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Foreign Office and Parliament plan strategy ahead of Scotland’s independence referendum

Thursday, May 2nd 2013 - 07:18 UTC
Full article 14 comments

Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague welcomed the publication of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Report on foreign policy considerations for an independent Scotland. The Foreign Affairs Committee announced its inquiry into ‘the foreign policy implications of and for a separate Scotland’ on 18 July 2012. Read full article


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  • Anglotino

    The simpletons just think it's as easy as declaring independence.

    What I find funny is that so many people see this referendum as a sign of weakness or fragility by the UK when it is clearly the opposite.

    Upon Scottish independence, externally the UK would be left with a smaller population and GDP. But it would hardly lead to a loss of influence or prestige.

    Scotland on the other hand would be a small European country akin to Portugal.

    Saying that I'm all for self determination and will be happy either way for Scotland when it has made its choice.

    Perhaps I should move there for the vote? I have voting rights after all.

    May 02nd, 2013 - 08:38 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    @1 Quite true. Some of us try to tell Scots about all the problems ahead of them. Fortunately, the percentage in favour of independence seems to be dropping all the time. Especially as they come to realise that Salmond hasn't given them ONE fact that has stood up to scrutiny. He's just been “winging” it.

    Checking the population, Portugal has twice as many people. Scotland would be more akin to Turkmenistan.

    As a matter of interest, how is Scotland disadvantaged by being part of the UK? It has a proportionate voice to the other members of the Union. You could say that it has twice the proportion of political representation that England has. England hasn't asked Scotland to repay its debt. When England took over the Scottish national debt between 1700 and 1707. A sum that is now estimated, with compound interest at a nominal 5%, to be on the order of £2 quadrillion.

    May 02nd, 2013 - 11:39 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • GFace

    @2, this happened in Quebec. The independence movement was hip and with-it or however you say it in Franglais. But once people began asking “then what?” things like having to renegotiate trade agreements and such begin to show the steep price of leaving the status quo.

    May 02nd, 2013 - 05:07 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    When England took over the Scottish national debt, it was a form of Danegeld. It meant that their national boundaries were secure from an attack by the French on two fronts. Money well spent as far as they were concerned.
    I think we have paid back any “debt” in blood over the centuries, as yesterday's report from Afghanistan has shown.

    Breaking up the UK would be like trying to reconstitute eggs from an omelette.

    As I have said before, the SNP were voted in not because of a great desire for independence but because virtually no one here can vote for the Conservatives. New Labour were as big a disaster, Liberals - a joke, so by default, SNP.

    There is general antipathy by the English towards Scotland getting a perceived better deal than them in having free prescriptions and University tuition. Scotland has a block grant from the UK government. It is up to us how that money is allocated. If prescriptions etc are free, then other expenditures are cut back. No extra money is advanced by Westminster.
    No doubt Conq. regards the Scots as being feather bedded by the rest of the population, however prices are higher for basic foodstuffs and fuel. Winters are about 6 weeks longer up here, so heating bills are higher. Vat at 5% is added to the bills so we pay more VAT, car travel distances are generally longer - more VAT. The cost of transport is added to the selling prices of goods and VAT is paid on the delivered cost.
    Salaries are generally lower than in England.
    If I want to fly to Australia, I have to get to London to catch a flight. My ticket will show a through flight but I will be charged air passenger duty for each leg, an extra £26. If I could travel direct from Scotland this charge would not apply.
    I am being penalised because of where I live. The Govt. has allowed this concession as a “direct flight” for N.Ireland but not for us.
    So, everything is not quite so much in our favour as the Daily Mail would report !

    May 02nd, 2013 - 06:40 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Conqueror

