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Showing posts with label coalition UK. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coalition UK. Show all posts

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Truth and transparency in politics – unrealisable ideals or practical necessities?

JESUS: To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

PONTIUS PILATE: What is truth?

I am an atheist, and do not recognise the Bible as the word of God, nor as an objective historical account, but I do recognise it, in its many translations, especially the King James version, as a great work of literature, of poetry, one containing deep insights into human nature and behaviour.

Like most men, I lost my idealised view of  politics and politicians early in life, recognising that the ‘art of the possible’ involved compromise, and compromise sometimes involves avoiding tight definitions if the agreement is to hold across divergent viewpoints.

For example, in diplomacy and in negotiation, ambiguity is sometimes necessary; indeed on occasion – say, in collective agreements between management and union - it is the essence of an agreement clause that it be subject to more than one interpretation, which is the antithesis of legally drafted agreements. This is sometime called the “agree fuzzy now, fight detail later if necessary …” approach. So like Pontius Pilate, politicians only ask the question What is Truth? rhetorically, and don’t expect an answer.

The first duty of a politician is to gain power, the pre-requisite of any political programme, however high-minded. But in a democracy, a politician with any real values must constantly test expedient actions against two fundamental questions -

Does the greatest good for the greatest number outweigh the rights of the few or the individual?

Does the end justify the means?

Professors of ethics will tease you with many ethical dilemmas relating to these questions. Suffice to say, there is no absolute answer to either of them. To both, I say sometimes the answer is yes, dependent on circumstances and sometime the answer is an absolute no – for me, anyway.

The possession and use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction provides my absolutes and I say that to possess them is absolutely wrong and to contemplate their use or to use them is absolutely wrong. I also say that it is at best naive, and at worst hypocritical to suggest that they can be possessed with no intent to use them, and without taking appalling, unacceptable risks.

There are sharply divided views on whether the United States of America and Harry Truman were right in their decision to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, or whether it was a crime against humanity, indefensible against any ethical standards. (I say ethical and not religious standards, because many ministers of religion then and now have defended the use of nuclear weapons.)

Their use then was justified by America by saying YES to both of the questions above. The only mitigation I can suggest for Truman is that it was the first use of nuclear weapons, no one knew for certain what their destructive power really was until that moment, no other country had them, so a nuclear exchange leading to Armageddon could not have resulted, and the destructive power, awesome and terrible though it was, was as nothing to what can be delivered today by a single Trident submarine.

Scotland will soon be facing great choices in its march towards what I hope will be its independence as a nation – a non-nuclear nation. If that great goal is achieved, the credit will be substantially the SNP’s – the great progress towards it could not have been achieved achieved without them, and without the belief, commitment and unremitting hard work over decades of many people with a great ideal. The campaign for independence is now being led by the SNP but with the involvement of  many other groups and parties, and groupings within the three major parties.

But there is now a worm in the SNP apple and that worm is NATO. NATO is a nuclear alliance, committed to the possession and use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction, and the dominant countries within it will brook no interference from the member countries within NATO with non-nuclear policies.

When the critical decision must be made on the first use of nuclear weapons since 1945, NATO will not seek the permission of the member countries in a democratic vote, nor will they seek the endorsement of the people or the UN. The dominant nuclear powers in NATO will act militarily and unilaterally to unleash the whirlwind – that is the stark, realpolitik.

If a nuclear strike is launched, every member of NATO will be culpable, whether they endorsed it or not.

For an independent Scotland to seek membership – or a continuation of present UK membership – of NATO is wrong and dangerous. Attempting to hide behind Norway’s stance and that of other non-nuclear NATO members is wrong because they are wrong to be members, and because membership of a nuclear alliance is incompatible, any way you slice it, with a non-nuclear stance. The current status of Scotland as the home of the UK’s nuclear deterrent is also fundamentally different from any other NATO member country.

In recent months, the SNP has failed in transparency over their defence policy and failed in transparency over the intentions of the leadership in relation to NATO. They have allowed speculation to rage unchecked from their opponents, and they have not only failed to inform their supporters of their true intentions, they have actively misled them by pretending that no game was afoot, leaving many members – not me – defending the indefensible.

I intend to blog in detail on this, with facts and detail, but today, I had to say this to get it off my chest. But maybe all is not lost …

Saturday, 4 February 2012

The Question(s) and the ballot paper

A series of comments I received from Holebender on my proposed ballot paper have proved a slow burn for me, and led me to review my ideas. But first, my ballot paper -

MY BALLOT PAPER ( Ballot blog )

CONSULTATIVE REFERENDUM

Answer only one question - tick only one box.

If you answer more than one question, your ballot paper will be null and void. CHOOSE ONLY ONE OPTION - GIVE ONLY ONE ANSWER

I want a fully independent, sovereign Scotland.

I want Scotland to remain in the UK with no increased in current devolved powers to Scotland.

I want Scotland to remain in the UK with some additional powers devolved to Scotland.

I want Scotland to remain in the UK with all powers devolved to Scotland except defence and foreign policy.

N.B. If you have answered more than one question, i.e. ticked more than one box, your ballot paper will be null and void.

________________________________________

A reprise:

This is not the ballot paper I want - I want a single question on independence - but I believe that if the consultation exercise, plus perhaps the polls, shows a clear wish for other options to be presented, then as a democrat, I believe they must be offered in the referendum. I should add that I believe that devo max would be dangerous for the SNP, that it would be unlikely to be delivered after a NO vote on independence even though a majority of the Scottish electorate voted for it. Despite that, I still feel it must be offered if the electorate want it.

My ballot paper offers what I consider to be the maximum reasonable number of options, with only one option being selected. i.e. it is equivalent to a first past the post Westminster election ballot for an MP in a constituency - no proportionality, only one choice made, only one choice can win.

It has the following advantages, in my view -

1. It offers clean-cut choices.

2. It doesn’t allow double counting, resulting in a contested outcome, e.g. 51% vote for independence, 70% devo max.

How could double counting happen? Well, on a ballot paper that allows voting for one or both options, no voter who wants to retain the Union will vote for independence, but some independence voters might hedge their bets and also vote for devo max. For example, on a ballot of 100 voters: 51 vote independence, 49 anti-independence voters vote for devo max, but 21 of the independence voters also vote for devo max. Outcome = 51 indy, 70 devo max.

If all the independence voters also voted devo max, the risible outcome would be 100% for devo max, 51% for independence, and both sides would claim a win.

The various ways round this dilemma all involve some form of conditionality on the ballot paper voting instruction, all of which, despite strident assertions to the contrary by their proponents, involve potential problems of understanding, complexity, etc.

However, there is another argument (Holebender’s argument) against my methodology, and it deserves serious consideration. It involves a hypothetical outcome to the ballot - using my ballot paper - such as the following-

30% vote for independence, 20% to remain in UK with no further powers, 21% to remain in UK with some further powers, 29% for devo max, i.e all powers except defence and foreign policy.

On my methodology, independence would win, even though there is a combined 70% that want to remain in the UK. Such an outcome would clearly create a furore if independence was declared the winner, and it offends against all democratic instincts, including mine.

Yet this is the basis on which Westminster MPs are elected in a general election constituency election - it is called first past the post, and it was fought for in a bitter and divisive - and dirty - referendum campaign, with the ftp camp emerging as the winners.

Critics of my argument will point out that it is not, however, the basis on which governments are formed, where an ability to command an overall majority in the Commons must be achieved or demonstrated by a coalition agreement before the Queen gives her assent. Alex Salmond managed to form and successfully run a minority government by having the most seats, yet not having an overall majority in Holyrood.

But these are false parallels - a referendum is normally understood to be a choice between two options and is neither a constituency election for an MP, nor a Parliamentary election.

