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Scottish Devolution

...on serious topics that don't fit anywhere else at present.
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Nick
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#341 Post by Nick » May 9th, 2014, 3:25 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Altfish wrote:
duncolm wrote:
Altfish wrote:If Scotland goes independent, I wonder what will happen to the Open Golf Tournament which is held north of the border every other year??
I would think the R&A (based in Fife) will still allow it to be played south of the border occasionally....
Well that was exactly my point; Scotland already has a Scottish Open at Loch Lomond every year. If they are an independent country will they still want to run the British Open?
Dunno if it applies to golf, but in squash, there is no (or at least used not to be, I'm not sure) a "British Open", just "The Open" :D When you're top dog, there's no need to refer to any other country. :wink: (Just like our stamps).


But then again, being a stuffed shirt, I'm rather sad that the England cricket team isn't just MCC any more....

stevenw888
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#342 Post by stevenw888 » May 13th, 2014, 2:34 pm

I'm sorry, I haven't read all of the previous 16 pages of this thread. But there's a point that's been bothering me, that I can't find an answer to. If it's already been raised, then my apologies.

Why is David Cameron opposed to a 'yes' vote in the independence for Scotland vote?

The Tories currently have just 1 MP elected in Scotland. Labour have 41 MPs elected in Scotland, the LibDems have 11 MPs and the Scottish National Party, 6 MPs.
Scotland therefore currently sends 59 MPs to Westminster.
Therefore if Scotland ceased to be part of the United Kingdom, the number of MPs at Westminster would drop from 650, as it is currently, to 591. However the Tories would lose only 1 seat, as they have only 1 MP. Labour would lose 41 MPs. The Libs would lose 11 MPs.
To win a majority in the new (excluding Scotland) House of Commons a party would only need to win 296 seats. The Conservatives currently have 303 seats in the Commons, so if they held on to these seats, they would win the next election. Labour currently have 255 seats in the House of Commons, but the loss of Scotland would mean that they only would have 214 seats. Therefore they would need to win 82 seats to win a majority (or is this only 41, as each seat they win, means a loss for the Tories). Therefore it would be much easier for the Tories to win the next election, if they didn't have Scotland as part of the picture. Therefore, why does Cameron not support Scottish devolution? Chances are, we'd have a Tory government forever, if Scotland disappeared from the scene.
"There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." - From the film "Top Gun"

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Altfish
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#343 Post by Altfish » May 13th, 2014, 3:31 pm

Who says Cameron is against a YES vote; every time a Tory (including Cameron) opens his mouth the YES vote gains a point or two in the polls. If he was truly against independence he'd surely keep his and his troop's traps shut!

Nick
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#344 Post by Nick » May 13th, 2014, 4:27 pm

stevenw888 wrote:Why is David Cameron opposed to a 'yes' vote in the independence for Scotland vote?
I wouldn't disagree with any of your logic, except to say that I think English political parties would realign to a certain extent to reduce the Tory majority.

As far as I can make out, it is because they feel British, rather than English and genuinely believe we are better together. Currency, defence, head of state, free trade, many common domestic policies, foreign policy etc., etc., all offer benefits to a United Kingdom. (Which is great, so long as you are not implacably opposed to any of them, as some posters ere are.....)

This is not the same as thinking that England wants to hold on to some of Scotland's assets: it is the belief that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

But, as you imply, it's really a win/win for the Tories, as they will probably remove the inbuilt bias towards Labour in England too, by varying, and reducing the number of, constituencies, if Scotland go it alone.

Nick
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#345 Post by Nick » May 13th, 2014, 4:31 pm

Don't say you haven't been warned.....
An independent Scotland faces the risk of “capital flight” if it cannot strike a deal to keep the pound, Europe’s largest investment bank has warned.
“If Scotland votes 'Yes' in September there will be a substantial amount of negotiations which need to be conducted, the most important financially being the choice of monetary regime, allocation of oil revenues and apportionment of public debt,” said Deutsche Bank in a 16-page analysis of the financial implications of Scotland splitting from the Union should Alex Salmond’s Yes campaign succeed.
The German lender has detailed a possible scenario comparable to that seen in some eastern European countries following the collapse of the Soviet sphere of influence in the early 1990, whereby money would flow unchecked out of the Scotland while Edinburgh frantically tried to persuade Westminister to allow it to keep sterling.
“A new Scottish currency could also trigger capital flight by worried savers ahead of any decisions being made,” wrote George Buckley, Deutsche Bank’s chief UK economist.
“Moreover, capital controls may not be appropriate for such a small open economy as highly dependent on international finance as Scotland.”

