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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Experts claim tax system could be simpler after Yes vote

AN INDEPENDENT Scotland could save money by establishing a simplified tax system, an expert group has concluded.
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A change of heart

The new Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael, in Holyrood magazine in 2010:


“Getting rid of the Scotland Office is a ‘job waiting to be done’, says Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael, dubbing the current Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy as a ‘tax-funded campaign manager for the Labour Party in Scotland’.

Peter A Bell's insight:

The many faces of the Tories' new LibDem lapdog in Scotland.

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The Suspension of Disbelief

Today’s Daily Torygraph has an ‘exclusive’ interview with the OPEC Secretary General, one Mr Abdalla el-Badri. You can see the original article here (http://archive.is/DZnOw) where I’ve archived it so you don’t have accidentally give them any ad-click revenue.


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Questions over Labour policy on Trident after Murphy moved

Questions over Labour policy on Trident after Murphy moved | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
JIM MURPHY has been dropped as Labour's Shadow Defence ­Secretary in a reshuffle insiders believe could pave the way for a change in the party's policy on Trident.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Jim Murphy playing a bigger role in Project Fear can only be good news for the Yes campaign. The drooling relish with which he talks Scotland down must surely grate on the sensibilities of even the most hardened No voter.

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Michael Moore out as Lib Dems up referendum heat

Michael Moore out as Lib Dems up referendum heat | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
THE Scottish independence debate is set to become fiercer, after Alistair Carmichael, a man who admits he has a reputation as “a bruiser”, replaced the measured Michael Moore as Scottish Secretary.
Peter A Bell's insight:

It really doesn't matter who the messenger is if the message remains the same. Whether it's Moore or Carmichael makes no difference. It will be the same grinding negativity, banal jingoism and casual denigration of Scotland.

British nationalists have nothing new to say. The strategy now is to deny the Yes campaign a platform and to close down debate as far as possible. Why else would you field a "bruiser" rather than someone who is equipped to address the real issues?

The LibDems reckon they've found their Anas Sarwar. That they actually seem proud of this tells us all we need to know.

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SNP defence plans 'would place major strain on Scottish budget'

SETTING up the SNP's proposed Scottish Defence Force would place a
Peter A Bell's insight:

The UK's defence plans put a major strain on its budget. A strain that the UK doesn't seem to be coping with very well at all. Given that Scotland is at least as wealthy as the UK, and given that we will have a much more realistic approach to defence, what rational reason is there to believe that Scotland would be less capable than the UK of sustaining an adequate defence force?

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Whisky and Bitter...Together?

Whisky and Bitter...Together? | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Scotch whisky is to be distilled in Kent following British Government declarations that Scottish regiments are exclusively British and Ed Ball’s claim that sterling is English.

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The poor are always with us

Sunday afternoon and I’ve just kicked the kids off the Mac…told them they need some physical activity so they’re doing press-ups in front of the telly… First a thanks for your responses.
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Sign for Scotland: Why Lib Dems should support Independence

Sign for Scotland: Why Lib Dems should support Independence | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

In 2010 the Liberal Democrats created a manifesto which was popular enough to earn 23% of the vote in that year’s UK general election.

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MoD blocked possible West of Scotland oil boom in 80s because of Nuclear Weapons

MoD blocked possible West of Scotland oil boom in 80s because of Nuclear Weapons | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

A potential oil boom off the west coast of Scotland was blocked by the Ministry of Defence because of the close proximity to the Faslane Nuclear base, a former Labour MP has said.


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Independence referendum: Jimmy Reid Foundation director explains the 'Common Weal Project'

Independence referendum: Jimmy Reid Foundation director explains the 'Common Weal Project' | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
ROBIN McALPINE explains a project which has been set-up based on socialist values of a fair, equal and prosperous country without poverty, with good public services and where
communities are strong.
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Scottish independence: Greens back Scots currency

Scottish independence: Greens back Scots currency | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
CLAIMS that the Yes Scotland campaign is split over economic policy resurfaced last night when the Scottish Green Party voted that Scotland should have its own currency after independence.
Peter A Bell's insight:

I am frequently struck by the abysmal ignorance exhibited in so much of the commentary on Scotland's independence debate published in the unionist media. The opening paragraphs of this article amply illustrate the point.

