5 May 2014

The visceral hatred of Westminister politics

Sex, greed, over-centralised politics, and London-centricity – they all play their part in the alienation from Westminster politics that many of us are finding within and beyond the M25.

Were it confined to a turning to populists like Boris Johnson, and Nigel Farage, it might not matter so much. Even the piling up of opinion poll scores for Ukip might not matter so much. But this infection of despair, even hatred of Westminster politics, is most evident and focused in Scotland. Scotland, where our own Channel 4 News poll finds only 14 per cent of people who regard themselves as British first, and Scottish second.

More from Channel 4 News: Yes/No Scotland – special report

Having just spent a week in first the Western Isles, and second in Glasgow, hatred of Westminster is by far the most dominant factor in people who told me they were voting yes to Scottish independence. The theme was constantly repeated to me. For some, voting yes is a long, deep-seated desire for an independent Scotland. But for far more it seems to be a relatively recent desire to have nothing to do with what so many spoke of as “the sleaze, dishonesty, and self-serving London-centric politics of Westminster”.

ScottishVote Scottish independence: the view from Port Glasgow

I have come away from Scotland deeply impressed by the high quality of debate, and the relatively low quality of many of the arguments put forward by the no campaign. I’m equally impressed by the range and quality of people who constantly surprised me by their commitment – often recently determined, to vote yes. My sense too is that where the vote on Scottish independence is concerned, Westminster politicians just don’t get it.

Perhaps it should be no surprise. The coalition government boasts just 12 MPs out of 59 in Scotland. And only one of these comes from the dominant party in the coalition, the Conservatives.

One senses on the ground in Scotland that the government has left it to the 41 Labour MPs, Labour MSPs, party workers, and union members to get the no vote out. But some of them, sniffing the possibility of a yes victory, don’t want to be associated with the “no campaign” when they view their political futures after the vote.

There is no evidence of a positive vision for Scotland from the no vote, just a cascade of negative gruesome warnings about currency, pensions and Europe.


It is as if Westminster doesn’t actually care what happens in the Scottish vote. This as the Sunday Herald, the only Scottish paper to increase its circulation this year, this week also became the first to come out and declare for independence.

Inevitably, as someone who neither lives in Scotland nor boasts Scottish blood, I am bound to view this vote from south of the border, despite visiting Scotland regularly. I am bound too to explore the consequences for the rest of the country if Scotland goes independent. Whilst I suspect the “divorce” will be bitter and difficult, perhaps for years, I believe Scotland has the potential benefit in the long term.

As for the consequences of a no vote, the size of the yes vote is bound to force Westminster to look to maximum devolution (termed “devo max”) – passing everything bar foreign affairs, defence and fiscal policy to Edinburgh. Yet the no campaign rarely mentions such an event. And the three Westminster parties who so willingly came together to reject a currency union with Scotland should independence dawn, have steadfastly refused to come together to pledge “devo max”.

Increasingly it looks as if such an all-party pledge might be the only way to erode the yes vote. Yet it is a move I discussed with many with whom I spoke. A good many said they did not trust Westminster to deliver it.

And no-one talks of a Britain without Scotland. For the rest of us, what will the entity in which we live even be called? Hardly “Great”; hardly “United”; and devoid of many of the isles that constitute the present British Isles. Additionally, the knowledge that the Scots will suddenly have what we do not have – localised governance devolved from Westminster – is in danger of generating fury. Scottish independence is likely to have a highly destabilising effect for the rest of us. We only have ourselves to blame.

For too many in Britain, Westminster’s fiddling is breeding political despair. It is despair that seems to be delivering Ukip south of the border and the possibility of a yes vote north of it.

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236 reader comments

  1. David McGrath says:

    Well done Jon Snow. The first fae London tae ken whiz happenin. The writing is on the wall. And thon plebs in Westminster havenae got a clue. Please dinnae hailt it against us when you are condemned to consecutive Tory majorities. By then you will realize what it felt like up here, when the Butcher dawns his apron looking for the first piece of meat to cut. It won’t be any of ours. God bless, and Ta Ta.

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      Hello David,
      How could we in Scotland know that our politicians are any more honest than anyone else’s?
      The “promises” offered by those who want us to risk our futures, have already been shown to be false.
      We now know that it’s not practical for us to share the same central bank as the rest of these islands if we leave the Union. And that we’d have to adopt the Euro and the full “Maastricht” rules if we want to remain in the EU. And that we could no longer discriminate against students from Wales, NI & England. Both would cost us a fortune in lost revenues and higher taxes.
      Moreover, we also know that that we’ve been told we can gamble on a massive inflow of migrants to pay for our future pensions bill. But we’re not told whose jobs they will take.

      Truth is that human beings are much the same the whole world over: they say and do whatever suits themselves best. Which is why our politicos & commentators are no more reliable than they are down South. This time our politicos want us to buy a one-way ticket into the unknown, and on their rosy vision that they refuse to verify.
      It’s the same old story. In this case, 640 pages of blether.

      1. Helen says:

        Hey Andrew.

        You ask how we know that Scottish politicians will be any different to those in Westminster. Good point. We don’t. But what the point that matters is that they will be Scottish politicians. Likely we’ll be dealing with the same old crap, but we will be dealing with our own crap on our own scale. Not another nation’s crap being decided in another capital city in another country.

      2. Andrew Dundas says:

        Hello Helen,
        If only it were likely to be OUR politicians. But they will not be.
        Under the Maastricht Treaty, all new Member States must adopt each and every Directive of the EU and especially to adopt the Euro whenever the European Commission says they are strong enough to join that currency union. Because of the crises since 2008, fiscal policy in all Euroland States are determined by their rules. Only Denmark and the UK have agreed exemptions from that requirement.
        Scotland – one percent of the EU’s population – will have to comply with the fiscal policy laid down by the four largest States.
        So our rap politicians will be ruled by Frankfurt, not Westminster. If you believe that’s more favourable, alas, I don’t.

      3. russell deacon says:

        hi andrew, you will find that the meagre powers we have already have created a significant difference between scotland and englandwhether it is tuition fees or the survival of the nhs scotland has a distinct political and moral identity and we wish to fully explore it.

      4. Andrew Dundas says:

        Chief amongst our current differences in constitutional powers are that we receive £1,600 a year more for public spending than the UK average. Moreover, we’ve always had our own legal system, education programmes, NHS, railways and more recently we’ve kept our water rates higher than the rest because they are still publicly owned. We could have had the same rights-to-roam as England but we rejected that in the 1940s and have adopted them since. We’ve had our own power to vary income tax since 1999, but have never used those powers.
        Being part of the UK also gives us the right to discriminate against Uni applicants from Wales, N Ireland and England. Which power we would lose were we to become a separate EU State. We would also lose the UK’s agreed opt-out from the obligation to join the Euro asap. Which would help us solve the “currency issue” because we’d have to accept the Euro and economic control by the EU’s “German” economic policy.
        All of which would be freedom of a kind.

      5. David Grant says:

        Scotland has been in the EU for 40-odd years. We have a great deal of the oil and fisheries. Our citizens have been EU citizens for 40-odd years too. We shall not be chucked out, you know. There will be an accommodation.
        The currency ‘debate’ is a red herring. Personally I favour a new Scottish currency but it may well be wise to have a union – which we would undoubtedly get, never mind what the ‘3 main parties’ say now.
        No Scot worth their salt can conceivably want to continue being ruled by the rubbish government that is the current Westminster lot (and the bloated, largely ineffective,House of Lords).
        The Referendum is NOT about the SNP, even less about our First Minister. After 307 years, this Union that began as nothing less than a rape is finally done, finished. It was never wanted by the people of Scotland but was forced on them, there being no democracy then. Scotland has had little benefit from it and those with eyes to see know this, have woken up and will vote YES to be quit of it.
        I believe we shall actually get on better with the remainder of the UK than we have for many years, once we have REGAINED our Independence.

      6. Mike Mac Fhionghuin says:

        Andrew, do you know anything about joining or leaving the EU? I can only think that you are ignorant of the facts if you think that we have to take the Euro. Either that or you’re simply lying.

        So what is it, Andrew? Ignorance or lies?

  2. Nick Heller says:

    The movement towards a Yes vote in September comes from the dual realisation among many Scots that for once they have an opportunity to to choose the path their country takes and that when exposed to the debate Westminster has nothing to offer as an alternative to independence.

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      Hello Nick Heller,
      What does the Union offer us?
      Our Union gives us economic security and access to shared financial resources. For a start, over 70% of our external sales of Scottish goods & services are bought by Wales, N.I. and England. Moreover the Union underwrites our financial services industry, which may well be our biggest source of tax revenues when the pay of all its employees are reckoned up.
      There’s no question that those trades will continue whatever the constitutional mess that we face. But it’s also clear that the rUK will not underwrite the debts of our financial services because they will no longer be in control of them. But I’m not proposing these changes – the SNP is. And must make a more robust case.
      Half my family lives down south. I don’t want your barriers put up against them. I don’t want to lose either my Westminster or my Holyrood votes or my NI pension of £181 per week, which it is obvious Scotland with our burgeoning retirees can’t afford. I don’t wish to jeopardise our security either: our combined military covers for us, a bare bones Scotland unable to fulfill basic NATO requirements will be vulnerable to raids on our oil fields.

      The SNP refused to either discuss devolved powers or implement them. For the breakaway folks, it’s all or nothing. Not a useful to mandate to negotiate with the EU, the UK or NATO.

      1. james cormack says:

        Economic security. Give this man his pills. He’s obviously having a laugh. The rich have got richer over the last 30 years and the poor have got poorer. Enough is enough. Scotland has the indoubted resources to become a prosperous,Scandinavian-style economy so we shouldn’t ruin that prospect with a No vote.

      2. John Gil says:

        At least he admits that the oil is ours. I just cant believe how brain-washed some people seem to be. and to me he has never been hit with the hardships that so many of us have been hit with. westminster has never worked for me, just when im about to break even, they hit me with another bombshell, poll tax, child support, (which i may add, affected my relationship with my kids, in a non positive way.) bedroom tax,the list goes on and on. some people need to open their eyes. and this guy is one of them.. even my mum ,,, a labour voter all her life has changed her views after seeing our hardships.

      3. Andrew Dundas says:

        Hello John,
        My sympathies for your predicaments.
        You may not recall the hoohah that led up to Scotland inventing the Poll Tax (Yes, it was Michael Forsyth, MP for Stirling and our very own Malcolm Rifkind, then an MP in Edinburgh).
        In 1984 the hoohah was led by Scottish newspapers who falsely claimed that English homes carried lower rates than equivalent properties in Scotland. What our brave scribblers had done was to conflate local authority rates and our water rates to make false and misleading comparisons with English rates that did not include their much higher water & sewage charges.
        Those scribblers’ stories were rather like comparing Malcolm Rifkind’s income with either yours or mine!
        Armed with their false stories, our fearless newspapers persuaded large numbers of homeowners to appeal against their individual Rate assessments. Those appeals blocked our Courts with many thousands of appeals. Ratepayers didn’t have to pay any of their council or water rates pending their appeals, and council incomes began to run out.
        Which is where our Scottish Tory MPs came to our rescue!! They had devised a much “fairer” tax system that would levy a tax on each individual adult. Which, those Scots trumpeted, would be fair because “we all use the same services”. So the Poll Tax was born. It didn’t take long for other Scots to notice that this new levy meant our brave Michael and Malcolm to pay a lot less tax and low-income families in overcrowded apartments to pay vastly greater amounts. There were lots of parades and street scuffles. Some wag pointed out that having different taxes in Scotland also breached the Act of Union. But, by then the Poll Tax (as it became known) was already in existence and there was no way out save going back to the unjustly condemned Rates or forward for imposition on the English too!!
        The rest, as you know, is history. Maggie got the boot. Michael Heseltine MP introduced his temporary Council Tax, and Chancellor Major increased the grants to local councils (which made them even less dependent on their local electors).

        So. There you have it: it were US who introduced the Poll Tax and then imposed it upon England and Wales. Not the other way around.

      4. Patricia Byrne says:

        I must agree with James. It is nonsense to speak of barriers and divisions being introduced by an Independent Scotland. Trade takes place between countries already, what would be different between and Independent Scotland and the rUK? Furthermore the extreme divisions between the rich and poor make it one of the most unequal countries in the world. These are the divisions that should be a cause of concern.

        Snow is correct. It is disgust and shame relating to the policies of the Westminster parliament that have pushed people towards a Yes vote. The current government are both morally bereft and incompetent. Holyrood has already displayed itself as being more concerned with social justice.

  3. Bill Fraser says:

    The penny begins to drop.
    This is about the people of Scotland and how they want to be governed. It is not about England, Wales or Northern Ireland and it is most certainly not about nationality or party politics.

    1. Claire says:

      Exactly Bill, this is about Scotland and our moral, cultural and political right to self determination. Have a look at an excellent piece by my sister on the National Collective called The Re-Birth of a Nation:



      1. Bill Fraser says:

        Thanks for that Claire, and thanks also to your sister for writing such a reasonable and well argued post.

    2. joanne grant says:

      Thank you. Well said.

    3. David Hepburn says:

      Dear Bill,

      I assume that you are the Bill Fraser that I know rather well? If not, please ignore this riposte. If it is then:

      “This is about the people of Scotland and how they want to be governed.” Indeed, how right you are. And I, for one amongst many, prefer the status quo to the unknown under the SNP for that is what it will result in if there is a ‘Yes’ vote. Do you really want Salmond as the ‘Gauleiter’ of Scotland?

      Perhaps you do?



      1. Jason Park says:

        Hi David,

        I just want to say something that I say to many of my friends and colleagues who share your thoughts…

        A vote for Scottish Independence does not mean you support Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon or the SNP. They are simply the current party in charge. We will have our next election very soon and power could well change hands. So, it’s much better to take the SNP out of the equation because they may well never see Independence whilst they’re in office

        Peace! :)

      2. David Hepburn says:

        Dear Jason,

        If I were only able to agree with you. However, it is the SNP who are driving the ‘yes’ campaign.

        I have no idea (and, I suspect, neither have you) who might be in the driving seat following a ‘yes’ vote. However, given the current circumstances, I fear that it will be the SNP.

        Peace to you too, Bro. :-)

      3. Jason Park says:

        Hey David, I think you’re absolutely right man! it probably will be the SNP, since they have an ethic that matches a large majority of Scottish voters. That said, won’t it be lovely to choose a government that rules your country FROM your country! :)

      4. Bill Anderson says:

        David, does it really matter that much to you who is in charge after Independence as long as we are in control of our own affairs at home and abroad. We haven’t been represented anywhere in our bets interests by any Westminster government so it is time to go our own way, and I am sure we can do a much better job of it that we have been used to under Westminster.
        I get so tired of people like you who constantly attack Alex Salmond when you don’t know the man. If you took the time to compare what he has delivered for Scotland, on a very limited budget, you would see that he already does a great job for our country, so instead of continued sniping, get some facts and educate yourself as to why the biggest majority of Scots are going to vote YES in September. There are plenty of good sites where you can find out the truth of what is happening in Scotland, because you won’t find the truth in The Daily Mail or whatever rag you read.
        Try reading online sites such as: Bella Caledonia, or Wings Over Scotland, or Business For Scotland, or Another Angry Voice, and from there you will find others which will educate you in our modern politics and the sentiment of the majority of people in Scotland. Happy reading!!

      5. Bill Anderson says:

        David, does it really matter that much to you who is in charge after Independence as long as we are in control of our own affairs at home and abroad. We haven’t been represented anywhere in our best interests by any Westminster government so it is time to go our own way, and I am sure we can do a much better job of it that we have been used to under Westminster.
        I get so tired of people like you who constantly attack Alex Salmond when you don’t know the man. If you took the time to compare what he has delivered for Scotland, on a very limited budget, you would see that he already does a great job for our country, so instead of continued sniping, get some facts and educate yourself as to why the biggest majority of Scots are going to vote YES in September. There are plenty of good sites where you can find out the truth of what is happening in Scotland, because you won’t find the truth in The Daily Mail or whatever rag you read.
        Try reading online sites such as: Bella Caledonia, or Wings Over Scotland, or Business For Scotland, or Another Angry Voice, and from there you will find others which will educate you in our modern politics and the sentiment of the majority of people in Scotland. Happy reading!!

      6. james cormack says:

        No, I’d rather have the old Etonians led by David Cameron. They know best about what Scots want.

    4. David Hepburn says:

      Dear Bill,

      I should have persevered but I couldn’t. I had a brief look at the URL below your post and, during the first paragraph, I couldn’t stand the grammatical and syntactical errors. I soon realised that it was not worth reading further.

      Sorry. But, if correspondents cannot write accurate English, then I lose interest very quickly.

      BR, David

  4. mike cobley says:

    Dear Jon – gratifying as it is to have yourself commenting on the ongoing indyref situation, it is also dispiriting to see that you too follow the same flawed discursive path as many others previously. The folly and mendacity of Westminster is held up as the prime reason for the rise of the Ism parties, yet not a single mention is made of the role of the City of London, a role that is key. It is the greed and anti-democratic nature of the financial sector which has and is poisoning the nation’s politics; it is the ruthless, heartless agendas of the financial institutions which sets the frame within which the Tories, the Libdems and UKIP have opted to lay out their shabby wares, while Labour seems unable to decide which side of the greed-fence to come down on.

