Referendum 2014
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Referendum 2014
The Scottish independence referendum and the debate about Scotland's constitutional future
Curated by Peter A Bell
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Scottish African immigrants hopes for independence

Scottish African immigrants hopes for independence | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
THERE is an old Nigerian proverb that says the journey to manhood begins only when a man leaves his father’s house to build his own homestead.
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Balls up for the No campaign | Yes Scotland

Balls up for the No campaign | Yes Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has been in Scotland again – recycling tired scare stories in an attempt to persuade Scots to vote No.

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Ed Miliband warns of independence border posts

Ed Miliband warns of independence border posts | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
A FUTURE Labour government would consider building border posts between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK, Ed Miliband has warned.
Peter A Bell's insight:

With all the focus groups, policy advisers and spin doctors that the British parties have at their disposal it is remarkable how little thought goes into the utterances of their leaders and spokespersons. Here we have the the leader of the British Labour Party and the man who aspires to be Prime Minister parroting the lines that have been fed to him evidently totally unaware that he is talking complete nonsense.

In their desperation to contrive another anti-independence scare story, nobody has thought this through. Nobody has asked the obvious questions prompted by the notion of border controls between Scotland and England. Nobody has asked the fundamental questions about what purpose these border posts might serve. Nobody has asked whose movements they would be intended to control. Neither Miliband nor any of his staff appear to have given the matter any thought at all.

It hasn't occurred to any of them that virtually everybody who might be crossing the border will be people who have an unchallengeable legal right to do so. They will be citizens of countries in the Common Travel Area and/or EU citizens who are fully entitled to travel to and live and work in any member state.

Or they may be tourists from outside the EU who will, of necessity, have all the required documentation authorising their travels to whatever destination - otherwise they would not gain entry to Scotland.

Who exactly are these border guards supposed to stop? The only category of persons who might have no legal right to cross the border are non-EU citizens granted permission to live and work in Scotland through the points-based immigrations system. By definition, they would have jobs, homes and perhaps family in Scotland. They would be part of the community. why the hell would they want to go to England where they would be illegal immigrants, totally unwelcome and unable to work in their chosen field?

None of it makes any sense. But that doesn't seem to matter to Ed Miliband or his minions.

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Do Unionists hate the English?

Do Unionists hate the English? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
It’s becoming ever harder to keep track of the twists and turns of the No campaign on the thorny subject of immigration. First we have astroturfing groups urging us from London to “Vote no borders”...
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5 Millions Questions - Ceud Mìle Fàilte

5 Millions Questions - Ceud Mìle Fàilte | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
In light of the recent celebrations of xenophobia this response (at beginning of the interview) and the Herald article below are inspiring and brave. It's important while mainstream Westminster par...
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Journalism for the Union: a crash course

Journalism for the Union: a crash course | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Here's an important statistic: almost 40% of people who look at an online article don't get beyond the headline and strapline. More and more readers fall away the further down the article you get -...
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Not scared yet?

Not scared yet? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Recently we've been documenting a bizarre attempt by the No camp to terrify Scots with the thought that in order to continue to pay for pensions and public services and whatnot, an independent Scot...
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Too gutless to even lie

Too gutless to even lie | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
While we admit that it probably doesn't look like it (because we focus on the failures), this site's default position with the media is to assume good faith. With the exception of newspapers that h...
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People like us

Another UKIP voter. This one's a bit more interesting. Because the thing about UKIP is that - by their own admission - they don't actually have any policies about anything other than cracking down ...
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Why Scotland can't afford a No

Why Scotland can't afford a No | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
We can do this in one picture, folks. Remember barely a fortnight ago, when the Tories were wailing about how there wasn't enough immigration into Scotland to sustain its economy in the coming deca...
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Scottish independence: plans to loosen immigration controls 'need debate'

Scottish independence: plans to loosen immigration controls 'need debate' | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Yvette Cooper questions Alex Salmond's proposal to pursue a more liberal policy to offset a predicted pensions deficit because of Scotland's ageing population
Peter A Bell's insight:

If Yvette Cooper genuinely wants an "open, honest debate" then she could start by being honest herself. She talks about a million immigrants because this is a big, scary number. But it is a million over almost 40 years. which works out at only a little more than the current rate.

