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The Scottish elections


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51 minutes ago, Scott7 said:

 

Here it is, from The Spectator.

 

In the great debate around Scottish independence, one word is never far away: identity. ‘Who am I?’ is elevated from mere navel-gazing to expressive political allegiance. On one side are those who feel that one can be both Scottish and British without fear of contradiction, while on the other are those who feel that one crushes the other. By casting off Britishness, one’s Scottishness could flower more fully, or so it is supposed.

Even so, it is something that, even in these times of performative politics, could remain between you, your God and your woad supplier. It certainly isn’t something to which an agency of the state would take much interest. Except that, if the Nationalists prevail, then at least three governments would be most interested in the legal expression of that identity – citizenship.

Let us assume that independence day is upon us and that somehow Scotland has been able to negotiate acceding to the EU without a decade in the wilderness. The time has come to decide who gets Scottish (and therefore EU) citizenship as a matter of right. Who passes the test? 

The franchise for the independence referendum includes everyone legally resident in Scotland, regardless of nationality. It should surely be assumed that all of those people would be granted Scottish citizenship – if they weren’t, how could their votes be reasonably counted in the referendum? Such an expansive offer of citizenship would certainly fit with the SNP’s view of Scotland, even if it doesn’t chime with the view of most Scots

They say that there are no atheists in a foxhole. Well, how many nationalists are there in a pension queue?

Next, would Scottish nationals resident elsewhere in the UK (such as myself and 750,000 others) be entitled to Scottish citizenship? We are currently denied a vote on whether we want it to exist at all, but it would surely be hard to refuse it. But would it be automatically conferred or would we have to apply? What about spouses and children? And what of the many millions of British people who could claim Scottish citizenship based on recent ancestry? Even a conservative estimate would put that number at many millions. Scotland could be the first state where a majority of its citizens were not actually resident in the country, a bizarre state of affairs for a new country to find itself in.

Also, what happens after that? Would the Scottish franchise remain limited to residency, or would it be like the UK (and most other countries) and allow ex-pat voting if the person had been abroad for less than a set period of time. Might I be unable to vote in the independence referendum, but immediately be able to vote in a subsequent Scottish general election for a party that would reverse the decision? And would I then be immediately disenfranchised again in a constitutional hokey-cokey?

So far, so confusing. Now, let’s look at it from the British side. It is not clear that the rest of the UK would permit dual citizenship as a matter of right — doubt has previously been cast on the matter (to the disdain, bewilderingly, of the SNP). Ireland provides some precedent, with all Irish citizens born before 1949 automatically being British subjects (which is why Terry Wogan could be knighted), but more recent examples, such as the dissolution of the Soviet Union, would require people to choose one or the other. 

 

However, assuming that all Scots could apply for it, how many would? Based on current polling, if independence is attained just less than half of the population will have voted for the status quo. We might assume that the majority of them would take steps to remain British. But there will also be those who voted for independence who nonetheless feel that a British passport might be a rather useful thing to have, just in case. Might some people even spurn Scottish citizenship but remain as a UK ex-pat resident in Scotland?

For an example of why this matters, let’s look at a familiar issue. It is clear that pensions of Scottish citizens would be the responsibility of the Scottish Government, which might show a benefit in not being a Scottish citizen. The UK will obviously have retained sterling, one of the world’s reserve currencies, while Scotland would most likely be in the early days of a new currency for two reasons. First, with its twin fiscal and balance of payments deficits, Scotland would find sterlingisation a shortcut to national bankruptcy. Second, to join the EU necessitates having a floating currency and a central bank standing behind it. That currency would be likely to decline against sterling and also be much more volatile. 

Meanwhile, the UK will probably persist with the ridiculous ‘triple lock’ steadily increasing pensioner income, while Scotland will be undergoing sado-austerity to bring its budget deficit down. Which would you prefer: a growing pension paid in a reserve currency or a shrinking pension in a volatile, depreciating currency? And so, when you have to choose a nationality, which do you pick? They say that there are no atheists in a foxhole. Well, how many nationalists are there in a pension queue?