    Trillions of pounds pour through the City every week, every month, and the sheer gravity of it distorts and corrupts everything around it. Yet to read and hear the debate over independence one would think that it’s some minor aspect of society, not affecting how the people live from day to day, or how they think about their country and its politics.

    The real enemy does not sit in Westminster, but on the boards of directors of Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, PWC, McKinsey, Serco, and rest of that gaggle of democracy demolishers. A more considered understanding is, I think, in order.

    1. James W McLachlan says:

      I would suggest Mike that, in attempting to divest the elected government from blame, you seem unable to discern the strings which animate its members and those who are actually doing the pulling. In my view, said, too big to fail, multi-national ‘bankers’.

  5. Sharon Hawthorne says:

    This is a thoughtful and perceptive piece, Jon. As someone from England living in Northern Ireland under devolved government I have long felt that my English friends and family are ill-served by Westminster too. The City of London with its huge financial services industry seem to be controlling much of Westminster policy in a way that is wholly negative for the wider UK. I have felt that since the Conservatives came to power they have felt more like salesmen with their grubby deals selling off Royal Mail, privatising the NHS by stealth, trying to sell our woodlands….they do not care that ordinary families cannot by a house in England. I long to move back to England but cannot afford to because of the housing crisis there. Maybe Scotland will do England a favour by pushing these issues forward. It depresses me beyond words that UKIP might succeed in the elections in England and I don’t think it’s a positive choice but the voice of frustration. People feel Westminster politicians don’t ‘hear’ them so it is a protest vote but one as disastrous in it’s consequences as for the wider UK as Scottish independence (I agree with you that the divorce would be messy and bitter – and England will be the loser). The political class has utterly failed.

    1. Alex says:

      The SNP came from a party of protest to a party of power. I hear people today in denial advising SNP’s incredible unexpected majority was a protest vote.
      UKIP a protest vote in England?

  6. Paul Goodbrand says:

    You’ve now seen what so many in the Westminster bubble are oblivious to, and I’m not surprised that you have been pleased by the level of debate – something that might be missing south of the border, as we can see with the rise of UKIP.

    As for the “British” Isles, remember than Britain is a geographical term, originally Roman, and in no way connected to the Union of the Parliaments. We are not going anywhere, we are simply using our political will to end our being ruled from another country. Haste ye back!

    1. Bill McLean says:

      Paul – it was Pytheas, the Greek geographer and explorer, who named this island Vrettanike, other Greeks including Ptolemy continued the theme until the Romans, who copied much from the Greeks used Brittania. The Greek may have described “painted people”. Sorry to be pedantic but I am very fond of language and history. I agree with everything else 100%!

      1. ewan sinclair says:

        I thought it was the tribe called Prittani that lived in Wales it was named after! You live and learn though, thanks!

  7. Andrew Leslie says:

    Nice piece, but you perhaps missed two important factors. As the Sunday Herald put it, “The prize is a better country; it’s as simple as that.” The quality of the debate is high, because it is not just about whether or not to remain in the Union – it is also (and largely) about how Scotland can best remake itself with the full powers of independence. There’s an excitement running through the country as people from every shade of political thought come together in town hall meetings or in oline discussion to urge one another into a different future and to contemplate what that future can be.

    In contrast, the campaigners on the No side, asked time and again for a positive vision of Scotland’s place within the Union, seem to be unable to come up with anything other than appeals to past glories – right back to Trafalgar! It is this failure to provide even a shred of inspiration which might lead us to think our future will be better as part of the UK which is proving the downfall of the No campaign.

    And of course, as you point out, this is as much about the governance of Britain as a whole as it is about Scotland. The refusal of the UK government to countenance even the possibility of a Yes victory, has left people south of the border in ignorance of the very real changes that are taking place to their north. Devoid of debate, marooned in confusion about identity, left to sup on prejudice rather than fact (as can be seen in every set of BTL comments on articles about Scottish independence) it is a sad state of affairs. England has a long and respectable tradition of radical thought and of a capacity to reinvent herself. It has long been the hope that those of us who love England but will vote for Scottish independence, that the dissolution of the Union will of necessity lead to the same questions about governance and renewal being asked south of the border that are providing so much excitement in Scotland.

    1. James Rodden says:

      Andrew Leslie: you have put my thoughts into words better than I ever could!, even though I agree with you 100% I do still think that Jon Snow is making some valid points and I applaud him for it. Thank you for you amazingly erudite comments.

    2. Rod Willis says:

      Scotland has the support of the Cornish and we thank you for showing us the way as now after nearly a thousand years we Cornish are taking the first steps towards self rule, our resolve has been hardened since the outpouring of hatred from an astonishingly high number of English people since we were at last recognised as an ethnic group in our own right

  8. Edward Harkins says:

    Excellent observations Jon and a few responses;
    1. Hatred of Westminster yes, (and associated hatred of Tories reaching almost irrational four-legs-good-two-legs-bad levels in Scottish political discourse). But Jon in your first outing (bit too Brigadoon for me) to the Isles you did pick up on a latent concern among some Scots about what if Edinburgh in Scotland turns out to be a smaller version of the existIng London and its dysfunctional preference and dominance over the rest of the UK – will ‘hatred’ of Westminster sufficiently overcome that concern.
    2. On the deplorably low level of the case(s) put by the pro-union lobby. As a resident eligible to vote in the referendum I stood ready (and think I still do) to be persuaded of the merits of staying in the Union. I have, however, been by turns exasperated and infuriated by the astoundingly inept and counter-productive performance of the Union lobby. We have endured many nonsenses such as: the English may have to bomb Scottish airports (from an MP!); ‘British’ embassies won’t help promote Scottish whisky; you won’t be able to watch TV soaps; a Yes vote is a disgrace to WW1 & 2 casualties (try telling that repugnant canard to an ex HLI veteran intending to vote yes); above all is the whole baleful ‘Scotland depends on subsidies/rest of UK support/ cannae make it on your own cos your so wee and feckless. That last factor arises IMO from the long embedded clientelism through which Scotland was ‘managed’. The FT recently carried an article of the most absurd cod economics that used the Irish Free State as a economic comparator for a newly independent Scotland – rightly described by one commentator as a ‘new low’ for the FT.
    I fear thta even C4 News has at times being party to the London-centric UK media to comprehend and understand what the forces are that have taken us to the referendum and the (still uncertain) possibility of a yes vote
    Meantime’ of the positive, aspirational forward-looking case for the Union… well we wait…
    3) If there is a yes vote and split what then for ‘English’ identity – because IMO the Scotland-England Union has provided people in England with a sort of Anglo Britishness. I believe that the impact of any Scottish independence on that identity matter is being hugely under-appreciated.

    1. DJ says:

      “what if Edinburgh in Scotland turns out to be a smaller version of the existIng London and its dysfunctional preference and dominance over the rest of the UK”

      I’ve lived in Aberdeenshire for the past 11 years, coming here from outside the UK, and for most of that time I heard a fairly constant refrain about the pernicious influence of the Central Belt and how decisions were always made by Central Belt politicians for the benefit of the Central Belt. (Friends from Shetland and Caithness are even more vocal about the “undue” influence of the Central Belt.) Infrastructure projects benefited the Central Belt. Education funding favoured the Central Belt. The Central Belt was centralising policing and putting it’s own in charge. Fire and rescue was being focused on the Central Belt. It’s only in the past year or so, as the independence debate has heated, that the focus has shifted to Westminster. Once the independence question is settled, if it is, I suspect the anti-Central Belt voices will return.

      1. Bill Anderson says:

        The voices won’t need to be heard again because after Independence we will have a fairer, more equal country which will look after everyone, instead of the greedy self-serving attitudes and actions from the Westminster lot we have at present.
        Basically, after we have our Independence, we will make sure our wealth is being used for the advancement of Scotland, the whole of Scotland!!

      2. james cormack says:

        And the Aberdeen by-pass sir?

    2. Robyn Leith Stewart says:

      First off, congratulations to Mr. Snow on a well-written blog that is certainly making the circuits on Facebook with many shares and much discourse.

      Secondly, Mr. Harkins, what many don’t realise about Scotland is its long history of governance by the people BEFORE the Union. Scotland’s government has always been about the people. In its new constitution, that will certainly be delineated.

      Scots are people much abused and little understood outside Scotland. But that will change. Scotland has tremendous talent and potential, and an idea now, that after years of suppression, they can and will become something great.

  9. Alastair McIntosh says:

    What a decent piece of analysis. Yes, this is not about being anti-English. It is, however, about the dominance of a certain social and political class on matters that affect Scotland, and while these are issues that should be as of much concern to ordinary English people as to Scots, the fact is that English general elections do not reflect the same concerns as we’ve seen for several decades now in Scotland. My hope is that if Scotland does become independent this will be good for the rest of the UK as well. It will prompt a much-needed review of national values, especially around poverty issues and the truth that the greatest threat to our national security today is a direct result of our own illegal wars.

  10. Philip Edwards says:


    At last you seem to be getting the message. Not before time.

    And don’t kid yourself it’s only Scotland that despises everything London has come to represent. It is as though we have been governed by an alien creed since 1980.

    The fact is, London is rotten to the core, top to bottom. Scarcely a week goes by without some “revelation” of its corruption. The place is so shot through with it, it is a wonder it simply doesn’t collapse like a house of wet cardboard. Elected politicians become useless once they get inside the ghetto of greed.

    Its self delusion extends to every level. Only the other week you were trumpeting the utter nonsense that London is “The world capital of culture.” We read deluded things like that and we don’t know whether to laugh or cry. You people simply don’t “get it,” and if you continue the way you are you never will. This notion only intensifies when you venture out of the south east rat hole and are surprised to discover the rest of the country holds you in such contempt.

    A few weeks ago on “Newsnight” Paxman, now beyond parody, even repeated without irony a Millwall Football Club slogan, “Everybody hates us and we don’t care.” For once he got something right.

    The fact is London has become a tenth rate Yankified money stopover for Europe that has little or nothing to do with the needs and true aspirations of this country. You need only look at its appalling skyline of bent high rise buildings (appropriately, the Gherkin has just gone bankrupt), a lousy slum of the human imagination built by vested interests. Canary Wharf is the new Ministry of Truth.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned. And the worst is yet to come.

    1. mike cobley says:

      “The fact is, London is rotten to the core, top to bottom.” – what utter simplistic, generalising nonsense. London is burdened with unemployment and poverty and destitution in degrees similar to other urban areas right across the uk, not just in Scotland. But to realise this, one would have to subscribe to a kind of common cause with ordinary people, no matter where they come from, and that kind of basic human connection runs counter to the separatist narrative which is built on us-and-them.

      It is the City and the financial sectors which are rotten to the core, and it is in their hands that Scotland’s fate will rest if by some twist of fate a currency union is agreed. The YES campaign claims to want to be free of Tory rule, but what else is a currency union but to be ruled by ruthless financial interests whose CEOs all vote Tory?

      1. BOB MCCRACKEN says:

        mike a lot of sense there,but our only recourse now is independence,
        devo max would never take place ,as i wouldnt trust it
        as to currency i believe we would be better to use our own currency,
        and ditch the monarchy ,whom i have thoughts of wealthy spoiled people whilisten to sycophants hourly
        maybe we can help london get rid of this greedy corrupt westminster whos arrogance is astonishing
        firstly we have to change the direction of our national broadcaster which fills our ears with biased and untrue reports,(trimble for one was the most amazing lies)
        ok mike this is my point of view,and good luck on a huge task

      2. Sam Mitchell says:

        In Saturdays Telegraph… Property section…. there is a 4 bedroom property offered for rental in Notting Hill…. well furnished… modern to an extent…. the rental…. £32,000 per month….. so… where else in the “normal” uncorrupt parts of the UK would this bargain be available??

  11. Sandel says:

    Thanks for this commentary. Although you sound pessimistic about the consequences of a ‘yes’ vote for Britain, I’m actually optimistic for many of the same reasons. I think it’s the one thing that might wake British politicians up to reality. The bases of Westminster-based power; national identity; relations to Europe; and the role of Britain in a wider world – the political elite will be forced to think about these things a bit more seriously…

    1. Robert Bryce says:

      I think it’s the people that will wake up and not politicians. The politicians know exactly what they are doing in Westminster.

      Like others I will be voting yes but not out of any hatred of the English or anyone else but out of hatred for Westminster. Westminster stopped serving the people of the UK many years ago. They exist merely to facilitate the greed of corporations and banksters. I want no part of that system of governance. Sovereignty must lie with the people with a government who serve our interests and not their own.

      As asimple example, I watched a documentary last week on parking offences in England. The disturbing part for me was watching the police enforce parking fines at the side of the road for private companies.

      Our police constables are now being used to enforce fees and levies for private companies. They are in danger of becoming no more than corporate debt collectors.

      This is one tiny example of the corporate culture in Westminster. It’s fundamentally wrong and rotten to the core.

      The people of Scotland have not only woken up to this but are now quietly and slowly working towards doing something about it. That “Something” is voting yes in the referendum and retaking our sovereignty. I like so many others in Scotland have no political affiliation. We are merely your average punters who have taken to actively campaigning for a yes vote (not as much as I would like to have I admit).

      Once the good people of England & Wales see this new dawn I am 100% confident that they will organise themselves and do the same.

      Something has to change and change fast. Your sovereignty is yours for the taking. All you need do as a people is organise yourselves and take it back. You can then start the work of making your country what YOU want it to be.

      Let Scotland be your beacon!

      Sorry for the rant!

      1. Sandel says:

        Don’t apologise for the rant, I enjoyed it. The people have already woken up as you say, but the politicians haven’t. I have reasons to like the Union but I agree, Scotland could be a beacon for the UK and that’s what I’m hoping for.

    2. Sandra McDerment says:

      I couldn’t agree more. A vote for Scottish independence will produce some massive ‘aftershocks’ but surely it will take something as dramatic as that to cause WM to wake up and re-evaluate. The dismal failure of the ‘No’ campaign is in direct proportion to their lack of interest in and therefore their lack of understanding of the values and principles held by those of us who are not London centric. Scots are not a lone voice in that but we, unlike our English, Welsh and Northern Irish friends and family do have the opportunity to say “Enough is enough”. I believe that in so doing we are not abandoning like minded people in other parts of the UK but rather opening the dialogue for more devolved powers elsewhere. A ”No’ vote on the other hand would give WM the message that there is no desire for change……

  12. Andy Munro says:

    What a great,unbiased and well balanced blog from Channel 4s Jon Snow.Shows the BBC up for what they are.

  13. T Coles says:

    A fair and balanced assessment, shows what is possible when Westminster journalists actually visit the wilds and engage in the debate.

    However, I think its scope is too narrow. This is not just a rejection of Westminster, but is becoming the local eruption of a global rejection of what Thomas Piketty calls the Capital-Labour split, where wealth (capital) captures and increasing proportion of further income in an endless process of one-sided accumulation. We are increasingly a planet where class politics is re-emerging as a piquant force.

    When Scots say they hate London, they have in their minds the City and Westminster, as a political economy dedicated to producing inequality. It is not Scotland and the rUK which is the key border, but the border between the poor and those who keep them poor.

    This is why the expenses scandal is so toxic – those who have accumulate beyond the dreams of all others. Both native and ‘foreign’ capital exploits, and refuses to even pretend to be charitable to those everyday services – such as public health, public schools, infrastructure.

    The greatest embarrassment to the Scottish working class is that Westminster *does not fear us*. At least they didn’t, until we threatened to take away their nuclear weapons, and the unitary state.

    1. David Houldsworth says:

      Your observation absolutely chimes with my thoughts (and many others). Absolutely on the button.

  14. Tony Hughes says:

    When the three main Westminster parties combine in a, mostly, external attack on democracy, there’s only one way the polls are going to move, beyond the 50% for YES

  15. Gordon Jenkins says:

    Good reasoned piece of work. Thought through and not just the usual knee jerk comments we often get, even from Scottish based journalists. Thank you for being objective and listening to what people are saying.

  16. Christine Robinson says:

    Defence is not an issue that Scotland seeks to leave off any table……Defence is fast becoming (Scotlands defence against the dark arts of Westminster)……….Many ordinary Scots want that monstrous British nuclear Trident out of Scotland – that is another huge problem that gets overlooked and as Scots are held to ransom over ‘it’ alone – more attacks may be launched Londonwards….’It’ could prove harder to get rid of than the Americans in Cuba

    1. Alastair McIntosh says:

      Excellent analogy with Cuba. I was speaking to a senior naval officer the other day and he said there is absolutely no way that we are “going to be allowed” to get rid of Trident in Scotland. I replied, “What if we vote for independence?” He said, “You’re not going to get rid of Trident.” I said, “Then what about democracy?”

      What got me is that this was an eminently decent officer, but he seemed to be caught up in some kind of systemic process that had caused him to lose sight of what Trident is supposed to be protecting in the first place. The fact is that Trident has already gone off. Not exploded, but imploding on the very political structures that created it in the first place.

      Stand with us, good people of England and rUK, in seeking to remove this evil symbol of what we supposedly stand for.

  17. Ian Lowe says:

    far from knowing nothing, it appears that this Jon Snow has been paying a lot of attention to life and politics north of the wall ;)

    An excellent article, capturing the mood perfectly. If Devo Max had been on the ballot, even as a solid yes voter, I can recognise that this would be the winning option… but David Cameron’s desire to appear the hard man, and not allow the third option, has put paid to that.

