Referendum 2014
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Warning taxes could go up 21% after No vote

The Herald has today published an article about the new IFS report...

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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 independence: Noam Chomsky backing Yes

Scottish independence: Noam Chomsky backing Yes | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
POLITICAL thinker and academic Noam Chomsky has revealed his support for a Yes vote in the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence.
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Yes supporter gets on bike to cycle from Rome to home | Yes Scotland

Yes supporter gets on bike to cycle from Rome to home | Yes Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

A keen campaigner for Scottish independence is getting on his bike in a bid to raise funds for Yes Scotland’s local groups.

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40 reasons to support Scottish independence - reasons 1-3 | openDemocracy

40 reasons to support Scottish independence - reasons 1-3 | openDemocracy | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The first three of forty reasons to support Scottish independence - geography, numbers, and sociology...

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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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Bring me sunshine

Bring me sunshine | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Remember how the No campaign was definitely going to be much more positive from now on, pushing a feelgood "sunshine strategy" to persuade Scots that the UK was the best of both worlds? Let's see h...
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Independence: RGU ‘suspends’ CBI membership

Independence: RGU ‘suspends’ CBI membership | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
ABERDEEN’S Robert Gordon University has “suspended” its membership of the CBI over the industry body’s stance on the Scottish independence referendum.
Peter A Bell's insight:

A blind man could have seen this coming. But apparently Ferdinand von Prondzynski suffers from a particular kind of blindness. With all of Scotland's other universities quitting the CBI, how did he imaging that RGU could possibly be an exception?

The belated, mealy-mouthed "suspension" of RGU's membership does nothing to cover his embarrassment at an appallingly bad and really very stupid decision.

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UK shoppers may neglect Scots goods

UK shoppers may neglect Scots goods | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
MORE than one-third of UK consumers would be less likely to buy Scottish products or deal with firms based north of the Border if the country becomes independent, according to a new poll.
Peter A Bell's insight:

If we were to make the mistake of taking all of this too seriously then the obvious response would be to wonder why we might want to be in a political union with people who regard the democratic process of self-determination as something so abhorrent that those who exercise their democratic rights in this way must be punished.

But it's all nonsense, of course. A bit of fluff spun into some rather feeble anti-independence propaganda. Only the desperate dullards at Better Together could possibly get excited about it. But then, don't they always celebrate anything that can be seen as denigrating Scotland? Don't they always cheer any threat to Scotland? Isn't their whole campaign based on a never-ending round of scare stories about how Scotland will be made to suffer if it dares to challenge the ruling elites of the British state?

And isn't that one of the main reasons why people are turning to Yes in ever-increasing numbers?

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The third Scotland: self-organising, self-determining, suspicious of the SNP

The third Scotland: self-organising, self-determining, suspicious of the SNP | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Gerry Hassan: Establishment visions rejected by the young, authority figures crumbling – Scotland has unambiguously become another country
Peter A Bell's insight:



How refreshing to read an analysis of the referendum campaign* which isn't mired in the lazy prejudices of the London-based media. At last! A description of Scotland's politics that does not discordantly conflict with observable reality.

I would only disagree slightly with Gerry Hassan on one point. While his concept of a "third Scotland" has genuine resonance, my impression is that the "suspicious" attitude towards the SNP to which he refers has actually diminished as this third Scotland has grown in strength and confidence. Non-SNP independence campaigners now have the self-assurance to be able to acknowledge the SNP's role in bringing Scotland to this historic juncture without being concerned that they are conceding anything to the party's agenda.

Some of the warmest and most spontaneous applause that you will hear at Yes Scotland gatherings comes when someone from the Greens or the SSP offers a vote of thanks to Alex Salmond and his team before moving on to outline their very different vision for Scotland's future. This is in stark contrast to what would tend to happen only a few months ago when non-SNP speakers invariably prefaced every utterance with a disclaimer pointedly reminding everyone that they were "not SNP".

There are, I think, two main reasons for this change in attitude. Firstly, there is a growing recognition of the difference between being independent and becoming independent. Along with the realisation that the SNP's plan offers the only viable way of achieving the latter. There is no other route to independence. We either reach independence by the path set out by the Scottish Government, or we don't get there at all. There is an acceptance that the SNP is the sole agency by which the people of Scotland will reassert our nation's rightful constitutional status.

Accepting this, third Scotland has been able to focus much more on the matter of being independent - what happens after March 2016. With less energy devoted to sniping at the SNP, third Scotland (Is it time to start capitalising this term?) has been able to devote itself to developing innovative, and often quite radical, ideas for transforming the nation in the years and decades subsequent to becoming independent. They have grown into their true role of building alternative visions of what being independent might mean.