Is there an answer to the worm in my ballot apple? Yes, there is, but it is not one that I’m comfortable with it. It requires that the outcome must satisfy a minimum percentage vote for the winning outcome, e.g. 51% of all votes cast. While this is clearly required for a single question ballot paper, it takes us into dangerous areas when applied to multi-question papers - into the area of the rigged referendum, of requiring more than 51% of votes cast to qualify, or worse still, requiring a minimum percentage of the electorate to vote. In fact such dangers exist for a single question if more than a simple majority is required. The ghost of Gerry Mander stalks the scene …

But what if the above nightmare scenario - 30/20/21/29 - represents the actual balance of preferences of the electorate closer to the referendum period, as revealed by the polls at that time?

As a democrat first and a nationalist second, I must say that without a minimum percentage proviso, which would declare the referendum null and void, such an outcome could not be deemed acceptable and would be a recipe for conflict.

I wish I could say that I have confidence that somebody somewhere is coming up with the right answer, one that will be immediately acceptable as fair and workable and unbiased by all parties. At the moment, given the inane questions of the media and the politicised, polarised solutions of some nationalist and most unionists, that confidence has not yet been established.

And I have no answers, and must fall back on cutting the Gordian knot and returning to my instinctive first preference for a single question, and a simple 51% majority.

Democracy is a messy business, but what alternatives do we have except dictatorship and fascism?

Monday, 2 January 2012

Alex Salmond on The One Show–YouTube comments



Alex Salmond’s appearance on BBC’s The One Show was pure gold for the SNP and the cause of independence. My clips alone – and there were others – on my TAofMoridura channel got what, for me, are big numbers, and it still gets views.

It is, however, sad that some pro-independence supporters are still in a very anti-BBC and po-faced mode about such programmes, desperate to find bias in presenters, and to dismiss the The One Show as trivial.

You got “to accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative and don’t mess with Mr. In-between” guys and gals …



THE COMMENTS

  • The Anglocentrism of this show is just as embarassing for English people as it is for Scots. Then again most people who watch The One Show probably have the IQ of an Alsatian.

    pidgin

  •  

  • @pidgin You're too harsh. The One Show is a light entertainment show, and a successful one. It doesn't embarrass me in the least when I watch it. They provided an invaluable platform for Scotland's First Minister, and the programme has had a huge positive impact for the SNP and the cause of Scottish independence.

    The presenters are not political interviewers, but were clearly delighted by Alex, his humanity and intelligence. It is important not to be negative about such vital exposure.

    TAofMoridura 1 minute ago

  • It annoys me how 'England' centric UK television is, I think Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are just saw as a county of England and not actual countries themselves.

    Sazz12 2 days ago

  • Love Scotland, hope they get their independence ;) greets from Northern Ireland

    haz464 4 days ago

  • I'm English and i can sence the English-Centric nature of this program, it's almost as if Scotland is some distant holiday destination, and not a part of this country just like England.

    wank0r 1 month ago

  • @wank0r westminster is also english centric the only reason why labour want us to stay is there comfy secure jobs and the tories r a english national for the union party and libdems betrayed the scots

    MrScottishJamie 3 weeks ago

  • The Scots will make the correct choice and that will be independence. In 3 years time all the fiddled figures and skewed balance sheets will be revealed. It is already started. All the lies and scare stories will have been exposed by then except in the Daily Record, on the day of the referendum they will run the headline, "WE ARE ALL DOOMED, A SECRET REPORT SHOWS".

    chancergordy 1 month ago

  • @chancergordy Blame Youtube for delay, chancergordy! And I pre-moderate comments, and therefore don't get round to them instantly 27/7

    TAofMoridura 1 month ago

  • We would be better off independent, Can't see any advantage now for being tied to a country with 60,000,000 squeezed into a very small area. England used to be a very industrial country but cannot sell to other countries which have their own industry now. Britain doesn't produce enough goods now.

    England is not self sufficient on food production either.

    Britain is finished! it is only a matter of time.

    chancergordy 1 month ago

  • SCOTLAND FOR INDEPENDENCE

    CoolCollectableToys 1 month ago

  • @CoolCollectableToys agree with you, but for some reason all my other comments are sitting waiting for approval!???

    chancergordy 1 month ago

  • They didn’t ask him about the oil, you know the black stuff found by a British company with British money that Scotland want ALL for themselves, shame that.

    RonSuperJet 1 month ago

  • @RonSuperJet You mean that the Scottish GOVERNMENT want all to themselves. Most of the people I've talked to around here are actually kinda iffy about independence, don't be so quick to paint us all with the same brush.

    alphaprawns 1 month ago

  • @RonSuperJet. What British company found THE oil? doesn't matter who found what, in international law, the resources in that country's territories, owns the rights to that resource.What happened when Australia became independent. LOndon rule and control stopped.

    Also, don't make the mistake of assuming that anything that is British is English.ie, Scotland will have an airforce, a navy, an equipped army, it's already bought and paid for by the British taxpayer and some of them are Scottish.

    chancergordy 1 month ago

  • @RonSuperJet. What British company found THE oil? doesn't matter who found what, in international law, the resources in that country's territories, owns the rights to that resource.What happened when Australia became independent. London rule and control stopped.

    Also, don't make the mistake of assuming that anything that is British is English.ie, Scotland will have an airforce, a navy, an equipped army, it's already bought and paid for by the British taxpayer and some of them are Scottish.

    chancergordy 1 month ago

  • He really is a great politician and man! We are so lucky in Scotland to have such a great statesman as our First Minister and soon to be Prime Minister :)

    YES FOR INDEPENDENCE

    glasgow1234 1 month ago

  • @glasgow1234 Well said

    CoolCollectableToys 1 month ago

  • Cheese and biscuits indeed?

    markolalanamila 1 month ago

  • Can I pester you for part 2 matey? :o)

    vibrationaluniverse 1 month ago

  • Absolutely brilliant as always. Thanks for posting!

    vibrationaluniverse 1 month ago

  • Wednesday, 26 October 2011

    The Referendum question(s) – initial follow-up

    The follow-up to my last blog has happened, but not quite in the way I had anticipated. I’ve had one comment from Fourfolksache (see comments below and my reply) but a considerable number of email comments, some anonymously, some brief informal comments and some extended response from named individuals. The latter group, however, did not want to be identified, nor did they want their verbatim response to be quoted. I will, of course, respect their wishes to remain anonymous, but I will try to capture the essence of the points they made.

    But first I must clear up a key misconception that emerged in the minds of some - at least I see it as a misconception, but I am happy to be corrected if I’m wrong.

    Many correspondents seem to believe that Scotland has already had an independence referendum, when in fact it has not. The one that will be held in the second half of this Scottish Parliamentary term will be the first Scottish independence referendum.

    The confusion seems to exist over concepts of home rule and devolution. The Scottish 1979 referendum was an attempt to get support for the devolved assembly under the Scotland Act 1978. Known to Nationalists as the Rigged Referendum, it failed in its objective, despite having a 51.6% YES vote on a 63.8% turnout of the Scottish electorate, which didn’t meet the requirement of 40% of the electorate eligible to vote. A second devolution referendum was held in 1997, which endorsed devolution and the setting up of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.

    It follows from this that criticisms of my analysis based on that assumption alone are invalid, since they ignore the fact that no option to leave the UK was included in either referendum, and this is the source of the problem when a third possibility in addition to IN or OUT is added, namely full fiscal autonomy.

    All are agreed that a simple dual option on independence or remaining in the UK, presented as either as a YES/NO or two question ballot is the simplest. The nationalist all require a simple 51% majority vote – others require a higher percentage YES vote, or even a UK-wide vote.

    All correspondents felt that my Option One methodology - my three option ballot - was either unfair because it permitted a minority of those voting to win the vote if they had the highest number of votes, or it was unfeasible because the unionists just would not accept such a methodology. The nationalist tended to say “It would be nice, but it’s no gonnae happen!

    I agree – I simply put it up as a straw man to illustrate some of the difficulties of any methodology in addressing the overlapping objectives of part of the electorate.