An agreement that would allow an independent Scotland to keep the pound is unlikely. Chancellor George Osborne has repeatedly ruled out the possibility of a shared currency should Scotland decide to leave the the 300-year-old political Union.
The creation of an independent Scottish currency could be ruinous for the majority of people north of the border, according to the report.
“It would probably mean higher borrowing costs in Scotland’s own new currency than is currently the case in sterling,” wrote Mr Buckley.
Deutsche also said that an independent Scotland would take with it liabilities of between £112bn and £145bn as its share of the UK’s £1.34 trillion national debt.
“Whatever decisions might be made in the aftermath of a vote in favour of independence, with the rest of the UK being Scotland’s most important trading partner it will be important that any negotiations leave Scotland in a financially viable position,” wrote Mr Buckley.

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Altfish
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#346 Post by Altfish » May 13th, 2014, 5:19 pm

Another pro-NO article in a Tory paper, another point or two swing towards YES

thundril
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#347 Post by thundril » May 13th, 2014, 5:42 pm

stevenw888 wrote:I'm sorry, I haven't read all of the previous 16 pages of this thread. But there's a point that's been bothering me, that I can't find an answer to. If it's already been raised, then my apologies.

Why is David Cameron opposed to a 'yes' vote in the independence for Scotland vote?

The Tories currently have just 1 MP elected in Scotland. Labour have 41 MPs elected in Scotland, the LibDems have 11 MPs and the Scottish National Party, 6 MPs.
Scotland therefore currently sends 59 MPs to Westminster.
Therefore if Scotland ceased to be part of the United Kingdom, the number of MPs at Westminster would drop from 650, as it is currently, to 591. However the Tories would lose only 1 seat, as they have only 1 MP. Labour would lose 41 MPs. The Libs would lose 11 MPs.
To win a majority in the new (excluding Scotland) House of Commons a party would only need to win 296 seats. The Conservatives currently have 303 seats in the Commons, so if they held on to these seats, they would win the next election. Labour currently have 255 seats in the House of Commons, but the loss of Scotland would mean that they only would have 214 seats. Therefore they would need to win 82 seats to win a majority (or is this only 41, as each seat they win, means a loss for the Tories). Therefore it would be much easier for the Tories to win the next election, if they didn't have Scotland as part of the picture. Therefore, why does Cameron not support Scottish devolution? Chances are, we'd have a Tory government forever, if Scotland disappeared from the scene.
Loth as I am to say anything positive about modern politicians (of whatever shade) it is unlikely that Cameron is entirely driven by opportunism. I'm sure he does have genuine political principles somewhere in there. I'm sure he does care, to some degree, about the things Nick mentions: British rather than exclusively English patriotism, tradition, history, defence of the realm, etc.
And there are risks to rocking the capitalist boat; again, Nick is right; value of the pound sterling, credit-ratings of British banks and businesses, etc. From a British- conservative viewpoint, there are good political and moral reasons for wanting to maintain the Union; (ask yourself why Britain has worked so hard to hang onto Northern Ireland, for example. It's been a bloody nuisance and an expensive nightmare, and it doesn't do 'us' much good, economically or otherwise.)
Compared to these factors, the electoral boundary advantage, (which can be wiped out by renegotiations an election or two hence) is a minor consideration.
In any case, as the Yes campaign has pointed out, subtracting the Scottish vote from the last several general elections would not have resulted in a different party winning control at Westminster. Just a difference in the size of the margins.

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Altfish
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#348 Post by Altfish » May 13th, 2014, 6:11 pm

thundril wrote:In any case, as the Yes campaign has pointed out, subtracting the Scottish vote from the last several general elections would not have resulted in a different party winning control at Westminster. Just a difference in the size of the margins.
But that doesn't mean that the next election isn't going to be close and a 40 seat swing will matter.

Nick
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#349 Post by Nick » May 14th, 2014, 10:00 am

thundril wrote: From a British- conservative viewpoint, there are good political and moral reasons for wanting to maintain the Union; (ask yourself why Britain has worked so hard to hang onto Northern Ireland, for example. It's been a bloody nuisance and an expensive nightmare, and it doesn't do 'us' much good, economically or otherwise.)
Hmmm... I'd say the primary reason why Northern Ireland is still part of the UK is because the will of the population of NI is that it should be. If they had, instead, voted to join the Republic, I think there would have been a huge sigh of relief all round.

