An Evidence Based Case for Scottish Independence

(version 1.0.0 – 21/04/2014)

Michael James Heron http://michael.imaginary-realities.com Twitter: @drakkos, @drmichaelheron

We, who are alive now in Scotland, are offered the grace of sharing in the rebirth of our nation. Compton MacKenzie

The heart’s aye the part aye that mak es us right or wrang. Robert Burns

Table of Contents

An Evidence Based Case for Scottish Independence (version 1.0.0 – 21/04/2014)........................................1 About Me ........................................................................................................................................................................4 Introduction ....................................................................................................................................................................6 Scotland and Self Determination................................................................................................................................7 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Independence isn’t about Braveheart, William Wallace or a hatred for England ................................8 We get the government that England votes for...................................................................................... 13 Holyrood doesn’t solve our problems. ..................................................................................................... 17 Under the current Westminster system, most people have a worthless vote ................................... 19 Labour is no longer the party of working Scots ...................................................................................... 21

Scotland and the Economy ...................................................................................................................................... 25 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Scotland Subsidies the Rest of the United Kingdom............................................................................. 26 What Westminster claims they spend in Scotland isn’t what they ACTU ALLY spend .................... 29 Westminster has lied to Scotland for years about its wealth, and there is plenty of oil left............. 31 Scotland will keep its oil if Shetland or Orkney stay in the Union. ...................................................... 37 The banking bailouts would not have bankrupted us ....................................................................... 40 We get debt, but we can handle it better than the rest of the United Kingdom............................ 43 We’ll be using the pound in an independent Scotland, currency zone or not. ............................. 44 Your mortgages and pensions are safe in an independent Scotland............................................ 48

Scotland and Europe................................................................................................................................................. 51 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. Westminster think we’ll be EU members on Independence Day ................................................... 52 A new state begins without debt.......................................................................................................... 54 We can’t adopt the Euro even if we wanted to.................................................................................. 57 Nobody knows for sure what happens to us with regards to the EU, but we’ll be fine regardless. 58 Losing the EU Rebate wouldn’t be a bad thing ................................................................................. 63 The only real threat to Scotland in the EU comes from remaining in the United Kingdom ........ 65

Scotland and Defence............................................................................................................................................... 67 20. 21. 22. 23. We can afford a Scottish military for a lot less than what we’re paying now................................ 68 Scotland has Westminster over a barrel with regards to Trident. .................................................. 69 Scotland needs a defence capability, not an attack capability ....................................................... 71 Scotland’s defence industry doesn’t need Westminster to survive. ............................................... 73

Scotland and the Media ............................................................................................................................................ 75 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. All news outlets are biased, but we are forced to pay for the BBC. ............................................... 76 The BBC systematically misrepresent those who argue for independence. ................................ 77 The BBC persist in a systematic campaign of bias against independence and the SNP .......... 80 The BBC misquotes, editorialises and misrepresents the words of those they interview. ......... 82 The BBC is the broadcaster of the Establishment and serves its masters well........................... 85

Scotland and Britain .................................................................................................................................................. 86 29. There is no real ‘British’ identity ........................................................................................................... 87

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30. 31.

Westminster doesn’t have jurisdiction over how you feel about your nationality......................... 88 Solidarity hasn’ t worked........................................................................................................................ 89

Scotland and the SNP............................................................................................................................................... 97 32. 33. 34. A vote for independence is NOT a vote for the SNP........................................................................ 98 An Independent Scotland will revitalise all political parties ............................................................. 99 Yes Scotland is a broad church with many views represented. ................................................... 100

The Positive Case for the Union ........................................................................................................................... 102 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. We are not better together economically ......................................................................................... 103 We are not more secure together...................................................................................................... 105 We can be interdependent with independence ............................................................................... 109 A vote for independence is a vote for uncertainty, but so is a vote against independence..... 110 Better Together are lying to you. ....................................................................................................... 112 Better Together is a dirty campaign funded by dirty money. ........................................................ 119

Scotland and a No Vote.......................................................................................................................................... 127 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. A No Vote is not a vote for the Status Quo...................................................................................... 128 Holyrood can’t save us from Tory Privati zation ............................................................................... 131 Don’t believe in the Jam Tomorrow promises of career Westminster politicians ...................... 132 Say goodbye to Devolution. ............................................................................................................... 135 Independence is Inevitable................................................................................................................. 138

What Can I Do?........................................................................................................................................................ 140 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................................ 142 Changelog................................................................................................................................................................. 144 Appendix 1 Me and Better Together..................................................................................................................... 146 References................................................................................................................................................................ 149

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About Me

My name is Michael Heron. I was born in Dundee in 1978. I have spent most of my life in Dundee – I went to school there (Linlathen High School, where the Morrisons now stands ). I did my degree in Software Engineering at the University of Abertay (graduated in 2000). I did my PhD at Dundee University (accessible technology – making it easier for older people to use computers). None of my qualifications are in political science, nor have I been particularly active in politics for most of my life . I’m not a professional politician – I’m an academic. For most of the past two years I was employed as a senior lecturer in Computing at Canterbury Christ Church Univers ity in Kent. I came back to Scotland in March of 2014 to take on a lectureship at Robert Gordon University. In part, this was because 2014 is when we’ll be making the most important decision that the Scottish people will have made in three hundred years . I’d always planned to return to Scotland of course, but the referendum a dded an element of urgency to the issue. In short, I’m just a Scottish guy who believes passionately in an independent Scotland, and I wanted to make a case for independence that di dn’t require anyone to have a degree in politics to understand. This is an argument for independence that is full of facts and figures, but you need do nothing more than fire up a web browser to see the evidence of the things I claim. The weird thing is , up until a few years ago if you had asked me what my views were on Scottish Independence, I would have said ‘yes in theory, no in practice’. I honestly didn’t believe Scotland was in a position to pursue independence, and when asked by a friend at work what my views were, I fell back on two of the old Unionists saws – too wee, and too poor. But, one thing I learned to do during my PhD w as to question my assumptions. I wondered exactly where I had gotten my information on Scotland’s prospects under independence. Since I couldn’t remember I decided to look up the figures to see just how messed up Scotland would be if we became an independent country. The figures didn’t show what I expected. In fact, the more I looked into the issue the less convinced I was that any of my assumptions were correct. My mind slowly but surely came around to the fact that Scotland was not only viable as an independent nation, but that it would be a fairer, more prosperous and more socially inclusive country if we left the United Kingdom. It has nothing to do with Braveheart or hating the English, no matter how our opponents may scream those things . It has everything to do with the future potential of our excellent little country. It’s not about Alex Salmond or the SNP, it’s about taking control of the levers needed to do better with the economic and social resources we have. It’s not about past grudges; it’s about shaping the future. It’s common for people to only seek out information that supports their existing worl dviews. As of fairly recently I’m a paid up member of the SNP, and a member of Academics for Yes. As such my views are often dismissed with ‘you see only what you want to see’. The t hing is I’m a member of these groups because I came to believe in the pr omise of independence. I didn’t come to believe in independence because I was a member of these groups. All those mean things people say about Alex Salmond? Up until a few years ago, I was saying them too. There is no terrible thing that you have said about the SNP that I haven’t said myself. My view changed as I investigated the real evidence. I believe in independence because the facts convinced me I was wrong to think it wasn’t possible or worth doing. As such, I hope you take this case in the spirit in which it was intended – as an honest overview of the situation from someone who was once as sceptical as anyone about our capability to go it alone. But before we get to that, I need to address some things about the document itself. It is a thoro ughly subjective discussion of the issue, which has made numerous people simply dismiss it because ‘Ach, it says evidence based but it’s just one guy’s opinion’. That’s absolutely what it is – one guy’s opinion. Evidence is not proof and the only claim I make of this document is that if you check the links I provide you’ll find the evidence for the claims I am making. I am not trying to argue this is unbiased or an utterly iron-clad case. I do not claim that the facts I cite can be interpreted only one way. This is evidence based because I provide you with the evidence that convinced me. To that end you will notice through this document that I have added references – lots of references. You don’t have to check these if you don’t want to – they only corroborate the things that I say in the text. However, if you’re sceptical of a claim I make, I provide you with the evidence so you can check it

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yourself. I think it’s important that you have the means of doing that, because a lot of the things I say throughout this paper are shocking if you are coming to them for the first time. Similarly, when people tell you reasons why Scotland shouldn’t be independent, I would ask that you make them show their working. If they give you a newspaper article, ask you rself ‘where’s the actual evidence’ ? Remember, everyone who is passionate about this issue has an agenda (including me) – just because someone tells you something, it doesn’t mean that something is true. Demand that they show the evidence for the claims they make. Let’s make the rallying cry of the debate ‘evidence please’. I want people to read this and start to question the assumptions under which they may be working – we’ve been told too many lies over the decades, it’s only to be expected that they w ork their way deep into our national psyche. What I want to put forward here is an evidence based case that says that we are not too poor, we are not too wee, and we are not too thick. I want to show not only that aye we can be independent, but also that aye we should – because it’s the right thing, it’s the bright thing, and it’s the best thing for us.

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Introduction
The Scottish Government’s announcement that a referendum on the issue of Scottish Independence is to be held in the autumn of 2014 2 has led to a significant increase in the volume and intensity of discussion on Scotland’s viability as an independent nation. On the 21 st of March 2013, the date of the referendum th 3 was announced – 18 of September, 2014 . It is a historical day, one that is going to have huge ramifications for the future of our country. There are many sources for information on the topic, and the highly interdependent nature of the UK and Scotland makes it difficult to provide any genuinely accurate figures on the substa ntive issues that matter. That is not to say that there is no information out there - only that the information is often ambiguous and subject to interpretation. With that in mind, this paper is intended to present an accessible case for Scottish Independence, one that is appropriately referenced so that nothing need be assumed as an act of faith. I want to make a case that is sufficiently narrative to make sense without the reader needing to undertake a substantial literature review or do anything more onerous in terms of fact checking than firing up a web page. No reference is made to a resource that people cannot simply look up online because I feel that is the best way to ensure that people take my argument seriously. I am not going to hide behind vague claims or figures plucked conveniently out of the air. I provide my sources and give you the means to easily check them. As I say in the about me section of this document, let’s make ‘evidence please’ the rallying cry in debate about our nation’s future. Having said that, this is intended to be a living document – one that keeps up to date with the debate, and one that addresses the questions people have. The debate around Scottish independence ensures that things move fast, and a document like this must be constantly updated to be relevant. You can get the most up to date version at any time from http://www.scribd.com/doc/134771714/An-Evidence-BasedCase-for-Scottish-Independence. If that’s not available for whatever reason, you will be able to find it at www.imaginary-realities.com/indy.pdf. If you have read an earlier version and would like to know what’s changed since that and the most recent one, you’ll find a change log at the back that gives an ‘at a glance’ overview, I put forward this case into the public debate – it may be freely copied and distributed, provided the appropriate authorship information remains intact in all duplications. If anyone has any issue with the claims made or the references provided to support them, please let me know and I will endeavour to provide more evidence on the topics discussed. You can email me at independence@imaginaryrealities.com, or find me on twitter with the handle @drakkos. If you’re interested in my ‘professional’ life then @drmichaelheron is the account where I tweet about my work and research. I am human, and thus fallible, and occasionally I may write things and forget to add a suitable citation. I will absolutely rectify this if you get in touch with me. I can’t guarantee I’ll reply very quickly, but I absolutely will read what you send and if valid amend the document here accordingly. Please do pass this document on to your friends and relatives, especially those who may feel as if the debate so far is not for them. One of the things we often hear is that ‘we don’t know enough about independence to decide’ – this document hopefully provides enough information to help people choose for which option they will vote. In fact, it might offer too much information in too heavy a container – I plan to serialise it at http://michael.imaginary-realities.com over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out if you want to be able to point people to more easily digested bites. A referendum is not about taking the pulse of a nation. A referendum is about a conversation – it’s about us being presented with a huge constitutional decision and then hashing it out together. As such, a referendum should be about the dialogue – it is in that spirit that I put this document out there.

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Scotland and Self Determination
The enemies of Scottish Nationalism are not the English, for they were ever a great and generous folk, quick to respond when justice calls. Our real enemies are among us, Scots b orn without imagination R.B. Cunninghame Graham The basic, default state of any nation is independent, because independence is what allows for self-determination. That’s the ability of us as a country to be governed by the people that we elect. At the moment, we have very little ability to decide for ourselves how Scotland should govern the matters that affect it. There are few even on the opposite side of the debate who will say that the Union is truly working for Scotland. We see too much evidence day in and day out that it is not for that proposition to be credible. Many believe that the best way to fix the various problems affecting Scotland is to repair the Union. Independence, they say is the easy solution but the right solution is to change the way our Union works. The problem is that there is nothing broken in the Union. The Union is absolutely working as intended, and that is the problem. The Union is working but its goals are incompatible with self determination. It is not possible in our Union to have a nation of 5 million that is joined to a nation of 57 million 4 and to equally stress democracy and self-determination for all parts. There are constitutional arrangements that would allow us to ke ep the Union and also exercise more control over our own affairs, but they have been roundly shot down by all of the anti-independence parties. We’re not getting to vote on anything akin to Devo Max, because the Conservatives 5, Labour6 and the Liberal Democrats 7 have fought tooth and nail to stop that happening. In this section, I will explain that the push for independence isn’t in any way a regressive, anti -English stance. I will explain what little impact your vote has on your eventual political repre sentation. I will show why claims that the solutions to Scotland’s problems are to vote for a Labour government in 2015 are rooted in nostalgia for the past and rely on a Labour party that is no longer existent. The Labour party that your father and his father voted for haven’t been around for a long time. We can have a government that allows us control over our affairs. But the only way we can do it is through independence. Independence, regardless of whether you prefer a more gradualist approach vi a Devo Plus or Devo Max, is the only offer on the table. Luckily, we are in the situation where not only is it the only offer, it’s also the best offer that we are ever going to receive.

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1.

Independence isn’t about Braveheart, William Wallace or a hatred for England

The argument for Scottish independence has been summarily dismissed and slandered by many in the mainstream media. It has been tarred as being rooted in rampant jingoism 8, stemming from fundamental anti-English racism 9 10 11, and propagated by those who have seen Braveheart altogether too many times 12 . Those who believe in Scottish independence have been dismissed as being extremists 13 and delusional 14. We ’re the poison in the heart of Scotland 15 16. The arguments made by the mainstream media and Westminster politicians are breath-taking in their casual willingness to insult the hundreds of thousands who believe in the cause of independence. As Socrates once said: When the deb ate is lost, slander b ecomes the tool of the loser. None of these allegations however are true of the independence movement. They may define individuals within the movement, as any broad-based coalition of people will encompass the devils as well as the angels. That’s as true of Better Together as it is of Yes Scotland . In fact, a recent comment on an Independence related Facebook page I frequent:

How about this despicable one-two from ‘Scottish labour hack’ Ian Smart, who took the opportunity of the First Minister expressing condolences over Scottish deaths as a ch ance to post this awful, offensive 17 rubbish :

Not content with using the death of people to score a cheap political point, he later sparked off a furore with this tweet18 19:

Now, I have to admit I’m pretty impressed at this particular tweet – it’s no t often you see so much offence packed into 140 characters. But let’s break it up a bit – it would be better for Scotland to be ruled by Tories for 100 years than to have independence, and Scots would turn on the ‘poles and the pakis’ come independence failing to deliver its core promises. That is what Institutionalised Labour thinks of you – the only thing that is currently stopping you from turning on foreign born Scots is the civilizing hand of Westminster. It’s amazing in a tweet so short that the racially offensive language isn’t the thing to get most angry about. It is heartening to know his own brother took him apart for this 20, and disheartening to know that former Labour first minister Jack McConnell defended him 21.

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Then there’s the spokesman for Scottish Labour’s leader Johann Lamont, who tweeted the following 22:

So, let’s admit it – both sides have terrible people shouting loudly about old scores, or ‘the uppity, scrounging Scots’ or ‘the bloody English’. Both sides have people who will cap italise on tragic events to score a few petty points in an online argument. These individuals are certainly not more than a tiny minority of the people supporting independence. While I only really come into daily contact with the worst of those who suppo rt the UK, I’m willing to accept that comments like the ones above do not represent the views of the majority of pro-union individuals . That’s true even if studies suggest that you’re far more likely to be abused as a Yes supporter than a No supporter 23. An article in the New Statesman cogently sums up the situation 24: So why do so many unionists persist in trying to tie the SNP to chauvinism? One explanation is that the concentration of the UK's media in the south-east of England means that many political journalists assume that any rejection of London is, as a matter of course, an expression of parochialism and insularity. This attitude is particularly prevalent among commentators associated with the Lab our Party (see David Aaronovitch of the Times and John Lloyd of the Financial Times ). But what they fail to grasp is that 'Celtic fringe' nationalism is not a rejection of London as such, b ut rather a rejection of a constitutional system which, until the advent of devolution, was far too heavily centralised. Indeed, viewed from this angle, the SNP, in its opposition to an unelected upper chamb er and advocacy of popular conceptions of sovereignty, is among the most aggressively modern of all the UK's political parties. The word ‘nationalism’ is something of a swear -word in political dialogue, and understandably so. The national socialism of Hitler and his ilk along with the frothing, spittle-fleck ravings of the British National Party have served to give a stick to those who would wish to beat the supporters of Scottish independence. However, nationalism is a philosophy with a wide spectrum, and it is more proper to think of Scottish Nationalism in the context of ‘civic nationalism’ 25: Lib eral nationalism, also known as civic nationalism or civil nationalism, is a kind of nationalism identified b y political philosophers who b elieve in a non -xenophob ic form of nationalism compatib le with lib eral values of freedom, tolerance, equality, and individual rights. The New Statesman again sums up the position: However, according to Professor James Mitchell of Strathclyde University, these attacks are odds with the reality of contemporary nationalism. In his recent study, The Scottish National Party: Transition to Power, Mitchell argues that the party's understanding of national identity is perfectly consistent with the standards of 21st Century lib eralism. He writes, the SNP is civic in the sense that its policies are among the most lib eral of any party in the United Kingdom on citizenship, emigration and multiculturalism. Additionally, very few of its members would define Scottishness in exclusive ethnic terms. The SNP memb ership accepts a plurality of ways (b eing Scottish)." In other words, for the majority of SNP m embers, Scottishness is something an individual chooses, rather than something he or she has foisted on them b y b irth or through the b loodline. For many, conflating ‘nationalism’ and ‘anti -Englishness’ is simply due to a lack of understanding, or an assump tion of the meaning of the word ‘nationalism’ 26. All I ask of those who may be reading this paper under that misunderstanding is that they seriously consider whether the actual track record of Scottish Nationalism is consistent with their assumptions. So me will refuse to be swayed – I understand that

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although it saddens me greatly that so many are willing to assume the absolute worst without any actual evidence. Those amongst you willing to actually reconsider your prejudices though should find little to substantiate your initial assumptions. Even Arch -Unionists like Professor Adam Tomkins, a man who uses ‘North Britain’ to describe Scotland, has dismissed claims that the Yes movement is tinged with ethic 27 nationalism . There is though a larger strategy at the heart of those in Better Together seeking to conflate Anti Englishness, Braveheart and independence. It’s an attempt to erect a straw -man 28 that is easier to beat. We can all roll our eyes at ‘woad covered patriots’, and if you can make people bel ieve that’s what the movement is about, you’ve just made your task of marginalising it so much easier. These cynical attacks serve to obscure the true core of Scottish independence. It is a striving towards self-determination. This principle, enshrined in international law 29 is the keystone of the movement – that the Scottish people, as a sovereign nation, have the right to choose those who are to represent us. The Scottish people, as a sovereign nation, have the right to choose how our resources are to be managed. The Scottish people, as a sovereign nation, have the right to choose how we behave towards those who are the least supported in society. However, it’s important not to let the Unionists drive the narrative here. Here’s a question to pose t o any Unionist who makes the claim that Nationalism is the exclusive domain of the Yes Scotland campaign: Do you b elieve that Westminster should b e disb anded, and the United Kingdom governed b y the EU? If they answer ‘no’ to that, then ask them: What if Westminster was retained, b ut only as a devolved b ody with limited authority over matters of local importance? Those that would answer ‘no’ to either of those questions are also nationalists – they are just British Nationalists 30 rather than Scottish Nationalists. The basic positions are identical – the only difference is how far authority is ceded and in which direction. The Scottish nationalists want full control over Scotland’s affairs to be handled by Scotland. The British nationalists want control to r emain with Westminster. If you want to see a real display of rampant, all out flag -waving regressive nationalism, have a look at how the UK chooses to commemorate any given national event. The Olympics 31 and the Jubilee 32 were little more than overt displays of aggressive British nationalism. You could also look at how Northern Irish loyalists choose to drape themselves in the Union flag when they feel their nationality is threatened 33?

Of course, when it’s British nationalism it’s accepted as patriotism 34, which is apparently a good thing. Personally, I don’t consider myself a ‘proud scot’ or a patriot. I just want my vote to matter, and the

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national boundaries of Scotland are a convenient place to try to balance ‘value of my vote’ with ‘economies of scale’. Whether or not you find British nationalism to be acceptable is largely irrelevant. The fact is it exists. It is shoved down our throats far more often than the small -minded Scottish patriotism that the enemies of independence would ascribe to thos e who wish to live in a more representative nation. You know things are getting desperate for those hoping to smear supporters of independence as bigots and hate -mongers when a formerly respected newspaper such as the Scotsman can print an image like this 35:

The particular article this appalling image was linked to was an attempt to conflate the Saltire with fascism, and in turn Scottish nationalists with Hitler. But then, this is what their deputy editor has to say about a Scottish MSP:

It’s okay thou gh - Scottish nationalism has been tarred and besmirched by better and smarter people than this. By now we all know that comments like the above say more about the person making them than they do about the intended target. There is after all a certain pe riod by which those without the wit or competence to succeed through ability can muddle through on sheer audacity. Comparisons between the SNP and fascist parties are in the same wide -eyed loon category as the tinfoil hat brigade that believe the CIA are reading their thought waves. If those kind of asinine comparisons actually meant anything, all the supporters for independence would need to do would point out upon which side the BNP36, UKIP37, Britain First38, the National Front39, the Orange Order40 41 and the SDL/EDL 42 are. I’ll give you a hint – it’s not Yes Scotland. If I was going to be really petty, I’d also point out that only one side seems to be obsessed with how Scottish someone is and to what extent it allows them to 43 comment on Scottish independence. For example, Jim McGovern of Labour :

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Does [Mr Davidson] find it somewhat odd that the former England footb all captain, Terry Butcher, will b e entitled to vote in the referendum, b ut Sir Alex Ferguson will not? Ian Davidson’s reply: It is true that not only will Terry Butcher b e ab le to vote and Alex Ferguson will not, b ut according to the Team GB information that we have, of the 11 Scottish Olympic medallists, only one is reported to b e resident in Scotland. If people are good enough to represent Sco tland at the Olympics and win medals on Scotland’s b ehalf, one would have thought that the rules would b e sufficiently flexib le to allow them to participate in the referendum. Or perhaps you’d like to hear David McLetchie, a former Scottish conservative le ader44: So we have it that the Irish, the Poles and the Australians who happen to b e resident in Scotland at the relevant time can all vote on the b reak up of Britain b ut Mr Wallace and many others like him, who were b orn in Scotland and retain a sub stantial Scottish connection, can not. Or Michael Gove, Education Minister for Westminster 45: I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that granny and grandad are foreigners. I don’t want my children to grow up thinking that the country that their dad was b orn in is a foreign land. There are many, many other examples 46. Perhaps the disturbing implications at the core of these arguments are why so many react with visceral horror to their scaremongering hysterics that an independent Scotland would make foreigners of our relatives. The alarm has been expressed by Alistair Darling 47, Tony Benn 48 and Ed Miliband 49 amongst others. Personally, I can’t say that alarms me any – like most people, the concept of ‘foreignness’ doesn’t really apply to the dealings I have with friends and relations. However, that clearly doesn’t hold true for Margaret Curran, Labour Shadow Secretary for Scotland, who admits to being uncomfortable with the idea: I think people do feel the b ig thing would b e, my son for example who went to univer sity in England, I think I’d b e uncomfortab le with the thought that he’s now a foreigner 50. If there is a disturbing taint of ethnic nationalism anywhere, it’s not with the independence campaign. Just think about what the attitudes expressed above imply – that there is a certain blood connection to Scotland that entitles you to special treatment. That’s ethnic nationalism, and it’s the poison in the heart of Better Together’s campaigning on this subject of who is Scottish enough. Yes Scotland has a differe nt, more inclusive stance 51. You’re Scottish if you’re born in Scotland, living in Scotland, or working to make Scotland a better place. We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns 52, as the saying goes. Surveys suggest anyway that we’ll manage to somehow overcome all this dangerous foreignness – 64% of the English and around 66% of the Scots say that we’ll still, generally, see ourselves of a common social union 53. Scottish Nationalism is not backwards and regressive – it’s the only way in which decision making powers are within reach of the people. At the moment, the political levers are too far out of the grasp of the Scottish people, and it’s time to pull them back. That’s what we want from independence.

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2.

We get the government that England votes for

One might argue that given our representation at Westminster and at Holyrood that we already have the right of self-determination. That’s not an unreasonable position to take up, but it is inconsistent with the evidence of the impact that Scottish voters have on representation in Westminster. Some would have us believe that the role of Scotland in the voting process is to act as a counterweight to the conservative voting bloc of the southeast. Our presence in the Union, they argue, is all that is saving the rest of the UK from a lifetime under some kind of Tory Apocalypse 54. This is superficially compelling, but ultimately untrue – there have been 18 general elections since World War 2, and in only three of those elections have the intentions of the Scottish voters had any impact on 55 who held power in Westminster . This is reassuring for Labour supporters worried that backing independence will leave their comrades forever under the blue boots of the Conservatives. However, it is also a shocking indictment about how much self-determination the Scottish people actually have – only three times, since World War II, have our votes made a difference to the national picture. From the wingsoverscotland.com website (http://wingsoverscotland.com/why-labour-doesnt-needscotland), here is a table of the data: Year Outcome Majority Majority without Scotland 143 2 16 61 109 -9 77 55 -50 -8 70 174 154 71 139 129 43 19 Impact

1945 1950 1951 1955 1959 1964 1966 1970 1974 1974b 1979 1983 1987 1992 1997 2001 2005 2010

Labour Labour Conservative Conservative Conservative Labour Labour Conservative Minority Labour Labour Conservative Conservative Conservative Conservative Labour Labour Labour Conservative

146 5 17 60 100 4 98 30 -33 3 43 144 102 21 179 167 66 -38

No Change No Change No Change No Change No Change Labour to Hung No Change No Change No Change Labour to Hung No Change No Change No Change No Change No Change No Change No Change Hung to Conservative

Not once have Scottish votes turned a Conservative government into a Labour government. On only three occasions have Scotland’s votes made a difference to the overall government – one of which was a government with a 4 MP majority, and that only lasted two years anyway. In the last election, it’s true that if we weren’t there then there would have been a Conservative majority. In the end, we got a Conservative government anyway. Even when we did make a difference, we didn’t really mak e a difference. The graph below shows the number of seats gained by each of the main Scottish parties at Westminster since Thatcher56:

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60 50 40 30 20 Conservative Labour Lib-Dem SNP 1979 1983 1987 1992 1997 2001 2005 2010
Never once did Scotland vote in the majority for the Tories during that period, and yet we have been subjected to, at the current count, 21 years of Conservative governments out of 34. The problem here isn’t that we don’t get the government we want (sometimes we do), it’s that our votes in the end make very little difference. We get the government that England votes for. If it were the case that Scotland and the rest of the UK shared a broadly similar set of beliefs and assumptions about politics this issue might not be so glaring. However, the national character of Scotland is predominantly centre-left, whereas the national character of the majority of England is centre-right. There is a full political spectrum between the mainstream political sensibilities of our nations, and the result of this is that fifteen million mostly hard-core conservatives in the southeast of England dwarf our political representation 57. The breakdown of seats in the 2010 elections shows exactly how conservative the southeast of England is 58:

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That’s not a problem that can be fixed with the current arrangement because this outcome is absolute ly

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working as intended. It’s not the case of this document that we are being screwed with regards to our representation because the Union isn’t working. It absolutely is working as intended. It is working exactly as it should – a nation of five million people shouldn’t have a disproportionate impact on a nation of 57 million people. That would be undemocratic. Those who say that Scotland is needed to stop the Tories getting in at Westminster are implicitly supporting the idea that a small country shou ld have the power to disproportionately impact on the representation of another. If England wants to vote for conservative governments, why on Earth should Scotland be able to stop it? We can’t, and even if we could we shouldn’t. To stay in the Union is to endorse this differential in power. If you are happy with your lack of real input into Westminster then it’s fine. Most of us however would like to see our votes making a difference to the people who represent us in government. That can’t realistica lly happen under the Union, and no other constitutional choices are being put before us. It can happen under independence 59. A similar pattern is shown when we look at Scottish voting records versus records in Westminster as a whole. Scotland’s MPs can vo te against a motion but Scotland still ends up having it inflicted upon us as 60 61 is illustrated by the rather striking images shown below . This is not self-determination – it’s a pantomime of it. There is no way that this can be fixed within the Union whilst balancing the requirements of democratic representation. If we were broadly speaking the same country, it would still be a problem but one that we could probably live with. Scotland is a different country with different sensibilities, and the Union does not give us the power we need to govern ourselves the way we might like to be governed. Note too that it doesn’t matter whether or not you agree with what happens in the end – the problem is the same even if you’re happy enough with the actual outcom e. Maybe you are a Conservative voter and you’re happy that it’s going the way it’s going. Remember though the exact same issues are at play the next time Labour are in government. Scotland simply does not matter to Westminster as far as political power is concerned.

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3.

Holyrood doesn’t solve our problems.

What then of Holyrood? Our own devolved parliament is an entirely in-house affair – we elect our MSPs and they control much Scottish policy. Surely the fact that we have two separate politi cal representational bodies (three, if you count the MEPs that we elect) means that we are well served in terms of self-determination? After all Holyrood has devolved responsibility over agricultural and fisheries policy, environmental matters, 62 education, health and social services, law and order, local government, sports, tourism and transport . It’s an impressive list to be sure, but when viewed in comparison to those policy areas that are controlled by Westminster (such as defence, immigration, foreign policy, broadcasting, trade and industry, consumer rights, nuclear energy, social security, etc, etc) they seem paltry63. In fact, Holyrood has authority over 64 around only 33% of Scottish expenditure , and almost no control over tax raising and lowering (a paltry 6 percent of tax revenue is raised in Scotland). Holyrood has often been dismissed as a ‘wee pretendy parliament’ 65 66 67, and despite the fact it has managed to do much with its devolved powers, the vast majority of the tools and levers needed are kept out of its reach, and by extension the reach of the Scottish people. Currently, Westminster retains controls over twenty six economic levers. The Scottish government has control over two currently, with another three to be devolved under the 2012 Scotland Act68. The levers that Scotland possesses often can’t even be used since they have subtle and not so subtle effects that we don’t have the powers to control. The 2012 Scotland Act for example includes borrowing powers for the Scottish government, but retains most of the revenue raising powers at Westminster. Borrowing without being able to control revenue is an immensely risky proposition. In essence, it’s a power that can only really be used by those too irresponsible to be trusted with it. Holyrood has an impressive record with the limited powers that have been devolved. Those who are uninformed about the figures might sneer and say ‘yes, but it’s done with English money’, but that’s entirely false as you’ll see on the section on the Scottish economy. With Holyrood protecting us from the neo-liberal consensus of Westminster, we’ve managed to retain:      Publicly funded university tuition, while it has been savaged in England 69 Some measure of protection for NHS Scotland against the rampant privatization that is scouring 70 the service south of the border 71 Free prescriptions Record police on the street72 73 whilst numbers decline in the south 74 A renewable energy program that provides almost 40% of the UK’s renewables output 75

There is more we can point to and say ‘our parliament did that’, but I think the message is clear – where Holyrood has the power to run things, it has done so better and more in line with Scottish sensibilities. Critics may disagree as to the extent success has been achieved of cours e, but those are political matters. On the whole, people in Scotland are satisfied with how the Scottish government is working – a recent Ipsos-MORI poll showed a net approval rating of 12% 76 (53% are satisfied, 41% are dissatisfied). To put that in context, the net approval rating for Westminster is -41% - that’s NEGATIVE 41% 77. Scots have looked favourably on the work that Holyrood has been doing, because they’re doing it better than Westminster even within the limited powers available . ‘Woah, hold on’ you might say, ‘are you seriously saying that Holyrood is effective? What about the trams fiasco? What about the Scottish parliament building? There’s a reason why we in Better Together keep pointing out this wanton profligacy of overspending and incompe tence’. There is indeed a reason for that, and it’s to make us question our competence as a nation to rule ourselves. But what we need to remember in this is that the trams fiasco was a Labour/Lib -Dem council matter78, and the Scottish parliament building was organised by the Scottish office in Westminster although funded by Scottish taxpayers 79. Those who are opposed to independence seek to conflate ‘failures in Scotland’ with ‘failures by the Scottish government’ and we must not let that happen. Point ing out these kind of things though is the height of rank hypocrisy given as how bad Westminster is at running 80 81 projects . It’s not that Scottish governments will necessarily do things better, although I believe they will. It’s that if they don’t, we’ll have the power within Scotland to elect a replacement government in

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which we have actual confidence. Independence, in the words of Frankie Boyle, is replacing a bunch of bastards we can’t vote out with a bunch of bastards that we can. If you want to see the effect we’ve had on that score with regards to Westminster, allow me to direct your attention to 18 years of Tory rule in the 80s and 90s as discussed above. We are not singularly incapable amongst the nations of the world of managing our own affairs , and let’s not allow the narrative of Better Together to even remotely imply that we are. Of course mistakes will be made in an independent Scotland, because that’s inevitable. The issue is when mistakes are made we’ll have the power, as a nation, to democratically remove those making the mistakes from government if we feel that’s appropriate. There are numpties in Westminster and in Holyrood, but as you can see above – we don’t get to throw the numpties at Westminster out. In the end though, the iss ue of Scottish independence comes down to one single question – who do you want making decisions about the future direction of the country? A vote for ‘yes’ is a vote for self determination – it’s not a vote for the SNP, or for a particular stance towards the EU or to the monarchy. It’s not a vote for the pound or the euro. It’s not a vote for how the revenues for Scottish oil are to be spent. It’s a vote for who will be responsible for electing those who make those decisions – will it be Scotland, or will it be the vastly larger mass of the United Kingdom? A vote for yes is a vote for Scottish people electing Scottish representatives who have full authority over Scottish matters. That is what a yes vote means, and that is all a yes vote means. The yes vote is the vote that means you’ll get a chance to decide how the rest of t he questions are to be answered.

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4.

Under the current Westminster system, most people have a worthless vote

Even if it was the case that under the current arrangements that Scotl and made a difference, the fact is it still wouldn’t matter because most people (all over the United Kingdom) have ridiculously low voter power. Your vote is not worth the same as anyone else’s – if you’re in a safe seat your vote is worth a damn sight less than the vote of someone in a marginal constituency. When I lived in Livingston 82, my vote was worth the equivalence of 0.037 votes because it was an ultra -safe constituency. In Dundee East, my vote was worth 0.973 votes 83. In Livingstone, the average UK voter had 6.67x my voting power. In Dundee, I had 3.85x the average voter’s voting power. Ironically, someone living in Dundee West would have had only 0.216 of a vote, as can be seen at http://www.voterpower.org.uk/dundee-west:

To be fair, this is not a system that is inherent to the United Kingdom, but rather a feature of the way the regions have been drawn up and the consequences of the first past the post voting system. Holyrood elections however are handled in a different way – it’s done through the Additional Member System 84. This is a system that is broadly proportional, maintains strong constituency links, and guarantees that your vote gets counted. It’s not a system without its det ractors of course – no voting system in the world is flawless. However, it does ensure that there is a tighter relationship between the way people vote and how that vote is converted into political representation 85. If you want your vote to actually be worth something, then the current system in Westminster is not serving your requirements. A common theme in this document is ‘what Better Together says, versus what the truth is’. One particularly egregious example of this came during the Westminster ‘deb ate’ on the handing over of referendum power to Scotland. Once again from the excellent Wings over Scotland site 86:

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Votes for Holyrood are more broadly proportionately allocated than in the first past the post system, which means a more democratic system. Your vote always counts in the Additional Member System. Your vote often doesn’t count at all in FPTP.

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5.

