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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Shipbuilding expert: Scotland can thrive without Westminster military orders

Shipbuilding expert: Scotland can thrive without Westminster military orders | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
A LEADING expert has backed the idea that Scotland's shipbuilding industry would be better served by constructing small defence vessels and ferries rather than relying on Westminster for military orders.

Peter A Bell's insight:

As I have noted before, it is always worth reading articles such as this just for the now traditional idiotic quote from one of Blair McDougall's minions over at Trepidation Towers (Better Together HQ). The numpty in this instance is a real prize. He bangs on about a Yes vote putting at risk something which has already happened. Assembly of HMS Queen Elizabeth is done. Unless "Better Together Numpty of the Day" has the means to turn back time, it is work which cannot possibly be lost. Duh!

Characteristically, too, Better Together totally ignores the fact that Stuart Ballantyne has nothing whatever to do with the "Yes camp". He is an independent expert stating his opinion that it is reliance of defence orders from the British state that represents the greatest threat to shipbuilding in Scotland. After all, how many more giant floating white elephants are likely to be needed?

I note also that Better Together's duty numpty presumes to appoint himself spokesperson, not just for the anti-independence campaign, but for the shipyard owners, trade unions and all those employed in shipbuilding. That's a lot of presumption for one wee numpty.

Stuart Ballantyne is, of course, perfectly correct. The future of Scottish shipbuilding lies in the kind of diversification and specialisation that fully utilises the facilities and skills that we have. It is over-reliance on MoD contracts which creates instability and insecurity. It is the outmoded political union which is the impediment to developing a thriving ship-building industry in Scotland.

What is clear is that the arguments we are getting from British nationalists have absolutely nothing whatever to do with any rational assessment of what offers the best future for the Clyde shipyards. The fate of those employed in the shipbuilding industry is not even a consideration. British nationalists' arguments are entirely informed by the overarching ideological imperative to preserve the British state at any cost.

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Voting No will give you cancer

Voting No will give you cancer | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Voting No WON'T give you cancer at all, of course. (Although with the English NHS now privatising cancer care, with the likely knock-on effects on Scottish NHS funding, you'd better hope even harde...
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Scottish independence: Shipyard unions want talks

Scottish independence: Shipyard unions want talks | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SHIPBUILDING workers are demanding face-to-face talks with Alex Salmond on the future of the industry amid concerns that thousands of jobs could go after a referendum Yes vote.
Peter A Bell's insight:

We expect no better from the likes of Johann Lamont and Maggie Curran than inane scare-mongering. They are, after all, committed servants of the ruling elites of the British state totally dedicated to British Labour's despicable alliance with the Tories.

What is more shocking is to find people have the temerity to call themselves trade unionists lending enthusiastic support to the British nationalist effort to deceive and intimidate the people of Scotland.

There is the stench of betrayal about all of this.

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The Secretary of State for Portsmouth

The Secretary of State for Portsmouth | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
We haven't written anything about the Guardian's explosive story on currency union this weekend, largely because we have nothing much to add to it. The original piece seems to cover everything pret...
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Alf Baird: independence can save Scots shipbuilding

Alf Baird: independence can save Scots shipbuilding | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
PICTURE the scene. It’s the year 2000 and I’m visiting a shipyard in Cebu, the Philippines. The yard is run by a Leither and a Glaswegian. The Leither is a Hibs fan, but we won’t hold that against him, me being a Jambo.
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SNP boosted by BAE independence vow

SNP boosted by BAE independence vow | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SNP leaders have ­welcomed assurances from BAE Systems that it has no contingency plans to move its ­warship business from the Clyde if Scots vote yes to independence.
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Clyde shipbuilding crisis leads to angry exchanges at Holyrood

Scottish unionists have been branded
Peter A Bell's insight:

Gil Paterson was wrong. It is not only Johann Lamont who is "a disgrace to Scotland", it is the entire opposition - with lamentably rare exceptions.


The British parties at Holyrood appear to be bent on bringing the Scottish Parliament into disrepute as part of their project to undermine confidence in Scotland's democratic institutions. Which only proves that there are no depths to which British nationalists will not stoop in their desperation to preserve the structures of power and privilege which define the British state.

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Deputy First Minister of Scotland challenged over shipbuilding lies

Scotland's Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, was criticised by trade union members and the defence industry for suggesting that Britain's new warships, Type 26 frigates, would be built in Sco...
Peter A Bell's insight:

There is certainly dishonesty in this affair. But it is not coming from Nicola Sturgeon. All she has said is that the T-26 contracts COULD come to the Clyde even after a Yes vote in Scotland's independence referendum next year. And that is a simple matter of fact. There is no practical or economic impediment to the contracts being awarded to yards in an independent Scotland. There is no "policy" that prevents this. There is only established practice - with a whole raft of exceptions.