As they have done so they have also grown in confidence. And this new-found confidence is the second reason for a change in attitude towards the SNP. While it is accepted that, as the democratically elected government with a mandate from the people, the SNP must lead the process of becoming independent, any sense that the party might dominate the process of being independent has diminished with the rise of Third Scotland.

Notwithstanding the increasingly hysterical efforts of Better Together to pretend that the referendum is all about the SNP, and their daily more deplorable attempts to personalise the issue by demonising Alex Salmond, it is becoming increasingly apparent to unprejudiced observers that Third Scotland is something very real. And that it provides the essential counterbalance which ensures that, when we vote Yes, no single political party will be able to impose its idea of what being independent means.

The scale of change in Scotland in recent years has indeed been of historic proportions. With all due respect to Gerry Hassan, it is slightly naive to suppose that such massive change might have left unaffected the SNP and others' attitudes towards it.

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Warning over cost of meeting pensions bill after independence

Warning over cost of meeting pensions bill after independence | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
UK Government claims SNP plans would cost each working-age person £450 more over next two decades.
Peter A Bell's insight:

There is something distinctly Orwellian about people like Iain Duncan Smith talking about their pride in the "long history of a strong welfare state" even as they are bent on destroying it.


And something plainly ludicrous about those same people trying to convince us to rely on them to save Scotland's welfare system even as they dismantle it.

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If we don’t get a Yes this time, we might end up like Catalonia

There is a school of thought that the independence referendum is happening too soon, before the Scottish public has been fully convinced of the merits of the pr
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Alex Salmond launches study into Scotland to England HS rail lines

Alex Salmond launches study into  Scotland to England HS rail lines | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Options for building high speed rail links from Scotland to England are to be explored by the Scottish Government, First Minister Alex Salmond has said.
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Electoral Commission designates ‘Yes Scotland’ and ‘Better Together’ as lead indyref campaigners

‘Yes Scotland’ and ‘Better Together’ have today (23 April 2014) been designated by the Electoral Commission as the two lead campaigners for each outcome at the Scottish Independence Referendum, which is due to be held on 18 September this year.

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New Statesman | Alex Salmond's St George's Day speech: full text

New Statesman | Alex Salmond's St George's Day speech: full text | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Scottish First Minister says the ties between Scotland and England "are based instead on links of family and friendship that are facts of geography, not acts of parliament."


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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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Perspective: Yes is an opportunity to better manage Scotland's resources | Yes Scotland

Perspective: Yes is an opportunity to better manage Scotland's resources | Yes Scotland | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

There is an old adage that "you can choose your friends but not your family". The same is true about nationality; you can’t choose where you were born but you can choose where you live.

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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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COMMENT: Cynical, pompous Alex Salmond has no sense of shame

COMMENT: Cynical, pompous Alex Salmond has no sense of shame | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
IF you were a Cumbrian business leader, you may have been mildly flattered to be invited to Alex Salmond's St George's Day speech in Carlisle Cathedral last night. An hour or so later, you could have been forgiven for spitting tacks.
Peter A Bell's insight:

I wonder how far in advance this rubbish was written. Let's face it, some dumb hack at the Daily Outrage didn't have to wait for the speech. They were always going to respond with stock spluttering indignation regardless of what Salmond actually said.

It would all be quite amusing, if tiresome, were it not for the fact that these dishonest, venomous diatribes are intended to corrupt and contaminate a democratic process.

Their secondary purpose is to inflame animosity by playing on the ignorance of xenophobes and other bigots in order to whip up a froth of anti-Scottish sentiment. All quite despicable, really. One need only look at the comments to see how easily that is achieved. Anybody reading this could be forgiven for thinking that England was nothing more than a seething mass of bilious resentment and generalised anger.

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Cornish to be recognised as a national minority along with Scots, Welsh and Irish

Cornish to be recognised as a national minority along with Scots, Welsh and Irish | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Raise the flag of St Piran. A millennium after they were subsumed into the English state and 15 years since efforts began to have them formally declared a distinct people, the Cornish are to be recognised as a national minority.
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BBC under pressure over CBI stance

BBC under pressure over CBI stance | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Supporters of Scottish independence have questioned why the BBC has not resigned from the CBI over the business group's referendum stance.

Peter A Bell's insight:

Rather than being urged to resign from the CBI, would it not be more appropriate if the BBC was required to join it in registering as an official part of the anti-independence campaign?