Labour is no longer the party of working Scots

A common narrative from Scottish Labour is that the solution to our ills is not independence, but to instead vote for Labour at the next general election. Despite low support in Scotland 87 the Labour narrative is still that Labour is the ‘default party’ of government and that a vote for Labour is a vote for Scotland. By now, you will undoubtedly know where I am going with this. Sadly, in the two party politics of the rest of the United Kingdom, the choices that you have are tremendously limited. The first past the post system encourages monolithic party structures. The political makeup of the population dense centres of England ensures that a party intended to win election must move to the right. An independent Canadian research team put the dispositions of the various UK political parties on the charts 88 underneath:

This shows the concentration of political choice across the country, and more tellingly shows that the difference between labour and the conservatives is not very meaningful. Those that grew up thinking of the Labour party as the party of the working classes may have expected something different. Those who support labour on this basis are pining for a politic al party that doesn’t exist anymore, and hasn’t existed in any meaningful form since 1999. Indeed, the second chart (shown above) from the same organisation shows in very stark terms the drift to the right of Labour and the Liberal Democrats over the past forty years. The 1972 conservative party was determinedly more liberal and slightly more left wing that the Labour party has been since 1999. The drift over the years has been s ignificant, and people can be forgiving for not being able to appreciate just how far the political landscape has changed. In the end though, your choice in a Westminster election is between two slightly different flavours of authoritarian neo -liberalism. That is not meaningful choice even if your vote was worth anything in the national elections. No matter whether you vote for Blue Tories, Red Tories, or Yellow Tories you end up with broadly the same government in real terms. We all know this – we all know that Blair was viewed by Thatcher as a kindred spirit89, and that Norman Tebbit considered Gordon Brown to be the natural heir to Thatcher 90. Perhaps that’s merely ‘opposition propaganda’ – an attempt to paint your political opponents with the thing they most dread. That doesn’t explain though why Ed Miliband himself makes comparisons between himself and the dreaded Iron Lady91 92. It doesn’t explain why Ed Balls refuses to countenance any reversal of taxes or spending cuts should Labour win the next election 93. It doesn’t explain why Alistair Darling looks so at home addressing a Tory conference 94 95. It’s why the bedroom tax will remain regardless of who 96 wins in 2015 . The agendas of the parties are roughly the same. You might get some control over the speed and trajectory with different parties, but don’t fool yourself into thinking you can change the destination.

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At the time of writing, Margaret Thatcher is dead. I say ‘at the time of writing’ because I do genuinely have nightmares where she rises from the grave like the end of level boss in a Nintendo video game. While a certain amount of ‘polite appreciation’ is to be expected on the part of politicians, it’s useful to see how they are summing up the legacy of Thatcher. Tony Blair: Margaret Thatcher was a towering political figure. Very few leaders get to change not only the political landscape of their country b ut of the world. Margaret was such a leader. Her glob al impact was vast. And some of the changes she made in Britain were, in certain r espects at least, retained by the 1997 Labour government, and came to b e implemented b y governments around the world. He is hugely understating the true case of course. Miliband at least recognises that she shifted the country towards the right: She will b e rememb ered as a unique figure. She reshaped the politics of a whole generation. She moved the centre ground of British politics and was a huge figure on the world stage. Ken Livingstone sums it up expertly97: 'She created today's housing crisis, she produced the b anking crisis, she created the b enefits crisis. It was her government that started putting people on incapacity b enefits rather than register them as unemployed b ecause the Britain she inherited was b roadly at full employment. 'She decided when she wrote off our manufacturing industry that she could live with two or three million unemployed and the legacy of that, the b enefits b ill that we are still struggling with today. 'In actual fact, every real prob lem we face today is the legacy of the fact she was fundamentally wrong.' He also said that it was to Tony Blair's 'shame' that he 'broadly carried on' most of her policies. Mr Livingstone added: 'She once claimed New Labour was her greatest legacy and I am not saying she was joking.

John Pilger98 is scathing in his criticism: Her funeral was a propaganda stunt, fit for a dictator: an ab surd show of militarism, as if a coup had taken place. And it has. As another of her b oys, Geoffrey Howe, a Thatcher minister b etween 1979 and 1989, said, “Her re al triumph was to have transformed not just one party b ut two, so that when Lab our did eventually return, the great b ulk of Thatcherism was accepted as irreversib le.” We know it, but the impression that it’s still a betrayal to not support Labour is embedd ed deep in the hearts of working Scots. It’s how many of us were brought up. Stuart Campbell, in a devastating article, highlights the difference in choice you have between the main 99 100 Westminster parties . The answer is – not much . All three parties:        Support right to buy, little to no social housing, and choose to prop up house prices Support tuition fees, with the expectation that these fees will increase Support caps on housing benefit, workfare, and forcing the disabled into the jobs market Support an indefinite presence in Afghanistan and aggressive interventionalism. Plan to retain and eventually replace Trident Do not plan any redistributive tax policies, which will cause an increasing wealth gap Support restricting and reducing immigration

You sho uld read the article, which provides evidence for all of these points. The argument here isn’t that you should vote yes because you don’t like any of these things, it’s that you have no real choice when it

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comes to the policies of the Westminster parties. The reason why they are all so comfortable as part of the Better Together campaign is because they’re all singing from roughly the same hymnal:

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This criticism of Labour is hard to take if you’re a supporter, but let me be clear on what I mean – I don’ t mean that labour voters are essentially Tories, I mean that the party they are voting for has become a Conservative party variation. I don’t believe that the heart of the party in Scotland has shifted. I just believe that the career politicians that rise up the ranks no longer reflect what we would want from a Labour party in Scotland. I want a strong Labour party. I want a strong Lib Dem party. Thankfully there are alternatives that are growing in stature and prominence such as Labour Voters for Ind ependence 102 103 and Liberal Democrat Voters for Independence . What is most striking about these organisation is that they are as frustrated with their parties as the rest of us are. They see independence as the only way that their parties can be freed from the pressures exerted upon them at a national level. They believe independence will result in a truly reinvigorated Scottish political landscape. And I agree entirely.

Ask yourself this – would you have expected a Labour party in opposition, a true Labour party that spoke up for its core voters, would have abstained in the following recent votes:       Retroactively denying victims of government incompetence the right to claim compensation? 104 Banning civil servants from taking strike action?105 On whether or not the Iraq war had been a colossal mistake? 106 On free tuition fees? 107 Against the 50p tax cut? 108 Against pension reform? 109

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That’s not all of them of course 110, but I can fill an entire document with stuff like this and I have other things I want to say. This is a party in opposition, for God’s sake. This is an opposition too weak to do anything to challenge the coalition policies, and the only reason for that is that they refuse to stand up and be counted 111. This is a party that does not represent working Scots. This is a party that has turned its back on its founding principles. This is a party that has turned its back on Scotland. It’s no wonder why even their youth activists refer to the party as a ‘lumbering mess’ 112 and that commentators say that their dull, uninspiring vision for Scotland may kill them as a party following the referendum 113. If it makes you angry that I’ve said that then think about what you’re truly angry at – are you angry at me for pointing it out, or the fact that it’s there to be pointed out at all? If you are a hard core labour supporter, Labour for Independence is a movement that more accurately mirrors the original values of the party. How can Labour claim to be the party of working Scots when one of their MPs will happily cost the UK taxpayer £27,000 because the expenses committee wouldn’t refund a £24 train ticket 114? That’s not a public servant. That’s a snout in the trough, and it’s what Westminster politics permits and condones 115. What about when a respected member of your sister party chooses to come out for Independence and she’s hounded out of her office 116? What about a party that will look to institute increased taxes at a time 117 when families are already straining ? Is that really the Scottish Labour you want to see? Come independence, after the failure of Scottish Labour to work for Scotland during the referendum, you know where the future leaders of the party are going to be found – it’s in the Labour for Independence movement.

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Scotland and the Economy
I have long said to myself, what are the advantages Scotland reaps from this so called Union that can counterb alance the annihilation of her independence and her very name? Robert Burns That’s all well and good, but surely Scotland is too financially unsound to go it alone? Aft er all, we’ve heard it repeated ad infinitum over the years – Scotland is too wee, too poor, and too stupid to be feasible as an independent nation. Self-determination is all well and good, but the question is – can we afford the luxury of having a voice in our own destiny? Can we afford the infrastructure of a country? After all, don’t we get heavily subsidised from down south? Aren’t our free prescriptions and tuition fees funded by the extremely generous English? No, they’re not. In fact, the subsidy goes very much the other way – not only do we subsidise the rest of the United Kingdom, we get called scrounging Scots for the privilege. Scotland can in fact become one of the richest countries on the globe with independence 118 119 120.

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6.

Scotland Subsidies the Rest of the United Kingdom

For decades and decades, we in Scotland have been subjected to the idea that we are subsidy junkies. That we enjoy a lifestyle that is out-with our means because we are disproportionately favoured by the Barnett Formula – that’s the formula that allocates the money that is to be spent on Scotland as part of the national budget. We get £1600 more in state funds spent on us than the English get 121, although that figure has been as much as £2200 in other years 122. This subsidy, so goes the argument, is the reason why we can afford to have free education and prescriptions. Those in England are paying for us to have 123 these things, and we should be scrapping it in favour of something fairer . In an independent Scotland, the incom e tax rate would have to rise by 11p in the pound to fund our overhead. We’re a race of scrounging Scots. We’re living in Skintland 124, and were we to vote for independence we’d end up in a financial apocalypse the likes of which we can scarcely even imagi ne. Self determination, goes the argument, is something we’re too wee, too poor and too stupid to have. It’s a devastating critique of our nation’s finances, but as with most things that come from the anti independence crowd it is all but an entire fiction spun from half-truths. The actual truth of the matter is all but impossible to state with any kind of certainty, but we can look at how the figures are calculated as well as what the figures say and come up with a dramatically different interpretation o f Scottish wealth. As leading economist Andrew Hughes -Hallett puts it, Scotland subsidises the rest of the United Kingdom 125. First of all, the Barnett formula fails to take into account that 90% of the geographical allocation of North Sea oil falls within the boundaries of an independent Scotland. In 2011 -2012, total expenditure for Scotland by the UK government came to £63.8 billion – that’s 9.3% of public sector expenditure for around 8.4% of the population. However, an accounting trick of the UK govern ment is to separate out north sea oil revenues so that it can be calculated properly according to the five regions of the UK. Five regions? Oh yes, we have Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, England and the United Kingdom Continental Shelf126. The latter is where the North Sea oil revenues get allocated. Since 90% of that really belongs to Scotland, then that brings Scottish revenue to £53.1 billion. That’s a budget deficit (4.4% of GDP), but that’s in comparison to the UK’s budget deficit (even includi ng North Sea oil) of 6.6% of GDP 127 128. So, far from being a nation of subsidy junkies, we actually contribute more to the country than the average across the entirety of the UK. This is a fact that is starting to become so obviously true that the media cannot help but acknowledge it129 130. There is a reason why Westminster is so militant about keeping Scotland in the Union, and a large part of it is that we give a lot more than the rest of the country. The Better Together campaign makes a big deal about poi nting out that the amount of spending versus the amount of tax are percentages on different numbers, and when you look at it in raw terms that Scotland still gets more than it raises. That is absolutely true, but the important thing here is that is true of the entire country, it’s what we mean when we say ‘deficit spending’. Almost every country in the world, by this logic, is a subsidy junkie. Look at how Better Together put this particular argument in graphical form:

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If we want to be perfectly hones t about it, we’d phrase it as ‘Scotland is less worse off than the rest of the UK’ rather than ‘Scotland is better off than the rest of the UK’. In either case it’s true – Scotland is in a better financial position than the rest of the UK, and thus we con tribute proportionally more than others. We are not subsidised, we subsidise . In fact, the latest GERS figures 131 show that we subsidise to the tune of £842 a year per person. That’s money that we could be spending ensuring a firm economic basis for the future. Bear in mind too that these figures are based on a comparison to UK Averages with North Sea Oil. The relative difference would be even starker if we subtracted the 100% of North Sea Oil that currently gets added to the UK balance sheet. In the meantime, the Scottish economy is left to flounder because of Westminster intransigence on releasing capital funds for Scottish investment 132 despite the fact Scotland sees virtually no benefit from the hundreds and hundreds of millions we are paying towards ‘national’ projects – more on this later. Even despite that, Scotland’s economic recovery is outstripping that of the UK as a whole 133 134 – we’re better placed to manage our own affairs than Westminster, and even with the limited fiscal tools available we are doing better. Just imagine how much better we could do with a Scottish government that understands the Scottish people? The following table is taken from Reform Scotland’s report entitled Scotland’s Economic Future, and is 135 drawn from page 39, which co ntains the chapter ‘GERS: Where Now?’ by Jim and Margaret Cuthbert , two leading economists:

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To quote the authors directly: The figures illustrate how Scotland, including its geographical share of offshore revenues, has b een in b alance or surplus on its current b udget for four of the last five years – while the UK as a whole has b een in deficit. On the overall net fiscal b alance, Scotland has had a larger deficit than the UK in only one of the past five years. There is also much missing income from Scotland on the budget sheets due to the way that revenues get calculated. The Crown Estate in Scotland for example collects the fees for electricity generation which 136 then get credited to London . Companies operating in Scotland but headquartered in London ha ve their taxes credited to London, The way in which the figures are calculated generally show a great deal of the wealth Scotland actually generates being effectively ‘hidden’ off the books ’137. All of this relates to a Scotland operating under primarily Westminster control. It represents then a starting point for understanding what Scotland generates in terms of wealth – not what we actually would be spending and earning. In an independent Scotland, we’d make different spending choices. Our financial pos ition is strong – even pensions are assured in an independent Scotland because they’re more affordable than the 138 majority of EU15 countries . The message is clear – when our share of oil is taken into account, we do much better than the rest of the UK as a whole. When our oil isn’t taken into account (as it is now when figures such as provided by the Barnett formula are used), we are still a perfectly viable nation139. Oil is a bonus for our economy, it is 140 not a basis for the economy. Our GDP would roughly match that of the rest of the UK without oil , but we are told again and again and again that we’re too poor to go it alone. It is trickery like the above that allows for us to contribute more than others in the Union whilst still being branded as subsi dy junkies. Similar tricks allow for the true extent of the cost of London to be hidden so that it looks like the economic powerhouse of the nation 141. In fact, after London (with its trickery) Scotland with its share of North Sea Oil is actually the highest performing region in the UK with regards to Gross Value Added 142 - that is to say ‘the value of goods and services produced in an area’. We will do very nicely for ourselves under 143 independence. Considering too how George Osbourne’s austerity agenda has damaged the country , the real question is ‘can the rest of the UK afford to survive without Scotland’. I’m sure they can, but let’s not fall for the old lie that Scotland is the poor relation within the UK.

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7.

What Westminster claims they spend in Scotland isn’t what they ACTUALLY spend

The figures actually shake out a good deal better than even this, because while in the previous section I disputed the narrative of what we produce, it turns out the true narrative regarding what we get is somewhat different as well. The spending that is counted as ‘Scottish Expenditure’ is not spending in Scotland. It is spending on Scotland’s behalf, and a lot of that spending is done elsewhere in the UK. Of the roughly 3.3 billion spent ‘on Scotland’s behalf’ for defence for example, only two of those are actually spent in Scotland 144. That is to say, we give Westminster 3.3 billion, and in return two of those get spent in Scotland. Some of the rest goes to support shared infrastructure and such, but the fact is a pound spent in Scotland is better for Scotland because it generates jobs and those jobs generate salaries which can be taxed. Those salaries stimulate demand in the local area as people spend their money in the supermarkets and shops around them. Essentially a 1.3 billion subsidy goes to England to help raise taxes for the ledgers of London and the south east. We’re not, strictly speaking, being ‘cheated’ out of that money – it’s just that money is of more benefit to the rest of the UK than it is to us. Under independence, assuming equal expenditure on defence, all of the related benefits of that spend would accrue, properly, to Scotland. We’ll talk about defence spending again later. In a similar but more self-serving vein, money is spent ‘on Scotland’s behalf’ for ‘national’ projects such as the upgrade of the London sewer system 145, the London Olympics 146 147, HS2 148, Crossrail 149, and so on and so on. Each of these national projects should generate what are known as Barnett Consequentials – when money is allocated to the devolved regions automatically on the basis of public investment in England. That only happens though when projects are not marked as ‘national’ projects – those are defined as projects with applicability to each of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom. A project to roll out fast broadband nationally would be a national project. In such circumstances, no Barnett Consequentials are awarded because the expectation is that the investment is to the benefit of all parts of the country. Excep t, of course, it’s not all parts of the country – even when there is a future, possible benefit to Scotland, we still often lose out. Aberdeen and Dundee are projected to lose out very significantly as a result of HS2 for example because they’ll lose dire ct links to London 150. But it’s okay, I’m sure we couldn’t have done anything better with that £316m a year than make London richer. It’s hard to see how this designation of ‘national project’ too fits the London Olympics. Nobody yet knows how much the Olympics have cost, but estimates range between 11 billion 151 and 24 billion 152. The Barnett formula would entitle us to around between £950 million and £2.016 billion in terms of consequentials. That’s not factoring in the damage that they did to Scotland’s t ourism 153 or the money 154 that was diverted away from Scotland to support London’s Games . We didn’t get the money we should have, and we were deprived of money that we would otherwise have had as well. Virtually all of that money save for a few million here a nd there, have been invested in London 155. Virtually all of the revenue save for a few million here and there, was collected by London. And yet, we in Scotland have paid for it because it’s part of the national expenditure. However, some vague claims w ere made regarding improvements for Scotland in terms of tourism which of course failed to manifest 156. We paid a big chunk of the bill to subsidise London’s games, as did most of the UK. The Commonwealth Games by comparison (due to be held in Glasgow in 20 14) are funded by the Scottish government (paying around 80%) and Glasgow City Council 157. It’s a national project when it benefits London. It’s a local project when it doesn’t. Similarly, the upgrade of the London sewer system should have generated aro und £400 million in Barnett consequentials 158 but a shameless trick in the way the funds are allocated has robbed Scotland of that

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money. That’s money we paid in towards this upgrade, but now can’t get out even though it doesn’t benefit us. High Speed 2 currently does not go to Scotland and is unlikely do to so until 2024 at the very earliest (assuming the political will in twelve years even wants to make that investment) and yet we have paid for the installation of the line. It’s not all huge national pr ojects though that have resulted in us having money removed – in 2002 the Westminster government cut off the attendance allowance for elderly Scots, at a total cost of £270m over the past ten years 159. This isn’t just sour grapes – it’s basically robbery o f one nation by another. It is especially galling when you consider that a comparatively meagre request for £300 million in capital funding for Scotland was snubbed by the Westminster government 160. We can’t even get fractions of this money back, much less all of it. We are subsidising the richest parts of the country while unable to spend our own money on our own needs 161. One thing is sure - we actually pay in a lot more than we officially pay into the union, and what we officially get out of the union is a lot less than what we actually get out. Finally, this is all based on current spending – I will leave you in this section with a quote from the 162 Guardian, quoting an Institute of Fiscal Studies report : The think tank's data shows that a couple with children, where one parent works, will b e worse off b y £3,995.65 a year on average after the tax and b enefit changes introduced since 2010. Average households will b e worse off b y £891 a year. And to help you visualise the impact of this, here’s a graphic fr om the Daily Record that shows the breakdown for Scotland 163:

That’s your choice, economically speaking as an average working adult - £840 better off a year, or £480 worse off a year. There’s a reason why David Cameron is blocking the publication of stat s on the wealth 164 gap in the UK, and it’s not because they do a lot of credit to the cause for staying in the Union . 165 Inequality in the Union is rife , and it’s only getting worse. Independence gives us the levers we need to correct that.

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8.

Westminster has lied to Scotland for years about its wealth, and there is plenty of oil left

Oil has been so core to the economic credibility of an independent Scotland that it seems almost unbelievable that nobody asked the question ‘just how rich would Scotland be if s he were to be 166 independent and in possession of those oil fields’? An article from the Independent reveals the existence of a document that has been known to independence supporters for years – the McCrone report. McCrone was asked to outline the state of wealth of an independent Scotland shortly after the oil was discovered: Thirty years ago, Professor McCrone answered that very question and his conclusions shocked his political masters. What to do when it turns out that you don’t like the answer? You bury the evidence. In the case of the almost legendary McCrone report, you bury that evidence for thirty years. Consider this extract - when talking about the Scottish economy, it says: The country would tend to b e in chronic surplus to a quite emb arrassing degree and its currency would b ecome the hardest in Europe, with the exception perhaps of the Norwegian kroner. 167 One report is hardly evidence of a sustained conspiracy of course, regardless of how long it was locked away. But we could ask Dennis Healey, former chancellor of Labour, for his thoughts on it. Luckily, someone has done just that for us 168 169! I think we did underplay the value of the oil to the country b ecause of the threat of nationalism b ut that was mainly down to Thatcher. We didn’t actua lly see the rewards from oil in my period in office b ecause we were investing in the infrastructure rather than getting the returns and really, Thatcher wouldn’t have b een ab le to carry out any of her policies without that additional 5 per cent on GDP from oil. Incredib le good luck she had from that. And on Westminster’s frantic battle to keep Scotland: I think they [Westminster politicians] are concerned ab out Scotland taking the oil, I think they are worried stiff ab out it. The late Margo MacDonald, MSP and former SNP MP, recalls a conversation she had with the same 170 man : ‘Excellent. Watertight. The Octob er Three Banks’ Review b acks up your argument. I shall, of course, oppose the SNP’s plans for oil with every political weapon I need to prevent Scottish i ndependence.” I’d just b een sub jected to an intellectual amb ush and I felt like a wrung out rag, b ut I’ve never forgotten those remarks made to me in the House Of Commons Members’ Dining Room, 40 years ago this Novemb er, b y Denis Healey, one of the b iggest b easts in Westminster. It has absolutely been the policy of the government to hide the true extent of Scottish wealth from everyone, but most especially from the Scottish. The hiding of this report, and other shady manoeuvres 171 such as re-designating consi derable amounts of Scotland’s territorial waters as English , have been part of a long-term concentrated campaign to undermine the economic case for an independent Scotland. The line shown below is known as the ‘median line’ which shows the borders as de fined after devolution.

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As Professor David Scheffer says 172: I don't think London should b e under the assumption they automatically have the median line they should not even have to negotiate it. I think that would b e a serious mistake b ecause Scotland could ultimately b ring this to the international court of justice and perhaps prevail there with a different line "To complicate the matter slightly, in 1968, there was another line drawn from the b order straight across the North Sea and that was for civil and criminal court prob lems. North of that line Scottish law prevailed and south of it English law prevailed. "You might say we should use that line. The interesting thing is, from the economic point of view, it does not make much difference b ecause there are just a handful of fields, and not very important ones now, b etween the median line and the line north of Berwick. There is no seriously credible claim that we won’t get a geographic share of our oil – the only negotiation is whether it is the boundary line or the median line which will define our waters. Some argue that we then need to worry about the considerable decommissioning costs later on down the line. However, as some industry insiders have pointed out173: It is a fundamental principle of the decommissioning regime that a person who is responsib le for developing or operating an offshore installation/pipeline should also b e responsib le for decommissioning at the end of its useful life. The Department will therefore charge Industry a fee for approving and revising offshore (oil and gas) decommissioning programmes rather than passing the costs onto the taxpayer which is in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle of environmental law. It’s not our cost to bear, in other words. What then of the value of oil as a national asset? It is after all a finite resource and it can’t fund Scotland’s economy forever. That is absolutely true, but there is no truth in the claims that the oil is on the verge of running out174 175 176. I wish there was some truth to it – Scotland is perfectly viable as an independent nation without it, and I might find it easier to find a house to buy in Aberdeen if it wasn’t for the fact there’s this constant investment and reinvestment ongoing. There are still 30 or 40 years of oil left in the fields 177 178, if not more 179 180. It is not an unlimited resource, but it’s one with at least one and a half trillion pounds worth of oil left – and that is based on industry estimates which, out of economic self-protection, err on the side of caution181. It’s important to realise

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that is the wholesale value and not how much will accrue to Scotland, but a significant amount of that in the order of hundreds of billions will be raised by Scotland in the form of levies on the fields, taxes on salaries and so on. If you are wondering just how much money North Sea Oil is actually worth to the UK, then this chart will show you 182:

‘Woah hang on’, I hear you say. ‘Okay fine, I’ll give you that the oil isn’t running out but surely you won’t 183 deny that the price is volatile and going down? After all, that’s what the Office of Budget Responsibility says! And just look at your chart – choppy as all get out’.

The volatility of oil is a huge plank of the Better Together campaign to convince us we can’t affor d independence. They are at least on firm footing here when they say that the OBR project significantly lower revenues from oil over the next few years. However, once again, this is a misrepresentation that conveniently misses out the broader picture. L et’s leave aside the fact that OBR figures are generally speaking completely laughable in terms of reliability184 185 and take them at their word. The fact is they are an outlier in terms of estimates. This year has shown a record increase in investment in oil186 187, which companies don’t do if they think there isn’t going to be a reward. Six separate estimates on oil 188 revenues are out there, as shown on this chart :

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You’ll notice here two things – one is that the OBR projection is the only one that predicts a fall in value. The other thing is that five other estimates project a rise. It is the average of the five other figures that the Scottish government base their projections upon as the track record of the OBR is terrible in almost everything they do. Remember the McCrone report, and remember the OBR is an organisation set up by our current coalition government. Don’t be fooled again. It is worth noting here too that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have forecast something substantially different – that the price of oil will rise to between $150 and $270 over the coming decade, with a baseline figure of $190. That would put the value of Scottish oil at between £2.25 trillion and £4 trillion 189. Of course, that’s wholesal e value – but in terms of tax revenue coming into Scotland that would be a gigantic boon. Remember, the Scottish Government forecast around $100 dollars a barrel – almost half of what the OECD suggest is likely to be the average . It is true that oil is a volatile resource and prices can go down as well as go up. But it’s a diminishing resource that has increasing demand as the developing economies start to require more and more. There will be lean years as far as oil price goes, but nobody in the world i s under the impression that oil volatility doesn’t exist. All that means is that we need to design the economy around the ability to absorb volatility. It’s true again that a large part of the Scottish GDP would be based on oil – but it would be considerably less than the proportion of Norway and they’ve managed to build up a £400bn sovereign wealth fund to 190 cushion volatility . Volatility is a manageable trait of an economy, if the will is there to do it. If the money from North Sea Oil up to 2008 has been invested into such a fund, the UK would be sitting on one of around £450bn now 191. Imagine that – living in a country where the biggest problem is too much money192. The idea of cushioning volatility might seem like economic doublespeak, but the princip le is very simple – imagine for example you’re a self-employed joiner. The money you have coming in of a month is dependent on how many jobs you do. Some months might be very busy – you might make thousands and thousands of pounds and be run off your feet. Some months might have nothing – all you’re doing is sitting at home Googling yourself for the lack of something to do. Some months you may have £6k coming in. Others you might have £150. In other words, your income is volatile . Plenty of people m anage to deal with this, because the solution is trivial. When times are good, you build up a surplus and you spend only what you can reliably produce on a monthly basis. When times are bad, you use the surplus. In this way you even out all of the spike s, peaks and troughs. That is what it means to cushion volatility – there’s nothing difficult or mystical about it. We’ll come back to this particular topic later when we talk about Better Together and their misinformation campaign… If you’re still worried about the volatility of oil, there’s another aspect Better Together conveniently fail to mention – if the oil price does drop as significantly as the OBR project, you’ll be paying a lot less for petrol

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at the pump. The UK government managed to use an in credibly, laughably, almost moronically pessimistic projection of $20 a barrel as the basis for an official document assessing the cost of an independent Scotland 193. They managed to come up with the terrifying figure that independence would cost each of us a whole extra pound a year 194. That is still, you have to admit, us being worse off. But, you know what it would mean for prices at the pump? You’d be paying 40p a litre compared to around £1.39 now. Even in the worst case scenario, if you have to fill a petrol tank with a litre and a bit of petrol during the year you’d be better off. If you fill a 35l petrol tank, you’d be paying £14 versus £47.25. Fill the tank once and you’re over 32 quid better off. Oil volatility cuts two ways, and low oil prices are not necessarily bad. Still, that’s the figures that the UK government officially estimate, isn’t it? $20 a barrel? Actually, no – for 2017-2018 (the end point of the diagram above) they estimate between $97 and $140 195, with a central point of $120 wh ich puts it in the midpoint of industry estimates above. You’ll notice too that the central point keeps on rising year on year.

Oil and Gas UK has this to say : While production may fall again slightly this year to 1.45 – 1.5 million b oe per day, thanks to the recent surge in investment a significant upturn can now b e predicted over the next three to four years, rising to approximately two million b oe per day b y 2017 with significant b enefits for the UK economy. By way of example, the projects approved in 2011 and 2012 alone will over time produce more than two b illion b arrels of oil and gas, generate £100 b illion value for the economy and an additional £25 b illion in production taxes for the Exchequer. Not only do they have much more optimistic figures for the value of a barrel, even the governor of the Bank of England believes that we are looking forward to a new boom in North Sea Oil 197. Don’t be fooled again – the people to believe are the ones investing hundreds of millions into the extraction of oil, b ecause they are in every sense putting their money where their mouth is. That’s why oil companies are investing into the Atlantic too - £330m of recent investment into a Scottish oil source that may very well rival that of the North Sea in decades to come 198, with BP adding £4.5bn of their own 199: Analysts b elieve that Clair - along with other developments in the area - could lead to the Atlantic overtaking the North Sea as the UK's b iggest oil-producing region within 20 years. Better Together and Westminster tell Scotland the oil is running out. They tell us that we shouldn’t count on getting our legal rights to the oil under independence. What they say to the industry is entirely different, with Vince Cable recently admitting both the rising oil projections and the Scottish right to our territorial waters 200. Similarly Mr. Hayes, UK energy minister, has this to say201: My hon. Friend is ab solutely right: North sea oil and gas have a long and b right future. He may not have seen the report from Oil & Gas UK —as you may not have done, Mr Speaker —b ut it

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states that we are seeing the highest investment in UK offshore oil and gas development on record. The Government, too, are doing their b it. The b rownfield allowances have encouraged that investment, and this is ab out growth, job s and skills, as well as energy. I look forward to a b right future in the North sea for the United Kingdom and all those who work in that wonderful industry. North Sea oil’s prospects are rising in line with record investment 202 203. Along with this rise come extra jobs (perhaps 95,000 204 of them) and opportunities for those working within the industry205. As recently as the 13 th of April 2013 , the Telegraph reported ‘Record rise in North Sea oil and gas expected’ 206. Even 207 now, new fields are being dis covered and companies are reaffirming their economic interest in the 208 region . The This Is Money website says the following 209: Now, as the shifting sands of UK oil duty settle into place, the industry is expecting several years of lacklustre investment to give way to a mini-b oom. What is important is not that we have thirty or forty years of prosperity to come, but that we can invest the revenue from this finite resource into sustainable energy and other industry210. Denmark, Kuwait, Alaska, Alberta and Lebanon have created sovereign wealth funds 211 rather than 212 squander their national treasure . Scotland could do the same to ensure that when the oil finally does run out, we don’t find ourselves in dire financial straits. Indeed, the creation of such a fund i s Scottish government policy213, and the fact that such a fund doesn’t already exist is baffling to leading 214 economists . The UK stands alone in the world as the only country with major oil and gas reserves but with no wealth fund 215 216. The UK has squandered North Sea Oil, and an independent Scotland wouldn’t make the same mistake.

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9.

Scotland will keep its oil if Shetland or Orkney stay in the Union.

One of the arguments made too about the oil in an independent Scotland is that, should the Orkney and Shetland islands exercise the independence opt-out they have agreed with the SNP 217 that Scotland would be left financially broken. After all, ‘it’s not your oil, its wir oil’ as Tavish Scott has claimed 218. The claim that we’re dependant on oil is untrue. We are a viable nation without the oil in the North Sea. Happily though it’s not actually an issue if Orkney and the Shetland islands chose to remain part of the United Kingdom – United Nations law is very clear on how maritime borders are to be drawn up.

Not only would we get likely back the waters that Westminster re -designated 219, but the extent to which the Orkney and Shetland islands would command water around their borders are defined through the rules for ‘enclaves’, which is to say land that belongs to one nation within the territorial waters of another nation 220. This is defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 221 - it is a matter of international law as to which nation territorial waters belong, and the north sea oil in any case be longs geographically (over 90% of it) to Scotland. This is true whether or not Shetland and Orkney retained their current constitutional arrangements, or adopted a looser ‘crown dependency’ relationship with the United Kingdom. Enclave rules apply in all cases. The chart below shows the location of the borders in relation to these set boundaries:

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These maps show the territorial boundaries of the country should Orkney and Shetland opt -out of independence. Their enclave status is show by much smaller territorial boundaries within the larger territorial boundary of an Independent Scotland. The same thing holds true in the unlikely event that Orkney and Shetland separated off to be part of Norway. Similar threats have been made by Westminster lords with regards to Rockall 222, but the same legislation has provisions for that too. If an island cannot support human habitation or economic life of their own, they control no economic zone or continental shelf. Full independence for Orkney and Shetland woul d be a different story, but there is no movement for that within the islands. Should they choose to exercise their rights to self determination after Scotland has gone independent, we will have the power to make sure that their grievances are aired and resolved. It would seem too that there is no significant desire for Orkney and Shetland’s independence in any case – a recent Press and Journal poll put support for breaking away from Scotland at a total of 8%, with 10% don’t knows 223. And generally speaking, Orkney and the Shetlands consider themselves pretty Scottish in comparison to the British component of their idenitties 224.

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It would be a cultural tragedy for the rest of Scotland if the islands wished to opt-out of an independent nation, but there would be no negative economic impact with regards to our geographical share of the oil. I certainly hope that we can count Orkney and Shetland as part of an independent Scottish nation. I would hope that the greater agility of a smaller, more progressive government would be able to address what lingering concerns they may or may not possess. It would be hypocritical to deny them the same rights to self-determination that I assert so strongly for the rest of Scotland. The fact is that it’s Scotland’s oil, and it stays that way no matter the small-minded agitation of unelected Tory peers, marginalised Lib Dem talking heads and professional malcontents. It stays that way no matter how our ‘better together’ partners would seek to undermine the economic heal th of an independent Scotland.

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10. The banking bailouts would not have bankrupted us

Okay, that’s all fine but what about the financial crisis? How could Scotland possibly have afforded to bail out the Scottish banks? That cost an arm and a leg, and Scotland would surely have had to shoulder that burden alone. So come on, how could we have afforded that? After all, Better Together gives a pretty damning overview of this:

Now, later on in this document I’m going to spend a bit of time dissecting exactly why you can’t trust Better Together – but there’s one pretty nice example here. Notice that horrifying looking 1,254% - look how big it is in comparison to the UK sector assets! 1254% is 2.54 times 492%. An honest chart would show the circles with that same proportion. Better Together are not an honest organisation though – the circle they use to represent an independent Scotland’s asset proportion is 9.84 times the size of the UK one. It’s subtle, but don’t think it’s not intentional and don’t think it doesn’t have an impact. Anyway… This is a ‘have you stopped beating your wife yet’ question, because in an independent Scotland the decision as to whether or not to bail out the banks would have had to have been made separately on the basis of affordability, feasibility and political sense. I am not saying that Scotland would have decided differently, just that the assumption we would have decided the same is entirely baseless. It’s likewise baseless an assumption that in an independent Scotland t he banks wouldn’t have been effectively regulated. Maybe they would have, maybe they wouldn’t, but we don’t know so the question has no value. It does come up from time to time though, so let’s look at it. First of all, regardless of the name above the d oor, they are not ‘Scottish banks’. They may be headquartered in Scotland, but 90% of their operations are and were conducted in England, and by international convention bailouts are shared out in proportion to the areas of activity 225. The chart above fro m Better Together essentially says that ‘all of the business done by the Scottish headquartered banking sector conducted in the UK is part of the Scottish economy’. Internationally respected economist Andrew Hughes-Hallett points out the fundamental nonsense of the perception that they were Scottish banks that were being bailed out: This decision was not taken to protect either RBS or HBOS, nor specifically the Scottish markets, b ut to protect the financial stab ility of the UK financial system as a whole Many of those (RBS) sub sidiaries operate out of London and only out of London. I don’t think you can, simply, look at it purely on the b asis of where, as you point out, the b rass plate of the 226 holding company is.

