Interesting Times

A different take today. After publishing Jackie Kemp’s No to Yes article, I reverse the process with this piece by Gordon Young, a successful media businessman with offices in London and Glasgow. He moved south with his family because most of his business was generated there and he couldn’t expand further in Scotland, he felt. Some comments on Twitter doubt his story but I can vouch for him. Not only did he vote Yes (he was still registered here) but he spent voting night in my house.

He voices fears we don’t like to hear but I think his opinions are gold dust for anyone interested in how No voters are thinking and what issues need to be addressed. There are answers to some or even all but it’s helpful to have them laid out like this. The uncertainty in difficult times will chime with many as will concerns about trade with England. Not insurmountable, but clearly areas we need to discuss. I put his article here in the spirit of debate.

I voted  YES in the last Scottish independence referendum. Here is why I would vote NO this time round.

1. The economy stupid. The fundamentals are weaker this time round. Partly caused by the collapse in the price of oil, but also a weakness across the Scottish business generally. Scotland needs to sort its economy out, at the moment it has no reserves to help get it through choppy waters.

2. We’re punch drunk. The country has just been through two other traumatic referendums. A period of stability is required so people can get back to their day-to-day lives and Government can get back to its day job of looking after things like education, health and policing all of which seem to falling behind comparable service levels south of the border.

3. Access to our biggest market. England is by miles Scotland’s largest trading partner; and being outside the UK single market would be far riskier than being outside the EU. In the referendum both nations were part of the European single market, so independence in that context looked sustainable. That has now changed. Even the Republic of Ireland is worried about the impact of being cut off from England, and that alone should be a wake up call. Scotland may vote for political independence, but the reality is it would still be dependent economically on England.

4. Money: The last time I bought into the argument that Scotland could retain Sterling (even though others thoughts that was unrealistic). However, this time it does not seen even to be an option – meaning Scotland would either have to adopt its own currency or the Euro. Both options are frightening and confusing for those who have businesses that straddle both sides of the border. Inflation, austerity, deficits, credit crunches would be the language of the new Scottish economy in the short term.

5. Proof of the pudding: After the last Referendum the Scottish Government got a host of new powers making it one of the most powerful devolved assemblies in the world. I’d like to see how it gets on with these, before handing it complete control. Early signs are not good. It is already one of the most taxed parts of the UK.

6. Investment: The uncertainly facing those in other parts of the UK is bad, but it is nothing compared to that faced by those in Scotland. Not only do they have Brexit to contend with but now talk of a referendum. What ever the outcome of this latest vote investment in Scotland will be depressed – depriving real people in Scotland of real jobs.

7. Bad Brexit deal?: Even those who voted remain agree it is crucial the UK Government gets the best deal possible as it opens talks with the EU. The timing of the SNP announcement is a huge distraction, that complicates these talks. That is not in the interest of anyone; Scots, English, Northern Irish and Welsh alike. This is the wrong time for this debate.

8. Lack of clarity: This referendum has apparently been prompted by the UK leaving the EU single market against the wishes of Scots. But if independence happens it is not clear if or when Scotland would be able to rejoin. It seems likely that it would have several years both outside the UK and the EU. And if of course if rejoining the EU is an option, that course will probably mean yet another EU referendum North of the Border. Scotland would face a decade of angst and uncertainty, and remember many in Scotland, including senior members of the SNP actually backed Brexit.

9. The world is a more dangerous place: It is easy to forget that the freedoms we enjoy in countries such as the UK are the exception not the norm. In other parts of the world I would not be able to write blogs like this. But these values are under attack; it is no coincidence that a Russian news agency has opened a branch in Edinburgh, allegedly to influence the outcome of votes such as this. There are pressures in the South China Seas, and worries about North Korea, not to mention what is happing in the US and the rise of nationalism in Europe. This is a time for the UK to stand together to protect its common values; which to me actually transcends the Scottish independence issue for now at least.

I am not ideologically opposed to Scottish independence. But politically, economically and in terms of basic security this is not the time.

PS: In the interest of full disclosure I should also point out that I no longer live in Scotland, so could not vote even if I wanted to. However, I still co-own a Scottish registered business, that employs around 60 people in Glasgow, so feel I should be able to put my tuppence worth in!

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78 thoughts on “Interesting Times

  1. Dave McEwan Hill

    He appears to have swallowed all the Better Together spin. His paragraph 5 indicates this clearly.

    • Yes, my thoughts exactly. Could be the media exposure effect south of the border, which is ever more partisan against Scotland.