    If a concerted devo max promise were introduced now, it would smack of desperation and the question of whether we can trust perfidious albion would come into play.

  18. Vic Delussey says:

    Thanks for the positive input to the independence debate John, also enjoyed the series of reports from around Scotland including my own town Greenock which has been let down badly by both Labour and Tory goverments in the past decades.
    I,ve voted SNP in the last few elections not for any great nationalist reasons but because the alternative has been dire and watched them use their powers well.
    I feel confident they can use independence to give us a goverment for scotlands needs and interests

  19. Deborah Shepherd says:

    I am voting yes. I am not a member of any political party. I was out canvassing yesterday in a team which was 1/3 folk of no political party. I was doing street work the day before, again with 1/3 of the folk taking part of no political party. The results from canvassing were approx 40% yes, 40% no, and 20% undecided. The results from street work were more like 70% yes, 10% no and 20% undecided. The town i live in is abut 25,000 folk strong, only a few miles from glasgow and has been passed between labour and liberals for many, many years. People are not only fed up of westminster, they are fed up with party political games. It is now almost impossible to tell the westminster parties apart in policy terms, and none of them seek to represent the views of scotland first. Indeed they seek to represent westminster in scotland, not scotland in westminster. They also seek to create policy – as a simple matter of maths – on the views of those of the south east of england where they need to win votes. People in scotland feel unrepresented because of the simple fact that their votes seldom sway who is the government, what parliament votes for and who speaks for them in the world. They are also massively put off by the negativity of the no campaign. We’ve had everything from “you’ll be forced to drive on the right hand side of the road by the eu (courtesy of one andy burnham mp, before the guardian ran it as an april fool story), to george robertson’s dark forces theory. Seemingly more serious threats, like we’ll keep the assets and you take the debt (no pound, but you take the bill for supporting it for the last 20 years) are so i insulting, as well as preposterous that even the no camp’s attempt to frighten with serious sounding stuff, has come off as completely ridiculous. Worse still, it has come off as arrogant and detached, and simply proved that westminster looks after westminster first, and thinks we Scots should be put in our place. If they knew anything about Scotland, it should have been obvious that such tactics would backfire, but they have demonstrated that they not only don’t get independence, they don’t get scotland. I wish everyone in england, wales and NI all the best in the future. I bear the peoples of those nations no ill will, and I hope all goes well. I just don’t feel British. I don’t feel represented in Britain, and never have. I see no way of redeeming that system which is fair to all, and which allows for the level of change I want to see in my country, I’m not voting against the ruk, I am voting for scotland.

  20. STEVE says:

    And we start to see the light !…Unionists still and always will remain in the dark

  21. Cruachan says:

    Great article from you.
    On the point of the mythical “Devo-Max”, the Westminster parties had their chance to include it on the ballot paper. Despite the fact that it would probably have won majority support from most Scots, it was rejected by Downing Street as offering the independence movement a “consolation prize”.
    Well by ruling it it out, that will be their undoing. A YES to independence is now the only way to achieve the new start and the new, fairer society we wish to achieve. Not long now.

  22. adrian brown says:

    Thanks Jon. A good article.

    Love the ties by the way.

  23. Claire says:

    Westminister has indeed brought this on itself. When Scotland gained devolution and decided to prioritise the likes of free university education and prescriptions for the elderly, people in the rest of the UK started to question why they did not receive the same. To avoid having to tell them the truth (that these things were just not a priority amongst the London elite) they said that it was because we were subsidised which itself spread mass resentment in England and was a slap in the face to Scots who actually contribute more to the UK treasury than we get back in our contentious block grant. When Scotland gains independence, Westminister will have one less fig leaf to cover their greed and incompetence. Hopefully the citizens in the rest of the UK will turn their anger into something productive and bring about some much needed positive change in governance for themselves also.

  24. Guy says:

    Finally someone south of the border who gets ‘it’.
    Instead of the insulting attempts to paint yes voters as anti-English and words such as seperatist & nationalist (always said with a bile filled hiss) we have someone who see’s the campaign for what it is.
    A battle of ideas, visions, futures.

    The polls are suggesting that, whatever happens, the genie is out of the bottle.
    People in Scotland not normally ‘political’ who have filled the multitude of groups (almost all Yes leaning) will want some of their wishes granted.

    Neither Westminister or Holyrood can afford to ignore them.

    If a yes vote is achieved then they must be included in the drafting of the constitution.
    If a no vote is ‘won’ then perhaps one can hope someone…..ANYONE in Westminister will listen and push for a UK wide constitutional convention.

    Hopefully we see more articles & reports like this one because increasingly Westminister also means, in many minds, the London based media.

  25. Andy Ellis says:

    Good to see someone as even handed as Jon finally tackling the low quality and relentless negativity of the Better Together campaign. As the polls continue to tighten the moral and political bankruptcy of the No camp becomes ever more apparent; disjointed, carping and dishonest, funded largely by expats such as Ian Taylor whose Vitol company had links to notorious indicted Serb war criminal Arkan and by Englsih historical novelist C.J. Sansom, small wonder a growing number of Scots are opting for a Yes vote.

    The paucity of Better Together’s grassroots campaign contrasts sharply with the vibrant Yes camp which dominates the new media and blogosphere (again in marked contrast with the more or less total dominance of established print and broadcast media by the No camp and their supporters); where is the No camp equivalent of National Collective (which Ian Taylor tried to bully into submission using legal threats when it broke the story of his donations to Better Together), Bella Caledonia, Newsnet Scotland or Wings Over Scotland?

    Where is the No camp’s response to the Reid Foundation, the Common Weal project and the demands for a more progressive, egalitarian vision for Scotland where 1 in 4 children grow up in poverty as governments Scots don’t vote for splurge billions on Trident replacement and ill-judged foreign wars?

    Promises of devo-whatever jam tomorrow just won’t cut it; the unionist parties don’t have a coherent plan, and even if they did they have no realistic chance of pushing such a plan through Westminster. The independence referendum isn’t about the SNP or Alex Salmond. As the Sunday Herald so eloquently put it yesterday: “we assert a claim to a better, more decent, more just future…which will be ruled always by the decisions of its citizens.”

    That’s why Scots are rejecting the Westminster model, the United Kingdom as a polity, and the creaking, crypto-medieval flummery and nonsense that keeps it from collapsing under the weight of its own irrelevance to the problems of the 21st century.

  26. darrener says:

    It’s amazing what a week in Scotland can do to a London-bound journalist’s perception of the independence debate.

    Perhaps the BBC should send some of their journalists up here since all we ever get from them is ignorance and lies.

  27. amomentofstillness says:

    Almost unbelievable but I’ve agreed with nearly every comment, a rare occurrence when an article online discusses Scottish independence.

    I genuinely believe now that we will do it

  28. Andrew Haddow says:

    Jon, the 2011 census had 62% of Scots identifying as “Scottish only”. http://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/news/2013/census-2011-key-results-on-population-ethnicity-identity-language-religion-health-housing-and-accommodation-in-scotland-release-2a This may explain the massively skewed nature of your poll.

  29. Jim Curran says:

    This is how many Scottish people have felt over the years gradually getting worse as the main parties policies became similar concentrating on Middle England to obtain enough votes to get into power, and Scotland was seen as an afterthought and safe for Labour. Now that we have the opportunity to make a difference for ourselves the better together parties have only painted a black outlook for independence but I think this will change the closer we get to September 18th in that they will try to bribe voters with offers of more powers without independence however this is TOO LITTLE TOO LATE.We will regret not taking this opportunity to shape the country we live and work in for future generations without any influences from people who have no understanding of the Scottish people.

  30. Sandy says:

    A very insightful blog on the most important thing to happen in Scotland for 300 years. You read this and compare with the BBC output, which looks like North Korean in its tilted balance.

    Good or Bad Yes or No Jon kind of nails it !

  31. Dr Ew says:

    This piece by the excellent Jon Snow is, I believe, the first I’ve read by a UK-wide broadcaster who is beginning to get what’s actually happening – the Scottish referendum is of great democratic moment and a positive vote will transform British, European and possibly even world politics.

    In Scotland we have the possibility – no more than that – of a serious alternative to the State of Westminster (City of / Parliament), a State that is as corrupt and malignant as Caligula’s Rome.

    I am an avowed Yes campaigner, not out of any nonsense Nationalism or anti-English prejudice, but because there is a fairer, more democratic, and more equitable way to conduct our affairs. I believe we will vote Yes – and I hope and pray it will inspire the peoples in the remainder of the UK to take back their own nations.

  32. Andy MacNicol says:

    At last, a London hack who gets it.

  33. Ferryman says:

    At last someone from the mainstream media who actually gets it! The Scottish independence movement was never about anti English resentment. For me, Love England, hate Westminster and everything it stands for.

  34. Alex says:

    Mr Snow
    You have understood more than some but not everything.

    I watched the C4 broadcast that you broadcast from my birthplace of Inverclyde and it seemed to me that the programme you had been in Scotland filming for a few days and you had bought the SNP line that the polls were closing. Unfortunately for you the poll commissioned for C4 showed no such thing, with 58% in favour of the UK and 42% against,so the pre-filmed bit about approaching constitutional Armageddon clashed uncomfortably with the reality in the studio that Armageddon was as remote as ever.

    On the point your blog makes: it is strange, if the No campaign is so poor, that you showed a 58-42 for No, virtually unchanged in months. The polls may have tightened slightly but they are not yet closing dramatically.

    You may accuse the No campaign of negativity but you also detect a strong “anti-Westminster” attitude. You chose not to identify this attitude as negative, but it is. It has been a strongly negative theme of the SNP campaign to emphasise the anti-English undercurrent in Scottish society. “Westminster”, “London” and “Tory Toff” are the dog whistle substitutes for “English”, so people can say they are “anti Westminster” to people like you without blushing, when they really mean “anti-English”. When you posit opposite ideas, it seem one man’s negative is another man’s positive.

    You say “There is no evidence of a positive vision for Scotland from the No vote, just a cascade of negative gruesome warnings about currency, pensions and Europe., but the “cascade of negative gruesome warnings about currency, pensions and Europe” are no such thing.

    The SNP wants to launch a new country without knowing which currency it will use: is it negative to question this? Would you let a Westminster party or politician away with such a nonsensical position? “But Mr Osborne, you want to leave the currency union with the Scots and then plead for re-admission at a greater cost to the rUK in terms of economic management? Are you mad?” “Don’t worry, it’ll be in Scotland’s interests to let us back in”

    I mean….!!!??? You would crucify him…..positively!

    There are real concerns about pensions based on EU rules and straightforward business reality. My own pension is paid from am English based multi-national. If we destroy the UK there is a strong likelihood that my pension will fall, stagnate, or not grow as quickly as it otherwise would. Is it negative to know this?

    As for EU membership, Alex Salmond lied about the ease and speed of membership and claimed that he had legal advice on it. He then blocked access to information which showed he didn’t have such legal advice. The likelihood is that an independent Scotland would have protracted and difficult access to EU membership, at great costs to the people of Scotland (and incidentally more currency upheaval). Is Alex Salmond’s lying to be air-brushed out of history and the difficulties of EU membership swept under the carpet in advance of the vote?

    And if you were so impressed by the positivity of the Yes people, can you tell me what positive arguments they are using to break up the UK. I’ve been trying to get to these arguments for years but beyond “It’ll be better if politicians take decisions in Edinburgh rather than London….” I have not seen nor heard one positive argument in favour of destroying our country.

    You may be sanguine about these and other problems but the people of Scotland are not. It is we who will pay the price and, as a national broadcaster you have a responsibility to understand the arguments more than you have and to report the facts from a more than journalistic “story of the day” perspective.

    1. Helena Brown says:

      Come on you are Alex Gallagher, Labour Councillor, and I claim my five pounds. Not a good word to say for anyone but Scottish Labour.

    2. Andy Ellis says:

      If you’ve never heard any positive arguments advanced for independence Alex, then it’s impossible to conclude anything other than that you aren’t listening. There is certainly no shortage of information out there for anyone with the desire to engage and find it. Of course, you may not agree with positions taken by Yes supporting groups, but you can’t argue there is any lack of alternative visions. I’ve never heard anyone say independence will be risk free; but it’s not as if the alternative is risk free either is it? To insist otherwise is deeply disingenuous, if not downright dishonest.

      The reason many people (including a lot like me who would formerly have supported devo-max) are now turning to Yes is that they believe a better way forward can ONLY come about via independence. They don’t believe the predictions of doom about the EU, the common currency and defence because they are just too ridiculous, and in the end offensive, for most to take seriously for a minute. Of course it is in the interests of the establishment in Westminster to predict the sky will fall; they have so much to lose both in Scotland and in the rest of the UK if the vote in September is Yes.

      The current system of governance in this country IS rotten to the core, and it cannot be rendered fit for purpose by tinkering around the edges. Why do you think so many progressives in the rest of the UK are prating for a Yes vote? It’s because they see it as a way to fracture and remould the system – here;s hoping the Scots have the confidence to make it so!

      1. Alex says:

        if there are so many positive arguments for independence, why don’t you list some?

    3. Stuart Clark says:

      Unfortunately you seem to still believe the tripe that the Union camp tried to foist upon us. Currency, EU membership etc. EVERY one of these blatant scare stories has been comprehensively rubbished by experts so continuing to base your argument on them is outdated to say the least.

      If all we ever achieved was to lose the perceived dependency status it would have been worthwhile!

    4. Donald says:

      why wasn’t the latest poll result used, the ICM Scotsman on Sunday Yes 39% No 42%, no are losing the arguement because basically there is no reasonable arguement to stay in the union.

    5. Ken Mac says:

      Equating being anti Westminster with anti Englishness simply and falsely betrays the unionist need to brand independence supporters as some kind of racists and therefore supporting independence must be bad. There are plenty of English people who are anti Westminster as well. Like us it is the system they want to change. You say being anti Westminster is negative. No it isn’t when you are offering a better alternative. A Scottish parliament where all the members are actually elected and by PR at that, is a better alternative.

      Clearly we do know what currency we will be using at independence. It will be Sterling.

      ‘’there is a strong likelihood that my pension will fall, stagnate, or not grow as quickly as it otherwise would.’’ – What is your basis for this assertion?

      Salmond did not lie about having legal advice on EU membership. What is your evidence for this? As to trying to hide it, the Scottish government followed the same, well established procedure, as used by the UK in neither admitting nor confirming the existence of legal advice to ministers. Both the UK government and previous Labour administrations in Scotland have gone to court on numerous occasions to defend this practice.

      ‘’ The likelihood is that an independent Scotland would have protracted and difficult access to EU membership, at great costs to the people of Scotland (and incidentally more currency upheaval)’’ – Again you have no evidence for this beyond the dire predictions of biased politicians. Both experienced legal and administrative experts see little difficulty in Scotland continuing EU membership.

      “It’ll be better if politicians take decisions in Edinburgh rather than London’’ – is a very good place to start with positive reasons to vote for independence. Having decisions taken on all the matters that concern people in Scotland by a parliament they elect and a government they elect rather than a parliament where they have 59 out of 650 members and a government they didn’t elect seems like a pretty good idea to me.

      1. Derick says:

        There is also the opportunity to have a written constitution in Scotland. I would vote Yes for that alone

        And will

        Those posting above who so clearly come from, and are unable to rise above, party politics seem very behind the times.

        Decent article Jon. ThankTheol

      2. Michael Clayton says:

        Ken Mac protests that (YES) “supporters are branded as some kind of racists” but some undoubtedly are driven by hatred of “the English” – racism is a misnomer in countries with ‘mongrel’ populations. I have been assaulted (spat on and threatened with s flick knife) at a bus stop for betraying a (Northern) English accent when asked by (three) total strangers if I knew the time of the next bus. Over the years I have had cars and garden plants damaged by such fascists and the ‘Glasgow Herald’ has printed more than one leading article inveighing against “racism” (sic, their term for attacks on non-Scots) – yes, the same ‘Herald’ papers more recently taken over by Nathacks.
        Gordon Strachan, manager of Scotland’s football team stated in a newspaper interview “the English are hated all over the world”, though he continues to take English money for pontificating about the game on ITV. If I had a penny for every expression of hatred for the EngIish I have heard or read during 52 years of residence here I would be a rich man and such hatred can only increase if/when disputes arise after separation.
        I am anti-Tory (not Westminster, which as an entity which does a lot of good) because David Cameron treats Parliament with contempt by refusing to give a straight answer to questions – just as his soul-mate Alex Salmond does in the Parliament created by Labour. Jon Snow made a stupid remark when Salmond invited Cameron to a debate, saying the latter “was frit”; nothing of the kind, as it was a ploy to skew the arguments by hatred of Toryism in much (not all) of Scotland. Why no criticism of Salmond for refusing to debate with his Scottish opponents?
        Jon, your reports from Scotland were half-decent, but in many respects it is YOU who “doesn’t get it”.

      3. jock mac kay says:

        How no to independence?its feart,not firt

    6. Roland Smith says:

      Your remarks are typical of a No supporter pathetically attempting to make the decision on self determination, one of anti englishness. There are approx 400,000 people who were born in England who are resident in Scotland and there are even more hundreds of thousands like me who are part english/part Scottish. Then there are another large number of Scottish residents who came originally from the four corners of the glove.

      Funnily enough people like you never mention whether we like the Welsh or the Northern Irish as you always seem to totally discount them.