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Isn’t it funny though how the banks only rea lly became Scottish after they failed? Much like with Andy Murray and success at Wimbledon 227, Scottish successes are British successes, Scottish failures are Scottish failures. As Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp puts it228: The b anks were wholly regulated from London. They were only allowed to change the way they lend money b y the Westminster Parliament who were following the neo -classical economic strategy of little or seemingly no regulation, and a no limits on lending strategy as long as the loan is secured against an asset. The joint architect of this economic strategy that helped to collapse the glob al economy was Alistair Darling now the leader of the ‘No’ campaign. 90% of RBS and HBoS UK employees were b ased outwith Scotland so 90% of employers income tax was paid to Westminster, and not counted as Scottish or Scottish Government revenue. Likewise 90% of the b anks national insurance contrib utions were paid to Westminster and not counted as Scottish. 80% of the losses of RBS, for example, were generated from the b ank's London b ased operations. The expectation that the rest of the United Kingdom would share the cost of the bailout is directly proportional to the amount of economic benefit that the rest of the UK sees fro m the operation of these banks. That benefit is considerable. Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom would have worked 229 together to a common goal , as is the precedent in most of the other occasions where this kind of thing has happened. The Federal Reserve stepped in to b ail out US operations linked to RBS and HBOS. In Europe the governments of France, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg joined forces to help the Fortis and Dexia Banks operating across their b orders. 230 However, let’s not allow the premise of this to go unquestioned – as George Kerevan points out in an article for the Scotsman 231: As an economic argument, this is frankly tendentious and mendacious. The argument that size should confer greater risk is not found in any economic textb ook I’m familiar with. Nor has a large, concentrated b anking sector b een b ad for, say, Switzerland or Luxemb ourg. The Treasury paper argues that in an independent Scotland, the assets of domestic b anks would equal 1,250 per cent of GDP. That random statistic is there to frighten the unwary, esp ecially if compared to b ankrupt Cyprus, where the comparab le figure is circa 700 per cent. Of course, safe, dependab le Luxemb ourg has b ank assets worth 2,500 per cent of GDP, or doub le the Scottish figure. In fact, Luxemb urg has enjoyed social and economic stab ility since 1945. It is amusing to think too at the same time we are being told ‘your financial sector will be too large to support’ we are also being told, often in the same breath, that ‘and all the banks will leave’ 232 despite statements to the contrary233. It is very reminiscent of the claims that ‘you’ll be so rich that you’ll need to pay more in EU contributions 234, but you won’t be able to stay in the EU’. That’s the problem with scare stories – eventually the internal incoherence of the arguments becomes too obvious to avoid. A large financial sector is not by itself problematic even if the entirety of the business of the Scottish banking system was credited to an independent Scotland. The difference independence would give us is the power to regul ate them according to our own wishes and desires. I am in no way saying ‘Scotland wouldn’t have been affected by the banking crisis because we would have regulated them differently’, all I am saying is that an independent Scotland would give us the power to regulate them as we see fit. As to how things may have gone in the past – well, speculation isn’t very useful. We need to look to the future, and the future of banking in Scotland is neither frightening nor especially risky. Independence does not mean isolation, and the name on the ‘brass plate of the holding company’ is not the sole indicator of ultimate responsibility. The exact terms of our financial liability in an independent Scotland is a matter for debate, discussion and ultimately disagreement. However, the fact that we could

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have afforded a proportionate share of bailout had we wished to support it is undeniable despite the misleading information given by Westminster 235. Let’s not act too like bailing out the banks was the only course of acti on. Iceland after all let their banks go to the wall and they are coming out of the crisis better than most as a result 236. I am not advocating that we should have done that, or that we shouldn’t have. All I am saying is that these issues have precedent and the precedents are based on where the bulk of the business is being done. Had Scotland chosen not to bail out the banks, it would have done a lot more damage to the English economy than it would have done to ours, and in those circumstances it is only appropriate that countries work together to minimise the damage.

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11. We get debt, but we can handle it better than the rest of the United Kingdom

I want to briefly touch on the other assets that come our way in the event of a yes vote on Scottish independence. That is to say, roughly 8.4% of every UK institution, building and piece of equipment 237. The international precedent in these situations is to separate the entitlement of assets based on a share of the population. A recent report marks the United Kingdom as having a fixed asset base of around £821 billion, of which Scotland would be entitled to a touch under £69 billion. To be fair, we need to look at the other side of that equation and consider the share of the debt that we’d inherit – by current figures at the time of writing, our proportionate share of the UK’s debt would be around £120 billion 238. Now, that’s by no means guaranteed – after all, the Scottish government position is that once you take into account the fact we’ve been cheerfully (wel l) overpaying into the UK treasury239 for the past 30 years that we’d be due a good deal less debt once that’s taken into account. On the most optimistic calculations that would be a 240 ‘mere ’ £56 billion , in fact. Nobody knows what the actual figure will en d up being – like most things related to Scottish independence, it’s something that will be decided by negotiation. Regardless of which figure is closest to the real number, Scotland will be in a better place to service that debt – our debt as a proportion to GDP in the UK is 72% (including a full share of North Sea oil). Proportionate debt as a proportion of GDP using Scottish figures is 62% 241. Debt based on the Scottish Government’ s figures would be 38%. In either case, it’s a smaller proportion. We can’t make any long term calculations regarding debt payments due to the fact that an independent Scotland’s credit rating is one of those things we simply cannot predict, although Standards and Poors have said that even if they discounted oil, Scotland wo uld quality for their ‘highest economic assessment’, which is an AAA rating 242. However, the key point is – we’d be in a better position to service our debt than we are as a member of the United Kingdom. We’d gain a lot in terms of disposable income from li quidating our share in United Kingdom assets, but we’d be able to pay off a good chunk of the debt we’d inherit in the process. That’s one possible outcome. The other possible situation is that we are considered a new state rather than a successor state under international law. That means that we get none of those assets other than what are within our national boundaries but in the process we also take on none of the debt. As I’m sure you can imagine, that’s actually a good deal better for Scotland. I’ ll talk briefly about this in the next section when we get to the topic of currency unions and more in the chapter on on EU accession. Assuming we do get our share of assets, it’s not as easy as simply taking assets away from liability. Some of those assets are already in Scotland and are already in use. There are though very valuable shared resources in which we will have a financial stake and investment, including things like the Bank of England. We paid for them, and we get a share of them come indepe ndence. Some of those shared resources (Trident) are more valuable to Others than they are to us – part of the negotiation of a financial settlement between mature parties will be to trade off this value for what we actually want. The Scottish Government have made it very clear that keeping Trident is not an option, but in their white paper they say it’ll be gone during the first term of an independent Scotland. That gives two negotiating positions – the start of that term, or the end of that term. A f ew years may not seem like much, but I’m willing to bet it translates into many billions of value. Suffice to say, new state or not, we will be in an extremely good financial position, with a much lower burden of debt than what we currently must bear and a very strong economy with which to service or pay it down. Indeed, in the words of some economists, it would be a good idea for Scotland to leave the 243 United Kingdom before the ‘shit hits the fan’ for England’s economy . The question in this case is not ‘can we afford to leave the Union’, but rather ‘Can we afford not to?’ With the UK’s debt forecast to become worse than Spain’s by 2015/2016 244, isn’t it time we cut ourselves loose of the self -destructive neo-liberal consensus that dominates Westminster politics? We either do it now by choice when all the economic factors are in our favour, or later by necessity when the economic factors are not.

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12. We’ll be using the pound in an independent Scotland, currency zone or not.

We’ll be using pound sterling in an independent Scotland. Or at least, we’ll be using it until we as a nation decide we want to do something else. The claims made by Better Together that the pound is in any way under threat is based on either deceit and misinformation or genuine econo mic illiteracy. Neither of these explanations paint the Better Together crowd in a positive light 245.

First of all – let’s talk about why it’s a blatant lie from the perspective of simple reality. Pound sterling is what is known as a freely convertible currency. That means anyone can use it if they like 246 247 248. The Financial Times defines the term as follows 249: A currency that is freely exchangeable (i.e. without government restrictions) into other currencies or gold. Some currencies only have limited convertibility, which means they are exchangeab le in certain circumstances b ut not all the time. A currency is fully convertib le (or has full convertib ility) when there are no restrictions at all on when it can b e used. Pound Sterling is among around 20 freely convertible currencies, the list of which includes the US Dollar, the Euro, the Yen and the Canadian Dollar 250. So let’s put this ridiculous myth to bed right now – nobody gets to say when anyone can use the pound. Day one of independence, regardless of what else happens, we’ll be using it. Better Together know this, but they keep on trying to sow their seeds of disquiet and upset by suggesting there is in some way we can be prohibited from using it. The question is not could, because we absolutely can 251. The question is should 252 253 254 255. I make no pretence at knowing the ins and outs of monetary policy and what is best, but I do know what Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz256 thinks. I know what Nobel Laureate James Mirrlees says 257. They think we should keep the pound, at least in the short term. Lacking the expert knowledge myself I am inclined to say that I defer to their judgement that we should keep using the same money as the rest of the United Kingdom. Having said that, considering how hard it is to get England to take our damn bank-notes 258, perhaps we’re already kidding ourselves to think we’re using the same money as the rest of the UK anyway. Certainly Hong Kong seems to think that’s the case, given how they already value the Scottish pound hi gher than 259 260 the English pound . The new Bank of England governor is planning to devalue Sterling by about 15% - perhaps Hong Kong knows a strong currency when they see it. However, the case with Scotland is actually more interesting and nuanced because Ste rling is as much our currency as it is the rest of the UK. As part of our settlement of assets and liabilities, a share in the Bank of England will need to be negotiated. Not only do we have a legal right to use pound sterling if we want, we have the moral right. We were a big part of making it what it was, especially when North Sea Oil was one of the few things ensuring it had any real value at all. Really here, the only discussion of any merit relates to the Scottish Government’s plans to setup a ‘Sterling zone’ governed by a formal policy between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom. As is entirely expected, the Chancellor and various members of the cabinet have been quick to downplay the possibility of this 261: "Let's stop speculating and look at the evidence. Would the rest of the UK family agree to take that risk? Could a situation where an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK share the pound and the Bank of England b e made to work? "Frankly, it's unlikely b ecause there is real doub t ab out the answers to these questions," Osb orne said.

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Then, seeing that the ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’ and ‘probably nots’ weren’t going to do the job, they stepped in and dropped the bomb – formally ruling out a currency union. First George Osbourne 262, then Danny Alexander263, and then Ed Balls 264 all came up to Scotland to say, categorically and without exception, that no union would be forthcoming. As can be imagined, this move was instantly leapt on by 265 266 commentators inside and outside of Scotland as Westminster b ullying , scaremongering and 267 intimidation . Really though we have to analyse this situation from two perspectives. One is the ‘pre referendum’ part where the anti-independence lot have everything to gain by exaggerating the difficulties and downplaying the benefits to the rest of the United Kingdom. That’s what we’re seeing now. It only took a few weeks for the claims to be unravelled, when a current coalition minister admitted it was all bluster 268 269. As the Guardian reported: A currency union will eventually b e agreed b etween an independent Scotland and the remainder of the UK to ensure fiscal and economic stab ility on b oth sides of the b order, according to a government minister at the heart of the pro-union campaign. The private admission comes amid increasing jitters at Westminster, after opinion polls showed an increase in support for independence despite the Conservatives, Lab our and Lib eral Democrats all arguing that Scotland could not keep the pound after a yes vote. "Of course there would b e a currency union," the minister told the Guardian in remarks that will serve as a major b oost to the Scottish first minister, Alex Salmond, who accused the UK's three main political parties of "b luff, b luster and b ullying" after they all rejected a currency union . As might be expected, this caused quite a stir in the Unionist camps 270, with even some of their more intelligent and thoughtful supporters becoming quite alarmingly violent in their condemnation 271: Hanging. Shooting. Beheading. Defenestration. Take your pick. It doesn’t matter which method you choose b ut the government minister who told The Guardian’s Nick Watt that “of course” there would b e a deal to b e done creating a sterling zone shared b y an independent Scotland and the remaining parts of the United Kingdom needs to b e found, summarily tried, and executed. Crikey! The story continued to gain pace 272, with Better Together advisers revealing that the Treasury advice 273 against the currency union could well be wrong and was orchestrated by Alistair Darling rather than a 274 result of dispassionate civil service guidance . There is after all no paper trail that would support the argument that the currency union bluff was based on any kind of real evaluation 275. The Sunday Herald reports: The inab ility of permanent secretary Sir Nicholas Macpherson to give a precise date is fuelling claims that Westminster's b ombshell rejection of a currency union was cooked up to help the No campaign in the referendum. But that’s all down to the cut and thrust of pre -referendum campaigning – bluff and counterbluff, fear and misinformation. Should a Yes vote be delivered, then we’ll see an entirely different situation – the rational self-interest of two partners in a negotiation. In this circumstance, it becomes a case of ‘ what is in the best interests of the rest of the United Kingdom’. There’s a reason why the UK has agreed to sterling 276 zones in the past with a total of 74 countries including Egypt, Australia, Iceland, Ireland, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Nigeria and m any others. Many commentators too have raised the point that denying Scotland a currency union permits Scotland to reasonably say ‘Then enjoy the debt that we won’t be servicing’ 277 278 – we’ll come back to that in more detail later. You might be sceptical he re, and say ‘Well, there’s no guarantee they won’t be spiteful and deny a currency union anyway’ and you are absolutely right. Ask yourself though – is it truly a healthy situation when the argument that is being made is ‘we’ll make it difficult for you i f you dare to leave?’

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Comparisons have been made relating the situation of Scotland to that of being shackled to an abusive partner - while such rhetoric may trivialise the real problems with domestic abuse, it’s hard not to see the resonance. If we are to be denied a currency union out of spite, then why would we want to be in a partnership with a state that would countenance such a thing? I don’t believe that’s what will happen because I believe both Scotland and the rest of the UK will be able to come to an amicable agreement on the topic because it’s in the interests of both partners. The ratings agency Fitch for example has already pointed out that it would review the rUK’s credit rating in the event of a Yes vote, with particular emphasis being lai d on issues of debt and the balance of payments 279 280. So let’s look at why the rest of the United Kingdom might well want to keep Scotland in a currency zone. By far the biggest reason is the impact to the UK’s balance of trade 281. In simple terms, this is the difference between what the UK as a country exports and what it imports. When a country imports more than it exports, it is called a trade deficit282. Generally speaking this isn’t a problem if it’s managed and 283 moderated, but when a trade deficit becomes too big for too long it has a major impact on GDP and the 284 285 value of currency , and can spark off further recessions . Generally speaking, a deficit reduces GDP and a trade surplus increases it. The UK is already operating at a significant trade defici t, as shown on the charts below 286:

Now, the chart on the left shows the trade deficit. The chart on the right shows how much particular goods impact on it. You’ll see all of these are deficits. These are offset a little bit by the selling of 287 services such as financial instruments. Notice oil in the right side chart – the UK is currently a net importer of oil, even including the current production of the North Sea. Imagine now if that goes away. As 288 the Guardian puts it : North Sea oil production has helped ease the UK's b alance of payments deficit - created b y importing more goods and services than we export - for decades. It’s not just oil though – Scottish Whisky is a hugely valuable industry that is worth £135 per second to the UK’s balance of trade, with exports reaching £4.3 BILLION in 2012 289. Remaining in a currency union would ensure that those industries were still contributing to the strength of the pound. Given the incredibly 290 shaky nature of the UK’s ‘economic recovery’ , why would anyone want to sacrifice that? The downside which is often argued is ‘Ach, is it really independence if you have to agree things with the United Kingdom anyway?’ Well – if you don’t like the word independence then feel free to think about it as what it is – a confederal relationship between equals. A currency zone would require both partners to work within some kind of agreed fiscal framework. Within that framework we’d have all the tools needed to manage our economy in the way that is best for Scotland. It is ludicrous to suggest that a common currency does not mean full fiscal independence – France and Germany share a currency and work within a currency zone, but nobody would think for a moment they weren’t independent countries. The Eurozone itself is no t an applicable example to the potential relationship between Scotland and rUK between it exhibits a higher 291 differentiation between economies . Within the restrictions of their shared monetary policy though,

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individual Euro countries get to do what they l ike. It’s not always pretty, as we saw in Greece and Ireland, but it is foolish indeed to suggest that these problems stemmed from not being independent countries. Crawford Beveridge, one of the highly respected economists on the Scottish Government’s Fis cal Commission working group, put it like this 292: The memb ers of the group remain impartial in the deb ate on Scotland’s future. However, in preparing the report there was no doub t in the minds of the four world leading economists – including two Nob el prize-winners – who make up the commission working group that Scotland is a wealthy and productive country with “the potential to b e a successful independent nation”. The working group’s report was clear that the b est currency option for Scotland – and the rest of the UK – would b e to retain sterling and continue with the Bank of England operating across a sterling zone as part of a formal monetary union. So, a Sterling Zone is the preferred option of the Scottish Government, and offers great benefits to the res t of the UK. But we can’t guarantee they will go for it, so what happens if they don’t? Well, the worst case scenario is that we end up with what is largely the status quo – the Bank of England will continue to regulate Sterling in the interests of the so utheast of England just like they do now. However, since we will have a claim to a portion of the Bank of England as part of our shared assets, we might end up with more control than we would otherwise have. Scotland currently has no representation in the Bank of England, and the Scottish economy is a mere footnote to the rest of the UK. At best, we can leverage our share of the BoE to address that current imbalance. The former head of the Bank of Scotland, Sir George Matthewson, states 293: “I cannot unde rstand why the sterling zone would not wish to have the revenues from North Sea oil and the b enefits of all the other Scottish exports, such as whisky, to support the currency," he told the Times. “It’s one failed Chancellor, George Osb orne, adopting the s ame tactics of another failed Chancellor, Gordon Brown, seeking to influence opinion b y saying: ‘Let’s use fear.’ On the issue of the Bank of England: Responding to arguments that an independent Scotland would not have a great deal of influence over Bank of England policies, he said: "We might have a scintilla more influence than we have at the moment. But then, at the moment, we’ve no influence at all." So, that’s our possibilities – the status quo at worse, more representation at the BoE as a mid -way case, and the best case possibility of formal currency union which is in the best interests of the rUK and Scotland. Nobody can guarantee which of these it will end up being, but you can rest assured in any case it’ll be fine. It is important to remember though that whatever we choose it doesn’t have to be that forever. Nothing we choose is fixed in perpetuity. Allow me to end with a quote from Catherine Schenk, professor of International Economic History at the University of Glasgow, and Duncan Ross, seni or lecturer in Economic History at the same institution 294: Third, the right to pursue independent policy choices is one of the key goals of independence and it is conceivab le that these choices might eventually lead to significant pressure to decouple from the rest of the UK and float an independent currency. Alternatively, without continued access to North Sea oil wealth, it is possib le that the r-UK deficit will lead Scottish policy-makers to the view that continued stab ility requires a decoupling from ste rling. In the short-run, therefore, sterling is sensib le and good for b oth countries. In the long run, an independent Scottish currency may well b e the b est way forward. We don’t have to get it all down on paper for day one of independence. Day one shou ld be as close to the status quo as possible, and then we get to decide for ourselves in what direction we want to go.

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13. Your mortgages and pensions are safe in an independent Scotland.

Mortgages and pensions have been a popular target of attack in the pre ss with regards to an independent Scotland, with newspapers such as the Telegraph saying that you’ll pay more for your house 295 and that that there would be no protection for Scottish pensions 296. Both of these claims are driven primarily by a Treasury analys is 297 of the situation which concluded, surprisingly, that ‘independence is gonna cost you’. So, what’s the real story? Well, the first thing is that the Treasury paper has already been thoroughly discredited. An early leaked draft of that paper showed that it has been written on the basis of the UK’s AAA credit ratings and then hastily edited. The conclusions remained while the text was altered to omit the embarrassment of the fact those ratings are disappearing 298. When a central plank of your argument dis appears and you just hastily edit the text so that it was never a part of your deliberation, you know that the argument isn’t entirely based on dispassionate analysis . The UK has already lost two of its AAA credit ratings, with only Standards and Poors left intact. For now – while they reaffirmed it in April they have also raised threats of a downgrade 299. But, it’s not just the dubious intellectual foundation of the paper that marks it out as an unreliable resource – it’s the fact that it seems to have bee n written without any real reference to how the various regulatory structures work now. The former managing director of Direct Line Financial Services and founder of Intelligent Finance has this to say300: The Treasury paper is not an accurate reflection of Scotland's financial services industry now, or of how financial regulation would work for an independent Scotland in a sterling area. It is clearly not a credib le analysis of how financial organisations work. The treasury paper is built on two main arguments: 1. 2. Savers and pensioners would no longer be able to rely on the UK to protect their money in the event of a financial crisis. Providing Scottish only mortgages would require the extra cost to be passed onto the consumer.

Let’s take them one at a time. First of all – weren’t we told time and time again that the financial sector had been re -engineered so that they couldn’t fail so catastrophically? It is no longer the case that taxpayers are expected to be liable for the collapse of banks – reforms across the globe have aimed at removing that risk from countries generally. Sir Phillip Hampton, the chair of the Royal Bank of Scotland, has this to say301: The whole direction of our strategy is to say: this b ank must stand on its own feet, regardless of sovereign b acking, b ecause we do not want to have access to UK taxpayers any more to sustain our operations The deputy governor for the Bank of England is quoted as follows 302: Paul Tucker explains how resolution is essential to solving the prob lem of Too Big to Fa il: “.if you b elieve in an international financial system that is not only free b ut also safe, in shielding taxpayers from the risks in b anking, and in shielding b anking from politics, you will b e committed to making a success of resolution”. Both approaches, he says, rely upon coordination b etween home and host authorities, noting: “Over recent months there has b een marked convergence in how the world’s key authorities plan to approach resolution”, with a FDIC (USA) /Bank of England joint paper on resolu tion only one example of intensified cooperation.” “Indeed, it is not an exaggeration to say that the EU’s Directive is the keystone to b reaking the b ack of the TBTF prob lem.”

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In addition to his role as a deputy governor of the Bank of England, Mr. Tucker is also a member of the Monetary Policy Committee and has been a member of the Financial Policy Committee. He is, in other words, an expert on issues of this nature. Much of the paper has the implicit assumption that Scotland would have had to shoulder t he cost of bailing out the banks by ourselves. As I’ve already outlined above, that position is not supported by precedent and international convention. The 1254% of GDP claimed by Better Together credits all assets held by the financial sector to Scotland regardless of where they reside or where their taxes are paid. RBS conducts 90% of its business outside of Scotland. Natwest is registered in London. This is not a credible position on Scottish liability in the event of another crash which we are tol d is being made impossible. Remember, it wasn’t just the UK that bailed our RBS and HBOS – the Federal Reserve and 303 the Australian Central Bank provided huge amounts of money in the form of emergency loans. Your pension provision in an independent Scotland is already as safe as pensions can be in these austere times – if you have a private pension, then you have a contract with that pension provider 304 and that will continue under independence. If you have a public pension, well – that’s okay too. Scotland already 305 operates its own pension agency . Those who are currently covered by UK wide schemes will have their pensions taken on by the Scottish government 306: Independence would give Scotland responsib ility for the taxation and b enefits system. On independence benefits, tax credits and the state pension would continue to b e paid as now in an independent Scotland. It would b e for future Scottish administrations to deliver improvements to the system, designed for Scottish needs. Remember – pensions as a proportion of GDP are lower in Scotland than in the rest of the UK 307, and indeed lower than most of the EU-15 countries. There is no risk to us taking on this additional cost in terms of sustainability. We’re better able to afford them with independence. Remember, we are already paying more than the rest of the UK for everything we get . It would cost us 40% of our tax to fund the 308 welfare state, as compared to 42% for the rest of the UK . If there is a risk to your pension, it’s not in an independent Scotland. It was a Labour Westminster government after all that cut away at the value of pensions in 1997 309, to the tune of around £150bn to £225bn 310. It’s not an independent Scotland that is escalating the retirement age while the value of pensions lower and the cost rises 311. It is not in an independent Scotland where the ‘vast majority will be worse off under a major shake -up of the state 312 pension’ . Anyone who has any experience of pensions will know that Westminster cannot be trusted to honour their value for most people. Remember what Better Together are arguing – that your miserly 313 state pension is something that can only get worse, and yet…

Pensions are going to be a big part of the next general election regardless of how Scotland votes 314, with the affordability of pensions within the Westminster system being highly questionable 315 316 317 and subject to future ‘tax raids’ just like the one Gordon Brown authorised 318 and possible privatisation 319. All the while, they eye up your pensions with the prospect of pu tting caps on what you might get back from what 320 you paid in .

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If you’re interested in a fuller discussion of the issue of pensions in an independent Scotland, you could do a lot worse than reading Scott Minto’s excellent article on the topic at http://wingsoverscotland.com/rainyday-blues/. Business for Scotland also have an interesting article at http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/pensions -advantage-for-an-independent-scotland/ . The suggestion too that savings would not be protected in an independent Scotland is also nonsense. The EU has a mandated requirement that all depositor money must be protected – that protection disappears if the UK leaves the European Union, but would be honoured in an independent Scotland that stayed. 70% of banking regulation in the UK is a result of the single market requirements of the EU, and Scotland within the EU would be part of that. A big part of why the conservatives and UKIP wish to leave the EU is because of the role it has in the financial industry321. If there is a threat to your protection, it’s not from an independent Scotland. Now to the second part – higher mortgage costs. Professor Charles Goodhart, former Monetary Policy Committee member says this: One of the specific claims that has b een made is that, under independence, household mortgage payment rates would increase. However, it can b e argued that, provided there is a fully integrated financial services sector, where products can b e b ought across any b oundary b etween Scotland and the redefined UK, and one common interest rate for the sterling zone, this is unlikely to b e the case. In truth, the figures show that numerous smaller countries have lower interest rates than is average in the UK. Here are some comparator values for average mortgage interest rates in European countries: Country Austria Denmark Finland Norway Switzerland United Kingdom APR for Mortgages 3.9% 322 3.7% 323 2.5% 324 3.78% 325 2.00% 326 327 4.49% Population 8.419m 5.574m 5.387m 5.077m 8.069m 64.231m

Funny that, isn’t it? It doesn’t actually seem as if the size of the country is that big a deal in being able to offer low cost mortga ges. As with the pensions scaremongering, it’s just a little bit rich to think the same 328 329 parliamentary system (under Better Together’s Alistair Darling ) that lead to the LIBOR scandal and 330 the rigging of mortgage and savings rates would have the unmitigated audacity to presume it is independence of which we should be afraid. Given how Scottish households already subsidise English flood insurance to the tune of £430 a year 331, it seems like a shaky proposition indeed to suggest that it is independence that will end up costing us.

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Scotland and Europe
We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilization. Voltaire

The position of Scotland, and indeed the rump UK, with regards to Europe in the event of Scottish Independence is complicated. There are a lot of assumptions being thrown around on both sides – such matters are almost impossibly complicated, and in the end the only people likely to prosper from the debate are the constitutional lawyers. Still, there are certain important things that we can discus s in relation to Scotland and the EU, and what the likely outcome will be of all of that. If you’ve been paying even passing attention to the debate you’ll know Scotland’s position in Europe is one on which the Better Together side like to focus attention. On the whole, Scotland is far more accommodating to the idea of the EU than the rest of the UK 332. That is perhaps due to our rather more inclusive philosophy towards the European powers during our historical 333 334 evolution. We had the Auld Alliance , strong historical ties with Poland and a long tradition of 335 friendship with Germany . Scottish nobles were educated at European institutes. European nobles came to Scottish universities. The Imperialist aggression of England was not the way of the Scots until we became co-aggressors under the banner of Great Britain. We are pulled towards Europe by our bonds of historical fraternity. And yet we pull away because of instability in the Eurozone. Whether Scotland should be in or out of the EU is a matter for h ealthy debate and undoubtedly one that will be vigorously pursued in the event of a yes vote. Regardless of how the British Nationalists would paint the situation as a straight up ‘be forced into the Euro as a new state’ diktat, the actual situation is a lot more nuanced and nobody really knows for sure what’s going to happen. What we do know is – it’s all going to be fine.

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14. Westminster think we’ll be EU members on Independence Day

There is currently a significant amount of misinformation out there thou gh that must be corrected before we can take a more measured assessment of the situation. For a long time, most of the statements regarding Scotland’s future stemmed from a document called ‘Scottish Independence and EU Accession’, published by a London based body called Business for a New Europe. More recently, the UK government published its own views on Scottish EU accession in a document called ‘Referendum on the Independence of Scotland – International Law Aspects’ 336. The first document claims that Scotland would have to renegotiate all the terms of its membership, and would require the unanimous approval of all current members before it could rejoin the European Union. However, this document is based on a profound misunderstanding of the EU constitution, and does not take into account the Lisbon treaty which allows for the enlargement of the EU 337. The second document has more academic credibility, having been written by two extremely eminent scholars in matters of International law. However, this is a document written for a very specific purpose that restricts analysis and as such the conclusions flow along the lines on the basis of what was requested. It’s a bit like hiring a lawyer for the defence – they’re going to make as good a fist of it as th ey can regardless of the merits of the defendant. This is acknowledged in the first few pages of the report: We are asked to advise on two questions: 10.1 the status of Scotland and the rUK in international law after Scottish independence, in particular ‘(a) the strength of the position that the rUK would be treated as a continuation of the United Kingdom as a matter of international law and an independent Scotland would b e a successor state’; and The document argues two main things:   Scotland would be considered a new state under international law and would have to reapply to join the EU. The rest of the UK (or rump UK) would be considered the successor state and inherit in their entirety all of the existing treaties and obligations of the current UK.

No w, it’s important to outline three main considerations on this report. The first is, as I say, it was written to a specific brief and the outcome was a foregone conclusion. The second is that it is a legal opinion. Legal opinions are very well developed documents that incorporate precedent, argument and citations of law but they are not the same thing as a legal judgement. The authors themselves acknowledge that this is uncertain territory. The third is that one of the authors then went on to pretty mu ch shrug off all of the consequences in later interviews. James Crawford said the following on the BBC’s Today show 338: Treaties might b e continued b y agreement b ut then the principle is right: Scotland b ecomes a new states and will have to apply to memb ership of the UN – of course it will b e admitted; that's not a b ig issue, b ut it's not automatic. Similarly in relation to the EU, there are things that have to b e worked out – numb er of members, whether Scotland can enjoy the British opt out, things like tha t, so there's a process which assumes that the rest of the UK remains and Scotland is a new state. Notice that – ‘of course it will be admitted, that’s not a big issue’. This is in the view of one of the authors of Westminster’s most considered documents on the issue, and even he doesn’t believe Scotland’s EU membership to be in any real doubt. Similarly, when asked how long it would take to work out the arrangements: The thousands of treaties aren't going to b e a major issue b ut the memb ership of intern ational organisations is, and it's something which is going to have to b e done on a case b y case b asis. The Scottish estimate is ab out 18 months and that seems realistic.

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When next interviewed on BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland, the professor also gave h is views on the nature of those negotiations and whether they would be conducted while Scotland was still in the EU in the period between a yes vote and independence day: That's certainly true: Scotland is part of the UK continues within the EU b ut Scotlan d as a new state will have to b ecome a memb er of the EU b y a treaty of accession and therefore there are things to negotiate. As I say, it's not to suggest that this process is necessarily going to b e very difficult, b ecause Scotland already complies with the aquis now as part of the UK, b ut still that process has to b e gone through. So, bear that in mind – the UK’s own legal advice is that Scotland will be a new state, but that it won’t have any difficulty in being admitted to the EU. But that’s important because a new state as I discussed in an earlier part of this document begins with no debt! I am going to return to that point in a later section. It’s important to note that the conclusion of the Westminster report are far from unquestioned, as Professor David Scheffer, the Director for the Center of International Human Rights has outlined 339: With its repeated arguments for the continuator theory, the Whitehall report develops further positions reinforcing the continuation of the status quo for the remain der of the United Kingdom (known as “rUK”) while Scotland would b e cast off as a new state in almost every respect, to initiate its own treaty relations and memb ership in international organizations. Thus is built a pyramid of presumptions based upon the initial premise of the continuator theory and yet little of which relates to the sui generis character of the Scottish situation . We’ll get to this again in a later part of the document. At the moment it’s sufficient to know that despite the credentials o f the authors, the conclusions are challenged and even if they weren’t it’s a win for Scotland.

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15. A new state begins without debt

The legal guidance published by the UK government makes a pretty clear case that they believe Scotland will be a new state. Europe won’t be a problem, but we’d begin without any of the assets we’ve built up over the years as part of the United Kingdom except for those fixed within our national boundaries. But importantly, we’d also start off with none of the debt that we’d ot herwise have. First of all, it’s important to understand what the document argues. The key thing it argues is that under international law, there is no such thing as Scotland. It doesn’t exist – it’s just a convention of UK national law. The document briefly considers that there might also be no such thing as England, but rapidly dismisses that the issue has any importance with the following: 37. For the purpose of this advice, it is not necessary to decide b etween these two views of the union of 1707. Whether or not England was also extinguished b y the union, Scotland certainly was extinguished as a matter of international law, b y merger either into an enlarged and renamed England or into an entirely new state. 38. It is therefore misleading to speak of Scotland (or similarly of England, Wales, Northern Ireland or the isle of Great Britain) as if it were an entity already possessing international personality in its own right or some other relevant international status, regardless of what status it may have as a matter of UK domestic law So, there you go – that is the official position of the UK government regarding Scotland in an international sense. We’re not a United Kingdom at all, just a renamed England. As far as international law is concerned, Scotland simply disappeared into Greater England and ceased to be. The fact that we’re four countries in the UK is just a little local quirk of no interest to anyone but us. This is the foundational element of their claim that Scotland would be a new state come independence. Obviously, the implication of this escaped Westminster ministers at the time. When they realised what they had wrought, they then charged on to television to say that actually we would get the debt 340 because – well, ‘because we say s o’ pretty much. However, Professor Scheffer again has this to say341: Finally, the Whitehall report’s b old presumption that national liab ilities would have to b e negotiated and thus shared b etween Scotland and the rUK under the continuator theory rests on very thin ice . On what legal b asis would Scotland b e ob ligated to assume any significant level of United Kingdom liab ilities if the rUK is the continuator State? The Whitehall opinion offers no basis for establishing an obligation to share financial liabilities. Scotland’s leverage nonetheless would lie in agreeing to negotiate the sharing of national liab ilities if the rUK sets aside the continuator theory as the b asis for legal implications and agrees to negotiate in good faith with the commitment to approve and acquiesce where necessary to facilitate Scotland’s engagement with the international community. Dr. Matt Qvortrup, an internationally respected expert on referendums and senior lecturer at Cranfield University says this 342: If Alex Salmond doesn ’t want to share the deb t and is happy to reapply to Europe, the default position in international law is that Scotland would not have to pick up the deb t. “That has to b e known to the people b efore the vote next year so that David Cameron will know we are starting negotiations from the position that UK (remainder of UK) is the successor state. That has consequences. The one that pays the deb t is the successor state. “If you want to b e the EU successor state and b e in the UN Security Council, you can. You take all the spoils — b ut you also take the b ag gage.” Be careful what you wish for Westminster, eh?

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Under Westminster’s scenario, Scotland would agree to accept a share of the debt. A new state cannot be made to accept debt unilaterally. For one thing, we’d just have to say ‘No’ – according to Westminster we’d be getting none of the assets and none of our existing treaty benefits, so why on earth would we agree to take on debt? There’s also the Vienna Convention on Succession of States in respect of State Property, Archives and Debts, Article 38. This is a UN convention, which states 343: When the successor State is a newly independent State, no State deb t of the predecessor State shall pass to the newly independent State, unless an agreement b etween them provides otherwise in view of the link b etween the State deb t of the predecessor State connected with its activity in the territory to which the succession of States relates and the property, rights and interests which pass to the newly independent State. Notice it says ‘unless an agreement between them’. It’s true that the report from Crawford and Boyle dismisses the convention as ‘not yet customary law’ and not binding on the UK, but they also conclude that “in the vast majority of situations the matter is likely to be regulated by specific arrangements.” Really though all of this revolves around a single key question – would Scotland be considered a new state, or would it be considered a ‘successor state’. Nobody actually knows the answer to that, but importantly in either case Scotland is the winner. It seems unlikely that Scotland being a new state with no debt is in anyone’s interest save for our own, so I suspect no -one is going to agitate for that. Clearly this particular possibility has rattled the anti-independence campaigners, with Alistair Darling and others scrambling to accuse an independent Scotland of wishing to start life by defaulting on her debts 344. Remember though what the actual pro-independence position on this is – an independent Scotland will take on its share of the assets and its share of the debts. I will quote the first minister as he answers Ruth Davidson on that very issue 345, emphasis is mine: I remind Ruth Davidson that our position is that the responsib le thing to do is to take a share of the assets and liab ilities of the United Kingdom. The point is that that would involve both sides of the balance sheet: the assets and liabilities .