Of course, continuing to stump up for Scots pensioners would be enormously unpopular in the rUK. It would also be unthinkable for the new cohort of ex-pats to have voting rights. Some measly form of reduced citizenship would doubtless be conjured into being just for those poor North Britons who want a memory of how things were.

But then we have to consider matters of residency. If someone were to rent a flat in Carlisle for a month before independence day, would they get full-fat or skimmed UK citizenship? If so, investors would be well advised to build thousands of studio flats just off the northern reaches of the M6. Realistically, independence would not occur for several years after the referendum. At what point would the decisions about who was where and when become carved in stone?

Furthermore, it would be foolish to suppose that Scotland would have absolute carte blanche to set its own criteria if becoming Scottish automatically entailed EU citizenship. Currently member states do have the right, but the European Commission recently launched action against Cyprus and Malta to prevent them from granting ‘investor citizenships’. How would the EU view the granting to millions of British citizens of freedom of movement in the EU without any reciprocity? And given that Scotland would have to be signed up to Schengen, will they demand that the sheep are separated from the goats at the border with England?

Given the fundamental importance of such matters, it would be nice to think that the Scottish Government would have some clear answers or at least some clear aspirations. Unfortunately, it seems that citizenship is destined to join the currency, the border, the constitution, the EU, NATO, and every other item of consequence in the ‘too hard, wait till after the referendum’ bucket. Still, at least we know what the flag will be.

 

Good article on an overlooked issue that has always been well down the pecking order, but will cause untold consternation when a light is shined on it. 

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Posted (edited)

I'd certainly be looking into keeping a British passport if the unthinkable happens.

 

I genuinely can't believe reasonably intelligent people vote for SNP/independence.  

Edited by Gonzo79
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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, Gonzo79 said:

I'd certainly be looking into keeping a British passport and setting up a private pension based outwith Scotland. 

 

I genuinely can't believe reasonably intelligent people vote for SNP/independence (the one's I've met seem to have a blind spot on certain issues).  

Even in the unlikely event of a favourable referendum result, the inevitable flight of capital, both private and commercial, will cripple any remote chance of Scotland actually achieving independence.

 

In the case of Scotland, independence is an equation that simply doesn't solve and no amount of fantasy sentimentality can change that harsh reality. The closer they get, the clearer that will become.

Edited by Bill
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There is something in this that is always overlooked..............England doesn’t want Scottish independence.

 

If Scotland became independent &  its economy crashed (of which there would be a very strong chance in my opinion) there would be a large exodus of its population looking for work.

 

And where would the vast majority of these people go do u think ?

I’d say rUK and mostly overcrowded England which needs more mass immigration like a hole in the head

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31 minutes ago, RANGERRAB said:

There is something in this that is always overlooked..............England doesn’t want Scottish independence.

 

If Scotland became independent &  its economy crashed (of which there would be a very strong chance in my opinion) there would be a large exodus of its population looking for work.

 

And where would the vast majority of these people go do u think ?

I’d say rUK and mostly overcrowded England which needs more mass immigration like a hole in the head

As British citizens we would be as entitled to live and work in England (or Wales or NI) as anyone else in these islands. What's Madam McMao going to do, lock us in like some stasi queen?

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10 hours ago, RANGERRAB said:

There is something in this that is always overlooked..............England doesn’t want Scottish independence.

 

If Scotland became independent &  its economy crashed (of which there would be a very strong chance in my opinion) there would be a large exodus of its population looking for work.

 

And where would the vast majority of these people go do u think ?

I’d say rUK and mostly overcrowded England which needs more mass immigration like a hole in the head

Maybe any referendum should be held in England to see if the English taxpayers wish to continue sending their hard earned north of the border 

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Scottish elections: I could have destroyed Nicola Sturgeon, says Alex Salmond

 

A plague on both their houses, of course, including their second (and third, et cetera) homes. 

But such is the rancour now evident, may we conclude that this is the merely the standard fall out from the falling out of thieves, or

was their political alliance a romantic dalliance too?