The hope of her Tory bosses at Better Together is that nobody will work this out. And, of course, they can be sure that nobody in the media will ever question any Project Fear propaganda. Nobody in the mainstream media will point out that Cooper, along with Gregg McClymont who was peddling the same drivel earlier this week, has actually confirmed that Scotland can afford its pension system with immigration levels at, or only slightly above, those which we are easily coping with at present.

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The bulldog whistle

The bulldog whistle | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Earlier this week we mentioned a nasty bit of politics from Scottish Labour MSP Gregg McClymont warning that Scotland would need "a million immigrants" to be able to fund old-age pensions in the fu...
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Positive migration can generate £65.3 billion bonus for Scotland

Positive migration can generate £65.3 billion bonus for Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Independent evidence from a range of economic sources confirms that a Scottish migration system can improve Scotland's fiscal balance by over £65 billion. This is because migration - and the demographics that it affects - is a crucial factor in economic growth and increasing tax take. This means
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Sometimes you miss the obvious

Sometimes you miss the obvious | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Readers have had a small handful of replies in response to our "Infrequently Asked Questions" post of last week. (Have you written to your MP/MSP yet? WHY NOT?) They've mostly been pretty rubbish, ...

Peter A Bell's insight:

add your insight...

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Balls up for the No campaign | Yes Scotland

Balls up for the No campaign | Yes Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
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Ed Balls: Border controls in Scotland ‘inevitable’

Ed Balls: Border controls in Scotland ‘inevitable’ | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
THE Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has said he believes border controls are “inevitable” if Scotland goes independent.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Once again, I am moved to remark on the eagerness with which people of presumably normal intelligence will make complete idiots of themselves in their efforts to deny the sovereignty of the people of Scotland. Ed balls is no exception.

Of course, it may be that Eejit Ed is as deluded as some of those commenting here. It may be that, like these other eejits, Eejit Ed has actually convinced himself that independent Scotland will have no immigration controls at all. This is what comes of abandoning your intellect to superstition and believing all your ow demonising propaganda. Like eejits do.

The reality, of course, is that under the current government's plans Scotland would have an efficient points-based system formulated to suit our needs and flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances. The people who would legally immigrate to Scotland under this system would be almost entirely those who could freely live and work in the rest of the UK anyway.

The only exception might be those from outside the EU who come to Scotland under the points-based system. What Eejit Ed and his fellow eejits fail to explain is why they imagine people who enter Scotland in this way; people who have jobs and homes here; people who have been made welcome and are part of the community, would want to sneak across the border to a country where they would be illegal and unwelcome.

Eejit Balls is talking about setting up border posts to restrict the movement of people whose movement cannot legally be restricted. And to prevent the movement of people who have neither reason nor desire to move. If you are seriously lazy, being one of Eejit Bals's border guards would be the ideal job. You would have absolutely nothing to do.

It simply makes no sense. But then, we wouldn't really expect eejits to make sense.

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The inadequate tide

The inadequate tide | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
This is a story in today's Scottish Daily Express: Now that's what we call some rapid inflation. When it's your job to scrutinise the entire Scottish media, sometimes you can become a bit numb to t...
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Salmond: Opposition parties use immigration as weapon

Salmond: Opposition parties use immigration as weapon | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
ALEX Salmond has accused his opponents of stoking up fears about immigration to attack the case for Scottish independence.
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Salmond sets immigration target of 24,000 per year

Salmond sets immigration target of 24,000 per year | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
AN INDEPENDENT Scotland would need to attract an extra 24,000 people per year to meet the Scottish Government's economic targets, Alex Salmond has confirmed.
Peter A Bell's insight:

I always look for the daft quote from some unionist buffoon when I read articles such as this. On this occasion, Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone obliges with some inanity about border controls between Scotland and England. He fails to explain why anybody would come to Scotland if they actually wanted to go to England.

Perhaps this is because, as soon as the word "immigration" is mentioned, a British nationalist such as Alex Johnstone naturally tends to think of unwelcome incomers - or illegal immigrants. But that is not what Alex Salmond is talking about. He is talking about people coming to Scotland legitimately. That means he is talking, basically, about two kinds of people. He is talking about other EU citizens - who can travel to England perfectly legally anyway and so would have no need to come through Scotland. So what would be the point of these border controls that Johnstone obsesses about?