    The only criticism – so far – of Option Two is that the options can all go on the one ballot paper. This is true – the reason I suggested two ballot papers is to point up the fact the the result of each ballot stands alone. No one has yet offered any alternative that meets the problems that can arise over certain outcomes that I have identified. That, of course, doesn’t mean there are none …

    A more general point, which I understand, is that I am over-complicating what must be a simple exercise and straightforward choices for the voter. All I can say is that every balloting and voting system in underpinned by complex planning and core assumptions that attempt to envisage and anticipate problems that may arise, and these are largely invisible to the voter.

    When I press a button on my radio or TV, or a key on my computer, I do not want to know all of the complexities that lies behind it. All I want is a truthful outcome from a simple action.



    Given the shambles that has resulted in the very recent past in Scotland from voting systems and mechanisms, I don’t think I am being unreasonable in wanting to avoid a recurrence in this most crucial of ballots.

    And of course, there’s aye the politics …

    The Referendum and the Question(s)?

    Last night’s Newsnight Scotland highlighted the utter confusion in the media mind about the referendum, the nature and wording of the questions, the definitions of independence, full fiscal autonomy and its jargon titles – devo max and indy lite.

    Neither Gordon Brewer’s questions nor the panel’s responses shed any light into this increasingly murky pool. There is a distinct lack of clarity of thought evident on this vital process – if anyone, politician or media interviewer possesses such clarity, they are doing a bloody good job of concealing it, for whatever reason.



    (It’s not as if detailed consideration hasn’t been given to this – in February/March 2010, a detailed consultation exercise was launched, and I responded to it, both directly and in my blog. Unfortunately, I cannot trace my original blog response, but ones immediately after it are reproduced below. Of course all that was in the context of Calman, but the essential arguments are still there. Two alternative versions of the question on Ballot Paper 1 were  consulted through the National Conversation, not just to the opposition parties but to the entire electorate. So much for the unionist nonsense that the SNP hasn’t consulted the people of Scotland – they have. )

    THE IMMEDIATE PROBLEM

    I will leave aside the exact wording of the question or questions that may be put in the independence referendum. They will be the subject of much partisan argument, with the extremes of both nationalist and unionist caricatured as

    Do You want your country to be free of the venal and warmongering UK ,and be independent at last?

    to

    Do you want to rip the heart out of a 300-year Union that has served the Great British People well by separation?

    (In point of fact, the nationalist have never even come close to such an extreme version, but the unionists are trumpeting very similar phrases daily!)

    The SNP wants full independence, a concept that has never required definition by any nation in history, and therefore they ideally want a single YES/NO question, which however it is worded, means Get out of the UK or Stay in the UK. In fact, my ideal question to a Scottish electorate would be Get oot or Stay in?

    However, the elected Scottish Government are democrats, and all the polls indicate that the Scottish electorate see an alternative choice to the simple out or in choice, i.e. maximum powers to the devolved Scottish Government while remaining part of the sovereign state of the UK, sometimes called full fiscal autonomy, and colloquially devo max or indy lite.

    Although the official stance of the main opposition parties at UK level is against such a referendum option, significant Scottish unionist voices seem to favour it.

    So, both on the apparent wishes of the people of Scotland, and some significant Scottish unionists, another referendum choice seems inevitable, even if it is not what the SNP wants.

    The SNP knows very clearly what full fiscal autonomy means, but the unionists seem to be in a state of deep confusion about what they mean by additional powers. Not unreasonably, the SNP feels that it is up to the unionists to define what they mean by it if it is an option that they want.

    However, the bigger question is this -

    What if successive opinion polls between now and the referendum continue to show a wish for this option by Scottish voters, but the unionist parties are totally against it?

    If this is the situation, the democratically elected government of Scotland may feel that the voters must be offered this alternative to full independence.

     

    THE UNIONIST ARGUMENT (as I understand it)

    If the Scottish people vote for full independence, this will automatically deliver full fiscal autonomy. If they reject independence, this maintains the status quo, but does not preclude post-referendum debate about, and progress towards additional powers for Scotland, perhaps even full fiscal autonomy.

    THE NATIONALIST ARGUMENT (as I understand it)

    A simple YES/NO vote for or against independence would deny that sector of the Scottish people a voice who want full fiscal autonomy while remaining in the union. Neither outcome to the referendum would meet their dual objectives.

     

    The positions I outline above represent the ‘respectable’ public positions of both unionist and nationalist – the realpolitik positions may be stated as follows -

    THE UNIONIST realpolitik ARGUMENT

    If the polls are accurate, a simple YES/NO option will be a finely judged gamble on a successful NO vote, but it is a gamble we must take, since the referendum is now inevitable. We must rely on our anti-independence campaign to swing the vote. A rejection of independence would remove it from the agenda for a generation, and might fatally damage the SNP.

    A third option – full fiscal autonomy – has a greater chance of success, if the polls are accurate, and some nationalists might hedge their bet on that option. If successful, it would create a devolved Scottish Government powerful enough to force another referendum on full independence at a later date. We must reject such an option on the ballot paper.

    THE NATIONALIST realpolitik ARGUMENT

    If the polls are accurate, a simple YES/NO option would be a finely judged gamble on a successful YES vote if taken now, but it is a gamble we don’t have to take, since the referendum is at least two years away. A rejection of independence would remove it from the agenda for a generation, and might fatally damage the SNP. We will rely on performance in government and our pro-independence campaign to swing the vote.

    A third option – full fiscal autonomy – may have a greater chance of success, if the polls are accurate, and some unionist voters might hedge their bet on that option. If successful, it would create a devolved Scottish Government powerful enough to force another referendum on full independence at a later date. If the polls are still finely balanced closer to the referendum date, we must insist on that option. If the polls are running significantly in our favour, it would still probably make sense to include it.

    PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES OF THE REFERENDUM BALLOT PAPER AND VOTING

    My speculation above about the realpolitik  (which I regard as flawed in part in both cases) shows that in many respects the nationalist and unionist camps are mirror-images of each other – that’s politics …

    If a single YES/NO question is adopted, there are few problems - other than the framing of the question itself – and providing a simple majority of those voting (not of those eligible to vote) i.e. 51%, will determine the outcome.

    But if the full fiscal autonomy option is to be offered, there are problems. (They were examined back in 2010 – see below - in a slightly different context, but the essential arguments and problems remain the same.)

    Let me leave aside any precedents on how previous referendums were conducted – I believe this one demands a fresh look. Here are the options I see – there may well be more -

    OPTION ONE FOR A THREE CHOICE BALLOT

    Treat the referendum ballot paper like an election ballot paper in a first-past-the-post electoral system, with three candidates -

    FULL INDEPENDENCE (out of UK)

    STATUS QUO (stay in UK)

    FULL FISCAL AUTONOMY (stay in UK)

    Choose only one option – no second preferences, no multiple voting. Option with the highest percentage of votes wins the referendum

    This approach contains the key strength and key weakness of a FTP system – it is almost always produces a clear winner (don’t confuse this with hung Parliaments – it about selecting a single option) but the winner may represent a minority of the total votes cast.

    A dead heat between the three options or between two of the options is highly unlikely, but clearly a possibility, and it must be specified in advance how such an outcome must be handled. As I see it, the only option to such an outcome must be a new ballot. An example will allow you to consider what your judgement would be in such a situation -

    FULL INDEPENDENCE  - 34% of total vote

    STATUS QUO  - 34% of total vote

    FULL FISCAL AUTONOMY  - 32% of total vote

    Some unionists might argue that this represents a 66% vote for remaining in the Union, but such an argument would be as invalid as advancing it if full independence had the highest FTP percentage would be.

    A proportional representation argument cannot be advanced in a such a referendum, since it is in fact equates to single representative for constitutional change. It is of course an argument that can be advanced against the referendum ballot structure, and some would argue that a minimum 51% majority of all votes cast should apply. The dead heat example would have to be pre-specified, but any outcome short of a 51% majority would be criticised if this method were adopted, but the criticism could not affect the FTP result if one option had the highest percentage vote, albeit a majority of those voting.