The claim is made in the article that UK government ministers "have already insisted that this work would go elsewhere if people in Scotland vote yes to independence". But not one UK government minister is identified as having done so. The article goes on to quote John Reid, who is a FORMER defence minister. For all Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael's, waffling he at no time explicitly states that the orders will not come to the Clyde in the event of a Yes vote. And the UK Defence Secretary is quoted only as saying that the Clyde yards are the preferred option.

Anybody coming to this affair without prejudice would at least be wondering why the official position so assiduously avoids the explicit threats issued by buffoons such as Ian Davidson. Who also is NOT a UK government minister.

And anybody coming to the story without prejudice would also have found it proper to mention the fact that John Dolan is not just a trade union official, he is an active member of the British nationalist Better Together campaign and contributor to the Project Fear propaganda exercise.

The greatest dishonesty, however, is the pretence that voting No will somehow safeguard Scotland's shipbuilding industry. Remaining in the UK has not been very effective in that regard up to now. And there is less than no reason to believe it will be any more effective in the future. As the author of this article has been at pains to point out, Mr Dolan is absolutely confident that the ships could be built elsewhere. He offers no information on costs, of course. Neither does he speak for the people who would make this decision, BAE. But if he is correct then the order could just as easily be taken from the Clyde yards in the event of a NO vote as in the event of a Yes vote.

We are left to wonder why we should trust to the goodwill of people who think nothing of resorting to lies, distortion, disinformation, scaremongering, threats, bullying and blackmail in order to achieve their political ends.

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Hammond organ stays silent

I may be getting past it but, look as I might, I can’t find anywhere the definitive statement from Philip Hammond that London will not build warships in an independent Scotland. I know he has impli...
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Just who is using the shipyard workers as political footballs?

Just who is using the shipyard workers as political footballs? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

This week BAE Systems confirmed that 835 Scottish workers were surplus to requirements at the company's yards on the Clyde.


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Independence is not about burning Scotland's boats

Independence is not about burning Scotland's boats | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Kevin McKenna: Unionist factions are engaged in a race to the bottom of the barrel for fresh ways to scare Scotland off independence
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The words of weasels

The words of weasels | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
It's always nice when the Scottish media takes the time to illustrate one of our points for us. Earlier this week we attempted to distil this site's core work of the last two years into two simple ...
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Alf Young: Shutting up shop and shipping out

Alf Young: Shutting up shop and shipping out | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
References to a vibrant Scandinavian ship building industry do not really stand up to any close scrutiny, writes Alf Young
Peter A Bell's insight:

Alf Young doesn't seem to grasp the difference between an illustrative example and a model to be emulated in every detail. The point is not that Scotland's shipbuilding industry might be exactly like that of Norway. The point is no more than that Norway provides evidence that a nation no bigger than Scotland can sustain shipbuilding capacity.


The long and rather tedious catalogue of company failures, mergers and takeovers presumably had some purpose. But if that purpose was to cast doubt on the viability of Scotland's shipbuilding sector then it failed miserably in its aim. What the moderately astute reader will note is that, despite all this corporate turmoil, ships continue to be built in Norway.


To that extent, Norway provides a perfectly adequate guide to what the future might hold for independent Scotland.

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Second aircraft carrier to remain at Rosyth | Scottish National Party

Second aircraft carrier to remain at Rosyth | Scottish National Party | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Scottish National Party defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP has welcomed acknowledgement from defence secretary Philip Hammond that the second aircraft carrier will continue to be built at Rosyth following a Yes vote in September.

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No campaign urged to drop discredited shipbuilding scare

No campaign urged to drop discredited shipbuilding scare | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The anti-independence campaign has today been urged to bring to an end its widely discredited claims that a Yes vote will end Scottish shipbuilding.

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Salmond: Scotland would still build Navy ships after Yes vote

Salmond: Scotland would still build Navy ships after Yes vote | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
ALEX Salmond has given a clear guarantee that the Royal Navy would continue to build warships in an independent Scotland.
Peter A Bell's insight:

John Lamont for the Tories dutifully reading out one of the pre-packaged lines fed to him by Project Fear. But it is immediately obvious to the impartial observer that he hasn't even heard what Salmond said. The assurance that the MoD would continue to order ships from Scottish yards is not, as Lamont so foolishly maintains, mere bluster. Although it is certainly an assertion, it is not an unsupported. one.

Alex Salmond can be confident of his assurances on defence contracts for the same reason he can be confident that the currency union will be retained after Scotland restores its rightful constitutional status. He can be confident because he has thought the issues through calmly and rationally. The Scottish Government has approached such matters asking what is most likely to be the outcome. The British state and all its apparatus approaches these matters asking what is the scariest outcome which best serves our propaganda purposes regardless of all other considerations.

