsyth in well paid jobs where they can influence legislation despite no one voting for them.  Also irrelevant are claims about family and cultural ties – we have those with Ireland too – Irish independence didn’t break them.  We don’t need Westminster to tell us who our nearest and dearest are.  And Irish people still speak English. 

2. The outright falsehood:  There are legions of these too.  Subsidy junkie myths, alarmist scaremongering about defence, challenging those is what this A-Z is all about.

3. The delusional:  Anything uttered by Michael Forsyth.

There’s no sign of a substantive positive case for the Union coming along any time soon, nor indeed, ever coming along at all.  Let’s be honest here, if the positive case existed, we’d all know all about it by now.  BBC Scotland, the Scotsman et al. would have been sure to mention it, repeatedly.  It would in fact be given about as much publicity as the London Olympics. 

The silence speaks volumes. 

Postage charges:  It will cost a fortune to shop on eBay as postal charges from England will increase.

Oh my God!  After independence you won’t be able to bid on that mint condition collector’s edition Darth Vader figurine with working light-sabre!   You’ll be outbid by that guy from Wolverhampton who beat you on the matching Darth Sith figurine because you’ll no longer be able to afford a possible few pence more on the postage.  Let’s just call this whole independence thing off then.

It’s entirely possible that the postal services of Scotland and the rest of the UK will negotiate a postal union after Scottish independence.  As the only independent country with which England shares a land border, there’s no reason for postal charges to increase. 

But no one knows what’s going to happen to Royal Mail postal charges over the next few years, except it’s a safe bet they’ll go up.  They’re likely to go up even more if the Conservatives get their way and privatise it, something which may equally well occur under Labour anyway.  In an independent Scotland, the post office will not be privatised.  We might not be able to prevent the privatisation of the Royal Mail in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but we can at least prevent it in Scotland. 

Plus we’ll get lots of lovely new Scottish stamps and you can collect those instead of Star Wars figurines.  They take up less space, and can sit on a bookshelf in an album, which won’t scare off a prospective girlfriend like your life sized model of Chewbacca did.

Pound sterling:  Scotland wouldn’t be allowed to continue to use the pound.

The pound sterling will remain the currency of an independent Scotland until the Scottish people decide otherwise.  The pound is our national currency just as much as it’s the currency of the rest of the UK, and Scotland owns a proportional share of the central bank, the Bank of England, which underwrites that currency.  As an independent state, Scotland would have just under 10% of a stake in the Bank of England, and 10% of influence.  At the moment any influence Scotland has is exercised by George Osborne.  10% of influence is a damn sight more than the influence we have just now.

In any case there’s no way that Westminster could prevent Scotland from using sterling.  It’s a fully tradeable currency, and as such any country could adopt it if it felt like it.  However if Westminster did somehow force Scotland out of the pound, they’d wreak havoc on the economy of the rump UK as Scotland would march off with about 10% of the Bank of England’s reserves.  

Ireland used the pound sterling as its currency from independence in 1922 until the Republic signed up to the ERM, the precursor to the euro.  The Irish punt was worth exactly the same as the pound sterling.  It was in fact the pound sterling, only in a prettier wrapping.  

Poverty:  Scotland is too poor to be independent.

Scotland is a rich country, yet many Scottish people are poor.  Scotland has a surplus of energy, yet many Scottish people struggle to heat their homes.  Scotland produces an educated workforce thanks to our tradition of free education for all, yet Scots are forced to emigrate to find work.  Why is that if the Union has been so great for us?  

People who say Scotland is too poor are confusing cause and effect.  The poverty and social blight which disfigure much of our country is a product of the Union.  Under the Union the role of Scotland is to provide raw materials and skilled manpower to bolster the economy of the South East.  Scotland must be the only country in the world where emigration is described as a “benefit”.

The Union has had 300 years to tackle these problems, yet inequality is getting worse.  Meanwhile the Scottish Parliament is denied the power to do something about these problems itself.  Only an independent Scotland can tackle the problems produced by the Union.

If Scotland really was so poor, a basket case dependent on hand outs, then just why is Westminster so desperate to hang on to us?  Remember, the words “Tories” and “altruism” only appear in the same sentence when they’re connected by a negative.

Public sector workers:  Scotland is over reliant on public sector employment  Without Westminster we’d lose all those jobs.

The proportion of Scots who work for the public sector is broadly comparable with the proportion in other comparable European nations.  It’s actually lower than it is in many countries, and only slightly higher than the figure for the UK as a whole.  In the last quarter of 2011 there were 586,600 people employed in the public sector in Scotland out of a total of 2,464,000 people in employment, that’s 23.8% of the workforce, compared to 21% of the workforce of the UK as a whole.  Full details are here.   

In other countries, a significantly higher percentage of people work in the public sector.   They also have much better public services than we do, which is probably not a coincidence.  In Sweden 33.87% of workers are public servants.  In Denmark the figure is 32.3%, while in Norway 29.25% and Finland 26.31% of employees work for the public sector.  (Source)  All those countries seem to manage their economies quite successfully, despite being “overburdened” by public sector workers. 

Of Scottish public sector workers, 490,400 (19.9% of the total workforce) are employed by bodies devolved to the Scottish Parliament and 96,200 (3.9% of the total workforce) work for departments controlled by Westminster.  This is the same as the UK as a whole, according to official statistics 4% of the UK workforce is employed by the UK central government.  These figures don’t include members of the armed services, who are counted separately. 

So there is no question of Scottish civil servants losing their jobs after independence.  Scotland will need staff to fill departments currently controlled by Westminster, but will perhaps not need quite so many staff in some departments currently located in Scotland but dealing with UK-wide matters.  These staff can be redeployed.  The total number needed across all government departments is approximately the same as already work for the UK central government in Scotland. 

In fact the chances are that the new Scottish government would recruit more staff.  With independence we can reasonably expect to demand better public services than Westminster would foist upon us, and better public services mean better staffing levels.  If Finland, Denmark and Sweden can afford it, there’s no reason we can’t.  Unlike Scotland and Norway, they’re not tripping over energy resources.

Queen: Scotland won’t be able to retain the Queen as head of state.

The Union of Crowns and the Union of Parliaments are two separate issues.  This is a debate about the Treaty of Union of 1707, the Union of Parliaments.  By 1707 Scotland and England had already shared a monarch for over 100 years.  Scottish king Jaimie the Saxt inherited the English throne from his maw’s cousin Liz in 1603.  Liz had played happy families with Jaimie’s mammy Mary and had her beheaded.  Soap operas have nothing on royals, as the Windsors continue to demonstrate. 

The present Queen is head of state of the UK.  She’s also head of state of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Belize, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent.  All are independent states with their own seats in the United Nations.  All can decide for themselves whether they want the monarch to remain their head of state.  Malta retained the Queen as head of state when it became independent in 1964.  It became a republic in 1974.  Becoming a republic doesn’t mean leaving the Commonwealth, Malta remains a member.

Scotland will retain the Queen as head of state, and we’ll continue to be viewers of the Windsorenders soap opera until we decide otherwise.  One possible scenario is a referendum on what happens when we’re faced with the prospect of King Chairlie and Queen Camilla.  That’s a choice you can guarantee that Westminster wouldn’t give us.

Racism:  The SNP is just a neo-fascist tartan version of the BNP.

This is possibly one of the most evil of the Unionist myths.  It’s not only untrue, those who make the slur know it’s untrue.  (Ian Davidson MP, we’re looking at you.)  The SNP is resolutely opposed to fascism and racism in all its forms, just like the overwhelming majority of Scots.  The SNP promotes a civic nationalism which has nothing to do with race, genes, or ethnicity.   Scottishness is inclusive not exclusive, it is open to all the inhabitants of Scotland, whatever their ethnic, religious, linguistic or family backgrounds.

I can’t do better than to quote the late Bashir Ahmad of the SNP, Scotland’s first Asian MSP,  who said:  “It isn’t important where you come from, what matters is where we are going together as a nation.”

Mr Ahmad was born in India, he had no Scottish ancestors.  Yet he was 100% Scottish.  David Cameron has Scottish ancestry, but he’s not Scottish at all.  Scottishness is a state of mind.  

Redistributive union: If we believe in the idea of Scotland as a progressive beacon, why would we turn our back on the redistributive union, the United Kingdom?

Ed Miliband asked that exact question in a speech at Labour’s Scottish conference in March 2012.  Ed must be living in a different Unionverse from the rest of us.  Under the last Labour government, the gap between rich and poor increased and more children were left living in poverty than when Labour came into power in 1997.  The UK now has the fastest growing gap in income between rich and poor of any country in western Europe, thanks to Labour and the Conservatives.  According to a study carried out by the OECD, in 1985 the richest 10% had 8 times the income of the poorest 10%.  By 2008, under a Labour government, the richest 10% had 12 times the income of the poorest 10%.  The OECD said that this growing disparity was due to a trend in labour and social policies that had helped the wealthy.  Those were Westminster policies.

Nearly 4 million children are living in poverty in the UK. The proportion of children living in poverty was 10% in 1979, today 30% per cent of children in Britain are living in poverty.  The UK has one of the worst rates of child poverty in the industrialised world.  This situation arose under the Conservative and Labour tag-team.  It’s not going to get any better.  The only way we can protect our children is to ensure that we have a government which puts their welfare first.  We can’t do that with Westminster, we can only do it ourselves.  Ed Miliband doesn’t want Scotland to have the economic powers that allow our beacon to shine brightly.  Under Westminster, Scotland’s progressive beacon is snuffed out. 

Scotland continues to have appalling health statistics and in parts of Glasgow men have a shorter life expentancy than men living in the Gaza Strip.  We have the scandal of rampant fuel poverty in an energy rich nation.  Under the UK governments own figures, Scotland receives less in government expenditure than it pays in taxes.  Redistribution is certainly going on, but wealth is not being redistributed to the poor and needy of Scotland.

The United Kingdom is very efficient at redistributing wealth.  The problem is it redistributes it  to the rich and powerful, and Labour is just as guilty of that as the Tories. 

Referendum legality:  A referendum held by the Scottish Parliament would be illegal and non-binding.

There are no binding referendums in the UK.  All referendums are advisory, that’s what the “sovereignty of Parliament” stuff Westminster keeps harping on about means.  That doctrine doesn’t apply in Scotland anyway.  According to the Lord President of the Court of Session, Lord Cooper, passing judgement in a case back in the 1950s: “the principle of the unlimited sovereignty of Parliament is a distinctively English principle which has no counterpart in Scottish Constitutional Law.”  Legally, the people of Scotland are sovereign, and we have every right to decide our own future for ourselves.  We don’t need Westminster’s permission to make it legal.

Holyrood doesn’t need the permission of Westminster to hold a “legal referendum” any more than a marketing company in Aberdeen requires Westminster’s permission to carry out a survey asking whether we prefer Hellmann’s Mayonnaise to supermarket own brand.  It’s not illegal to ask people for their opinion.  That’s what this democracy and freedom of speech lark is all about.  But perhaps we could be kind to Westminster and rewrite the proposed referendum question so it reads like a marketing questionnaire:

Do you agree that Scotland’s own brand sweet and creamy independence is tastier than Westminster’s (1) invisible carrot (2) flavour austerity jam (3)?
1. Health warning:  This product line contains nuts.
2. The manufacturer reserves the right to delay delivery of this item indefinitely. 
3. Contents of this product may differ substantially from the packaging.

Politically however, Westminster would be obliged by the results of a referendum on Scottish independence, and that’s the point.  If Scotland votes in favour of independence in a ballot conducted according to internationally established norms, Westminster would be bound by it.   That’s why they’re desperate to wrest control of the referendum from the Scottish Parliament, because they want to give us another of the referendums they’ve given us in the past, like the 1979 referendum where the votes of the dead counted as a no.  The reason they’re complaining so loudly that Holyrood would rig the referendum is because that’s precisely what they’d do themselves.  It’s called psychological projection.

Rejoining the UK: An independent Scotland would not be able to rejoin the UK if everything went wrong.

This all rests on the bizarre idea that if everything in an independent Scotland went completely pear-shaped, the Westminster parliament would be the people to turn to to sort it out for us.  It would be a bit like going back to the cowboy amateur builder who wrecked your house after you ran into problems organising the repairs yourself. 

When Ireland ran into financial troubles recently they didn’t say: “Oh let’s ask Westminster to rule us again, because that worked out so well the first time didn’t it?” Icelanders didn’t beg to rejoin Denmark when their banks ran up debts.  Both those countries took responsibility for their own problems, and started to work on their own solutions.  Both are achieving that pretty well.   

But really, this is a version of the “too wee, too poor, too stupid” myth.  The underlying assumption is that alone out of the countries on this Earth, Scotland isn’t capable, only Westminster is capable. 

Scotland is not uniquely incapable of governing itself.  We are not too wee.  We have a larger population than the Irish Republic, Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, or Slovenia.  We’ve got approximately the same population as Denmark or Finland.  In area we’re larger than Slovenia, the Irish Republic, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, or Lithuania. We’re approximately the same size as the Czech Republic or Austria. 

And we’re certainly not too poor.  According to figures from the OECD, Scotland would be the sixth richest country in the world.  Westminster knows that too, and that’s why they’re so keen to hang on to us.  They don’t want us for George Foulkes’s and Johann Lamont’s good looks and charming personalities.

However if your views on Scotland come solely from watching Reporting Scotland, you could be forgiven for thinking we’re too stupid.  But thankfully we can expect to get proper news on telly after independence. 

Rennie’s Riddle:  If 51% vote for independence, but 99% vote for extra powers, independence wouldn’t be the choice of the largest number of people.

Wullie’s argument rests upon the dubious notion that independence and extra powers for Holyrood are two incomparable things.  That might be true from a Westminster perspective, but from a Scottish perspective what we’re talking about here is the transfer of powers from Westminster to Edinburgh, whether that’s some of Westminster’s powers or all of them.  It’s our referendum, so it’s our perspective that counts.

The powers Westminster wields on Scotland’s behalf are a cake.  It’s really a Dundee cake although Westminster insists it’s a Victorian imperial sponge.  Victorian imperial spongers is a good description of Westminster, so let’s run with it.  In a multi-question referendum Scots would be asked whether we want the whole cake – that’s independence, half the cake – that’s extra power for Holyrood, or would we be happy with a few stale crumbs and a glacé cherry.  That’s the Scotland Bill.

If 51% say they want the whole cake, we get the whole cake.  The fact that 51% have said that in the event a majority doesn’t want the whole cake they’ll accept half a cake instead doesn’t make half a cake the most popular choice.  The 48% percent who only want half the cake are out-voted.  That’s how democracy works.    

99 minus 51 is 48, Wullie.  The only riddle here is why anyone takes Wullie Rennie seriously when it’s clear he struggles with simple sums.  He couldn’t be trusted to work in a cake shop.

Royal Bank of Scotland:  The cost of bailing out RBS would have bankrupted an independent Scotland.

Scottish GDP in 2008 was an estimated £145 billion.  The cost to the UK of the RBS / HBOS bail out in 2008 was £88 billion.  However the actual Scottish share on a per capita basis was £8.8 billion, and on the debt accrued by the Scottish registered banks which would have been an independent Scotland’s liability is estimated at £2.4 billion.  We’d only have had to cough up even that much assuming that Scotland implemented the same slash-and-burn approach to regulation of the financial sector as Westminster.

The Unionists would have us believe that we’d be bankrupted by the price of a £1 bus fare out of a London riot zone, even though we’ve got £75 in our pocket.  And we can reasonably hope to get a refund on that bus ticket at some point in the future.