 

This piece is from The Times, but taken, substantially, from The New Yorker.

 

Scottish elections: I could have destroyed Nicola Sturgeon, says Alex Salmond

Kieran Andrews, Scottish Political Editor

Tuesday May 04 2021, 12.01am, The Times

 

Alex Salmond accused Sturgeon of breaching multiple aspects of the ministerial code

Alex Salmond accused Sturgeon of breaching multiple aspects of the ministerial code

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/scottish-elections-i-could-have-destroyed-nicola-sturgeon-says-alex-salmond-7rbhxskd5

 

Alex Salmond has claimed that Nicola Sturgeon’s political career would be over if he had “wanted to destroy her”.

In a further escalation of hostilities between Scotland’s two most influential nationalists, the former first minister said his former deputy was caught in a problem “entirely of her own making” around the timing of a second independence referendum.

Relations between the pair, who were the two most senior ministers in the Scottish government from 2007 to 2014, have disintegrated since Salmond was accused of sexual harassment during his time in office.

 

During a Holyrood inquiry into the Scottish government’s unlawful handling of the complaints, Salmond accused Sturgeon of breaching multiple aspects of the ministerial code.

Asked by The New Yorker magazine why he had tried to destroy his former protégée, Salmond reportedly chuckled for several seconds before responding: “If I wanted to destroy her, that could have been done.”

An Alba spokesman said: “Mr Salmond takes issue with the manner at which the article has reported his views. The interview was conducted remotely by phone and the journalist concerned seemed to be pre-set on a particular line of argument. Mr Salmond laughed at how ridiculous the suggestion was.”

The Scottish government investigation into claims against Salmond by two female civil servants was found to be unfair and tainted by apparent bias by the Court of Session. Separately, he was acquitted of 13 charges of sexual assault after a two-week trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Sturgeon has said that she would have resigned if James Hamilton, the former director of public prosecutions in Dublin who investigated whether she broke the ministerial code, had found that she breached the regulations. He did not but the cross-party committee said she misled parliament in her written evidence to MSPs.

In the same article, Sturgeon admitted that she came close to quitting while she was under investigation.

“My political opponents — I don’t know, maybe Alex himself . . . There was an element of ‘We can break her’, you know? Almost kind of personally as well as politically,” she said. “That was how it felt. And, you know, there were days when they might have come closer than they knew. But they didn’t.”

The pair have not spoken since July 2018 when Sturgeon refused to intervene in the government’s investigation after being asked to do so by Salmond.

He launched a new party, Alba, last month and is seeking a return to Holyrood at Thursday’s election. Salmond is leading the group and is standing on the northeast Scotland regional list.

Polls suggest it is on a knife edge as to whether Alba will return any MSPs while the chances of an outright SNP majority are also in the balance.

Salmond has said that any Alba MSPs will push for a vote for the Scottish government to open independence negotiations with UK ministers.

Sturgeon, who has said a referendum should not be held in the crisis phase of the pandemic but does want one before the end of 2023, has said she would oppose such a move. It is unclear how a small party would force such a debate.

Scotland is now divided about 50-50 on the constitutional question, although polls have shown independence to be slipping back in recent weeks and Sturgeon is under pressure from some nationalists who do not feel she has pushed hard enough for a second referendum. The country voted “no” to separation by a margin of 55-45 in 2014.

“The problem that Nicola has, and it is one entirely of her own making, is that the case for independence hasn’t advanced one iota since 2014,” Salmond said. He praised Sturgeon’s “remarkable presentational skills” and her “good political brain”, adding that he was always confident “she would develop into a formidable politician”.

Sturgeon has said that she will not work with Salmond. “I didn’t get the sense he had really understood why he should have apologised,” she told the magazine. “And I don’t get the sense now, that he understood the aspect of abuse of power that was at play.”

She said she left the room during a meeting where Salmond told her about the investigation, saying she “was going to make a cup of tea, and going to the bathroom and feeling physically sick”.