      Good article, I will hope in future to see balanced items on Channel 4 News on the subject of Self Determination. Channel 4 News is the only one I watch these days as they appear to be the only news outlet left which employs professional journalists.

    7. Sam Mitchell says:

      Positive vision from No…. please….. you know fine well that your Brit Nat westminster gov. has issued a blanket ban on all communication … by whatever means … whether letter.. email…text… phone… carrier pigeon… by any of the oxbridge nonentities who make up the civil service in London… as the westminster elite wish it to all go away… and this saves them the bother of actually trying to resolve the many issues that you are perhaps seeking answers for…. as… should there be discussions and they produce a working partnership… then why would we need the dead hand of westminster?…. also it would demonstrate the abilities of the London civil service who performed so well when the flooding took place….

    8. BOB MCCRACKEN says:

      blah blah you dont get it
      this is not destroying OUR country ,this is OPPORTUNITY to remove ourselves from a corrupt outdated form of governing despite your dire warnings and threats
      jon snow i believe is an honest person reporting on how SCOTLAND FEELS (apart from tories)

    9. Dave the hermit says:

      Alex, on the EU you say “The likelihood is that an independent Scotland would have protracted and difficult access to EU membership”.

      Westminster’s own commission into EU membership for Scotland post independence seems to conclude it would be pretty straight forward, no?


      In summary:

      · Arrangements for Scotland’s EU membership would need to be in place simultaneously with independence

      · Scotland’s 5 million people, having been members of the EU for 40 years; have acquired rights as European citizens

      · For practical and political reasons they could not be asked to leave the EU and apply for readmission

      · Negotiations on the terms of membership would take place in the period between the referendum and the planned date of independence

      · The EU would adopt a simplified procedure for the negotiations, not the traditional procedure followed for the accession of non-member countries

    10. Jason Park says:

      “Destroying our country”?! Really?! Tell me, just how did you come to this conclusion? Just because something is the established norm, doesn’t mean that it’s better, or a country to be ‘broken’!

  35. Ian McLaughlin says:

    David Cameron took Devo Max off the table in early 2012
    Having done so, he can’t offer Devo Max again without admitting that he has been beaten – to which a triumphalist SNP can tell him where to stick it.

  36. Cathie says:

    Very welcome piece, Jon. Heartened to hear someone trying to understand what’s happening here. Some interesting pointers from our South Edinburgh Yes campaign.
    Its one of the best campaigns I’ve ever been involved in. People with more or less experience helping one another. We have been expanding ever since we set up at the beginning of the year and are now giving support to neighbouring groups who need it. DIfferent expertise which feeds in to the discussions we have on the stairwell.

    For me, the motivating factor is to have some control over our affairs. I receive messages from supporters in France, Wales, Ireland and England who see the advantages in what we’re doing to change things where they are. Please ensure that you report what is happening here – its the biggest most inclusive social movement to develop in these islands for many years.

  37. Charles Edward Frith (@charlesfrith) says:

    The system is rotten. It doesn’t work.

  38. Martin Petrie says:

    So refreshing to hear an English news reader voice his opinion so openly in favour of the yes vote.

    Scotland is becoming more and more positive due to the hopes and aspirations of a yes vote. Most of the national media only offers doom and gloom. Mr snow has seen past the mist of red white and blue to see that an independent Scotland could become a better and fairer place to live.

  39. David says:

    my comments like some of the above are well formed. It should be pointed out that I was always glad to be part of the Union but when you constantly get brow beaten and told how little you put in then it gets a bit tedious, I think Scotland can do much better on its own….and I would even bet good money that there are people in the north of England who wouldnt mind moving the border a bit further south.

    Firsty, we have heard for so long that ‘oil’ wont pay our way from the no party and how it will pay our way from the yes party. Alone it probably would short term but we in Scotland have to have control over all our land and tax revenues. Let’s not forget we have a few other reasonable incomes to our own tax purse…..Whisky, Tourism (from great Scenery, castles to Skiing), Vodka–remember Mr Cameron tried to hit Vladimir Putin with that cheap shot?(GOOD PUN), Natural resources.

    I have left a few out of the list above, as I want everyone to think of exactly what we have here in Scotland. I dont want to tell people how to vote either, which seems what a lot of people are trying to do…we have got to have the proper information to make an informed decision as we are a nation of inventors and most people have a decent education. It appears to me that all the scare tactics are because Westminister knows it will lose a decent chunk of its income as well as intelligence, yes they can throw everything at us like they saved our bank but they caused these problems first and foremost by letting their friends, the money men run riot and waste institutions.

    Dont get me started on them, if the ordinary people were in charge then it would be a much fairer society. I have to point out at this time that I do not trust Alex Salmond one bit to run our country, I think if we vote for independance then we should have an election within the first 6 months instead of the 18 months. There should be other things put straight into our own constitution—if a politician or public servant misappropriates public funds knowingly—ie they claim fraudulent expenses then it is minimum jail time, about 10 years as you would be defrauding 5.5 million people.

    Well maybe I look too far forward but for my previous point on Alex Salmon, the First Minister….I am sorry but he should be more forceful telling Westminister that we are not taking so much debt as we have been putting in more than we get out, also pulling our flag out behind the Prime Minister was so childish….no matter what side you are on.

    ….we have absolutely no say in how they spend our money…remember how the poll tax was forced on us first? Well I for one will use my vote, it just depends on how many other people are either scared off by the scare mongering or the self destructive first minister and anything else that comes out before September….only my opinions though

    Sorry for jumping about a bit during my outburst but its time the people got the facts and not the fiction and bullying we have been getting

  40. Malcolm Wadia says:

    Well, it’s only taken 2 years but finally someone has thought to ASK people what was going on rather than TELL them! Well done, nice to see open, genuinely inquisitive investigative journalism is not dead.

  41. Scott Allan says:

    Open letter to David Bowie, Eddie Izzard, JK Rowling and others
    “Please don’t go!” is the new slogan of those outside Scotland who do not want the people of Scotland to govern themselves.
    But Scotland is not leaving England, or any other part of these British Isles. We have no wish for “separation”, no wish to cut ourselves off from our nearest neighbours, no wish to redefine them by the use of the pejorative term, “foreigners”.
    The desire for independence is simply the desire for the democratic right to take our own fundamental political and economic decisions, and not to have them taken for us by governments the Scottish people did not elect and whose composition we can rarely affect. We do, however, wish to leave Westminster, where Scots representatives are out-numbered by 10 to 1 in the House of Commons and by even more in the unelected House of Lords. But “Westminster” does not = “England”.
    We also wish to see the rest of the world clearly through our own lens, to play our own part in the international community directly, rather than have our vision distorted through the prism of Westminster’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and only able to contribute weakly and indirectly.
    Independence does not imply “jettisoning three hundred years of history” or turning our relatives elsewhere into strangers. The history has been lived and cannot be unlived; our relatives and neighbours remain our relatives and neighbours. Neighbouring states, especially those with much in common, determine their own priorities but co-operate wherever possible to their mutual advantage. So it will be with Scotland and the other administrations on these islands.
    “Please don’t go!” implies that those making the request fear losing something of value to themselves. If the fear is for loss of friendship or opportunities for commercial and cultural co-operation, it is unfounded. If the fear is for the loss of wealth or international standing, the plea can only be to the disadvantage of Scotland, and hence not a praiseworthy one, since it must be satisfied at the expense of denying the Scottish people their fundamental democratic rights.
    Leaving Westminster is not leaving England, Wales, Northern Ireland, Eire and the Isles of Man and the Channel, to whom we are inextricably linked in so many positive ways, but it is dissolving a disempowering parliamentary union and breaking free from a system of government which is denying Scotland the right of its own decision-making and the fulfilment of its own potential as a self-sufficient member of the community of nations.
    Friends, to the extent that your plea is for us to remain the people we are and the neighbours you value, your request is welcome; if it is for us to continue to forego true democracy, we must respectfully decline.

    1. Donald says:

      I totally agree with everthing you said there, bravo.

  42. alex says:
  43. nick says:

    it can only be Yes not just for Scotlands’ future, but also for its past….the voiceless casualties of war, famine and clearances, that had no vote.

  44. Dave McCandless says:

    This article is very unbalanced. It should have covered the views of east Scotland (e.g. Edinburgh, Aberdeen etc) as well, where people are far more pro-union.

    As it is, this blog gives the impression that the majority of scots support independence. They don’t – or at least that is what the polls say.

    1. D D Smart says:

      Dave dinna believe the polls. 87.2 % of statistics are made up (including this ane). Anyway check out the map for voting at the last Holyrood election. Now, granted everybody that votes SNP isna for independence, but if you check out the number of YES (positive) people commenting here, then you an Alex are somewhat aff the pace. A http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/scottish-politics/8495468/Scottish-Election-2011-results-map.html

    2. jon snow says:

      Dave try spending a night in Abroath that’s on East….plenty of yes the..

  45. Ken Macleod says:

    Finally a considered, balanced view and one that is informed and I would suggest accurate to a large degree.

  46. JB says:

    Quick bit of geography:
    even if independence took place, “the British Isles” would still include Scotland. It is a geographic region, not a political one. It includes the Republic of Ireland.

    Quick bit of politics:
    If rejecting the result of a general election were adequate reasons to vote for independence, most of the UK would have opted for it. That’s not how democracy works.
    I’m for the union, but if anyone votes for independence, do it for positive reasons, not because you hate the Tories.

    1. Ross says:

      Quite right, i am fed up of hearing i would be a “foreigner” post independance in this land. If i am not mistaken and please correct me if i am wrong, are we not a constitutional monarchy? The way i feel sometimes is that Westminster forgets this and believes it is in full power of everything- i am part of the “United Kingdom of Greater Britain and Northern Ireland” and part of that is being a proud scot as well as British – i am not part of what almosts looks like the “united lands of government” and being made to look like a scot against what has been coined “rUK” i am more than happy to be part of the united kingdom but i am not happy with the way the political system has now become, time for change.

  47. Greg says:

    The greatest folly of the Yes campaign is thinking it will truly make a difference. Swapping the politics of Westminster for the politics of Holyrood will not really change anything. Give it a few years and all the same problems about politics and the bubble will emerge again.

    It’s not changing how we fundamentally engage with politics and I think the Yes campaigners will feel ultimately cheated when nothing changes, maybe things get a bit worse.

  48. Ron Dickinson says:

    Well done Jon Snow. You got it exactly right. Thanks for listening and reporting what you heard. That sounds trivial perhaps, but way beyond the capability (or desire) of almost all the mainstream media, and certainly beyond the BBC.

  49. Sarah Nicolson says:

    Mr Snow
    Your article is fairly reasonable and you have a grasp of the anti westminster feeling in Scotland. I am Scottish then British and would rather Scotland remains part of the union but the attitude of Westminster means that I am reluctant to trust them.

    Westminster concerns itself with London only, some of the home counties but rarely the midlands, northern England and couldn’t care less about Scotland. The conservatives have been out of power in Scotland for a generation and yet their policies will continue to dominate the westminster policies no matter what the Scottish people do.

    If the no camp want to win they need to highlight the positives of the union not the continual problems we are likely to have if we get a yes vote. Since Alex Salmond is an economist who praised Mrs T’s policies (but don’t tell anyone) I don’t trust him or his party as far as I could chuck him. The SNP are a one trick pony, the labour party run by Ms Lamont are scared to be more socialist because thats not polictically correct nowadays. The biggest difference between Scotland and Westminster I can see is the feeling of Scots that we are all equal but in Westminster you have a defined class system. the rich home counties, the poor northerners who are held in contempt by the rich southernerns. Yet London its self has severe poverty and yet people don’t seem to care! Why?

    I get fed up with the London centric press moaning about the Scottish MP’s after all Scotland has 52 MP’s and England has 502, London itself has 73 MP’s so why does the London press tell the rest of England that Scotland dictates the policies at Westminster.

    When you consider that the whole country of Scotland has less MP’s than London you know the system is flawed. I know why London has more MP’s its to do with population but it also means that what London says goes.

    If I vote No what will the backlash from Westminster be? If Scotland votes Yes then what will be the consequences for Liverpool, Newcastle and other poorer areas of London?

    the conservatives only care about the rich businessman, their welfare reform policies show that they wish the sick, disabled and unemployed would just drop dead. Yes there are a minority of lazy people who think they are entiteld to the state support but to punish everyone because employers want cheap labour is cruel. Policies like zero hours mean an employer can hire you for 17 hours a week pay you107.27 and you have no recourse to public funds. if the next week you get no hours you can’t claim JSA but have no money – its things like this that are inherently unfair but westminster sees no problem with them because westminster is full of rich priviledged people who have no concept of the fear of life with no food or power.

    How do you fix this – all politicians should be housed in council houses with pre payment meters, no plush flats especially when in London, ideally parliament should be moved to the centre of the UK but that ain’t gonna happen. I think the policiticans should be forced to spend one day a week in the lowest paid job in their constituency and exist on the minimum wage, it might make that rise.

    As for Scotland – the only winners out of the divorce from Westminster will be the lawyers – every contract anyone has signed is under UK & Scots law so will be up for negotiation. I can’t trust Salmond the mans a snake oil salesman in my opinion.

    1. Sam Mitchell says:

      A snake oil salesman who has given Scotland… NO TOLL CHARGES….. NO PRESCRIPTION CHARGES…..FREE UNI PLACES for those academically qualified… FREE Health care for the elderly & Infirm…. PLUS… a referendum where we the citizens of Scotland choose our future…. whereas … who else amongst your glittering elite can hold a candle to that????… you sound as if you have swallowed a punnet of sour grapes…

      1. Alex says:

        Free uni places was introduced by Labour/ LibDem coalition in Holyrood.

        So was free care for the elderly…..

        But don’t let the facts get in the way of your faith…

    2. Dave L says:

      Well said.
      Also, since the 80’s economic policies have been driven by whatever is needed to
      favour/prop up London and South East house prices.

  50. Jim says:

    Nice to see such a sensible and balanced article from a prominent member of the media. The BBC have clearly accepted the equivelant of 30 pieces of silver and will say anything the government tells them to say in the hope that fear will make for a no vote.

  51. deborah moffatt says:

    I’m surprised you didn’t notice that the “sleaze” is about the same on this side (the Scottish side) of the border. Everything here is becoming increasingly centralised, (govt, planning, NHS, Police, education) and local accountability is almost non-existent. Money talks here, and big money talks loudest. Independence will not help; it will just be rich pickings here for the big companies. The rich will bail out, keeping “second homes” while the full time residents will be left to pay the tax bills.

  52. Sandra says:

    Well done Jon Snow. Its good to se someone knows what we are on about.
    London is all about the city. Politics is all about self rightous men who do what they want and to hell with the rest of the country.
    They are put into positions that they know nothing about. Then when they get it wrong like Brown they claim they have not been trained. Brown stated after selling of all the gold reserves that he was not an accountant.
    Look how they have protected their pensions and sod the ordinery man in the street.
    I have made a better job of my small business and never been in the red with no help from any bank.
    They just want to look big and sit at top table with public money.

  53. Robin Shaw says:

    I have long held the view that Scottish Independence might be the best thing ever to happen to England. It would have to come to terms with its place in the modern world and perhaps begin to throw off the “great power” delusions and begin to try to create a better society for all its people instead of spending on nuclear weapons and foreign wars. England is a great country with splendid people who have been ill served by the antiquated concentration of power in bizarre antimoded institutions

  54. Helen Mills says:

    Thank you Jon,I enjoyed your contribution, in particular your remarks about the quality of the debate. The most exciting thing about the whole independence movement is the way in which it has lit up imaginative , creative and intelligent discourse throughout Scotland. Most of us working towards a Yes vote do not seek a government that is merely a smaller version of what happens at Westminster but a new way of doing things. This is a revolution, albeit , a velvet one, and we see independence not as an end in itself but as a beginning of something better. A better , more socially just and more equal society is possible.The Westminster model where reward goes to those with the sharpest claws is seen as corrupt, immoral and ultimately doomed. We in Scotland have contributed much to this union and have received wave after wave of contempt at best and real misery and suffering at worst. If this is as good as it gets then time to cut the chains

  55. iain says:

    V cool article jon snow. I would think your opinion represents a fair majority of English people, with half a brain. I really want an independent Scotland. I have sneaking suspicions though, history has taught me. Its scares me to listen to alot of people about this subject, i have talked to a few, (chilled to the feckn bone infact)rich folk are ruthless and as far as i can gather, its never really been a Scotland England thing, its a rich poor thing. It wasn’t all that long ago the aristocracy sent in agent provocateurs to round up all the poor working class who wanted equal pay and an nhs (to say the least, stating the obvious ones, leaving out the gory details) lead them all into field’s and slaughtered them and then Westminster suddenly lost all/most recollection. Scottish insurrection 1820. I would like to think i am paranoid and extremely wary about history repeating itself but heyho if everyone votes yes job done. Maybe we could even bring back Gaelic law after an independent Scotland, BONUS

    1. james cormack says:

      I think you men by’agents provocateurs’, the Orange Order and oter knuckledraggers

  56. Sera says:

    I was looking at the polls and Edinburgh and the Lothians is the area most opposed to Independence, which I suppose is not surprising. If you’d been in Edinburgh, you’d probably have come away with a different feel.