  2. Nothing new here then?

  3. Thanks for this Derek – and I will reply in the spirit of debate. I respect Gordon’s opinions but i don’t agree!

    1. Scotland cannot truly sort out its economy until it has access to all the levers necessary to do so. As long as macro-economic policy is driven by the needs of the City of London and the South-east of England that will remain the case.

    2.Scotland is not falling behind rUK in terms of health, education or policing – indeed in terms of the NHS and policing it is out-performing rUK so this statement is simply not true or valid.

    3. Scotland and England are both big trading partners with each other. Does Gordon seriously believe that England would chose not to trade with an independent Scotland just to teach us a lesson? And of course if Scotland remained in or rejoined the EU we would be trading under that banner just like the other 27 nations. So again I cannot see the sense in this argument.

    4. Scotland can use Sterling if it wants – or the Dollar or the Euro or whatever, If Mr King, who used to run the bank of England, says it’s not an issue then whom am I to disagree?

    5. “After the last Referendum the Scottish Government got a host of new powers making it one of the most powerful devolved assemblies in the world” – no, it didn’t and no, it isn’t

    6. “What ever the outcome of this latest vote investment in Scotland will be depressed – depriving real people in Scotland of real jobs” – opinion/assumptions need evidence – and, so far at least, there is none to back up this one (or if there is, please share)

    7. It’s precisely the right time for the debate. The UK seems set on pursuing a “hard Brexit”. The EU are quite clear – the UK must get a worse deal than those who remain in the EU otherwise the EU is pointless. So one thing is certain, whatever deal we get will be poorer than what we have now. What the impact of this will be on Scotland, and in particular rural Scotland, remains to be seen but it’s hard to envisage we’ll be better off than now. So Scots should be given the choice before it’s too late.

    8. Lack of clarity? Not really. Remain with hard Brexit Uk or take a chance on something different. So uncertainty either way, yes, but not lack of clarity on the choice to be made.

    9. ” The world is a more dangerous place…this is a time for the UK to stand together to protect its common values” – no, it’s time for Europe to stand together, not for one country to pull out of it on the basis of racism and xenophobia. On, and I don’t know how old Gordon is, but the the world is no more dangerous now than it was in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s,….

    • Excellent stuff, Steve.

      I think it is particularly true that there is no time like the present.

      There is no ‘status quo’. There is no ‘option to ensure stability’. But there is a time sensitive need to make a choice about whether we follow the Tories into a hard Brexit, or forge a different path for Scotland. Dithering while whining about uncertainty won’t cut it. Life *is* uncertain.

      The reason I have been most impressed with Nicola Sturgeon lately is that she has not dithered, but has faced the fact that a decisive choice will have to be made whether it seems an ‘ideal time’ or not (and whenever did life, or politics, fit into an ‘ideal’ box?).

    • Steve,
      he lost me at:-” 1.The economy stupid.”

      I assume he means to address us wild eyed Nats as c ollectively ‘stupid’.
      Therefore the edit is:- ‘ The economy, stupid.’
      Thanks, Derek, for printing this. Thanks, Gordon Young, for your cut and paste of Project Fear 2.
      We have thrown more out of the way to get to a fight. The Vocative, boy!
      Herald Britland has a millionaire headlining with the threat that he won’t be investing in Scotland because of Indyref 2. The Quebec 2 Gambit. Vote YEs and we’ll destroy you.
      We are not ‘punch drunk’, Mr Young. We are fighting mad.
      By the autumn of this year you may well question the wisdom of relocating from Scotland to London as the Dunkirk in Reverse evacuation of England to the continent kicks in, probably coinciding with the half financial year returns, in October.
      We are too wee, too poor, too thick, too defenceless, too much of a financial basket case, too reliant on oil which we have never owned, and so on.
      Aye, right.
      Long before the impetus of Indyref 2 is felt, Brexit will crush the English economy, trade, and manufacturing. Already EU nurses and fruit pickers are giving England a wide berth.
      It is our intention to mount an Independence campaign in parallel with the Brexit timetable, and to run the plebiscite within the last six months window, to retain EU membership when we vote Yes, and put in place Transitional arrangements to ensure a smooth handover from colony of England to an independent nation once again, still a partner in a EU, the largest free trading bloc in the world, whose trading arrangements with EngWaland will be the same for Independent Scotland as those of the other 27 EU nations.

      I’ll be buying my Buzet direct from France, and it will not be subject to a 40% trade tariff.
      To be honest, Mr Young, I fear your observations have had the opposite effect to that intended. It stiffens this old warrior’s resolve to vote Yes, and vote often.
      Good try, no cigar.
      Well done, Derek. Please resist the urge to say,’ I told you so, Gordon.’