    Another dead heat option, albeit one that affects the initial ballot, is to allow the voters to choose a fallback option in the ballot  – a second preference  - (or to choose only one option)and in the event of a dead heat, – but only in the event of a dead heat - the second choice votes would be transferred to their first choice option if no option had the highest percentage of the vote.

    All things considered, given the low probability of a dead heat, this seems an undue complication, therefore I favour the ballot re-run option in the event of a dead heat.

    OPTION TWO FOR A THREE CHOICE BALLOT – the TWO BALLOT PAPER OPTION

    This option recognises that voters who want to remain to remain in the UK and voters who want to leave it may also want full fiscal autonomy.  There also may be voters who want to remain in the UK and do not want full fiscal autonomy. It may be argued that those who want to remain in the UK without fiscal autonomy have their vote recognised by opting for the status quo, and those who want independence by definition get full fiscal autonomy by their vote. The argument for adopting the Option One voting mechanism is that those who want fiscal autonomy and to remain in the UK do not have their preference recognised by a simple YES/NO independence vote.

    How else can this circle be squared?

    Well, one way, imperfect as all the others are, is to have two ballot papersone, a simple YES/NO to independence and two, a full fiscal autonomy YES/NO ballot paper. The count for each ballot paper would be independent and produce a separate result, both determined by a simple majority. Electors would obviously be free to complete only one ballot paper if they so chose.

    This method would produce one of the following outcomes -

    1. A simple majority for independence coupled with a simple majority for full fiscal autonomy

    (In this outcome, the independence vote has de facto delivered fiscal autonomy, it is supported by the other ballot, and the SNP Government’s path is clear. The UK is effectively at an end after negotiations are complete. But see caveat below on the size of the respective votes.)

    2. A simple majority for independence coupled with a simple majority for the status quo

    (This outcome is a mandate for the Scottish Government to negotiate the terms of independence, but with their negotiating position prejudiced by the status quo vote in fiscal powers. The worm in the apple is that, although the fiscal autonomy ballot cannot overturn the vote for independence. the size of the status quo percentage must be a concern.

    It may be a highly unlikely outcome, if one makes the assumption that all voters complete both ballot papers, make no mistakes and vote consistently for or against the status quo, but strange things happen in the voting booth!)

    3. A simple majority for the status quo coupled with a simple majority for full fiscal powers

    (This outcome means that the Scottish Government may not negotiate the terms of independence but must attempt to secure full fiscal powers from the sovereign UK government, which now has little incentive to offer them, since the SNP Government has been seriously weakened by the vote against independence.)

    4. A simple majority for the status quo vs independence, coupled with a simple majority for the status quo on fiscal powers

    (This would be a decisive outcome for the UK Government. There would be no new referendum in a generation, and the SNP Government and the SNP Party would be seriously weakened.)

    The other problem with this approach is that it faces voters with complex tactical decisions. The independence YES/NO vote is clear enough, except for the tiny minority of unionists who would refuse to complete this ballot paper, but would complete the fiscal powers ballot paper. But the fiscal powers ballot paper  gives rise to difficult choices for both camps, but especially nationalists.

    The most problematical outcome, in my view, would be on outcome one, above, despite it being an apparently decisive win/win for the SNP Government -

    A simple majority for independence coupled with a simple majority for full fiscal autonomy

    Although each outcome is determined by a simple arithmetical majority – a minimum of 51% of the vote – the size of the majorities will be crucial to how the outcome is viewed, and how the outcome is viewed could divide the nation.

    Consider this possible outcome – a 51% majority for independence and, say, a 90% majority for full fiscal autonomy. The SNP will argue that this is a decisive majority for independence, because each ballot stands alone, and full fiscal autonomy is contained de facto  within independence, but the Union parties and the Westminster Government will argue, that regardless of the two ballots, it is a mandate for remaining in the union with fiscal autonomy, and the 90% ballot trumps the 51% ballot.

    SUMMARY

    I found this very difficult to think through – as I did in 2010 – and my analysis may well be deeply flawed, have missed other possibilities and options, and may be contradictory in some aspects.  But I am trying, as a voter, to understand, and I don’t envy any thinking voter faced with such choices.

    Please offer your contributions, corrections, value judgements, etc. but please don’t offer URL links unless you are prepared to insert the proper hyperlink codes at either end of the URL – I have not got the time to do it for you in the comments boxes.

     

    The 2010 background -

    Consultation Questions Scotland’s Future: My response in 2010

    Draft Referendum (Scotland) Bill Consultation Paper 

    Question 1: What are your views on the proposed referendum which seeks the people’s views on two proposals for extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament?

    I am fully in favour of a referendum on the options on Scottish independence

    Question 2: What do you think should be the first proposal in that referendum: full devolution (Version 1 of Ballot Paper 1), or the Calman-based option (Version 2 of Ballot Paper 1)?

    Full devolution

    Question 3: The Scottish Government proposes voting method 2 (two separate yes/no questions). What are your views on this?

    I agree with two YES/NO questions

    Question 4: What are your views on the wording and format of the ballot papers?

    The wording and format are acceptable, but the voter choice of completing one or both ballot papers creates complex tactical voting options, and may confuse voters, however, I see no alternative that is more satisfactory. A lot of pre-referendum educational work (non-partisan)has to be done to ensure clarity for voters. Inevitably there will also be party propaganda from all interested parties and the media, and much distortion of the choice. Again, I believe this to be one of the untidy but necessary parts of democracy.

    Question 5: What are your views on the proposals for how the poll is conducted and on eligibility to vote?

    The poll should be conducted at a time well distant from any other local or national elections, and should be subjected to all the safeguards and checks and balances of a general election. Ideally, I would like to see all Scottish permanent residents of 16 years of age or over to be eligible to vote, but I realise that major difficulties would arise over eligibility of those not yet on the voters roll, i.e. under 18 years of age. My default is therefore all adults eligible to vote in a local or general election.

    Question 6: What are your views on the proposed rules for the referendum campaign?

    I am in full agreement with the rules as set out in the draft bill.

    Question 7: Do you have any other comments about the proposals in the draft Referendum (Scotland) Bill?

    They are all contained in my blog  26/27 February 2010

    BLOG COMMENTS 2010

    Friday, 26 February 2010

    It has been pointed out to me that the two alternative versions of the question on Ballot Paper 1 are being consulted through the National Conversation, not just to the opposition parties but to the entire electorate. I accept this factual correction, but my view is still that it is in essence aimed at the opposition parties, since their reaction to it will be of major significance if one or more of them shift their total opposition to the independence referendum after the general election.
    The electorate has no formal vote on this, just the opportunity to respond to consultation - not quite the same thing. Whether they can ever vote on Ballot Paper 1 in whatever form will depend on the opposition parties and Holyrood.
    Nevertheless, I apologise if my analysis was misleading in this regard.

    Saturday, 27 February 2010

    I thought my analysis had perhaps over-complicated a simple choice, but more correspondence suggests that my analysis – and dismissal - of voter types Three and Four did not go far enough, and that I should leave such arcane speculation to psephologists. I accept the criticism, but reject the advice.

    Ordinary voters are faced with this analysis and these choices, and need help in thinking it through. Who will offer that help?

    The point has been made that Voter type Three has a more complex choice to make than I had originally stated, and that the option of disregarding one of the ballot papers is a valid option for him/her, and  requires more analysis. Let’s look again …

    Voter Three believes that more devolved powers are a waste of time – what is required is full independence.

    Ignoring Ballot Paper One and voting YES, I AGREE on Ballot Paper Two rejects more devolved powers but endorses independence, but it risks losing the chance of influencing devolved powers as a fallback if the overall independence vote fails to secure a majority.

    However, voting YES, I AGREE on both ballot papers runs the risk that if the total number of votes cast for more devolved powers exceeds the votes for independence, opponents of independence can argue that one outweighs the other, and the electorate prefers the devolution option. (However, a simple majority for independence would still trump devolution – see below.)