  57. Torqtorq says:

    All we need now is more visceral hatred of Westminster politics in England

  58. Calgacus MacAndrews says:

    The reason Devo-Max has never been offered, and never will be offered to Scotland, is because it is financially functionally the same as independence, from the viewpoint of the corrupt City of London elite.
    Under Devo-Max, as with independence, all tax raised in Scotland will go to the Scottish Government in Edinburgh (unlike at present where the vast majority of tax raised in Scotland has to go to the UK Treasury in London in the first instance).
    Devo-Max for Scotland would be a financial disaster for the troughers at Westminster, and their fellow travellers in the City, so it is never going to happen.
    This is another reason why Scottish independence is now inevitable, and why YES will carry the day on 18th September.

  59. Mairi Mulhern says:

    As a 17 year old Yes voter, I stand in a school of young people who possess the power to make something incredible happen for Scotland; yet they know nothing of the benefits and albeit weaknesses surrounding independence. Their lack of interest and awareness of the subject pains me. Knowing that a Yes majority in the referendum will mean, not only an independent status, but also a government wholly seperate to that of Westminster, only enhances my reasoning to vote yes. Personally I feel you have hit the nail on the head with your evaluation of the reasoning behind Scottish votes, Jon Snow. I am relieved there is evidence of beings outside of Scotland who have the capacity to acknowledge the Scottish perspective. Maybe this means there is hope for some of the ill-informed Scottish youth. Let’s hope so.

  60. Mark says:

    Its high time the UK let the separate nations go their own way, but please get real – the only difference with government today compared to previous generations (be it Westminster or anywhere else) is the amount of media attention and air time it gets. Politics has always been about buying access to favour and power. It has always been corrupt and don’t kid yourself that Edinburgh or anywhere else will be different. It won’t.

    As someone who is English, lives in England and works in London – I really hope that Scotland votes yes and that NI and the rest go with them should they so choose.

    Good luck and enjoy.

    1. chico says:

      “I really hope that Scotland votes yes and that NI and the rest go with them should they so choose. ”
      Mark, should NI & the rest go
      Westminster won’t even look up.

      Scotland is the jewel in the Crown
      and with self-determination
      just watch it sparkle in Scottish hands.

  61. Dennis Nicholson says:

    Thanks, Jon, for getting it, and – better yet – for saying it. And make no mistake, Scotland *will* vote Yes come September. A wee three-legged haggis told me so – and she’s never wrong…

  62. Cry Freedom says:

    Independence for Sussex, next? – the pride of us from Sussex by the sea…oh, but I don’t want those ne’er-do-wells in Chichester interfering in East Sussex – Freedom for East Sussex…but I don’t want ruling by those fools in Lewes – Freedom for Eastbourne…well, the north-eastern bit of Eastbourne, maybe – as long as I’m in charge!

  63. Stuart Black says:

    Thanks Jon, you have restored my faith in the ability of London based commentators, sadly you are an endangered species though. I am heartened that you have written such a thoughtful and reasoned piece, now spread the word to your colleagues. Thanks again!

  64. chico says:

    When the Yes result is announced,
    then, and only then,
    will it become clear to rUK
    what self-determination
    means to the Scots.

    In fact, it will be loud and clear.

  65. Roberto Piacentini says:

    Your poignant point “the three Westminster parties who so willingly came together to reject a currency union with Scotland should independence dawn, have steadfastly refused to come together to pledge “Devo Max”. For me translates how unconnected and out of touch the Westminster parties are with the rest of the uk. And this will only become clear to them too late when Scotland decides that independence is the only logical way.

  66. Jim Brown says:

    A very good article that contains the basis for another set of articles, namely about English identity both before and after the referendum. When I lived in England, I found a large majority of the people I knew were more heavily invested in the British identity than an English identity. When asked their nationality they would state British. I have never encountered this in Scotland, when the nationality question is asked almost any Scot I have met will say they are Scottish.

    The rub comes on the 19th September when Britain the nation doesn’t exist any longer. With the breaking of the union there are two states: England and Scotland. There is no rUK or former UK, there is no GB. I think that will be a blow to a lot of people in Englands view of their own identity.

  67. David Mortimer says:

    It’s not what Westminster can do for the Scots but what we can achieve together. There surly can’t be any doubt whatsoever that our political system needs to change dramatically. I see no good reason why we can’t or should not elect a meritocracy government.

    1. Andrew Leslie says:

      David – I’m entirely sympathetic to your point of view, but you should understand that this will not happen without radical constitutional change. The key to that change is Scotland voting Yes. One of two things may happen thereafter. Either England retreats further into a kind of begrudging isolationism – from Europe – from the rest of the British isles – or it doesn’t and wakes up to the fact that new solutions are possible. Then, with the generosity for which it was once noted as ‘mother of the free’ it could lead in forming a new kind of partnership among our island nations.
      But, be clear, to forge a new relationship, you need the power to do so. Scotland lacks that power at present. This is why we shall vote Yes – not to abandon our friends, but to help us all to break today’s moribund politics and search for something different and better suited to our needs.

  68. Paul Bethune says:

    Thanks Jon, I’ve shared your blog with friends. Not surprising that after a week in Scotland talking about nothing but the referendum you have came away with such conclusions. And here I was believing you to be a part of the London bubble. I was wrong.

  69. Val Wells says:

    Thank you, Mr Snow, for taking the time to absorb the Scottish Zeitgeist.

  70. Pauli says:

    Dear Jon Snow,

    Thank you so much for your positive insight. It has never been about our English neighbours (as I have friends and family there) but about the behaviour of Westminster towards Scotland and other parts of Britain. Keep up the good work Mr Snow and please don’t make this article out to be no more than a token gesture.

  71. donald anderson says:

    Well done Snowman. What nice chap.

  72. Rich F says:

    Fair play to the Scottish……. Just wish us Brits could vote for independence from London and the thieving ways of Westminster……..

  73. wee e says:

    In 1979 we voted for devolution (now known as devo-max) and got nothing (just the poll tax a year earlier).

    We voted for devo max specifically in 1997 in a two-part question, and were tricked out of it again by one weasel word on the ballot.

    About 2007 with an election looming in Holyrood, we heard that it was going to be “considered” again, but the SNP were voted into Holyrood and Labour’s commission “looking at” devo max was kicked into the long grass and never heard of…until 2010, when to everyone’s surprise it recommended full fiscal autonomy.

    It was all the talk of the 2011 election run-up. Now it was going through parliament in a Scotland Bill. But Scotland voted SNP again and devo mirage receded yet further into Westminster obscurity.

    devo max dragged its bleeding carcase through two years of slow Westminster evisceration, until 2012 when the announcement of a referendum startled the vultures round the corpse of the Scotland Bill.

    They panicked and started bandying about amendments to annex various islands (and oil territories, by sheer coincidence) and amendments to restrict the existing powers of Holyrood ministers and their civil servants.

    The fiscal powers that remain from it — a tiny catch-up with inflation measure added to the 1997 con-trick — plus some powers over airguns and road markings are now imminent… if we are good boys and girls and vote NO and wait till 2016. Yes, six years to tweak airgun legislation.

    1979. 1997, 2008-2012. Every time, jam-tomorrow on the horizon, every time the three Westminster parties band together to disappear it again – sometimes scotland gets a wee spanking instead.

    2014: January – Lord Lang’s keynote speech in the Lords: an unusually frank warning that England decides whether we get “More devolution, or less.”
    2014: April – Johann Lamont assures northern England that after a NO vote, no new powers are heading Edinburgh’s way.They have given us fair warning.

    We’d have to be insane to think Westminster would give an inch once the pressure’s off.

    To the contrary, in 1979, 1997 2012 and now in 2014 they have demonstrated an enduring hostility to devo-max.

    Vote NO if you think it’s right — but don’t decieve yourself that you’ll get devo-anything as a consolation. Not a snowball’s chance.

  74. Ian Corrigan says:

    Bravo on an excellent piece, well written and showing a genuine grasp of the issues involved.
    I have always said that for me the entire referendum is not about being Anti English but is purely about being Pro Scottish, wanting what’s best for my country and having it delivered by people who live here, work here and have a genuine passion for delivering what’s best for Scotland and her people.
    The people of Scotland want democracy not hypocrisy and are sick of being told that we are too wee, too stupid and most extraordinarily, not “genetically dispossessed” to make decisions all of which are complete and utter nonsense. Even if, and that “if” is growing bigger by the day, the No campaign does win this issue will not go away. The Labour Party in Scotland have destroyed themselves and their own electability by joining forces with the Tories and the people of Scotland can see a Tory/UKIP coalition taking control of Westminster at the next election, all of these things have combined to create the perfect storm, a storm which will not only rip apart the union but will, in time, bring about massive upheaval in England and Wales to. Unfortunately for those affected by the coming maelstrom the people of Scotland won’t be concerned by this … we will be too busy beginning the task of undoing 300 years of Westminster mismanagement and rebuilding Scotland into the country it was always destined to be.

    1. pauli says:

      Well said. It beggars belief that the majority of our neighbours south of the border believe all the propaganda that it is being fed to them. The Scottish referendum vote is not Anti- English. We just want what is best for our Country and to get out from under the control of Westminster.

  75. wee e says:

    Jon Snow – well done. You’re the only London jourmalist in print or in broadcast (Andrews Neil & Marr not excepted) who seems able to approach the independence debate rationally, without a head full of canards about Scotland or about the issues. Thanks for listening to what people are actually saying.

  76. Aileen McGibbon says:

    Excellent commentary. Bang on! Thank you.

  77. Victor Biddulph says:

    Mr Snow, congratulations on an article that for the first time shows that media outside of Scotland are taking things seriously, because it is this very lack of serious attention in the UK media and press that has decided many to opt for Yes. I cannot be the only Scot who is angered daily by what he reads above and below the lines on the mainstream news pages. Ignorant comments based on the paucity of information from a wilfully ignorant London-centred media only leads you to one conclusion: If we are not taken seriously in the UK then why are we sending useless MPs to London simply to watch them ultimately enoble themselves and in wearing the ermine shake the Scottish dust off their boots and only bother with us to provide their younger (soon to be ) peers with votes to increase their London Gentleman’s club.

    In essence that’s all Scotland has achieved within this union, the production of union MPs and Lords, and we have watched as we are humiliated, spoken down to and patronised in return.

    Politically, no matter what happens in September, the Union of Parliaments will always be the English parliement with guest positions for its favoured colonial puppets. I am glad to say the Scottish peoples have seen through this at last. It was a long time coming, but as the Conservatives found out to their eternal cost, once Scotland has taken enough and realised it was conned, it turns it’s back on you big time.

  78. Kevin Lynch says:

    Very well put. Excellent blog post. There’s a lot more to it than just a hatred of Westminster politics. But I’d agree that’s a huge part of the story. And frankly I don’t see Westminster learning the lesson of a YES vote. They’ll still be in denial, still scamming the tax payer and still putting themselves and their parties before the good of the country.

    British politicians suffer from chronic short-term-ism. They cannot see past the next election and everything they do is a bid to win that election. They fight to stay in power just for the sake of being in power.

  79. Henry McMillan says:

    Zeitgeist! Jock Spring? At last, some grass-roots journalism!

  80. Stephen Seaward says:

    Taken from The Declaration of Arbroath 1320

    Scottish values appear not to have changed.

    It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

    sounds a bit braveheartish but it sums up the human spirit and what the yes camp aspire to!

  81. John Paterson says:

    Real scots can see the debate for what it really is by the nationalists. It’s all about anti- Tory and anti- English rhetoric . Ask them about pensions, currency and they offer nothing .
    Real and decent scots will Vote No.

    1. ElaineS says:

      I think that is the most insulting comment I have read. So you are inferring I was a real Scot till 3 years ago that as a Labour voter,stood beside my MP Gordon Brown for many years……read many FACTS and decided to vote Yes for the future generations of Scots. Gordon Brown lied about the pensions,he is not the same man that went to London, I should know…been in his company and he is a millionaire who has lost touch with his socialist side. We see less of him than when he was PM,just can’t bare to be away from the world stage whilst his town goes into further decay. Anyway, back to the pensions…now its pretty sad that you are spreading lies but thankfully this cancels out Gordon’s rubbish,lest we forget he raided millions of pensions when in power. Now instead of insulting the many people in Scotland,as real Scots as you yourself,just with different views..read the facts!:

  82. John Morgan says:

    Jon, While I totally agree with your insightful analysis, I believe you have missed another strand of the “democratic deficit” so evident in the UK.
    I would submit that an even deeper disillusionment with Brussels has amplified the distrust of Westminster. The Scottish referendum might ironically be the very catalyst which breaks Brussels’ strangulating grip on Westminster politics.
    My fear is that the floating Scottish iceberg might grind up against the immobile mass of Europe. “Independence” of a sovereign state as part of a European confederation is a mirage which appears to those held too long in captivity. Scotland needs to recognise that it may be better off floating into the wider ocean while coupled to the English vessel, which has a large enough critical mass not to become becalmed in the vast expanse of an unforgiving ocean. In the scenario favoured by the Scots, Scotland might disappear beneath the waves, as the “Republic” of Eire has done.

  83. Mervyn says:

    I’m not really sure what the people of scotland are expecting to happen if the yes vote is achieved. Do you believe that any Scottish politicians will be the pillars of society and will work tirelessly to help the people of scotland? Not a chance. Alex Salmond is like any other west minister hack. He has masterfully created a high profile job for himself and quaffs around living the high life on tax payers money.
    The driving force behind change is money and Alex Salmond seems certain that scotland can have its cake and eat it? With what cash will this be achieved? Free prescriptions, free university, greater child care for working parents and and a huge benefits culture the maths just doesn’t add up.

  84. Charlie Franci says:

    Excellent article, Jon. I am fearful for the bitter divorce, but feel in the long run independence will have a positive effect for everyone. No streets paved with gold, but a fairer, democratic, forward-thinking society.

    Our friends in the rest of Britain will always be welcome here.

  85. Noel Chidwick says:

    Great piece, John, and there are some great responses here, so I don’t plan to repeat them. All I would add (unless I’ve missed it) is that there is another ethnic group to consider: the English in Scotland. I’ve lived here for over 30 years, and have come to love the place and the people.

    I’m going to vote Yes as this is a great opportunity for a country to grasp democracy (PR and no unelected second chamber) in both hands and shape itself, as the Sunday Herald says, into a better country. I’m excited to think of the possibilities and opportunities that would arise from independence.

    The bonus prize is to be rid of the Westminster and its big business puppeteers. Oh, and getting rid of Trident.

    Why would anyone vote ‘No,’ when ‘Yes’ could yield so much?

    And further down the road, maybe the rest of the UK will follow Scotland’s lead.

  86. Dougie Lockhart says:

    Well done Jon. An honest and thoughtful look at what’s happening up here. Sadly, few down there will listen to you. But I suppose then you’ll know how we feel.


  87. Jean Roy says:

    A very good piece, and the comments are equally intelligent and uplifting.

    The latent carrot of devo-max reminds me that after the issuance of my country’s Declaration of Independence, Westminster repealed all the offensive laws that led up to said declaration. But the grievances were too many and had been ignored for two long, and by then, the zeal for independence was unshakable.

    I sense there is no turning back. But that is a good thing.

    PS: Never heard of a three legged haggis – I’d like to see that!

  88. ewan sinclair says:

    Thanks Jon, always a pleasure to listen to you and we really appreciate that Ch4 news and yourself have taken the time to visit Scotland to get a fresh perspective on the Indy debate and understand the true prime mover towards independence :)

  89. Gregor Addison says:

    Scottish independence is about democracy. It is about the fact that despite voting Labour (we have only 1 Tory MP), Scotland only gets a Labour government when it is voted for by voters in England. Scotland is an electoral minority within the UK and so have to put our social and political aspirations on hold until voters in England vote in a similar fashion. Now, there are parts of England who do vote Labour and they don’t get the government they want either. So given that, why don’t Labour activists in England argue for a federal Britain?

    My own view is that a federal Britain is unlikely. So rather than be constantly frustrated by the lack of a real grassroots movement in England, I think Scotland should vote for independence. It is an opportunity for Scotland to remodel itself with a constitution, a system of proportional representation (which we already have for the Scottish Parliament), and to put a greater emphasis on social justice. Scotland would not have to endure Conservative government, or watered down Labour governments. In the YES campaign, which is very much a grassroots movement, there are a great many people from the left of politics in Scotland who want exactly this kind of change. Many are ex-Labour voters. But they see an opportunity to create a better society away from the Westminster model.

    Now that brings me to solidarity. Should Scotland stay in the Union to show solidarity with working people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, if that means having to give up the promise of change and endure further Tory rule? Is it fair to ask Scotland to do this, if you believe in improving social justice? The Communist Party recently said that they prefer “radical federalism” but where is that anything more than two words? Where is the fleshed out commitment to delivering such a thing? An independent Scotland can show solidarity with other working people without being in a political union with them. I’d like to think we show solidarity with people in Greece or in France or anywhere else (yes, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland) without being in a political union with them.

    If people in England and other parts of the UK want better social justice then they need to build a movement to achieve that. I see very little evidence of such a movement. Are we really saying that Scotland accept its minority status and wait for others to make decisions on its behalf? Is that something you would find acceptable yourself, wherever in the UK you come from? It seems to me it encourages a kind of political quietism and I’m glad to say that there is, rather, a sense of empowerment in Scotland amongst grassroots activists in the YES campaign who are on the left of politics. A vote for independence isn’t about hating the English, or hating Etonian Tory boys (let’s face it, Labour taught us to do that), or about abandoning working people elsewhere in the world; it’s about seizing the opportunity to build a better society with real political power and targeting the social needs of those who are worst off in our communities. That’s why I’m voting YES with no sense of guilt, or hatred.