It wasn’t Scotland that allowed bankers to run riot, it was Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.  Brown and Darling and their ilk are effectively telling us we can’t be independent because they’re so bleedin’ incompetent.  But we already know that, which is why we’re not so inclined to vote for them any more.

As Andrew Hughes Hallett. Professor of Economics at St Andrew’s University, put it, speaking on Radio Scotland.

“The real point here, and this is the real point, is by international convention, when banks which operate in more than one country get into these sorts of conditions, the bailout is shared in proportion to the area of activities of those banks, and therefore it’s shared between several countries.  In the case of the RBS, I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but roughly speaking 90% of its operations are in England and 10% are in Scotland, the result being, by that convention, therefore, that the rest of the UK would have to carry 90% of the liabilities of the RBS and Scotland 10%.  And the precedent for this, if you want to go into the details, are the Fortis Bank and the Dexia Bank, which are two banks which were shared between France, Belgium and the Netherlands, at the same time were bailed out in proportion by France, Belgium and the Netherlands.”

Separation:  Nationalists want separation.

Independence is a state of being and a state of mind.  Separation is a short process you go through to attain independence.  Calling Scottish independence ‘separation’ is a bit like calling a month long holiday in a luxury hotel in a tropical beachside paradise ‘a visit to Glasgow airport’.

In any case, Scotland and England are already separate countries, moreover they are countries which are increasingly distant from one another in their political cultures, which is precisely why we’re having this independence debate.   

Service personnel:  My son’s in the Royal Navy.  He’d lose his job after independence.

No he wouldn’t.  The UK already allows Commonwealth citizens to serve in the British armed forces.  That would continue after Scottish independence, Scotland would be a Commonwealth member.  Irish citizens may also join the UK armed forces.  According to figures from a couple of years ago, Irish citizens from the Republic make up over 14% of those who join the British Army through recruiting centres in Northern Ireland.

In any case Scotland would be able to offer jobs to Scottish service personnel.  Scotland already owns some 9% of all UK defence assets, as UK taxpayers Scots already pay our fair share of defence spending.  In fact Scotland is significantly over-charged for defence, as over one third of our contribution to UK defence does not directly benefit Scotland.  After independence we’d have a better funded and resourced defence force which is appropriate to our needs, and would be better positioned to offer personnel a fair reward for their service. 

After independence, members of the British armed forces who qualify for Scottish citizenship will be offered the choice of joining the new Scottish Defence Force, with pay and conditions equal to or better than those they currently receive, or remaining where they are. 

It’s estimated that around 15% of service personnel are Scots, a figure substantially greater than our proportion of the UK population as a whole.  The British armed forces are already experiencing difficulties in recruitment, so the very last thing they want would be having to sack 15% of their employees. 

Shetland and Orkney:  Shetland and Orkney aren’t really Scottish.

Westminster’s interest in self-determination for small islands is directly related to power and money.  Westminster wasn’t terribly interested in the right to self determination of the people of the Chagos Islands.  The Chagos islanders didn’t have anything Westminster wanted, except their land.  The islanders were cleared out of their homes and dumped in slums in Mauritius because the UK decided to give the islands to the USA to use as a naval base. 

However all of a sudden the national rights of Shetland and Orkney islanders are of immense concern to our Westminster masters, even though most Conservative MPs believe Up Helly Aa is a sexual practice which is still illegal in most US states.  Cannae be anything to do with that oil eh?

Orkney and Shetland became a part of Scotland in 1486 when Christian I, King of Norway and Denmark, pledged them as security against the payment of the dowry of his daughter Margaret, who was betrothed to James III of Scotland.  All this happened long before the Scottish Parliament entered its shotgun marriage with Westminster in 1707.  If we want to pursue the marriage and divorce metaphor, Orkney and Shetland became Scottish from a previous relationship.  When we divorce Westminster, it doesn’t get custody.

Fortunately for Scotland, and the Shetland and Orkney Islands, we are not a colony which Westminster can dispose of at will.  Scotland is an equal partner in the Union of Parliaments, and if a majority of Scots decide that Union no longer serves our interests, all of Scotland becomes independent.  Westminster doesn’t get to pick and choose the bits it would like to keep.

NEW SNP:  I’m a Labour / Lib Dem / Conservative / Monster Raving Loony voter.  A vote for independence is a vote for the SNP.

The independence of any nation is beyond party politics, or at least it ought to be.  It’s something that directly concerns us all, including those who are not remotely interested in politics, which is probably most of us.

Independence is a key policy of the SNP, but it’s not solely an SNP policy.  Voting for independence doesn’t mean a vote for an SNP Scotland.  The Scottish Green Party, the Scottish Socialists, Solidarity, and the Scottish Democratic Alliance also support independence.  Each of these parties has a very different vision of what they want an independent Scotland to be like.  And it is widely known amongst politics geeks, who are sort of like celebrity groupies only less attractive, that there are figures within the supposedly Unionist parties who would not be entirely unhappy with Scottish independence. 

In the referendum, no one is asking your opinion of the SNP, or of any other party.  People shouldn’t vote against independence just because they hate the SNP any more than they should vote in favour just because they hate Labour or the Tories.  The question should be answered on its own merits, and the question is whether you want Scotland to retake its place in the family of independent nations, or not. 

The referendum is not a question about any single party, we have Westminster General Elections for that.  Yet despite regular General Elections, nothing much ever seems to change.  If you believe that the political system of the UK is in dire need of change, vote yes.  Party politics will continue post-independence, but the parties will be operating within a system controlled by and answerable to the Scottish people, not to the banks of City of London. 

Social union:  The SNP doesn’t know what it means by independence if it talks about a “social union”.

The current political debate is about the 1707 Treaty of Union, the Union of Parliaments.  The Union of Parliaments is not the only link between Scotland and the other nations of these islands, the term “social union” refers to the fact that these other links would be maintained, even strengthened, by Scottish independence. 

We share many family ties and cultural and economic ties with the other countries of this archipelago.  I’m an average Scot, I have English and Irish relatives and loved ones.  Independence wouldn’t destroy that.  Ireland is already independent.  I don’t love my Irish nearest and dearest less than I love those who are English.  We don’t need Westminster to validate our personal and family relationships, thank you very much.  In fact it’s pretty presumptuous and arrogant of Westminster to claim that it does.

The Union of Parliaments distorts the real links Scotland shares with its neighbours and disguises the fact that culturally and socially we don’t have any more in common with England and Wales that we don’t also share with Ireland.  Ireland, or at least most of it, has been independent for quite a long time now.  The only folk who claim that Irish people are “more foreign” to the Scots than the English or the Welsh probably think 1690 refers to a recent event. 

A social union between the nations of these islands means maintaining free travel throughout, and fostering the links between Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland North and South as equal partners.  For Scotland and the rump-UK it also means maintaining the pound as a common currency, and keeping the queen as head of state – at least until the Scottish people decide otherwise.  Independence means we get to make these choices for ourselves.  A social union is a union of equals.  A Westminster union is a client-master relationship that belongs to the 18th century. 

Spain:  Spain would veto Scottish membership of the EU.

The official position of the Spanish government was given in January 2012 by José García-Margall, the Spanish Foreign Secretary.  Asked about reports in the UK press that Spain would veto Scottish membership of the EU, Mr García-Margall replied that the reports were falso; that’s Spanish for ‘bollox’.  Mr García-Margall went on to explain that in the view of the Spanish government, the question of Scottish independence has ningun paralelismo to the Spanish situation; that’s Spanish for ‘it’s nuhin like Spain, ya clown’.

Spanish opposition to Catalan and Basque independence is based on a clause in the Spanish constitution which refers to Spain as one indivisible nation.  The Spanish cited a similar clause in the Serbian constitution when they refused to recognise the independence of Kosovo from Serbia.  Unless Unionists can cite a clause in the UK constitution saying that the UK is one indivisible nation, they should callarse with the Spanish threat.  That’s Spanish for ‘shut it’.

Unionists are asking us to believe that Spain would veto Scottish membership of the EU in order to discourage Basque and Catalan nationalism, when the Spanish government itself says that the Scottish and Spanish situations have nothing to do with one another.  Then there’s Gibraltar, the existence of which means Spanish conservatives aren’t naturally disposed to do Westminster any favours on questions of sovereignty.  As a successor state to the UK, Scotland has a share in Gibraltar and we could tell Spain we’d swap it for parts of Benidorm.  

It should also be noted that mariscos obsessed Spain, the country with the highest consumption of sea-food in Europe, depends on the access to Scottish waters allowed it by Scottish EU membership in order to keep Mercadona and Hipercor shelves stocked with bacalao, gambas and langosta.  They’re hardly likely to put that at risk just to keep in Westminster’s good books and ensure continuing supplies of baked beans and Melton Mowbray pork pies.

Subsidies:  Scotland depends upon subsidies from the UK to run our economy.

A recent study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) think tank, based on official tax and spending figures, concludes that Scotland’s North Sea oil and gas revenues, with other taxes, means it gets no net subsidy from the rest of the UK.  And this is based upon shonky Westminster figures, which allocate a notional share of “UK national expenditure” to Scotland even though the money is actually spent in the South East of England.  So we’re paying for just under 10% of the bloody Olympics.

But if, like me, your eyes glaze over when you hear talk of balance sheets, budgets and the Barnett Formula, just consider that Westminster could very easily make it clear exactly how much Scotland puts into the Union, and exactly how much we get back in return.  After all, it’s Westminster which collects all the money and allocates where it goes.  We can assume they know who pays what and who gets what.  

If Scotland was indeed hopelessly dependent on UK handouts, Westminster would publish all the figures in glorious technicolour and upload videos to YouTube, and there would be a 10 part BBC documentary all about them.  This would pretty much kill the independence debate stone dead, as Scots would be able to quantify those so-called Union benefits in precise detail.  But instead finding out how much Scotland pays into the Union and how much we get back takes a crack squad of industrial strength accountants on amphetamines.  So it’s a safe bet that we’re not dependent on subsidies from Westminster after all.

NEW Terrorism:  An independent Scotland would be a terrorist threat.

According to Labour MSP Greame Pearson, who’s really unbiased, at least according to that bastion of knee-jerk Unionism the Scotsman newspaper, an independent Scotland will become the Buchanan St Bus Station of Al Qaeda.  Chechen rebels will barge auld ladies out of the way in the queue for the number 62 to Faifley on their way to conduct drug deals with human traffickers and export Hebridean human bombs to Surbiton. 

The GERS (Government Expenditure and Revenues) figures already allocate a notional share of UK intelligence spending to Scotland.  That means that Scottish taxpayers annually cough up roughly £175 million on intelligence services already, a figure which is based upon identifiable public spending.  The intelligence services tend to be secretive in nature, because that’s part of their job description, so the true figure for expenditure is probably rather more.  James Bond’s Aston Martins don’t come cheap you know, and you’ll be shaken, not stirred, by the price of a decent martini.

Assuming the same intelligence budget after independence as we already spend, Scotland would rank amongst the most secret-policed nations on the planet.  This is because the UK spends as much on its intelligence services as your average dictatorship, not your average democracy.  This is one of those factoids that make you go hmmm.  Just why does the UK spend so much on intelligence, with apparently so little to show for it?  Dunno about you, but all those security searches at airports don’t make me feel safer, they just make me more paranoid.

A foreign policy based upon “punching above our weight” would seem to be the answer.  “Punching above our weight” is what Unionist politicians call invading Middle Eastern countries, selling weapons systems to dictators, and sooking up to the Pentagon.  If your foreign policy is based upon alienating as large a number of people around the world as possible, you’re going to need expensively funded intelligence services.

By way of comparison, in 2010 the budget for the Danish intelligence services was 566.8 million Danish kroner.  That’s about £61 million.  Denmark, despite certain local difficulties with newspapers printing cartoons insulting to Muslims, is not noted as a hotbed of terrorism, Islamic or otherwise. 

Norway, which has a land border with Russia, historically has a high spend on  intelligence and defence.  Russia has important military installations on the Kola Peninsula, close to the Norwegian border which Norway wants to keep a close eye on. Norway spends 930 million Norwegian kroner annually on its intelligence services, that’s about £99.9 million.

Unlike Norway, Scotland has a single short land frontier, and that with a friendly nation with whom an independent Scotland would collaborate closely in our common interests.  Our coasts are not across short stretches of watter from unfriendly or unstable nations.  It shouldn’t be too difficult for an independent Scotland to keep an eye what the security services term “persons of interest”.  Within the UK we’re already spending far more than is required for that task, because the UK intelligence services have other interests which don’t reflect Scotland’s needs.

Togetherness:  We’re stronger together than we are apart.

As Tonto said to the Lone Ranger when the Lone Ranger said together we can defeat the Commanches coming over the hill:  “What do you mean ‘we’, whiteman?”

Scotland is not stronger when Westminster gets involved in American adventurism.  Scotland is not stronger when Westminster takes an axe to the benefit safety net of the poor and vulnerable.  Scotland is not stronger when the Lone Ranger decides to take on the entire Commanche nation, or in Lone Ranger Cameron’s case, decides to decimate the NHS.

Westminster is stronger when it can control Scottish resources.  When Westminster says “We are stronger together”, we is an abbreviation for Westminster. 

Travel abroad:  Independence would prevent Scots from travelling safely in foreign countries.

Those shopping trolleys in French hypermarkets are LETHAL I tell you.  

One of the arguments I used to make in favour of Scottish independence when I lived in London (mainly just to annoy anti-Scottish Londoners, it must be said) is that independence would help in case I was ever on a plane that got hijacked.  Scottish passport holders would be sent off to stand in a corner with the Portuguese and Icelanders and other people from inoffensive small countries, and be released when the hijackers negotiated for some toilet paper and cheese sandwiches.  British passport holders would be in the queue to get shot along with the Americans because the sandwiches came without pickle and the bog paper was the hard shiny kind.

I was being flippant, but the BBC’s foreign correspondent John Simpson, who’s always jetting off to war-torn parts,  seems to share this opinion.  He prefers to travel on an Irish passport.  His reason?  The Irish look after their citizens who get into trouble abroad far better than the British do.  Small countries have more reason to care about individual citizens than large ones.

Trident: Scotland would have to pay for the removal of Trident and the cost of a new base in the rump-UK.

So said Philip Hammond, Tory Defence Secretary.  Sometimes the rank stupidity of a story leaves you reeling, and this one is way up there with the Daily Mail’s belief that immigrants cause cancer or that Jim Davidson is a comedian.  

In fact, even if Westminster were to send Scotland the bill for relocating Trident, we couldn’t pay and Westminster couldn’t accept, because of the nuclear non-proliferation treaties Westminster’s signed up to.  Because Scotland has not, yet, signed any such treaties, we could flog the missile system off on eBay if we felt like it.

But that’s not going to happen anyway.  If Westminster wants to keep its nuclear toys it’s up to Westminster to buy its own Tracey Island Thunderbird Base from Toys-R-Us.  None of the former republics of the Soviet Union were required to pay Russia to build new bases for Soviet warheads.

However the ridiculousness of Hammond’s threat is a symptom of Westminster’s very real fear.  They know something they don’t want the Scottish public to discover (but too late – ha ha), Scotland’s got Westminster over a Trident barrel.  While it’s relatively simple to relocate submarines, there are no suitable storage facilities for Trident missiles and warheads except the Coulport base.  It would take about 10 years to build a new base.  In the meantime they’d have to bend over backwards to bribe, cajole, pay or plead with Scotland to look after their toys for them.  And we’d be perfectly at liberty to scrap them.