    Voter Four believes that more devolved powers are the right way to go, but believes that a vote on independence should not have been offered and is a waste of time.

    Voting YES, I AGREE to more devolved powers on Ballot Paper One but ignoring Ballot Paper Two loses the opportunity to influence a rejection on independence, and is a far more risky option than ignoring Ballot Paper One, with much more significant implications.

    Voting YES, I AGREE to more devolved powers on Ballot Paper One and NO, I DISAGREE on Ballot Paper 2 can only help his/her position, and runs no risk equivalent to Voter Three’s more complex choices.

    The difficulty with the above analysis is that if a simple 51% majority determines the outcome, independence trumps devolution. If, say, 60% of the votes cast were for devolution and 51% for independence, an independent Scotland would still be the outcome.

    More devolution is a fallback position for supporters of independence, but independence is not a fallback option for opponents of independence.

    EXAMINING SOME POSSIBLE OUTCOMES

    Outcome One:

    49% vote for devolution option, 49% vote for independence.

    Voter Three: By ignoring the devolution ballot paper, he/she has contributed to a no change outcome, and may have missed the chance of devolution max – surely a better outcome than no change?

    Outcome Two:

    90% vote for devolution. 51% vote for independence.

    Voter Four: By ignoring the independence ballot paper, he/she has missed a chance to contributing to a defeat of the independence vote.

    Although this should be a clear win for independence under the 51% rule, unionists might mount a challenge to the validity of an independence outcome, on the basis that a massive majority of voters preferred devolution extension to independence.

    Although such a challenge ought to be invalid under the rules, and on the challengers’ unsubstantiated conclusion drawn from the outcome, don’t think that the unionist opposition parties wouldn’t use it, and don’t think it wouldn’t be a major negative factor in the Scottish Government’s attempts to negotiate the terms of the independence settlement.

    Remember, a referendum ballot majority for independence doesn’t bind the UK government to grant it, and Westminster would use an outcome similar to Outcome Two to deny it.

    POSTSCRIPT

    I readily admit that I am finding difficulty in getting my thinking straight on the voting options, and I am open to any help I can get. My wee heid is hurting …

    More pragmatic political animals might argue that all such tactical consideration should be ignored, and that everyone should vote on both papers for what option they believe in. They may be right …

    But I fear that some confusion will reign in the polling booth unless some objective guidance is given. In a situation where unionists have no interest at all in the existence of an well-informed, politically-aware Scottish electorate, the default position will be emotional unionist rhetoric rather than objectivity.

    The SNP, of course, will be on the side of the angels and will avoid such populism. Well, I can hope, can’t I?

    Monday, 12 September 2011

    A lack of moderation–and its results …

    I pre-moderate comments on my blog, and only allow access to those with an online ID. I do this because I have some experience of what unmoderated comment produces.

    On my YouTube channel – TAofMoridura – I can’t insist on an online ID but I do pre-moderate, and it involves a lot of work.

    Once in a while, I forget to set the pre-moderate requirements. Here’s what happened, on one video alone Scotland's independence and the English - BBC1 clip posted on 5th July 2011.



    Some say this is a price worth paying to hear the raw, unmoderated voice of the people. I’m not so sure, given the religious bigotry, historical uncertainty and general abuse that appears. Education, education education – and information, information, information … But there is some good stuff, and some reasoned voices in among it all.

     

     

    • It's none of England's business weather Scotland should be independent or not, the people of Scotland, the Scots, are the sovereign of Scotland, therefore what the people of Scotland want is absolute.

      And this news poll piece will probably be news to all the English nationalists/unionists who've been raving on for ages saying that "more English people want to see Scotland independent than the Scots do".

      Time to put an end to this rancid union once and for all, it's way past it's sell by date.

      segano1 1 month ago 7

    • the english should vote for independence too for themselves away from the monarchy its a wakeupcall>com for them

      satelite1402 2 months ago 3

    • @satelite1402

      the monarchy is scottish

      dublinricky 1 month ago 9

    • @dublinricky - Are you having a laugh? The house of Stuart is long gone, its house of Hannover which is german. Which those people have settled in england and have had the throne there. The throne is english and they are of german descent. Whats Scottish about that? Anyway your a fake account, your a ulster loyalist living in scotland as a unionist, who sits on youtube making accounts to be either ; scottish nationalist, irish republican, to make those peoples look bad. Get a life

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888

      I am Irish from Artane. The Queen is not English whatsoever, the ancestry goes to Sophia of Hanover the grand-daughter of James VI of... SCOTS.

      dublinricky 1 month ago

    • @dublinricky - your information is loyalist lies. Do you know what the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 was for? Bonnie Prince Charlie, a man of scottish royal blood, and his counterparts where Hannovarians, German Georgie. Read a book u scumbag, your on a fake account, keep your nose out our business wee man

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 The Queen is Scottish, she was born in Glamis castle in Scotland, near Angus and Tayside.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - she may have been born here, she has an english accent and is of german descent, that doesnt make her scottish. That same woman visited the Culloden battlefield to "honour it with her presence" WHY? cause it was HANNOVARIAN victory.

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 You sound a bit racist, are you saying that where an individual is born has nothing to do with who they are? That is part of their heritage, so if some one had a bit half ancestry from another country far away yet they were born in Scotland and identified as Scottish, they are not Scottish according to you?

      She has an English accent obviously because most of her work is involved down there, so naturally she'll pick up influences.

      And Culloden was not Scotland vs England.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - Im not racist, im saying the woman is english, she lives there and has an english accent, and she is of german descent. I am not slagging germans or english people so i fail to see why you came to that conclusion. she isnt HALF scottish lol, she was born here yes, her surname isnt, her accent isnt, she doesnt live here? Culloden was true scotsmen vs the british government, in the hope of home rule, and putting a man of scottish royal blood on the throne

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 You say you're not racist yet you use race in a discriminative manner to judge who somebody is with a complete disregard to their heritage (what they inherent from birth onwards) and their native birth rights.

      Yes she has an English accent, yes accent is part of your heritage also but she also has Scottish ancestry as well and holds the separate title of 'Queen of Scots', (there was no union of the crowns, she gave a separate oath to the Scots the night before her coronation).

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 And according to you, Culloden was 'true Scots vs Brits'?, so with more Scots fighting for the government because they did not want a Catholic monarch from Italy undermining their true Scottish branded religion of Presbyterianism, that means most Scots are not true Scots then?

      Bonnie Prince Charlie was born in Rome, an opportunist who wanted to restore as much Catholicism back as possible, the Scots by majority clearly did not want that, as they had their own church that was theirs.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - Your clearly sectarian. The Jacobites fought for Charlie cause he was of Scottish royal blood and the highlanders became part of Scotland cause of the Stuarts. The Jacobites fought for the clan system, many for Scotland, and they fought for their rightful king, but it is you who is the sectarian scumbag here who is totally against all that all because of the guys religion? The Jacobites opposed the union which is why i said they fought for Scotland

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - if your a scottish nationalist thats hilarious cause i feel as if im talking to the head of the orange order here with such loyalist lies

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - youv clearly called me everything under the sun with your false accusations. Bonnie Prince Charlie actually fought for the throne of his family, you know the house of Stuart? who were in the throne of Scotland, and booted off cause of militant protestants invited a dutchman over, and then when he died and never produced an air, they later fought for a german. You clearly hate catholics and celtic fans cause i never opened my mouth about religion untill u started it

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - Dont even go into the whole Culloden story, i know it and men in tartan carrying a scotland flag into battle fighting redcoats with a union jack taken into battle tells me who i want to win ok

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 Rubbed the wrong way? That seems like you've been touched the wrong way, I'm no royalist or unionist either, I believe in an independent Scotland and a re-united Ireland, but the Ulstermen just don't want it and Ireland is unlikely going to be able to even afford to run it.