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animist
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#350 Post by animist » May 14th, 2014, 7:34 pm

Nick wrote:
thundril wrote: From a British- conservative viewpoint, there are good political and moral reasons for wanting to maintain the Union; (ask yourself why Britain has worked so hard to hang onto Northern Ireland, for example. It's been a bloody nuisance and an expensive nightmare, and it doesn't do 'us' much good, economically or otherwise.)
Hmmm... I'd say the primary reason why Northern Ireland is still part of the UK is because the will of the population of NI is that it should be. If they had, instead, voted to join the Republic, I think there would have been a huge sigh of relief all round.
have to agree with you on this, Nick. Except, if we go back to 1914, when the fatal decision was made by the British government not to suppress the Ulster Volunteers in their threatened uprising against Irish Home Rule (the bill for which was passed in Parliament), there was a mutiny (the Curragh Mutiny) by British army officers unwilling to fight against the Ulster Unionists. Things had changed by our lifetimes, with the Province being seen in Great Britain as a backwater of religious nutters, whether Catholic or Protestant

thundril
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#351 Post by thundril » May 14th, 2014, 8:27 pm

Nick wrote:
thundril wrote: From a British- conservative viewpoint, there are good political and moral reasons for wanting to maintain the Union; (ask yourself why Britain has worked so hard to hang onto Northern Ireland, for example. It's been a bloody nuisance and an expensive nightmare, and it doesn't do 'us' much good, economically or otherwise.)
Hmmm... I'd say the primary reason why Northern Ireland is still part of the UK is because the will of the population of NI is that it should be. If they had, instead, voted to join the Republic, I think there would have been a huge sigh of relief all round.
Agreed. But we have to bear in mind the totally artificial construction of the NI statelet. It is not difficult to understand why there turns out to be a majority (almost entirely the Protestant majority) conjured by the drawing of the six-county boundary, deliberately excluding the other three counties of Ulster.
Had the whole of Ulster been included in 'Northern Ireland' there would not have been such a majority.
Similarly, if a poll was taken in a suitably delineated area of Derry, the result would be for union with the Republic, wouldn't it?
Gerrymandering works that way.
But the main point remains; even if he thought there was considerable electoral advantage in losing Scotland, Cameron could not go totally against the grass-roots of his party, which is strongly in favour of the Union.
(Unlike the Blairites, who did manage to get themselves into a position to totally fuck over the grass roots of the Labour party.)

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Re: Scottish Devolution

#352 Post by stevenw888 » May 15th, 2014, 11:18 am

Interesting. So you think that Cameron is "politically" inclined to favour the union of England and Scotland, despite that being detrimental to a potential Tory majority in an English parliament. Why then does he seem so opposed to a European Union? Surely the two things are very similar.
"There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." - From the film "Top Gun"

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Altfish
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#353 Post by Altfish » May 15th, 2014, 11:33 am

stevenw888 wrote: Why then does he seem so opposed to a European Union? Surely the two things are very similar.
Votes

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Re: Scottish Devolution

#354 Post by stevenw888 » May 15th, 2014, 1:50 pm

Well the majority of the people I know seem to be in favour of a united Europe, so perhaps he's barking up the wrong demograph.
It's no good trying to please the chavs as they don't bother voting when there is an election.
"There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots." - From the film "Top Gun"

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Re: Scottish Devolution

#355 Post by Altfish » May 15th, 2014, 2:31 pm

stevenw888 wrote:Well the majority of the people I know seem to be in favour of a united Europe, so perhaps he's barking up the wrong demograph.
It's no good trying to please the chavs as they don't bother voting when there is an election.
I hope you are right, but fear not.

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Re: Scottish Devolution

#356 Post by Nick » May 19th, 2014, 12:29 pm

animist wrote:have to agree with you on this, Nick. Except, if we go back to 1914, when the fatal decision was made by the British government not to suppress the Ulster Volunteers in their threatened uprising against Irish Home Rule (the bill for which was passed in Parliament), there was a mutiny (the Curragh Mutiny) by British army officers unwilling to fight against the Ulster Unionists. Things had changed by our lifetimes, with the Province being seen in Great Britain as a backwater of religious nutters, whether Catholic or Protestant
Certainly. It's the old story. "If I were you, I wouldn't start from here...." The same may well be true of the creation of Israel. Was it Balfour in the early 20th century?

Nick
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#357 Post by Nick » May 19th, 2014, 12:32 pm

Altfish wrote:Another pro-NO article in a Tory paper, another point or two swing towards YES
Certainly the Telegraph is a Tory paper, but why should a bank be pro or anti in its research....?