UN Security Council:  The UK will lose its seat on the UN Security Council.

The position of the permanent members of the UN was written into the very foundation treaty of the UN itself.  The seats can’t be taken away from the countries which occupy them.  The seat currently occupied by the UK belongs to Scotland as much as it does to the rest of the UK. 

Scotland has no interest in retaining the permanent seat on the Security Council, but an independent Scotland has a theoretical right to inherit a share in it.  That gives us a powerful bargaining chip to use with Westminster.  The permanent seat on the council will most probably be retained by the rump-UK in return for some serious concessions to the newly independent Scotland in other areas. 

Thinking up concessions to demand from Westminster is a fun game all the family can play.  Personally I’d demand that Westminster politicians always put their brains in gear before opening their mouths, but that’s so not going to happen.

Unanswered questions:  Too many unanswered questions remain about independence.

A recent report, well I say ‘report’, from Westminster listed a slew of questions which they claim remain unanswered, and demanded that the Scottish Government respond to them.  Amongst the questions were things like what a future Scottish defence policy would be, and which international bodies Scotland would be a member of.  The correct answer to these Westminster questions is “Nane o your damn business.”  These are matters for the Scottish people to decide post-independence, and we won’t have to answer to Westminster for them.

Other questions are non-questions, like what share of oil and gas deposits would go to Scotland and what would happen about pension arrangements.  These matters are decided by international law and international treaties, which the UK has already signed up to.  The answers to these questions are easily available and have been published already.  Over 90% of the oil and gas deposits would go to Scotland, and pensions would be safe.  So either a) Westminster cannae be airsed to find out.  Or b) Westminster is stirring it for the sake of creating uncertainty.  My money’s on b.

All these questions were answered in detail in a White Paper published by the Scottish Government in 2009.

Volatile oil price: Scotland is over-dependent on the volatile price of oil.

According to First Minister Alex Salmond, oil revenues make up 15% of the Scottish economy.  Norway’s oil revenues make up 24% of the Norwegian economy and 47% of the value of Norwegian exports.  In 2007, oil and gas made up 19.7% of the value of all Canadian exports.  Norway and Canada seem to do just fine even though they are more dependent upon energy exports than Scotland, but then Norway and Canada have the power to invest their oil revenues in order to develop their economies in other ways.  Scotland doesn’t have that power, we only get what Westminster chooses to give us.

Oil is a finite resource and will eventually run out, but declining oil reserves don’t mean a proportionate decline in revenue.  As oil becomes scarcer its price will increase.  As well as receiving more per barrel of oil, this also means that oil fields in deeper waters which are presently uneconomic become financially viable. 

As our oil reserves decline, it becomes all the more important to use the revenues they generate to protect and develop our economy for a post-oil future.  We urgently need to reindustrialise our country in a green and sustainable way.  This is why the Scottish government wants to set up an oil fund, but cannot do so because Westminster controls all the purse strings.  It’s like we agreed to remove the fence between our garden and our neighbour’s garden in order to grow more potatoes, but then we only get the potatoes the neighbour decides to let us have even though our garden provides almost all the potato crop.

At the moment we have no oil fund, only small potatoes.  All the oil revenues go to Westminster which spends them on bailouts for bankers, nuclear toys, and funding the ballooning unemployment benefit bill.  When the oil runs out we’ll be left with nothing to show for it.  And you can guarantee that Westminster will be quite keen on Scottish independence then.

As an aside, it’s odd that it’s only ever oil which gets factored out as “special” in discussions about the economy.  The much vaunted financial sector of the City of London has an equally volatile contribution to the national economy of the UK.  In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, the financial sector of the City had to be bailed out by the taxpayer to the tune of billions, but if you listen to the Unionist parties you’d get the impression it was a reliable cash cow.  It’s never factored out of discussions about the UK economy. 

No one ever wonders how England would cope without the tax income from the City.  But musings on a Scotland without oil are a staple of Unionist commentary.  Scottish oil exists, it’s real, there’s no point playing a fantasy game pretending that it’s not there.  It’s going to be an important factor in our economy for decades to come.  However if we continue to allow our Westminster neighbour to allocate all the potatoes, when the oil runs out it will be as though it had never existed in the first place. 

World War 2:  We fought Hitler together, independence betrays the memory of those who fought WW2.

Our grandparents and great grandparents who fought and died in the struggle against the Nazis weren’t fighting to keep everything the same.  They were fighting for democracy, for freedom of expression, for freedom from fear, and for the equality and dignity of all men and women, whatever their origins, race, or background. 

Winston Churchill led the UK to victory against the Nazis.  The British electorate recognised that.  Yet Churchill was fighting for Empire, for monarchy, and for keeping things the same.  The British electorate recognised that too, and that’s why they voted him out of power in the first post-war General Election.   David Cameron wants us to keep everything just the same, and he’s no Winston Churchill.

Young voters:  The SNP want to allow children to vote because they’re more likely to vote yes to independence.

In Scotland, the legal age of majority is 16.  At 16 you can get married without your parents’ permission.  Getting married is a far weightier choice than deciding which way to vote, except if you’re Brittany Spears. 

The Lib Dems and Labour have both expressed their support for votes at 16, except in the Scottish independence referendum where they’re determined to avoid it at all costs, like the cost of making a coherent stand on something for a change.  Lib Dem Secretary of State for Scotland Hermann Moorester said that the franchise shouldn’t be extended for a “one off” vote like a referendum.  But Hermann and the rest of the Lib Dem I See Dead People supported extension of the franchise to 16 for the AV referendum.  Perhaps they’re hoping that wasn’t a one-off, although Uncle Davie won’t let them hold another one.

The argument is usually that young people more likely to vote for independence because they think that it’s an app for an iPhone.  However the only polling done on the question seems to suggest that 16-17 year olds are less likely to vote for independence than the population as a whole, while evidence for 18-24 year olds suggests no significant difference.  Speaking to the Scotland on Sunday newspaper on 29th January 2012, polling expert John Curtice, beloved of the BBC because of his unbiased (cough, cough) views, said: “we cannot presume that the opinions of younger people on independence are in fact particularly distinctive at all.”

Rejoining the UK: An independent Scotland would not be able to rejoin the UK if everything went wrong.

This all rests on the bizarre idea that if everything in an independent Scotland went completely pear-shaped, the Westminster parliament would be the people to turn to to sort it out for us.  It would be a bit like going back to the cowboy amateur builder who wrecked your house after you ran into problems organising the repairs yourself.  

When Ireland ran into financial troubles recently they didn’t say: “Oh let’s ask Westminster to rule us again, because that worked out so well the first time didn’t it?” Icelanders didn’t beg to rejoin Denmark when their banks ran up debts.  Both those countries took responsibility for their own problems, and started to work on their own solutions.  Both are achieving that pretty well.    

But really, this is a version of the “too wee, too poor, too stupid” myth.  The underlying assumption is that alone out of the countries on this Earth, Scotland isn’t capable, only Westminster is capable.  

Scotland is not uniquely incapable of governing itself.  We are not too wee.  We have a larger population than the Irish Republic, Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, or Slovenia.  We’ve got approximately the same population as Denmark or Finland.  In area we’re larger than Slovenia, the Irish Republic, Belgium, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, or Lithuania. We’re approximately the same size as the Czech Republic or Austria.  

And we’re certainly not too poor.  According to figures from the OECD , Scotland would be the sixth richest country in the world.  Westminster knows that too, and that’s why they’re so keen to hang on to us.  They don’t want us for George Foulkes’s and Johann Lamont’s good looks and charming personalities.

However if your views on Scotland come solely from watching Reporting Scotland, you could be forgiven for thinking we’re too stupid.  But thankfully we can expect to get proper news on telly after independence.


# Ben Power 2012-02-16 00:34
Brilliant article. Well timed, I needed another article to pass on a friend who wanted better information on why we should vote for independence. Have passed this along as well. Thanks.
# fynesider 2012-02-18 00:10
Just a touch too long… would have been better broken up into smaller pieces…

Nowt against owt that’s been said – just the article length!
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-18 21:22
Sorry – but it’s going to get longer (and just has – I’ve just added some new sections). But you don’t need to treat this piece as a single article you need to read all in one sitting. Think of it more like a Pick-N-Mix.

I’ll be adding bits and updating regularly.

Paul T Kavanagh
# Dances With Haggis 1320 2012-03-20 21:38
Could yae make sure there is a printable version of all updated A-Zs.. [need tae gie yae somthing tae dae M8] …Its costing me a small fortune in ink and paper handing them oot, Seeing these points printed is worth 6 months of debating with ppl, its that effective
You have to get used to hearing the words “wow i never knew that”..Thanks Paul
# Massan_Gow 2012-10-22 18:54
Aye…the YES campQuoting Dances With Haggis 1320:
Could yae make sure there is a printable version of all updated A-Zs.. [need tae gie yae somthing tae dae M8] …Its costing me a small fortune in ink and paper handing them oot, Seeing these points printed is worth 6 months of debating with ppl, its that effective
You have to get used to hearing the words “wow i never knew that”..Thanks Paul

aign could do with printing a wee booklet like this… 🙂
# sneckedagain 2012-02-16 00:47
Super piece. Can I use it to make leaflets?
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-16 00:50
Feel free

Paul T Kavanagh
# Vincent McDee 2012-02-16 12:21
Hi Paul, you are the best.

I wrote this on the bridge article but it applies better here:

“I know is not going to happen anytime soon, people like these get back to power, but can you imagine what would be happening right now if the SNP had not won….

Elmer Fudd as First Minister..
that chap from the libdem whose name nobody remembers instead of Nicola…
Kerr taking care of the moneys instead of Sweeny…
Lamont in charge of councils…
Baillie in charge of the NHS…
Baker in charge of Transport…
Kezia dugdale in charge of Justice…

That would be a truly scare story and not their inventions (shivers)
# fynesider 2014-05-13 13:56
Hi Paul,

Just re-read this – brilliant!

Suggestion: Add a bit about the possibility of new oil in the waters off the West coat? MOD apparently blocked the oil companies because of the subs passage to Coulport & the Holy Loch..
# Holebender 2012-02-16 00:59
This will never do; your article is far too sensible!

Re the banks, unionists never seem to comprehend that if the banks had been Scottish all along all the taxes they paid during the boom years would have also been paid to the Scottish Treasury. If we have to accept the bad stuff we’re entitled to the good stuff as well.

Re the Euro, it is actually impossible for Scotland to be forced into the Euro if we stick with Sterling. Why? Because we wouldn’t be able to join our currency into ERM2! No ERM2 no Euro. Seemples!
# pictic-1 2012-02-16 01:26
Blo**y great – get it printed and distributed to every household in Scotland.
# call me dave 2012-02-16 01:45
A tour de force!

Excellent read and dispels all these perennial myths very comprehensively  .

I want my Scottish passport soon please.
# 0din 2012-02-16 02:15
When I have heard the word “separation” being used in conversation instead of independence I always ask them as a young adult when you left home for the first time did you “separate” from your family and friends or did you gain independence in order to live your life as you see best. It gets them every time!
# Matrix 2012-02-16 07:30
One wee thing in this article which on the grounds of truth and accuracy should be changed.Quote:
industrial strength accountants on amphetimines
amphetimine is a legal unstable compound which would not have the same effect as its parent compound amphetamine which of course is the illegal one which Westminster politicians seem to be under the influence of given the symptoms that they are exhibiting. ie delusions of grandeur, sense of invincibility, inability to accept that you may be wrong and of course paranoia. Otherwise, great factual article.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-16 13:50
I bow before your greater knowledge of illegal pharmaceuticals  . I’m a good boy me. No, really.

Paul Kavanagh
# Siôn Jones 2012-02-16 11:36
Excellent response! Should be a stock riposte to those dependency addicts.
# dogbite 2012-02-16 15:04
Brilliant Odin I am having that description if you dont mind
# kendomacaroonbar 2012-03-08 20:14
I usually ask when is America Seperatist Day…
# uilleam_beag 2012-02-16 07:31
Thank you Paul, another informative and entertaining piece. The points about our (current) international invisibility and the Spain issue reminded me of one of the first phrases I ever learned in Spanish (age 6):

“No, no soy ingles, soy escoces.”

That and the queer looks I get from people in Shanghai when I explain that I come from a country of slightly more than 5 million people – about 20 per cent of Shanghai’s urban population or the size of a third tier Chinese city. Surprisingly though, most have heard of Scotland and have a hazy idea of where it is; how many Chinese provinces could the average European name?
# Siôn Jones 2012-02-16 11:40
I’m sure you have Whisky to thank for your international renown in China – you know, the Whisky which Willie (baseball cap) Hague will no longer be willing to push through what he still believes are exclusively England’s embassies?
# SHANGHAI SCOT 2012-02-17 06:37
Hi Uilleam, must try to meet up with you in Shanghai, my local is Ricky’s on Pudong Avenue near the LDF hotel, in most evenings for happy hour.
# uilleam_beag 2012-02-17 07:10
Hullo, aye I’d be up for a pint or a dram sometime. I’ve not been to Ricky’s (don’t make it across to the Dark Side much) but could certainly give it a shot.

My haunts are mostly in the French Concession — have you been to the Tam O’Shanter on Yongfu Lu yet? To my knowledge, it’s the only Scottish pub in this neck of the woods.
# EphemeralDeception 2012-02-16 07:47
Great arrticle. Just one question.

What is the source of this figure?
“Germany, which imports 25% of its oil from Scotland,”.
# Vincent McDee 2012-02-16 12:28
Try the CIA

No! Honest! see:…/gm.html

Or else:…/…, but their information is a wee old

“In 2000, German oil imports came primarily from Russia (33%), Norway (18%), the United Kingdom (13%), and Libya (11%)”
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-16 14:01
I read it in an article in, I think, a Spanish newspaper. I can’t find it now, but I know it’s a significant amount, so I’ve changed the reference to “imports much of its oil”.

Still, at least my economics are more reliable than Wullie “I stey wi ma maw” Bain’s.

Paul Kavanagh
# Marga B 2012-02-17 16:19
Paul – re. Spain, a bit O/T, but talking about potential, as an example, there’s maybe work to be done on supplying squid to the Spanish market as they don’t seem to have enough, and even to supply the many tapas bars springing up all over Scotland.

I notice that the Moray Firth is the main centre, but that Pittenweem is coming up these days.

It may sound daft, but for me, it’s a kind of metaphor: the things we used to throw away when we were insular we can use for our profit as we re-tool to meet international standards and markets.
# Blanco 2012-02-16 09:18
Abandoning the English to Tory rule. I call this the ‘Liverpool granny’ argument. Who could resist the pull on the heartstrings created by the thought of the Scots waltzing off with their oil and leaving Liverpool grannies to freeze? Trouble is we’ve been here before. Labourites in the 1970s admonished Scots not to be so selfish in talking about independence or devolution, what about the working class of England? Well Margaret Thatcher soon taught us the cost of solidarity with the working class of England. The English are well able to look after their own grannies, if they so wish. If they do not wish then the Glasgow grannies suffer too and there is nothing we can do about it.

I like the gay marriage / Catholic church analogy. I am going to use that next time the SNP=racists argument comes up!
# Binko 2012-02-16 09:30
Very useful.