The irresponsib ility in the deb ate comes from some in Ruth Davidson’s party and the UK Government, who seem to suggest that they live in a world where the UK can claim all the assets of the UK but still share out the liabilitie s. The prob lem with that, legally, has b een set out b y, for example, Professor David Scheffer, who points out that peo ple cannot make that argument. If people argue that there is a sole continuing state, that of course has advantages, but one disadvantage is that it ends up with all the liabilities that were issued in the name of that state . It is therefore far b etter to stick to the responsib le attitude of the Scottish Government. Absolutely nobody is claiming Scotland will default on its debts. The key to this issue is – if we are a new state and the rest of the UK will attempt to deny us any share of UK assets then in every possible sense they are not our debts . These debts will not simply disappear, they will remain with the rest of the United Kingdom along with the shared assets that are not already fixed within the geographical boundaries of an independent Scotland. We cannot default on debts that are not ours. We are simply following through to the logical conclusion, such as it is, of the Westminster argument. As John F Kennedy is quoted as saying: The freedom of the city is not negotiab le. We cannot negotiate wi th those who say, “what's mine is mine and what's yours is negotiab le”. If Westminster wish to tell us ‘what’s yours is negotiable’, we have to stress the key concept – negotiable is a double edged sword. The Treasury has already acknowledged that they have no ability to force debt onto an independent Scotland, and have instead taken on the responsibility for the full balance of the UK’s debt 346. Scotland’s share of the debt is a matter for negotiation – if we’re a new state, or denied access to our share of

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communal resources such as the Bank of England, then that’s something we can simply deduct from the balance of ‘what we owe’. The implications for being a new state are not insignificant – we would indeed likely have to renegotiate membership terms, but it is unlikely that would offer significant difficulties. Despite fear-mongering claims made that the Spanish would veto membership347, their foreign minister has said that they do not see the Scottish situation having any relevance to their own Catalonia and Basque movements. They would not stand in the way348 349. The claims that Scotland would have a difficulty in being incorporated into the EU are not based on any real evidence, as stated by an expert on EU accession 350. Even the House of Commons background briefing note on the matter, the one that has for a long time been at is at the core of Westminster’s argument on the issue, acknowledges the advice does not count as ‘legal or professional advice or a substitute for it’ 351 As to whether or not Scotland should be part of the EU at all, that is a complex question but one that should be addressed after independence. Claims are often made in this regard that independence is simply the swapping of Westminster rule for rule by Brussels. These claims are clearl y risible when one looks at the difference in terms of obligations between the two – Brussels requires harmonisation of certain areas of shared interests, and the agreement of equals who can withdraw at any time. Westminster on the other hand has control over vast amounts of Scottish policy and fiscal power whilst asserting sovereignty. While sacrificing some autonomy is the cost of the privileges the EU offers, it is still a good deal less sacrifice than is currently required by the Westminster governmen t. In exchange, what 352 do we get? Well, a fair bit as this small extract outlines: providing 57% of our trade; structural funding to areas hit b y industrial decline; clean b eaches and rivers; cleaner air; lead free petrol; restrictions on landfill dumping ; a recycling culture; cheaper mob ile charges; cheaper air travel; improved consumer protection and food lab elling; a b an on growth hormones and other harmful food additives; b etter product safety; single market competition b ringing quality improvements and b etter industrial performance; b reak up of monopolies; Europe -wide patent and copyright protection; no paperwork or customs for exports throughout the single market; price transparency and removal of commission on currency exchanges across the eurozone; freedom to travel, live and work across Europe; funded opportunities for young people to undertake study or work placements ab road; access to European health services; lab our protection and enhanced social welfare; smoke-free workplaces; equal pay legislation; holiday entitlement; the right not to work more than a 48-hour week without overtime; strongest wildlife protection in the world; improved animal welfare in food production; EU-funded research and industrial collab oration; EU representation in international forums; b loc EEA negotiation at the WTO; EU diplomatic efforts to uphold the nuclear non-proliferation treaty; European arrest warrant; cross b order policing to comb at human trafficking, arms and drug smuggling; counter terrorism intelligence; Europ ean civil and military co-operation in post-conflict zones in Europe and Africa; support for democracy and human rights across Europe and b eyond; investment across Europe contrib uting to b etter living standards and educational, social and cultural capital. I say again because this is important – I’m not advocating either way as to what Scotland’s relationship to Europe should be. I have absolute faith in the people of Scotland though that when we vote Yes to independence we will be able, as a nation, to decide for ourselves what that relationship should be.

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16. We can’t adopt the Euro even if we wanted to.

Joining the EU comes with a number of significant risks of its own. In exchange for the benefits afforded from EU membership353, a country must offer up some of its autonomy and agree to the previously agreed laws that were passed before joining. Leaving aside the issue of whether joining the EU is a good or bad idea, one issue in particular comes up again and again in the independence debate – the need for a new member state to adopt the Euro. As with many things, this is a matter for considerable confusion – international law is complicated and this complexity is often a useful tool for those who would seek to sow uncertainty in the minds of people. The simple fact is that Scotland can’t adopt the Euro even if we wanted to. It’s not on the table – an independent Scotland simply can’t unless we’re willing to work to make ourselves eligible. The core of the confusion is that there is no legal precedent for an independent Scotland’s position with regards to the EU, and while the matter may be up for debate it’s not possible that we could be unilaterally forced into using it. The mechanics by which a country adopts the Euro are more complicated than many co mmentators seem to understand. There is a tight relationship between the Exchange Rate Mechanism and the adoption of the Euro. A country must have been a part of ERM II for ‘at least two years’, and the ERM II is an optional mechanism – there is no requirement for a country to agree to this. As Dr. Fabian Zuleeg, Chief 354 Economist of the European Policy Centre, says : To actually join the euro you have to fulfil a numb er of conditions and unless those conditions are fulfilled you cannot join the euro. One of the provisions is ab out b eing in the Exchange Rate Mechanism, which is entirely voluntary. There is no way of forcing a country to join the Exchange Rate Mechanism and you have to have your country stab le in the Exchange Rate Mechanism for at least two years. So, what we've seen in the past is that countries like Sweden just simply are not part of the Exchange Rate Mechanism, so they cannot b e forced to introduce the euro. So, no country in the European Union can b e forced to introduce the euro." This states clearly that there is no lever by which Scotland could be forced into membership of the single currency355. The situation with the Czech Republic is also germane to this – the European Council 356 president, Herman Van Rompuy, has this to say : The prime minister added in his statement that it is even an ob ligation to join the euro, so that is nothing new. But you have to meet all the criteria. At this stage the Czech Repub lic is not meeting all the criteria, so the prob lem is not a prob lem today. But even if you meet the criteria, then of course the Czech Republic has to make its own decision in its own constitutional order. So I will not interfere in this internal debate; it’s up to the Czech Republic to make up its mind. So, there you have it. When B etter Together say ‘We don’t even know if we’ll be using the pound, some new Scottish currency, or the Euro’, they are lying. We can’t use the Euro, there’s no plan to use an independent currency and the pound sterling can be used freely whenever we like. Remember that next time you hear them trot out these lines – they already know the answers, they’re just hoping you’re too uninformed to know them too.

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17. Nobody knows for sure what happens to us with regards to the EU, but we’ll be fine regardless.

Much has been made of comments by Joel Manuel Barroso 357, president of the European Commission, regarding his statement that Scotland would be expelled from the EU upon independence. I shall include the transcript of the statement that got everyone so excited: Interviewer: The Commission has made it clear that any country, a country like Scotland, that would choose to b e independent, would need to reapply for EU memb ership. When you think ab out how that would work, would it just b e nodded through, do you think? Jose Manuel Barroso: "Look, I did not comment on specific situations of memb er states b ecause I very much respect that it is their right, their sovereign right to decide ab out their organisation. "Now, what I said, and it is our doctrine and it is clear sin ce 2004 in legal terms, if one part of a country - I am not referring now to any specific one - wants to b ecome an independent state, of course as an independent state it has to apply to the European memb ership according to the rules - that is ob vious." Interviewer: "So, it has to renegotiate its terms?" Jose Manuel Barroso: "Yes." Interviewer: "And is it renegotiating those terms from inside, as a memb er of the EU, or is it effectively reapplying from outside the EU?" Jose Manuel Barroso: "We are a union of states, so if there is a new state, of course, that state has to apply for memb ership and negotiate the conditions with other memb er states...... Interviewer: "So if, and I am using the example of Scotland, and I appreciate you are not talking ab out specifics, b ut say a country like Scotland, it, say, chooses independence, it is then like a new state applying to the EU?" Jose Manuel Barroso: "For European Union purposes, from a legal point of view, it is certainly a new state. If a country b ecomes independent it is a new state and has to negotiate with the EU. Now, let’s leave aside the fact he said that he wasn’t commenting on Scotland’s specific situation, and let’s leave aside the follow -up email sent to Wings over Scotland 358: Dear Rev. Campb ell Apologies that I did not reply yesterday. Yes, the Commission has not ever commented on specific scenarios and has b een very clear that it will only give its legal opinion in response to a specific scenario put from a Memb er State. Kind regards Caroline Let’s als o leave aside the fact that he likely intervened in the way he did to boost his chances of getting the top job in NATO on the back of support from Westminster 359. Let’s pretend none of that exists, let’s say that what he was doing was unambiguously stating h is belief that Scotland would be a new state under EU law. That would be consistent enough with what the Westminster position is as outlined above. The fact is his position is largely unsupported by any credible commentator on the issue. There is no mechanism by which this can be done . There is no framework by which the Scots can be deprived of their EU citizenship. Even if neither of those things were true there is no reason as to why efforts wouldn’t be made to keep Scotland in the European Union.

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Those are strong words of course, so let’s substantiate them with some opinions from informed commentators. We’ll start with Eamonn Gallaghar, who was the former director generator of the EC and the EC ambassador to the UN in New York 360: A democratic Scotland, fully capab le of accepting and exercising its responsib ilities in the European Union, answers completely to the constitutional and statutory requirements of memb ership, and the Community - with its customary practical ingenuity - could readily resolve the institutional questions that arise in, for example, those of Scotland's voting weight in the Council, memb ership of Parliament, memb ership of the Commission and so on And how about Lord Mackenzie Stuart, a Scottish judge who was president of the Euro pean Court of Justice, who said 361: Independence would leave Scotland and something called the rest' in the same legal b oat. If Scotland had to re-apply, so would the rest. I am puzzled at the suggestion that there would be a difference in the status of Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom in terms of Community law if the Act of Union was dissolved What about Emile Noel, who was the first and longest serving secretary general of the European Commission? He said: Scottish Independence would create two new memb er states out of one. They would have equal status with each other and the other states. The remainder of the United Kingdom would not b e in a more powerful position than Scotland. (Sunday Herald, 18th of Feb ruary, 2007 – sorry, can’t find an online citation for this one). Or Aidan O’Neill QC 362: Rather than analyse the matter from the classic viewpoint of pub lic international law ... EU law requires one to look at the issue from the viewpoint of the individual EU citizen ... the question to ask is whether the CJEU would consider that the fact that Scotland b ecame independent required that all (or any portion) of the previous UK citizenry thereb y b e deprived of their acquired rights as EU citizens? And: Again, if the Barroso thesis is correct we may then b e left with the paradoxical consequence that an independent Scotland would not b e entitled to b e accepted as a Memb er State of the EU, b ut all its (formerly British) nationals would continue to b e EU citizens ab le to enjoy the protections and privileges conferred b y EU law while their independent Government incurred none of the responsib ilities. That might turn out to b e for Scots – in the words of Candide – “the b est of all possib le worlds” b ut it is not perhaps a result which, for example, Spanish f ishermen suddenly deprived of access to the newly exclusive territorial fishing grounds of an independent Scotland outside the EU would relish. Dr. Daniel Kenealy, lecturer in politics and international relationships at the University of Edinburgh says the following 363: Barroso’s letter cannot simply b e ignored b ut it is crucial to understand that as Commission president he is not “the decider”. What we now have is a clear statement of opinion from the Commission: no more and no less. Even appraised as a statement of opinion it is important to note that it is ungrounded in any EU treaty provisions or case law. This is less than surprising given that nothing in the EU treaties or case law irrefutab ly confirms Barroso’s central point. Aidan O’Neill QC again: The only precedent for part of the territory of a Memb er State leaving the EU is the case of Greenland which in 1985, left the EU after negotiation and agreement among all the Memb er States resulting in a formal amendment of the Treaty. So, such precedents as exist would indicate that an existing territory within the European Union has to b e negotiated out of the EU,

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rather than for there to b e any immediate automatic cessation of the applicability of EU law within that territory on its secession from a Mem b er State. Further, Article 52(1) TEU specifies that the Treaty applies to “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. There is a respectab le legal argument to b e made that – given that Article 1 of the 1707 Articles of Union provides “that the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England shall upon the first day of May next ensuing the date hereof, and for ever after, b e united into One Kingdom b y the Name of Great Britain” – the revocation of the British Union would mean not only independence for Scotland b ut also the dissolution of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. If Barroso’s automaticity argument has any purchase, then it could b e said that from a matter of a strict literalist reading of the Treaties – against the b ackground of the constitutional history of the formation of the UK – a disunited Kingdom without Scotland would no longer b e the Memb er State which originally signed up to the European Union and therefore the dissolution of the UK into separate States would result in none of the territory of the former United Kingdom remaining within the EU. Okay, let's see what Sir David Edward, QC (a former judge on the European Court of Justice, and professor emeritus in the school of Law at Edinburgh University) has to say364: On those assumptions, my opinion is that, in accordance with their ob ligations of good faith, sincere cooperation and solidarity, the EU institutions and all the Memb er States (including the UK as existing), would b e ob liged to enter into negotiations, b efore separation took effect, to determine the future relationship within the EU of the separate parts of the former UK and the other Memb er States. The outcome of such negotiations, unless they failed utterly, would b e agreed amendment of the existing Treaties, not a new Accession Treaty. The simplified revision procedure provided b y Article 48 TEU would not apply, so ratification of the amended Treaties would b e necessary. Sir David also has this to say about automatic membership or automatic rejection: In my opinion, neither contention is correct. There would b e no automaticity of result in either direction. Since the situation would b e unprecedented, and there is no express provision in the Treaties to deal with it, one must look to the spirit and gen eral scheme of the Treaties. Graham Avery, honourary director-general of the European Commission and Senior Adviser at the European Policy Centre in Brussels 365: Scotland’s five million people, having b een members of the EU for 40 years, have acquired rights as European citizens. For practical and political reasons they could not b e asked to leave the EU and apply for readmission. The point can b e illustrated b y considering another example: if a b reak -up of Belgium were agreed b etween Wallonia and Flanders, it is inconceivable that other EU members would require 11 million people to leave the EU and then reapply for memb ership. As in the case of German reunification, the EU would adopt a simplified procedure under which the Commission would b e asked to conduct exploratory talks with Edinb urgh, London and other capitals, and sub mit proposals. Although an intergovernmental conference would b e needed, it would not b e of the kind that handles accession negotiations with non -memb er countries. David Sheffer, who we e ncountered in the section of the UK’s legal advice regarding the EU, says: My argument quite frankly is that we have two co-equal successor states. We don’t have a situation where I’m going to call the British Government ... the predecessor state that reta ins all of the rights without any question whatsoever that had b een estab lished through the Union, and

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then Scotland is a successor state somehow cast adrift, told to start from a clean slate as some kind of new state. Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, former foreign minister under Labour and Deputy Secretary General to the United Nations, says several interesting things 366, but the most relevant here would be 367: I don’t think they’d have any particular reason to want to make things tricky for Scotland . I mean, I think the fact that Scotland would likely remain very pro-European would mean they’d b e anxious to emb race Scotland and b ring it in. So if they were going to make the issue emb arrassing for anyb ody it’s more likely they’d make it emb arrassing for London , with whom they have, you know, b igger prob lems. So my own guess is whatever the legal formalities, in terms of the political will if Scotland were – b eing hypothetical – were to vote for independence, I think Europe would try to smooth its way into taking its place as a European memb er. Back in January 2012, EU lawyers told the AFP the following
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:

An independent Scotland could b e treated as one of two successor states, and that a separate seat for Edinb urgh would require only a majority vote among memb er states. That same article goes on to say: There is no doub t within the EU, however, that if Salmond secures a 'yes' vote, complex three way negotiations b etween London, Edinb urgh and Brussels will b e triggered -- altering Britain's voting clout and financial relations with the EU. There is a valid legal question ab out what 'rUK' (what remains of the United Kingdom) would have to renegotiate. Or what about Roland Vaubel, a member of the Advisory Cou ncil to the German Federal Ministry of Economics and technology who wrote 369: If, say, Catalonia seceded from Spain or Scotland from the UK, b oth would remain memb ers of the European Union. The seceding state and the rump state would have to negotiate an agreement on how they wished to share the rights and ob ligations of the predecessor state. If they did not meet their joint ob ligations, b oth could b e expelled b y the international organisation. Then there is the former Czech president Vaclav Klaus 370: It is arrogant of the EU to say Scotland and Catalonia will not b e memb ers. And Joelle Garriaud-Maylam who is a French senator with a specialism in foreign policy371: The threats formulated b y Mr Barroso are inappropriate and the result of Spanish and English pressure. London is increasingly worried. They (the threats) are not credib le. If Scotland votes for independence, it will stay in the European Union. It would b e in England's interest Or Fabian Zuleeg of the European Policy Center 372 who highlights the difference between a Unilateral Declaration of Independence 373 (as would be required in Catalonia) versus the consensual process embodied in the Edinburgh Agreement between Holyrood and Westminster: When a country splits and the two parts don't agree, like with Catalo nia and Spain - where the separations is legally impossible - then it would b e very difficult for the region to b ecome a part of the European Union. In the case of Scotland I see it this way: if the British government is happy with the agreement, then it could b ecome a memb er of the EU. Furthermore why should the EU refuse to allow a country to join the EU if it meets the criteria for an accession? That would disagree with the idea of European unification.

Finally, consider what Graham Avery has to say about the motivations involved 374:

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Although the EU has constantly redrawn its b orders over the last half century, it has never experienced a memb er state splitting in two with b oth parts wanting to remain in the EU. "Thus Scotland, and alongside it Catalonia and Belgium, pose a question for which the EU has no direct precedent," Avery writes. He argues that the EU approach would b e "initial reluctance followed b y pragmatic acceptance", as the impact of a state splitting in two would on b alance b e neutral, as th ere would b e no change in the EU's population or its economic size. "This does not mean that it cannot b e opposed b y individual memb er states, in particular cases and for various reasons," he cautions. "But it can hardly b e opposed on the grounds that it weakens the EU, or is contrary to the EU's b asic principles or interests." Indeed, an extra memb er could strengthen the EU's hand on the international stage, he adds. "It can b e argued that the EU's weight in international affairs is increased, since it gai ns an additional seat in the United Nations and other international organisations." I could literally fill a document by itself with these kind of comments – there are others 375, but I think the point is made. But let’s not overstate the case here – for every two legal authorities that says ‘yes’ there is one who says ‘no’. For every one who says ‘automatic’ there is another that says ‘no way’. The fact is that these are incredibly complex legal discussions and there is no real precedent for how it will sha ke out in the end. However, whatever it ends up being is okay for Scotland – automatic acceptance means that we have a continuation of the status quo. Being a new state means that we get none of the debt. Scotland wins in either case. In the end though , this isn’t going to be a legal decision. It’s going to be a political decision and ‘a way will be found’ as Angus Roxburgh argues in a piece in the Herald 376: Amid all the sound and fury over what legal advice Alex Salmond received, or might receive, ab ou t Scotland’s position in Europe, it is worth rememb ering, that in the EU, 'legal advice', even from the most exalted lawyer, is just that. Advice. It doesn’t actually matter what the lawyers say, b ecause the European Union is a land of fudge, where important decisions are taken on the b asis of political expediency, not precedents or rules. We’ll be in the EU, simply because it is in nobody’s interest that we aren’t and there is no legal principle by which the alternative could be enabled. Rump UK doesn’t want to have to deal with all of the debt by itself. Nobody wants the years of complexity and awkwardness caused by European free trade and free travel being abruptly cancelled. Nobody wants to cut Europe off from one of its main producers of oil and renewable energy. While the situation is febrile and full of complexity and nuance, the simple fact is that we will still be in the EU. That is, unless we vote no and England votes to leave the EU in the upcoming in-out EU referendum. Whether we want to stay there on the other hand, will be up to us.

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18. Losing the EU Rebate wouldn’t be a bad thing

One of the temporary fads in the anti-independence camp for a while was to raise up the terrible situation where Scotland in the EU would end up subsidising Englan d because we wouldn’t inherit the UK EU rebate 377. All this talk about the EU rebate and how Scotland is going to be screwed and subsidising England under independence is interesting. Not in terms of the topic itself, but in terms of how it beautifully illustrates both the way that the UK economy screws over Scotland and how Better Together don't give a damn about fairly presenting the facts. I'm not great expert on the rebate (in fact, I suspect less than ten people in the entire country genuinely understa nd all its various complexities), but let’s do a little talk about what it means when the rebate is mentioned. This is a simplified view that can't provide any real economic figures (because, as I say, there are only a handful of people who would be able to crunch those numbers), but it explains the structural aspects in a way that others may not have appreciated. First of all, let's talk about what the rebate is for - it was Thatcher's great EU triumph designed to claw back money from the EU 378. It was to compensate for the country getting less out of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) than other nations because of the UK's much smaller agricultural sector 379. The deal was 'We get back two thirds of what we provide as net contributions'. If the UK spends 10billion more in contributions than it gets out in repayments, then the UK gets 6.66billion back. Sounds pretty sweet, but as always there's more nuance to this kind of thing. The first major consequence of this is that the UK gets roughly a third back in terms of payments from the EU than other countries without a rebate. The UK isn't the only country with a rebate, but it's the only one with a permanent rebate. It's also the only country that can veto any attempt to take the rebate away. So, if a country without a rebate would get 10 billion, the UK will get 3.33 billion with the rest being expected to come out of the UK treasury. Again, fair enough. Except, no it isn't. What the rebate then becomes is a way for Westminster to choke off funding that would come down at the regional levels and transfer it instead directly to Westminster. It becomes centralised funds which can be used, as usual, to enrich the southeast of England. This is rather than the regeneration and structural funding that can be used to build up the other parts of the country. Coupled to this, most EU funding requires some level of national fund matching. Since the UK would only get a third of EU funding, it means that the relative burden on the UK is much larger than other coun tries to provide this fund matching. The consequence is that the rebate makes it much less attractive for groups, projects and organisations within the UK to bid for funding because Westminster is reluctant to fund match. If you're getting 10 billion from the EU, and you fund match 10 billion, you end up with 20 billion - a ten billion benefit. If you're getting 3.33 billion from the EU and then providing the remaining 6.66 billion yourself, and then having to fund match that 3.33 billion, what you end u p with is 13.3billion, a 3.33 billion benefit. It's much, much less attractive for the UK government to seek out these kind of things. It's in this context that the rebate must be understood - it does mean contributions to the EU are lower, but that saving comes at a cost. It's probably less of a cost than what is saved, on a national level, but the gap isn't as wide as many would like you to believe. Mostly what it does is centralise the money in Westminster's hands. So, first things first - the financial 'cost' as far as Scotland is concerned is about 9.3% of the rebate, except that we'll get more of it back in terms of payments from the EU, and those payments will come to Scotland 380 rather than Westminster . We've already seen an area recently where Scotland has been robbed of what would be its rightful EU funding when the uplift provided to the UK as a consequence of the Scottish farming sector was funnelled off to other parts of the country381 382 383. Now comes the second part of this - the rebate exists because the UK agriculture industry is much smaller than that of France (mainly) - 0.7% of GDP rather than the 1.9% that France boasts. France then receives much more out of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) than the UK. But, the situation is different with an independent Scotland - our agricultural sector is around 1.3% of GDP, meaning that WE TOO would get much more out of the CAP than the UK 384. In fact, we would get almost twice as much.

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It's all smoke and mirrors from the No campaign, all of the time. They are lucky enough with topics like this that hardly anyone even really understands what the 'UK rebate' is, much less how it serves the policy objectives of the London-based elite of the country.

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19. The only real threat to Scotland in the EU comes from remaining in the United Kingdom

Nowhere here am I arguing that we absolutely should be members of the EU. I have my own doubts about the EU as an institution, even if I am broadly speaking in favour of its general principles. The key matter for me is the issue of representation – if Scotland is in the EU, or out of the EU, it should be up to the people living in Scotland to decide. Day one of independence should, ideally, be as close as possible to day minus one. What we choose to do from there is up to us. It’s on that basis alone that I argue the case for EU membership. The basic principle that Scottish membership in the EU is a matter for the people in Scotland to decide is likely to be undercut in every possible way in the event of a ‘no’ vote. David Cameron has promised an in-out EU referendum if the conservatives win the next election 385 386. Regardless of initial objections, Labour will almost certainly offer the same if they hope to be credible as a candidate for government 387, a fact which Ed Balls has acknowledged 388. Scotland is generally speaking more pro-Europe than the rest of the UK389. We’re also subject to exactly the same limitations on our voting power in a referendum as we are in every other election. What the rest of the UK choos es to do is what will almost certainly happen to us. It’s probable, assuming current voting intentions held roughly true, that Scotland would vote ‘yes’ to staying in the EU and the rest of the UK would vote ‘no’. What happens then is simple – Scotland i s out of the EU. Around 56% of Brits would vote ‘no’ to staying in the EU 390. Polling data from Ipsos Mori however puts Scottish intentions almost diametrically opposite, with 53% willing to stay in the EU with only 34% wanting to leave 391. Now, let’s leave aside for the moment that polling data, certainly so far in advance of an actual referendum, is virtually useless as a real indicator of outcome. This actually serves to highlight a major problem with our current constitutional arrangement. According to the 2012 figures from the General Register Office for Scotland, there are 3.94m in Scotland registered for UK elections 392, with the UK as a whole having a touch over 46m. Let’s do some simple electoral math using current voting intentions, ignoring voter turnout except to assume that those who don’t know simply won’t turn up to vote: Country Scotland United Kingdom Total Electorate 3,940,000 42,160,000 46,100,000 Yes % 53 30 Yes Vote 2,088,200 12,648,000 14,736,200 No % 34 56 No Vote 1,339,600 23,609,600 24,949,200 Result Yes (60.1%) No (65.1%) No (62.9%)

I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Scotland votes overwhelmingly yes to the tune of a 60.1% result. The rest of the UK votes overwhelmingly no, to the tune of 65.1%. When taken together, we’re out of the EU with a massive 62.9% landslide. Look at what Scotland did to the outcome here – it barely budged it despite the result being almost the complete opposite in terms of the general makeup of the proportions. This is obviously a very simplistic analysis – it doesn’t take into account the split of undecided or the percentage of the electorate who would actually turn out to vote. A more substantial analysis is available elsewhere 393 - this one serves to show only the extent to which our votes don’ t matter. To quote the New Statesman:

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The numb ers show that unless the margin of difference b etween in -out votes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is exceptionally close (b etween 1 -2 percent) it looks likely that Scotland’s EU fate is entirely out of its own hands. The numb er of votes needed from Scotland to stay in increases dramatically as the in-out margin b ecomes wider in the rest of Britain. Even if Scotland votes in favour of staying in b y two to one, 52 per cent of the rest of the British electorate is all that’s needed to force an EU exit. In fact, even if every voter in Scotland chose to continue EU memb ership, it would only take ab out 56 per cent of the rest of Britain to vote for withdrawal to take Scotland with them. This is not a constitutional arrangement that works for Scotland. It’s not one where we even matter. I happen to be one of the 58% of Scots who believe there should be a referendum on this matter after independence. I’d almost certainly vote yes, but I could certainly be swayed by compelling information. But I’m damn sure that I don’t want something as important as Scotland’s relationship to the EU decided by the rest of the UK when our values and preferences simply do not align. The choice in the end seems to be rapidly becoming one of two referenda – do we stay in the UK, or do we stay in the EU. Pick one, because you can’t have both 394 395 396 - the Tories will support the EU in the referendum if, and only if, it’s significant ly reformed. There’s little evidence that anyone i s very keen on supporting another one of Westminster’s European tantrums 397 398, with Jose Manual Barroso (yes, that same one) saying that Cameron’s EU renegotiations were ‘doomed to fail’ 399.

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Scotland and Defence
You talked of Scotland as a lost cause and that is not true. Scotland is an un-won cause. John Steinbeck

How can an independent Scotland hope to defend itself against aggressors? National defence is a tremendously costly endeavour, and setting up a new military from scratch is likely to be far outsi de the financial competence of a new nation. Even if we could afford a military, we surely couldn’t afford to send it anywhere. As with almost all of the claims regarding independence put forward by unionists, they don’t hold up to investigation. Part of the problem lies in a fundamental misalignment in expectations. Scotland probably could not, even if we so desired, fund a military capable of engaging in unilateral acts of aggression against other countries. Such endeavours are beyond the ability of most countries, and those countries that can act unilaterally spend vast proportions of their annual revenue on building and maintaining that capacity. By those criteria, an independent Scotland comes up short. The question is – do you want to be one of those nations? The kind of Scotland in which I want to live doesn’t need an attack capacity – it needs a defence capacity. It needs to be able to protect its people and assets from aggression. It doesn’t need to be able to project military power in an a ttempt to retain great power status. It just needs to have enough of a military to ensure its safety against the real, credible threats in the world. Can we afford a military like that? Aye, we can.

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20. We can afford a Scottish military for a lot less t han what we’re paying now.

First of all, let’s look at the cost of defence in Scotland. We contribute over £3.3 billion a year to defence 401, and as stated above only £2 billion of that is spent in Scotland. That gives us an ‘equivalence’ budget that we can use to give us a basis for making calculations as to what we can and cannot afford by ourselves. Scotland has a very significant defence underspend 402 in terms of what we get for our money. Working from first principles as to what a national defence force for Scotland would need to do, experts have come to the conclusion that Scotland could operate its own armed forces for around £2 billion. This would include around 25 ships, 60 aircraft, and between 10,000 and 12,500 personnel. It does not include though tanks or heavy artillery, or Typhoon or Tornado jets 403. This, it is argued, meets Scotland’s needs for self-defence and it does so at a cost considerably less than what we are currently paying. Note that this is what you might think of as the ‘minimum’ expenditure – Scottish Government plans dial this up to £2.5bn with a projected 15,000 personnel allowance. It would be up to an independent Scotland to then decide whether or not to spend more to increase the country’s ability to project military po wer, or to invest the money left over on national infrastructure. However, one also has to bear in mind that as part of an independence settlement Scotland will also be entitled to around 8.4% of current military assets – that is our share of current res ources. An independent Scotland does not start from scratch in anything, including military hardware (unless as outlined above we start off as a new state, at which point we can afford to buy everything all shiny and new with no debt). The Defence Minister Peter Luff suggested around a £3.7bn share of MoD assets should Scotland vote yes in the referendum 404. A reasonable breakdown of that figure into defence for Scotland is outlined in the Scottish Navy blog 405 which notes: The Scots Navy could take 14 vessels of different types, and still have £400m cash in hand mainly thanks to the six eye-wateringly expensive Type 45 destroyers and the two Astute sub marines in service b y 2014, all eight vessels around £1b n each - and none of which we want. That same blog goes on to note: Previously we sized the Scottish Navy at 9 patrol vessels, with the option to run 10 new generation Calmac ferries as dual role ships, as was first done in the 1960s. … Effectively we get our 9 home patrol vessels and an intervention force to contrib ute to multinational efforts as anticipated b y the SNP. Note here a common theme – that the great power pretentious of the United Kingdom come at a cost, and that Scotland without a desire to wage unilateral war can make tremendous savings over what we’re currently spending by simply focusing on what we need for reasonable self-defence. We don’t need the incredibly expensive destroyers, so less money goes further and gives us more of what we actually want. Comparisons have been made between the military provisions of countries like Norway406 and Ireland, and the comparison shows that the defence burdens of an independent Scotland are easily possible for us to bear whilst still ensuring control and defence of our territories. Defending an ind ependent would be cheaper407 and more in tune with our actual needs.

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21. Scotland has Westminster over a barrel with regards to Trident.

There is another issue with regards to Scotland’s independence and defence – the nuclear deterrent. The vast majority of Scottish people don’t want Trident or its replacements in Scotland 408. This creates an interesting tension between an independent Scotland and the rump UK left behind. The Trident system is currently located in Scotland and there are no suitable locations in England to which it could be moved 409. This is an emotive issue for many in the unionist camp, as is evidenced by the ridiculous claims that an independent Scotland would need to pay for the UK to build a suitable replacement facility410. This is a claim that received the appropriate amount of derision and then disappeared into obscurity. Similarly baffling claims that Westminster would annex Faslane to store the weapons 1 were rapidly denied when they were floated 2 in the press. But let’s not be too hasty here – after all, aren’t we talking about a vast number of jobs being abandoned if we get rid of Trident? Didn’t the Herald put the number at 19,000 jobs if we gave it up 411? FEARS have b een raised that more than 19,000 job s dependent on Scotland retainin g a nuclear deterrent will b e lost if voters b ack independence in next year's referendum. Ian Davidson put the figures somewhat higher, at a total of 22,000 jobs . Jackie Bailie put the number at a little more modest 11,000 413. There’s some disagreement on this of course because one suspects the numbers here are made up to suit a political agenda. Even I can’t deny though that any of these numbers is, to use the correct technical term, a ‘buttload’ of jobs to lose. But remember the rallying cry at the sta rt of this document and consider the evidence. What does the Ministry of Defence say about the number of jobs directly dependant on Trident? Well, let’s ask the Herald again, who reported on a Freedom of Information request aimed at answering that very question 414: Figures released b y the Ministry of Defence (MoD) under freedom of information law reveal that only 520 civilian job s at Faslane and Coulport near Helensb urgh are directly dependent on Trident. This contrasts with the 6000-11,000 job s that pro-Trident politicians claim are at risk. Let’s be sporting and ignore the fact that the Herald is acting as if it doesn’t actually have a role to play in allowing politicians to make these claims without question. At least they’re also reporting on the real numbers 415. John Ainslie, Scottish CND's co-ordinator, told the Sunday Herald: "Both Lab our and Conservative politicians are trying to scare the pub lic b y exaggerating the economic implications of nuclear disarmament." Now, I don’t want to make out that 520 jobs ‘ain’t no thing’, because they absolutely are important. But Scotland is currently paying £163m a year to support Trident 416 and the Trident replacement is estimated as £130bn 417 over the next 30 years. That includes a £20-25bn build cost418. We’ll pay fo r these - Scotland will pay a proportionate share of around £11bn for the Trident replacement. That’s another £364m a year. There’s also a ten year period where we’ll overlap, having both Trident and its replacement and pay for both. But let’s simplify the math here and just look at what both sums mean with regards to jobs in Scotland. Let’s take the average of the number of jobs cited by the opposition, so 8,500 as an average between 6,000 and 11,000. System Trident Trident Replacement Trident Trident Replacement Yearly Cost 163m 364m 163m 364m Affected Jobs 520 520 8500 8500 Wage per Person £313,461 £700,000 £19,100 £42,823
412

1 2

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/jul/10/mod-trident-scotland-independence http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/go vernment-t o-annex-trident-base-inindependent-scotland-not-credible-says-no-10-8701485.html

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If we took just half the money we saved from trident or its replacement and give it directly to the workers, we could still save tens of millions a year and subsidise 520 jobs to the tune of £150,000/£350,000 a year. Even if we took the average of the already disproven figures, a reasonable person can’t deny that we could simply pay people from the money we’re saving and th ey’d still be pretty much at the median wage for Scotland 419 during Trident’s lifetime. Once we started paying for Trident’s replacement, we could pay them £42,000 a year. Or… we could do something more sensible with these vast sums. The argument that jo bs are in danger because we get rid of Trident is not grounded in any real fact. We’d take the money we save and spend it more wisely – such as enhancing the role and importance of Faslane as a conventional naval base and actually increasing the number of jobs there 420. They won’t be the kind of specialist jobs that are dependent on Trident but there will be more of them, for less money, and for less risk to the Scottish people. We don’t want Trident, and we don’t want the Trident replacement. Nobody save for Westminster does. Nick Harvey, former armed forces minister, says that the whole idea is outdated, ludicrous and not affordable 421. America has reportedly told Westminster that they can choose between having the Trident replacement or being a full al ly of America, but they can’t be 422 both . The issue of Trident is problematic, but only for the rest of the UK. Housing the submarines themselves is relatively simple, but the nuclear warheads require a specialist facility that would need to be built and t hen housed somewhere else. In the meantime, storage of the warheads becomes phenomenally difficult 423. They cannot simply be shipped off to another country while the facility is constructed as that violates non proliferation treaties 424. Whether such a facility can even be constructed is under question. The Ministry of Defence in 1963 ruled out alternative sites for the Trident system, and there is no reason to believe that those alternative sites have become any more viable as time has gone by425. It is a ridiculous trinket of a bygone age – a slap in the face to those who suffer under austerity. That’s the choice for the rest of the UK to make, but we don’t have to be dragged along with them this time. In short, if the rest of the UK is to retain a nuclear deterrent it would need to negotiate temporary storage of the material with an independent Scotland, and an independent Scotland has all the power in that negotiation 426 . Leaving aside the fact that getting rid of Trident is a key plank of the SNP platform, Alex Salmond has said that he is willing to be reasonable about the warheads being removed from the country should he be the one doing the negotiations. That reasonableness, considering how it requires Scottish interests to be overruled by the rest of the UK, would surely not come cheap. The housing of Trident on a temporary basis , even for a year or two, would serve as a key lever in the negotiation settlement between Scotland and the remaining parts of the United Kingdom. If we vote no though, t hen we don’t get to do that and instead we get to enjoy the dumping of nuclear waste from decommissioned submarines 427, 428 waiting for the inevitable accident , whilst being denied the opportunity to explore the Clyde for its 429 430 431 suspected significant oil deposits .