In those to paragraphs we find the now standard conflation of Yes Scotland and the SNP. Anti-independence propagandists have for so long being been trying to pretend that Yes Scotland doesn't exist and that the independence campaign is all about Alex Salmond and the SNP that they now find it impossible to escape from their own lies and distortions.

Then there is the plainly idiotic notion that there can be a policy split in Yes Scotland - an organisation which espouses no policies. And the at least equally idiotic notion that the distinct policy positions of different political parties represents a "split".

It seems that less intellectually acute political commentators simply cannot get their heads around the idea that this is a referendum and not a party political contest. And so they end up talking complete nonsense.

Those less stilted in their thinking will also be somewhat perplexed by the notion that having a number of different post-independence currency options is somehow a bad thing. Most reasonable people with as much as an inkling of how politics works will realise that options are a valuable commodity.

Having two of the leading players in the independence campaign advocating very distinct policies is not, as anti-independence propagandists would have it, equivalent to internal divisions within a political party. It is not a flaw in the Yes campaign, it is a strength. It is a very good thing that those who will vote in next year's referendum be aware of the possibilities and potential that independence offers. It is a very good thing that they should be aware that it is the people of Scotland who will choose Scotland's future.

Does it not tell us something of the mindset of British nationalists that they are so sorely confused by, or instinctively recoil from, the idea of people having real, meaningful choice?

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MoD claims 'loyal' Scots may refuse to join independent military

MoD claims 'loyal' Scots may refuse to join independent military | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
An analysis paper to be launched by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond says dividing the UK's military assets would be 'extremely complex'.
Peter A Bell's insight:

This hints at that British exceptionalism that grates on the sensibilities of those who are not persuaded of the divinely ordained superiority of the British state. A belief, apparently genuinely held by some British nationalists, that there can be no valid loyalty other than that which is owed to the synthetic "nation" of Britain.

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Lifting the veil

Lifting the veil | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

As a child, I hated Alex Salmond.

He was everything I was raised to despise: most people around me were generally suspicious of his motives, the Daily Record painted him as a contemptible human being, and Prime Minister Tony Blair urged my country and I to reject his insane plans to split up the cuddly, all-encompassing United Kingdom.

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They can't help themselves

Defence Secretary Phillip Hammond on independence in the Mail on Sunday: "It is a real dagger poised at the heart of Scotland’s industrial infrastructure."

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For your licence fee today

For your licence fee today | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

Here’s the BBC’s chief political correspondent Norman Smith on the surprise sacking of Michael Moore as Secretary of State for Scotland, having clearly been extensively and expertly briefed on the Scottish political situation by researchers beforehand.


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Peter Jones: Shooting down independence statistics

Peter Jones: Shooting down independence statistics | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
The Better Together campaign may have shot itself in the foot by failing to do its sums properly, writes Peter Jones
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Scottish Banks, EU membership and the euro – A weekend with Douglas Fraser

The excuse was that it was five years since the catastrophic event almost ruined the world economy. The banking crisis that hit the world economy in 2008.


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Scotland 'more likely to suffer catastrophic terror attack if it achieves independence'

Scotland 'more likely to suffer catastrophic terror attack if it achieves independence' | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
Scotland would be more vulnerable to a catastrophic terrorist attack if Alex Salmond succeeds with his bid to break up Britain, a new report will claim.
Peter A Bell's insight:

It was always a certainty that the British state was going to ramp up its scaremongering as the campaign to deny Scotland's rightful constitutional status began to fall apart. But this stuff is so overblown it would be laughable if there was not so much at stake.

It's all ludicrous nonsense, of course. There is absolutely no reason to believe that Scotland would be more at risk as an independent nation than as part of the UK, with its reputation as one of the world's most militarily aggressive neo-imperialist powers.

As an independent country, the threat to Scotland of some kind of terrorist attack is certainly no greater than at present. Indeed, it might well be argued that we would put ourselves at greater risk by voting No, thereby affirming our association with a British state that has been intent on making enemies for centuries.