    • Superb reply Steve.

      Something else I feel should be pointed out to Mr Young. We are where we are because of the actions of central government. We didn’t ask to be here. We don’t want to be here, but events and the situation dictate response.

      If the Scottish public give up their right to choose, there may never come another opportunity, so much so have both trust and relations unravelled between legislatures. Again, this unravelling was not brought about by the actions of the Scottish Government, but the actions of central government and the media narrative they themselves created.

      Those two referendums Mr Young mentions brought about constitutionally conflicting results which the SG sought to find a common ground between. They even went so far as to offer proposals for retaining both unions, much against their own personal desires, which have been discarded out of hand. How and ever, if the Scottish population is to retain their rights. If EU nationals are to retain their civil, residence and human rights as new Scots, then a response is required. People WILL lose their investment in our society and their right to choose must be defended or we risk losing everything.

      I wish Mr Young well in his venture. I would hope he wishes us well in ours.

    • Excellent reply Steve, facts not alternative facts.
      Derek, your pal, like some of mine, are entitled to a different opinion on the same set of facts but like many on the no side he makes up some facts of his own.
      I’m assuming that, as he is a pal of yours, he must be intelligent and must realise with your prompting of course that there can only be on set of facts.
      His list of reasons are of course standard fare from the unionist’s list of denials.

    • First class response Steve.

      It is very useful to get this person’s perspective. His article sets out a list of issues which do need to be addressed afresh, carefully and fully, with reasoned argument and, where available, data/facts that hopefully an opponent or sceptic would agree are authoritative.

      My optimism here is that on ALL the issues raised there are counter arguments ready or under development (as you point out in summary, Steve). Some of the issues raised are ‘surprising’ only in the sense that they appear still not nailed down. Some can be addressed with pretty irrefutable data such as on public service performance whilst others can be addressed by putting a well-argued, logical case which at least should lead to an ‘agree to differ’ conclusion to any debate.

      (There will be uncertainties remaining undoubtedly: candidly ‘that’s life’ and then the issue becomes confidence in how these can be best managed. As a business man, I hope Gordon would accept this. One only has to review the economic forecasts of the Office for Budget Responsibility over recent years to see this.)

      My pessimism, or concern, is not over what we can provide to Gordon Young as a counter case, but over how we can overcome the framing of the wider public debate on these and other issues which is being done so successfully to our detriment, in my view, by Unionists via the traditional media. Indeed the negative framing of Scotland (notably its economy and public services) and of the competence of our current government in Holyrood has never stopped.

      Even in the new media, many of the Indy supporting sources spend time, resource and creative energy in responding to or critiquing what is said and written by Unionists – responding within the Unionist’s chosen frames. Necessary, yes but far, far from sufficient. (Although there are notable exceptions.) The challenge is now to ensure that by the time the ‘real’ Yes campaign hits the street, the Unionist frames for the debate have not become so engrained that changing minds and votes to Yes becomes a real up hill struggle.

      So in conclusion, in my view the right response to Gordon Young here is “thanks for taking the time to write”. Just because we think/know we have answers to all his points is not enough; the challenge is over how to design our case making to the wider electorate, yes in terms of content, but critically in terms of the communication processes and channels.

    • I wonder if we are overlooking something? We all know that Steve is correct and that Derek seems to have ingested Project Fear. But …………………if Derek – obviously an intelligent guy who has been around and is successful believes the negative guff what chance do the Daily Record/Reporting Scotland types have? How do we get to them?

    • Succinct, Steve. Well done

    • Exactly Steve! I read the article expecting some food for thought but it’s full of the same unsubstantiated assertions we heard from ‘Better Together’, which have been debunked time and time again (as you have also done here). If Scotland’s economy needs to be sorted out, isn’t that evidence that it is being failed by being part of the UK? How do we sort it out? Do we take control of our own economy (as much as any other independent nation is able to), or do we leave it in the hands that have brought us to the situation where Scotland’s economy needs to be sorted out?

  4. Donald Maclean

    Your friend is far too pessimistic. The GERS figures are simply guesstimates. What we can say is that many of the charges in our accounts would disappear or reduce in an independent Scotland. Why would you want to continue running our economy from London when it clearly is not good for Scotland ? We need control of all the economic leavers.

    An independent Scotland in the EU would be a magnet for inward investment, particularly financial services. Once the terrible terms of UK Brexit become clear, Scots will be very glad they have an option to stay in the world’s largest market. As part of that we shall be able to negotiate good terms of trade with the UK.

  5. Hi Derek, I hope you set you friend right on some of the things he has said here – public services may not be perfect, but they are certainly not slipping behind English ones.