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22. Scotland needs a defence capability, not an attack capability

What then of Scotland’s ability to project military power internationally? Scottish Secretary Michael Moore has said that an independent Scotland would lose its ability to interfere i n countries such as Libya and Iraq 432. George Robertson, in a mind-boggling intervention, has argued that Scotland is the only thing stopping Western Europe being engulfed in a cloak of endless darkness – it is we plucky Scots that stand between Voldermort and the collapse of our way of life 433. According to him, Scottish independence would be cataclysmic for world peace. Phillip Hammond in turn has suggested that Scotland may face 434 threats from not just everyone on the planet, but also those from other planets .

It’s okay though, Scotland has The Doctor 435, so we’ll probably be fine. Leaving aside these truly bizarre overreactions, these are the issues of Scotland’s ability to project power and influence across the world. So let’s address those. This is part of the difference between Westminster pretentions towards ‘great power’ status and the Scottish desire for self-defence. Scotland does not require an attack capability – a Scottish defence force would be concerned with protecting the country rather than engaging in costly foreign wars. Scotland would have the military capability to assist in legally mandated international efforts 436, but lack the inclination and capability for unilateral military engagements 437. We could be about supporting peace 438 439 , not profiting from war. We couldn’t embark upon wars of adventure, but ask yourself – do you really want to live in the kind of country that does? Even at the time the Scottish parliament stood against the actions in Iraq, and even then Scottish MPs voted in the majority against the war. Our requirements are modest – enough of a military to credibly deter real threats. That doesn’t mean that we need a military capable of seeing off, say, an invasion by China. Britain as a whole doesn’t have that kind of military muscle. It means that we need a military infrastructure that can protect us against things that are likely occurrences – sabotage against oil rigs and terrorism. We’d need a secret service capable of identifying threats and working internationall y to protect the country. We’d need special forces capable of dealing with piracy and sabotage. Our needs are modest, and the specialist nature of those needs ensures that the expertise that we recruit, train and retain will be in demand in similar situa tions around the world.

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All of this sounds costly, but in real terms given our available budget, it is more than manageable. A Scottish special forces unit of 75 specialists would cost perhaps £10 million to set up according to one exSAS member440. Even assuming every current member of the SAS, SBS and the intelligence services would stay in the United Kingdom following a Yes vote the money is more than there to set up and staff these institutions.

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23. Scotland’s defence industry doesn’t need Westminster t o survive.

Sometimes the negative claims made about Scottish independence have a vague believability about them. One of these that has managed to gain a fair degree of traction over the past few months is the risk that Scottish independence poses to shipbuilding on the Clyde 441 442. Like most of the claims made by Better Together though, it becomes obviously unconvincing when you apply even a little bit of scrutiny. First of all, let’s look at what has happened to Scotland’s once vibrant ship -building industry in the Union. Despite being one of the great industrial powerhouses of World War 2, Glasgow suffered in the fifties as a result of increased competition from far-Eastern shipyards. Industrial action in the mid sixties, as a result of Westminster’s unwillingness to support the industry, led to further problems in terms of spiralling costs and declining business. Several shipyards closed down, with others facing increased uncertainty and financial instability. Lack of loan guarantees from the UK go vernment meant there was no state support for the industry, and support for infrastructure investment was strictly limited 443. The UK government created the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders consortium in 1968, which went receivership in 1971. If you want to know when the honourable Jimmy Reid exploded into public consciousness, this is when. The workers staged a kind of ‘worker takeover’ and began a work -in to complete the orders that were still to be serviced. In 1972, two of the yards were marked for saving – Yarrow in Scotstoun and Farfield’s in Govan. Farfield’s then became Govan Shipbuilders, which was nationalised into British Shipbuilders in 1977. Then came Thatcher, who broke up British Shipbuilders and denationalised it, selling the former Farfield yard off to Norway. They tried their best to modernise the yard, but in the 1990s the yard needed to move on to alternative contracts. BAE took over the running of the yard, and turned to the Royal Navy as its primary supplier of contracts. BAE is currentl y building the two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers that have been commissioned, at which point only one yard would be needed for the company. In November 2013, it was announced that Portsmouth would be the shipbuilding yard that closed and the yards in Scotland would be retained. This came at the cost of 940 staff posts in Portsmouth, 170 agency posts, and 835 in Glasgow. Proportionally, given the relative population shares, a more significant loss in terms of sheer percentages for Scotland 444 - it was however obviously a terrible outcome for everyone. Except for Ian Davidson, who felt it was an ‘excellent day for Scottish shipbuilding’ 445. This is the same man who basically stabbed his own constituents in the back by saying that any defence contracts awarded to Glasgow should be revoked in the event of a Yes vote 446. That’s who you’re voting for in Glasgow South West – that’s the man who is representing you in Westminster. But this is what we’re talking about when we say shipbuilding is at risk in an independent Scotland – it means that the stranglehold that Royal Navy contracting has had. If it is genuinely the case that the Royal Navy won’t commission warships built in a ‘foreign country’, then who is to blame for that? Who is to blame for a once vibrant ship-building tradition being forced to survive on defence contracts? Who is to blame for awarding contracts to South Korea rather than British shipbuilders 447? That’s not to say that wasn’t the ‘right’ decision – just that the idea that shipbuilding is safe with a ‘no’ vote is obvious nonsense. Happily, the future for Scottish shipbuilding is bright – the Chief of Defence staff has said that Westminster 448 will get ships from where it makes most sense, and that remains Scotland . It’s often claimed th at Article 449 346 of the EU Law and Defence Procurement means that countries have to open up defence contracts to open tender if they build outside their own countries. However, that’s a misreading, or a deliberate misinterpretation: Article 346 (1)(b ) allows EU countries to take measures they consider necessary for the protection of their essential security interests in connection with the production of/ trade in arms, munitions and war material (specified in the 1958 list) Measures taken under Article 346 (1)(b ) may not adversely affect competition on the common market for products not specifically intended for military purposes. The misreading is ‘You’re exempted if you build them in your own country’. It’s nothing to do with location, but instead to do with purpose . That’s handy, because with the closing of Portsmouth the rUK will have to build new ships in a foreign country anyway. Shipbuilding is an incredibly complex and highly skilled job, and you can’t just reopen a yard when its essential talent h as already scattered to the winds for jobs

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elsewhere. The Clyde yards are also newer, better equipped and have had sufficient infrastructure improvements to make them attractive. Military spending in ‘essential security interests’ seems to be a pretty cle ar definition of building sensitive defence assets, meaning that there is no requirement for the rUK government to put a contract out for open tender. BAE would still own the Govan yards after all, meaning that it would still be a rUK defence contractor doing the work and so a net benefit to rUK even if the shipyard is in Scotland . But leaving that aside for a moment, it opens an opportunity for Scotland to once again be a shipbuilder for the world. No more need to focus on defence assets, but instead to be able to build, for example, the ferries that need to 450 be created in Scotland to meet EU clean fuel regulations . The cost to build a single 3bn aircraft carrier would fund the building of 200 ferries, and that in turn would generate ten times the numbe r of jobs. There are of course other opportunities – ‘Clyde built’ was once a brand known around the world, and it can be again. But in the end, it won’t make much difference to defence contract opportunities – the carriers need to be built, and they’ll s till be built in Scotland 451 because they can’t sensibly be built anywhere else. The UK is already planning to build warships with India 452 and Turkey453 after all – why not Scotland? The only answer is ‘spite’, and that’s not a great reason to vote ‘no’ when we have so many other options for what our shipbuilding industry could do.

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Scotland and the Media
The difficulty of literature is not to write, b ut to write what you mean Robert Louis Stevenson So, why is so much of this information new to so many people? Surely if there was any truth in any of this you would have heard it? It would have been on the television, or it would have been in the ne wspapers. At the very least, the BBC would have reported on it – if there’s a media institution that we can trust to be unbiased, it’s the BBC right? The BBC is the broadcaster of the establishment – it is beholden to government for its budget, and while an attempt is made to credibly pursue ‘impartiality’, it is only within very narrow boundaries. Noam Chomsky talks about this as the setting of parameters for debate – it is possible to discuss freely within these parameters, but moving outside them is verboten and will result in ridicule and approbation. It is appropriate to discuss whether Labour or the Conservatives are best for handling the economic crisis – that’s within the parameters. It is outside the parameters to discuss an approach that is out side the two party system, or one that requires significant constitutional change. Scottish independence falls foul of this. The BBC have admitted that have no requirement to be balanced in the Scottish referendum debate, which is an unusual admission from the body but one that we can see very keenly in their coverage of the topic 454. They have the trust of the people, which allows them to manipulate perceptions 455. This despite their role in recent scandals 456 457 458, the institutional bullying 459 and critically low morale 460 - they are a flawed, broken, partisan organisation with the country’s most effective megaphone. The BBC have a responsibility to the establishment, and that is to manufacture the consent needed for dominant interests to effectively control the debate. In that role, they are second to none. A booklet on Scottish independence is not the place to elaborate on these points, but I would recommend anyone pick up the book ‘Manufacturing Consent’ by Noam Chomsky for an extremely insightful and distressing account of how this is accomplished. As the Guardian says in their attempt to frame the debate as constructively as they can 461:

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24. All news outlets are biased, but we are forced to pay for the BBC.

If the referendum comes around and the people of Scotland vote against independence, I can accept that with good grace. However, the danger is from people voting ‘no’ because they don’t have the right information – and people don’t have the right information because the mainstream media are lined up against Scottish independence as a matter of editorial policy. For most newspapers that’s absolutely fine – if you don’t like a newspaper, you don’t have to buy it. The 462 463 decline in circulation and relevance of papers such as the Scotsman and the Herald are ample demonstration of the power of consumers to reject that of which they do not approve. If you have a TV though, you have to pay a licence fee. As a result you are funding a misinformation campaign from the BBC that seeks to enhance the position of Better Together through slanted editing and subtle framing of copy. It is your money that is paying the salaries of the commentators who mislead, the editors who deceive, and the reporters who misrepresent. We are essentially paying for a news channel which is accountable only to the Establishment. If you have a TV, you have to pay for the licence – you have no consumer leverage in that respect. If you pay for the licence, you have to pay for BBC news. You can’t opt out on the grounds that it is bias ed or deceitful without breaking the law. It is this lack of consumer leverage that makes the BBC so insidious. That is the reason why bias in the BBC must be identified and addressed with regards to Scottish independence – because we cannot opt out of the service, we must ensure that people realise how tainted a source it is. In the process, if we can shine a light on the problem and actually bring about some proper balance, it will be to the better of both sides of the debate. You might think that you could rely on the BBC itself to police its own bias – but when even they say they don’t have to be balanced, you know there’s a problem. This is what they had to say when an official complaint was made regarding unbalanced panel representation on Brian Tayl or’s ‘Big Debate’ radio program 464: Brian's deb ate is a general programme which discusses a numb er of sub jects every week and the programme b rings a range of voices to those sub jects. In addition, we are not in an official referendum campaign and therefore do not have to balance it out between yes and no. There you go – the BBC don’t feel the need to be balanced in how they report the referendum, so bear that in mind when you are exposed to their reporting. Having said that considering they don’t seem to se e the need to even follow their own rules 465, this kind of admission is perhaps not entirely surprising. All of this is easy to dismiss as simple sour grapes, but Professor John Robertson of the University of the West of Scotland has been conducting an ongoing examination of referendum coverage of the BBC. His findings were both objective and damning, showing that there was roughly a 3:2 bias in favour of the No campaign across the BBC and STV466. Predictably, the BBC went into bullying overdrive to discredit the academic’s research – it’s well worth reading the references for these, because they show quite clear the pathology at the heart of the BBC’s operating procedure 467 468 469.

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25. The BBC systematically misrepresent those who argue for independence.

That’s a s trong claim, and one that requires supporting. Luckily, the BBC have provided plenty of evidence as to a systematic programme of undermining independence generally and the SNP particularly. Let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that BBC is an intently broken organisation, so broken that it has to spend licence payer money to gag staff from telling the truth about the way it works 470 471. Instead, let’s focus on its relationship to the independence debate particularly. Let’s look at one of the more blatant examples – when asking about the bank bailout, Nicola Sturgeon gave an answer consistent with how it is discussed above – that the Scotland and the remaining UK would have worked together to resolve the matter. You can find her answer about eighteen minu tes into the following news clip: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-17325032. The news article offers a perfectly impartial headline for this comment, o ne which correctly reflects her views on the matter. Unfortunately, that headline is not the original. The original headline is:

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That of course is not what the headline is now, but it’s what the headline was, and it’s what the headline was for two days. Then, after the article had moved off of the front page, a more impartial headline was attached 473 with no formal apology, retraction or indication that an editing decision had been made. So the effect is that a false perception is given while the arti cle is on the front pages, but those who look at the article later are under the impression that the BBC has been fair and even handed with the interview. This is the headline now:

This isn’t a minor case of after the fact editorialising – this is endemic at the BBC and shows the ways in which the broadcaster is abusing its position with regards to Scottish independence. It creates a narrative with the headlines and cements an initial impression. Then, when that impression has already been cemented and the news story has moved off of the front pages, they correct the headline to show the real news so as anyone coming along with a directed interest doesn’t think that the BBC has misrepresented.

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Not enough for you? Well, here’s another example, but you’ ll need to work a little harder for it. The story is reported at the Newsnet Scotland website, which gives the full unedited issue of First Minister’s Question Time, and then provides the BBC summary alongside it. You can find the page at: http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/affairs -scotland/5186-first-ministers-questions-14-june2012#comment-161303 In the full video feed, the First Minister is on cracking form. In my opinion, he slaps the other party leaders from one side of the chamber to the other. In the edited radio summary, the vast majority of the time is given over to the questions , with hardly any time given to the actual answers. The perception then is that the first minister had been harangued by penetrating questions he wasn’t able to address. Watch the two, one after the other, and ask yourself in all honesty whether or not the summary is remotely representative. The BBC allowed factually incorrect questions from the other leaders to go into the program, and left out the First Minister’s right of reply. Okay, one more example and then we’ll move on – literally, we could be here all day. Let’s look at how the BBC chose to represent the SNP in the 2012 local elections (where they gained 62 seats and won the popular vote). These imagines cribbed from http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottishpolitics/4911-questions-over-bbc-scotlands-election-figure-claims.

And then, a day later, that image is replaced with:

Look at the way the images are presented – despite their best result ever, the image chosen is one that reflects defeat and despair. The bottom image more properly represents the enthusiasm of the win. This is systematic misrepresentation of words, deeds and attitudes and it is done in the most insidi ous way – it’s not lying as such, but a very conscious picking and choosing of what is going to be reported and how it is going to be presented. It’s so insidious because if you don’t know it’s going on, you may never pick up on it. Sometimes this bias takes the form of burying stories of real importance. For example, Dennis Healey’s admission that Westminster had lied for years about the value of North Sea Oil received an almost blanket BBC blackout474. By cherry-picking the news, slanting the headlines and unsubtly framing the images, a tremendously powerful impression can be achieved. This even extends to how they select the ‘editor’s pick’ of comments. See if you can pick out a common theme 475 below. Of the 1570 comments, the editors seemed to think that three comments all making the same basic point of ‘I hope they realise they’ll have to pay for it’ (with varying degrees of competence in expression) are needed to really capture the range and breadth of the discussion.

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A related example of this, this time from the Independent, shows clearly how effective such a strategy can be 476:

It is fair to say that these kind of things could be mistakes rather than intentional attempts to mislead and reframe the discussion. There comes a time though when the n umber and intensity of these ‘mistakes’ imply something more coherent and orchestrated as a strategy.

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26. The BBC persist in a systematic campaign of bias against independence and the SNP

A single (or even a pair) of swallows does not make a summer, so let’s list some of the rest of the evidence.  Comments are prohibited on the majority of political stories on BBC Scotland, while they are open across Wales, England and Northern Ireland. Those that are open are open nationally, ensuring Scottish voices are drowned out.477 Political editors of the BBC brief new members of staff against SNP policies and independence generally as part of the college of journalism 478 The BBC regularly edit First Minister’s Question Time to emphasise the questions and de -emphasise the answers – the effect is entirely inconsistent with the way in which the sessions are conducted 479
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  

Refusal to grant the SNP (the second largest party in Scotland) the right to participate when general election debates are held in Scotland.481 482 Offensive comparisons between Alex Salmond and Robert Mugabe . Unbalanced moderation in talk shows where pro-independence panellists are not permitted to answer and pro-union panellists are permitted to talk over what answers are given. 483

The list goes on, and on, and on and on. And then it goes on some more. And since the BBC have such 484 power in media output in this country, even the protests outside their front doors go unreported despite smaller and less significant protests during the jubilee receiving airtime. The si tuation has gotten so bad 485 that even foreign news channels report on the anti -independence bias of our national broadcaster . It has gotten so blatant that even the hierarchy of the BBC have had to step in to deal with some of the (admittedly less problematic) elements of BBC bias 486. If these examples aren’t enough to sway you, let’s look at how the BBC reported on the local council elections in 2012. By any objective criteria, it was an excellent night for the SNP – they won the largest share of the popular vote for the first time, and increased their lead over Labour (their nearest rivals) by 62. They gained 62 seats, while Labour gained 42. A good night for both really, and objective reporting would have acknowledged that. Wikipedia has the following final tally487, which is accurate:

Except, that’s not how it was reported by the BBC - according to the BBC, Labour gained 58 seats, while 488 the SNP gained only 57 .

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What on earth is that about? This isn’t just a quibble over a few numbers, this is a f undamental change in the reported election outcome – from an outright SNP win to an outright Labour win. How can they justify that? Well, it’s to do with how the BBC consciously chose to interpret the figures. Between the last election (the obvious baseline for comparison) there was a revolt in Glasgow Labour that resulted in various councillors ‘defecting’ to a new Labour party. Thus, seats that they had won in 2008 and won again in 2012 were being counted as gains even though no real change of represen tation had taken place. This is not only bat-shit crazy, it is also inconsistent with both their own internal guidelines and their own glossary of 489 election terms where a gain is defined as : If a party wins a seat that it did not win at the last general[sic] election, this is describ ed as a gain. Note that the ‘general election’ is clearly from where they copy and pasted the text from their last coverage. Again, this is not, strictly speaking, a lie – but it is a very conscious, very unusual mechanism for reporting on results that serves to enhance a particular narrative for Labour while diminishing the narrative for the SNP. It means that even the figures that are quantifiable are untrustworthy if they come from the BBC, because the analysis is self-serving and deceitful. That these figures were then picked up by other broadcasters and passed on as fact only serves to compound the implications of the deceit.

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27. The BBC misquotes, editorialises and misrepresents the words of those they interview.

Ima gine you and I were having a discussion and I said ‘That’s wrong, because a prominent person says <something else>’. Imagine then you later found out that the actual thing that person said was somewhat different, to the point of completely changing the me aning. I assume, like most of us, you’d consider that to be a little dubious. Also, like most of us, you’d probably be willing to assume it was an honest mistake. How many times would it have to happen before you believed it was intentional, and systemic ? Well, let’s look at how often the BBC has misrepresented the views of prominent individuals within the EU on the matter of Scottish independence. I make no claims as to the veracity of what these people are saying, all I want to do is point out the difference in how the BBC reports it and what was actually said. First of all, Jean Asselborn from Luxembourg
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Glenn Campbell reports on the foreign minister’s words as thus: The government of Luxemb ourg has warned against Scotland b ecoming an independent co untry. Foreign minister Jean Asselb orn said the current economic crisis in Europe was a time for solidarity, rather than for "going separate ways". Pretty unambiguous, but a letter from the minister’s Charge d’affaires suggests that Mr. Asselborn’s comments were not well reported 491:

A far more nuanced comment, which given at the time of increased tension over the UK’s status with regards to the EU generally is likely to have had more to it than a rejection of Scottish independence. Maybe you think that the BBC interpreted this reasonably, if not entirely accurately. As in the section on the BBC and the SNP, a single swallow does not make for a summer. But what’s that? Irish Minister Lucinda Creighton has something to say?

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Crikey – what is she saying about it all? Ireland's European affairs minister has said an independent Scotland would need to apply to b ecome a memb er of the European Union. Lucinda Creighton told the BBC an independent Scotland would b e welcomed into the EU, b ut would need to apply and go through a lengthy process. Crumbs. But what’s this? Do we possibly have a statement from that very same person a few days 492 later ? “I was asked ab out the future of negotiations with the EU in the event that Scotland votes for independence. I thought that my reply was largely in line with that of the Scottish Government. I certainly did not at any stage suggest that Scotland could, should or would be thrown out of the EU . Scottish people are citizens of Europe.” My understanding is that the Scottish Government has already committed to a negotiation with the EU b etween 2014 and 2016, if you vote for independence in 2014. If my interview suggested something other than that, this was not my intention . I think my comments have been misconstrued - if so I sincerely regret this. Two mistakes perhaps, although the BBC feel that there was ‘no good journalistic reason’ to report the foreign minister’s follow -up comments 493. But it’s just two mistakes. I mean, it’s not like there could be a third OH WAIT – how about passing off a former New Labour research assistant and Labour MEP as a French MP giving the ‘French view’ on Scottish independence 494. I apologise that this isn’t a direct quote but there seems to be no online resource for it other than former Ambassador Craig Murray’s blog: A particularly sickening trick from the BBC a few weeks b ack raised my b lood pressure whilst in hospital and almost finished me off. A French Euro MP was asked for “the French view” on Scottish independence. She said that France would oppose it and the French government takes the view that an independent Scotland would b e outside the European Union. I was ab solutely astonished that the BBC had managed to find the only French person in the entire world who is against Scottish independence, and that she was telling an outright lie ab out the position of the French government. Then I realised who she was – the former research assistant (and rather more) of New Lab our minister and criminal invoice forger Denis Macshane. She worked for years in the UK parliament

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for New Lab our, in a Monica Lewinsky kind of way. All of which the BBC hid, presenting her simply as a French Euro MP. There are seventy million French people. How remarkab le that the one the BBC chose to give the French view of Scottish independence was a New Lab our hack! However, a group of gallant Scots went and asked Monsieur Pierre-Alain Coffinier, the French Consul General in Scotland, what the ‘French View’ actually was 495: Okay, well I can tell you that France has no such position. France is totally neutral. The deb ate on Scottish independence is a purely internal deb ate for the United Kingdom and we take no position. I could go on and on and on showing examples where a thing was said and a particular impression was given. At best, the reporting lacked nuance and in turn was subtly framed as a rejection of Scottish aspirations. At worst, it represents direct misrepresentation of the individuals involved. Question everything you ever hear from the BBC.

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28. The BBC is the broadcaster of the Establishment and serves its masters well.

It is absolutely okay for a national broadcaster to be critical of politicians. It is absolutely in the nation’s best interest that the media hold political parties to account. However , that’s not what is happening with the BBC – what is happening is an altogether more sinister misrepresentation of those who support independence496. It’s not lying, but it is tremendously biased because negative stories are promoted and 497 positive stories are downplayed . Look for example at the coverage the Scottish Attitudes Survey got 498 on the BBC (where support for independence was put at 23%) compared to the latest Panelbase 499 poll which showed an increase of support from 34% to 36%. Actually, you can’ t compare them because they didn’t report on the Panelbase poll just like they didn’t report on the previous poll which also showed an increased in support for independence. That by itself is bad enough, but the opposite is true for Scottish Labour where p ositive stories are promoted and negative stories are downplayed. It is sinister because it is so systematic. It is unacceptable because we are paying for it both in terms of the national debate and in real financial terms. This isn’t new - the BBC ha s always been a broadcaster that supports the Establishment because that’s where their funding comes from. Their biases are well documented. The links between labour and the BBC are on the public record 501. However, despite the fact that this is an endemic and systematic failure 502 of the corporation, public confidence in the BBC is still reasonably high - people trust the BBC and they are more likely to fall for the slanted misrepresentations as a result of that. Perhaps the tide on that is changing now that in the past year they have managed to protect Jimmy Savile and other child molesters 503, falsely accused a former Tory politician of child abuse 504 to deflect attention from their own 505 failings and provided top BBC talent special advice as to how to avoid ta x . We should be wary of the BBC. If Thatcher’s death proved anything, it was in the unflinching deference of the BBC to the British state 506 507 508. Robert McNeil, writing in the Herald, says this 509: But the fact remains that the BBC has b ecome as much a cond uit for warnings and fear as the worst tab loid-sized newspaper. … As the saying goes, fear keeps you sitting, b oldness helps you stand. And, once standing, let's b oot these will-sapping warnings b ack into the receding darkness. When reading about independence or watching BBC news, I would like you to be extra critical about how the information is presented. Corroborate with other sources. When your national broadcaster is so biased that even Russian TV sneers about it, you know there is a real problem in how your state news is being handled. Check out this video clip to see how the corporation is perceived outside the country: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tG3XtCmqI64 The BBC does some tremendous work – their nature documentaries alone justify the licence fee in my opinion. What they don’t do very well, despite their protestations to the contrary, is impartiality. They claim otherwise, indeed pride themselves on their impartiality, but in thi s respect are simply buying into the old propaganda wisdom – if you repeat a big enough lie often enough, people will start to believe it.
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Scotland and Britain
But I am half a Scot b y b irth, and b red a whole one, and my heart flies to my head

Lord Byron

One of the things that came up as part of the jubilee celebrations was the risk that Independence poses to the Union Flag. Apparently this is a big deal to a lot of people, with Michael Forsyth demonstrating an admirable historical illiteracy when he stated that independence would end the use of the flag in both Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom 510. Ed Milliband in turn gave a speech on the subject of defending the Union 511 and how a vote for ‘separatism’ was a false choice between being Scottish and British. Does independence require turning your back on being ‘British’? Of course it doesn’t – the only thing that the independence referendum is about is dissolving the political union between England and Scotland. We will retain a social union that has been forged over hundreds and hundreds of years. We will retain the queen as our head of state. We will continue to reside on an island called Britain. This suggestion that Britishness is a concept that comes from political union is either a r esult of poor understanding of history, or wilful misinformation. I’d like to believe the former, but the latter seems more likely. The diagram below 512 shows the evolution of the Union Flag. Note the date of the first Union Flag – 1606. That’s over one hundred years before the Act of Union.

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29. There is no real ‘British’ identity

First of all, let’s highlight what it really means to be British – it doesn’t actually mean anything. There is no grand ‘British identity’ 513 514 515 516, it’s as nebulous and uns ubstantial as any such ‘bridging concept’. It is a brand, but not one that really has much resonance. It means different things to different people. The recent Olympics opening ceremony was stark in its incoherence – a natural consequence of trying to encapsulate an identity for a nation that doesn’t actually have one. There is no British nation. There is only a British state . There is shared history, yes. There is even in many respects shared culture – particularly in regards to music and television. However, if asked to express what it means to be British, there is little chance of convergence on anything that is universal. http://www.webritish.co.uk/list.asp makes that case very well. Similar problems come into play when you try to define a ‘Scottish’ national identity. Depending on where in Scotland you are, the culture is shaped in part by Norse elements, Gaelic elements, French elements, English elements, and so on. The fact is that nationality is a state of mind, not something that you can pin down in any way that doesn’t reek of partition based on blood or belief. That’s not the national identity many of us would want to buy into. The civic nationalism of the Scottish independence moveme nt is about inclusion, not exclusion. You are Scottish if you feel Scottish. Compare this to the narrow 517 nationalism of the Better Together campaign, which prides itself as being made up of ‘real Scots’ , highlighting that there is a minimum level of Scottishness required to be part of the anti-independence campaign. This idea of a ‘British nation’ is a fiction with little to substantiate it. However, even were it not the fact is that in Scotland the majority of people identify themselves as Scottish rath er than British 518. 81% of the people in Scotland consider themselves Scottish and then British (if they consider themselves British at all). That compares to 48% of the population of England who consider themselves English and then British. Even in the s tronghold of the British identity (England), only 52% primarily identify themselves as British. Wanting to cleave to a British identity requires that you be willing to attempt to embrace the insubstantial. It’s not wrong to want to seek common ground, but that ground is different for everyone.

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30. Westminster doesn’t have jurisdiction over how you feel about your nationality

It doesn’t really matter – there is no real British identity and people in general don’t really feel very strongly about it at all. Which is good, because apparently Scots in an independent Scotland would not be permitted to think of themselves as being British 519 520. Firstly, let’s just dismiss this as the arrogance of Westminster – as much as they might like to, they don’t have any authority over the way people see themselves or how they choose to identify their nationality if they choose to identify it at all. They just don’t have jurisdiction inside your head, or inside your heart. Those parts belong to you and you can feel whatever way you like 521. There is every reason for Scots who feel that a British identify is important to continue to identify themselves as such. History shows us that the idea of a British identity has its roots in the Union of the Crowns in 1603, not in the act of Union in 1707. It was James VI, upon inheriting the throne of England, who wanted to unite his two dominions in a shared identity – that of Great Britain. The concept of Britishness has its roots in the monarchy, not in the parliaments. The Union Flag, which shows the Saltire of Scotland underneath the cross of Saint George also stems from the Union of Crowns 522. If anyone wants to keep using the Union Flag they should feel free – it is only the Act of Union where our parliaments were joined tha t independence is aimed at undoing. The Union of Crowns will remain intact. Similarly, despite being politically independent, we will share a geographic and social union with the rest of the United Kingdom. England, Scotland and Wales occupy a single geo graphical region called Great Britain, and on that basis alone we are perfectly entitled to call ourselves British. Our right to think of ourselves as British is entirely independent of the justifications for the matter, but the justifications also align. We are situated on the island of Great Britain, and we will still retain the Union of the Crowns from which the concept of Britishness emanates. If you want to call yourself British in an independent Scotland, then fill your boots. You’re as Scottish as you want to be. You’re as British as you want to be. Nobody from the government has the right to tell you how you can feel, and even if they did, they’d have no grounds to do so.

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31. Solidarity hasn’t worked.

There is one argument against independence that I find compelling – I don’t find it convincing, but I do appreciate that it comes from a genuinely good place. It’s what you might think of as the ‘Solidarity, brother’ argument – that progressive voices in Scotland and England should work together to bring about an improvement in life for the whole country. I respect this argument, but unfortunately as with most things the evidence doesn’t back it up. We have tried solidarity for a long time now. Look what it’s accomplished. The largest wealth gap the country has 523 524 525 ever seen , massive rises in child poverty , with between 50,000 and 100,000 children in Scotland alone being pushed into poverty by 2020 526 527. In England, poor children are being denied access to free school meals 528. One in seven people in Scotland is in poverty529 in a country where the cost of living has increased by 25% since 2008 530. We’ve accomplished a war on poor families 531 532, the unemployed 533 534, immigrants 535 536 537, the disabled 538 539 540 541 542 and the elderly543 544 545 546 547. We’ve accomplished forced labour for profit548 and retroactive changes to the law to absolve Westminster of wrongdoing 549. We live in a country where over half a million people are being forced to use food banks 550 551 552, with the banks themselves unable to service the demand in parts o f the country553 554. The situation has gotten so bad that disabled people are being taught how to search for free food in skips and rubbish bins 555. People are handing back food bank donations because they simply can’t afford the heat to cook it556. One in six GPs in this country have had to refer patients to food banks in the last year557. And in the face of all of this, some councils are turning away people on the basis that they’re not suitably ‘deserving’ poor 558 - so you better hope you’re deserving, because the average family is going to 559 be £1800 worse off a year by 2015 according to IFS figures . The Trussell Trust is the UK’s biggest foodbank provider, and have reported that in the last year they have had to provide emergency food supplies for over a million people.560

Food Bank Requests
250000 200000 150000 Food Bank Requests

100000 50000
0

08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 12/13
The bedroom tax is causing significant hardship for many – stories range from parents having to send their children into care 561 and others being forced to give up their family homes 562. Tens of thousands of people risk being made homeless as they are evicted from their own properties while there is no place for them to go 563 564. We live in a country where the police will institute raids to deprive the homeless of their 565 food parcels and even their sleeping bags . We live in a country where the rhetoric regarding 566 567 568 569 ‘scroungers’ has become so ingrained that many people see those who claim benefits as

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being something less than human 570 571 and even Labour voters are starting to turn on the weakest in society for their dependence upon welfare 572 573 574.

The conservatives at Westminster are looking to defund welfare in order to funnel more money to police and the armed forces 575. While we as a nation wage a war on the poorest in society576 577, MPs work to 578 579 580 award themselves a £10,000 pay rise , pocket £7m a year in extra income from second jobs and still have time to complain that their alcohol in the House of Commons bar isn’t subsidised enough 581 and the rules regarding their meal allowances aren’t sufficiently forgiving 582. Ask them, and they’ll say they’ re still not remunerated enough, rating themselves as being worth £86,000 a year 583.

Remember that this is a group of people with their snouts so firmly in the trough that they partook in a programme of what is basically institutionalized theft through exp enses fraud 584, and then got REPAID THE MONEY THEY HAD TO GIVE BACK 585. These aren’t issues in the past either – look at Maria Miller who had to resign in April 2014 for expenses fiddling 586 and the fact that there was considerable uncertainty587 as to whether or not what is basically theft of £45,000 588 is an offence sufficient to warrant a resignation! This is what they mean when they say we are ‘better together’, or ‘all in this together – a 589 590 591 592 593 594 595 world that is better because of Westminster privilege, corruption and hypocrisy . This is the world in which they inhabit – a world of quite stunning inequality, where a poor child is four times more unlikely to be unhealthy than a rich child, with a ‘health gap’ that has increased seven fold in the last ten years 596. We live in a country where the life expectancy in Scotland is lower than the in the rest of the UK 597, and indeed is amongst the lowest in the EU 598. Craigneuk in North Lanarkshire has a lower life expectancy than North Korea 599. The average life expectancy for a man in Glasgow is 71, whereas the average life expectancy for a man in Kensington is 85 600. The average life expectancy for a woman in Glasgow is 78, and 87 in Chelsea. Over the years, Scotland has paid in more than the average member of the UK b y a considerable margin. The graphs below show how we have been rewarded for that in terms of wealth 601 602 distribution .

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Solidarity is a compelling idea, but the evidence is simply overwhelming – we’ve accomplishing nothing together 603 except to collectively endorse the distribution of wealth from the north to the south . If anything, progress that has been made in the past is being undone 604. We are watching helplessly as Cameron and Clegg dismantle the welfare state 605 606. We are unable to stop the destruction of the NHS 607 608 in England . Holyrood can protect against some of this, but at a cost – we’re currently paying over £250m to mitigate the worst of these Westminster imposed policies 609, which is just a budget decrease through the back door. In the end, remember what solidarity is for – working class solidarity is a tool to be employed against the assaults of the privileged in Westminster. The last thing it needs to thrive is a political union centred around Westminster.

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Nobel Laureate Joesph Stiglitz is on record as saying that that the only way we can tackle issues such as wealth inequality is through independence 610. Campaigners for solidarity often like to take a lyrical stance with this, saying things like ‘I care about poverty as much i n Bristol as I do in Brechin, as much in Gloucester as I do in Glasgow’. It’s a nice touch, but unfortunately it also fails the universality test. Surely we should care as much about poverty in Pakistan as we do about poverty in Perth? Surely we should care about inequality in Dallas as much as we do Dundee? The solidarity argument, when taken to its logical conclusion, implies a one -world state. It is absolutely true that many of the problems that apply to Scotland in this document also apply to the north of England, or Wales, or Cornwall, or <insert region here>. We can fix it in Scotland, but that doesn’t mean we need to abandon the rest of the UK. It just means that we accept that solidarity within 611 612 the Union has failed to deliver .