As to Scotland's capacity to deal with whatever threat there may be, the British state's argument seems to be based on two fatally flawed points. Firstly, the claim Scotland's defence budget will be inadequate. This ignores several essential facts. The defence budget proposed for Scotland by the current administration is on a par with all comparable nations. If Scotland's provision is inadequate, so is the provision made by any number of countries in Europe and elsewhere. How likely is that?

Scotland's defence and security budget will be whatever the democratically elected government of Scotland determines is necessary. Even if the figure proposed by the present administration was inadequate, the government of an independent Scotland would be perfectly able to assign further resources as required. Scotland is not a poor country.

By comparison, it is the UK Government which is slashing spending and squandering huge amounts of money on useless projects like Trident. If we are considering Scotland's defences, who should we better trust with the task? A British state whose spokespersons talk with such ill-disguised relish of our country being the victim of a murderous attack? Or the people who care most about Scotland? The people who actually live in Scotland? The people of Scotland?

The other fatal flaw in the British state's assertions is not a matter of facts so much as mindset. All of this rhetoric is founded on a delusional notion of British exceptionalism allied to a casually contemptuous attitude to Scotland and its people. This is not a mindset that lends itself to rational analysis of any situation. As I think the content of this article proves rather well.

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Media Wars

Media Wars | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

News this week that Newsnet Scotland had broken through the 100,000 mark attracting an astonishing 120,000 unique visitors to the site brings to mind the often heralded but little analysed notion of a new emergent alternative Scottish media. The site, which now employs two freelance journalists, is going from strength to strength. Wings Over Scotland also broke the 100,000 mark for unique visitors with 100,034 (Sept 2013) whilst Bella broke through this mark in January with 114, 311. We once (in 2011) doubled that number with 206,367 views in one month but that was almost wholly down to an Iceland story that went viral-bonkers.


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Scottish independence: Split from UK energy market call

Scottish independence: Split from UK energy market call | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
SCOTLAND should withdraw from the UK-wide energy market and put control over its own resources into public hands, a radical new report declares today.
Peter A Bell's insight:

Although I hold the Jimmy Reid Foundation in highest regard and enthusiastically support the Common Weal project, I cannot help but be perplexed and dismayed by the continuing pretence that devo-max is a possibility. Or that, being ultimately subject to Westminster's authority, it would ever be permitted to facilitate radical reforms of the kind that are being envisaged.

I accept that the intentions of the Jimmy Reid Foundation are entirely worthy and honourable. But maintaining the pretence that devo-max is on the table gives the impression of being as out of touch with the reality of the constitutional question and the referendum campaign as people like Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown.

Worse! By talking about devo-max as if it was an option on offer to the people of Scotland, the Jimmy Reid Foundation risks being associated with the unionist propaganda effort intended to deceive people into thinking that a No vote is a vote for more powers.

The Jimmy Reid Foundation's aims are laudable. But it is long past time they acknowledged that the only way those aims stand any chance of being realised is with independence.

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Latest Whitehall Defence Report an admission Scotland would inherit fair share of assets say SNP

Latest Whitehall Defence Report an admission Scotland would inherit fair share of assets say SNP | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it

The SNP has seized on a new Whitehall report which highlights what it claims would be difficulties in returning military units to an independent Scotland, by claiming that the report is now confirmation that Scotland would inherit a share of current UK defence assets.


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ScottishGovernment - News - SCOTLAND WILL BLOCK NHS ‘PAY GRAB’

Scottish Health Secretary plans union summit over UK NHS pay plans.
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Independence 'could mean lower power bills for Scots'

Independence 'could mean lower power bills for Scots' | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
POWER bills could fall significantly under independence if the state broke the stranglehold of the private energy companies and took on many of their functions for the wider benefit of society, according to a new expert paper.
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Controversial Better Together funder rules out making further donations

Controversial Better Together funder rules out making further donations | Referendum 2014 | Scoop.it
THE biggest and most controversial donor to the Better Together campaign will not be giving it any more money, the Sunday Herald can reveal.
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