  90. Mike Murphy says:

    I am voting YES for two simple reasons:

    Democracy and


    Beyond that I want to be rid of the Tory self-serving policies that benefit nobody but their own. I want to ensure that we remain a part of the EU. I want to ensure that we are not governed by racists in sheep’s clothing. I want no part of a lick-spittle treacherous Lib Dem government. I want to disassociate from the Labour Party that has lost its way.

    It’s time for a radical change. We will get it in September.

  91. Jeanie Deans says:

    Well said, Jon. Your observations were amazingly accurate for such a short visit, and many of the comments have added what you would have learned during a longer stay.
    You’re right about Westminster’s lack of positive vision for Scotland. There IS no positive vision for Scotland within the Union. Never has been a positive vision. Scotland’s never been a ‘region’ to have positive visions about.
    So when we ask the BT camp for a positive reason to stay in the Union they’re stymied. Looking at Scotland positively has never been part of their mindset, much less their future plans,

    But Scotland’s people DO have a positive vision. It’s set out in the White Paper and available to download for all the UK regions who might want to see what THEIR positive vision might look like.

  92. Isobel Mitchell says:

    I think I hear a bit of excitement in your very fine article? For these are exciting days. So many “non political” folk are taking to the streets, the meeting rooms, marching, knocking on doors and arguing, debating, discussing in bars, shops, schools, workplaces, universities and bus stops. The excitement is palpable and so is the hope. Scotland can become a land built on social justice, respect and equality. This can happen when all the Gaels, Picts, Britons, Vikings, European and non European people who share this land and tend to share values and aspirations like the Common Weal decide it is time. There’s a popular rebellion in Scotland and most of the mainstream media are entirely ignorant of it. My regret is that we can’t take the rest of the UK with us. But we’re not leaving, we’re just showing the way

  93. Phillip says:

    I was born in England and have been living in Scotland for over 40 years and have feet I both countries. Everyone makes such a big deal about the financial implications of independence in a sink or float way. What Westminster and it’s No contingent fail to realise is that voting Yes is a vote of principle for many Scots. It shows Scotland has come of age, that we understand ourselves culturally and we realise its time to ‘own’ ourselves and place in the world. We aspire more to the Scandinavian model than is being shown by the mainstream media, who would have us believe, that the Yes vs No debate, is akin to an idealist, but petulant teenager, fighting his ‘sensible’ parents about what is best for them (when in point of fact the overprotective patent cares more about themselves than the growth of the child). Time to fly the nest. It’s best for all concerned.

  94. ElaineS says:

    My input as a Yes voter, a wonderful piece by Jon Snow,to put in words what we have tried so often to get out there to let the people of rest of UK,its not about wanting free of our lovely neighbours but for far greater reasons and I believe had any one of the small countries within the UK were at top of island instead of Scotland……they too would grab self determination with both hands. We very much hope that our Independence will empower even more English,Welsh and N.Irish to pull back powers from Westminster who I believe will be weakened enough for the ordinary voters to gain strength. A great piece by Billy Bragg “People of Scotland, vote yes to independence and set us English free from the neo-liberal consensus at Westminster”
    The most important thing I admire on this piece is Jon has brought peace between north and south with really reflective and amicable debate. It was a most pleasant read. Too many articles encourage vitriolic comments like some of the journalists in the Daily Mail/Telegraph.

  95. Tom Parkhill says:

    Excellent article, Jon.

    I live in Italy, so can’t vote, but this is a very exciting time to be Scottish. In fact, I’d be perfectly happy if a sort of “North Britain” broke away from the city-state (“City”- state) which is increasingly dominating our lives. I’d be happy with a capital in Manchester or Leeds, but that’s not on the table. Someone described me as a “Nat” a few days ago, I was appalled!

    You say that you are impressed by the quality of the debate, which I think is important in itself. But I am concerned that the the Yes vote might be preaching to the (largely) converted. The Yes vote seems solid, but there are very few No voters who join in with this type of debate, and yet the No vote is still in the (silent) majority. It could be that “project fear” will also be relatively solid. As FDR said though, we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

  96. MacIomhair says:

    Well said.

    I have to state that I came to the issue of independence already decided for “yes”. For quite some time, I have viewed the SNP as a necessary evil towards that goal – until they actually came to power and stone-me if they didn’t deliver good, sensible policies which improve the quality of life in Scotland.This led to their landslide second term. And this is helping towards independence.

    Personally, the biggest reason to vote yes is Europe. I think Scotland does well in a union; however, the time of the United Kingdom is over, the time of the European Union is at hand. The EU is deeply flawed, but what hope have we of reforming it if, for example, land-locked Luxembourg has more say over Scottish fishing policy than we do ourselves? We need to be in Europe at its heart, working with our allies. What scares me the most is the looming second referendum – if there is a “no” to independence, there will definitely be a “yes” throughout the UK to quitting the EU. That is the real danger to Scottish membership of the EU.

    Let us assume for a moment that the doomsayers are right and Scotland does not automatically inherit the UK’s position in the EU (unlikely as there is no mechanism in place to leave). We are not a basket-case former dictatorship struggling to survive. We are a strong economy at the heart of Atlantic Europe with significant resources (not even counting oil) and despite decades of Westminster mismanagement, significant industries in the form of whiskey, tourism, renewable energy, financials and more. We have control (or will have once free) of vast swathes of fishing grounds and we have the best territorial claims to far-off rocks such as Rockall (laugh if you want, but the mineral, extraction and fishing rights are highly valuable). We already comply with all EU membership requirements and we would easily negotiate membership between the vote date and independence day. And anyway, in the meantime, the rUK will probably have voted to leave, so there’s no reason we can’t swap things around and say we are giving the rUK independence rather than taking it for ourselves.

    I came to the debate thinking – uh-oh, there’s no chance this time if it’s a straight-forward yes/no, best if we include devo-max and get there in stages. I expected there to be reasonable arguments against independence which would sway a lot of people. I have not heard a single good argument against independence, not one. This is not a debate, it’s one side presenting a case and the other side lying through their teeth. Every day, Darling and his cohorts look more and more like stubborn children rather than politicians wanting the best for their country and that cannot be good for anyone.

    The main argument of the “No” camp seems to be – “Without us, you won’t be able to have nuclear weapons, you won’t be able to fight glorious wars abroad and you won’t be able to bully other countries.” Excuse me if I don’t suddenly change my position for not wanting to launch illegal wars across the planet.

    I am convinced that if the vote were today, “Yes” would win. “Yes” voters are more committed and are more likely to vote; when “Don’t Know” is ignored, only a 2% swing is currently needed. Future events are also highly likely to lead to “Yes”. UKIP will win (or come a close 2nd) in the EU elections – we don’t like them in Scotland, they’re like the extreme version of the Tories. Anniversary of Bannockburn. Saturation tv coverage of England winning the World Cup (until they are eliminated on penalties and blame it on a dodgy curry). Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

    The only good argument against a “Yes” I have heard of, and no “No” campaigner has actually said it is that I do have a twinge of guilt at the mess we will be leaving England with; however, it is for England to do something about that as we are doing it for ourselves. (Wales and NI will be fine – they’ll follow soon enough).

    The only thing I can see stopping a “Yes” now is if someone finds photographs of Alex Salmond eating a baby with ivory cutlery while wearing a tiger-skin cape and receiving a massage from Margaret Thatcher while they both snort coke and tell Tony Blair who to invade next.

  97. James Jones says:

    I think Scotland should vote yes for the same reason that Britain as a whole should ravage the incumbents in Westminster. Most British people have been very poorly served by successive governments. We essentially have government of the plutocrats, for the plutocrats and by the plutocrats.

    Details follow.

    1. Poverty.

    Since about 1980 most Britons have been getting poorer every year as the Top Toffs get ever richer. The top few percent have been absorbing ALL of the gains in GDP made since about 1980.

    Lib/Lab/Con say – “That is Brilliant – The undeserving majority of Britons deserve their horrible fate”.

    2. Housing.

    Millions of people are poorly housed. Since about 1996 we have had a
    house price boom, a surge in the population and a complete failure to build. This boom has disadvantaged a huge proportion of the population. The solution is to build more houses. Successive governments have cynically blocked that avenue in order to artificially bolster prices to the benefit of some. Those on the wrong side of this are financially ruined. Those on the other side are laughing all the way to the bank followed by retirement in sunny climes.

    Lib/Lab/Con say – “That is Brilliant – The undeserving majority of Britons deserve their horrible fate”.

    3. Immigration.

    For 15 years successive governments have run an unmandated stealth mass immigration at any cost program. Anyone who said “hold on a min please” was denounced as a vile racist. This has helped to drive wages and conditions for most Britons ever downwards, has massively worsened the housing crisis and has caused social changes that no one knew were coming. It has taken UKIP to simply create a dialogue. Prior to UKIP, the proponents of this takeover plan had managed to shut down any discussion of the matter by means of unfounded insults.

    Lib/Lab/Con say – “That is Brilliant – The undeserving majority of Britons deserve their horrible fate”.

    4. Educational failure.

    We are repeatedly told that we need immigrants to do essential jobs because Britons are incapable. This is self evident nonsense. If there is something wrong with our education and training system we need to fix it. Simply abandoning millions of Britons to the scrap heap while for example sending recruitment teams abroad to hire medical staff is in my view utterly immoral.

    Lib/Lab/Con say – “That is Brilliant – The undeserving majority of Britons deserve their horrible fate”.

    5. Tax avoidance/evasion.

    Even as the vast, vast majority of Britons pay their taxes successive governments have emboldened the rich , the very rich and the super rich to concoct ever more elaborate schemes to evade their responsibilities. Nothing is ever done, almost no one goes to jail.

    Simultaneously a small number of poverty stricken Britons are charged a “Spare Room Tax” even when they have no money and nowhere else to go. Combined with the lack of “Spare Room Tax” on the “Help to Buy” scheme subsidised housing, this shows the Conservative government’s total contempt for the most vulnerable people in Britain.

    Lib/Lab/Con say – “That is Brilliant – The undeserving majority of Britons deserve their horrible fate”.

    6. Islamism.
    [This section deliberately left blank for fear of criminal prosecution.]

    Lib/Lab/Con say – No comment.

    Vote YES in Scotland/UKIP elsewhere – send our Lib/Lab/Con overlords a message that they cannot ignore.

  98. TB says:

    If and when independence comes into being, the warnings of how Westminster/ London have alienated the rest of the UK must be heeded. After all, an independent Scotland will have it’s centre of power based in a city largely beholden to financial institutions and tourism, where buying property is increasingly becoming out of reach. Sound familiar?

  99. Zsolt Fulop says:

    Great article!

    I am a Hungarian who lives in Scotland for 9 years.We have a similar history. We were in a dualist Kingdom with Austria for over 300 years, and we also try to be independent, but we did not have this chance to make a decision by voting.( Just see what happened with Hungary after VVI,tho third of our 1000 year kingdom was taken , and attached to the surrounding countries,So Wien ruled but Hungary pay the price)
    I know its not my business cos I am not Scottish,but our example can prove it would be better independent..Unfortunately the first minister doesn’t offer a clear vision ,what would happened after a vote.Looks like no plan with the currency etc…I think if Scotland really wanted to be independent ,they need an own monetary policy with own currency…
    We still call it a pound just a Scottish pound…Like the Dollar not only American currency,there is Australian ,Canadian New Zealand etc dollar with a different value of course.
    The independent Scotland also can choose if they want to be member of the EU or not,even member of the Nato or not..I am talking against myself but an independent Scotland can choose its own emigration policy as well…
    What I see , some groups just try to scare the people ,they loose their pensions ,jobs etc…Don’t think so…5 million people it still a market for the business who are here already…

  100. ian foulds says:

    Mr. Snow,

    I am presently an expatriate and this is the first balanced report I have seen from the British media in 6 months.

    Please do not despair for the rest of the current UK. My earnest hope is that the people of England and Wales will also be able to throw off the darin that is Westminster by voting for Federal Governments (or the like) to cater for the verify specific needs of each of their Regions.

    Although there may be many ‘ups and downs’ in the coming years for Scotland, these would be preferable to the ‘ups and downs’ foisted upon us and the rest of the Country by the self seeking wittering classes who currently govern without a clue or consideration for the people of these islands.

    Furthermore as is outlined in the Declaration of Arbroath, we can more easily replace ‘The Bruce’ should ‘he’ act against the People of Scotland.

    I wish all those on the island(s) a better future and one devoid of ‘Empire’.

  101. jim says:

    I couldn’t actually care less if Scotland becomes independent. It is up to them.What I dont understand is why they want to continue to use the pound, Band of England etc. If the Scots want to create a truly new nation, and show the world they have confidence in their own words , why don’t we hear a fierce demand for a new currency and independent financial management. Why do they want to keep sharing everything? Surely the birth of a new country should be the time for bold statements and self confidence?
    It gives the impression that the words spoken are not actually believed and the SNP want an each-way bet. This is a shame as the new country will need to show the world’s investors that it has the self confidence to make itself a viable place for outside investment. Investors look for return on investment not tears of emotion. Think of the number of countries that have been kicked when they are down by the financial markets
    The SNP may win the argument in Scotland through emotion but the like of Soros, the hedge and sovereign funds see a lack of self-confidence as an opportunity to make money not a time to give the instituions of a new country time to mature.
    Finally beware of what you wish for – it may come true. How could an new independent Scotland refuse to support the independence wishes of the Northern Isles?

  102. Andrew Murdoch says:

    This is a very pleasing article to read, because it is the first time that a member of the London based MSM have chosen to report accurately. Lets hope that we see more of the same.

    As an ex-pat I’ve been viewing matters closely as it is my intention to retire home to an independent, free and progressive Scotland.

  103. Roger White says:

    Jon – inevitably, given the tenor of your perceptions, the great majority of people commenting think you’re right, a ‘great chap,’ your ties are wonderful etc etc. Trust me, if you’d drawn an opposite conclusion you would have felt the negative side of the debate that you so clearly missed in your recent week north of the border. And although not every contributor is the same, all the old gripes come pouring out, from the poll tax to the price of a flat in Notting Hill. Everything in fact but the kitchen sink. The hard fact, however, as one or two contributors have ventured, is that after many months of campaigning there has still not been ONE poll that shows a majority in favour of ‘Yes’ and the trend in the polls is by no means in one direction, as Professor John Curtice notes in his latest blog on recent results, citing indeed your own Ch4/YouGov poll – http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2014/05/yougov-poll-suggests-an-april-of-little-change/

  104. Tony Coleman says:

    If Scotland is such a great place to live, and England such a corrupt and bad place to be, why do so many scots leave and come down to live here?
    The yes campaign has been seen in countries before, where the outcome for the common person in the long term has been disaster, Scottish politics will simply end up a smaller version of Westminster only it’s leader is a Dictator in the making
    Germany, Korea, Vietnam, Ireland plus many more spring to mind.

    1. ElaineS says:

      For jobs! when Westminster time and time again crucified Scotland especially Thatcher and left Scotland destitute when destroying so much of our industry….do you honestly think many Scots left willingly when massive amount of pits closed here. I could also ask you….why has over 400k English people moved to Scotland if it were that bad!

      1. David Hepburn says:

        To ElaineS: Firstly, it is a pity that you felt unable to use your full name as it suggests that you are hiding behind something… You said:

        “For jobs! when Westminster time and time again crucified Scotland especially Thatcher and left Scotland destitute when destroying so much of our industry….do you honestly think many Scots left willingly when massive amount of pits closed here. I could also ask you….why has over 400k English people moved to Scotland if it were that bad!”

        Perthaps you do not (or are unable to) understand the market economy? In a market economy, when a firm or industry becomes unprofitable, it goes to the wall as did Motherwell, the Clyde shipbuilding industry (mostly), the pits and others.

        Please get with the reality. Failing industries fail. Mrs Thatcher did not ‘leave Scotland destitute’ we did it ourselves.

        However, I will grant you a small piece of agreement. Mrs Thatcher made a real nonsense of ‘using’ Scotland as a pilot scheme for the Community (Poll) Tax. She lost the plot and the Unionist representation for at least a generation.


        David Hepburn

      2. Elaine Skinner says:

        As you can see I hide behind nowhere and I live in Kirkcaldy, constituency of Gordon Brown. you are yet another condescending person from the south I will not miss when we are Independent and just strengthens my resolve. Thank god you do not speak for the majority of the decent people living down south. My son had no option but to move down south, he did 4 year apprenticeship with the MOD and in his last year he was told he would have to move to Bristol. He would have lost out on his constructive engineering qualification as it only pertained to warships so he moved. He did not want to! Now you are not the sort of person I would bear being in a conversation with,I’d find you appallingly arrogant and rude so whatever ignorant reply you give,I will not reply.