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Independ ence doesn’t mean that we stop caring about poverty and injustice in the world – it just means that we attempt to resolve it a little differently. Rather than stay with a failing solidarity agenda, we need to look for other ways to advance a progressive p ortfolio. We can’t enact meaningful social change as part of the UK – the fact that all we have managed to do together is go backwards is proof of that. We can’t fix these problems as part of the UK, and we never will be able to until all parts of the UK fall into line with this kind of political platform. That’s not going to happen – the drift in English politics is to the right, and it’s not coming back any time soon. The only way that has shown any evidence of success in this so far is as an exemplar. We can lead the way as an example – we have already done that with Holyrood leading the way on gay marriage 613 614 615, minimum pricing on alcohol 616 617, protection for the homeless 618 and opposition to the bedroom tax619 620 621 . Some of these policies may have failed in Westminster, but Scotland provided a template for them to be attempted at all by doing it first and succeeding. We’ve made efforts to end homelessness 622 and lead

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the world in building our renewable energy sector 623. We can inspire the world with workable policies that do real, lasting good for our people and our planet. It doesn’t matter if you support any of these measures – they are wildly controversial in many respects. What does matter is that Holyrood did it first and others followed. What matters is that when people are told ‘that will never work’ they can point to Scotland and say ‘You’re wrong, it works there’. That’s what it means to be an exemplar – provide a successful example of progressive politics and you can enact meaningful change elsew here. Solidarity doesn’t work – successful examples do. I also believe that an independent Scotland will force a reappraisal of Westminster politics. I believe a no vote will kill off all possibility of meaningful constitutional change for the whole of the UK for at least a generation. When the United Kingdom is no longer United though, it will offer an utterly compelling opportunity for campaigners for constitutional change in the rest of Britain. Scotland’s decision to stay in the UK will end opportunities there. Tony Banks, writing in the Scotsman, puts it like this 624: Independence should b e seen as a catalyst for structural reform across the UK. George Osb orne worries ab out this b ecause it involves change and he is more comfortab le with the familiar . Mary Lockhart, the principled former chair of the Co-Op Party and Labour member for 30 years, wrote of her belief that Scotland could be a fairer country625: I rememb ered the trades union legislation which Margaret Thatcher introduced, and which Lab our failed to repeal, which keeps workers divided. I pondered a Lab our Party which had failed to highlight the b edroom tax at earlier stages of the Welfare Reform Bill, a Lab our government which had pledged to renew a redundant nuclear deterrent. And I went to sl eep wondering if the Lab our Party socialism b y which part of my identity is defined was b eyond redemption. On the 20 March, I awoke with a sense of hope, and with new resolve. A resolve to vote Yes in the referendum for Scottish independence. It won’t deli ver Utopia. But it will deliver the chance for socialists to help shape a Scotland which reflects the identity of its people Such disloyalty to the party line does not go unpunished of course, and she had to resign her position soon afterwards 626. The party line of the Westminster machine must be obeyed, which I am sure you will agree is not an attitude that facilitates opportunities for genuine social betterment. When even the Labour party will slap down their Union supporters who dare to point out the dan gers of Blairism 627, you know that they have given up any pretence of genuine left-wing politics. Within Scotland we can look to do more for those within our borders. We can look for a system that emphasises the common weal by engaging in a more fundamental redesign of how we deal with economics and public governance 628. As the Nordic countries have inspired visions of a future Scotland, so too can we look to inspire the rest of these isles by adopting a better and more progressive system. Scotland’s decision to leave will offer a real chance for meaningful change in the political situation for the rest of the UK. Far from abandoning the fight, independence is a means to actually win it – not just in Scotland, but everywhere.

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Scotland and the SNP
Nations are nations if they feel themselves to b e a nation. And Scotland overwhelmingly feels itself to b e a nation. Alex Salmond

Perhaps the hardest nut to crack in convincing people of the fundamental soundness of Scottish independence is the character of Alex Salmond himself. Despite enjoying approval ratings that are almost comically opposite those of the other party leaders 629, there are people who will not vote for independence purely because they don’t like Alex Salmond. To be fair, there’s plenty of reason t o be angry at the SNP. They have brought in legislation that is unpopular amongst many people – minimum pricing on alcohol, minimum pricing on carrier bags, and legislation of gay marriage (although all parties were in favour of that). There are people who are opposed to all of these, and people who are absolutely in support – but that’s what it means to be in government making decisions. You can’t be all the things to all the people. But, this isn’t a referendum about the SNP – it’s a referendum about i ndependence. In an independent Scotland you will have the chance to vote out the SNP if you so desire. You’ll get to vote for whatever party you want you’ll just have far more chance of your vote actually mattering. And when you find yourself presented with a party you don’t like, you’ll have far more ability to vote them out. If we don’t want a conservative government, we never need to have one ever again. Likewise if we as a nation decide that independence is where we part ways with the SNP, we can d o that 630 too. The point is – the choice is ours .

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32. A vote for independence is NOT a vote for the SNP

It’s okay to hate the SNP if you really must, but don’t think of that as a reason to vote against independence. If you vote against it on the strength o f your own feeling on the matter, that’s absolutely fine. In a complex issue like this, reasonable people can find themselves on opposite sides of the debate without either of them being fundamentally wrong or bad people. However, to vote against indepen dence because you don’t like an individual who is prominent in the campaign is to risk your own future prosperity for a moment’s spiteful satisfaction. In the end, you are only punishing yourself. The question that is coming up in the referendum is not w hether or not you like Alex Salmond. It’s not even about whether or not you like the SNP. It’s about whether you want to have the power to decide who gets to be in government in your country. It’s about whether you want your vote to actually matter in future elections. The SNP have put together plans for government in an independent Scotland largely because they have to have answers in place. If you don’t like those answers, you’ll get a chance to vote for another party in an independent Scotland. If you don’t like the shape of a new independent Scotland, you’ll get a chance to change it. An independent Scotland doesn’t mean the SNP in power for all time – that’s ludicrious. It will be just like now – you get to vote for the party and candidates that you want. If you want to vote labour in an independent Scotland, you can still do that – you’ll just be voting for a Labour government that is entirely accountable to the Scottish voters. The SNP, like all parties, contains a wide range of views and opinions – it is the cause of independence that binds these together. Come an independent Scotland, we’re likely to see the SNP fracture into multiple smaller parties, each committed to pursuing their own specific agendas in a newly revitalised political scene. A vote for ‘yes’ in other words is a vote to have the power to oust Alex Salmond and the SNP if you really do hate them so much, and have it actually matter. It’s a vote that you will never again have to endure a government that your country did not vote for.

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33. An Independent Scotland will revitalise all political parties

In fact, an independent Scotland will likely lead to a revitalisation of all political parties – the Tories will be able to extract themselves from the poisonous legacy of Tha tcher631 632. Scottish Labour will stop having to dance to London’s tune 633 634 635 636 637. 638 The liberal democrats will… well, let’s be honest they’ll likely still have to disband and join other parties, because Scotland doesn’t forget. A vote for ‘no’ is a vote for two party politics – SNP versus Labour in Holyrood, and Labour versus Conservatives in Westminster. A vote for ‘yes’ is a vote for a revitalised political scene in a new and vibrant Scotland. It’s a vote for a political system that is genuinely more re presentative than Westminster. It’s a vote that a wider range of viewpoints and opinions will be reflected by elected representatives, and it’s a vote for a political system where politicians are directly answerable to the people that they represent. Labour in Holyrood are largely the B-Team 639 – the A-Team consists of those members of the party who are selected for Westminster seats. Professor Pittock of Glasgow University puts it this way: Lab our has steadily treated Holyrood as a B-team, just someb ody that people should vote for to give the Tories a b loody nose. 640 That Scottish Labour are not serious about Holyrood is obvious in their list of candidates – it is a roster so weak that simply holding on to Glasgow in a council election is considered a caus e for celebration. The best and the brightest of the Labour movement are sent to Westminster, where they continue to cause consternation over the West Lothian Question – the question of whether or not Scottish MPs should be permitted to vote on matters that impact only on England 641. This isn’t just a theoretical problem – Scottish MPs voting on English matters are just as unaccountable as Westminster MPs voting on matters that affect Scotland, and that causes real issues for democracy. Lacking any consti tuency pressure, Scottish MPs can vote with their party whips without any worries of a backlash on the part of their voters. We suffer continuing problems caused by this ramshackle constitutional arrangement whilst Labour remains indifferent about the qu ality of the ‘local side’. Scottish Labour could be reinvigorated by ensuring the best and brightest Scottish politicians remain in Scotland representing the Scottish people. After all, in an independent Scotland those Scottish Westminster constituencie s simply will not exist – instead, the best Scottish politicians will be allocated to constituencies in Holyrood. The cynical among you may very well see one of the key reasons why Labour is so bitterly opposed to independence 642. When the best and brigh test are forced into a Holyrood they so cavalierly disrespect, they’ll force the MSPs to ‘trade down’ to the councils. The councillors will have to look for something else to do with their time. As Upton Sinclair once said, ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it’, Political ambition will no longer have Westminster as its ultimate destination, and as such we will see the end of a political situation that rewards parties for standing cand idates they have no intention of supporting 643. Every vote under the Additional Member System gets counted – it’s a better, more representative system for all of us.

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34. Yes Scotland is a broad church with many views represented.

In the initial days of the referendum campaign, the mainstream media had a field day with supposed divisions in the Yes Scotland camp. First they reported on how the Scottish greens had decided not to join Yes Scotland 644 and how Yes Scotland was in a shambles as a result 645. They media then reported that Margo MacDonald, a prominent nationalist herself, had decided to snub the campaign 646. The Scottish Socialist Party (SSP) also apparently instigated a ‘fundamental split’ as a result of differing views on the role the monarchy should play in an independent Scotland 647. The truth is, of course, something different. Margo MacDonald, despite the reporting in the Scotsman, does indeed back the Yes Campaign648. The Scottish Greens simply wanted to take the time to decide at their national conference what level of involvement they were going to have 649 650, and as a result voted for formal participation in the campaign 651. The SSP are campaigning actively for independence and Yes Scotland 652. A recent, to my mind hilarious, development in the independ ence campaign is the recent split within Better Together itself. Scottish Labour, seemingly unaware of the delicious irony, declared independence from Better Together to create United with Labour 653. In the process of reporting on Labour deciding they were indeed not ‘better together’, the BBC let the cat out of the bag referring to the ‘Better Together campaign run by conservatives and liberal democrats’ 654. These genuine splits of course receive far more favourable press attention where nobody asked the genuinely important questions about what this actually means for the anti -independence campaign 660. Still, never mind – the hilarity of a campaign stressing the importance of staying together separating from its larger partner is enough for me. Opponents to independence seize gleefully on any sign of division in the ranks, as is evidenced by this graphic from their Facebook page 661:
655 656 657 658 659

This particular topic has its own blog post too 662, happily recounting the ‘growing confusion’ of what currency an independent Scotland would use.

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Ironically, this is perhaps the best thing that we could hope to be advertised about Yes Scotland. It’s not about the dull, specifics of policy. It’s not about whether we keep the pound or use our own currency. It’s not about jo ining the EU or our relationship with NATO. It’s about none of those things – it is, in its entirety, about one question: Who do you trust to make those decisions for Scotland? Independence is not a party political matter, which is why there are disagreem ents on the shape that an independent Scotland should take and it’s why those disagreements are healthy. More than healthy in fact – they are absolutely vital. There are several things about the proposed plans for an independent Scotland that sit uneasy with me. I’m a republican, and I don’t want to see the monarchy retained in an independent Scotland. While I am very much in favour of free travel, free trade and a close relationship with Europe, there are certain elements of the way the EU conducts its business that I find somewhat troublesome. I am in favour of a referendum on the EU in an independent Scotland – the current Scottish government are not. I would probably vote to stay in the EU, for what it’s worth, but I think it’s high time the Scottish people were asked. However, all of that is largely irrelevant because the goal of independence supersedes all of these. Independence is the pre-requisite that allows the other things to be a possibility. In an independent Scotland I can vote for a party that wants to abolish the monarchy and know that if they get into government it can be enacted. Likewise, those who want to keep the monarchy can vote for parties that support that position. The Scottish Government must have a policy on things like this because it would be referendum suicide to have a question mark over everything with the words ‘we’ll decide later for ourselves’. However, it’s important to remember this. If we as a nation decide that the SNP have served their purpose in delivering independence and we don’t want them to be in a position to set the future course of a sovereign nation then they won’t be the government. The Scottish voters may decide ‘Thanks guys, but we’d like Labour to take it from here’. With a more broadly propor tional system in place, we may even see more varied coalitions appear that genuinely reflect the electoral makeup of the country. Your vote will no longer be wasted in the two party state system of Westminster if you vote for parties on the margins. There are differences of opinion within Yes Scotland, and that excites me because it underlines the key point about independence – we’d have the power within our own nation to make big decisions about the things that matter to us. There should be divisions, because Yes Scotland is not a party political vehicle. Yes Scotland is a coalition between those of different parties and those of no parties. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like Alex Salmond – there are plenty in on the Yes side who will agree with you 663. It just doesn’t matter – no matter how much the Unionists may prefer to play the man rather than the ball the fact is that we don’t even need him in the game.

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The Positive Case for the Union
It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. Upton Sinclair

The ‘Better Together’ campaign 664 was launched on the 25 th of June 2012, and with it finally came the much ballyhooed positive case for the union. This has been promised for a very long time 665 yet had been conspicuous only by its absence. Now though we can outline exactly what the positive case for the union is, drawing from the very arguments that they themselves make. I won’t comprehensively debunk it here because that has already been expertly done at http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottishopinion/5261-better-together-the-ve-case. I will however address some of the main points. At the time of writing, there are three reasons as to why we should keep the union:    Prosperity Security Interdependence

This is ended with the following statement: Our case is that Scotland is stronger now and will b e stronger in the future - economically, politically, and socially - as a partner in the United Kingdom. Is there substance to the Better Together campaign? Is this genuinely a positive case or is it just more of the same negativity in a different casing?

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35. We are not better together economically

I think this has been comprehensively covered in the section on Scotland and the economy. But let’s look specifically at how this claim is argued in their literature. Times are really tough at home and really turb ulent internationally. In th e future Scotland's prosperity will b e strengthened b y keeping the British connection. We need more growth, more job s, and more prosperity in Scotland. We don't need uncertainty, instab ility, and b arriers for our b usinesses. You will notice right away I hope that the positive case is actually just slightly redressed negative campaigning. A vote for independence is a vote for uncertainty, instability and barriers for businesses, leaving aside those voices that would claim just the opposite such as the Clyde Blowers Capital chief Jim 667 McColl . So much of what Better Together have to say is summed up by Michael Moore when questioned on the issues of currency and financial regulation 668: Following the comments on financial services regulation, Mr Moore was asked b y committee chairman Ian Davidson MP, “How do you know that?” Mr Moore said: “Okay, I’m speculating”. The only certainty is uncertainty – the fact that it is Alistair Darling, a man who had his hands on the levers of power during the economic crisis, arguing for a better economic future as part of the union is especially galling 669. You will notice too that no evidence is provided to back up these claims – much like the constant refrains that the timing of the referendum was hurting investment in Scotland, it is an emotionally hysterical assertion that is not supported by any of the actual available evidence. Even those claims that are actually valid, such as the triple A claim highlighted on the leaflet on the previous page have both 670 been destroyed by recent events. Britain no longer has a triple A rating from Moody’s and in April of 671 672 2013 Britain’s credit rating was downgraded by Fitch also. Yet these leaflets are still being distributed with the claim intact673 because Better Together have little more than contempt for the actual truth. The fact is that the credibility of Britain worldwide is crumbling and yet despite the evidence we are expected to fall for the same old lies that we’ve always been fed. The question is – do you believe that prosperity in Scotland comes from an economic model dominated and distorted by London centrism 674 675 676 677 678 679 680 681 682, or that it comes from Scottish politicians accountable to the Scottish people? Do you believe it comes from David Cameron telling companies that it was too risky to invest in Scotland? Or do you believe it comes from the first minister proactively going out there and pitching for investment? Considering that the claims of business leading up to and after a yes vote have been completely demolished 683 684 685 686 687 688, I’m sure you can guess who you should be believing. Who do you think is going to have more sway in influencing the economic decisions in Westminster – the five million people in Scotland or the fifteen million people in the southeast of England? History tells us pretty clearly that it’s London and the Southeast that benefit 689 690 691. Boris Johnson sums up the attitude that many in the Southeast have about Scotland’s economics: I'm making the argument to the Treasury that a pound spent in Croydon is far more of value to the country than a pound spent in Strathclyde. You will generate job s in Strathclyde far more effectively if you invest in parts of London. He added in the BBC Documentary ‘Mind the Gap’ 692: You don’t need to take the jam in London and try and spread it across the rest of the Rivita, right? The jam will naturally spread – the more jam you pile up on London - that is the way you do it.

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This London centrism is at the heart of Westminster, which is itself complicit in hiding the true nat ure of subsidies in the United Kingdom – that it is London that is the real subsidy junkie in the equation 693, and that its seeming dominance as an economic zone is mostly down to the way the figures are reported rather than by any metric that actually matters. The difficulties that the actual facts and history of life in the Union present often leaves the Better Together campaign having to keep their head down as events overtake them. It was hard to make the case that Scotland is better together for example when the man in charge of the campaign is neck deep in the LIBOR scandal of 2012 694. Whether or not he was directly involved, it strikes at the fundamentals of the campaign to suggest that a union where such things can happen and under a Labour government would be preferable to Scotland having control over its own affairs. Remember too who Alistair Darling is – he is the failed chancellor who sleepwalked the country into an economic crisis. He’s a serial ‘house flipper’695 who changed his second home designations so as to allow for three properties to be subsidised by the tax player. He’s someone who resigned from his representative professional boy because they were investigating his conduct 696. Not only that, he’s the 697 man who charged us as taxpayers to hire an accountant to help him manage his dodgy dealings . It’s no wonder he’s so frantic to keep Scotland in the UK – it’s hard to imagine how he could function without his snout so deeply in the trough. Is that what it means to be better together? Is it better to have corrupt banks working together with corrupt governments to cost ordinary people real money? Is it better for the gap between the rich and the poor to increase year on year on year even when a supposed ‘party of the working classes’ is in po wer698? Is it better to allow corrupt, venal career politicians 699 to steal money out of our pockets to fund their extravagant expectations 700 701? Is it better to believe a failed chancellor who would rather the UK be ruled by Tories than Scotland governed by Labour? Should we believe a campaign that refuses to even stand up to a government702 that laughs and jeers as it makes the poorest in society even poorer 703? When people like this talk about the economic benefits, and how we are better together, what they mean is ‘ I am better off’. Scotland isn’t better off, most of us aren’t better off. If that is what it means to be better together, it is no wonder the campaign has failed so spectacularly to convince anyone..

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36. We are not more secure together

The fact that we are chained to Westminster foreign policy is almost certainly the biggest cause of insecurity in Scotland. There were huge protests internationally against the wars of aggression in Iraq, and Scotland was part of those protests. Our involvement in those illegal wars 704 makes us complicit in the consequences, and those consequences include a more dangerous world 705. After all, the motives of those linked to the Glasgow International Airport attack were tightly linked to Iraq 706. The Ministry of Defence themselves have acknowledged that the Iraq war was a recruiting sergeant for terrorism 707. 708 When the coalition left Iraq, it left it weaker, less secure and more unstable , and we as members of the 709 United Kingdom are complicit in that and targets becaus e of it . The UK as a whole sees a ‘credible terrorist attack plot’ about once a year since 9/11 710. As Seumas Milne in the Guardian writes 711: There can b e no surprise, however, that such attacks take place. It's not just opponents of the war on terror who predicted from the start that it would fuel terrorism not fight it. The intelligence services on b oth sides of the Atlantic did the same. The perpetrators of one attack after another, from London 2005 to Boston 2013, say they're carrying them out in retali ation for the vastly larger scale US and British killing in the Muslim world. Independence allows us to remove ourselves from being shackled to a fading imperial state with great power delusions. It removes us from the danger of future wars of aggression (excepting those that we (hopefully) don’t push for ourselves). It gives us control over our own airspace, ensuring that we don’t need to put up with our airports being used for extraordinary rendition 712 713. It allows us to take a more positive, less aggre ssive hand in foreign policy if we wish. In short, we don’t need to pay the price of the UK wishing to punch above its weight internationally. Then, there is the issue of Trident – as long as we have Trident, a major potential target for terrorists a mere 30 minutes away from Glasgow, we are in very real danger 714. If three peaceful protestors can break into the base, then one shudders to think what planned and funded terrorists could do 715 In the event of an actual nuclear engagement, the Trident base at Fas lane will be the primary target in Britain. Hell, there’s every chance that incompetence will cause a nuclear explosion at the base, with catastrophic consequences for Scotland 716. With his typical brass neck David Cameron tried to claim that Trident was the only thing standing between Scotland and a North Korean nuclear missile. The independent quotes him thusly717: Speaking to defence workers in Scotland, he said he was “very concerned” ab out North Korea as it had “extremely dangerous technologies in term s of nuclear and its weapons”. He said: “North Korea does now have missile technology that is ab le to reach, as they put it, the whole of the United States and if they are ab le to reach the whole of the United States they can reach Europe too. They can rea ch us too, so that is a real concern.” North Korea is well known for how unbalanced the regime is, and how prone they are to asserting war, conditions of war or dire consequences for transgressions. However, the claim that they can in any way hit any target in Western Europe, much less Scotland, are just another Westminster dodgy dossier 718. It is a shameless, shameful attempt to frighten people into compliance and it backfires on two counts. One is the fact it isn’t true – North Korea has no missiles that can realistically reach beyond Alaska 719:

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The second count by which this claim backfires is that it highlights the uncomfortable truth – that if North Korea did have the capability, and did want to launch an attack against the United Kingdom for some unpredictable reason, where do you think the first strike is headed? That’s right – Faslane. Where else? Knock out your enemy’s ability to retaliate and you knock out the only real threat they pose to you. How big a bomb do they need? Well, if Fat Man, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 hit Faslane, here’s what you’d be looking at720:

The little yellow orange circle is the fireball radius. The red circle is the air blast radius. Anyone within those two circles are almost certainly going to die. The g reen circle is the radiation radius – there’s an 80 90% mortality rate within several weeks for that. The grey is the second air blast radius – injuries and deaths still very likely. The last circle is the thermal radiation radius. Fires and third degre e burns are expected there. Still, how many people live in that area? It can’t be that many, right? Probably under ten thousand if you discount those working at Faslane itself (around 5,000 at any one time 721)? If you do believe in Trident, it might be sufficiently low a number to risk in a nuclear engagement.

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Well, that’s using an almost 70 year old bomb. missile 722 of 1.2 megatons?

What if we dial it up to a Cuban missile crisis era

Sucks to be Greenock (pop 45,500), Helensburgh (pop 15,000), Rhu (1,80 0) Kilcreggan (pop 1,400) and Garelochhead (1,260) I guess. That’s not even all of it – there are half a dozen or so extra villages each with around 1,000 people. Also, I suspect Loch Lomond won’t look quite so picturesque after it’s been comprehensively ravaged. Note that this is just the blast radius – the initial ‘boom’ if you will. The effect of fallout is completely discounted by this model, but one might think that given a single nuclear strike can wipe out a big chunk of Western Scotland we might be inclined to think ‘that’s bad enough’. Tools for showing how the fallout cloud would progress are a little more rudimentary, mainly because of the complexity of modelling wind dispersal. But the Ground Zero II 723 tool makes a spirited stab at it, albeit only with very limited parameters for wind direction:

If the wind is in the wrong direction, that’s easily going to stretch into the centre of Glasgow, or Paisley, or Stirling. And still that doesn’t take into account the full impact of such a strike on every element of Scottish life. Of course, this is a ludicrous scenario, but it highlights the basic incoherence at the heart of this claim. The rest of the United Kingdom might be safer with Trident, but Scotland most certainly isn’t. Why are the weapons stored in Scotland? It’s because Devonport in Plymouth has ‘too large a population’ in the surrounding areas 724. It’s necessary to do some of this grim mortality calculus to determine how to

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minimise the human losses in the event of a nuclear atta ck, but let’s not make the ridiculous claim that we’re somehow safer for being the first strike target in any nuclear engagement. As the old saying goes, don’t piss on my head and tell me it’s raining. We’ve already covered the fact that Scotland is well able to meet its military obligations in the event of a Yes vote. The question really is ‘to what extent are we benefitted by being in the UK’, and it turns out – less than you’d think. When John Major’s government downgraded the Rosyth facility and mov ed nuclear submarine refitting work to Plymouth, it was done in direct opposition to official advice that showed the Scottish base was the best place to perform the work 725. Plans to house Joint Strike Fighters at 726 Lossiemouth were scrapped so they could be housed in Norfolk instead . Despite the coalition government saying in 2011 that around 7,000 MoD personnel would be recalled from Germany and located in Scotland, the real number turned out to be a mere 600 727 728 with a further 1,505 jobs to be axed 729 whilst seven army reserve bases are shut730. Despite our supposed ‘defence dividend’, Scottish shipyards lose out to South Korea when it comes to building Royal Navy tankers 731. Even despite all this evidence to the contrary, it is notable too that all Better Toge ther provides is an empty sentiment, and not a shred of evidence. Freedom of Information requests show the extent to which they are lying about Scotland’s defence dividend – it is a shortfall, not a benefit732. Never trust such claims unless they are supported. Otherwise people can tell you anything without ever having to back it up. We are not more secure together, as the references in this section will show you.

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37. We can be interdependent with independence

The case for interdependence is made like this: As Scots we b elieve there's nowhere b etter, b ut we understand there's something b igger. By contrib uting to and b enefiting from the multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural United Kingdom of the years ahead, Scotland's society and culture will b e enriched. Hundreds of thousands of Scots and English have made their homes in each other's nation. Half of us have English neighb ours. Hundreds of thousands of Scots were b orn in England. This interdependence - the coming together of family, friends, ideas, institutions and identities - is a strength not a weakness, and is an ideal worth celeb rating. The truth is we're b etter together. First of all – ‘as Scots we believe there is nowhere better’ is a sentiment I find somewhat alarming. It’s exactly the kind of tub-thumping patriotism of which the Unionists so often accuse Scottish Nationalists. It implies that Scotland is the best of the best, not simply a nation equal to other nations, but one somehow above other nations. That’s a sentiment that I do not support, and I’d hope Scots both for and against independence would feel the same. However, moving on – none of the things mentioned in this section are remotely at threat under independence. We will still have English neighbours, we will still have hundreds of thousands of Scots who were born in other countries, not just England (note again the assumption that this is Scotland versus England rather than Scotland versus Westminster). Interdependence is indeed a strength, which is why fundamental to the independence campaign is that the deep, historical social union with the other countries of the United Kingdom will remain entirely intact. Just as we have close connections with countries as diverse as Poland, China, the United States, Canada and Au stralia, we will continue to have close relationships with those other partners of the United Kingdom. The difference is it will be relationship between equals, rather than the current unhealthy sadomasochistic dominance of Scotland by Westminster. On this theme, many of the plans that have been discussed in this document help underline the nature of interdependence. The banking bailouts would have been an interdependent accomplishment. A currency zone offers opportunities for strong social and economic collaboration. We will retain a formal link to the commonwealth. The critics of independence might say ‘What’s the point of being independent if you want to share in these things’, but that shows the lack of understanding at the core of Better Together . We would be happy to participate as autonomous equals, willing to work together with our partners in the rest of the world to common ends. The importance here is that we would decide for ourselves what works for us, and have the authority within our own nation to control our own destiny. Independence doesn’t mean isolation.

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38. A vote for independence is a vote for uncertainty, but so is a vote against independence.

Being in the United Kingdom is no guarantee against uncertainty – the only thing that is certain in life is that it isn’t certain. Any claim to the contrary is extremely disingenuous. Was the banking crisis certain? Were the 7/7 terrorist attacks certain? Was the Eurozone crisis certain? Was the uncovering of the LIBOR scandal certain? What about the sudden depositing of a dictator who had been ‘sanitised’ by Tony Blair? Was that certain? Uncertainty is the default state of life. Make no mistake – a change is coming in 2014. Whether you vote for or against independence, you can be sure that things are going to change. Whether we are part of the United Kingdom or separate, we’ll find plenty of reasons to be surprised by what the future brings. This, of all the things that the Better Together campaign has said, is the most ridiculous. No government can predict with the remotest certainty what is going to happen in the next five months, much less five years – if they could, they’d be a lot more prepared for when things like the English riots or the crisis in the EU came along. L et’s see any politician predict what the interest rate is going to be in a year, or when the next terrorist attack is going to come. We could do with politicians who could do that – we don’t have any, and that won’t change as a result of being part of the Union. Nicola Sturgeon in a speech highlights this with what she calls her ‘UK 2020 ‘questions           
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:

Will the UK still be a member of the European Union in 2020? How much more means testing will have been introduced into the UK benefits system by 2020? What will the UK retirement age be in 2020? How many more children in Scotland will be living in poverty by 2020 as a result of Westminster welfare cuts? What will have happened by 2020 to funding for Scotland’s NHS, via the Barnett formula, as England’s NHS is increasingly privatised? Will there still be a bedroom tax in 2020? How many more billions of pounds will have been spent by Scottish taxpayers on keeping UK Trident nuclear weapons on the Clyde? Will the UK still have a Human Rights Act in 2020 and, if no t, what will the implications be for Scotland's distinctive legal system? Will the UK still be the 4 th most unequal country in the developed world in 2020 or will it have moved closer to the top spot, with the gap between the richest and poorest even wider ? Will Scotland’s long term economic growth rate still lag behind our competitors in 2020? Is there any guarantee that Scotland will have voted for the Westminster government that is in office in 2020 - or will it be yet another government elected against the wishes of the Scottish people? And will the Scottish Parliament have any additional powers, beyond those in the Scotland Act, by 2020 – and, if so, what will they be?

Uncertainty is simply a function of life, and staying in the Union won’t change that. However, we can look at the record that Westminster has had recently with certainty, and it’s not good. A government able to

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handle uncertainty wouldn’t have to make embarrassing policy climb -downs as a result of unexpected public response. Over the past 2 years, uncertainty with regards to public outcry and the implications of decisions has resulted in THIRTY significant policy U-turns as outlined on this page: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/may/31/coalition-u-turns-full-list They’re never prepared, because life is uncertain. All that you can hope for is that the people responsible for reacting understand the context of their actions, that they are demo cratically accountable, and that they are working in your best interests. At the moment, we don’t have any of those for Scotland – we have a parliament in Westminster that simply does not understand Scotland or care to make the effort to. We have Westminster politicians governing our country even though we rejected, almost unanimously, their manifestos. And we have a government that is a slave to the southeast of England rather than to the country as a whole. When dealing with the certainty of uncertainty comes along, I want it to be a Scottish government working for Scotland. When it comes time to make a hard choice, I want it to be a government choosing what’s best for Scots rather than what’s best for London. Uncertainty is coming, the only thing we can do to prepare for it is make sure that it’s handled in a way that is appropriate for us. The choice is simple - it’s between uncertainty with power and uncertainty without power. I debated over including the image above 734 because it seems like it might just be mischief making by the members of the Yes campaign. I’ll tell you though it actually comes from one of the splinter ‘no to independence’ groups called protect the Union and vote NO to Scottish independence. This is what they actually think of Scotland’s role in the UK – a subordinate state for England to rule.

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39. Better Together are lying to you.

I’d really like to be able to say that Better Together are attempting to convince people of the benefits of the Union through reasoned debate and argume nt. They’re not though, and I need to call them on that. This is a strong claim, and one that leaves no room for misinterpretations, so I am going to show you one recent example of how they work and why you should be especially critical of anything that comes your way from their campaign. The document I am going to address here is the infamous ‘secret paper’ that Better Together released to try and cushion the fact the newest GERS report was going to show Scotland’s economic strength. I am going to go over each of the little remarks they have made on the paper and show why it is either a lie, a misrepresentation or a deceitful attempt to mislead you towards an unsupported conclusion. They key claim they are making in the document is that the Scottish government say one thing in public and another in private, and that insinuation alone colours almost everything you’re expected to take away from it. They expect you not to question whether or not there is any truth to the argument – they allege, and you’re expected to simply accept that there is a disparity between public and private actions. So let’s start:
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Okay, here’s the first one. Seriously, nobody has denied that oil is a volatile resource. The implication here being that this is in some way a se cret fact that the Scottish government are keeping quiet. What’s needed here is some evidence that shows that the Scottish Government have claimed that oil isn’t a volatile resource – if that evidence exists, please send it my way because I would like to see examples of that level of economic illiteracy. To my knowledge, it has never been claimed otherwise by any Scottish government minister. But yet, the way Better Together have phrased makes it look like Scottish ministers are indeed saying one thing in public and another in private. Note too that the document itself talks about ‘as the block grant comes to an end’ – of course there will be additional volatility when that happens. We’ll no longer be sending all our money to Westminster and getting a s maller, albeit reliable, proportion back. There will indeed be somewhat more volatility but we’ll have more money as a result. The implication here is that ‘volatility is scary’, but every independent country in the world seems to manage the uncertainty of income without needing Westminster to hold its hand.

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Notice that the actual text says ‘according to OBR forecasts’, which as we already know are outliers in terms of these kind of projections. Also notice that they don’t highlight that the same text also says Scotland is projected to have a smaller deficit as a share of GDP until 2016-2017. Notice too that the paper doesn’t say anything about actually being worse off. Just that we’d have a marginally higher deficit – that’s not the same thing, but Better Together hope you’re too dumb to realise that. As part of responsible planning, a government must assess the worst case as well as the best case. The very next part of the document highlights the uncertainty of OBR projections in this instance. Bu t let’s give Better Together the benefit of the doubt here and say that the Scottish government did indeed claim, on the back of GERS, that Scotland is better off than the rest of the UK. Let’s also accept that they are admitting the possibility that we might be marginally worse off in some financial years when the oil revenues are unusually low.

Again, as with the first extract here, I can think of no time that the Scottish government has made a single claim regarding Scotland starting off with no deb t. That’s a ludicrous position that will only occur in the event that Scotland does indeed start off as a new state, which no serious commentator believes. The fact that there’s no analysis of interest rates is a bizarre comment - perhaps if the Scottis h government knew that Better Together would be curious it might have been included. It also contains, as far as I know, no discussion of the rising price of chocolate or the implications for Scotland for unpredictable prices of felt. The issue of volatility in supermarket tuna prices is left completely unacknowledged. But the implication here is that there is something dodgy about the fact it’s not discussed despite the fact this is an internal government document outlining broad financial implications. There are many things the document doesn’t discuss, but it’s not a document for general circulation. It’s an internal document aimed at a particular audience with an understood level of assumed knowledge.

8.8% is based again on OBR projections, and yo u might notice from the discussion on the economy above that 8.8% is still better than our proportionate population share. There is no inconsistency here between what the Scottish government claim and what the document shows – 9.9% was indeed the GERS figure that was cited, but nowhere was it claimed that was what the figure would be year on year. The year before, after all, it was only 9.3%.

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Oil revenue will go down, oil revenue will go up. Oil is volatile, we know this, and again these are based on OBR projections. This is a repetition of the same basic assumed lack of acknowledgement as the first entry. Until there is evidence that such a claim had been made, it cannot be debunked. After all, we cannot disprove a negative (we cannot prove that a statement was never made), but they can prove that a statement was made if it was.

So far, it’s all pretty tame – implications of a disconnect between private admissions and public statements, and variations on the same theme of ‘oil is volatile’. We know it all, it’s fine, and none of this really justifies my comments above regarding Better Together being liars. Misleading, yes – but liar is a strong word. Thankfully, we’re coming up to my proof in the next few post its:

Bam, there we go. The firs t direct lie – ‘volatile oil revenues implies public spending reductions’ is a bald faced lie. What volatility implies is an economic structure designed to absorb volatility, as we

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discussed in the section above on the economy. If you don’t really get wh at volatility means, you’d be forgiven for not realising that the quoted text doesn’t imply what the post -it says in the slightest. The second direct lie is right underneath it. Let me quote and bold the bits from the report that make this out to be a lie: We will need to b e mindful that these pressures could reduce the resources availab le to provide additional pub lic services. Not planning for cuts, acknowledging a possibility. And then, not even planning for cuts but simply not providing as much additional public service as had been planned. A reduction in something extra that isn’t in place yet isn’t a cut. The worst thing about this is how little Better Together thinks of us – the text that shows them to be liars is highlighted right by their post-it!

That’s not even close to what the report actually says – it simply says that certain public sectors have demographic pressures. Here the post it note doesn’t relate to the content, gets the numbering wrong, and doesn’t even get the facts right. Sco tland has no more significant a problem of an aging population as any other part of the UK, and we’re already well placed to deal with it.

Hey look, ‘requiring a higher level of resilience and innovative planning’, which is just another way of saying ‘an economy that can deal with volatility’. Notice too that there is nothing that says that the UK helps absorb that especially given the broken state of UK finances.