It is foolish to talk in terms of guarantees without the caveat that this is politics and the term has to be appreciated in that context. But certain things are more guaranteed than others. That the Clyde shipyards will still exist after independence is pretty solidly guaranteed. It's not credible that they will simply disappear. Much the same can be said of the workforce and the skills that they possess. These are not going to change with independence.

The Royal Navy's need for ships and, therefore, the MoD's need for the facilities and capacities of the Clyde yards is also something we can be pretty confident about. Likewise, the economic strategic and legal issues surrounding procurement are well-known and not too ambiguous.

Taking all of this into account, and considering the matter rationally, it is surely Hammond's threats which begin to look like bluster, while Salmond's position seems entirely reasonable.

If Hammond had the confidence of a well-thought position then he would not feel the need to be so vague. Had he considered all the implications and concluded that he was on solid ground, he could have been much more explicit in his threats. He could have stated categorically that the MoD would withdraw all work from "foreign" yards in Scotland if the people of Scotland dared to vote Yes.

But he's not saying that, is he? He will go no further than he needs to in order to create uncertainty. His task is but to sow the seed. To provide the cue for others to pick up on and inflate into a fully-fledged scare-story.

Hammond knows full well that the rUK government will continue to order warships from Scottish yards, just as George Osborne is perfectly aware that rUK will want to maintain currency union with an independent Scotland. The entire anti-independence campaign is built on lies and deceit.

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Scottish independence: Dockyards to carry on building warships even if there is a Yes vote

Scottish independence: Dockyards to carry on building warships even if there is a Yes vote | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The biggest ever warships built to protect British interests will be completed in Scotland even if there is a Yes vote for independence, in another blow to the “Better together” campaign.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Another of Project Fear's scare stories crumbles to dust. The threat to the Clyde yards from the UK Government and British parties was founded on the supposedly unbreakable principle that the MoD would not allow work on "complex warships" to be undertaken by "foreign" yards. The fact that these carriers will be completed in Scotland after our independence is restored renders this "principle" meaningless and makes a nonsense of the threat.

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Revealed: the £200m plan for a frigate factory on the Clyde

Revealed: the £200m plan for  a frigate factory on the Clyde | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
BAE Systems has unveiled detailed plans for a £200 million
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Faster than we can write

Faster than we can write | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
So, last night we mooted the idea of running a book on which "Better Together" scare story would crumble to dust next. We didn't even have time to come up with odds for "the Clyde shipyards will cl...
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EU rule can be used to award indy Scotland warship orders confirms UK Minister

EU rule can be used to award indy Scotland warship orders confirms UK Minister | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

A UK Minister has confirmed that EU procurement regulations would not prevent naval orders from the rest of the UK being undertaken by yards on the Clyde without tender, even if Scotland voted Yes to independence.


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What future for shipbuilding on the Clyde?

What future for shipbuilding on the Clyde? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Scottish News, News Scotland - Politics, Referendum, Economy, Culture and intelligent opinion | Newsnet Scotland, uniquely Scottish
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John Reid: indyref Yes vote will mean UK warships not being built on Clyde

John Reid: indyref Yes vote will mean UK warships not being built on Clyde | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Former defence secretary John Reid has warned that UK warships will not be built in Scotland if it votes for independence in next year's referendum.
Peter A Bell's insight:

John Reid evidently doesn't mind making himself look ridiculous in the name of preserving the British state. His claim that "the only way to secure the future of Scotland's shipyards is to remain in the UK" is such a blatant denial of reality that we must be concerned for the man's mental well-being.

The reality, of course, is that Scotland's shipbuilding industry, in common with much else, has been decimated by successive UK governments. And it continues to be subject to the depredations of incompetent UK administrations even as Reid insists that it is being protected. Does this clown genuinely believe that sacking 25% of the workforce at Govan and Scotstoun represents protection? Does he really think that the UK government's vacillating antics over the Global Combat Ship (GCS) orders constitutes security?

Reid is, of course, merely parroting the Project Fear line. The hope is that people will hear the threat and think no further. Reid and his British nationalist cronies rely on nobody asking awkward questions about their assertions. Questions such as, where will these ships be built if not on the Clyde? By the time work starts the shipbuiding capacity at Portsmouth will be but a distant memory. A subject for nostalgic TV documentaries. Is Reid seriously contending that an rUK government would give the orders to Poland or Turkey rather than Scotland?

If there are compelling economic and political reasons to place the orders with Poland or Turkey or wherever - as implied by Reid's insistence that the orders wouldn't come to Scotland - how would a No vote alter that? If the practicalities demand that the supposed policy of not letting orders to foreign yards be abandoned then there is nothing about a No vote which alters those practicalities. Voting No most certainly does NOT secure anything.