      But I'm against historical revisionists in both sides here, I seen the flaws in your argument and responded.

      Culloden was Prodestants vs Catholics, what ever version of history you've consumed, it's wrong.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - LOL "Culloden was Prodestants vs Catholics" no it wasnt, for starters you cant even spell "Protestant". Yes in terms of who would be king, but it wasnt about that. Your clearly a bigot to even suggest that. People who sided with the hannovarians certainly had your view, you call me racist? yet your the sectarian person here. Im not racist, the Queen refused to wear the crown jewels of Scotland cause she didnt recoginise Scotland as a country, yet you say shes scottish

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 I don't think you're in a position to criticise my type of 'Protestants' when your every comment is riddled with illiteracy, not to mention, you're sub standard historical knowledge and hypocritical bigoted views.

      To say somebody is not Scottish even though they were of native birthright according to heritage is what bigotry is, your comments are saturated with contradictory opinions, and that's no exaggeration.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - i said she wasnt scottish cause she doesnt live here, she refused to wear the crown jewels of Scotland, therefore not recognising scotland as a country. When is she ever referred to as the "queen of scotland" or "scottish queen" exactly, get lost. Your a bigot, and youv got the cheek to say i am? and av explained and backed it up with historical reasons and you say your into history? you havent got a clue

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 When is the Queen ever referred to as the Queen of Scots? Look up the recent Queens visit to the Scottish parliament where Alex Salmond addressed her as 'Queen of Scots', she is bound by Scots law to address the Scots parliament every 10 years, the most recent was just two months ago, following the SNP's massive recent electoral victory.

      I can't believe you're this ignorant, it's laughable at best though.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 You're clearly an extremist, you must be a Catholic too judging by your unfounded crys of 'bigot'.

      The battle of Culloden was Protestants vs Catholics, this is a well documented proven fact, hence why there were even English Catholics siding with the Jacobite cause, their sole aim was to put a Catholic on the throne, Scotland was Presbyterian, they did not want a Catholic monarch in Scotland, hence why most Scots fought against them.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 - "most scots" fought for the government LOL, no they didnt. The Jacobite army had well more Scots. For the one thousandth time not all the Jacobites were Catholic, there were many presbyterians fighting for them its just you are too ignorant and too sectarian to comprehend that. In terms of who would be king yes it was between a catholic and protestant but you who claims not to be sectarian keeps saying it was a catholic vs protestant war? when IT wasnt, it was a JACOBITE war

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 You keep throwing opinion after opinion back with no factual evidence at all, give me one source that states more Scots fought for the Jacobite cause, and good luck with it, take your time finding a site where the Scots ever wanted a Catholic monarch over their own Presbyterian church, good luck with that...lol

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - your an idiot. Once again it was not a war of catholic scots vs presbyterian scots. Although the war did determine if the king would be protestant or catholic. I done the Jacobite rebellion in school in my teacher who had a degree in history bloody well told me. So im not listening to some faggot on youtube whos trying to tell me different. Read a book boy. Dispite the reformation many Scots stayed loyal to the Stuarts.

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 It's very clear here who the idiot is and it certainly isn't me, like I said, I'm not bothered about religion, I'm a realist, I like truth, not historical revisionism, and it just so happens that Catholicism is well known for it's historical revisionism, that is a well documented fact, not an opinion, hence why I don't read into it on face value. And 'faggot'? you must be a Yankee, as only these people think that is an offensive term to use when in reality it's quite lame 'faggot'.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 The Stuart house was one thing, the idea of a Catholic monarch from Italy who had no regard for the Presbyterian church and Protestants was another thing entirely.

      This is exactly why there is so many Plastic Paddies brainwashed by 100's of years of National Catholic propaganda from Ireland trying to undermine the Scots and make out that the Scots are Irish and vice versa which they aren't, modern science disproves myth made rubbish.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 And of course you are going to block, you're the cowardly type, I sensed it coming when I asked you to cite your sources to prove that bullshit you were saying, yet you came back with not a single source, you just recycled all your original garbage to spew out once again, your mere brainwashed opinionated beliefs.

      Yes Scotland becoming a republic is probably a possibility in future after independence, but not for a long time, even the SNP don't support republicanism.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - Yes there were Scots who fought for the government at Culloden 2 clan regiments and the blackwatch regiment. Whereas the entire Jacobite army was predominately Scots. Which means there were MORE scots on the Jacobite side. The Queen isnt scottish end of, if she got her ancestry looked up and to say she jumped out her mothers vagina in scotland then buggered off elsewhere hardly makes here even 50% scottish

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 The only reason you don't want to acknowledge the Queen as Scottish, even though she is, is because it goes against your political historical revisionism, hence your very hypocritical bigoted view on her native birth right. The Jacobite side was all Catholics, they came from the highlands down south, although not all regiments were actually Highlanders, many were Catholics who moved up to support the cause from there, there were even English Catholics fighting in the Jacobites.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888

      Dang, you gots schooled kid. Take a nap. Take a mothafuckin nap.

      ProtestantThomas 21 hours ago

    • @Steely1888 Most Scots DID fight against the Jacobites, the whole point of the Jacobites existence was for the sole aim of placing a Catholic on the monarch, a Catholic from Italy. Being a Scot at the time, you're not going to want a backward barbaric Roman system of Catholicism taking over the Scottish way of life and undermining the Scottish religion. Why the hell would a Protestant fight for them?, the whole point of the Jacobite cause was to remove Protestants and ruin the Scottish religion.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - LOL the scottish way of life was banned after Culloden

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 The Scottish ways never died, many Scottish institutions have remained 100% independent to this day, Scots law, Scottish education system, the Scottish church etc to name a few.

      Ireland is not in Scotland, the Irish lost their true culture from 1537 onwards when King Henry of England wanted to influence the Irish as English so that they were easier to assimilate.

      After Ireland got independence in the early 1900's they adopted Scottish influence due to the emergence of Celt romance.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • There are scottish nationalists even on my youtube list who are presbyterian and support the old jacobite cause, so get lost ya bigot. You clearly are.  I take it you think in 1690 king william of orange rode a white horse and led an army of protestants to defeat an army of catholics? your history is a massive misconception, get a grip, and stop replying, av had enough of your bigotry. Any historian would piss themselves laughing at you with such views

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 Also, Culloden took place in 1746, 39 years after the union of the 'Great British' political construct. You may not want to hear it, but it's the truth, as I said before, I'm no royalist or unionist, I'm not even that bothered about religion, although given the choice, I'd probably go with Presbyterians over Catholics, either way though, I'm a realist, I go by the truth, not bias, that's why I exposed your comments as 'opinions', not 'facts', so if you can get the 'facts', go for it.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - Im blocking you cause iv gave you historical facts and youv chosen to ignore it cause it upsets your theory of a sectarian war. read a book and grow up. Im not wasting any more of my time educating you. I gave you facts and anyone who has learned about it and studied the event will tell u the same. You exposed nothing, all u did is declare your sectarian, by reading into a war the wrong way and seeing it in black and white

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 As for Scottish independence, even with independence, the United Kingdoms will still remain unless Scotland becomes a republic, but that's unlikely as the SNP's stance is to retain the monarchy but gain back political independence to the way it was prior to 1707. The UK has existed since 1603.

      The constitution would therefore be re-written from "The United Kingdom of Great Britain & N.Ireland" and into

      "The United Kingdoms of Scotland, England & N.Ireland".

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - There are republican members of the SNP. We would lately get a vote after independence on it. Why be nationalist and want a foriegn monarch? that is laughable. If you want to be a country you should grow a pair and want your own head of state. You say stuff on how bonnie prince charlie shouldnt of been on the throne? he had more of a valid claim than the hannovarians and the williamites. Take it your national anthem isnt flower of scotland? and its God save the queen?