Of course, if rUK quits the EU that would be a different matter. But it would be different because of a decision made by rUK and not because of Scotland choosing to restore its rightful constitutional status.

It's actually difficult to see how, after quitting the EU, rUK could expect to enjoy access to the single market without accepting fundamental principles such as the free movement of goods and people. But that is another matter.

The other category Alex Salmond is talking about is legal immigration from outside the EU. That is to say, people coming to live in Scotland because they want to live here and have a job to go to. These people could not legally move to rUK unless and until they became Scottish/EU citizens. Which would take some time and a decision on the part of the individual concerned.

What Johnstone fails to explain is why someone who has chosen to come to Scotland; who is welcomed Scotland; who has a legitimate status in Scotland; who has a job and a home and roots in the community in Scotland; might suddenly decide that they prefer to cross the border to a country where they have none of these things.

Like so much of what unionists say, it simply makes no sense.

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Treasury to offer positive spin on sticking with UK

Treasury to offer positive spin on sticking with UK | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
THE financial benefit to Scots of remaining part of the UK is set to run into several thousand pounds per household over the next 20 years, the Treasury is expected to say next week when it unveils its most comprehensive fiscal analysis yet on Scottish independence.
Peter A Bell's insight:

The only question is how long it will take before the contents of this latest taxpayer-funded propaganda exercise are totally debunked. My money would be on it taking no more than a couple of hours. Of course, the mainstream media will play little or no part in this debunking. Instead, people will have to turn to online media for the kind of critical analysis that the British media consider no part of their remit when it comes to Scotland's referendum campaign.

If the past conduct of the unionist media is any guide, then we can safely assume that they will not challenge any of the claims made by the British establishment. They will not, for example, question the figure of 7,000 net annual immigration assumed by the British Treasury. This despite the fact that figures from the General Register Office for Scotland show average net annual immigration to be more than three times that number. Will anyone in the British media demand that the British Treasury explain and justify their use of a figure that appears to have been plucked out of this air simply to suit their purpose to deceive the people of Scotland?

I doubt it!

Will anyone in the British media work out that the only possible way of arriving at the figure of 7,000 is to assume that the UK government somehow manages to achieve its targets for reducing immigration?

I doubt it!

Will anyone in the British media point out that achieving that target is completely impossible so long as the UK remains a member of the EU?

I doubt it!

Will anyone in the British media tell the people of Scotland that achieving that reduction in immigration would, by the UK government's own admission, be seriously damaging to Scotland?

I doubt it!

Will anyone in the British media see fit to remind people that, less than a year ago Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown said in response to report that Scotland needs immigration at around 24,000 per annum, “A country like ours needs people, particularly young people, to come in to work and increase the tax base. That is absolutely essential for the economy."?

I doubt it!

Will anybody in the British media even comment on the fact that this latest propaganda effort on behalf of the British state uses the puerile tactic of adding up figures for an arbitrarily chosen number of years in order to come up with a "scary" total for the press to use in their headlines?

Of course they won't!

The people of Scotland are being lied to on a daily basis. And the British press is failing abysmally to hold the liars to account.

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Independent Scotland ‘will need ½m migrants’

Independent Scotland ‘will need ½m migrants’ | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
AN INDEPENDENT Scotland would face a surge in immigration, with the equivalent of Edinburgh’s population added to the country, the UK government will warn in analysis on the consequences of a Yes vote.
Peter A Bell's insight:

This is yet another example of the anti-independence campaign recycling old and horribly contrived scare stories.* Only a month ago we had British Labour's Gregg McClymont and Yvette Cooper banging on about the same thing. The only change is that the latest version has toned down the rhetoric a little. Whereas the headlines over the McClymont-Cooper effort blared ONE MILLION IMMIGRANTS, this latest rehash settles for the marginally less sensationalist figure of half a million. But the story is essentially the same misleading drivel that relies on people reading no further than the alarmist headline..

We should first of all ask ourselves why this headline should be alarmist. Or, to be more precise, why those who concocted the headline assumed that it would induce alarm. Does it not say something about their attitudes that they suppose the mere mention of large numbers of immigrants will provoke outrage? Does it not speak of the contempt in which these British politicians hold the people of Scotland that they think they can so easily play on our emotions and induce a knee-jerk reaction?

Is it not grossly insulting to all of us that they consider us incapable of looking beyond the headlines and seeing through the attempt to mislead us?