A poll by BMG Research for The Herald yesterday found that 63 per cent of voters do not believe Salmond, 66, is a “fit and proper person” to become an MSP. During his trial he admitted to behaviour including having “a sleepy cuddle” with women he worked with.

A spokesman for Alba said: “The people of the northeast of Scotland will decide that on Thursday.”

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"Nicola Sturgeon won’t credit Union for jab success"

 

I wonder how long it will be until we hear that "Nikla" personally vaccinated half of the population?

 

From today's Times:

 

Nicola Sturgeon won’t credit Union for jab success

Mark McLaughlin

Tuesday May 04 2021, 12.01am, The Times

 

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nicola-sturgeon-wont-credit-union-for-jab-success-rb79zp72f

 

Nicola Sturgeon has claimed an independent Scotland could have piggybacked on the UK’s vaccine programme to secure jabs procured by Whitehall.

The SNP leader was accused of being in “denial” about the implications for independence on Covid-19 recovery and Scotland’s resilience against future pandemics. Sturgeon said Scotland “chose” to procure vaccines in partnership with the other nations but said she could have decided to buy them separately under Scotland’s devolved health service. She said a similar joint arrangement would be possible even if Scotland becomes independent.

Sturgeon is committed to taking an independent Scotland into the European Union. The EU vaccine rollout has been beset by delays and contractual wrangles. More than 2.8 million people in Scotland have received at least one dose — over half the population. England, Wales and Northern Ireland have vaccinated a similar proportion. Ireland joined the EU scheme and has vaccinated only 23 per cent.

Sturgeon said it was “utter nonsense” to claim an independent Scotland would have faced similar delays.

“The UK was still within the transition period when it procured the vaccine and that didn’t prevent it procuring the vaccine on a four-nations basis, the way we procure the flu vaccine every year,” she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain. “That was done, nothing would have prevented that happening had we still been in the European Union. And of course the delivery of the vaccination programme in Scotland is down to the sterling efforts and fantastic work of NHS Scotland vaccinators and teams across the country and they have my deep and everlasting appreciation for the fantastic work that they are doing.”

Sturgeon said the vaccines are “not a gift from the UK government to Scotland” but a partnership where “we choose to pool our efforts in that way”.

She said: “We do it with the flu vaccine every year. Scotland could if it chose procure the vaccine separately — health is devolved — but we chose to do it on a four-nations basis because it makes sense and if Scotland was independent it may well be that we still chose to do that.”

The National Audit Office estimates the UK rollout will cost nearly £12 billion — almost as much as the NHS Scotland budget of £13 billion. Scotland’s per capita share of UK vaccine spending would be about £1 billion — about the same as the Police Scotland budget. The Institute for Fiscal Studies said last week that Scotland’s deficit could be 25 per cent of GDP compared with 8.6 per cent the previous year. Nationalists say Scotland’s GDP would be higher under independence and the deficit would not reflect the position of an independent Scotland.

Miles Briggs, the Scottish Conservative chief whip, said: “Nicola Sturgeon still can’t bring herself to acknowledge the success of the UK’s vaccination programme. It is because it doesn’t sit with her obsession to break up the country.

“The UK’s vaccination scheme has helped deliver over 2.8 million first doses in Scotland. The SNP previously called the UK running their own scheme ‘madness’ and ‘lunacy’. Any time she is asked about this she goes into total denial mode because she can’t admit she got it wrong.”

 

Credit, where credit is due: Mr Ruaridh Shaw, commenting 'below the line', nails it,

 

ruairidh shaw

Nicola is like a school kid who copies your homework then claims you copied hers.

 

 

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I am expecting the green party to increase their popularity due to all the 16yr olds who will be voting 

Greta's private eco army 

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14 hours ago, Bill said:

As British citizens we would be as entitled to live and work in England (or Wales or NI) as anyone else in these islands. What's Madam McMao going to do, lock us in like some stasi queen?

Don't put that idea in her head. She will have 300 flag waving bravehearts maning the border in full war paint before you can say "lets rebuild hadrian's wall" 

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