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The Nationhood Bypass

The Nationhood Bypass | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
I detect a change of language…I’m sure I heard Johann refer to independence as ‘an honourable position’ or somesuch. It was certainly a long way from her previous efforts, suggesting almost linguis...
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Yes vote pension cost warning

PENSION costs in an independent Scotland would rise fivefold within 20 years because of an ageing population and the SNP Government's spending commitments, according to a new analysis paper.
Peter A Bell's insight:

There is a reason why these so-called "analysis papers" have no credibility whatsoever.

Depending on how you count them there are around 200 independent nations in the world.

Most, if not all, of those nations have endured bitter political struggle and even bloody conflict in order to secure or defend their independence.

All of those nations agree that threatening the independence of another nation is one of the worst crimes that any nation can commit.

None of those nations is currently seeking an alternative constitutional arrangement which involves relinquishing their independence.

Is it not strange, therefore, that the British state cannot find a single positive thing to say about independence?

Does this not give away the true purpose of these papers?

Surely any genuine analysis could hardly help but find at least one positive thing about the independence that all nations value so highly. Does this not clearly indicate that what these papers present is not, in fact, impartial analysis but crude political propaganda?

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Alex Salmond's reassuring St George's Day address - Spectator Blogs

Alex Salmond's reassuring St George's Day address - Spectator Blogs | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
St George's Day is one of those festivals that politicians are particularly earnest about, for fear someone accuse them of being ashamed of England. But today's most interesting pointed St…
Peter A Bell's insight:

We don't even get to the end of the first paragraph before the lies begin. Far from being "accustomed to suggesting that Englishness is something he is quite separate from" Salmond has famously described himself as a "fully signed up Anglophile".

As this buffoon, Isabel Hardman, begins, so she finishes. Like almost every arrogant, ill-informed metropolitan hack she knows nothing whatever of the referendum campaign or Scotland's politics and so resorts to commenting on the caricatures conjured by her own dumb prejudice.

Ludicrously, Hardman accuses Salmond of "creating divisions between Scots and those in the rest of the UK" when, as anyone with the vaguest notion of what is actually going on must be fully aware, it is Darling and his Tory masters who are the ones talking about ending all relationships with Scotland in the event of a Yes vote. It is the anti-independence campaign which talks incessantly of barriers and "separation" and abolishing perfectly functional arrangements in a fit of petulant pique.

If, instead of listening to others within their wee bubble, Hardman and her ilk bothered to listen to what was being said in the referendum campaign, or if they were not so .intent on dishonestly misrepresenting the independence case, they would have heard Salmond talk of the six unions, five of which he wants to preserve while British nationalists are bent on destroying them all.

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Scotland On The Brink

Scotland On The Brink | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

They may still be ahead in the polls, but the gap has narrowed significantly. Two years of dire warnings about the perils of ‘separatism’ and ‘tearing Scotland out the United Kingdom’ have only exposed the threadbare, tetchy character of the pro-union argument so far. In November last year the Economist had declared the referendum won for the union; now it reflects on the ‘teflon’ qualities of Scottish nationalism, and the incessant ‘pessimism’ of the pro-union side. Beyond [former Labour politician and one time NATO Secretary-General] George Robertson’s dire warnings of ‘cataclysmic’ geo-political consequences and ‘the forces of darkness’, a sea change is happening in Scotland which will have an impact long after the referendum.

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Agency: banking system in independent Scotland risks Iceland-style meltdown

S&P says it would be 'challenging' for Edinburgh government to support its banks without backing of London
Peter A Bell's insight:

What is S&P counting as "Scottish banking system's assets"? No doubt it is inflated by the inclusion of London-based operations. That's the usual way with these things.

Besides, Project Fear assures us that most if not all of the financial services sector will blow millions of pounds moving all their operations out of Scotland after independence just to teach those uppity Jocks a lesson. Problem solved! As S&P itself acknowledges:

‘a shrinking of Scotland’s ‘unusually large’ financial services sector could boost the country’s sovereign credit rating by reducing the size of the economy’s external balance sheet and reducing its liabilities’

It's just another scare story. They stopped working a long time ago.

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So much for ‘moral purpose’: Throwing Wales under the bus | Future of the UK and Scotland: The Referendum Debate

So much for ‘moral purpose’: Throwing Wales under the bus | Future of the UK and Scotland: The Referendum Debate | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
In a piece that examines the implications of Scottish independence for Wales, Richard Wyn Jones makes an impassioned case for a fairer settlement for Wales.
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