They are wrong, of course. Many of us are able to see through the disinformation, deceit and dishonesty. And increasing numbers of people are looking to online media for the kind of critical analysis that the mainstream media so abysmally fails to provide.

Those who did so the first time this particular story was being peddled will already know that, allowing for a reasonable margin of error and the propagandists' tendency to expedient  exaggeration, the figure for average annual net immigration of 24,000 is no different to what is happening now and being managed without any significant problems.

The average net immigration over the decade up to 2012 was 22300. At most, we're looking at an increase of a few hundred. Hardly the "surge" referred to.

Another facet of the dishonesty here lies in the fact that, while this level of immigration is now portrayed, however ridiculously, as a terrifying prospect, less than a year ago British Labour's Tory allies were hailing it as a wonderful thing. In August 2013, commenting on a report that economists believed Scotland's population needed to grow by 24,000 people a year, Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown said,

“A country like ours needs people, particularly young people, to come in to work and increase the tax base. That is absolutely essential for the economy."

These people need to stop taking us for fools. More importantly, they need to stop lying to the people of Scotland. Should they secure a No vote on the basis of such dishonesty as we see here, they surely will face the wrath of those they have deceived.

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Renata Hill's comment, May 24, 4:12 PM
Do you see illegal immigrants as a nationalist, free-Scottish problem? Conservatives in the US are very afraid of the poor who cross our southern border looking for a better life for themselves and their families.
Peter A Bell's comment, May 25, 6:43 AM
Illegal immigrants are a problem by definition. Anything that is contrary to the law is a problem. But it will be no more of a problem after independence than it is now. And there is considerable dissatisfaction in Scotland with the way the UK Border Agency operates. Independence offers an opportunity to do it ourselves, and do it better.
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Celebrating Eorpa

Celebrating Eorpa | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

By Toni Giugliano, Italian-born Scot (candidate for the European elections)


The hype over Romanian and Bulgarian migrants marked one of the most depressing aspects of Westminster politics, not beca...

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A slight change of position

We read yesterday how Labour and the Tories have both, in rather different ways, been expressing their concern about the demographic timebomb that will affect Scotland unless it can attract a major...
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Yvette Cooper says an independent Scotland would need immigration rise of a million

Yvette Cooper says an independent Scotland would need immigration rise of a million | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The Shadow Home Secretary has called on Alex Salmond to
Peter A Bell's insight:

This is shamefully dishonest stuff*. But Yvette Cooper's Tory bosses at Better Together are obviously quite proud of their lies. This is the second time this week the same pernicious claptrap has been given an outing.


I doubt if Cooper understands what she's saying any more than Gregg McClymont did when it was his turn to feed this malicious nonsense to The Herald. They won't have checked the figures. They are just dumb tools in the hands of their Tory paymasters. All they do is read out whatever script is handed to them.


These British Labour politicians and their Tory allies assume nobody else will scrutinise their claims. In the case of the mainstream media, they have every reason to be confident. Both The Herald and now The Record have published their lies and distortions without question.


Had they been inclined to do some real journalism they could easily have discovered that what Project Fear has done is to add up all the normal annual immigration figures until they get a nice big scary number. They know full well that The Record isn't going to do a simple bit of arithmetic and work out that this "one million" actually represents something like 24,000 per year. Which is pretty much what immigration has been averaging over the past 20 years or thereabouts.


A little bit of journalistic research would also have discovered that 24,000 per annum net immigration is the very figure that economists reckon Scotland requires.


This is classic propaganda disinformation. Take the truth i.e. actual immigration figures, and twist it to look like some terrifying prospect that looms if we dare to vote Yes.


Let's be clear about this. The "one million" immigrants referred to by Cooper is no more than will be coming to Scotland regardless of how we vote. At least, we better hope it is. Because if UK Government policies succeed in deterring immigration at this level, then Scotland has a serious problem.


If we vote Yes then we can implement the immigration policies that suit our needs. And we can do so safe in the knowledge that immigration need only proceed at current perfectly manageable levels for us to cope with our pension liabilities. How can anti-independence campaigners question this now that it has been confirmed by two British Labour MPs?

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UK immigration policy puts off students warns university chief

OVERSEAS students are being put off studying in Scotland because Westminster's immigration policy warns them
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