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - you claim to be scottish nationalist and u dispise the jacobites for fighting for a man of scottish royal blood, and the same people opposed the union that your supposed to be nationalist and want to break? and why? cause u disagree with the mans religion who wasnt even devout. You have issues mate, a take it you go into ibrox singing about the 'billy boys' and wave union flags and singing about the queen?

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 One contradictory opinion of yours for example is that the Queen can't possibly be Scottish because she doesn't live in Scotland and doesn't speak with a Scottish accent, so does that mean that Mary Queen of Scots is not Scottish either? Using your logic, she can't possibly be, as she grew up in France for several years and had a French accent.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - well Mary queen of Scots had a scottish surname so she was of scottish origin. You however said the queen is scottish who is not of scottish origin, and was born here and then fucked off to england? does not have a scottish accent, and the only thing she wants with us is for us to stay in the union so she can have more power

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 Scotland being in the union or not makes no difference to what the Queen wants as the UK constitution will still remain regardless, because Scottish independence is about political independence not republicanism, this is a well documented fact, look up the SNP's white paper manifesto, you'll find it on their official website.

      The UK is a monarchy union, Great Britain is a political union, learn the difference.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 So a surname still holds as much value to who you are today as it did 500 years ago, are you actually still being serious with these endless hilarious comments? ROFL!

      The Queen is immediately Scottish if born there, if you are born in Scotland with not at least one Scottish parent, then you are still a Scottish nationalists, however if you have at least one parent who is Scottish then you are a Scot by nationality and an indigenous link, which the Queen does have.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Steely1888 If you are born in Scotland, you originate there, you are native to Scotland by birth right and heritage, the fact you try to disprove this reveals your bigotry and hypocritical nature.

      You have a very selective view on who is Scottish because you don't want to acknowledge people you don't approve of as being Scottish, try telling me again that that is not bigotry right there.

      I'm starting to get the impression that you aren't even Scottish at all now, either a racist Yank or Irish.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • @Calengela - youv really been rubbed the wrong way, i take it your a militant royalist unionist? not much point talking to me as im not royalist nor unionist

      Steely1888 1 month ago

    • @dublinricky The monarchy isn't scottish, the monarchy is German. The Scottish Stuarts came down to England in 1603, one had his head chopped off and the other was chased away to France. The Catholic Stuarts were then blocked from the throne. the last one was seen running away from the British army at culloden

      billybob7ful 1 month ago

    • @dublinricky The monarchy are germans.

      1966thewallace 2 days ago

    • @satelite1402 In England, the Queens authority is absolute as the English are her subjects, however in Scotland, the Scots themselves are the sovereign, so she has holds a separate title as 'Queen of Scots' and reigns at the Scots whims, King and Kingdom have never meant the same thing in Scots law, the Scots therefore have always been more free and had some of the worlds earliest democratic powers that go as far back as the 1328 Declaration of Arbroath, legalised by King Robert I king of Scots.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • Con't, A clue to this is the very title of the monarchies of Scotland, they were titled 'King or Queen of Scots' rather than the monarchies of England where it was 'King or Queen of England' and not the English themselves, this means that the Scottish Crown worked for the people of Scotland rather than the country itself with subjects living on it like in England.

      The Scots had powers of freedom even back then.

      The London unionist elite will want you to believe otherwise and be ignorant however.

      Calengela 1 month ago

    • I like the way they present the results of a poll of 1200 people as fact !! STV were really even handed in the run up to the election but they are back to their bad old ways again. Very noticable in the last few weeks. Unionist spin and selective story telling!!

      RobQos 2 months ago

    • DOGGY :D

      darkarlok 2 months ago

    Friday, 12 August 2011

    The London riots - the Commons debate and the media

    When events go wrong in a country, the government feels under pressure. If it is a natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans in 2005, the government cannot be held responsible for the hurricane, but they are responsible for dealing with it, and not only their actions in handling the crisis can be called into question, but also their foresight - or lack of it - in preparing for it, not only in the period when it was known to be imminent, but in previous long-term preparations for ‘known unknowns’, the knowledge that there will be hurricanes and floods, although the exact timing cannot be predicted far  in advance.

    When things go wrong that seem to be clearly linked to either the action or the inaction of government, for example the failure of an economic or social policy or programme - or the lack of one - or a diplomatic or defence initiative, or the lack of one, governments are subject to even greater direct criticism. To take an example that is half a century old - currently being dramatised in The Hour on BBC - Prime Minister Anthony Eden was criticised by the United States and the USSR for supporting Israel by bombing Egypt in the Suez crisis (The Tripartite Aggression) in 1956, and he resigned in January 1957. He would also have come under heavy criticism from allies France and Israel and from some sections of his own party had he not acted.

    (The posture of the US and President Eisenhower and John Foster Dulles was highly ambivalent, as revealed by subsequent unguarded remarks by Dulles.)

    The measure of a government, a politician, or an industrialist - or indeed any man or woman - may be gauged by their willingness to take unpopular decisions, either to act or refrain from action. But refraining from action as a conscious choice is not inaction - the failure to act out of cowardice, political expediency or lack of imagination or vision most certainly is inaction.

    GOVERNMENT DEFENSIVE ARGUMENTS

    They can be summarised as -

    No one could have foreseen this - it was totally unexpected.

    This is caused by global factors beyond our control.

    This was caused by the actions of the last government (when it wasn’t us) or, in the event that we were the last government, by the irresponsibility of our political opponents.

    This is not representative - it was one rogue individual, company or group.

    This is a failure of personal morality, family, schools, academics, i.e. anybody or anything but us, the government. Government policies and actions never lead to bad outcomes, except when our opponents are in government.

    This was an act of nature - or God - and we now must deal with it.

    THE WESTMINSTER RESPONSE

    The Westminster response, from the headless chicken initial response of Cameron, Clegg and the Coalition  to the response of Parliament in the debate yesterday, with the political solidarity characteristic of a threat of war rather than an outbreak of civil unrest, contained elements of almost all of the above defences with the exception of global factors, and they would have thrown that into the  excuse pot if they could have got away with it.

    The consensus analysis seems to be, in a classic exercise in doublethink, that the riots just happened, could not have been predicted, had no contributory causes that in any way could be attributed to government policies or actions, past or present, but nevertheless were the entirely predictable result of a long-term decline in family values, loss of parental control, marriage, personal morality, a failure of discipline at all levels, the Human Rights Act, social media - the list goes on.

    I watched the first hour and a half of the debate, gave up in disgust, recorded the rest and sampled it. Here are a few of my increasingly exasperated tweets as the debate droned on.

    TWITTER 11th August 2011 @moridura

    Peter Curran

    moridura Peter Curran

    It's the gangs - but why did young people join gangs? Always the same reasons: failure of government to provide jobs, hope, and purpose

    It's all about crime and criminals - blame the culture, the parents, social media - everything and everybody except Government

    Cameron/riots: Will the de-masking deal with religious masking?

    Cameron catalogues what he will do - concentrating on compensation for damages

    Police may remove face coverings - I agree with that - no one should be allowed to go masked in public - no one

    Cameron/riots. What does a government do when public order fails as a result of their policies - attack human rights. And there will be more

    Cameron: "The riots are not in any way representative of our country" Not representative but symptomatic...

     

    Ed Miliband - usual preamble - true face of Britain, etc. Wait for the beef ... Where's the beef?

    Get past the clichés, Ed - say something for god's sake ...

    Ed M. Go out and listen to the people. Explain how their voices will be heard. Independent commission of enquiry - reaching out ...

    Ed M: Deeper reasons - "To seek to explain is not to seek to excuse" Good one, Ed ...

    Ed M: Will there be a cap on help fund?

    The PM and the police cuts - will he think again? Swifter justice system - capacity of courts? Tough sentence deserved and expected.

    Ed M: The Army? Funding of operational costs? Increased police presence? How long?

    Ed M: Questions of hope and aspiration. Not about any one government. You're right there, Ed - it's about the 13years of Labour too

     

    Cameron: Cosy regards to Ed - all sweetness and light - for the moment ...