    @4 I'm sorry, but I disagree with you. The FACT is that, more then once, the Scots allied themselves with the French. Through choice.
    Nor do I think it right for you to bring up the report from Afghanistan. Everybody in the UK is saddened by the deaths of those soldiers. They weren't Scottish. They were OURS. Did you notice that Fusilier Samuel Flint was from Blackpool? And Private Robert Hetherington, of the 51st Highland Volunteers, 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment Of Scotland was born in the United States?
    I've read through your comment and, Cly, I object to being referred to as Conq. Or do they not teach you courtesy in Scotland. Could I remind you that, in 1982, the detachment from the Scots Guards (a minor part of the Task Force) could have been shelled by a certain argie cruiser. But for the action of a certain Royal Navy submarine. I will not denigrate Scottish soldiers. But they are, and always have been, a minor part of the British Army. Would you like to research English, Welsh and Irish casualties compared to those of Scots. And see who paid most in blood?
    So your living conditions are a little tougher? And do you “choose” to live there? Then that's your problem. No reason for England to give you £8,623 per person per year. Do you think that VAT is different in Scotland is different? More fool you. Are you being penalised because of where you live? You have a problem moving? You sound like an argie. ALWAYS THE VICTIM! This is just a thought but grow up and quit being a wimp. Don't like your situation? Move. Don't like being unable to fly from Scotland? It's because you don't have the economic necessity or the infrastructure. You're not that important! And don't forget. You still owe us £2 quadrillion. Check international law. Failing to repay debts is a bona fide justification for war!

    May 02nd, 2013 - 07:58 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Stevie

    Scots, free yourselves!!!

    Beat the rats.

    Leave that sinking ship


    May 02nd, 2013 - 09:09 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    A waste of time replying, however your quote “ I will not denigrate Scottish soldiers. ”
    You have in the past. “I remember you saying that they were only good for dying”
    Yes Scotland is a small relatively unimportant country. I am quite happy with that. At least, we realise that fact.
    England still fails to recognise that THEY are relatively unimportant in the great scheme of things. To an Uber English nationalist like you, this must rankle . You were born 150 years too late - get used to it and take up bead work or knitting..

    May 03rd, 2013 - 10:45 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Steuart

    Sorry Conqueror you make a lot of high handed and downright wrong assumptions about Scotland. England does not give Scotland any money at all. The UK exchequer does that from the UK tax take. Even the Sunday Times has acknowledged Scotland contributes more than it recieves (according to official government sources we are the second highest contributors to the UK exchequer after SE England). We have apparently, 25% of Europe's renewable energy reserves, produced last year 35% of our electricity from renewables (50% of the overall UK total production) and have 90% of the UK's fresh water reserves. We also have a thriving fishing industry, how much does Scotch Whisky yield in revenues? I won't mention oil and gas. We run a balance of trade surplus. These are facts. We are not victims or whingers, just people looking forward. As for our share of the national debt, if we become independent, we'll take our share and it'll be paid by us. As for your two quadrillion, do that include historic payments made to countries the UK colonised and robbed? Can of worms that one when you think about it eh? As for where we choose to live, in my opinion we live in a wonderful place that like large areas of England suffer because of the biase toward SE England. We are not politically over-represented at any level. England is politically under-represented because Westminster will not reform itself. Those turkey's will not vote for Xmas will they. And before you ask I am in favour of the union but not in its current form. I believe what Clyde said about the SNP being a default position is absolutely correct. While the UK political parties tell Scotland the sky will fall on their head, the SNP tell us what they will do to make Scotland a better place to live. At the last Scottish elections the SNP said that with a minority adminstration we still managed to get 80% of their manifesto pledges on statute. No mean feat. The SNP are decent act that need to be taken seriously.

    May 03rd, 2013 - 11:23 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Zethee

    You are joking, right? I will not go into who owes more because i do not particularly give a crap. However. Alex and time and time again avoided questions over and over again because he can not answer them.

    He was asked how an independent Scotland would have an army: “We will still use England armed forces” - total rubbish.

    What currency would an independent Scotland use? “We will use the British pound” good luck getting into the EU. Just lol.

    How would an independent Scotland support it's shipbuilding after the royal navy leaves? “the royal navy will still use our shipyards” - when confirmed untrue still repeated the same answer.

    Technically. If the oil production sits at the figure it is now. Scotland can get by. However.. The number it makes fluctuates every year and not all of it's entirety would belong to Scotland(I believe it's 70%) and these numbers do not even take into account the extreme costs of running an entire independent nation. I don't care what Scotland does but one does have to be mentally limited to believe Scotland is going to be able to afford a air force, navy, army diplomats, intelligence agency, embassies, ect without cutting stuff in Scotland.

    I would prefer Scotland to stick with the union, but a small part of me would like to see all your faces when you're told that the government can no longer afford free university and healthcare. Does no one in Scotland realize how fucking expensive the NHS is?