But what about the Northern Ireland question? When Scotland is independent,
as AS said in his recent Liverpool speech, new structures will be needed. The United Kingdom of Great Britain, the basis for NI’s constitutional status, will no longer exist. Will an independent England/Wales want to take on Northern Ireland? Possibly not. But in any case, clearly the Northern Irish nationalists would refuse to sign up to any such deal. What then? It could be an almighty mess. Northern Ireland is a legacy of the UK and a responsibility of both England and Scotland. The question of NI has to be discussed. There is very little information out there.
# deepwater 2012-02-16 13:23

You have it partially correct – NI is a legacy of the UK state – it is NOT a responsibility of either Scotland OR England.

If the UK state ceases to exist NI would become defacto autonomous. It would quickly decide its constitutional future.

This is where Westminster isn’t just being “anti-Scots” it’s doing a disservice to every constituent nation of the UK.

Westminster must (but it won’t) practice open democracy, so each nation can, when the time comes, make fair, open and free democratic choices.

NI is where it is because of choices it made in the 1920’s. They were choices freely made by the people of NI. To suggest that others bear responsibility for that free choice is ludicrous.

NI will have a simple decision – does it become an autonomous state, does it continue an alliance with Westminster (if it’s allowed), does it re-unite with Ireland (if they want it) or does it ally with either Scotland or Wales [if either wishes such ties].

So – very categorically, NI is no one’s responsibility EXCEPT the people of NI.
# Marga B 2012-02-17 16:29
Binko, new structures have been needed for decades, I think that’s patently why the SNP has done so well and has an open road ahead if they target things properly.

Ordinary people know the present system doesn’t work, and if they didn’t know before, Cameron is giving them an accelerated course in the fact.

What many English people don’t seem to understand is that the SNP does not just mean independence but a way out of an out-dated stalemate that none of the London-based parties or indeed elite institutions is ever going to break.
# Wee-Scamp 2012-02-16 09:45
I have one point.

If the SNP want to clinch the deal then they need to promise that they will allow Scotland to vote on whether we do or do not join the EU, whether we stay out or indeed whether we adopt the same status as Norway.
# zedeeyen 2012-02-16 09:46
Yeah, really good article. It’s nice to have all the unionist canards rebutted and refuted in the same place.

Since it’ll unfortunately fall off the bottom of NNS’s front page in a week or so and become harder to find, what are the chances of a perma-link somewhere on the main page for easy linking?
# bringiton 2012-02-16 10:55
What you need to do is to save the page to your hard drive e.g. if you are using Firefox browser
Firefox–> Save Page As
Save in whatever format suits you.
You can then view the page,print it or whatever at your leisure.
# gus1940 2012-02-16 09:50

Excellent article in today’s Herald by Ian McWhirter comparing The Pyrenees uncleared of population with the cleared Scottish Highlands.
# Marga B 2012-02-17 16:33
Yes, gus, brilliant. Inspirational in fact.

And for people informed about these things I’d like to know if land reform would really be as beneficial as McWhirter suggests. For the Highlands, I mean.
# cokynutjoe 2012-02-16 10:05
Excellent stuff, it should be printed and posted through every letter box in the country.
The only fault, and that a slight one, is keich spelled with a double e. That came in with the Union.
# LynneMcC66 2012-02-16 10:29
Superb article. Myths well and truly demolished and all with excellent humour. Will be sharing all over the place. Well done!
# jim288 2012-02-16 10:41
Excellent article. Agree with Zeedeeyen that it deserves a permanent spot.

Would also be good if there was a permanent spot where we could post links to stories we’ve seen elsewhere such as…/…

which seems a reasonably fair and balanced article by Douglas Fraser. No of course you can’t comment on it – this is BBC Scotland.

How about it NNS?
# Marga B 2012-02-17 16:37
Thanks Jum, this debate is certainly starting to produce some genuinely thoughtful and informative articles, some from unlikely sources.
# S Mach 2012-02-16 11:12
Great article, well written, informative, debunks totally so much of the negative propaganda we’re flooded with, well done.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-02-16 11:21
Cheers for this Paul. It’s an excellent debunking of the tired Britnat assertions and lies about Scotland written in very accessible language and funny as well.

You should submit it to The Grauniad.

They’re still laughing about how the humorless Jockanese just didn’t “get” Stewart Lee and his “hilarious” article the other day.

This article would give their commenters ( and Severin “British” Carrell ) apoplexy.
# rai1869 2012-02-16 11:26
brilliant article mate, love it, i think i’ll use it to, people need to see this
# Siôn Jones 2012-02-16 11:42
Rumours are that Cameron has ripped up his speech, and is going to use your article (without the rebuttals) as his defence of the union today!

Great piece of work!
# macdoc 2012-02-16 11:45
Excellent article however I think you should be a wee bit more robust on the economic side.

A lot of people have commented that Scotland is well in tune With the UK and recieves no net subsidy. quoting this article…/…

Absolute nonsense. Although its not as insulting as the usual arguments you hear. Scotland had been in surplus for at least 5 of the past 6 years. And we have found that under tory rule from thatcher to John major Scotland had a net surplus of 27 billion at 1996/1997 values. We learn that the UK was in deficit for all these years. Therefore the subsidy is FROM SCOTLAND TO THE REST OF THE UK. The media just love the point that now the recession has hit Scotland is also in deficit. Well yes but proportioanlly less than the rest of the UK without once heralding back to past figures. Dishonesty Dishonesty Dishonesty.

Then we contend with the fact that from 2005-2010 Scotland contributed 12.625 billion to pay for public sector debt interest despite being in surplus for years.…/8#t64

Then the UK and Gers proportion a population share of Scotlands expenditure on Defence and classify this as non-identifiable. When in reality from 2002-2008 there had been an underspend in defence in Scotland to the tune of 5.622 billion.…/

I could go on and on and pick more flaws but the reality is there that this only shows how Scotland perfoms under the UK, one of the worst nations on earth at managing an economy.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-16 13:55
My eyes really do glaze over when people start talking about economics – that bit in the article wasn’t a joke! That’s why I invited more numerate people than me to post comments.

Paul Kavanagh
# macdoc 2012-02-16 15:29
Paul the article was tremendous and its now on my facebook page.

However I just feel that the economic case is so fundamental, rightly or wrongly to this debate. I want the truth to come out that even on year 1 our economy will be much stronger without even factoring in good governance and growth.

I don’t accept that Scotland is fiscally neutral in comparison to the UK as a whole. The reality is that relative to the UK Scotland has year on year been in a better position than the UK. Before the global financial crisis Scotland was more often than not in surplus even with the dodgy allocation of certain Scottish expenditures and hidden Scottish revenue.
# nottooweeorstupid 2012-02-16 11:59
Did The Dug really type all that himself? Excellent piece Paul, thank you. I’m going to sleep with it under my pillow until I have it off by heart!
In fact, any time I have to go to the Darkened Room, I’ll take it with me as a comfort blanket 🙂
# the wallace 2012-02-16 12:31
That was good reading m8,welldone.
# Taighnamona 2012-02-16 12:48
Excellent article, thanks Paul.
# UpSpake 2012-02-16 12:58
Basically this article spells out that the SNP/Alex Salmond holds all the aces.
That being the case, he should spell out to Cameron in words that can never be mis-represented, that the desire for Scotlands self-deteremination is ours and ours alone to call. Absoultely no interference, mis-information, duplicitious statements nor undermining of our legitimate desire for nationhood will be tolerated by Scotland on pain of the ire of the international community.
Nuff said !.
# Vincent McDee 2012-02-16 13:05
Is petty cash compare with Paul’s findings, but do not forget a Single Police Force “
“Police chiefs have already warned the new police authority will be liable to pay VAT of at least £22 million a year and calls have been made for a solution to the issue”
# Angus 2012-02-16 13:14
Another excellant piece of writing from Paul, I really am a fan of his words.
I forwarded a link to the few unionists that I know.
Thanks for the excellant article
# Triangular Ears 2012-02-16 13:50
Absolutely brilliant article Paul, and very well written with a humourous and accessible touch.

It’s all too tempting to get upset when dispelling these myths to the gullible, but you’ve hit just the right tone, even though it must be exasperating to have to go over it all again.

Perhaps that’s the unionists final tactic; try to wear down the patience of independence supporters by repeating the same garbage over and over.
# Matrix 2012-02-16 13:54
Curtice actually sounding pretty balanced on BBC. Whats going on?
# Trevor_Thompson 2012-02-16 14:29
I’m a genuine on the fencer when it comes to independence. I would be all for it if I believed it would lead to a society where the people of Scotland have a greater say in how our country is run.

However my biggest concern is Alex Salmond and the SNP. I’m quite certain they would grow the size and role of Govnernment, which I absolutely oppose. And while DC and TB before him are utterly uninspiring people, I at least never get a sense that Government are trying to take over our lives to any greater extent than they do already.

Our public sector is already enormous in Scotland, our taxes too high, and I believe that would only get worse under the SNP in full power.

Feel free to convince me otherwise!
# Triangular Ears 2012-02-16 15:17
You have got to be kidding me. Tony Blair didn’t grow the size and role of government to grotesque proportions?

Haven’t you noticed the massive grip London has on virtually everything in the UK, never mind Scotland?

How could independence possibly mean any less of a say for the people on how Scotland is run? It really would have to be some sort of Mugabe-style leader for that to happen. This is just as likely, if not more, from London.

The public sector in Scotland is not actually very big compared to other parts of the UK. This is another unionist myth that should perhaps be added to this article.

London is positively bursting with public sector jobs.

The things you mention wrong with this country are true, but I just cannot see how being part of a super-state that has over 300 years led us to this very position can possibly be the solution to it.

Cause and effect.
# Trevor_Thompson 2012-02-16 16:05
What does “London having a grip on everything in the UK” mean?

The public sector in Scotland is around 24%, in the rest of the UK it’s around 19.5% – in both cases too large in my opinion.

London may well be bursting with public sector jobs, but it’s also bursting with private sector jobs. Many Scots (including myself) have head down there for work because Scotland has been decimated in the last few years. I accept in large part due to the problems caused by the banking sector and their bedfellows the former Government.

And as I said, I’d be behind independence (and could still be) if I see signs that the SNP have a vision which means more personal freedoms, less Government, lower taxes and conditions which encourage private enterprise.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-16 15:40
I don’t think the SNP in its current form would survive long after independence. The raison d’etre for the SNP is to achieve Scottish independence. Once that’s attained the party will become a normal political party in a normal country.

And there are quite a few of us, like me, who only vote SNP because we want to achieve independence. After independence I’m more likely to vote Green.

As for a greater say in how our country is run, it’s simple arithmetic. Right now Scotland elects 59 MPs (due to be reduced to 50) to Westminster who are outnumbered by the 591 MPs who don’t represent Scottish constituencies. This non-Scottish majority determines all the important economic and international questions affecting our country, they determine how much pocket money they’ll allow the Scottish Parliament to spend. The people of Scotland have 16.9% of a say in our own affairs.

After independence we’ll be governed solely by 129 MSPs – all of whom represent Scottish constituencies. That’s 100% of a say in our own affairs.
# Vincent McDee 2012-02-17 00:11
Totally agree with Paul.

Within the SNP there are clearly three mayor differences of opinions about left of, center and right of center tendencies, plus two additional minors on both ends.

In a normal country, like in our Scandinavians neighbours, it produces between 3 and 5 parties competing.

In any case, the first act after Independence is achieved should be the election of a Constitutional Parliament, charged with the production of new rules for the societal game.

Once these rules are in active after being approved in another Referendum, a new Parliament will be elected.

New rules, new parties, new legislative and government, new society.
# Jiggsbro 2012-02-16 15:42
Quoting Trevor_Thompson  :
However my biggest concern is Alex Salmond and the SNP.

Don’t vote for them, then. In an independent Scotland, you can vote for Scottish parties with Scottish interests. The Scottish Conservative party might prosper under independence, if it can focus on Scottish issues. Scottish Labour might be recognisable as a Labour party if it didn’t have to follow London’s misguided attempts to woo Daily Mail readers. The Scottish LibDems…ah, well, they’re ****ed but the same principle applies. There may be new parties, there will certainly be new policies and your vote will count because only Scotland will decide who governs Scotland. A vote for independence is not a vote for the SNP, it’s a vote for meaningful choice in a representative democracy.
# RaboRuglen 2012-02-16 15:55
Hi Trevor,

Have you forgotten the last Labour government’s identity card scheme which would have allowed Big Brother to pry into and record every aspect of our lives? Or the motorway and trunk road number-plate reading surveillance cameras which track our every move. Or the town-centre cameras. Or the extradition treaty with the USA which allows people innocent of any crime in the UK, and not even having had to visit the USA, to be extradited there to stand trial under American law. Or being taken into an illegal war in Iraq without a by-your-leave. I could go on, and on, but you get the drift.

So don’t give me any baloney about “And while DC and TB before him are utterly uninspiring people, I at least never get a sense that Government are trying to take over our lives to any greater extent than they do already.

I cannot believe a government in an Independent Scotland would ever undertake any of the above.

Some people seem to have very short memories.

# Trevor_Thompson 2012-02-16 17:04
Am I being accused of being a Labour supporter?! Selective reading at it’s finest!
# Angus 2012-02-16 22:17
Quoting Trevor_Thompson  :
Am I being accused of being a Labour supporter?! Selective reading at it’s finest!

Not at all.
The choices are there for you to make.
For me, it depends what you want from life.
A national from a country with a seat on the security council, trident missiles, 4 th largest military spend in the world. OR
A national from a country with a higher standard of living, nuclear free, free education, free care for the elderly, more wealth generated per head of population, Scandinavian styled government, ability to get on with other nations, control of our own industries, peaceful outlook in world politics.
Its simple for me, stuff the Trident and the ability to go to war with countries who have oil.
# Jiggsbro 2012-02-16 22:32
Quoting Trevor_Thompson  :
Am I being accused of being a Labour supporter?! Selective reading at it’s finest!

No, you’re being ‘accused’ of being either disingenuous or obtuse when you say “And while DC and TB before him are utterly uninspiring people, I at least never get a sense that Government are trying to take over our lives to any greater extent than they do already.”
# GrassyKnollington 2012-02-16 17:33
Precisely RaboRuglen. From BBC News Sept 2003,

David Blunkett wants proposals for ID cards to be included in the forthcoming Queen’s Speech. The home secretary told BBC One’s Breakfast with Frost programme he wanted a bill for the introduction of national identity cards to go before Parliament in the autumn. Pressed on whether carrying a card would be mandatory, he said at the very least no-one should be able to work or claim benefits without one.

Blunkett’s proposals were so scary even the Tories would have balked at some of them.
# Holebender 2012-02-16 17:10
I hope you understand that Scotland will be a democracy with a government elected by the people? There will only be an SNP government if people vote for one.
# John Souter 2012-02-16 19:39
TT – what purpose has governance if it fails to protect the lives and lifestyles of the people it supposedly represents.

Independence is all about the democracy dividend far in excess of the model practised by Westminster.

To my mind the ratios of public to private factor is of secondary importance to the efficiency of each of them, just as taxes should not be judged solely on the rate but the productive practices they are used on.

Will taxes go up, down or stay within the same rates? Difficult to say without the books being balanced on the final analysis. But the one certainty is a motivated nation has a far greater chance of maximising its potential than it has as a 8.6% minority regarded as subsidiary.