      3. Michael Clayton says:

        Elaine, In reply to reasoned argument you show the kind of intolerance which often transmutes into the noisome hatred which has always been a hallmark of the Nationalist creed in world wars etc. (which was apparent when I was assaulted at a bus stop by two nationalist thugs – a third teenager did not take part – simply because my accent was English). I am one of the circa 400K who moved to Scotland because a Falkirk man (who had settled with his family in Liverpool, my home city) refused to transfer to Glasgow – his opinion of its residents being unprintable here. If I had known at the time I would subsequently experience several manifestations of anti-English hatred I would have not volunteered for the move – which was designed to expand a small company in Glasgow by moving welding equipment-manufacture from Northern England. This rationalisation subsequently failed because Japanese and other national shipbuilding industries undercut the manufacturing costs prevalent on the Clyde/Tyneside/Birkenhead, not because Thatcher (whose political ideology I detested) bowed to economic realities.
        Why, do you and other Nats, suppose that twice as many (a larger proportion of the Scottish population than of UK residents moving North) including your son, went in the opposite direction?
        Jon Snow’s vox-pop was very limited (few vox) and I wonder if he is aware of the hatred apparent in many of the posts here, where ‘London’ or ‘Westminster’ really means English?.
        The authors of much ignorant, anti-London hyperbole in this thread should read the book ‘How the Scots took over London’ by David Stenhouse (ISBN 1-84018-981-9). They won’t, of course, as the reading of such historical literature would lessen their ignorance. Perhaps Jon Snow should read it too!

      4. Elaine Skinner says:

        Michael Clayton, I am not a Nat, 38 years Labour and 3 years Labour for Independence so your typically attack by lumping us all as Nats is worn thin. My son had no other choice but to leave Scotland,he didn’t want to but he wasn’t going to throw away his qualification of being a Constructive Engineer….had he had been able to do his first choice in Electrical Engineering like his mate,he would have left the MOD,stayed in Scotland and done well like his Electrical Engineering mate had done. So ,what is your point, shall I bow to the south because we poor,inept Scots don’t have jobs for our young folk? We will have in Independence and no matter how condescending or rude many are on here including yourself in their opinions of our Independence,I can’t wait for it to happen. Your comments just keep cementing my Yes. Now since all you intend doing is shooting down Scots and Scotland,I won’t be answering your comments,they are of no interest to me.

  105. Rantin' Rabbie says:

    Well done John

    I think most yes voters who want Independence want this freedom particularly from London? I certainly do and find this one of the most appealing parts of the whole independence deal, (probably a great many in England outwith the home counties would empathise with this)?
    Incidentely if Scotland does vote yes won’t the rest of the country (whatever it be called) have to renegotiate its entry back into the EU?
    And lastly what will Nigel Farage call his party?

  106. Iain Taylor says:

    A further point that may be strengthening the Yes vote is that people in Scotland will face Westminster revenge if there is a No vote. There will be no increased devolution, but quite the reverse. I would expect Holyrood’s limited powers to be further limited, leaving the Scottish Government little room to manoeuvre to protect people in Scotland from the worst excesses of Westminster. It won’t matter if Labour are elected with a majority in the next UK general election, as their plans seem little different from those of the coalition. Additionally, Labour MPs from Scotland will feel emboldened to have a real go at Holyrood which they detest.

  107. David Hepburn says:

    Dear Mr Snow,

    If you read the comments to your rather fine article, I note that the C4 YouGov poll states that 49% consider themselves as Scottish whereby only 14% consider themselves as ‘mostly British’. Please add my name to the latter as no one asked me. I am British as well as Scottish in that order. Perhaps the poll was skewed?

    Best regards,

    David Hepburn

    1. Jason Park says:

      Hi David,

      These polls are carried out with a select few people. Polls are simply an indicator of general public consensus and do not necessarily present a true representation of the facts. I’m sure there are probably websites that you can sign up to in order to be included in polls if it bothers you enough!

      Peace :)

      1. David Hepburn says:

        Dear Jason,

        Indeed, the polls result from a small section of the community. However, they are supposed to be truly representative for, if they were not, they would very soon fail and be out of business…

        Peace (again) :-)

      2. Jason Park says:

        Hi David (again!)

        Again, I am entirely agreeing with you. I dingy these “polls” mostly, as you can never trust it. I could probably whack out any statistic I wanted if I asked the right people! :P

        Peace buddy :)

    2. james cormack says:

      David, it was not a mere opinion poll that said 62% said they were Scottish and not British, but the census of 2011. Get your facts right.

  108. Chris says:

    This is a nice little collection of common sense without too many glorious facts smothering the idea. The worlds leader in manufacturing has been, for a long time, Toyota. Their whole working system is based around fixing problems by finding solutions before blame. Anyone on the assembly line, for instance, can stop the line which then alerts the whole process to a problem (because everyone has to stop), then everyone is involved in the solution. It’s sad that we can’t have a debate based on making the future better by design. I suppose that’s why we want out. Otherwise we’d stay and live in a fixable society, no!? So, yeah, is this the kick up the backside the rest of, or just the whole, country needs to realise the severity of the issues that are being ignored. Will it take a division of a union before the smack of truth can be tasted above the hyperbole of those pretending to do a great job? I hope that this is Scotland stopping the line and fixing a problem. I also hope that this will carry the message across the border and beyond.

  109. David Heriot says:

    Jon, excellent post. So much better than the usual uninformed rubbish from England-based (ie not just English) commentators and bloggers.

    Your last point about the name of entity that will remain should Scotland vote Yes is a good one and one which is usually ignored or given the name, ‘rUK’. But rUK it can’t be. Without Scotland, the Acts of Union would need to be repealed as there would no longer be a union between Scotland and England and you can’t have a union of one.

    So it’s not the case that Scotland would ‘leave’ the Union. Rather the Union would cease to be. No union, no United Kingdom of Great Britain (the name only came in when the treaty was signed). At the time, Wales was pretty much part of England and Ireland wasn’t incorporated into the UK of GB until 1801.

    Of course the ‘rUK’ could call itself anything it wanted, and may well choose to keep the name United Kingdom, perhaps dropping the ‘Great Britain’ bit. We, of course, will be very pleased just to be called Scotland.

  110. Ian MacDonald says:

    Excellent piece. Finally a serious London journalist starts considering the real issues with some balance.

    In addition to the points you make I think there is a much longer-term trend in play here. Scotland only joined the UK to gain access to British Imperial markets. England had imposed sanctions on us to force us to do so, so they could reduce the chance of invasion by France via Scotland. The cost of the Union to Scotland was that all our trade was ultimately brokered or taxed through London – and thus the hegemony of the City began.

    Now an alternative future is possible where Scottish democracy is not subservient to the corporatocracy of London and the SE of England. Our new relationship is with the EU. Scots and English are reverting to the traditional positions they adopted prior to the Empire: Scots as direct participants in European politics; English standing in splendid isolation against the reality of their interdependence with Europe. Hence Scottish Independence and English Euroscepticism.

    The recent disgusting behaviour of the City and Westminster politicians has only thrown this dynamic into stark relief. London makes little, taxes everyone, invests more in itself than anyone else, creates economic bubbles which it rides for the benefits of its elites, then passes the losses onto taxpayers and benefit claimants, while bankers retain their profits. Is it any wonder that the fabric of our nation is unravelling in front of our eyes?

    And yes, the Westminster parties just don’t get it, because they are such an entrenched part of the problem, due to our broken constitution and its useless electoral system.

  111. criquaer says:

    My best friend & I have already reached the decision that if Scotland votes yes, we shall be selling up and moving across the border – assuming it is not blockaded! – as we do not wish to be ruled by the increasingly right-wing, neo-liberal (read corporatist) main four political parties & their minions in the #MSM, with their constant spouting of hate & vitriol. The atmosphere in England is febrile and toxic. %(((

  112. Dave says:

    It’s not that the Tories don’t “get” it, they know what they’re doing. A ‘yes’ vote would be a godsend for them, they would never be out of power again.

    The Tories just need to appear to be pro-union while shooting themselves in the foot repeatedly… Nothing will get the scots to vote ‘yes’ more than an apparent opportunity to annoy the Tories.

    1. J. R. Tomlin says:

      Except that there is absolutely no reason to think that a Yes vote would mean the Tories being in power forever in England. Only twice in the last 50 years has the measly 59 (out of 650) Scottish MPs made a difference in which party was in power. With the likelihood of the number of Scottish MPs being cut further, that will probably be cut even further in the future.

      And by the way, are you saying that Scotland SHOULD be able to force a government on the English which they don’t want? And you think this would be a good thing? Not big on democracy are you?

  113. H Statton says:

    I spent the 1970s – 1980s living in Wales and the 1990s – present, living in Northern England. Most people from Wales or Northern England seem to share similar political views. I’ve known lots of people down the years that are not extraordinarily fond of Westminster unless, a) they have significant financial links to it. b) they have somehow endeared themselves to the ‘beautiful people’, or c) They are a member of a Sub-Species e.g. Toffs, Nobbs, Upper Class Twits, chin-less wonders, Dilettantes, Debutants, all with their pink champagne in tow.

    In both the above mentioned areas of the UK, heavy industry played a huge part in providing for and supporting the local community. The damage Thatcher inflicted on the smaller ‘pit’ villages was devastating. It destroyed so many people’s lives, not just by taking away the pit-face jobs but by suffocating all morale and hope for the future so from here on in, all looked nothing but bleak. There was nothing left for the work-force to do. They’d served their purpose, thank you and good night. There was no contingency plan.

    I remember the soup kitchens being setup to feed the families of miners that had been out on strike 1984-1985. It was pitiful to have to see once proud families essentially reduced to begging and living off hand-outs. We all did what we could to help, but ultimately knew we were fighting a losing battle. There was not a drop of rust from the Iron Lady’s eyes, never mind any corrosion of her hard heart.

    This is not an uncommon image that many have in their minds concerning Parliament at Westminster. For many I suspect it would make no difference if a New Palace of Westminster was built on 2012 VP113 (The most recently discovered planet). For many it is not simply a matter of geographical distance between ‘us and them’, but the differences are socio-political, classist, education, financial and a general misunderstanding of the ordinary people by the extraordinary people – those that we catapulted into the privileged positions they currently enjoy (especially those that have second homes). They are our representatives, there to work for us and protect our human and civil rights.

    London is not inherently a bad place, it just happens to contain a few too many parasites in its midst and no small amount of those can be found around Westminster.

  114. Shelagh says:

    Uplifting article. Thank you Jon for articulating my thoughts in such a sincere way. It is refreshing to know that as a respected journalist you have such insight into the independence debate. If only your colleagues in Londoncentric medialand were also able to eke out the feelings of us Scots. Jon you are now an honorary Scotsman.

  115. Shelagh says:

    Not sure if first posting was sent.

    Excellent article Jon. A piece of honest, sincere reporting of the Indy debate by a respected journalist from Londoncentric medialand! Please get your colleagues to come to Scotland to see for themselves what is actually occurring. Then we can hopefully look forward to honest reporting in the ‘ broadsheets’ and the red tops!

    You have articulated my thoughts on to paper and I am sure those of thousands of Scots. Thank you. You have just become an honorary Scotsman!

  116. Charles Kearney says:

    Thank you for this, but I’m just writing to apologise to Mr Snow for my, erroneous belief that he was a bit of a Jingoist!

    Mea Culpa, Sir. can’t tell you how rare it is to get an honest and informed opinion from the MSM!

    Thanks Again,

    Chas. P.

  117. Graham Brown says:

    Fascinating blog and I broadly agree with the analysis. However, living in Orkney, I would not describe government from Edinburgh as “localised governance devolved from Westminster”

  118. johnbostock says:

    My impression – all politicians appear to be self serving and greed ridden.

  119. John Kelly says:

    As a born and bred Yorkshireman, my impression is that many Yorkshire people feel much the same about Westminster as the Yes group in Scotland – i.e. we don’t trust them, feel let down by broken promises and feel that to them, only the south-east and home counties matter. By “Westminster”, I mean Governments of any colour. Home rule for Yorkshire too?

    However I think what any independence for Yorkshire or “Yes” person in Scotland should ask themselves is whether the situation is so broken that it needs fixing. Scotland may well be capable of going it alone but are things so bad that it is worth taking a chance on the unknowns like currency, EU membership (assuming anyone still wants this anyway!) defence, the pension questions etc. Personally, I do not want to lose Scotland from the UK family and I am not convinced that the real level of dissatisfaction and the risks are worth the leap into the unknown. As yet another politician, what makes Alec Salmond any more trustworthy than any of the others?

  120. Rob Murray Brown says:

    Im a big fan of 4 and Snow but he does sometimes get it wrong. He has been cosnstantly wrong about Sri Lanka and he is now wrong about Scotland. You only have to read the forums of the Gaurdian, Herald, Scotsman et al to see just how poor the level of debate is – most people just dont understand what is going on they just parrot the SNP propaganda. In Sri Lanka Snow was wrong not because he is anti Rajapaksa and his gang but because he seemed to take a cause and make it into a media story without really uderstanding the real issues. I worked in Sri Lanka helping to try to heal the rifts between N and S. I have seen what is going on on the ground, spoken to people in the N and S. All Snow has done here is antagonise the very people who might help the N – for the sake of his programme. The intervention of the UN is not going to help the lives of people living day to day in the North – it is going to make it worse. In Scotland his dislike for Westminster was so obvious that all his pieces were overflowing with leading questions. Sure the system is not perfect but what we have been offered doesnt add up – why couldnt he turn his attention to the real issues – put the nationalists on the spot to get some answers. Its easy to hate ”the man” and call for the ”system” to change and that makes a far better piece of journalsim than looking at what is really going on.

  121. Tim says:

    The yes campaign is mind-numbing to anyone who considers themselves intellectual.

    The vote is a frightening pursuit of the ego of one man: Alex Salmond.

    To even begin to make him distinct from ‘Westminster’ is one of the most astonishing pieces of short-sighted analysis.

    As Billy Connolly said; Scotland will get what it deserves.

    I only feel truly sorry for the smart people in Scotland who could pulled into a vortex of others’ emotions.

    1. Edward Harkins says:

      Tim, with all due respect, you have rather missed the whole point of this piece. Indeed, the contents of your posting verifies the correctness of what Jon Snow is saying here about the poverty of how the Union case is being put.

    2. Suzanne says:

      I’m not sure why people continue to think that this pursuit of independence is the dream / vanity project / mad scheme of one man. This will for independence goes back generations. It is now prominent as a coalition of a wide range of people from each and every political party and those from none. It just so happens that the SNP is in government, voted in democratically, and they are the conduit for independence, not the only party fighting for it.

      In one way I guess it’s easy to understand when the MSM bleats on and on about Salmond and the SNP, and those against independence use Salmond as a convenient Aunt Sally. But the facts are these – independence is a movement for social change, for self-determination of a nation and for a society run on equal, fair and just principles, for us, our children and their grandchildren.

      Why on earth anyone believes we’re better off under a Westminster government is beyond me. Not a single No voter can give a good reason why it would benefit Scotland to remain in the union apart from their trotting out the usual tired old “sharing and pooling resources” and “we have a shared history!”. None of the unionist financial arguments are based on the truth, and we’re seeing previously hidden government documents revealed every other day day showing that Scotland has been very badly exploited for generations.

      We are a nation, not a region. Westminster politics and politicians do not represent us. We’re not prepared to continue down the road to even more inequality and poverty under whichever Westminster government manages to con the public next time round. Time we stood up and took our country forwards into a better and more prosperous future.

  122. jean bernard parr says:

    I still cant get over that the SNP did little to help those people on the coast affected by Donald Trumps plans for a golf course on an SSSI a few years back.

    Is this a microcosm of things to come? Where was the “identity” then? And how will the equation balance out in future, when “jobs” always comes first, as it nearly always does in Scotland. Are we going to see the rape of the fair country?
    The Chinese are investing in tracts of arable land in England currently. This is with an eye to food production when things start to hot up a little.
    Does anyone really trust the SNP to think outside the box or even ahead?
    The thing is, a spectrum of foreign acquisitions has a direct effect on emotional notions about sovereignty for one thing. I think Scotland needs to be careful what it wishes for.

  123. smiling vulture says:

    Scots to decide ,stay or leave the Union since 1707.I don’t beleive any poll,only one that counts is sept 18th.

    What I learnt so far is Better Together made two choices.

    Both they can’t change(keeping 2nd question off ballot paper,to destroy nationalists,rather than give more power to Scottish people)

    2nd choice is a negative campaign,saying Scots can’t do this,currency union,pensions,Europe ect,The prob is many Scots aren’t listening anymore because project fear is so over the top.

    This referendum will probably turn into a split Scotland,neverendum if it’s close.

    Margo “At 10.01pm on September 18, whatever the result, she wanted those divisions to end and this nation to seek a unity of purpose.

    What’s been said this campaign is even lower than I expected,I just can’t see unity of purpose,for the losing side.

    A neutral like Jon Snow wading thru Scotland is most welcome,however it might be a tidal wave after the vote.

  124. david stuart says:

    Scottish Labour Party NOT registered with Electoral Commision for YES,NO Referendum Scotland

    Its the London Labour Party thats registered

    SAYS it ALL

  125. James says:

    A. Allowing Scotland to stay with the pound is devo max. Hopefully, Gideon might know Trident is a chocolate teapot, and would be happy to get rid of it and ‘blame’ Scotland.

    B. As for real independence with a new currency, I think Scotland would be OK a few years later.

    C. Scotland in the Euro is trouble.

    Plan B is the only good one. If I was to vote, if Plan B was not on offer I would vote No.

  126. William Macdonald says:

    Ghetto society, anyone living outside the London square mile is a drain on society, have been in London many times and have seen the derogatory, insular attitude of many. Give London independence status and we will see who has been the drain on our society. Greed, contempt and elitism are the Govt’s downfall. Without RUK and Scotland, London are nothing and the sooner this realisation is caught onto’ the sooner we will find a fairer society.