    Further, I doubt many would disagree that it would be better if we had a stronger business culture up here but then policy is geared to ensure it focuses on the south east; one of the reasons we need all the powers (and not just the apparently great ones your friend thinks has already been bestowed upon us).

    Hate to say it, but it does seem like a London-centric viewpoint he now has. That may not be fair but it’s just that, in my own experience, people I know who have moved there seem to be most hostile to independence and don’t understand ‘why we need it’. But of course, the media etc down there are going to tell them it’s just whining and grievance.

    Anyway, I think you are knowledgeable enough to have told him all this so I won’t labour the point. You’re a respected guy and it’s your friend…..if he won’t heed your calls, I doubt he’d listen to me!

  6. Certainly shows what we’re up against when people you think would know better just swallow the MSM lies and propaganda. Too many people want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend the current situation is secure and stable. Brexit will show them it is no such thing.

    As Steve helpfully documented we have answers to all the lies and assumptions. The challenge is getting these across to a mass audience.

    We did a good job last time. We need to do even better next time.

  7. Interesting to read those arguments and I’m not going to immediately start arguing back – even though I believe the premise of some of them is false, and I find the idea that the UK will ever act in Scotland’s best interests alarmingly naïve.

    However point 3 does resonate with me. In 2014 we were both going to be in the EU (I didn’t believe for a minute the shroud waving of Barrosso) but I can easily imagine how England being out the EU could cause problems for us. Mind you that is the case whether we stick with them or go our own way.

  8. Oh dear. The respondent seems to be a “doubting Thomas”, and one wonders if his change of mind is mostly motivated by his obvious personal need for business continuity within the UK. However, to the extent that his concerns are shared by others still resident here, they do need to be addressed if Scotland is to gain its independence. But they can be, as others have already shown here.

    Point 2 conflates two different things. His comment on public services is just plain wrong, and is easily disprovable. It seems his sojourn in England has disconnected him from reality in that respect, no doubt due in large measure to the lack of adequate media coverage over Scottish affairs down there.

    His other issue, which he continues into his point 7, can be paraphrased as “why add trouble onto trouble?”. It is a trope that the Unionists are also pursuing, and it has a certain superficial attractiveness, at least for the more hesitant. But it is exactly akin to being aboard a sinking ship and worrying overmuch about whether to get into that available lifeboat. It may be a wee vessel, but it offers a likely rescue, whereas staying and hoping for the best will just leave you drowned.

    Brexit is a tunnel-vision financial disaster of the first magnitude whose damaging effects are hardly taking a grip yet, but they soon will. The UK Chancellor is anticipating a Brexit-led inflation rate soaring to over 4% by the end of year, and that’s just for starters. What will happen when the pound drops to parity with the euro, or even the dollar?

    As for “British values”, it is getting very hard to see them nowadays as they once used to be. Narrow-minded xenophobic isolationism may offer a comfort blanket for some, but it is one contaminated with deadly infection.

  9. Robert Roddick.

    Gordon is in the media business and lives in London ? Not perhaps the best position to understand the present Scotland. Some of his objections are particularly naïve and ill informed. These have generally been answered by the posts above.

  10. Thanks to Gordon for putting this opinion out there. I have huge respect for this.

    That said,it leaves me pretty mystified. At times the piece fell into the the language of the Conservative hymn sheet “getting on the with day job” or “host of new powers”. I find it strange that Gordon has now had a such a complete Damascene experience which apparently leaves him with no empathy at all with his former opinion. I’m surprised he can produce such a change in thought that is so clear-cut and lacking in nuance.

    I also think he is looking for an ‘easy-independence’ experience i.e. one that won’t hurt. This is naive – it always was – and (to guess) maybe for him the reality has now hit home. There was a sense in 2014 in the yes movement that we were all riding a wave and the inevitable difficulty of those first few years was underplayed. (That is partly created by a hostile media environment – which would turn honest realism into bad news).

    In my head at least, we will have some painful post-independence years ahead. As someone with quite a lot to lose, it will hurt me, but I can live with this for greater, longer good. Gordon seems to be very aware of these short term ‘insurmountables’. Gordon seems focussed on “the weather”, when I think we need to be looking at “the climate”.

    Interesting nonetheless – and thanks to both of you for sharing this.

  11. What a shame. He has taken the decision to move south and has bought hook line and sinker into the MSM rhetoric. I have a friend in a similar position. From a business point of view the possibility of Scottish independence must be very unsettling. But so is Brexit and apparently, according to the Guardian, there may be some effort to talk up the value of no deal. Given that the David Davis hadn’t a clue what no deal would mean…..