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No it bloody well isn’t. Another direct lie – all he says is that as part of a monetary union, agreements will need to be made. At no point does he hint at a veto.

No, that’s not what it’s saying at all. Another lie – all it says here is that it is necessary for Scotland to consider how cyclical expenditure should be structured. The next two hang together:

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Let’s leave the first one aside as it’s another example of ‘we’ll pretend they deny this in public’ and look at the second one. It’s not a lie as such but a wilful misleading. Of course HMRC will cost more in an independent Scotland than we’re currently paying, because we’ll be responsible for raising a vast amount of additional taxes and revenue. Our GERS share is proportionate to the tax we actually raise in Scotland. It’s also a lie that they refer to this as a ‘setting up’ cost when the report clearly identifies it as an annual on-going expense. We can perhaps be charitable here though and dismiss that as illiteracy rather than malice. It’s also worth noting at this point that the actual costs involved in setting up Scotti sh tax raising systems might even be lower than expected 736.

This is another blatant lie working on the assumption that you don’t understand how defence financing in Scotland works. You’ve read this document though, you know better. Our current budget is £3.3 billion. The Scottish government are projecting a £2.5 billion budget. That is a much lower budget than is currently the case. But, that £2.5 billion budget is in comparison to the £2 billion that gets spend in Scotland now. It is perfectly possible to simultaneously have a lower budget and higher defence spending in Scotland. Sure, and didn’t one of Ireland’s most respected soldiers point out that we could save a pile of money in defence 737 without sacrificing safety? Those in Better Together kn ow how it works, they’re just hoping you don’t. The hypocrisy of all of this is that in any case, this is an internal briefing memo, lacking in appropriate context. It sets out parameters for an internal discussion. This is not the suppression of a finis hed report such as the McCrone report. It’s not even the refusal to publish papers on Devolution that we are actively due 738. It’s a paper that sets out the ‘in progress’ thinking of a government mindful of its responsibilities. Despite the lying, deceitful and downright mendacious allegations made throughout it, this ‘smoking gun’ is firing blanks. They make it look bad in the hope that you’re too stupid to actually read it yourself. As 739 the Scotsman (of all places) reports : Credit where credit is due: the Better Together campaign pulled off a coup with its pub lication of a leaked cab inet paper from John Swinney, laying out fiscal options in the post-independence period. However, what the document actually says is very different from the spin put on it by the No campaign. Quite the opposite in fact. It’s worth having a look at the supposed “secret” document, which you can find on the Better Together web page. But b eware. When you log on you’ll find the front page of the document b oldly proclaims “top se cret – the truth ab out taxes, spending and oil in a separate Scotland”. Clearly this is not part of the internal memo but a mock-up supplied by the creative geniuses behind Better Together to put their own spin on the contents. You’ll also see they have redacted the first part of the paper. I wonder why? The Better Together editors insert comments throughout the document. Frequently these are at odds with the text. For instance, the running commentary says: “Today [the SNP] claim that Scotland is b etter off than the UK. They admit internally that we’d soon b e worse -off.” However the text in question is actually quoting a forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), which advises the Chancellor of the Exchequer. So it’s the OBR that claims Scotla nd is fiscally

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b etter off, not Mr Swinney. What the document actually says is: “Before 2016 -17, Scotland is projected to have a smaller deficit, as a share of GDP, than the UK. You see what I mean – they’re hoping you are stupid enough to take what they s ay at face value without actually reading the report. They’re hoping that an insinuation of secrecy is enough to taint their political opponents. In short, they’re behaving like bastards and completely ruining the possibility of having a meaningful debat e on Scotland’s future. Remember that the next time you see something that comes your way from them. But it’s more than just one single report – the lack of truth in what they say is threaded through almost everything they produce. Ian Taylor, who will figure prominently in the next section, wrote an article in which he explained why he had chosen to give £500k to Better Together 740. A quote: Norway, so often held up as an example, are planning on an oil price of $77 a b arrel in 2014 compared to the SNP's 'cautious' estimate of $113. Make no mistake – such over-optimistic assumptions would come at a real cost. Now, leave aside the ‘cautious’ estimates as you saw above are grounded in independent analysis and leave aside the fact that the OECD has forecast oil prices considerably beyond what the Scottish government have used as their baseline figures. The fact is that this quoted estimate is not accurate – Norway in 2014 are in fact estimating a price of $113.55 per barrel 741. The figures Mr Taylor has chos en to cite are in fact from 2009, and superseded by later estimates. Mr Taylor is an eminent oil businessman – it is simply not credible to say that he didn’t know this. You may wish to believe incompetence rather than malice, but I think the latter is far more in keeping with the tone and history of Better Together. This is the same party after all that tries to make you think there’s a broad base of activist support, and yet still seems managed entirely from their headquarters in Glasgow 742:

This is the same organisation that is encouraging electoral fraud to ‘save the Union’ 743. This is the same group who acquired personal mobile phone information so as to allow them to mass -spam people with 744 unsolicited Better Together propaganda . This is the same group that is lying about sabotage to its headquarters to slander independence supporters 745 746. Now, to be fair the main organisation has claimed that ‘Better Together Western Isles’ is not an official group, but really – the benefit of the doubt doesn’t go to groups that conduct themselves in the thoroughly shabby way that Better Together have. You can draw your own conclusions. I have no doubts as to the lack of integrity at the heart of this campaign. The next section might help you see why.

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40. Better Together is a dirty campaign funded by dirty money.

This is another strong claim, and one I will also substantiate. I need to be very careful here, as the revelations contained within were first published on a number of pro -independence blogs (National Collective first, and then others) and each of these was then threatened with legal action in an attempt to silence their justified criticisms 747 748. Their response to this intimidation campaign is recorded here: http://nationalcollective.com/2013/04/18/we-will-not-be-bullied/ It’s important to note here that all National Collective did was take information already published and join up the dots. Were there any genuine grounds for grievance, one would assume that the newspapers that broke the stories years ago would have been targeted. National Collective don’t have the funds to support a legal department ready to swing into action, and so bully tactics have been employed instead to silence criticism. The story was picked up in the national press 749 750 751, who for all their faults are the best allies in a battle over free speech that anyone could want. Sites and newspapers who received legal warnings included National Collective, Wings over Scotland 752 753, and the Herald 754. Twitter accounts passing the story around were shut down. National Collective was forced to take down the article, and mirrors put up to allow it to be read were closed as rapidly as they opened. Now, you m ight think ‘Oh hang on, you can’t link the actions of a campaign donor to the party – that’s disingenuous’. Well done, reader – you absolutely should pick me up on that kind of thing. So let me support my argument by showing how co-ordinated the whole incident was, quoting from National Collective themselves 755: The political motivation b ehind those who criticised us during our period of planning was clear. Better Together and others conducted themselves with complete disregard of the facts. This was clear from the outset and is documented fully b elow. At 2.15pm on the 10th of April Rob Shorthouse, the Better Together Director of Communications, tweeted: i confidently predict a national collective #stunt is ab out to b e unleashed #yawn Seconds earlier, Blair MacDougall, the Better Together Campaign Director, had tweeted this: No doub t National Collective are ab out to pretend they have b een b anned... #indyref #b ettertogether #stunt A numb er of interesting questions arise from this. 1. How did Rob and Blair know ab out what was happening at National Collective b efore the site was taken down or a comment released? Were they aware of the legal letter we had received? Why did Rob and Blair – who had previously ignored all our requests for a statement on the Taylor donation and ignored us generally within the campaign – decide within seconds of each other to suddenly recognise our existence? Why did Rob wish to spread the message that our response to the legal letter (was he aware of it?) would b e a stunt?

2.

3.

The answer to all three is ob vious. The Better Together campaign team may lack arguments and grass-roots supporters, b ut they are not stupid. By issuing these statements they took advantage of our inab ility to comment pub licly and were attempting to undermine whatever response we chose. That is co-ordination – that’s not a donor working alone to protect his reputation, that’s a political campaign using the fact that a site was about to receive a legal threat would be unable to reply. It’s a drive by smearing, in the best tradition of cowardly internet demagogues everywhere.

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Anyway, this is the story of dirty money. Better Together, in a kind of childish display of ‘one upmanship’, ‘stole a march’ on Yes Scotland to publish its list of campaign donors 756. It was reported that they had accumulated a £2m war-chest, although a little under half of that was ‘promised’ donations rather than actual donations. Donations came from all over the UK, ignoring any attempt at Scottish donations for a 757 Scottish issue , but one might say given their core platform that it’s not unreasonable. Amongst the list of big name donors was a man called Ian Taylor, who had poured a generous £500k into the campaign. A generous chap indeed and I do not wish in this document to impugn his int entions. However, Ian Taylor is the CEO of a company called Vitol, and it turns out Vitol has been linked to some very dubious dealings. Nothing illegal, as it were, for the most part - but certainly very questionable. Amongst the allegations raised are:          Purchasing Iranian oil products and undermining trade sanctions 758 Selling oil to Syria despite international calls for a boycott 759 Corrupting foreign agents and influence peddling 760 Tax avoidance through offshore pay schemes 761 Paying as much as a million to a Serbian war-criminal (later convicted of crimes against humanity) to settle a score regarding secret oil deals 762. Paying kickbacks to Saddam Hussein’s regime 763 Improper donations to government ministers 764 Trading Iranian fuel so as to skirt oil sanctions. 765 Actively assisting the Congolese in maintaining their offshore marketing scams
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There’s more I can put here, but I think I’ve made the point. Whilst it may be the case that nothing illegal was done, and that is certainly how Vitol consider the matter, I think any reasonable person would look at that list and think ‘This company engages in dodgy practises, and the money they generate is tainted also’. It is this I am referring to when I say Better Together is funded by dirty money. Almost half of their actual donations come from Ian Taylor – that’s a lot of dirty money, and it does not reflect well on the campaign. Now, Better Together had a chance to really elevate the tone of the debate here. They could have said ‘We were unaware of these allegation s. We will put these funds aside and launch a full investigation. We do not want our campaign tarnished, and while we believe Mr Taylor and Vitol to be above reproach, we will certainly do our best to prove or disprove these allegations’ It would have gotten some temporary play on the Yes side, but ultimately it would have frittered out because it would have been the responsible thing to do. Later, even if they exonerated Mr Taylor and decided to keep the donation, they’d have the moral high ground becau se they’d taken the criticism on board and investigated. Of course, they didn’t do that. The first thing they did was erect a wall of silence, refusing to answer any questions at all about the donations. The next thing they did was put out an extraordinary press statement accusing the Herald, the Daily Record and the SNP of conducting a co-ordinated smear campaign 767: There is a co-ordinated dirty-tricks campaign b y the nationalists. They should stop it. Allegations were made ab out one of our donors in a nationalist b log a few days ago. These were only covered in the press after a fresh and cynical attack b y SNP MP Angus Rob ertson as they desperately tried to create a story Now, look at the sources I’ve provided for the list of allegations above. They’re fr om a wide sampling of respected journalists and span many years. That they have become politically inconvenient to the Better Together campaign is not a co-ordinated smear campaign, but instead the joining of a number of well publicised dots. The Jimmy Reid foundation, an organisation broadly supportive of Labour as a (ostensibly) left leaning party, took them to task for this ridiculous suggestion 768. That aside, the Better Together campaign chose, without an investigation, to put their full support behind Mr Taylor:

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What we are happy to say is that Ian Taylor is a respected figure internationally, in the UK and in Scotland. He has a long history of philanthropy and his personal investment has revived the Harris Tweed industry in Scotland. He set out his own reasons for supporting Better Together in an article last Sunday. Johann Lamont (she’s the leader of Labour in Scotland, although you’d be forgiven for not knowing that) said the following: In my view it is an appropriate donation and I think it is impo rtant that at every stage we test for prob ity and transparency and I have every confidence that my friends in Better Together are doing that769. That same article goes on to say: When it was put to her that Mr Salmond had urged the campaign group to hand b ac k the b usinessman's money, Ms Lamont responded b y asking if the first minister felt Mr Taylor's investment in Harris Tweed should b e withdrawn. You see here some of the strategies employed – deflection, and conflation of ‘a political donation’ and ‘a busin ess investment’. Willie Rennie agrees, saying: If it's good enough for Harris tweed, it should b e good enough for Better Together .770 One might have hoped that a public campaign would have hoped to aim for better than to place their donor relationship on the same level as for-profit investment. Still, never mind – it shows the truth of their relationship to their donors – they are selling a service. You can also see some of the revisionism in this position when Lamont says: "Across Scotland, people recognise the prob ity of Alistair Darling, everything that he has done, he has b een charged with the responsib ility and I have every confidence in his prob ity." The probity of Mr Darling, of course, best expressed by Vince Cable when he referred to him as a chan cellor with his ‘fingers in the till’ 771 for abusing his Commons expenses. Anyway, they then decided that they were keeping the donation regardless of the very legitimate concerns raised 772. Okay, so – well. I don’t really expect more of a campaign that woul d put out misinformation like that outlined above, but I admit I was disappointed to see that they would so cavalierly sell out Scotland’s future to tainted money. That’s not what makes them a dirty campaign. The next thing in their response was a truly pathetic attempt to deflect attention: While this is disappointing it is not surprising. Other supporters of Better Together have faced personal attack, hate mail and b oycotts - all b ecause they dared to oppose the b reak -up of the UK. This is part of a coordinated pattern of b ehaviour b y the independence campaign: - Journalists who expose holes in the nationalist case come under sustained attacks from every level, from SNP ministers to anonymous cyb ernats. - Depressingly the Scotsman Newspaper b uilding was yesterday spray-painted with the word ‘Traitors’. We hope the SNP politicians who attacked the Scotsman so vehemently will join us in condemning this. - Business people complain of a culture of fear created b y the nationalists to prevent them from speaking out. - Better Together events are disrupted b y militant nationalists. - And our campaign HQ comes under attack with almost daily attempts of sab otage from SNP activists. Now, I’m not privy to what goes on inside Better Together headquarters of course, but just ask yourself this – if there was the slightest evidence of any of this, don’t you think Better Together would be shoving that evidence into all our faces from morning to night? Just look at how extraordinary their claim is – a

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concentrated campaign by SNP activists aimed at sabotaging their events and holdings. I kind of consider myself to be an independence activist, and I can assure you – if there is some kind of black ops memo going around, I’m not on the mailing list. But understand this for wh at it is – an attempt to deflect rightful scrutiny of the dodgy money funding their campaign. It is a dirty campaign that will, without evidence, issue serious allegations like this. Newsnet Scotland actually attempted to follow this up to see if there was the slightest chance it could be substantiated 773: Mr Shorthouse asked which show our man was from. The b elief that we were the BBC appeared to b e a common misconception – we concluded that the name Newsnet Scotland sounded remarkab ly similar to Newsnight Scotland, and the Better Together man seemed keen to chat. However all that changed when he realised that we weren’t in fact who he b elieved and, after listening to our man’s question, Rob made an excuse that it was a b ad line and the noise from the Ib rox crowd made it difficult to talk … he would call b ack. That he initiated the call in the first place despite b eing at Ib rox was puzzling, b ut we'll leave that there. One would have thought that given the allegations - contained in Better Together's online statement - had b een there for several days that their 'message-carrier' would have had a message to carry just waiting for journalists and reporters to call. But not so, and b y late Saturday evening we had received no follow up call from Mr Shorthouse. So, in desperation we tried one last move … twitter. We sent Mr Shorthouse a tweet asking him for details on the 'HQ attacks' claim. We’ll see if he is forthcoming. As we sit b y the phone, it’s worth reminding readers of the seriousness of the accusation s levelled b y Better Together - that their headquarters has b een sub jected to almost daily attacks and attempted sab otage b y SNP activists. This isn't a typical political smear and carries with it all sorts of disconcerting imagery. I’ve already said, at the start of this document, that any campaign will encompass both devils and angels. There are undoubtedly some on the Yes side who engage in mischief making, just like there are those on 774 the No side who will use loaded violent imagery against SNP leaders or saying the only thing stopping them murdering an elected representative of the Scottish people is the risk of getting caught 775. How 776 about Labour supporters wishing that Alex Salmond’s father would die ? What about Labour MP Margaret Curran, who sai d that if Alex Salmond was knocked over by a bus she wouldn’t ask who was driving it777? Or the threats of violence issued constantly by the misogynist bully Ian Davidson 778 779 and others 780? There is ugliness in both sides of the campaign 781 782 783 – you can’t have a broad base of support without picking up a few loonies. In fact, there’s a re two twitter accounts (@WeakerApart and @BritNatAbuseBot) that do nothing but re-tweet Unionist abuse, as you can see below.

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But what we’re talking about here isn’t the rogue actions of a few over -zealous supporters. This is coming down right from the top of Better Together. Similarly, Better Together are alleging, without substance, that the backlash Better Together gets against its lies and propaga nda is co-ordinated by the SNP. That is a serious allegation, and any campaign that won’t back it up is a dirty campaign hoping to smear. Recently, a rather desperate attempt to substantiate their claims of a co -ordinated smear campaign was undertaken by John Mann MP. A quote from the SNP MP Angus Robertson was misattributed to John 784 Mann by the Herald . A later SNP press release was issued that carried on this misattribution, quoting John Mann as having said what Angus Robertson said. This resulted in a n epic twitter hissy fit:

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Now, let’s look at this sensibly – the Times misquoted him, which was picked up by the Herald, which in turn was seized upon by a press officer at the SNP. Mistakes, yeah – careless journalism and perhaps an over-zealous bit of opportunistic mischief making by the SNP press office. How did the SNP respond to this? They removed the press release and issued a retraction. You know, like grown -ups do 785:

Mr Mann’s equally civil response:

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Remember, this is an MP – someone w ho is paid public money to represent the country. It’s nice to know this is what their salary goes towards, right? And look at the SNP press release. It is many things – professional, courteous, polite. But abject? Hardly – like many in Labour, Mr Mann is so blinded by his hatred that he cannot see straight. Indeed, given his own history of misquoting and misrepresenting his political opponents 786, one might think he’d keep quiet generally. Anyway, why is John Mann singled out at all in this? Well, it turns out that back in the day, Mr Mann was something of a critic of Vitol 787: But Vitol was accused of “immoral” trade and “b acking corrupt regimes” b y John Mann MP, a Lab our member of the Treasury Select Committee, who demanded that the Tory party hand b ack the “dirty money” it had received from Mr Taylor. He has, as of yet, been unwilling to be similarly direct regarding the money received by Better Together. One might expect something of a double standard were it not for the upstanding, civil and thoroug hly professional individual you can see reflected in the tweets above. There is a growing list of prominent individuals who have spoken out against this donation. Among them are:    Former Labour first minister Henry McLeish 788 Robin McAlpine of the left-leaning Reid Foundation 789 Lord Ashdown, of the Liberal Democrats
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Others still were happy to question Vitol when the donations were going to the conservatives, such as Douglas Alexander 792. When quizzed on the matter, David Cameron chose to refer to questions about Ian Taylor as ‘a cheap political card’ rather than address the substantive objections 793. They’re keeping that money – for me, I think it’s already cost them more than they gained. When even your own side insists how wrong you are, you have to step back and take a look at exactly what it is you have become. When the majority of the Scottish people want you to return your donation 794, you need to step back and ask yourself just who you are supposed to be representing. So okay, they are funded by dirty money and will keep that dirty money and make unsubstantiated allegations just to score political points and deflect criticism. But at least they’re facilitating a debate on the constitutional future of our country, right? Alas, this is another no. Better Together have a Facebook page, like Yes Scotland. Unfortunately, unlike Yes Scotland reasonable debate isn’t tolerated on their page. I’m banned from Better Together – I was banned in the first week or so the page went up. It’s true, I’m a terrible per son and I do have a tendency to be aggressive in arguing. But I went through my Facebook comment history to see the posts I had made that led to my banning. You can find them in their entirety in the appendix. Nothing is missed out, save for a single pi cture (the political compass one from earlier in this document).

Oh, the irony of my last paragraph! ‘I’d like to thank you for a mostly constructive discussion’. The thing was, it had been – we’d disagreed, politely, and we’d expressed our reasons for it. I learned more about why some people were planning to vote no. They learned more about why I was planning to vote Yes. Unfortunately, a day or so later I was about to comment on another thread when I found that I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t like any status updates, I couldn’t do anything:

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Unless they are being charged by Facebook per kilobyte of bandwidth, I think reasonable people can agree there is nothing ban-worthy there. And yet, banned I was, without notice, without comment. My contributions were deleted, my existence redacted. This is far from an isolated story – ask anyone on the Yes Scotland side and they’ll be able to tell you just how widespread this is. It’s important here that I end by explaining my point exactly. I’m not saying t hat people who are planning to vote ‘no’ are in any way dirty. Just that the umbrella campaign which is fighting their side is dirty and unashamedly so. I want a real debate over Scotland’s constitutional future – a healthy debate, and that’s not what we ’re getting from Better Together. With Better Together we have smears, fears and a visceral, tribal hatred that serves as the only engine that drives them. If you are planning to vote no, you deserve better than this. Our country deserves better. Every syllable of support you give them is a push away from a more civil and inclusive debate over the best direction for Scotland.

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Scotland and a No Vote
Despised b y the English and detested b y their own country, the Unionists had no alternative left save that of fulfilling the unworthy b argain they had made. The interests of Scotland were considerab ly neglected in the treaty of Union; and in consequence the nation, instead of regarding it as an identification of the interests of b oth kingdoms, considered it as a total surrender of their independence b y their false and corrupted statesmen, into the hand of their proud and powerful rival. Sir Walter Scott We’re almost at the end of this meaty document – I hope what has been presented so far is a credible and positive case for Scotland. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t address the elephant in the room – what happens if we vote no. You may be thinking your choice is between independence and the status quo. I don’t believe it is. I don’t believe, given the appetite and the attitudes of those on the no side of the debate, that the Scotland that emerges after a no vote will be as pleasant a place as the one the day before. I believe there will be punishments for daring to have the referendum, and I belie ve those punishments will be severe. I believe we will see a dismantling of devolution and significant deteriorations in Scotland’s prosperity – after all, why wouldn’t a primarily English government look to take advantage of the fact their surly lodgers have lost all possible leverage? Scottish independence has been the gun Scotland has had against Westminster’s head for decades. What do you think they’re going to do when they find out the gun wasn’t loaded 795? I want people to vote Yes because it’s the right thing to do. But if you’re going to vote No, at least consider some of the possible consequences before you cast your vote.

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41. A No Vote is not a vote for the Status Quo

I can’t emphasise this enough – the choice isn’t between what we currently have and independence. The choice is between independence and what happens to Scotland when the Scottish parliament has lost all significant leverage against the centralism of Westminster. It’s a choice between a positive agenda where Scotland shapes its own destiny, and the brutal, neo-liberal austerity of the Westminster parties. Let’s just look at some of the things on the menu should Scotland remain in the union. Under the next Tory government, we are very likely to see:        A cut of hundreds of millions to the Scottish block grant796 797 798 799. A cut to the number of Scottish MPs at Westminster 800. A reappraisal of the Barnett formula to deprive Scotland of even more of the money it earns. 801 802 803 804 805 806 . Continuation of the bypassing of Scottish law to implement Westminster policies 807. A reduction in welfare benefits for people in Scotland as opposed to those in London 808 809 Further reductions in defence spending in Scotland A continuation of discredited 810 811 812 austerity politics 813 814 815 816 817 818 despite the fact they just are n’t working 819 820 and are based on faulty research 821. Another £23bn to £25bn of cuts are coming 822 823 and the cuts are only 40% over 824. The end of the NHS in Scotland and in England 825 Selling NHS data to private firms 826. The resolution of the West Lothian question by stripping Scottish MPs of power over English legislation 827 828 No repeal of the bedroom tax, no matter who gets in 829 830, 831 Average families almost £900 a year worse off. 832 More taxes, and more cuts

     

Wings over Scotland, in their usual immaculate fashion, have compiled a significant list of the things to be had in the event of a No vote 833. It makes for disquieting reading. But why should we assume the worst? If Scotland genuinely is such a valued and productive member of the Union, why won’t Westminster simply sigh with relief? Why won’t those who showed loyalty to the Union be rewarded? Boris Johnson, showing his typical lack of understanding, has this to say: "The Scots have free nursing care for the elderly - sub sidised, under the Barnett formula, b y us, the English - while we cannot afford it in England. The Scots have the luxury of refusing to charge their students top-up fees - since they are sub sidised b y us, the English - while English students have to cough up. Now we learn that the Scots have free cancer drugs - sub sidised b y us, the English - while we in England are told they are not cost-effective.834 Lord Baker says this: On Scotland, does he not agree that, while Alex Salmond of course has the right to give Scottish students free education at Scottish universities, this freeb ie is paid for b y English taxpayers? 835 Would it not b e fairer to reduce the annual grant that is given to Scotland? And Lord Hamilton: My Lords, can the nob le Lord confirm that Scotland is the third most prosperous region of the United Kingdom? Is it not time that we looked at the Barnett formula, which transfers £9 b illion of English taxpayers’ money to Scotland? 836 John McTernan, Labour party adviser and famous twitter troll and cyber general 837 has this to say: After all, the McChattering classes pride themselves on living in a generous, social democratic nation. So why should redistrib ution keep going to Scotland when needs are greater elsewhere? Time, surely, for Scotland to help out south Wales or west Belfast – or even the east Midlands.

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Remember from the section on the economy – WE SUBSIDISE, WE ARE NOT SUBSIDISED. But the political fiction is useful in that it acts as a justification for austerity inflicted on Scotland. What they are actually talking about is clawing back even more of the money that we send them – when they say that England should stop subsidising Scotland, what they are saying is that they want the Scottish subsidy to England to be increased at the expense of Scotland. In other words, what they are talking abo ut is theft. A vote for no is a vote for a poorer Scotland with fewer jobs, no leverage against Westminster, and a Westminster elite who will call us scroungers while they steal our money. Perhaps you think the situation would be better under Labour? Well , that’s quite a gamble to take in 2014, a year before the general election. However, as outlined above what Labour offers is not so much an alternative to the conservatives, but a very slightly diluted version of the same basic political philosophy. A labour government has the benefit of not being defined by its future manifesto – the party remains in free-fall after its loss in the 2010 general election, with no new conception of itself as a party. They can define themselves as being in opposition to unpopular policies without ever having to deal with the consequences, which makes their constant abstentions even harder to bear. However, from what has been said by the current shadow front bench, and by the actions of Labour over the years of governme nt since 1999, we can assume the following:    Labour remain as committed to the neo-liberalisation of the British state as the conservatives are. Labour remain as committed to the austerity agenda as the Conservatives are. Redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich will be the norm rather than the exception.

Some of these policies are obviously reserved matters for Holyrood – a Westminster party cannot enact them in Scotland. But the problem with Labour is that it is one party with two architectures and Scottish labour are largely a tool of Labour in Westminster. These policies will harmonize in those instances where there is both a Labour administration in Holyrood and a Labour government in Westminster. Should the worst come to the worst for the SNP and a defeat in independence is followed up by losing control of Holyrood, then this is what Scottish Labour (the only other credible party of government) would have in store for the country:       An introduction of tuition fees for Scottish university stud ents 838 and the consequent disincentivation of participation in higher education 839. 840 U-Turns on reducing anti-catholic bigotry in Glasgow Cosy coalitions with conservatives in local government 841 842 843 844 Corruption in Glasgow The end of any pretence at left wing politics.845 846 Self-serving internal irregularities over candidate selection 847 848 849 850.

You may think that the Scottish labour party has Scotland’s interests at heart, but that doesn’t really chime with the evidence:     Refusing to support measures that are put forward by the SNP851, regardless of merit852 853 Opposition to Devo Max854 in the face of strong public support855 856 Silence on Trident857 Indifference to the democratic will of the people 858

The labour party support keeping and upgrading Trident (a nuclear deterrent that is 30 minutes away from Scotland’s largest population centre), support the austerity cuts 859 860, ‘reforming welfare’ 861, and supporting tuition fees of at least £6000 862. These are not policies for Scotland. These are policies that pander to the conservative heartlands – the ‘middle England’ that Ed Miliband has set out to court 863. Leaving aside all the things that Westminster is saying out loud, we also need to realistically consider what is likely to happen to the Scotland that voted in a ‘mathematically impos sible’ SNP majority government. All the powers devolved to Holyrood are done so at the gift of the Westminster parliament. At the very least we’ll see a revision to the electoral math to ensure that no party (specifically the SNP) can ever gain a majority again. We’ll likely see considerable devolved authority stripped back to Westminster. We’ll almost certainly find the law ‘clarified’ so that Scotland can never again force a referendum without the tacit blessing of Westminster. That’s at a minimum.

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A no vote isn’t a vote for the way things are now. Westminster has bent over a barrel.

A no vote is a vote for the Scotland that

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42. Holyrood can’t save us from Tory Privatization

A lot of the things that people are finding most frightening about the co alition agenda is the spectre of privatization. However, within Scotland we have a reasonably good protection against this – our health service for example is funded by the block grant, and we operate independently of the NHS in England. Surely then we have nothing to fear – we can just keep going as we’re going. Alas, no. It doesn’t work like that. You see, it’s all down to the Barnett Formula again – what most people don’t realise about this is that it’s based not on raised revenue or expenditure, but instead on the proportion of money that Westminster allocates to England. To quote Wikipedia 864: The Barnett formula is a mechanism used b y The Treasury in the United Kingdom to adjust the amounts of pub lic expenditure allocated to Northern Ireland, Scotla nd and Wales automatically to reflect changes in spending levels allocated to pub lic services in England, England and Wales or Great Britain, as appropriate. There is a world of nuance in that simple description. The big implication for Scotland is that w hen Westminster can put public costs ‘off the books’ in England, it results in less public spending in Scotland. 865 An expert analysis of this by Scott Minto makes sobering reading : The cuts are the result of the Westminster plan to save £20 b illion from the NHS through the use of privatisation, a figure that would see a £2 b illion reduction from healthcare consequentials in the Scottish b lock grant. Given that in Scotland’s latest 2010 -2011 GERS accounts health spending was £10.9 b illion, that would represent an 18.1% decrease in healthcare funding if Scotland remains part of the UK, making it extremely difficult to maintain flagship policies like free prescriptions. The mechanism by which this works is simple. Let’s say that Westminster passes ten billion in spending off to the private sector. That still needs to be paid for, but it doesn’t appear as part of public expenditure. That results in a proportionate cut being made to Scotland’s block grant – all that’s changed really is where the money goes – i t still needs to be spent. It’s just… no longer public spending. To give you an example of this in practise, in Scotland water bills are handled by council tax. The infrastructure needed for this is then a public expense. In England, we don’t get it ha ndled by council tax. Instead, it gets charged separately by private companies. Those of us living in England still need to pay for the water, it’s just that we pay it to a corporation rather than the government. It then stops being a public expense. As more and more of the NHS is privatized, you’ll see that resulting in a corresponding decrease in funding for Scotland. The health policies that we currently already pay for such as free prescriptions and eye tests and such will all need to go because they will become unaffordable – not because Scotland can’t afford them but because our pocket money has been slashed as a result of Westminster’s financial arrangements. Moves in England towards, for example, charges for NHS services 866 are absolutely going to have massive implications for Scotland because of the way the funding model works. When Phillip Hammond says that he wants to take £500m of health and education funding and transfer it over to the Ministry of Defence 867, you can bet your backside that has funding implications for Scotland. Defence is a reserved matter, and there is no funding allocated to Scotland for that. Money is taken from Scotland and spent by Westminster. When they spend less on their own health and education system, it hits us. When Cameron hires health lobbyists into the heart of government 868, it’ll impact on us too. When Westminster plans to reduce the number of GP visits a person can make, you’re going to find the ‘savings’ made there make their way to Scotland 869. Even Ed Milli band realises what a sad state we’re in, as when interviewed he said 870: Are Britain’s prob lems so deep that nob ody can make a difference to them? My emphatic answer is yes. We may have independent services, but don’t think for a moment what happens in Engl and doesn’t matter for us. As Westminster dismantles 871 a truly British institution, independence gives us the control we need to protect it.

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43. Don’t believe in the Jam Tomorrow promises of career Westminster politicians

In eerily similar circumstances, Michael Moore 872 and David Cameron 873 874 have hinted that a no vote will result in more powers devolved to the Scottish parliament. Tellingly, both individuals refuse to even outline what these powers might be, insisting that they are a matter for discussion afte r a no vote has been recorded. That is to say, it will be discussed after all the leverage possessed by the Scottish government has been squandered. Alistair Darling has admitted that there is no possibility of anything other than ‘minor changes’ without it being in all the parties manifestoes and voted on by the entirety of 875 876 the United Kingdom . If you want anything more than a fairly minor change to the constitutional arrangement then at some point you are going to have to ask the rest of the UK which means that all the parties in a general election would have to have in their manifesto what they would intend to do. This is a fair point, and yet we have had clear statements that there is and will be no cross -party plan on devolution for Scotland before the referendum 877. Johann Lamont, despite stressing her plans for establishing more powers for the Scottish parliament, can’t 878 879 880 881 882 883 884 even get her own Scottish MPs to back her on devolving income tax or support her 885 motion on devolving Air Passenger Duty . Note that this isn’t just what the SNP want – this is what was in Labour’s own devolution commission recommendations 886. When even the ‘leader’ of Scottish Labour can’t get her MPs to agree to her plans for devolution, how can you possibly believe that Westminster with its Conservative 887 and Lib Dems with their own fractured views on the topic will deliver anything? Even when those plans are dismissed as mere ‘tweaking around the edges’ 888. So, what does that give us as the offering from the Labour Party on devolution? A set of policy proposals so incoherent and 889 890 inconsequential that they were dubbed as ‘Devo Nano’ and roundly mocked by almost all who 891 892 893 894 encountered them . When quizzed on the policies 895, most Labour MPs couldn’t even agree on what the policies were!896 Euan McColm, an odious man and no friend to the Yes campaign, put it like this 897: Lab our’s tax-raising suggestion is an unloaded gun. But that doesn’t matter b ecause there’s nob ody in the party itching to pull the trigger. It’s difficult to escape the conclusion that the commission has attempted to appear b old b y suggesting something that would never b e -enacted. Other proposals seem entirely arb itrary. Why is legislation around ab ortion to remain with Westminster? Why devolve employment trib unals b ut not employment law? The devolution commission’s proposals do tell a story. Unfortunately for Scottish Lab our, the story is that the party is divided over devolution and that, as a result, it’s uninspiring and timid on the sub ject. Labour in Scotland alone can’t bring their politicians around to a consensus. Even assuming that the Scottish Labour party could meaningfully present a policy for further devolution, you just need to listen to Johann Lamont herself on the topic. Quoted in the Northe rn Echo 898: Instead, Ms Lamont urged people in the North-East not to b elieve "propaganda" ab out extra powers and riches heading to Edinb urgh, saying: "We shouldn't let people divide us." Even their own half-hearted proposals, as meaningless and lacking in ge nuine power as they are, have 899 resulted in backlashes from her own MPs, and ‘could be blocked by the UK party’ . We might not expect much of the Tories in Scotland, but even we should be concerned that they won’t even engage with the pretence of a meaningful discussion about more powers for Scotland 900 901 902. Never mind though, when they replaced Maria Miller with Sajid Javid, they picked someone who described devolution as ‘constitutional vandalism 903’, so at least they’re not trying to convince us Scotland is an important part of their agenda. After all, David Cameron has already indicated that winning the 2015 general election is more important than winning the independence referendum 904.