    1. Michael Clayton says:

      William, In your many trips to London (like many compatriots) how many other Scots did you meet in the metropolis (were any engaged in nefarious activities?). You should read ‘How the Scots took over London’ by David Stenhouse (ISBN 1-84018-981-9) for a different, more expert, view.

  127. philip says:

    I can perfectly understand why the Scots wish to vote for independence. It’s exactly the same feeling about Westminster politics that affects virtually all of us – and is, of course, feeding the votes likely to be going to UKIP.
    There are, however, 2 reasons why I believe Scots should consider voting No.
    1. The Scottish government has been less than clear on the issue of the currency and how that would, in practice, either mean joining the Euro, having a separate Scottish currency or being independent only in name, with economic policies decided in London. I sense a degree of wishful thinking here (also common with UKIP)
    2. The last thing England needs is a virtually guaranteed Conservative majority. 4 years supposedly moderated by the LibDems has produced an NHS ripe for a process of commercialisation, a backward-looking, class-based education system, an attack on the poor and disabled while bankers still get massive pay & the supposed rebalancing of the economy has not just not happened, the economy is busy being driven in the same direction it was before 2008 – entirely as an electoral tactic. We need the sensible Scots to preserve us from all of this – but worse. (On the other hand, if the Scots are independent & the UK votes to leave the EU, can I come and join you?”

  128. James Houston says:

    i forgive you for the potato wedges mate.

  129. Roger White says:

    Elaine Skinner – you say ‘My son had no other choice but to leave Scotland,he didn’t want to but he wasn’t going to throw away his qualification of being a Constructive Engineer….had he had been able to do his first choice in Electrical Engineering like his mate,he would have left the MOD,stayed in Scotland and done well like his Electrical Engineering mate had done.’ I’m not sure what point you’re making. The hard truth these days is that many people have to move to find work. Come to Aberdeen and you’ll find folk in the oil industry having to work in Azerbaijan or Angola whether or not they want to. I’m not sure how your comment can be counted either for or against independence. And certainly if your son or his mate work for the MOD you can be sure there’s not going to be much of a Scottish MOD after independence to employ them.

    1. Elaine Skinner says:

      I can’t remember writing anything about my son working for MOD in Scotland. He no longer works with MOD but a global defence company in Coventry. As for your anal vision of Scotland,you would think we were a backwoods country that post Indy we wouldn’t have our own MOD,there is nothing worse than an arrogant,condescending person who takes great enjoyment of selling Scotland short. Are we the first country to be Independent from Britain/UK, I believe there are many who stood on their own yet you seem to think we are too poor,too stupid and too small. Keep talking like that,it just makes Scots all the more determined to be a successful Independent country. I don’t know where you come from but you certainly has such disdain for Scotland but it comes across snidey and ignorant. I just find folk like you pretty amusing,a knowitall……no time for knowitalls.

      1. Roger White says:

        Wow, Elaine, you draw a lot of conclusions about me from my previous comment! I have an anal vision (thanks for that, whatever it is), I think Scotland is a backwoods country, I am an arrogant condescending person, I sell Scotland short, I think it’s poor, stupid and small, I’m snidey and a knowitall. You couldn’t pack more adjectives into a rant if you tried.Still, I’m glad I amuse you.

        The truth of course is that I said only two things. 1. Many people in this modern world, like your son, have to go to another country to find work and 2. Scotland as a small country is unlikely to be able to sustain as large a defence industry as a much bigger country. What is there to disagree with in that?

        If I have misunderstood your son’s situation, I apologise. You might admit on re-reading your original comment that it was not all that clear. I don’t know what a ‘constructive‘ engineer is and it was by no means obvious who he worked for from what you said.

        As to where I come from, I suppose it depends what you mean. I was born English. My partner and children are Scottish and I have chosen to live in the North East for nearly 30 years. Note I say ‘chosen’: chosen because I like the place, the country and nearly all the people. That may make me all the things you claim but it’s more likely that I just have a different opinion from you on one issue only, important as that is. You seem to find that difficult to accept but I’m glad to say that’s not my problem.

  130. Owen Riddle says:

    If the backward, discriminative fools like Farage and Salmond get what they want then I’d soon wish to hop off these islands before they sink. I’d rather live in a country that’s in the 21st century. Not the 17th. The no campaign is a hopeless case but it’s a sweet irony to say the yes campaign is positive. Leaving a nation because you got the wrong PM? I got the wrong one too but we live in a democratic state. If anything the SNP helped Cameron along the way to N.o 10 so thanks for taking those seats off Labour and helping create our problem. What about everyone in Scotland who didn’t vote SNP? Should they leave? You better hope your government is spread out across Scotland otherwise under your logic they’ll be a referendum to leave if Edinburgh has too much power. You don’t change something by taking a tantrum and leaving… history should show you that any form of nationalism is a bad form of nationalism. Even more so when these nations are relics. The lines dividing these isles were blurred long ago. Oil is hardly a noble cause either… nor is fracking. Don’t suppose the SNP has mentioned oil production peaked 15 years ago. About 24 years since it started in earnest. Do the maths. I just hope that these islands don’t submit to the backwards politics of Salmond and Farage who naturally have a great respect for one another. If they do then these once modern, liberal and forward thinking islands will be backwards, old fashioned, isolated and hurling petty ancient curses and stereotypes at each other and across the channel from our derelict ‘nations’ as we say welcome to 17th century Britain. Oh how the rest of the world will laugh at us but hopefully I’ll be laughing with them. In a modern, globalised and inclusive place.

    1. smiling vulture says:

      Owen,Why do you put Farage,Salmond in the same bottle.SNP are left of the Labour Party,hav a majority scottish parliament(hence referendum).hav 6 MPs Westminster.Farage,0 MPs.
      Labour don’t need Scottish MPs for a majority England

      1997 General election, Labour majority 179. Number of Scottish Labour MPs: 56
      2001 General Election, Labour majority, 167. Number of Scottish Labour MPs: 56
      2005 General Election, Labour majority, 66. Number of Scottish Labour MPs: 41.

      any form of nationlism is bad?

      civic nationalism (United Nations )

      1. Andrew Dundas says:

        Hello Vulture!
        [Not many vultures in Scotland, but perhaps you’re impervious to temperate climates?]
        The SNP is no left-Party. They promise to cut taxes on the rich and support the Elite in education.

        In the event of creating a new State, the SNP promise to cut Corporation Taxes – which benefits big shareholders, and to cut Air Passenger Duty which will benefit folks who fly the Atlantic in business class seats. The SNP already gives an extra six years of education to the children of the wealthier families over the poorest families.
        None of those policies and more are in any way “left-wing”. They are simply populist designed to attract the gullible.

      2. smiling vulture says:

        Andrew calling the Scots who elected SNP majorityScottish Parliament gullible,sounds like a strategy to get the electorate voting YES.

      3. Andrew Dundas says:

        Hello Vulture,
        Under no circumstances have I ever described people who actually vote for the SNP (24.9% of registered electors) as in the least bit gullible. If they were the only ones to vote “Yes”, that cause will be lost.

        It’s just that the SNP now hopes to beguile Labour voters in the forthcoming referendum with claims that the SNP has some sort of left agenda. None of the SNP’s policies are in the least bit “left”. The SNP remains as it always has been: Tories in Kilts.

  131. BOB MCCRACKEN says:


    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      Yours is just the sort of argument that’ll get Scottish electors voting “NO!”.

  132. smiling vulture says:

    Andrew here’s a couple left of centre

    Free prescriptions
    Abolition of bedroom tax

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      Well now, vulture, you may have overlooked that the SNP opposed Labour’s proposition that Scotland should use our own funds to compensate losers in the bedroom tax. But the SNP was prevailed upon not to block that measure.
      As for “free” prescriptions – and frozen Council Taxes and bus passes – those mostly favour well-off pensioners like my wife and I. Especially the so-called benefit of frozen Council taxes. Not a “left” benefit at all, because the wealthy like me gain far more than the poor.

      The massive subsidy to the education of the children of our elite classes contrasts with the cut-backs on care for the less fortunate in Scotland. The SNP is the Tories in Kilts. Nothing less.

    2. Andrew Dundas says:

      Hello Vulture,
      There’s no majority save in Holyrood.
      Only a quarter of registered voters in Scotland cast any vote for the SNP. Not much of a mandate, more a rejection of Holyrood and its MSPs.
      Turning to the difficulties of collecting the Poll Tax, those difficulties were entirely of Scots own making. Scots conceived of this so-called “fair” tax and we should take responsibility for the consequences of believing the Scottish media and Scottish MPs.
      It was just another Scottish fantasy that Scots sold to the gullible English.

  133. Sarah says:

    Let me through something in. I don’t believe we should be governed by politicians, central banks and the like. I will be voting yes to independence for Scotland as that’s the only hope of abolishing debt, the political system and ‘power’. Long shot, I agree! But the outcome of a NO vote succeeding scares me, Scotland deserve better.

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      Dear Sarah,
      Many people would share your sentiments. So do I.

      However I also love J M Barrie’s original Story about Peter Pan. Very much. And Tinkerbell.

      None of your prayers are offered in anyone’s plan for breaking up the UK. If you voted Yes and that were the majority, we’d see Alex Salmond’s promises to us being politely rejected by the EU, NATO and the UK. Moreover, neither the IMF, nor anyone else would go along with them.

      But you’d have voted for a breakup you very clearly don’t want: domination by the EU, UK and NATO. Not to mention the dealers of Wall St.

  134. mike says:

    Great article.
    As has been pointed out there are a few other factors driving the Yes argument.
    Democracy is one. Having a vote that counts. Having politicians that are accountable and are not self serving.

    Two things could have happened that would have ensured the Union stayed intact.
    Firstly if there had been a positive vote in the referendum for an alternative vote. That was neatly engineered by Cameron for it to fail.
    Secondly if the option of ‘Devo Max’ had been on the referendum ballot paper. Scotland would have overwhelmingly voted for it. Cameron opposed it thinking Scotland would be too scared in vote voting for a more absolute Independence. I think he may have been wrong.

    Both instances were at the hands of Cameron. The leader of the Union. The leader that will be responsible for the break up of the Union.

    “The prize is a better country”. We may have to thank Cameron for that prize.

  135. smiling vulture says:

    What ever the rights/wrongs poll tax,it was a nightmare to run,collect,costs soared.I remember I went to a bed & breakfast,edinburgh and saw all these community charge bills on doorstep,landlord told me people were putting his place as residence,and didn’t have a clue who they were.

  136. John Hodgman says:

    I left Scotland in the Seventies to escape the rise of Nationalism. I’m going back to live there and would vote Yes if I could. I haven’t changed, the country has. The independence debate over the past year – encapsulated by the hundreds of comments surrounding Jon Snow’s piece – shows that the “Stand up if you hate England” crowd has been well and truly sat on its arse and the land is alive with inspired, thoughtful, caring folk who want something better for themselves and for those still to come.

  137. Lesley says:

    I don’t want to vote yes and would, like many, have voted Devo Max had I been given the option. Not providing it as an option, in an attempt to polarise the vote, is the epitome of what is driving a yes vote and the epitome of what is driving disillusionment with politics in general.

    In my heart I am a ‘no’, I do not want independence and do not want to vote yes but I might well do because I think a no vote would be taken by Westminster as a signal for business as usual, and given the disparity in wealth, the levels of poverty across the UK, the corruption of government and big business, business as usual is not an option.

    The shock that a London based journalist ‘gets it’ is a reflection of how little those with power (particularly in the Southeast) appear to be listening. I am grateful at least one thoughtful journalist does get it and I wish many more had been open to listening to understand, then independence would almost certainly have been unthinkable, and unnecessary.

    1. Andrew Dundas says:

      Two points, Lesley:
      1. Most of the UK is a lot less wealthy than Scotland has been so for 50+ years. That’s partly because Scotland is, on the whole, noticeably better educated than England (Wales & most of N Ireland are pretty well educated too). It’s also because much more government money is allocated by Westminster to Scottish services, and
      2. Whilst our Scottish Parliament has not used the full range of powers available to us, even more has already been legislated for in the 2012 Scotland Act. The chief obstruction to using all our delegated powers is the SNP’s refusal to accept anything less than full break-up of our union. The SNP refusal to participate in devo-max policy making will, no doubt, continue.
      I’ve been in favour of delegation of powers to all the component parts of the UK and don’t doubt that the logic of that approach will prevail. What will not be delegated is our currency union that the SNP wants to both leave and continue. Because sharing a central bank is not feasible.

    2. smiling vulture says:

      I also wanted a Fed Uk,but it aint happening,a NO vote will kill any hopes of new powers.

      That’s why unionists wanted it off ballot paper.

  138. Alex McDonald says:

    An ex-serviceman, I’ve lived in Scotland, twice. I married a scot, and although I’ve had to face up to quite extreme anti English sentiment I can (just) admire them, I’ve still got a lot of Scottish mates but my abiding memories are all tinged with a sad feeling of them hating the English. In England, the natural thought is to dismiss this anti-English sentiment as not really meant. I can assure you all that it is meant!
    As far as I’m concerned they can go now if that’s what they wish, how they can fund it without the engine room of London, I don’t know, nor care. I honestly think that we English will not be out of pocket. Good luck, but there will not be any way back, this is the only chance in history that the SNP will have. Opportunistic doesn’t quite cover it.

    1. darrener says:

      For balance, I’m English, have lived in Scotland for 45 years and have never experienced any hatred.

      Only a fool could possibly think Scotland wants independence because of hatred of the English.

      The posters attitude above probably explains a lot.

      1. Andrew Dundas says:

        Hello Darrener,
        You’ll perhaps not have noticed that Jon Snow referred to a “visceral hatred of Westminster politics”. No-one is suggesting that there is any hatred of English speakers. Mocking – certainly – but that’s a normal human ragging activity and doesn’t constitute any “hatred” for individuals or of other citizens of our UK.

      2. darrener says:

        Perhaps you didn’ t notice I was replying to the previous post.

  139. David Wallace says:

    Alex McDonald, the hatred for England or dislike is due to us constantly being treated as second class citizens…anyone can say how much more we get spent on us or how much of a drain we are….We put a lot more into the UK than we get out of it. As for London being the Engine, it is fed by the oil from Scotland as well as our other major industries…just a shame Thatcher killed the coal and steel works in other places of the UK…Sheffield being one of these.

    We have lots of other incomes to our treasury, well if we get independence…instead of going to Westminister, these include Whisky/Vodka, Technologies–MANY, tourism, and of course our water and agriculture. There are lots more, so dont limit to these or just oil.

    Yes the rest of England/UK would lose out…the flag for one would need to be changed as it is made up, partly of the Saltire, all companies materials and advertisements would have to be changed so that the UK bit did not include Scotland. As for the North of England, it would have much monetry pain put on it by the Westminister government if they do not do a monetry union as the companies who do a lot of trade/selling within Scotland would have to work in 2 currencies.

    Dont hit us with Propoganda, we are used to that from the Politicians and the BBC

    We are a strong people with some of the best minds in the world…we are a nation who would thrive, FACT

  140. Gary Kakoullis says:

    Honestly, I cannot blame the Scots wanting to get away from the spectre of choice of the Cameron/Boris vs UKIP brigade, who sanctimoniously tell the Scots that we are subsidising them, while these English shire parasites really suck money out of London.

    If Scotland goes,bI think London should go too.Like Scotland, in London we don’t like right wing anti EU anti immigrant neocons. Enough of Daily Mail reading elderly uneducated country squires running the country.

  141. H Statton says:

    Walking on a tight rope……Finally the #indyref is really stinging ‘The Establishment’ at Westminster are reeling and sweating profusely. They should have already been doing so for some time now, and stopped, treating Scotland like just another northern constituency for the last ‘x’ number of years. ‘Throw them a bone and they’ll leave us alone for a while’ – that tactic is definitely not going to work anymore – that’s clear (and neither should it).

    As for parading one of Westminster’s most recent ‘prominent’ incantations of modern politics (who just happens to be Scottish), casting his own brand of magic through the Scottish streets; he wouldn‘t have been my choice. He had an awful stint as Chancellor, Prime Minister, lost the 2010 election. As I tweeted to @paulmasonnews, I think sending G. Brown on the ‘NO’ campaign trail is just firing a broken arrow -Pointless. Afterthought is the younger brother of desperation.

    But despite Scotland’s #indyref exploding everywhere across the press, and not only within the UK, but across the world, it has overshadowed a little of just what the other peoples living in the UK think. This is not just a ‘war’ of words/history between England and Scotland, but it represents a much bigger picture which is this: The vast majority of people living in the UK (unless those lucky enough to be born into the purple) is also pretty p*ssed off (!) with the ‘Establishment’.

    Every week we see images of huge protest marches most notably to try and ‘Save the NHS’. NATO, GAZA, Israel, Russian sanctions, Syria, Ukraine, IS…. There are too many to mention. The people of the UK don’t seem too happy whichever bit of the ‘Kingdom’ they are standing in. And that has nothing to do with the #indyref.

    Watch this space…..we will know soon enough. I hope no-one gets burned, and agreements are fair and forthright and collateral damage is minimalized. Everyday people move with the times, even if at first it seems like a little stutter. YES/NO who know?

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