In that respect my only doubt is the wisdom of staying within the EU.
# west_lothian_questioner 2012-02-17 00:48
I’m not sure how my post came to appear at this point in the thread. It’s intended as a reply to Trevor Thompson’s post at 14:29

I can understand a measure of disquiet on the apparent power of the SNP. The SNP is not actually at fault here though, the real culprits being the woefully inadequate opposition parties. In a post-independence Scotland, many of us believe that there would be a splintering of the SNP. Its a very broad kirk and is held together by the goal of independence. Once that is acheived there would be an inevitable realignment of Scottish politics which would spread the talent a little more evenly as well as spreading the votes a little differently too.
In the short term it’s a mistake to think that a YES vote in the referendum is a vote for Eck and the SNP. It would be a vote for independence. The SNP are aware of this and the campaign (once it actually gets past the point of arguing about process and structure) will be clearly about the issues and not about the parties. That, at least, is the way the YES campaign will proceed. The NO campaign will try to make what capital it can by playing on the sort of fears you have expressed in your posts here. They will play on the fears and doubts that you have, and then they will try to lump a whole lot more fear and doubt on you and the rest of the people of Scotland. Fear and negativity is all they seem to have to offer and if today’s speech by Dave C. is anything to go by, then they will struggle to rise up out of the negatives in any seriously constructive way.
Our public sector is indeed large, but it won’t be getting any larger than we can cope with in financial terms for the simple reason that we can’t afford it. Our taxes are also high, but they will, after a period of readjustment, be quite likely to be lower than in the rumpUK when we no longer subsidise their vanity projects and foreign wars. An independent Scotland should be a fairer place to live, a more caring and decent place to grow up and grow old in and, again after a period of readjustment, a wealthier place able to take its place in the world and make its mark to a suitable degree commensurate with its size and ability.
# Trevor_Thompson 2012-02-17 10:52
@ west_lothian_qu  estioner

A very useful post sir. I would consider myself conservative bordering on libertarian and my concern with an independent Scotland is that there appear to be no parties worth their salt that are working towards my idea of a stronger society. I fear a big move towards the left with increased taxes and welfare, and much closer alignment with the EU (which scares me the most).

There are lots of positive reasons for independence as you have mentioned above, most notably putting an end to our involvement in the oil wars. This is why I consider myself on the fence right now.
# west_lothian_questioner 2012-02-18 16:20
@ Trevor Thompson,

Welcome to the site Trevor. I’m not sure if anyone else offered the hand of welcome yet, so please consider it offered now.

You categorise yourself as a conservative/libertarian, so you and I share something as I’m very much a leftie/libertarian. A fine example of the breadth of the nationalist kirk. I realise you’re not “in the kirk,” so to spek, but you say you’re on the fence. I hope you’re facing in the direction of the kirk while you sit there though 🙂

A vote from a conservative leaning libertarian will be every bit as valued as one from a leftie leaning libertarian and folks like you and I can share the walk toward independence together and shake hands and part our ways once we achieve that goal with a better understanding of one another’s points of view as we head off into the future. That understanding and willingness to share our similarities is the grounding for the way the SNP currently works. In Holyrood the party has championed the practicing of what I call “grown up politics.” The gathering and sponsoring of consensus is part of the SNP’s ethos, but sadly it seems to be anathema to the opposition parties at times, with Labour seemingly the worst offenders. They even manage to vote against their own proposals at times; how they manage to do that and expect to be taken seriously just defeats me totally.

The times we are living in are complex and difficult, I think we can all agree on that. To make progress for our wee bit of the island will require some grown-up politics and the sooner people who have differences in their outlooks (like you and me, for example) can lay them to one side and instead work on making use of their similarities, the better for all of us. The tribalism we see in some quarters serves nobody well and if allowed to increase it can only drag us all down. Since 1999 Holyrood has taken us through a political adolescence. Now it’s time for adult behaviour to become the normal way of doing things.
# James 2012-03-16 09:42
Trevor, have a look at:
# Jake62 2012-03-01 14:04
Quoting Trevor_Thompson  :
However my biggest concern is Alex Salmond and the SNP. I’m quite certain they would grow the size and role of Govnernment, which I absolutely oppose.

As to size of government, I can’t comment. However, it appears that the Scottish government is inherently more efficient than Westminster. Stephen Noon wrote an interesting blog article about this back in October when former Scottish Government Permanent Secretary Sir John Elvidge was criticised by Westminster for commending Holyroods efficiency efforts. You can read the full blog here – Small is Beautiful

# hiorta 2012-02-16 15:00
A deep, decisive and desciptive article on the present moment.

If Scotland ever chose to appoint a political Makar……..
# Dundonian West 2012-02-16 15:42
# Aucheorn 2012-02-16 16:50
59% – 41%
# Jim1320 2012-02-16 19:09
Weird voting swingometer stick thing isn’t it?
# chicmac 2012-02-16 17:24
Absolutely superb Paul.

However I agree with Holebender re the banks.

There is ample precedent in Europe where cross border banks have had bail outs from the various states involved in proportion to the business done there. However if the rUK tried to make Scotland alone liable for any accumulated debt then, of course, the Treasury would have to pay back the hundreds of Billions it has received in tax from those banks over the last few decades. Which would be a big plus for an independent Scottish exchequer.

Unfortunately we will not inherit that kind of ‘liability’.
In the first place they were not really Scottish banks. They were owned by shareholders throughout the UK (and elsewhere) who regularly voted on their bank’s performance, the vast profits they made had the associated tax paid into the UK treasury, they operated under London regulation rules.
In particular BOS was taken over by Halifax. Halifax was assigned 2/3 of the joint assets and the operational HQ was set up in Halifax with one token board member from the BOS old board. This was fully portrayed in the Scottish media as a takeover e.g. “Scotland loses its oldest bank” at the time. Furthermore most of the mortgage related bad debt was brought to that ‘merger’ by the Halifax.

Second. The final cost, if anything, will be nothing like 88 Billion. May yet, in fact, make the taxpayer a profit, from the exorbitant fees charged and when RBS is finally re sold.

This is completely unlike Northern Rock which made an overall, non-recoverable, loss to the taxpayer of about 50 Billion.
# Jim1320 2012-02-16 19:05
Interesting article but you missed one. The moment that Scotland becomes independent the Orkney and Shetland Isles, The Hebrides, Airdrie and St Kilda etc, etc, would immediately declare UDI.

A view particularly fondly held by people that would be hard pushed to name three islands.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-16 22:41
Added a bit on Shetland and Orkney, and another on how we’re supposedly too divided.

Paul T Kavanagh
# Dál Riata 2012-02-16 20:00
Mr Kavanagh, superb article!

Would I be able to use some it to refute some of the the ceaseless, negativity, hostility, lies, etc. that are spouted on a certain newspaper’s comments section of which I am a member? I could cite you, if you wish?

Most of the haters on that site receive their ‘information’ from the London-centric right-wing press and find it hard to accept or even believe that they have been, and continue to be, fed on a diet of smears and misinformation regarding Scotland’s wish for independence. It truly is shameful.

Anyway, I’ll wait for you to okay it before using any of it verbatim.

And do keep the real truth coming. The truth will win in the end! Thanks!
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-16 20:39
As I said to sneckedagain further up the thread, feel free to make use of all or any parts of this article to further the cause of independence. Just give Newsnet a credit please!

Paul T Kavanagh
# Annickburn 2012-02-16 20:58
Absolutely brill, I just wish there was a ‘LIKE’ option after each heading!
You have really picked out the best scariest, brought in the strongest arguments and added in the best of Scots humour!
Gaelic: Public employees would be forced to learn Gaelic. Absolutely no one is proposing to force English speaking Scots to learn Gaelic or Scots against their will. Although there’s a distinct possibility we’d force former BBC presenters to speak Weegie, just because it would annoy them to have to say “Hullawrerr fae Pacific Quay. An here’s ra weather, it’s pure stoatin doon so it is by ra wey.”
# Dooy 2012-02-16 21:55
First class article, love it, keep up the good work paul
# handclapping 2012-02-16 22:26
I hope your photo will be re-captioned “Mongrel T Dug” so that there is no confusion as other mongrels are available.
# DonaldMhor 2012-02-17 00:47
One of the best article I have yet read on the subject of our forthcoming independence. Certainly the best yet from the NNS web site. You have made a reputation for your self with this work, well done. I am sure it will evolve in to a thing of such beauty, it will be up there with our new constitution.

# Dougie Douglas 2012-02-17 02:14
Hi Paul

Nice read and excellent to have a definitive resource like this that can be posted or forwarded to doubters.

One of the favourite lines of unionist attack is the too weak, too poor, and too stupid line. The implication is that we are economically to weak to go it alone. You refute that notion but what gets me is the implication that Britain is economically strong. I think it is important to develop not just our positive narrative about Scotland but for us to address the misconceptions about Britain’s ‘success’.

So here goes my little ranting contribution:

Britain is an economic failure

Economically In terms of Gross Domestic Product Westminister, over the last few years, has been at pains to tell us the UK has ‘the fifth, sorry we mean sixth, sorry we mean seventh largest economy in the world’.

What does that mean? – only that we are sliding down the scale as global economic parity increases. A far more meaningful measure is of course GDP per capita. This measure makes shocking reading for the unionists. The UK has the lowest GDP per capita in Northern Europe. When measured against our peers we are performing poorly.…/…

Worryingly, countries we are told are economic failures such as Iceland and Ireland have maintained higher GDP per capita than the UK.

Disturbingly we face the fact that UK’s poor economic performance is underpinned by massive borrowings. If all UK debt, including commercial debt, is looked at the UK is the second most indebted country in the world per capita:…/…

If these borrowings were extracted from the UK’s economy it would not be the seventh largest economy in the world and would face Southern European levels of GDP/capita.

The UK’s economy has massive structural problems also. If you were to go back 100 years the economies of Britain and Germany would show broad structural similarities and levels of wealth. Now the UK has a rump manufacturing base and a bloated service economy. Germany, on the other hand, is a value-added manufacturing economy – the largest (by value) in the world. The German’s have the economic strength to underwrite the EU experiment and has a confident and assured future. Oh! – and they don’t have oil either.

The only conclusion that can be arrived at is that successive UK governments have presided over gross economic mismanagement: de-industrialisati  on, too heavy a focus on services, massive public and private debt and huge regulatory failures in the favoured finance industry.

Could Scotland do any worse must be a question for the doubters to answer.
# chicmac 2012-02-17 20:07
Spot on.

BTW the following graphic gives European GDP PPP per capita. This is the local purchasing power rather than absolute GDP which removes potential anomalies like exchange rate.

The coloured backgrounds indicate the countries which have been Western Democracies for decades as opposed to the Eastern Bloc and Eastern periphery countries which have not had that history.…/…
# Dougie Douglas 2012-02-17 02:17
…oh and another myth about Britain is the ‘fairer, more just, open, tolerate’ nonsense.

On about every social and quality of life index the UK is a laggard compared to all (not just Northern) Eurpoean states.

Britain – buggered economically and buggered socially
# D_A_N 2012-02-17 02:48
Excellent article. I would like to suggest a couple of additions. This could easily become the definitive guide (there was a good one by the SNP somewhere in 2007 answer questions, having trouble finding it though. I’ll see if I can find it).

In the devo-max section you could maybe add the fact that the ‘scotland bill’ proposed by the unionists has lots of suggestions of reduction of power in it and may come into effect if we do not achieve independence (the SNP could not block it forever). Could add some examples of the policies from it too.

Another myth is that salmond wants a single state. Or we will be ‘socialists’ who have everyone living on benifits.

some folk I know who are not too well informed have suggested we will lose our free education and health.. they do not realise these are devolved already and at the moment protected by the SNP and will be safer under independence.

Great article tho. Could do with a few more citations though. And I would like to point out that in the financial section this article about us not having a net subsidy OR surplus is a worst case scenario and should be stated as such. Most real evidence (GERS) points to us having a surplus which makes more sense considering we pay more tax than population.

You could also include in the financial debate that we will be 6th in the OECD table of GDP per head.

And finally. I’m not usually a good arguer. But I said something that actually made someone really think about the independence argument a bit more.

He asked the question which I have always found hard to answer because I’m not that good at articulating my thoughts. The question is: ‘How do I know which side of the argument to believe?’. This was my answer (this was on facebook btw).

“Well aside from the many lies from Westminster and mainstream media in the past. It’s kind of like the argument between evolution and creationism to be honest.. They are both technically theories.. One however is made of many, many solid facts (based on overwhelming evidence) enough to be called truth. The other is made up with a couple of loose ideas which are misinterpreted or twisted as fact to serve a cause (or an overwhelming lack of evidence) – it’s very easy to poke holes in the latter theory as things just don’t add up and there is really no basis for said argument. This relates pretty closely to the current debate with the union having an overwhelming lack of evidence with their made up stories. The fact that Scotland will be a rich nation has much strong evidence.

By law of nature there is always an amount of uncertainty in any decisions made, but the evidence points that we will be a lot worse off if that decision is staying in the union and a lot better without it. “

I’m not very good with wording but something along those lines is a helpful argument it seems to do the trick in convincing folk who are not sure who to believe and have read too much MSM and at least encourage them to look at proper articles a bit more often.

Hopefully you can get something from all that. lol

# RaboRuglen 2012-02-17 10:17
Hi D_A_N,

Love your analogy of the veracity of the Independence argument compared with evolution and creationism. Best I’ve heard yet.

This is the value of Newsnet. It puts us in contact with the best ideas and allows us to hone our arguments against the might of a hostile press and TV where it matters – on the doorstep and in the pub. Get one person thinking, and there’s a chance they will come round to our point of view. If nothing else you will make them less sure of their own arguments.

# D_A_N 2012-02-17 16:23
Glad you think so. anyone feel free to steal it. in fact, I’d be honoured. I’ve learned many good arguments from this site.. And I’ve become a lot better at convincing people since coming here. It’s so important for this country, we need all the resources we can. 🙂
# Angus 2012-02-17 08:15
No Eastenders in an Independent Scotland (no liscense fee either to the state controled broadcast centre)
# Macart 2012-02-17 12:52
Simply superb. 😀

According to a recent public attitudes survey, more people in Scotland were in favour of gay marriage than in England, Wales or Northern Ireland. We are in fact more likely to burst into a chorus of the torch-song drag queen’s all time favourite root vegetable song, A Yam What A Yam, than anywhere else in the UK.
# drangular 2012-02-17 16:45
Excellent article and subsequent comments. I have been looking for the facts to counter the barrage of nonsense being spewed out of the mainstream meejah. Is no one mounting a campaign of complaints about how the BBC is being so poor and biased?
# D_A_N 2012-02-17 19:40
well.. I’m sure this site has a lot of tabs on that. But the SNP recently handed over a dossier to the BBC of evidence against them. And they seem to be being a little more careful this last week.

Let’s see what comes next.
# Macart 2012-02-19 21:39
Sorry not to get back sooner folks, lost track o’ me threads. D_A_N is spot on, the SNP beat us to the punch and handed over their own dossier just last week. However NNS are also compiling a dossier. So its all very much in hand. 🙂
# Dál Riata 2012-02-17 15:33
Paul T Kavanagh, thanks for the go ahead!

And D_A_N, thanks for that analogy – very good!

It is such a relief to come to this site to hear from people who really know what’s going on.

The misinformation and the unchallenged agenda of stirring up of hatred and distrust in the press and media is far worse than I imagined it was going to be. It can get tiresome at times refuting the lies and bile – and that’s just on websites that are supposedly ‘fairer’. I won’t even go near the unmoderated hatefests of the likes of the Daily Mail; these are a scandal which is allowed to happen.

Anyway, here’s to truth, and Yes in 2014!
# lumilumi 2012-02-17 17:19
Brilliant article, Paul! I’ve already posted the link to a few friends.