And the latest polls are swinging away. :wink:

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Alan H
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#358 Post by Alan H » May 19th, 2014, 8:18 pm

More powers for Scottish government
This government has already overseen the biggest transfer of financial powers to the Scottish Parliament in history, and 4 further major financial changes will happen in April 2015 and April 2016.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan C.
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#359 Post by Alan C. » May 22nd, 2014, 9:22 pm

Shouldn't this thread be titled Scottish independence? We already have a level of devolution but it's not enough (for me anyway)!
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Re: Scottish Devolution

#360 Post by Gottard » May 23rd, 2014, 1:47 pm

I was thinking along the same line but I admit there is not straightforward answer because:
- Devolution: is your present status
- Enhanced Devolution: is what Conservatives have promised in case "NO" wins
- Independence: is what is sought
So, hem, what?
The only thing I fear of death is regret if I couldn’t complete my learning experience

Nick
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Re: Scottish Devolution

#361 Post by Nick » May 23rd, 2014, 3:53 pm

I saw Sir Nicholas Macpherson on the Parliamentary channel, being interviewed by the Scottish Select Committee (on which no SNP MP's sit, for some reason.....) From what he said, it seems that currency union is a dead duck. He referred to the paper he published, which I reproduce below.
FROM: NICK MACPHERSON

DATE: 11 FEBRUARY 2014


CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER cc Chief Secretary

SCOTLAND AND A CURRENCY UNION

I attach a paper by Treasury officials, Scotland Analysis: Assessment of a
sterling currency union. I agree with its analysis and conclusions.

Currency unions between sovereign states are fraught with difficulty. They
require extraordinary commitment, and a genuine desire to see closer union
between the peoples involved. As the Treasury paper points out, the great
thing about the sterling union between Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and
England is that it has all the necessary ingredients: political union, economic
integration and consent. What worries me about the Scottish Government’s
putative currency union is that it would take place against the background of a
weakening union between the two countries, running counter to the direction
of travel in the eurozone.

I would advise strongly against a currency union as currently advocated, if
Scotland were to vote for independence. Why?

First, the Scottish Government is still leaving the option open of moving to a
different currency option in the longer term. Successful currency unions are
based on the near universal belief that they are irreversible. Imagine what
would have happened to Greece two years ago if they had said they were
contemplating reverting to the Drachma.

Secondly, Scotland’s banking sector is far too big in relation to its national
income, which means that there is a very real risk that the continuing UK
would end up bearing most of the liquidity and solvency risk which it creates.

Thirdly, there is the problem of asymmetry. The continuing UK would be at
risk of providing taxpayer support to the Scottish financial sector and
sovereign. An independent Scottish state would not face the same risk as it is
inconceivable that a small economy could bail-out an economy nearly ten
times its size. This asymmetry could only cause continuing UK problems unless
Scotland is prepared to cede substantially more sovereignty on monetary and
fiscal matters than any advocates of independence are currently
contemplating.

Finally, Treasury analysis suggests that fiscal policy in Scotland and the rest of
UK would become increasingly misaligned in the medium term. Of course, if
the Scottish Government had demonstrated a strong commitment to a
rigorous fiscal policy in recent months, it might be possible to discount this.
But recent spending and tax commitments by the Scottish Government point
in the opposite direction, as do their persistently optimistic projections of
North Sea revenues, which are at odds not just with the Treasury but with the
Office of Budget Responsibility and other credible independent forecasters.
There is a substantive point here. If the dashing of Scottish expectations were
perpetually blamed on continuing UK intransigence within the currency union,
relations between the nations of these islands would deteriorate, putting
intolerable pressure on the currency union.

If you follow Treasury advice and this week rule out a currency union in the
event of Scottish independence, you can expect the Scottish Government to
threaten not to take on its share of the United Kingdom’s debt. I do not
believe this is a credible threat. First, the sooner an independent Scotland
established economic credibility, the better it would be for its economic
performance. An extensive wrangle about its share of the debt would increase
uncertainty and hence its funding costs. Secondly, the debt is one of a number
of issues which would have to be settled post independence, where the new
Scottish state would require the cooperation of the international community
including the continuing UK.

As for the impact of the threat, much will depend on the markets’ assessment
of the probability of a pro independence vote and the likelihood of the Scottish
Government seeing the threat through. In the short run, any uptick in gilt
yields is likely to be small. And in the worst case scenario, it is more than likely
that the increase in funding costs, which the continuing UK would face, would
be smaller than that which would result from an ill thought out currency union
with Scotland.

And so to sum up, I would advise you against entering into a currency union
with an independent Scotland. There is no evidence that adequate proposals
or policy changes to enable the formation of a currency union could be
devised, agreed and implemented by both governments in the foreseeable
future.


SIR NICHOLAS MACPHERSON Permanent Secretary to H M Treasury

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