  12. He is entitled to his views but I would dispute the factual basis for many of the points he made and strongly doubt he would have the same view if he was still living here.

  13. In my experience (I’ve lived in England for nearly 30 years on and off) there are three types of Scots who move south :

    1) The “Proud Scot but” type. Easily recognisable, they’ll spend a lot of time telling you how parochial & insular Scotland is & how there’s no opportunities there. They’ll adopt whatever opinions people around them have & generally do their best not to appear or sound Scots. Usually don’t keep in contact with anyone other than family in Scotland. These are the largest group down here by a LONG way;

    2) The “Scots & don’t you forget it” type. Generally quite gallus & tend to socialise mainly with other Scots. These people normally stay for 3-5 years then go back to Scotland/move abroad;

    3) The “Scots & I don’t need to shout about it” type. Doesn’t feel the need to grovel as the “Proud Scot but” or as in your face as “Scots & don’t you forget it”. Doesn’t feel the need to socialise or fit in with any specific group.

    I leave it to readers to decide which one Mr Young is. He’s entitled to his opinions but frankly it looks like he just did a cut’n’paste from the English press….

  14. I find it depressing that an articulate individual cannot do the research, which is online in spades, and understand that he’s now a stereotypical unionist spouting easily disproved propaganda, as others have pointed out. For example, if he were to read (Prof) John Robertson’s blog, Talking Up Scotland (https://thoughtcontrolscotland.com) he would discover that Scotland is doing very well on a lot of fronts, not least in public services which are in many cases are streets ahead of England – and his observations are all fully referenced.

    On the economy, two questions the Unionists won’t answer: Why, if we’re a basket case do you want to hold on to us? And why, of the 12 other independent nations in the EU of a similar or smaller size, is it only Scotland, uniquely, which could not stand alone as an independent country and prosper?

    Finally, it’s not just about the economy, stupid, it’s also about Nationhood, culture, self-respect, social responsibility, fairness, equity, inequality – all things that successive UK Governments (some led by Scots) which have been trampled on in the pursuit of the neoliberal nirvana, encapsulated by the mantra “greed is good”. And, of course, it’s about self-determination.

  15. Sound judgement is sorely lacking in the media business. This article illustrates the point.
    Very few people in the media industry can tell the truth without serious risk to their finances and their career or business. Mr Young isn’t one of them.

  16. I am afraid to say that I find the arguments put forward here ridiculous in the extreme. Gordon Young talks about wanting a period of stability, and yet we are on the verge of leaving the largest single market trading bloc in the world! He talks about the Scottish Government sorting out public services, and implies that they are worse than England’s public services, and yet the NHS south of the border is being privatised and sold off to corporations. When thousands of people start losing their jobs in Scotland because of the hard Brexit we are about to embark on, then I don’t think these people will find much comfort in the arguments put forward by Young. I see he says Scotland has the most powerful devolved parliament in the world. That is just unionist propaganda and substance free talking points, the fact is that even Mundell has admitted that the new powers were designed solely as a poisoned chalice for Holyrood and the Scottish Government. Therefore, I find Gordon Young’s arguments extremely shallow, and completely lacking in any substance.

  17. Intriguing – Have to agree with both Dereks preface about insight and Dave Hill regarding point 5.

    My concerns start after – “a successful media businessman with offices in London and Glasgow. He moved south with his family because most of his business was generated there and he couldn’t expand further in Scotland” (and there starts the too wee, too poor, to stupid). Fair enough but it sounds a bit like – stuff this; Im of to where I’ll be all right jack !. Don’t have anything against business men per say but… way down my personal list of trust in terms of egalitarianism.

    Sorry Derek but at that point it switches to a 5 a side match with 9 players for example, where most with sporting integrity / trust, would opt to play in the team of four but this chap I suggest now wants to play with the side of 5 – representing advantage (professional option based on chance of winning) – ( integrity lacking for me in reason for his switch). Also as out of the country now feel he is being influenced more by that and validity in his opinion suffers as a result.

    Interesting points but only valid in part for me – point 5 magnifies the points as Dave Hill says.

  18. Here’s my reply.

    TL;DR points 3 and 8 worry me also but I think can be mitigated. Most of the rest make independence even more of an imperative, if anything.

    1. Sort of agree but imo Brexit spells certain long term decline for the UK. Our demographics mean we are crying out for new Scots to help build our economy. Who in their right mind would choose Little Britain as the place to move to? This might be our only chance to jump for the lifeboat.

    2. Health & policing are better compared to UK. Education is arguably worse although educationalists I’ve read argue CfE is along the right lines and will bear fruit if we stick with it.