    None of these costs are taken into account when people argue about how much Scotland costs. Simply the number the government allocates to the Scottish government.

    May 03rd, 2013 - 02:05 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • DanyBerger

    Well I don’t know you guys but if I would be an Scottish I will be kicking Conqueror @ass until he ask to me for her mother to stop.

    I little bit of punch in his leaps also will help to make the idiot to understand to shut up when none requires his opinions.

    Just a thought you know...

    May 03rd, 2013 - 02:18 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    Just a thought, but Eire does not have much of an Air Force, Navy or Army. Internationally, they seem to get on quite well with all and sundry. Why would we need large forces. The only country who historically attacked us was England and if that happened again, as Conqueror would probably like, we could not win against odds of 10/1. We would have to resort to guerrilla warfare and that is a war that would cause concern to all on this island.
    We would be so small and insignificant that we would be a threat to no one. We are certainly in more danger being part of the UK .
    I think your attitude can be seen by your remark
    “would like to see ALL your faces when you're told that the government can no longer afford free university and healthcare.” You are making the assumption that the vote will be for separation, but you would still like to see us getting it in the neck regardless. Maybe the way the UK government is acting, we will all go down the tube together !
    Anyway, why don't we just wait to see what the proposals are and then everyone can start slagging off again supercharging their prejudices to the nth degree.

    May 03rd, 2013 - 04:53 pm - Link - Report abuse 0
  • tapestry-of-grapes

    Haven't they just left already? If they don't like being a part of the UK, couldn't they just bugger off and we'll build another big ol wall. Might need some soveriegn territory around the Clyde for a few decades, but other than that they can have their cake and eat it.

    They're definitely not having any influence over the pound either, not after Tony 'scottish' Blair, Gordon 'scottish' Brown, Alistair 'scottish' Darling, RBS, Bank of Scotland and other great scottish financiers nearly finished us off. This myth about Scots being good with money is simply evident in the ruins all around us.

    Let them go, with a gentlemanly handshake and a very high wall.

    May 04th, 2013 - 07:27 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • lsolde

    Stop bickering you people.
    The malvinistas just lap it up.
    Scotland must do what is right for Scotland.
    As l once said, l will be sorry to see them go, if they do go.
    We have been through so much together.
    Conqueror, l'd like to think that you were trying to be “humourous” with your comments about Scottish soldiers.
    They have my respect & admiration.
    btw-does this mean if the Scots leave, our army will not have pipe bands?
    What a blow that will be to our parades--love the bagpipes!

    May 05th, 2013 - 10:04 am - Link - Report abuse 0
  • Clyde15

    we'll build another big ol wall.
    What, are you Italian?
    The wall was to keep your thieving lot OUT of Scotland !

    I think that just about sums it up - pointless discussing the matter further. No, here I go again.

    Your lot seem convinced that the bulk of the population in Scotland are desperate to break from the rest of the UK, so let's air our collective prejudices on the whole population.
    It's obviously Scotland's fault that the UK is in the financial state it's in. England is totally blameless. Scotland on it's own, with its massive voting power put in the governments which you obviously despised. The City of LONDON also had nothing to do with the crash, being in England they must be entirely blameless. England voted in a load of privileged old Etonians to form the current government and they appear to be making an arse of it - Scotland's fault again.

    What I am trying to say, rather badly, that any desire for independence is not based on anti-English feelings. Yes, there are Scots who don't like the“English” just as there are English who do not like the Scots, or Irish, or Welsh, or Germans or French etc.
    From the personal view of an old man, when I see the news on TV continually talking about “London” it seems completely irrelevant to me. High speed rail links to Birmingham, London cross rail links, school curriculums. When they go into schools to discuss issues, I hardly see a white face. I am not talking West Indian, but a veritable UN of races. I cannot relate to this in my experience. The South of England now appears like a foreign country to me. I can still identify with the midlands and North, also Devon and Cornwall but there certainly is a divide in the country.
    Apart from the incessant propaganda from the TV and press, I haven't heard anyone I know talking about it up here.
    It's just the usual bunch of politicians pro/con lying through their teeth - it was ever thus I am ignoring the whole thing until next summer - if I'm here !

    May 05th, 2013 - 10:29 am - Link - Report abuse 0

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