Cameron to fall on his sword?

According to Benedict Brogan in the Telegraph:

David Cameron will resign if he loses Scotland. A Prime Minister who allows the break-up of the United Kingdom cannot suffer such a statement of no confidence and continue in office.”

I doubt that Cameron will fall on his sword following the Yes vote. I doubt that most Conservative MPs will want him to. Continue reading

Family ties?

Menzies Campbell is probably trying to “inject the love” when he writes about how he will vote No in September because he loves Scotland, but the unionists really need to understand how offensive it is to many people to talk about giving up “family ties.” Two of my three children live in England. I will be giving up no family ties when I vote Yes. I will be voting at least in part for my children. Continue reading

The embarrassment of Alistair Darling

The trouble with bouncing bombs is they might come back to bite you, if you will pardon the mixed metaphor. As the self-proclaimed dambusters strategy continues to wreak havoc in Better Together, and the hunt continues for the mole who leaked the truth about Emperor Osborne’s new clothes, it is worth remembering how this all started. Continue reading

The best ever relations between our two countries

David Cameron has said that relations between our two countries are, “at an all time high.”

Unfortunately for Better Together this was not part of the love-bombing, it was a comment following a recent meeting with Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny that discussed security, economic cooperation and joint visa plans. The Irish media has been full of similar sentiments this week as plans were announced for the first state visit of an Irish President to the UK. The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, welcomed the news, “This is a further demonstration of the warm and positive relationship that now exists between Ireland and the United Kingdom.” Continue reading

England don’t go

England don’t go.


England don’t go and drift off into a fantasy isolationism,

anti-immigrant, anti-EU and anti the interconnectedness of the modern world.


England don’t go and vote for UKIP.


England don’t go on fuelling the London City-state with subsidies and tax-breaks,

denuding the rest of your country of jobs and opportunity.


England don’t go on privatising the NHS and education.


England don’t go on down the road of small-state neo-liberalism,

delivering fortunes for the fat-cats, huge inequality and massive social problems.


England don’t go on blaming the poor for the sins of bankers.


England don’t go on giving billions in subsidies to the governments of China and France

to build nuclear power stations in your green and pleasant land.


England don’t go and invest further billions in the post-imperial delusion

of Trident weapons of mass destruction.


England don’t go on living in the past.


England don’t go in the huff when we vote Yes.


England don’t go on thinking our self-determination is about you.

It is about democracy, our future, our children and grand-children, fairness and prosperity.


England don’t go. We secretly like you in an awkward, blokeish, unverbalised kind of way.

We couldn’t live with out you. The ferry to France would become a slog.


England don’t go.



Labour’s retreat from Home Rule

Weak and incoherent was a fairly common reaction to the latest Labour proposals for devolution. The car crash of an interview given by Johann Lamont to the BBC highlighted how poorly thought through some of the tax proposals were, more of a compromise to avoid internal problems than a considered prospectus for the improved government of Scotland. And the list of what was to remain in the power of Westminster was more telling than the proposals for change. The mismanaged spin in advance of publication merely highlighted how much this was a retreat from the recommendations of their own party commission. Continue reading

Tariq Ali

I attended the more interesting, if not the most important, political meeting in Edinburgh this afternoon. David Cameron, even when speaking to rows of empty seats, retains the importance of his office. Tariq Ali, speaking to a packed Radical Independence Campaign meeting at Edinburgh University, was refreshing partly because one could not entirely predict what he was going to say. Continue reading


I have worked in international human rights for 25 years and have visited a number of states that could be considered totalitarian regimes, including Syria, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Sudan. I am also old enough to have experience of the old Soviet Union and their allies in East Germany. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I discovered yesterday, whilst visiting Paris, that a “totalitarian outfit,” had staged a coup and were now running Scotland. Continue reading

What would make the UK more attractive?

As we wait for the momentous announcement about whether the Scottish Labour Party is willing to promise to devolve responsibility for Air Transport Duty and Car Tax to Scotland, a brief trip to London caused me to reflect on what changes would make it more attractive to remain in the UK. Much of the discussion on this has focused rightly on what powers the Scottish Parliament should have, but there is also a need to look at what would need to changed at the UK level. Continue reading

No strategy, No Future

One of the curious aspects of the referendum campaign so far is that Better Together has been so focussed on the distortions and falsehoods of Project Fear that they have not focused on the real difficulties and drawbacks of any transition to independence. The No campaign has concentrated almost exclusively on currency and membership of the EU, which are issues where the Yes Campaign cannot provide certainty (partly because the UK Government blocks that), but which are also issues where the facts favour Yes. Continue reading