    The key point about CfE is it prioritises skills over knowledge. So the theory is that it equips our kids with the skills to find out anything rather than only knowing the things they’ve been told. Unfortunately this leaves it wide open to looking bad in comparative knowledge based tests like PISA.

    The “day job” line gives me the dry boak, incidentally. Best to avoid Tory attack lines if you want reasonable debate.

    3. This, for me is the big short term worry. It is also clearly worrying the SNP, hence (I think) the noises about moving from full EU to EEA. EEA countries are within the single market but could negotiate their own trade terms with rUK. This could be a best of both worlds transition for Scotland. Longer term I go back to point (1). Do we really want to be economically tied to the declining rUK long term? We have to focus our export efforts elsewhere.

    4. Thanks to (3), our (hopefully) short term reliance on rUK trade, I think informal use of sterling followed by our own currency with a sterling peg will be the proposed move. Longer term, I expect our economy to refocus towards Europe. We will be in prime position to be the English speaking bridge to the single market. We can have a Euro based peg. I would not advocate joining the Euro unless/until they sort out proper fiscal consolidation within the Eurozone and then it’s back to arguments about sovereignty, I guess.

    5. The significant power is devolution of earned income tax (note not income derived from wealth, the Tories were too sly to let that go). As a “here, grab this poisoned chalice” trap, it couldn’t have been any more obvious.

    6. There is about to be a huge, pissed off section of the rUK economy looking for a way to stay in Europe.

    Geraint Davies, Labour MP for Swansea: “But would you accept, given what’s happened, in the event that Scotland did become independent and part of the EU, trading within the EU so it wouldn’t face any tariffs, that would provoke a lot of industries from England and Wales, sadly, to simply migrate to Scotland, up the road.”

    There is a significant short term opportunity but we have to be in the single market.

    7. I think the biggest threat to a good deal is the hubris of Messrs Fox, Davis, Johnson etc who seem to be floating the idea that the hardest of Brexits on WTO terms wouldn’t be such a bad thing :-0 I think that anything likely to puncture their egos might be best for all concerned!

    8. I agree to an extent that the messages coming from the SNP are vague and muffled. They need to state a clear commitment to end up an EU member. I personally would prefer this was endorsed post-Indy by a referendum. I think the consent of the people is vital for such a step and that would be the clearest way. However, as per (3) a transitional arrangement that allows us to cut a deal with rUK and be in the single market is probably a good idea. Someone needs to come out and clearly express this though. Stalling is not a good look.

    9. I’d rather co-operate and share values with 27 nearby friendly countries than any country with Liam Fox in its government, thanks all the same. Freedom and democracy are the European norm, that’s not going to change just because Scotland grows up and takes responsibility for itself in a free, democratic vote.

  19. I have to say, Gordon’s piece is so full of knee-jerk sound bites right out of the Project Fear manual that I dismiss most of it as irrelevant.

    I have a different story to tell. I have a shellfish business and I am in negotiation with a large French company to invest up to £1 million in developing the business. They have gone quiet since the European referendum and the prospect of a hard Brexit entailing 40% tariffs for food products is, I believe, making them think twice about the future.

    I also have to say that the prospects for Scottish agriculture outside the EU are looking grim. It is the EU that has delivered on such things as branding, thereby boosting the market for indigenous Scottish products. Add to that the problems we have had with Scottish quality beef and lamb trying to access the United States market after the BSE farrago which was largely to do with the English dairy herd, and it is easy to see that Scotland’s best option is to strike out on its own within the EU.

    • Interesting point you make about branding of products , specifically scottish products protected by the EU , what happens to this protection now , indeed all the other product safety standards we have become accustomed to , no doubt Mrs Mayhem will have our best interests at heart and will keep us well informed of progress , it is a pity her civil servants forgot to inform the scottish parliament of the date she intended to invoke the leaving procedure , just a slight error to add to the many other little errors we have come to expect from this government . They probably thought we would learn the details and the date from the government news channel the BBC .

      • If you’re talking about protection for regional products (such as Parma Ham, only Scots) then its quite clear what happens.

        You lose the protection & unless you have a worldwide trademark on the name AND are willing to defend that trademark worldwide then best of luck as anyone could sell “Scotch Whisky”, “Harris Tweed” (get it up you Wilson!) without it being genuine.