Very easy to read, positive, even humorous, but also full of facts.
# Zef 2012-02-17 21:34
Superb reference material, thank you. It hammers out the points and knocks down the unionist scare stories in swift and clear arguments. I can see this being very handy for this camp. I hope you are able to update it as the long struggle continues on to 2014 and so keep it a handy reference for the future right through to the vote. Great work.
# BigRedRock 2012-02-17 23:41
Superb article: funny and useful in equal measure. I will share it widely.
# BigRedRock 2012-02-18 00:20
I’ve formatted this as a PDF for easy printing:…/
# Zef 2012-02-18 14:46
Thank you! It is important we share this with people who don’t read this site and with people who are not very active on the internet.
# Angry_Weegie 2012-02-18 02:44
Great article. I know several have mentioned it, but we need to get this and other information out to the bulk of the people. Here it’s a bit of “preaching to the converted” and it’s the unconverted we need to reach. Perhaps a link to everyone in your address book? I’m starting now.
# Zef 2012-02-18 14:49
I agree. There’s a great value in this material being passed to everyone, even those who already support the SNP or independence. It will be helpful as it will sway those who are unsure to our side and also give tools or ammo in the debate to those already on our side.

Don’t always think “preaching to the converted” is a bad thing, so long as it is done right and you’re actually giving them something like this which is either new material or handy condensed reference.

Perfect for leaflets too.
# gus1940 2012-02-18 08:19
Give the OK for The Scotsman to publish this excellent article and challenge them to print it in full and to allow Comments.

If this were to happen it would be interesting and laughable to read the comments from the usual bunch of Unionist Cretins who pollute

As far as The Scotsman is concerned it would cause Maddox, Barnes, Peterkin, Kelly and the rest of their resident bunch of Unionist Lackeys to tear their hair out and with a bit of luck defenestrate themselves.

Just a bit of wishful thinking but I reckon the chances of that rag publishing it is precisely NIL as printing the truth regarding Independence is an alien concept as far as JP is concerned.
# Arbroath1320 2012-02-18 11:55
As Joan Macalpine is moving from the Scotsman to the Daily Retard perhaps you could offer her a copy to put up as her first couple of articles.

I think it would cause absolute havoc at the Retard. 😀
# gus1940 2012-02-19 10:09
Given that JP would never publish the whole of Paul’s article would it not be an idea to use their Comments facility over a few days to post one at a time each of the items in the article in response to any of the daily deluge of anti-independence lies and distortion. and see what the resident Unionist Loonies come up with in response.

Its a near certainty that they will leave wide open goals for further attack on their comments.
# Jester 2012-02-18 12:17
Brilliant article.
# Caadfael 2012-02-19 13:54
Does anyone remember Dave’s comment about Alex’s “neverendum”m in the commons?
He must have been a very impressionable kid at the age of 9 to have picked up and remembered this :- If there is a moral from all this, it is that progress toward devolution should be delayed for as long as possible consistently with honouring the Government’s commitment to move down the devolution road and containing the SNP lobby in Parliament. The longer this can be played, the better the prospect that the external deficit will have narrowed, so that dependence on ongoing external financing will be reduced or eliminated. Hopefully also, a situation by the end of the decade in which the non-oil sectors of the UK economy are in heathier shape will to some extent mitigate the drive for separation.
There we have it, from 6/5/1975.
# MAcandroid 2012-02-19 21:29
I’m a Cybernat and I’m OK
I sleep all night and I surf all day !

With apologies to Monty Python.
# Islegard 2012-02-20 23:17
Can I suggest if you update this every Sunday prioritise. Lead with the economics and the real daily issues. Leave Anti-English, Braveheart etc to further down. Begin with Scotlands surplus over the last few years and Englands years of deficit.
# Pmac1875 2012-02-22 02:23
Just a quick query regarding the ex-pat section hopefully someone will know the answer or at least try to answer. I was born in a RAF hospital in Germany to a Scottish dad + English mum, I class myself as Scottish even though I have lived in England for 20 years from the age of 9. When it comes to Scottish citizenship would I and my children (who are born + bred in Swindon as is my wife) qualify for it?
# oldnat 2012-02-22 12:36
You might want to have a look at the Draft Scottish Constitution…/…

4(b) Every person whose place of birth was in Scotland or either of whose parents was born in Scotland, being a person who is alive at the date at which this Constitution comes into force, shall be a citizen of Scotland, and shall remain so until such time, if any, as he or she shall renounce citizenship.

If your wife wanted Scottish citizenship as well, she would have to wait till the Scottish Parliament had determined what “future provision shall be made as to acquisition of Scottish citizenship by birth or by marriage” should be.
# uilleam_beag 2012-02-23 10:03
To be honest, Pmac, it would be fairly academic in your case unless the remainder UK decided at some point in the future to leave the European Union. Even if that were to happen, I think common sense dictates that Scotland and rUK would come to the sort of amicable arrangement set up with Ireland post-independence and prior to EU citizenship (in the Irish case, I suppose that agreement would most likely be reintroduced).

Obviously, there is the subject of citizenship from an emotional perspective rather than the rights enjoyed and in your case you’d certainly be entitled to it. At present, UK citizenship passes to children born overseas, but does not pass onto their children unless born in the UK*. If that were to be adopted by a future independent Scotland, your kids would not qualify automatically. That said, there may well be an exception (under current UK rules) in your particular case as I assume at least one of your parents was in the military stationed overseas at the time of your birth, hence the RAF hospital in Germany.

[* I stay in Shanghai and recently married a Hongkonger, so was looking into this ahead of having sprogs of our own.]
# Thee Forsaken One 2012-02-23 09:40
Would it be possible to mark newly added items in some way? Even just by adding the date to the heading. It would make it easier to pick out the ‘new’ myths when the article is updated.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-24 15:56
I’ll be doing that in future. Additions for next Sunday (so far) will be “Benefits bill”, “Young voters” and “Referendum illegality”. Might be another if I have the time.

I’ll reference the additions in the heading with the date added.

Paul T Kavanagh
# Islegard 2012-02-24 16:09
Will you be adding to what’s there already or creating a new one each time? I want to keep adding an updated one to Facebook.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-24 16:47
If I add or make changes to an existing entry I’ll mention that too.
# Hirta 2012-02-24 22:04
Just read this for the first time.

I liked the beginning. Stopped reading. Poured a glass. Continued. Smiling and nodding.

Very clever piece and a MUST show to others.
# D_A_N 2012-02-25 18:34
Hey guys. My arguments at the moment are pretty solid. But sometimes I still stumble on not being able to answer a question somebody gives me with facts. Remembering to cover all bases is tricky.

My friend seemed to believe that the Scottish government already has a devo-max style deal where we control virtually everything except military and a couple of other things. I went to explain that we are very very limited, only 3% variable income tax. I know we have devolved NHS and education etc. But could somebody please list out for me what powers we DO HAVE and which we DO NOT. This could maybe be another question on the myths as some people who are not too political believe we have an almost equal government. A comparison with the tax raising powers within US states may also be handy if anybody knows it..

and also if you know any info about what the UN or Europe recommends about local government would be handy.

I know how I’m going to argue this case, I just need a few more facts to work with.

Cheers for any help in advance 🙂

ps: I wasn’t going to post on here again, but after a good explanation of the current moderation policy in a recent article I’m happy to know where I stand.
# oldnat 2012-02-25 21:05
Good to see you back.

The Scotland Act gave the Scottish Parliament power over everything that wasn’t specifically reserved to Westminster.

The reseved powers are contained in Schedule 5 of the Scotland Act. Find them here…/5
# D_A_N 2012-02-26 03:28
Perfect. Thanks oldnat 🙂
# mealer 2012-02-28 07:49
This is a very usefulpiece of work.Thanks.
# creag an tuirc 2012-02-28 14:47
I’ve not seen this one on your list, but heard it on a few ocassions. I’m paraphrasing here:

“If an independent Scotland fails she will need to run back to the rUK and rejoin the union or face disappearing off the face of the earth.”
# alba 2012-02-28 15:25
Easy. Ask them to define “failure” then paraphrase a well kent saying yourself; “So long as but 100 of us are free to vote, never again will we yield to Westminster domination wie all its glory, its riches and its honour. For the last 300 years have taught us that freedom trully is priceless”.
# creag an tuirc 2012-02-28 16:04
It’s the old chestnut of, if things go wrong for an independent Scotland (I don’t see how it could get any worse than the state Wastemonster has got us into at the moment) then somehow we would cease to exist as a nation and if things did go wrong what makes them think we would seek out the rUK’s help, we may get a better deal elsewhere in the world. Anyway this is not on the A-Z and it grinds my gears.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-02-28 19:29
I’ll cover it for next Sunday.

Paul Kavanagh
# creag an tuirc 2012-03-01 21:49
Thanks Paul, this sort of myth came from audience members recently on The Big Debate and Question Time.
# AshleyJHP 2012-03-01 18:45
Sheer genius. Good work!
# bboyblue 2012-03-01 21:08
Why the moaning about this being so long? I have just read it while having 3 ciggies. A fantastic read.

I have both St Andrews & Union flags tattooed on my arm (drunk in Spain, i know. It was also this first time i seen a dog tattooed, i was later told it was a Dalmatian) and think it’s about time it was covered and replaced with a large home nation tattoo.

I used to be a bit of a unionist and never thought i would see the day i’m hooked on reading independence articles. Although what the Union was, is no longer.

I have recently been reminded as mentioned that our forefathers fought in wars to keep Britain free. We are free, free as long as we say the right thing.
People are living in an offended society and thats something that can only change in a free Scotland. My response is that they fought in vain as Westminster has destroyed everything “they thought” they were fighting for.

One thing that was not mentioned in this masterpiece was Scotland’s stance on foreign aid. How much would it cost us to be part of the EU?
Foreign aid to countries that run space programs and have nuclear capabilities is on the verge of insanity, all to win contracts for ship, which eventually backfired. This really grinds my gears!

Before i go to calm down i just want to thank you for a fantastic read. Best thing have read this week, really enjoyable.

I had a discussion with a friend in work today and he says that “We won’t see any difference in an Independent Scotland”. This PDF has been printed and he will be handed it first thing in the morning.

Being poor with 60million people and having little control of what you are doing …….or
Being loaded with 4million people and being in full control.

We have a choice to make

Keep up the good work!
# EphemeralDeception 2012-03-01 22:37
Re: Discussion above about how much UK(Scottish) Oil Germany uses. A full breakdown of How much energy any EU country gets from any other country. Can be found in the link below plus tons and tons of other stats.
On EUROSTAT website.

Germany gets about 13 Million ton tonnes of Scottish Oil every year since 2000 = approx 15% of its total OIL imports that cover all oil products and imports.

Other EU countrys import a lot too.

See here:…/…
# EphemeralDeception 2012-03-01 22:40
Re: Discussion above about how much UK(Scottish) Oil Germany uses. A full breakdown of How much energy any EU country gets from any other country. Can be found in the link below plus tons and tons of other stats.
On EUROSTAT website.

Germany gets about 13 Million tonnes of Scottish Oil every year since 2000 = approx 15% of its total OIL imports that cover all oil products and imports.

Other EU countrys import a lot too.
50 Million tonnes peak in 2000 (10 tonnes for every person in Scotland) dropping to 30 Million tonnes in 2010.

Very useful figures to remember at your local pub 🙂

See here:…/…
# D_A_N 2012-03-02 19:44
Hey. Can somebody help me out here. With a question I cannot answer. At the moment I believe the English have to pay tuition fees in Scotland but not the Europeans.

Why is this so? What powers do we have to change this at the moment (I’m assuming it’s not intentional).

# oldnat 2012-03-02 21:25
Students from other parts of the UK need to pay fees because their own governments make their own arrangements as to how they choose to spend their resources in supporting students. Since they are all within the UK, that is not an area where EU rules apply.

The EU rule is that when students from one member state study in another one, they are treated equally to home students. That rule does cause problems in other parts of Europe. For example, Austria finds itself subsidising students from the few Lander in Germany that still charge tuition fees.
# D_A_N 2012-03-03 00:55
thanks oldnat.. Can always rely on you for the details 🙂
# amfraeembro 2012-03-03 10:57
It’s not “the English” but UK students from outwith Scotland. English students domiciled in Scotland do not pay any fees. The UK govt is not prepared to support their students so why should Scotland? Also Scottish students studying in England/Wales/NI do have to pay.
# D_A_N 2012-03-03 16:25
Yes. Bad terminology on my part. I wasn’t sure what the deal in Wales n N.I was.. Was just kind of repeating what I’d heard from others..

good points.
# expat67 2012-03-05 10:43
This has to be one of the most interesting and informative sections of NNS. For those of us not living in Scotland and who miss some of the mud slinging against the very idea of Scotland becoming a sovereign nation again it fills in a lot of the gaps in the debate. Thank you!
# rob4i 2012-03-05 11:14
Is it a myth that the Unionist Government in Westminster did NOT try to change the ‘North Sea’ Scotland,Englan  d border from Berwick upon Tweed to approx Carnoustie, in a back room, clandestine fashion??
# Holebender 2012-03-05 11:48
I get fed up with people saying the border was moved from Berwick to Carnoustie. It’s total rubbish and makes the pro-independence side seem as stupid as the antis. The landfall of the border is still at Berwick (or a couple of miles north) where the land border ends. What has happened (and this is only for fisheries, not for oil & gas) is that the line of the border going out to sea has been changed from a parallel of latitude going due east of the landfall to a line going in a more north-easterly direction. The eastern end of the new line is at the international boundary with Norwegian waters at more-or-less the same latitude as Carnoustie. Try looking at a map (like the one in this article) and you will see the line starts near Berwick and ends up opposite the Firth of Tay.

The 6000 square miles people go on about is the area of the triangle enclosed by the new line, the old line, and the international line. You can see all the lines on the map above.
# xyz 2012-03-05 11:33
Can we have anchors to each of your sub headings please?

It will be very useful to be able to link directly in the course of an on-line discussion.
# D_A_N 2012-03-15 14:01
# daveniz 2012-03-06 00:16
apparently the new unionist myth is with independance is that Brussels will dictate our laws and only the UK can protect us from it! now what I don’t understand is why is Scotland the only country in the eu that will come under this so called dictatorship from Brussels no other country has all there laws made in Brussels except Belgium for obvious reasons now its true Brussels makes some of the laws for all eu members so what are they protecting us from that were not subject to already? also the thing is after independance whatever laws that effect us effect England too! human rights etc. so exactly what they protecting us from? or is it just they want to scare us into thinking that the big bad Brussels man is out to get us if we don’t have the westminister government protecting us like they are our parents and we (Scotland) are children where they protecting us from the big bad world and we get pocket money (Scottish budget) after they have taken diggs from us (all our taxes) to keep care of the house (westminister, London and the south east of England) I should also say guess what children turn into adults and eventually move out make there own money, decisions and take responsibility for there actions and the parents are going to have to live without the extra income and change there situation accordingly if they are not going to live beyond there means with the income from the adult child no longer coming in! (westminister are like a very irresponsible parent using there adult childs income and assets to get a loan and then have the cheek to say its there debt even though they had no decision or choice in taking the loan!) England has a lot more to lose and Scotland has a lot more to gain with independance!
# oldnat 2012-03-06 00:34
Brussels is actually 3 different capital cities!

It hosts the EU governing most of Europe : the parliament of Belgium, governing a few things common to Flanders and Wallonia : and it’s also the capital of Flanders.