Should we care? In the rather unlikely event that an rUK government would be so petty as to deny the work to Scottish yards out of spite, would that be a disaster for Scottish shipbuilding? Would it be any more of a disaster than what has happened in the past and what is happening even now while we remain in the UK?

With independence there would be a need for numerous ships to equip the new Scottish Defence Force. Crucially, the commissioning of these vessels would be in the hands of the Scottish government. Are we to suppose that the Scottish government would be LESS likely to award contracts to Scottish yards than a UK government? Is that not massively counter-intuitive?

There is one further question that the people of Scotland might want to ask themselves. Do we really want to vote No and thereby affirm the power of people like John Reid, Alistair Carmichael and Ian Davidson? People who treat Scotland with such contempt? People who, in the words of The Guardian's Kevin McKenna represent the "many in our midst who loathe and fear their own kind"?

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George Kerevan: Buy British and head for the rocks

George Kerevan: Buy British and head for the rocks | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Defence of the Clyde’s naval shipbuilding capacity begins by taking the blinkers off Admiralty – or with independence, writes George Kerevan
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"Ding Dong" is still the Song of the Clyde - politically at least

Two contrasting opinion pieces on all things Clyde-built this morning. Euan McColm takes Nicola Sturgeon to task, suggesting that her assertion that post-independence, of course Clyde ship builders could still make frigates for the Royal Navy, was rash and unfounded. “Sturgeon’s handling of this issue began so well. But today her argument is destroyed and her personal credibility damaged by that trade union attack. I wonder how she’ll get out of this one. I don’t see an obvious route.” Ouch. In fact, more than ouch, for McColm seems to think this might well be a hit which sinks the good ship Sturgeon.


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Euan McColm: Sturgeon in a storm over warships

Euan McColm: Sturgeon in a storm over warships | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
DEPUTY First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was at her most statesmanlike last week after news broke that BAE Systems was cutting 1,775 jobs at shipyards in Scotland and England.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Those who follow coverage of Scotland's independence referendum campaign in the mainstream media will know by now to take talk of difficulties for the SNP and/or Yes Scotland with a generous shovelful of salt. Were we to take the average political pundit seriously then we would have to believe that there is hardly any occurrence or circumstance which doesn't constitute a "devastating blow" for the independence campaign or Salmond or, as in this case, Sturgeon.

Were we given to the kind of thoughtful reflection that junk journalists eschew we might wonder how it is that the SNP, Salmond, Sturgeon etc. survive at all given the regularity with which they are pronounced to have been dealt a fatal strike. We would surely find it highly remarkable that they not only survive but thrive, with approval ratings that are the stuff of fantasy for lesser politicians.

We might well conclude that the hack in question was talking "arrant rot". We might come to this conclusion even if that hack wasn't Euan McColm.

The bigot is blind to his own prejudice. He starts from his preferred conclusion and works backwards making the facts fit as he goes allowing no hindrance from the demands of mere logic. McColm has decided that Sturgeon made a false claim and everything else must be made to serve this assumption.

He calls on the testimony of the GMB’s convener at the Scotstoun yard, John Dolan, as if he were a dispassionate expert witness instead of a committed British nationalist closely associated with Better Together. Short of Alistair Darling or Blair McDougall it would be hard to think of anybody with more of a vested interest in putting a Project Fear spin on an issue.

McColm talks of UK government policy as if it had the quality of eternal truth. It wouldn't suit his shallow, devious purpose to admit that UK government policy regarding warship construction is neither as clear nor as immutable as he pretends.

As relatively recently as 2005 a defence white paper stated that "there is no absolute requirement to build all warships and Royal Fleet Auxiliary vessels onshore [in the UK]". The RN's presence in the South Atlantic is maintained by a Norwegian-built vessel. The UK government is currently trying to negotiate partnership arrangements for the construction of the Global Combat Ship (GCS) with Brazil, India and Turkey among other countries.

The reality is that defence contracts for aircraft and other complex and expensive machinery increasingly tend to be multi-national affairs. There is absolutely no logical reason why ships should be the exception.

What of the "political logic" that McColm insists must militate against GCS orders going to the Clyde yards? We might begin by observing that "political logic" is as much of a contradiction in terms as "military intelligence". At best, the political variety is a rather special kind of logic. McColm doesn't expand to any great extent on the train of logical inferences that lead him to conclude that the GCS contract cannot go to independent Scotland. But I can confidently say that it would be perfectly possible to construct an alternative scenario that would be at least as "logical" as his. Probably more so, as it would not rely quite so heavily on the assumption that an rUK government would readily subordinate practical considerations to the base urges of petulant spitefulness.

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