  20. Thanks for posting this Derek , I am trying to post a reasoned response or indeed a comment on the reasons for this person now apparently choosing to vote NO if there is a second referendum , while in the background Mayhem is taking the piss out of Corbyn , does anyone else find this woman’s voice grating , irritating , god i take pity on EU leaders who have to interact with her , my sympathies go out to them .
    Anyway i usually read articles before commenting , well usually ,it soon became apparent after reading a few lines that this could be any Unionist making comments , with so many simple basic errors of the current situation and misguided remarks i wouldnt know where to start , please forgive me for not wasting my time on what is essentially a tory press release , or indeed Labour , they all seem to be joined at the hip now totally indistinguishable from each other THE SCOTTISH UNIONIST ALLIANCE .

  21. Mervyn King just said the currency wasn’t an issue.
    It seems to me that the stability he mentions simply means ignoring everything that is happening in the UK.

  22. I read it very carefully and I don’t think I read anything new in what is very much a financial / economy view of the current crisis.

    I think that these classic unionist arguments only maintain their credibility when you don’t carefully consider what is left out.

    1. It is a bad time to be having or considering another independence referedum. –

    Well yes it is if you take the view that we only want another referendum to heap more chaos on the process of leaving the EU but –

    Many independence supporters see an inept, incompetent UK government approach to brexit that includes a determination to get a full brexit even though many, many brexit voters both sides of the Scottish border clearly did not support that. We believe that a serious wrong has been comiited by a UK govenment that set this referendum up to try and end the EU civil war inside the Conservative party and is now approaching brexit with the same agenda. In the article, “near federalisam”, “a partenership of equal nations”, “a 2014 no vote was the only way to stay in the EU”, etc, are all conveniently ignored under a smokescreen of the vow having delivered “substantial” new powers to the Scottish parliament/government. These new powers of near federalism etc having been substantially stripped bare during the Smith commission by Tories, all unionists and particularly by Labour party whose former leader, Gordon Brown, had trumpeted the vow in the final days ot the 2014 referendum campaign.

    2. Trade with England and the rest of the UK will be in jeopardy if Scotland becomes independent. –

    Well yes if you approach this in a vacuum that ignores the need of England/rUK to expediently trade where and with whom it can after brexit. Tories in the ideological, better together part two, echo chamber might want us to believe that all trade between Scotland and England/rUK will dry up if Scotland becomes independent but anybody with an ounce of common sense should be able to debunk this one without much assistance. My idea of a reasonable discussion on this particular issue would be where we could all agree that, in principal, large volume trade will continue albeit with some caveats and currently unknown details.

    3. We are more secure in the big bad world by remaining as part of the UK. –

    Well yes if you believe that aspiring to remain in the EU as part of a united Europe does nothing for our long term security and likewise leaving the EU in no way threatens this. Also if you believe that other alliances that an independent Scotland could remain in or join, e.g. NATO, are not a reasonable compromise to this question.

    4. We will be out of the EU when we vote get independence and there is a big possibility that we might not get back in.

    Well yes if you believe that the EU will put all sorts of barriers in the way of membership continuity or that fast track back in so that the “period” of non membership is of no significance is definitely not a possibility. Also failing to mention how a Scotland in the EU with England/rUK out of the EU will quite likely present Scotland with major opportunities to accomodate businesses from rUK that want to operate from an English speaking country within the EU. I appreciate that there are unknowns for your own business and that you could face some serious issues if Scotland becomes independent from the UK but I think that not wanting to deal with any of the changes that might be required for your busines seems to have put you in denial of the potential business opportunities for an independent Scotland.

    #

    Having read your article I have to admit that I am surprised that you were ever a yes voter. Currently you don’t seem to acknowledge any of the possible, potential economic benefits of an independent Scotland, especially an independent Scotland in the EU.

    You also say nothing about the other big issues that I think about much of the time, e.g. the dreadful treatment of the 100,000 plus EU people currently living in Scotland and our own ageing population and how do we, post brexit, get new people in to Scotland to help us grow our economy, the way the UK impedes Scotland’s development of alternative sources of clean energy, Scotland getting the governments it votes for, etc.

    I think that there will be much greater clarity around most of the issues that you discuss by the time we are voting in another independence referendum and your article seems to be arguing, aslmost exclusively in economic terms, against independence in the immediate present.

    When I go to vote if/when the opportunity arises I won’t be entering the polling booth clutching my nervous, anxious wallet and wondering how happy it will be when the results are announced. The economy isn’t everything and the short term economy, very definitely, isn’t everything.

    I think I’ll leave the wallet at home that day.

  23. So he is a Tory businessman who has moved south – why am I not surprised he wants to vote no! Does not like more tax so presumable does not like having a fairer and more equitable society and a national health service? More concerned about profit than other people’s well-being…..

    He is not a ‘typical no voter’ – just another typical Tory.