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Further devolution on any meaningful scale is simply not going to happen . But then, many of us are already reasonably sure of that905 906 907. The dangers of ‘piecemeal devolution’ are already being floated by Westminster committees with special reference being made to the need to avoid ‘English resentment’ 908. No further devolution is planned for Scotland until devolution for England has been put in place. Let’s not fall for the ‘jam tomorrow’ promises again – after all, if having lost the referendum we have to come cap in hand to the rest of the UK asking for more powers, what incentive do they have to provide them? There are those indeed who see devolution as an inherently undesirable thing 909: They are already asking us ab out our supposed plans for "more devolution", if we win the referendum. In the context of an aggressive separatist movement which wants to accrue all political power to itself, that is like us asking them their plans for "more union" if they win! Indeed, every time separatists demand to know our plans for "more devolution" if we win the referendum, we can respond b y asking them their plans for "more union" if they win the vote to b reak it up. Our plans should b e for more union, not for more devolution! We should not intend to win the referendum to maintain the union, only to start looking for ways to help the separatists weaken it. That would b e winning the b attle, only to shoot ourselves in our feet. The UK government has already rejected the need for any significant changes to Welsh devolution 910. It has already put changes to the Northern Irish devolution settleme nt on hold because they are afraid it will highlight their refusal to outline what extra powers for Scotland would mean. The fact that they have delayed the decision until ‘after the referendum’ speaks volumes as to their true intentions 911. One must bear in mind here the fact too that there are considerable sections of the Tory party who will secretly be rather pleased if Scotland leaves the Union. They’re certainly not going to support further devolution of powers when they don’t want us there in the firs t place. Peter Cruddas, the former Conservative Party treasurer, was quoted as saying that the party912 : We, as a party, have to b e seen to b e fighting to keep the Union together. Even if we don't agree with it, b ecause at the end of it all, if the Scots say we're out of here and they want to go independent, we can turn around and say it's not what we wanted, it's not what we campaigned for, you can't have this, you can't have that, and you can get on with it The poor showing of the Better Together campaign is perhaps a consequence of this – at the time the event was launched, David Cameron was briefing journalists about his desire to reduce benefit payments in Scotland 913. Perhaps the reason the better together campaign is so bad is evidence that they really don’t want us in the Union at all. The fact is that these magnanimous, but curiously non -specific rumblings about further powers come amidst a storm of conflicting information about how the current devolved settlement is a line in the sand 914 915 and how there is no possibility of ‘devo max’ . It is clear to see how confused the unionist parties are on the subject of Scottish independence and devolution. In the end though, it shows two things. Westminster do not consider it likely that the Scots will take control of their destiny and vote for independence 916, and they have no intention of following through on the hinted offers that they make. If they were serious about enticing people to vote no, the most sensible time to do it is before the voting – that way people can choose between the options on the basis of full information. The unwillingness of the government to set down their outlined new powers on paper is indicative of the fact there are no significant new powers to come. There is no jam tomorrow.

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In general, Scots are currently more supportive of full fiscal independence than they are of full political independence917 - this is a gradualist approach to independence that limits risk, and it’s understandable that people would find it less intimidating than voting for full independence. That option has already been ruled out by the prime minister, which leaves us the choice between ‘yes’ and ‘no’. If you’re happy with the way things work now, and you’re certain that the quality of life in Scotland is n’t going to be dramatically stripped back, then a no vote is absolutely the right thing for you to cast. If you are though, you are very much in the minority.

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44. Say goodbye to Devolution.

If there is one recent development that should send a shiver of f ear down everyone’s spine, it is the sudden explosion of UKIP into the political consciousness of England. Nigel Farage and his buffoonery received short shrift in Scotland 918 where he was sent homewards to think again 919. Scotland has a proud tradition of rejecting race politics and hatemongering, and we know the stink of it when it reaches our nostrils. You could be forgiven for not really knowing a lot about UKIP if you’re in Scotland – they are beyond an irrelevance. Even Better Together, a thoroughly shabby campaign, wants nothing to do with 920 them , which in turn prompted UKIP to refer to Better Together in their usual balanced and erudite manner as blithering idiots 921. But I digress. UKIP’s attempt to seize some measure of relevance in Holyrood has been to stand a candidate with linked to an Islamaphobic far-right group 922 and their Scottish president’s view on Scotland is not all that far away from mainstream Better Together orthodoxy 923:

Just to give you a flavour of the party, here’s a small sampling of news stories: “One post made on Feb ruary 16 this year – purporting to b e from the account of councillor Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright – says: "Put them in a b ox so they can't fight b ack and ship them off as cargo." Another reads: "From what I know of Turks, they are not to b e trusted."924 925 “A Facebook account appearing to belong to Ukip's Alan Jesson, who was voted in as councillor for Spalding South in this year's local elections, tells a Polish woman to "f**k off" and another man his "culture is not welcome in the UK". He later to tells the man to "go home and eat wildlife." 926 “On the forum, senior UKIP member Dr Julia Gasper b randed gay rights a “lunatic’s charter” and claimed some homosexuals prefer sex with animals. She added: “As for the links b etween homosexuality and paedophilia, there is so much evidence that even a full -length b ook could hardly do justice to the sub ject.” The former parliamentary candidate and UKIP b ranch chairman in Oxford now faces the sack over her comments. Tackled ab out her re marks yesterday, she said: “I’m not going to talk ab out them. It’s none of your b usiness.”927

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“David Waller, a candidate in Malling, Kent, referred to risk of tuberculosis after barriers to Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants are lifted next year. “I would suggest not going to London after January 2014 unless you absolutely have to and if you do, adopt the Japanese practice of wearing a face mask,” he wrote on his blog.”928 “The 66-year-old wrote: ‘Compulsory ab ortion when the foetus is detected as having Down’s, spina b ifida or similar syndrome which, if it is b orn, could render the child a b urden on the state as well as on the family’.”929 “But, with polling day just a week away, groups have reacted angrily after a website entry in her name claimed World War Two was financed by Jewish “banksters” to make the world feel guilty. A further comment said: “It was thanks to them that six million Jews were murdered in the war along with 26 million Russians.”930 “A Ukip councillor is alleged to have describ ed "illegal immigrants" as "sandal -wearing, b omb -making, camel-riding, goat-f******, ragheads"931. “A businessman who gave £10,000 to Ukip has said women in trousers are showing "hostile" behaviour, unmarried mothers deserve "a good smack" and "date rape" is an invention of 932 feminists .” I could literally do this all day, but I think you get the gist – UKIP are a horrible party933 934, no better than the EDL or the BNP. Their offensive platform may be why the latter has been encouraging members to support UKIP935. The danger is that they have attained a level of national credibility of which other ultra right parties could only dream. Understand this – on current data, it looks inconceivable that Labour are going to win the next election 936 937 938 939 940- not that it matters, as I have outlined above. What does look horribly conceivable is that the conservatives may end up coalition with UKIP. During the English local council elections, UKIP made gigantic strides cap turing an average of 26% of the vote 941 942 943. Some will say it was on a very low turnout and that it doesn’t reflect a huge sea -change in the centre of English politics, I don’t agree, and neither do the Tories who have suddenly seen the light and embraced the isolationism that characterises Farage and his disciples. As Adam Bolton points out 944: Mid-term elections usually result in a swing against the Government - b ut not mainstream political parties as a whole. It is not their sudden representation in local councils that is the issue – it’s that in response to this both 945 946 Labour and the Tories are over-steering to the right. UKIP are, after all, polling within 2% of the conservatives 947 948 - it’s only understandable they’d panic in response.

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And panic they have – already several prominent Tory grandees 949 950 and current cabinet members 951 have come out saying they want to withdraw from the EU. Hostility within the party to Europe is growing 952, as is the rhetoric against ‘immigrants’, which has even been featured in the Queen’s Speech 953 954. A third of Tories would like to see a formal deal with UKIP 955, with some MPs indicating 956 957 their desire to stand on a joint conservative/UKIP platform . Conservative activists have begun to 958 959 desert the party for UKIP , and between ten and twenty960 tory MPs similarly have held talks with UKIP about defecting. Remember, just 34% of the electorate would be enough to propel UKIP into majority government961. We’re unlikely to see that, thankfully, but considering the fear of the Tories I would place a substantial bet on there being a UKIP/Tory coalition come 2015. What I am saying is – Nigel Farage may be a comical nothing of a man, but he may very well hold the future of Scotland in his hands. Deputy Prime Minister Farage? Not as far-fetched as you might think. And what would that mean for Scotland? Well, how about a roll -back of devolution 962? Abolishing the Scottish and Welsh assemblies is part of their manifesto 963 964 - at best we can hope for the status quo. Given what I have outline d above with regards to Devo Max and Farage’s humiliation in Scotland just how much of a concession do you think Scotland is going to get if a no vote is returned? We might not be looking at a full dismantling of the Scottish parliament, but a watering do wn seems almost inevitable 965. Even if that wasn’t true, if you think it’ s bad being run by the Tories, wait until you see what UKIP have in store. If you looked with horror upon the emergence of the BNP, you could at least be sure that they would never be taken seriously by the mainstream media. UKIP is a real danger to Scotland. Bear tha t in mind as you cast your vote.

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45. Independence is Inevitable

I believe that Independence is inevitable, a view which is shared by many. Tory peer and former Scotland’s Lord Advocate Lord Fraser says 966 967: All empirical evidence points to a b reak -up”, and he criticises the “little fresh thinking” among unionist politicians, warning that “the status quo points only to disaster”. Journalist Ian MacWhirter says 968: Whatever, in 2011 independence ceased to b e a hypothetical and b ecame an immediate and practical possib ility, widely discussed and deb ated. I now think it is almost inevitab le that Scotland will leave the United Kingdom as we understand it now – though it will almost certainly find itself b ack in some kind of confederal relationship with England. Sir Tom Farmer 969: “What we have got in Scotland at the moment with devolution is a half -way house and that is just not right. The question is how do we go forward from this?” he said. “None of us has a crystal b all, b ut there is a very, very high chance that we will end up with independence. If you really press me I think it is going to happen.” On Tam Dalyell, labour politician and activist (against devolution), according to the Scotsman
970

:

SCOTTISH independence is inevitab le after the SNP’s landslide victory this year, according to the veteran Lab our politician and campaigner Tam Dalyell. The former MP, who posed the West Lothian Question, said the result of Alex Salmond's triumph would b e a constitutional settlement that is "indistinguishable" from independence. This is despite other Lab our politicians b elieving they can save the Union b y persuading people to vote against independence when Mr Salmond calls his referendum in the second half of the parliament. Or Northern Ireland’s Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, of whom the Times said
971

:

In a dramatic intervention, Martin McGuinness, the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, claimed last night that Scotland has e mb arked on a path that “inevitab ly” leads to independence, whatever the outcome of its constitutional referendum. In an interview with The Times, Mr McGuinness said that “the end of the Union as we know it” was signalled b y the 1998 Good Friday agreement in Belfast. Note here that I haven’t included the many statements from the people you’d normally expect – Scottish SNP politicians. Of those there are plenty, but perhaps the most eloquent is from Alex Salmond himself when speaking on Billy Kay’s excelle nt BBC Radio series, the Cause 972: I think there’s a momentum that’s leading in a certain direction. I can’t claim to know what the timetab le is even now , b ut I’m pretty certain the destination is set. I too believe independence is inevitable. I also beli eve it will happen in my lifetime. The only question to me is if it happens this time around, or whether it’s the next time or even the time after that. It is important to me that Scotland votes yes in this referendum not just because of the opportunitie s we have, which are glorious – but also because of the consequences of a no vote. In the almost criminally undemocratic 1979 referendum 973 on Scottish devolution, Alec Douglas -Home offered ‘jam tomorrow’ in exchange for a no vote on the referendum. He offered ‘something better’ than the current arrangements, and Margaret Thatcher insisted that a ‘no’ vote would not kill the drive for home rule. That jam never arrived. Instead, a decade and a half of brutal Tory strip -mining of Scottish resources took hold974.

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The fact is that the drive for independence, once it reaches enough critical mass to be self -sustaining, almost always results in independence. Maybe not the first time, maybe not even the second or third – but eventually it succeeds. That is what historical precedent shows us. That is the situation we are in – we cannot change the destination, but we can choose at what time we arrive. Independence is inevitable – the question is, do you want it to happen on your terms when Scotland can easily afford it, or on their terms when Scotland is finally made into the economic basket-case they have always claimed it to be? Do you want it to happen when we can be a rich, prosperous and progressive nation, or when the situation has gotten so dire that staying in the Union is more folly than leaving it? I know I would prefer it happens on my terms, in my time, and in my favour.

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What Can I Do?
A man is a lion in his own cause. Scottish Proverb

I hope in reading this you’ve seen how bright the futur e looks for an independent Scotland. My fervent hope is that seeing a fully evidence supported case has made you realise that Independence is the only real option that will work for all of us. It’s the right thing to choose because we’ll do better for our selves when governed by politicians accountable to the Scottish people. You might now be asking what you can do to help secure a Yes vote. As Nicola Sturgeon says, don’t wake up on the day after the referendum wishing you’d done more. We’re getting one s hot at this, and we all need to do our best to make sure it counts. With that in mind, here are some suggestions for how you can help The Cause: Donate Every donation helps the cause, from funding literature and printing to helping groups put on events an d put up stalls. There are several excellent groups that you could consider making a small donation towards, depending on your political stripe. I’ll add more of these as time goes by. Yes Scotland Labour Voters for Independence Scottish National Party Wings Over Scotland https://yesscotland.nationbuilder.com/donations http://www.labourforindy.co.uk/donate http://www.snp.org/donate http://wingsoverscotland.com/donate/

But! If you’re short of money, and who isn’t in these times of austerity, don’t think that money is all you have to offer. Donating your time, your skills and your enthusiasm can be the greatest thing you can do – Yes Scotland is always looking for volunteers, and you can be part of a great campaign full of brilliant people. Find out more at http://www.yesscotland.net/volunteer. Out Yourself For a long time, independence has been the dirty word of Scottish politics. Even now, the Scottish Cringe burns deeply in people – we’ve grown up being told we’re too wee, too poor and too thick. We’ve been told that we alone, of all the nations in the world, are singularly incapable of looking after our own affairs. Do you know how you counter that? You stand up and tell people ‘I am going to vote for Scottish independence’. When th ey question you why, answer them – you’ve got a whole pile of references in this document. If they ask you a question to which you don’t know the answer then say so. Honesty is surprisingly persuasive. Don’t let the fear of not knowing the answer put yo u off having the discussion. The important thing here is not the specific question or the specific answer, it’s that you have trust in your fellow Scots to choose the best for Scotland. People will argue against you, and that’s good and healthy. If they tell you something, ask for evidence. If the evidence is genuinely credible, then incorporate it into your argument – there are things that are truly uncertain about independence, and we shouldn’t try to pretend that’s not the case. Concede the things you don’t know and we can’t know, but emphasise the many, many positive things that we do. And always, always emphasise the core of the argument –we can solve these problems ourselves. If people are talking about independence, join in. Don’t let the old lies and falsehoods go unquestioned. If someone tries to peddle one, ask them to support it – you’d be amazed how effectively an argument is demolished when people realise it has nothing supporting it. You can be an ambassador in your own social circles . If each of us who believe in independence can convince another person in the lead up to the referendum, then we’ve won in a landslide. Keep Informed The debate about Scotland’s future progresses quickly, although we’re moving into the phase now where the Unionist arguments are starting to repeat. We’ve weathered the heavy artillery of their smears and

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misinformation, and we’ve lost no ground in the process. Now, we need to be prepared – we need to know their arguments and we need to know how to counter them. The best way you can do that is by becoming an informed voter. Read some of the independence blogs. Join the Yes Scotland Facebook page, or the Yes to an Independent Scotland page (which is a little more organic and spontaneous). Feed into the discussion going on – let people know what you know. Each and every one of us can be a teacher here, helping those that matter in our lives to make the best decision for themselves and their country. Let’s live each day as if we’re living in the lead up to the birth of a better nation. Saor Alba!

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Conclusion
For we hae faith in Scotland's hidden pouers The present's theirs, b ut aw the past and future's oors Hugh MacDiarmid

There is a huge amount of information out there on the subject of Scottish independence. Much of it is misleading. Almost all of it is partisan. I make no claim here that this is in any way an objective or unbiased overview of the facts. You are never going to find one of them, the issue is too important for dispassion to be possible. All I want you to take away from this is that there is a very convincing counter argument to be made to every possible scare story you hear about Scottish independence. In the end, what will happen in the event of a ‘yes’ vote is that all of t hese counters will be lined up in front of the relevant players (with the international community making sure nobody is cheating) and counters will be traded off to maximise the benefit and minimise the disruption of becoming independent. We’ll trade off flexibility on Trident for the rest of the UK lending support in the EU. They’ll trade off shared embassies in exchange for export agreements on oil and electricity, and so on. Come a ‘yes’ vote, it is absolutely in the best interests of everyone involved for the situation to be resolved cleanly and with a minimum of acrimony on either side. Please though, don’t take anyone’s argument at face value on this. The media are lying to you, but there are plenty of places you can go for an alternate (which is n’t to say unbiased) take on the issues. If there are issues you’d like to see added to this discussion, then please email me at independence@imaginaryrealities.com – I am absolutely prepared to engage in constructive debate with people on these issues (although I can’t guarantee speedy responses), and I am especially happy to substantiate any claims I have made, address any concerns that people may have, and generally do my best to contribute to the positive case for Scottish Independence. It is absolutely your right to cast a ‘no’ vote if you don’t feel swayed by the arguments for independence. I respect that people can look at the evidence and come up with a different view on what it implies – it’s a complicated world, and it’s a complicated question made all the more complicated by the misinformation that has been put around for years. However, please don’t vote ‘no’ on the basis that it will mean more powers for Scotland, or that the promises of a better Union will be kept. We have no reason to believe them this time. Most of all, don’t vote no because you are afraid of the future – trust in the ability of your brother and sister Scots. When the result for the 1979 devolution on independen ce came down, the Glasgow Herald summed up the result like so 975:

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We have a truly amazing opportunity to take control of our nation for the better. Let’s not squander it this time. We will not be fooled again.

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Changelog
Version 0.2  Hugely updated, too many changes to list.

Version 0.3       New section on the planned UK wide referendum on EU membership. More references to support existing claims. Extra quotes in the section on Scotland’s place in the EU Opening section expanded to include section on British versus Civic nationalism. Expansion of information regarding Scotland’s oil. Formatting and wording changes.

Version 0.4        Addition of diagrams of the impact of nuclear attacks on Faslane. Breakdown of jobs for Faslane against costs of Trident Addition of quotes marking the death of Margaret Thatcher Formatting and wording changes Expansion of section on British nationalism. Short addition on the subject of ethnic nationalism and the spittle flecked crazies who equate supporters of independence with fascists. Inclusion of a changelog. This will probably be important.

Version 0.5          New section on Better Together’s dodgy funding, and the dodgy campaign they are running. New section on Barnett implications of Tory privatization New section on BBC misquoting of foreign dignitaries on the subject of the EU. Fixed the section on nuclear explosions – cited tool was using a larger bomb than the one discussed in the text. New section on what you can do to help secure a vote for independence. New references added on the topic of Scotland, oil and the coming oil boom. New section added on Scottish maritime borders and the recent Orkney/Shetland vote on independence. Various additions and fixes through the text. Lots more references.

Version 0.6         Addition of a small practical example on what it means to cushion volatility. A few more things on the EU More on Ian Taylor and Better Together Better Together electoral fraud added. Updated figures on oil projections. More on how unlikely further devolution is. Small section on Ian Smart Lots and lots and lots of new references.

Version 0.7     New section on the pound and a currency union. New section on mortgages and pensions New section on the rise of UKIP New section on the failure of solidarity

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  

More references everywhere through the text. Extracted the ‘independence is inevitable’ quotes from the links and placed them in text. Moved m y ‘better together banning’ into the Appendix.

Version 0.8         Added quote from Margaret Curran about foreigners. Added some more on how solidarity has failed and how independence can help. A few more comments on Scotland and the pound A few more comments on a debt free Scotland. A new graph on Scottish votes for Westminster A small section on how the cut to the attendance allowance by Westminster has robbed Scots of £270m over the past decade. New section on Yes Scotland and ‘divisions’. More references still.

Version 0.9      Added some more graphs and charts to the section on solidarity. Added a discussion on the rising reliance of food banks to the section on solidarity. A new quote on Better Together, More Secure Together, and Iraq. A few more notes on the consequences of a no vote. More supporting evidence everywhere.

Version 0.9.1  Corrected some of the figures in the table on majorities without Scotl and.

Version 1.0.0            Adjusted the preamble to show I’m back in Scotland Clarified what ‘evidence based’ actually means in the introduction Added a section on Devo nano Revised the currency union section Some more notes on EU ascension Added some stuff on Maria Miller More on solidarity Added a section on the EU rebate New section on clyde shipbuilding Around 270 new references Additions all through the text

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Appendix Me and Better Together

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References
These are included so that you can see exactly where each claim I make is substantiated. Insist upon corroboration as the minimum level of evidence in any discussion you have about independence. Make everyone, for or against, tell you exactly where their figures come from. If they can’t do that, then consider whether or not they actually have anything other than emotion and assumption to back up what they say.
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https://www.f acebook.com/photo.php?f bid=370586169726279&set=pb.258668480918049. -2207520000.1369 51958 5.&ty pe=3&theater http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/jan/10/scottish-independence-ref erendum-autumn-2014 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-21828424 4 http://wingsov erscotland.com/how-to-win-independence-with-one-picture/ 5 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf ree/2012/jan/12/dav id-cameron-scottish-referendum 6 http://www.daily record.co.uk/news/politics/labours -anas-sarwar-steps-up-1166978 7 http://www.f utureof scotland.org/category /devo-max/ 8 http://www.trustnet.com/News/Research.aspx?id=305117 9 http://blogs.daily record.co.uk/georgegalloway /2012/05/im -scunnered-by -bigots-of -the-brigadoon-brigade.html 10 http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/jmacmillan/100059628/alex -salmond-is-exploiting-scotlands-reserv oir-of -anti-englishness-dont-besurprised-if -it-ov erf lows/ 11 http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2012/01/salmond-scotland-snp-scottish 12 http://www.daily record.co.uk/news/politics-news/2012/05/20/snp-turn-on-the-star-power-f or-independence-campaign-launch-8690823866187/ 13 http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/uk/if-you-back-independence-y ou-re-an-extremist-nick-clegg-tells-scotland-1-2042520 14 http://www.thecourier.co.uk/Opinion/Readers-letters/article/23013/may -29-simply -reinforcing-stereotypical-view-we-hav e-of -paranoiddeluded-nationalists.html 15 http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/jun/darling-should-apologise-poison-remark 16 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/welsh-conserv ativ e-leader-tories-need-to-of f er-v oters-alternative-to-poison-of independence.1370621646 17 http://wingsov erscotland.com/pondscum-of-the-night/#more-27759 18 http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4917430/Top-lawman-in-P-race-storm.html 19 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/397606/Top-lawy er-in-race-row 20 http://ay ewecan.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/my -brother-ian-smart-is-not-racist.html 21 http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/7335-mcconnell-slammed-f or-def ending-racist-tweet-as-smart-refuses-toapologise 22 http://news.stv.tv/scotland/264302-paul-sinclair-apologises-f or-of fensive-cancer-remark-ontwitter/?utm_source=twitterf eed&utm_medium=twitter 23 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/463823/SCOTLAND -AT-WAR-Death-threats-shame-both-camps-as-f ight-f or-v otes-spirals-out-ofcontrol 24 http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2012/04/scottish-labour-party -snp 25 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberal_nationalism 26 http://www.opendemocracy .net/ourkingdom/robin-mcalpine/dear-england-please-listen-to-what-scots-are-actually -talking-about 27 http://notesfromnorthbritain.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/on-the-nature-of -scottish-nationalism/ 28 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man 29 http://www.unpo.org/article/4957 30 http://wingsov erscotland.com/civic-nationalism-vs-british-nationalism/ 31 http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/robertcolv ile/100173269/london-2012-the-british-are-f rothing-one-ey ed-nationalists-and-thats-agood-thing/ 32 http://speri.dept.shef.ac.uk/2013/02/14/intransigence-british-nationalism/ 33 http://news.sky.com/story/1023570/belf ast-protests-dup-mp-receiv es-death-threat 34 http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/culture/guystagg/100063800/are-the-jubilee-celebrations-just-an-excuse-f or-nationalist-tub-thumping/ 35 http://wingsov erscotland.com/just-checking/ 36 http://www.bnp.org.uk/news/regional/snp-real-nationalist-party 37 http://www.ukip.org/content/latest-news/2794-ukip-supports-better-together-in-scotland 38 http://www.britainf irst.org/britain-f irst/britain-first-activists-campaigning-in-scotland/ 39 http://news.stv.tv/north/301204-national-f ront-rally -poses-signif icant-safety-risk/ 40 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/orange-order-in-no-v ote-campaign.20885828 41 http://web.archiv e.org/web/20020126093957/http://sunday herald.cw.cims.co.uk/16837 42 http://www.y outube.com/watch?v =F7TTQiXQxWg 43 http://wingsov erscotland.com/raising-the-level-of-debate/ 44 http://www.daily record.co.uk/news/politics/scots-expats-will-not-get-to-v ote-in-independence-1114214 45 http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/gove-independence-would-make-granny -seem-f oreign-1-2959701 46 http://wingsov erscotland.com/foreigner-watch/#more-34963 47 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/scotland/article3687601.ece 48 http://united-europe-news.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/scottish-independence-tony -benn-uk.html 49 http://www.holy rood.com/2012/09/in-conv ersation-with-ed-miliband-2/ 50 http://www.y outube.com/watch?v =rHgZcWzqR5U 51 http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2013/06/21/johnny -f oreigners/ 52 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jock_Tamson's_Bairns 53 http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/survey-reveals-most-english-won-t-see-scots-as-f oreigners-1-2734721 54 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf ree/2012/feb/ 05/stewart-lee-salmond-scotland-independence 55 http://wingsov erscotland.com/why-labour-doesnt-need-scotland/ 56 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_Scotland#2010 – raw data. Graph is mine. 57 http://wingsov erscotland.com/how-to-win-independence-with-one-picture/ 58 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f /f7/2010UKElectionMap.sv g/325px -2010UKElectionMap.sv g.png 59 http://wingsov erscotland.com/better-together-leaked-posters-5/ 60 https://www.f acebook.com/photo.php?f bid=609482022396045&set=pb.410177615659821. 2207520000.1369501382.&ty pe=3&theater 61 https://www.f acebook.com/photo.php?f bid=587551194589128&set=pb.410177615659821. -2207520000.1364 29528 7&ty pe=3&theater 62 http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/v isitandlearn/25488.aspx 63 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-12849111 64 http://ref ormscotland.com/index.php/publications/details/1359

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http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=437&dat=19970315&id=gaZNAAAAIBAJ&sjid =s0MDAA AAIBAJ&pg =6603,58 97694 90 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1564242/Tebbit-Brown-is-the-natural-heir-to-Thatcher.html 91 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/think -of -me-as-maggie-say s-ed-miliband-8327313.html 92 http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2013/04/19/the-iron-ed-miliband-ready -to-be-britain-s-next-thatcher 93 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/9014958/Ed-Balls-We-cannot-rev erse-tax-rises-or-spending-cuts.html 94 http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/darling-to-talk-at-tory -conf erence.21228384 95 http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scots-tories-give-alistair-darling-standing-ov ation-12960255?utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=twitterf eed 96 http://blacktrianglecampaign.org/2013/05/18/labour-will-not-repeal-the-bedroom-tax-shadow-dwp- by rne-tells-geordies/ 97 http://www.daily mail.co.uk/news/article-2305760/Margaret-Thatcher-dead-George-Galloway -leads-chorus-celebration-l ef t.html 98 http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2013/04/thatcher-may-be-gone-remember-%E2%80%93-her-cruel-inf luence-liv eslabour-party 99 http://wingsov erscotland.com/the-wrong-lizards/ 100 http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jun/14/iain-banks-tory -thatcher-blair?CMP=twt_f d 101 http://www.scottishtimes.com/news_in_scotland_tuesday _6 102 http://www.labourf orindy .co.uk/ 103 https://www.f acebook.com/LiberalDemocratVotersForIndependence?f ref =ts 104 http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/mar/21/labour-abstention-workf are-bill-by rne 105 http://union-news.co.uk/2013/03/civ ili-servants-to-be-banned-f rom-taking-strike-action/ 106 http://www.presstv .ir/detail/2013/03/20/294564/deception/ 107 http://www.thecourier.co.uk/news/politics/msps -back-free-tuition-at-univ ersities-1.69985 108 http://www.huf f ingtonpost.co.uk/2012/03/27/ed-balls-f 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http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scotland-one-of -world-s-wealthiest-countries-1-3336587 120 http://www.businessf orscotland.co.uk/think-tank-scotlands-economy-stronger-than-prev iously -thought/ 121 http://www.daily mail.co.uk/news/article-2031543/UK-gov ernment-spending-Scots-1-600-y ear-spent-English.html 122 http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/political-row-brews-as-scottish-subsidy -soars-to-record-high-1-1113419 123 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/scotland/9008823/Scrap-f ormula-giv ing-Scots-extra-cash-say -Tory -MPs.html 124 http://www.daily mail.co.uk/news/article-2129426/Skintland-Fury -The-Economists-spoof -view-Scotlands-f uture-goes-independent.html 125 http://www.y outube.com/watch?v =sbUZkKD-jrY &feature=plcp 126 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_Continental_Shelf 127 http://www.scotland.gov .uk/Publications/2012/03/9525 128 http://weeredsquirrel.com/2012/03/07/gers-and-the-scottish-subsidy -myth/ 129 http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/11/scotland-12288-union-public 130 http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy /8933-embarrassment-for-labour-af ter-own-internal-report-admitsscotland-3rd-richest-part-of -uk-without-oil 131 http://www.scotland.gov .uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Economy /GERS 132 http://thenewsinlondon.co.uk/blog/2012/03/18/westminster-set-to-snub-shov el-ready -projects/ 133 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-22820570 134 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-19004742 135 http://ref ormscotland.com/public/publications/scotlandseconomicfuture.pdf 136 http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/861-world-renowned-economist-say s-scotland-subsidising-rest-of -uk 137 http://www.scottishdemocraticalliance.org/attachments/article/13/The_Great_Obf uscation_GERS_2006.pdf 138 http://www.scotland.gov .uk/News/Releases/2013/04/pensions10042013 139 http://www.heraldscotland.com/x/x/y 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http://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/Article.aspx/3549780 730 http://www.daily record.co.uk/news/scottish-news/coalition-gov ernment-announce-sev en-scots2022737?utm_source=twitterf eed&utm_medium=twitter 731 http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/uk/clydeside-loses-out-to-south-korea-to-build-bn-roy al-nav y-tankers-1-2138103 732 http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/politics/scottish-independence-spending-on-def ence-sells-scots-short-by -1-9bn-12748605#.UY 0py f y5dxQ.facebook 733 http://www.y esscotland.net/nicola_sturgeons_speech_in_f ull_may _13_2013 734 https://www.f acebook.com/photo.php?f bid=375275165861583&set=a.173033022752466.46234.17174425288 1343&ty pe=1&theater 735 http://b.3cdn.net/better/c1d14076ee08022eec_u9m6v d74f .pdf 736 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/hmrc-chief -to-be-quizzed-by -msps-on-new-tax-powers.1368005320 737 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/best-def ence.20781683 738 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http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/scottish-independence-blog/2013/apr/08/scottish-independence-campaign-f unding 758 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/f inance/newsby sector/energy/oilandgas/9569231/Vitol-f aces-questions-on-trade-with-Iran.html 759 http://www.euronews.com/2011/08/13/traf igura-and-v itol-sell-60000-tonnes-of -f uel-to-sy ria-despite-clinton-call-for/ 760 http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/news/ceo-denies-knowing-total-bought-illegal-oil-in-un-scandal/ 761 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/f inance/newsby sector/energy/oilandgas/9771537/Oil-trader-Vitol-in-talks-ov er-tax-av oidance-bill.html 762 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/jul/01/balkans.warcrimes2 763 http://www.swissinf o.ch/eng/archiv e/Swiss_firm_fined_over_oil-f or-food_kickbacks.html?cid=6268194 764 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/01/liby a-alan-duncan-links-oil-cell 765 http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/09/26/uk-iran-oil-sanctions-vitol-idUKBRE88P06920120926 766 http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmtreasy/355/355we27.htm 767 http://www.bettertogether.net/blog/entry /smear-and-f ear 768 http://reidf oundation.org/2013/04/the-dif ference-between-disclosure-and-transparency / 769 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-22214421 770 http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/scottish-independence-blog/2013/apr/19/v itol-bettertogether-labour-scotland 771 http://www.daily mail.co.uk/news/article-1189798/Fingers-till-Darling-say s-Vince-Cable.html 772 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article3738542.ece#commentsStart 773 http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-politics/7181-the-smear-and-f ear-of -better-together 774 http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4677296/Fury -over-SNP-web-kill-threat.html 775 https://twitter.com/WeakerApart/status/318841601680093184/photo/1 776 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/317056/Labour-web-row-I-wish-Salmond-s-f ather-would-die 777 http://www.holy rood.com/2011/11/snp-must-engage-in-ref erendum-debate-say s-curran/ 778 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/uk/scotland/article3897855.ece 779 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-15451876 780 http://tommyballgov an.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/violent-links-of-no-campaign.html 781 http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/columnists/joking-aside-there-are-bigots-in-both-camps.20986728 782 https://storify.com/dhothersall/unpleasant-allies?utm_medium=sf y.co-twitter&utm_campaign=&utm_content=storif ypingback&awesm=sf y .co_eIb0&utm_source=t.co 783 http://ray mcrobbie.com/2012/10/15/alex-salmond-f an-club/ 784 http://wingsov erscotland.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/oilpressure.jpg 785 http://www.snp.org/media-centre/news/2013/apr/correction-quote-john-mann-mp-herald 786 http://charnwood-libdems.org.uk/en/article/2012/582675/john-mann-mp-worksop-gets-it-wrong-again1 787 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/f inance/newsby sector/energy/oilandgas/9569231/Vitol-f aces-questions-on-trade-with-Iran.html 788 http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday /politics/mcleish-questions-oil-dealer-s-500k-unionists-gif t-12894389#.UWn2_uQbu3E.f acebook 789 http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/ref erendum-news/warning-donation-could-alienate-support.20812040 790 http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/paddy -ashdown-condemns-better-together-cash-f rom-ty coon.1367309464 791 http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/ref erendum-news/ian-tay lors-donation-to-pro-union-campaign-under-spotlight-again.20974235 792 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/01/liby a-alan-duncan-links-oil-cell 793 http://www.lef tf ootforward.org/2013/04/dav id-camerons-dodgy -money / 794 http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/political-news/scots-want-no-camp-to-hand-back-donation-f rom-oil-chief .21001593 795 http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/news/4954280/Rev enge-warning-ov er-indy -No-v ote.html 796 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http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/06/tax -changes-f amilies-ed-balls 832 http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-economy/7008-tax-rises-and-more-cuts-if-scotland-v otes-no-in-2014 833 http://wingsov erscotland.com/the-no-f uture/ 834 http://www.snp.org/sites/def ault/files/news/file/Tory %20secret%20cuts%20to%20Scottish%20spending.pdf 835 http://www.snp.org/sites/def ault/files/news/file/Tory %20secret%20cuts%20to%20Scottish%20spending.pdf 836 http://www.snp.org/sites/def ault/files/news/file/Tory %20secret%20cuts%20to%20Scottish%20spending.pdf 837 http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-16/leaked-mcternan-emails-media-adv isor-twitter-army -attack-coa/5158680 838 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9261125/Johann-Lamont-Free-univ ersity -education-in-Scotland-is-holding-backy oungsters.html 839 http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/may /31/tuition-f ees-obstacle-students-ucas 840 http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/politics/opinion/council-chief 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e-Labour-seat-employ er-anti-unioncandidate-told-Withdraw-lose-contracts.html?ito=f eeds-newsxml 849 http://blogs.channel4.com/michael-crick-on-politics/battle-of -falkirk-gets-murkier-for-labour/2656 850 http://www.theguardian.com/commentisf ree/2013/jul/04/f alkirk-labour-unite-challenge-miliband?CMP=twt_gu 851 http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2012/03/31/the-bain-principle/ 852 http://www.scottishtimes.com/news_scotland_budget 853 http://orderorder.f iles.wordpress.com/2012/03/labouremailleak.pdf 854 http://www.scotsman.com/the-scotsman/politics/scottish-labour-johann-lamont-rejects-dev o-max-option-1-2149370 855 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf ree/2012/jan/12/dav id-cameron-scottish-referendum 856 http://news.stv.tv/politics/107240-surv ey-finds-support-for-more-dev olution-of -powers-to-holy rood/ 857 http://snpcnd.org/index.php?subaction=showf ull&id=1323945927&archiv e=&start_f rom=&ucat=& 858 http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-politics/4720-labour-ref usal-to-accept-v ote-on-union-terrace-gardens-qan-insult-todemocracy q 859 http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/25/alistair-darling-cut-deeper-margaret-thatcher 860 http://www.counterf ire.org/index.php/articles/opinion/15427-ed-balls-labour-will-keep-all-these-cuts 861 http://labour-uncut.co.uk/2012/02/21/labour-must-go-f urther-faster-on-welf are-ref orm/ 862 http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2011/sep/24/labour-tuition-f ees-cut-miliband 863 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf ree/video/2010/sep/30/labour-conf erence-middle-england 864 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barnett_f ormula 865 http://wingsov erscotland.com/why-only-independence-can-sav e-our-nhs/ 866 http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/f ree-nhs-treatment-could-axed-1834641 867 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10024169/Health-and-schools-cash-f or-def ence.html 868 http://www.opendemocracy .net/ournhs/andrew-robertson/this-cant-go-on-cameron-hires-priv ate-health-lobby ist-into-heart-of gov ernme 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