(busy place Brussels)
# rob4i 2012-03-07 20:32
# Holebender 2012-03-05 11:48

I never mentioned oil and gas!
# D_A_N 2012-03-08 13:36
Well the latest myth is that oil is too volatile and our country depends on it too much.

Well according to Alex Salmond the other day, forget the exact figures but Scotland’s oil is 15% of our economy where as in Norway it’s 24% and they’ve done fine as an independent country.

Plus the question is… is it really THAT volatile? Compared with say… The financial sector in London? I’d like to know what percentage of the UK economy is from that highly volatile part of the economy.
# snowthistle 2012-03-08 14:12
Yes D_A_N but you won’t know because oil is the only sector which they routinely separate out from the figures.
Very seldom if indeed ever will you here figures for London and the south east minus the financial sector.
Oil is there, it does exist, why do they insist on hypothecating on the scenario where it doesn’t?
# Jiggsbro 2012-03-09 16:28
Any chance of someone better informed than me addressing the claim that independence would undermine the Good Friday agreement?…/… (Could Irish history offer answers in the Scottish Independence debate?)
# Caadfael 2012-03-11 10:41
Is this a breakthrough?…/…
826″What is it that the beeb are so afraid of that any mention of News Net Scotland apperars to be absolutely banned?

The truth perhaps?”
how long it remains is another question!
# Keep UTG 2012-03-13 21:41
And true to form it was censored 😉
# doctor_zaius 2012-03-14 21:32
Re: the orkney/shetland thing. I was taking part in an online discussion and some unionist trolls mentioned the idea that they were never formally ceded by Denmark (merely pawned) and are governed by ‘Udal law’ which apparently means Orcadians and Shetlanders own their foreshore (and thus landing rights) with the clear implication that those islanders ‘own’ the oil right, hate the Scots and would deny oil revenue to us.

It sounds like a hollow threat (or else any sane Scot-hating Shetlanders would have pursued it already) and the only online resource of any substance looked like it was written by a crank (Shetland and Orkney Udal Law – SOUL). My legal knowledge is tiny, so any thoughts?
# oldnat 2012-03-14 22:36
Udal law was/is different from Feudal Law. However, it now primarily relates to the extent of land ownership.

In Scots (deriving from feudal) law, the landowner’s rights only extend to the High Water mark (everything beyond that is administered, on behalf of the Crown – ie us – by the Crown Estate Commissioners).

Udal Law still applies to those foreshore properties in the Northern Isles, which are still owned by the same family that owned them in 1611, when Norse Law was theoretically abolished in all parts of Scotland.

Such landowners own the foreshore as far as the lowest ebb tide.
# doctor_zaius 2012-03-15 19:13
Thank you. That is v helpful indeed.
# Am Fògarrach 2012-03-14 23:05
The map and the borders description under the Continental Shelf heading above are – surely unintentionally – very misleading. For the fully documened truth, see
# oldnat 2012-03-15 19:43
Ah! The “fully documented truth” (according to Dr Wilkie that is).

The modern world is a tad more complex than existed in 1237 when the Treaty of York was signed between Henry III of England and Alexander II of Scotland.

If you seriously think that the Treaty of York would take precedence over the UN Convention on the Continental Shelf 1958, then you are perfectly entitled to hold that view.

However, it is tiresome for a particular political grouping to imagine that only they know “the truth” and the rest of the world is simply wrong.

In the USA there are groups who promote “Intelligent Design” as the real truth, as opposed to the theory of evolution.
# ogan86 2012-03-18 07:38
Fantastic – without a doubt this is the best thing I have read online in a very long time. The nation needs to see this!
# Aucheorn 2012-03-19 10:25

A little request, could you mark the revisions / updates ? It would make the cutting and pasting of the “new” document so much easier.

This gets printed for handing out on Mondays.

A great source of information in an easy to read style, which always gets people laughing and thinking.

Long may the Dug be supplied with the choicest goodies.
# bipod 2012-03-23 13:25
perhaps you could do section on a myth that is currently circulating around the forums i visit. The myth is that scotland was a poor worthless country before oil was found and that it took more from the uk during this time compared to what it gave back, the argument is that scotland “owes” england, and that nationalists are just greedy opportunists who are trying to get out while times are good.
# Caadfael 2012-03-27 05:49
“Legs akimbo”!
I do like that, one foot in the future and one in the past.
HMmm .. a wee add-on for signs at the border .. Welcome to Scotland, aka the future, and on the other side…….
# Aikenheed 2012-03-27 06:59
Legs Akimbo – didn’t they replace Pan’s People?
# Clockwise 2012-03-28 23:57
I’m not Scottish so I hope you don’t mind me commenting here. I really hope the Scots vote a resounding yes to independence. The Scots have a great history of inventivness, hard work and pride in their roots. There is no doubt you will build a thriving, independent nation of your own – which is of course what the unionists are desperately afraid of. Best of luck to you all.

Edited to remove abusive comment on the basis of ethnic origin – NNS Mod Team
# Clockwise 2012-03-30 10:56
Oh dear. I was only joking. Apologies for any offence caused.
# caithness warbler 2012-04-01 12:57
Don’t worry Clockwise – we all get moderated from time to time. Thanks very much for your comments. I too am English by birth but now live in Scotland and am a member of the SNP.This is not an ethnic nationalism, no matter how the unionists try to spin it.
# D_A_N 2012-04-06 18:48
The myths I’m still hearing are.. Scotland would not be able to pay for all of our ‘freebies’.. prescriptions and tution fees..

answer being, we can already afford them so why couldn’t we in the future? we’re not subsidised.

and.. Scotland already has pretty much every power except defence..

why then do at least 75% of people want more powers?
# D_A_N 2012-04-07 14:24
and here’s the list of powers we lack courtesy of oldnat 😉…/5
# oldnat 2012-04-11 17:11
I’m not sure how to take that comment. I hope you meant that the link was “courtesy of oldnat”.

I would be deeply distressed if people thought that the lack of powers was down to me!

It wisnae me. A big boy done it and ran away!
# D_A_N 2012-04-15 22:56
hahaha.. 🙂

didn’t realise the wording there..

thanks for the LINK oldnat 😛
# Scotty0709 2012-04-16 03:23
New one I’ve seen a unionist raise: They say that Market Labour Statistics have shown that the unemployment rate for the UK was 8.4%, compared to 8.7% in Scotland which is above the UK average and that other sources have shown similar figures, 8.6% for Scotland and 8.4% for the UK average according to the Scottish government website. They’re using these statistics to ‘prove’ that that the Scottish labour market is lagging behind the UK average and because of that they can only see us struggling more if we became independent.

If possible would appreciate it if you can provide a detailed counter argument to the above.

Also if you can, would if be possible to elaborate more on the GERS figures?

Another argument I’ve seen is that that including a per capita share of north sea revenue Scotland had a deficit of £17.9 billion, or £10.7 Billion including a geographical share of north sea revenue. This is being used as ‘proof’ that even with the oil revenue independence supporters bring up in defence of an independent Scotland’s finances, that in-fact Scotland would still be running a high budget deficit, that in order to tackle, severe cuts in expenditure would need to be made.
# Thee Forsaken One 2012-04-18 09:52
Quoting Scotty0709:
Another argument I’ve seen is that that including a per capita share of north sea revenue Scotland had a deficit of £17.9 billion, or £10.7 Billion including a geographical share of north sea revenue. This is being used as ‘proof’ that even with the oil revenue independence supporters bring up in defence of an independent Scotland’s finances, that in-fact Scotland would still be running a high budget deficit, that in order to tackle, severe cuts in expenditure would need to be made.

Trident and foreign wars seems like a nice big cut to me!
# martin morrison 2014-04-28 12:15
If Scotland’s economy is lagging behind the UK after 307 years, this in itself must surely say something about the usefulness of the Union to Scotland, given that economic weakness (apparently) formed the Union’s raison d’etre.

Holyrood still has no useful economic clout; all it can do is make the most with the little it has. If Scotland’s economy is weak, then only Festerminster can be blamed.
# paullee68 2012-04-19 06:03
It is a pity NNS doesnt consider selling this a small booklet. It could help you raise money for yourselves but also another way of putting to bed all the misconceptions about independence
# Soixante-neuf 2012-04-20 20:07
I liked the pdf, until I realised that not only does it have several formatting gaffes (principally headings not formatted so that they appear to be a continuation of the text of the previous section), but it’s badly out of date compared to the html post.

Could it be updated? And as Paul just suggested, maybe formatted in a way suitable for booklet printing (larger font, say 15 point, and pages a multiple of four).
# Glasgow 2012-04-20 20:37
Braveheart – The woad to independence?
# uilleam_beag 2012-04-29 12:48
So long as we welease Wodewick on the way …
# Scotty0709 2012-04-26 04:10
Like others have said I do hope that at some point you consider turning this information into a booklet (with Soixante-neuf’s suggestions).

Could use/ask for donations in order to produce the booklets and then sell them. Could be used to spread this must-read information to a lot more people and it would give this site good advertisement as well.

I would even consider buying multiple copies and posting them door to door, as it’s the kind of reading material that could help with a persons decision on what way to vote.
# doctor_zaius 2012-04-29 20:41
Dear Dug.

Where have you gone? I miss your barbed wit and incisive analysis.

Sincerely yours…
# cirsium 2012-04-29 21:57
# Scotty0709 2012-04-30 02:46
Hope that you haven’t stopped updating this.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-05-01 18:47
Sorry, due to health problems I’ve not been able to make regular updates or contribute to NNS as much as I’d like to. However I’m on the mend now and the Dug will shortly be reinfesting the pages of this august publication like a bad rash.

Nice to know we’ve been missed!

Paul T Kavanagh, and the Dug
# tartanfever 2012-05-01 20:18
Sorry to hear about your health problems Paul, hope your recovery is swift. All the very best.
# GrassyKnollington 2012-05-01 21:31
Good to hear you’re on the mend Paul, yourself and the Dug have definitely been missed.
# doctor_zaius 2012-05-02 20:40
Get well soon, sir!
# Scotty0709 2012-05-15 23:35
Quoting InfrequentAllel  e:
Dug will shortly be reinfesting the pages of this august publication like a bad rash.

So this will be updated again in August?
# Pleo 2012-05-04 11:13
This is a great resource, however I feel it could be improved if there was a simple contents list at the beginning of the page that you could use to navigate through the rest of the article. For instance if you wanted to get to the part about Service Personnel, then you could just click the appropriate piece of text in the contents and it will bring you down the list to the point you wish to view.

I don’t know if it would be possible but it would surely be more user-friendly than having to navigate the whole thing trying to find what you’re looking for.

Thank you for the list regardless though, it is very informative and conducive to debate.
# D_A_N 2012-05-08 10:50
agreed. this is very simple to do.. Just need to use html anchors.

edit: tried to write it on here, but it didn’t like me posting html. lol.

here’s a link explaining how…/
# chicmac 2012-05-11 15:42
There should be a “Letter of the Day” access point on the front page, maybe just the dug’s heid icon (Bone of the Day?)
# chicmac 2012-05-11 15:59
Update suggestions:

1. Banking. RBS has paid back all its loans to the Government with fees, so taxpayer has already made a profit and now owns an asset worth hundreds of billions.

2. See this list of GDP from the Scottish Gov site:…/…

Well first it might find a place somewhere (economy say)

But what I want to point out is that if the figure for Scotland with oil revenue was as much higher than the UK figure as indicated on the list, then, since Scotland has around 5.2 million people it would mean that oil would have had to be contributing more than 28 billion dollars if it were to explain the difference in GDP from the UK.

Well, AFAIK oil revenue has not amounted to anything like that. So, in other words, even WITHOUT any oil revenue Scotland would have still been better off in 2010. To find out how much better off you would need to get the actual oil revenue allocated to Scotland by the Scottish Government on the list and take it off.

If it is true that even without oil revenue Scotland would still be better off, then that should surely be getting shouted from the rooftops, no?

3. On the partition thing, The UN looked at the feasibility of multiple concurrent secession in the past because of Quebec, where northern Native American ‘nations’ were very clear they wanted to stay with rCanada. However they decided it just was not feasible, even in the case of clear linguistic, territorial, cultural and political differences. Just too complicated. Needs to be one secession at a time.
# cirsium 2012-05-13 15:11
Chicmac – are you sure about RBS? RBS has off balance sheet liabilities mainly defaulted Irish mortgages and over valued assets. There are also the mark-to-fantasy assets sitting in the HM Treasury: The Asset Protection Scheme.

Here is an extract from Public Accounts Committee’s report dated April 2011
2. . The Treasury conducted extensive investigations of the assets put forward for inclusion in the Scheme, but both banks [RBS and Lloyds] encountered major difficulties in providing all the data requested. Two of the UK’s major banks could not provide basic information on their assets and sufficient assurance that their assets were not linked to fraud or other criminal activity. …..
3.  Because of the poor state of the IT systems at RBS the Treasury could not be sure that the assets were not tainted in terms of their underpinning legality. Given the level of uncertainty the Treasury’s Accounting Officer felt that he needed a direction from Ministers to proceed. RBS gave the Treasury an assurance that there was no material or systemic criminal conduct affecting the covered assets. If RBS becomes aware of any such activity, it must report this to the Treasury and the Scheme rules specify that the cover provided may then be terminated. RBS reported that, thus far, there had been no material instances which threatened the taxpayers’ position.”
# spooky 2012-05-17 09:04
First time poster. This was an interesting read and I find many of the arguments convincing. I have one big concern though and I would interested to hear the views of others. I’m concerned about how LGBTI people would fare in an independent Scotland. Right now we have a parliament with a left-wing bias possibly due to the lack of tax-raising powers. I am worried that on independence we will see a rise in conservatism in our politics and public life and that the various religions will seize the chance to blur the lines between church and state (they have all been wading in on the same sex marriage debate). I appreciate how vocal Salmond has been on LGBTI rights but I know he does not represent all of his party and, to a degree, the party itself does not have the best reputation in the gay community. I’m torn because I am drawn to voting yes in the referendum but might not out of concern of what sort of country it might become.
# snowthistle 2012-05-17 10:17
You are correct spooky, that Alex Salmond does not represent all of his party, just like his party does not represent all of the independence movement.
Our new country will be what we, as a people, make it, the SNP does not own independence, it is the best vehicle of achieving independence but it does not own it.
I’m fairly relaxed that a new Scotland will not vote for right wing policies, we haven’t made a point of it before so why would we after independence? True in the past we have voted Conservative in some numbers but the tory party then was a very different animal to what it is now. As for the church lobby, the religious vote is an ever decreasing, all be it extremely vocal, minority. They may be loud but that doesn’t make their vote count for any more than anyone else’s.

I’m really glad that you are concerned about what sort of country we might become. We have a great opportunity here and we should all be concerned with making it the very best it can be.

Welcome to the forum, hope you stick around.
# pa_broon74 2012-05-17 11:09
I think there was one fairly vocal SNP ex-MP who was against gay marriage, Gordon Wilson an ex-leader of the SNP no less but I think we need to remember and emphasise he’s an EX-leader. 😉

I take the view that after a successful yes vote, we all have a bit of a duty to shape the new Scotland (sounds a bit corny) into what we want it to be.

That is why what Snowthistle says is important, I disagree with a lot of what the SNP puts forward in terms of policy, in an independent Scotland I’m not even sure I’d vote for them but, the independence questions transcends any political argument (I think anyway,) the question is an existential one.