    DC: Tear up the manual of public order

    DC: Not about resources - about deep moral issues. (Growls from House)

    House starts to growl and mutter at police cuts. DC begins to face the flak

    DC: Vague rabbiting on. Gets to operational costs - vague, evasive answers. Police budgets - cash reductions over 4 years - 6%!

     

    Pompous old Scots git Malcolm Rifkind -

    DC: Stonewall on police numbers - but it won't wash, David ...

    Jack Straw: PMs repetition of Treasury lines about numbers not good enough

    David Lammy: Lost homes -where were the police? PM must speak to Tottenham victims. Public enquiry - skirmishes led chaos

    David Davis: Ethnic tension over young Asian deaths. Measures?

    Wee Hazel Blears. Criminality, etc. Like the criminality of MPs over expenses? Where were the polis then, Hazel?

    They're all sliding away from reality into denial of accountability of any government, any UK policy. I've had enough - lunch!

    Oh, God! Nadine Dorris - water cannon, tear gas - the whole right-wing repression, dangerous crap. Go ahead, UK - attack the people!

    Now more than 1.5 hrs into 'debate' - a cosy consensus between the parties - it was Blackberries, crooks, parents, morality, etc.

    (At this point, the tedious sequence of predictable, formulaic contributions led me to produce a few stereotypes -)

    Fragrant Tory babe Penny: "No moral compass, positive role models." e.g. Sir RS Likr, XBE, YBE, ZBE

    Sir RS Liker,XBE, RBE, ZBE (etc), failed Scots Tory: "May I - etc. etc." Oh, God ...

    Tory Babe: May I welcome - congratulate the PM - praise police - blame parents and Blackberries - demand the police are set free ...

    Sir RightWing Nutter, KBE: Give the police flame throwers, grenades, napalm etc. These teenagers must be dealt with. Rule Brittannia!

     

    Making political capital out of the riots. It is political, stupid - it's the bloody UK in operation

    DC: Admiration for Strathclyde police. They'll be even better when Scotland is free of the UK - and you, Dave -

    No real debate - Commons is the UK in denial and complacent conspiracy of silence. Why? Because the three main parties are culpable.

    RW F.Luent Tory: Thugs, hooligans, etc. Compensate businesses.

    Speaker reprimands Cameron!

    SNP leader Angus Roberston is told PM not aware of any conversations with Scottish gov on riots, but Cameron praises police co-operation.

    (At this point, I gave up in disgust, and went for lunch.)

    THE MEDIA

    A special edition of Question Time was scheduled. I looked forward to it eagerly - I should have known better. Essentially it mirrored the vacuity of Westminster, but with some flashes of real insight from Fraser Nelson, whose politics I don’t share, and whose persona is that of one of the kind of Establishment Scots that I can’t stand. But he does talk some very hard sense at times, and I delighted in his demolition of the increasingly ridiculous John Prescott, who lathered up with synthetic indignation in his plain-spoken, man-of-the people Lord Something or Other style, seemingly unaware that he was part of the group who are supposed to be governing the country.

    Newsnight Scotland again was a deep disappointment - what can I say that I haven’t already said? They also missed the point completely on the Jimmy Reid Foundation and the Scottish Left, who apparently feel left oot!

    Monday, 11 July 2011

    This and that …

    So far today no burning issues have got my adrenalin pump going and I will seize the opportunity to ramble inconsequentially.

    PEDANTS CORNER

    The ugly and inaccurate usage obsessing over continues, including from respected Scottish journalists who should know better. Obsessing over makes as much sense as fascinating over, i.e. none whatsoever. Usage trumps all, so if this continues, the OED will eventually capitulate and offer it as an alternative usage, and an important word will be lost in its real sense to the language. It equally bad twin is bored of, a usage beloved of youthful chavs everywhere, and a few not so youthful.

    HALF SCOTS

    A few email correspondents have taken me to task for describing Rory Stewart MP as a ‘half Scot’. For the record, on the Newsnight debate, Rory Stewart said “I’m half-Scottish, half-English, like many people in this country …” so half-Scot is genealogically accurate. In the interests of perspective, let me say that I am a half-Scot by birth (my mother was Scottish, my father Irish) and since all my grandparents were Irish, I am a quarter-Scot. If I have an ethnic identity, it is Celtic. (My wife is a half-Scot - her mother was English.)

    But I used the term for Rory Stewart, and for others of his class and background, not as an ethnic or genealogical description, but in terms of allegiance. I owe 100% allegiance to Scotland and the Scottish nation, not to the hybrid state of The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Rory Stewart, in contrast, owes 100% allegiance to that hybrid state, whatever his vaguely nostalgic ethnic Scottish leanings.

    (Despite my Irish ancestry, I owe no political allegiance whatsoever to The Republic of Ireland nor to the province of Northern Ireland.)

    I have contacts who are entirely English by birth  and ancestry, but who have made their lives in Scotland, owe allegiance to Scotland, vote Scottish nationalist and  eagerly await Scottish independence. These are political, social and economic loyalties, not misty, nostalgic ones. I am absolutely certain that is true among the many ethnic minority groups in Scotland.

    For the moment, however, we must accommodate ourselves as best we can to the ugly realities of our unwilling membership of the British state and subservience to the British Establishment, and the legal and constitutional demands of that failing state, as must the English and Welsh peoples.

    (The people of Northern Ireland have their own complex problems and relationships to deal with, and nothing I have to say can contribute anything useful to that debate.)



    GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

    I recognised GBS from early childhood as a wise old man with a long, grey beard and a twinkle in his eye: he popped up in the newspapers and on the newsreels. He died, age 94, just as I left school. My teachers at St. Mungo’s Academy, Marist Brothers in the main, thoroughly disapproved of him - he was Irish, but an atheist and a radical Socialist!

    As far as I know, he was the only person ever to have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and a Hollywood Oscar, for his adaptation of his own play, Pygmalion for the cinema. It of course later achieved even greater fame as on Broadway as My Fair Lady. I knew the film, as a compulsive filmgoer in the fleapits of Dennistoun and Calton, and also the film (1945) from his play Caesar and Cleopatra (1898) which a member of the Wranglers debating society in Newcastle told me  proudly in 1976 had first been staged in the city in 1899.

    This film, together with Pygmalion, which I had seen much earlier, led me to borrow Three Plays for Puritans from Dennistoun library and read Shaw for the first time. I recognised his socialism and his deep feeling for the ordinary man, but was riveted by his accessible style. I then read a fair amount of his work, but it was not until my mid-twenties that I came across his collected Prefaces in a very bulky volume from Clydebank Public Library, a work that I read and re-read, borrowed and re-borrowed. (I now have my own copy.)

    Then somehow I forgot Shaw for a long, long time, until a few months age I wandered into a charity shop in Corstorphine, glanced briefly across the rows of rubbish books that now form their main stock. But in a corner, quietly and inconspicuously waiting for me on the shelf were a number of volumes in the 1937 Constable edition (1950 reprint) of some of Shaw’s works.

    After the briefest glance at the titles, I grabbed the lot and bought them for £2 apiece. When I began to put them on my shelf next to my other Shaw books, noticing ruefully the duplicates, one caught my eye, because of its odd title. - London Music in 1888-89 as heard by Corno Di Bassetto. I had never heard of this work by Shaw, but as a musician of sorts, I recognised corno di bassetto as the basset horn, and a vague memory came to mind that Shaw had briefly been a music critic for a London newspaper, The Star.

    Up till that moment, I regarded the funniest prose works in the English language as being P.G. Wodehouse and the Irish RM stories of Somerville and Ross. But now they had a rival, and I have succeeded since in annoying my family by laughing out loud at regular intervals, and boring all and sundry with the words of Corno Di Bassetto, which are about as contemporary as one can get in style, and terrifyingly knowledgeable about music in all its aspects, with savage and hysterically funny criticism of the operatic and concert performers of the day.

    More to come …