I think the SNP is more akin to an umbrella group, there are MP’s and MSP’s from all points on the political spectrum, I do think they’re predominatly left of centre.

For LBGT issues, I think Scotland will go down the Scandinavian route, Sweden and Norway legalised gay marriage in 2009.

So you know where I’m coming from (so to speak,) I’m against any church involvement in state affairs, I wish we didn’t need to have the so-called militant gay lobby, but the only reason we do is because the Church (in many of its various forms) also has a militant lobby group which has as its basis, some incredibly outdated moral ideas, many of which cause young people growing up, to doubt themselves so much that they take their own lifes.

Which to my mind, is unforgivable.

Will it be better after Yes-2014?* I think it will.

*I’m trying to coin a new phrase, like the olympics etc only the logo won’t be so shit. 😉
# ogan86 2012-05-27 15:52
Agree with you completely, pa_broon.

Also, thumbs up for your phrase – look forward to seeing the logo 😉
# InfrequentAllele 2012-05-31 15:06
Hi spooky.

I’m the writer of this article, and I’m gay myself. I’ve been out and proud since the Action Krankie was just a twinkle in her daddy’s eye. I campaigned for gay rights and made a general nuisance of myself when doing so meant a real risk of experiencing violence or abuse – I got gay-bashed twice, and have been on the receiving end of more insults and swerrie wurds than there are in a Labour MP’s vocabulary – only to find that it was all so a lesbian could become the leader of the Tory party. I could weep, I really could.

(I suspect the Dug may be gay too, but he’s more interested in human legs, and I’m not sure that counts.)

As a gay man who has lived in a number of European countries I have every confidence in an independent Scotland. Scotland is no more or less homophobic than anywhere else in Western Europe.

If I thought that Scotland would become less tolerant of gay people post-independence, I’d campaign against independence. The fact I spend so much of my time and energy campaigning for independence ought to tell you all you need to know.

Paul T Kavanagh

ps I’ll update this article on June 10.
# daveniz 2012-05-27 11:34
the unionists scaremongering of shipbuilding not been secure in an independent Scotland has been sunk (excuse the pun) and exposed as a blatant lie!…/……/…
# Alan75 2012-06-12 08:05
Paul, the first time I read your article I was blown away. I now log in once a week I looking forward to your latest update.

I’ve really enjoy your sound logic, approach and thank god someone is putting some humour into the debate. Some of the Unionist arguments are sickeningly deceitful and desperate; it really gets taxing listening to them.

I’m a strong believer in Independence and look forward to the day!!!
Keep up the good work – I’m sharing it with everyone I speak to.

# ScotTheLot 2012-06-12 19:24
Hi all, 1st time poster.

Came on here after this article had been mentioned on youtube, whilst watching an independence related video. Amazing article! So good to know we have sites like this telling us of the real news and not the twisted, diluted unionist garbage you see in the mainstream media.

I’m a firm believer in independence, and it warms my heart to find that this kind of info is out there, and also how many people are responding positively to it.

Currently spreading this article and site like wildfire among my friends. Keep up the good work Paul, and the NNS team!

# Macart 2012-06-12 21:12

Any chance of the dug penning another article for the hard of humour anytime soon? I think we could do with that certain laugh out loud lift on the home page. Right now I’m chortling like a buffoon at the latest A-Z entries and the kids are starting to look funny at me.

Ta fer the laff.
# Mei 2012-06-17 08:35
Can you add something on the Crown Estates?
This is an area ripe for satire.

What are the revenues of the Crown Estates in Scotland and England and are we getting our fair share?

The Big Lottery handing out the pocket money for instance.
# CarolM 2012-06-23 21:24
I’m a member of Labour, but I’m totally pro Independence which brings me into conflict with my party. I’m supposed to support the union which I detest and loath, however I still have a mind of my own! So bring on Independence please and goodbye Westminster, Cameron, Torys, the Windsors and the Daily Mail as well please. Carry on debunking the unionist myths, I just love it.

I do have one gripe with the SNP in that they took money from Brian Souter and I’m ‘B’ & ‘T’ on the LGBT spectrum.

God, ain’t life complicated!
# scottish_skier 2012-06-23 22:04
Edwin Morgan also donated to the SNP. If the SNP are to be a ‘national’ party, then they must be open to all views.

I do hope to see a new, real left of centre ‘Labour’ party re-emerge in an independent Scotland. Balance between the left and right is essential for long term success.

If you have not seen this film before, then I heartily recommend it:…/

A Parting Hymn: Lies, deciept and the death of the Labour Party

While more of an economic centrist social liberal in political views, the damage caused by the jump of labour to the right has been very sad to see.

All the best,

# oldnat 2012-06-23 22:09
Welcome to the site (don’t think we’ve seen you before).

Another way to look at it is the SNP took Souter’s money, spent it on electing MSPs who voted solidly for the abolition of Section 2A (section 28) and subsequently on electing a Parliament which introduced the equal marriage proposal, and there is already a majority for implementation.

Meantime, some in Labour play politics with the idea.…/…

These things aren’t black, white, pink – or even rainbow coloured!
# CarolM 2012-06-24 08:38
Thanks OldNat, yep I’m a newbie and that was my maiden speech so to speak. I’m getting more disillusioned with things in Labour, I know I’m not the only pro independence supporter in the party I just get annoyed that the others just keep quiet and don’t say a word. So I’m up for it and vocal, and with it goes my chance of being selected to stand as an MSP I guess – hey ho, rather that then be silent about something I passionately believe in.

Who actually deals with the SNP’s LGBT side anyhow? I’d like to have a talk with them. The Equal Marriage thing is a big deal for me having been involved with the LGBT Labour side of things.

Oh and in case you were wondering I was born in England but have lived here most of my life and consider myself well naturalised. Being Scots is a state of mind rather where you were born.
# scottish_skier 2012-06-30 20:43
“and consider myself well naturalised. Being Scots is a state of mind rather where you were born.”

Mrs SS – who hails from Normandie – would heartily agree on that sentiment. Scots spoken with a French accent is a lot of fun.

This from today in Edinburgh put a smile on my face.…/…
# Macart 2012-07-01 09:08
A warm welcome CarolM. The more, the merrier.
# InfrequentAllele 2012-06-26 20:38
Hi Carol,

I’ve only just seen your comment. As I said in reply to an earlier comment from someone else – I’m gay myself and like you I’m here, I’m queer and I’m not going shopping. If I believed that the LGBT community would be damaged by Scottish independence, I’d be campaigning for the Union – yet here me and the Dug are, peeing on Westminster’s lampposts.

As an auld fairy who’s been out and proud for a very long time now, I can tell you that there are few things that anger me more than Labour’s posturing on LGBT issues. Back in the 80s when I came out – in a working class community in the East End of Glasgow – Labour was certainly no friend of the LGBT community, they did their utmost to defend the homophobic status quo of those days. Google Gordon McMaster and you’ll see what I mean. Now they act like they hold the copyright on gay liberation.

All Scottish political parties without exception are tainted by homophobia. But so are all political parties everywhere.

The thing about being Scottish and LGBT is that you have to deal with two sets of stereotypes. We are doubly minoritised, facing both homophobic and scottophobic stereotyping.

One of the most pernicious and nasty scottophobic stereotypes is that Scots are in some way backward or primitive, and we require the gentle ministrations of Westminster to drag us kicking and screaming into modernity. It’s a stereotype as old as the Union itself, and in its latest incarnation it tells us that Scotland is only saved from the evils of homophobic primitivism by the kindly tolerance promoted by cosmopolitan Westminster. It’s a lie, and it’s an insult to the tolerance and maturity of the people of Scotland.


Paul Kavanagh
# .Scot 2012-06-24 09:54
Danny Alexander’s latest illiterate rant is that NatWest would need to charge Scots more for our mortgages as NatWest’s credit rates would “somehow” be downgraded by an independent Scotland. But then it seems the Tory aide from the Liberals is unaware of the difference between state borrowing credit and private lending rates.…/…
# CarolM 2012-06-25 18:58
Paul, I love all the myth busting on the site, my only problem with it is this…
Most of the folk who read it on here are already converts, we need to get something like this out to the people in ‘real life’. As presented here, they’re easily digestible and easy to understand. How about we print 5 million and stick one through every letter box in Scotland?

One thing I notice on forays south of the border is how much antipathy there is for Scottish Independence from the English. How about inviting them to vote for our independence as well, if they think we’re such a bunch of whining spongers they’ll be glad to vote us out of the union!
# Scotty0709 2012-06-25 23:58
Well there’s now a lot more nonsense and misinformation in the videos the “Better Together” campaign have on their site and the speech Darling gave yesterday.

There’s some good possible additions for this list in them.
# CarolM 2012-06-29 18:23
Interesting article in todays RUSI Journal. RUSI are one of the UK and indeed major world defence think tanks. The subject of the article is UK (E,W,NI) defence after Scottish Independence. If RUSI are worried then it means Westminster are worried. According to the RUSI paper we could well end up having to put with the UK’s nuclear weapons for a few more decades in effect to appease NATO and the EU. Interesting read and is available as a free download.

[Citation is required by RUSI. It is Malcolm Chalmers (2012): Kingdom’s End?, The RUSI Journal, 157:3, 6-11. The article is available here…/… – NNS Mod Team]
# Mei 2012-07-01 08:52

This Group might interest you…/
# Scotty0709 2012-07-04 02:46
Looks like Scotland will suffer a 9/11 style attack if we become independent:…/… lol
# Col G 2012-07-28 15:19
I am English, but with Scottish ancestry. I believe Scotland should be independent. I think it would spell the end of the UK, and Wales and NI would follow. Whether you choose to admit it, a lot of people in Scotland do hate the English, and I think independence would ease that. I think it would be better for England and contribute to a much clearer sense of identity for the English.

One thing I resent though is the fact that Westminster doesn’t seem to want to allow the English a say in this. Rather than constant denial and clinging on to an outmoded institution, English MPs should try and work out what is best for England in the event of independence.
# mutterings 2012-08-04 23:11
I created sets of custom Yes logos. I thought you might find the LGBT variations useful, Paul.

You can view a sample here:…/…

Here you find colour variations and download links:…/…

Sorry for O/T post.
# Mr Rational 2012-09-24 07:09
My wee add on, the NZ herald is reporting that the UK has approached them to share diplomatic missions with both NZ and Canada in more ‘remote’ areas. Hague has said it makes sense for ‘first cousins’ to do this……/…
# Scotty0709 2012-10-06 03:04
When will this next be updated? and how often do you expect you will update it?
# viking_celt_428 2012-11-17 15:29
Fantastic Scottish humour Paul.

In one swoop you have made some of the stupidest myths look so absolutely ridiculous it will make sceptics of independence think twice. After all if I want to visit Newcastle and stalk Little Mix I hardly think independence will force me to succomb to xenophobia and turn my poster of those lovely girls into a dart board. In fact why throw darts and warheads over the River Tweed when the only place for ‘dart’ and ‘warhead’ in the same sentence is when we’re talking about Dartmouth where the warheads will have to be situated as of 2016. I would swap Nuke for Newcastle anyday!

Anyway to help you with your writer’s block (and that’s not an age thing, trust me, I get it all the time at 27!) here are some more entries: (to be continued)
# viking_celt_428 2012-11-20 18:30
ANTI-SCOTTISH-GATE: The SNP thinks people are anti-Scottish if they are against independence. // Well judging by the sheer hysteria you’d think the unionists were Americans rather than Scots. Joan McAlpine’s comment was relating to the handling of the referendum by the leadership of the parties in Westminster. The unionist politicians decided this was the perfect opportunity and blew the whole thing out of context by making Joan’s comments sound like a reference to which way people were going to vote in the referendum. We don’t believe people are anti-Scottish just because of their views. In fact, unlike many unionists, we are trying to steer the debate away from the dubious territory of identity politics and keep to the social, democratic and economic discussions. That’s what the people of Scotland really want to hear. And while you’re about it Mr Darling, stop telling us we’re less British just because we don’t support the political union that informally calls itself ‘Britain’
# Union City Blues 2012-11-28 20:51
Spectacular comment; ‘Am a Cybernat and so’s ma dug’. I’m having the badges made now if anyone wants one.
# graememcallan 2012-11-29 05:35
PK, utterly, utterly brilliant – I want one of UCB’s badges;-)))
# CharlieObrien 2013-01-02 13:26
I would like to say first to Col G I don’t hate anybody and your assumption is wrong in so many ways,indifferen  t is best way to say it.I have friends from many countries,but never waste time or effort in hatred,its a wasted emotion,if you have somebody who did you wrong then work harder be more successful and happy,that is much better than the time wasted on hate.Now secondly I too would like this in a print format,great read,and I don’t care if I’m broke,independe  nce means I can do something about it.
# Hirta 2013-02-14 21:06
A year ago today this immense piece was first posted 😀
# viking_celt_428 2013-03-12 16:14
Is there going to be another update? Come on Paul!
# Jebediah Beane 2013-05-04 16:37
I think you should update the passport control bit. It is a fair bit more likely than you suggest. As shown this week the electorate here is increasingly paranoid about immigration and if there is a divergence between the immigration policies of the two countries there will be tremendous political pressure to have some form of border control as Scotland will be seen as a “soft touch”. That’s not scaremongering – that’s reality. Also I think you are overestimating the “friendly” nature of relations between Holyrood and Westminster. Relations can be described as many things but “friendly” is a bit (a lot) of a stretch. Suspicious co-existence I think would cover it.
# Pleo 2013-05-13 19:04
Just remembered about this great resource, had a read through, and was thinking that it might be a good idea to include links that lead back to the index at the top of the page after each entry. This way the reader would not need to scroll back up to the top each time they wanted to find a new topic to peruse.

Thank you again.
# BuckieJoe 2014-02-14 16:51
A question?
I sometimes work offshore. If I were to work offshore in Norwegian waters I would get taxed by the Norwegian government. So, the question is this: Once we get independence can/will the Scottish government claim tax off all the English workers who work offshore in Scottish waters?
# Alien Act 2014-02-25 18:49
Quoting BuckieJoe:
A question?
I sometimes work offshore. If I were to work offshore in Norwegian waters I would get taxed by the Norwegian government. So, the question is this: Once we get independence can/will the Scottish government claim tax off all the English workers who work offshore in Scottish waters?

The UK has a double taxation agreement with Norway which means if you get taxed here you don’t get taxed in Norway . Are you sure you are being taxed for your work in Norway by the Norwegians?
I would think that a similar agreement would be reached by Scotland and rUK, unless the rUK doesn’t want to.
# AlbaDave 2014-03-07 10:41
Could you update the question “Credit rating: Scotland would lose the AAA credit rating it enjoys as part of the UK.”

Standards & Poor have just said that Scotland would get an AAA rating, EVEN without oil.
# lizlou57 2014-04-03 18:41
Could you explain how Scotland will be able to continue free university tuition if we vote Yes,(and are still in EU) and avoid being swamped by RUK students who wish to avoid paying fees? I understand how we are able to charge them at the moment but don’t understand what happens when they basically become another EU country.
# martin morrison 2014-04-28 14:37
This should definitely be published in booklet form. Too many people are hearing only sloganised headlines and have no conception of the breadth and depth of what is happening. Most are so conditioned to electoral apathy – understandably – that they haven’t yet realised that this is not just another election.

All those who believe they’ve seen it all before need to wake up to the fact that neither they nor anybody alive in these islands has seen anything like it before other than a handful of nonagenarians who may have vague recollections of Irish independence.

This is so big.

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