  24. You’ve done us a service, Derek, in publishing this, because it will reflect the more ‘reasonable’ part of the debate which is to come.
    The issues Gordon raises are all valid. For me, many of his arguments are wrong, as Steve Asaneilean points out. But they reflect the extent to which the story has already been framed by the British establishment, whether in Whitehall or Edinburgh.
    So it will be important to develop reasonable and honest replies if people like Gordon are to be convinced to stick with their original feeling about independence, and if others who had doubts can change their mind.
    The most difficult topic is the economy. I find it demeaning that Gordon feels that Scotland’s economy needs to be “sorted out”, to the extent that independence is not affordable. Scotland is the twelfth largest economy out of the 28 in the EU, but I guess he won’t be telling the other 16 that they should no longer be independent. Nor does he seem to ask himself how membership of the UK might have held back the Scottish economy to the extent that it needs sorting out.
    But Brexit changes every economic prospect for the worse. Surely not the time to break free ? What about the argument that leaving the UK market will make things even worse ? The answer to that is crucial, and the most difficult to get over, even in the friendliest media. Gordon is right to point out how things have changed in Ireland.
    Leaving the single European market will permanently damage economic growth and prosperity. It leaves us poorer for some years to come and makes us jump through hoops just to prevent things from getting worse. Sticking with the UK is the surest way for Scotland to take its share of the hit. Staying in the European single market is the only way to compensate for that. The risk of staying with the UK is too great to take.
    The short-term prospect for Scotland will be difficult in any case. Borrowing will be higher than it should be for a while. Taxes may also need to go up to pay for investments in schools, health and infrastructure. Part of the adjustment could be made easier with a separate currency, helping to dampen the short-term shock.
    But independence is for life, not for the next 3 or 4 years. Scotland will be much more of a magnet for investment. Our research community will be much more connected with innovation and new ideas from Europe. Our firms will have the opportunity to grow and sell more in Europe without the handicaps that English firms will be under. Our economy will grow faster and get stronger. As an EU member, Scotland will have a say in writing the rules that England will have to accept as it still trades with the single market. We will be a more open country, with a stronger voice in the world through Europe. Maybe Scotland and Ireland will one day help to bring our nearest neighbour back in from the cold and eventually part of a more prosperous British Isles in Europe.
    But it’s worth thinking about how anyone will get to hear these points. The media is almost all Brexit, and it’s uniformly unionist. At a time of pro-British, anti-European frenzy, can any pro-independence, pro-EU voice be heard ?

  25. Mr. Young, along with 55% of the Scottish population, was persuaded to accept that guff by the no Campaign headed by Slab at a time when many people expected Labour to win the 2016 General Election.

    The same guff will no doubt be on offer again, but this time by a Tory Party which seems destined to remain in power in Westminister for a long time to come.

    We Scots have rejected Tory values since the 1950’s and Slab/Labour is no more, and the Brexit farce has not even opened yet.

    We should stop treating tits like Mr Young and Ms Dugdale seriously.

  26. I have come across a few people lately who are Tories and claim to have voted Yes in the first referendum but will vote No now.

    Like Gordon their arguments are weak and come across as rehearsed claptrap from the Tory media centre. Would have thought a successful media mogul would offer more than this as argument – especially as he has ‘changed his mind’ .

    • Some of Gordon’s arguments are weak but please don’t rise to it. It doesn’t help, even when it feels like Better Together.

      We need to come up with a way of convincing those with doubts. This will work best if we are respectful (even if we think the argument is flawed or a rehash).

      Taking point 3
      The Union has few arguments left, some border on threat or abuse.

      The threat to trade between Scotland and England is nasty but real.

      Having EU links will help curb rUK economic aggression but it is possible that rUK hard Brexit will be followed in a very economically suicidal way -not caring about the consequences.

      Gordon might be a rarity, There are some who’s economic self interest might be to put the England-Scotland link above all else. The other reasons follow as justification. If this economic factor is paramount for him, tthen we might not be able to.change his mind.

      The majority of people, however, would view this threat as only part a broader picture (and would not take kindly to threats).

      Some thoughts:

      The rUK market is overstated as many ‘exports’ are just transiting England to ports for onward travel abroad. We need better figures for this.

      Brexit UK with or without Scotland will be a much weaker market and we will still need to find other outlets for our exports. Simply put, in the medium term the UK will not be able to afford the products (I think this is why the Germans will find the threat to their car industry lacks credibility -soon we will not be able to afford German cars).

      Would rUK really want to put the lights out just to spite us? (one major export to England is power).

      Scotland needs new markets anyway, whether we stay in the UK or not. Europe will give a much better platform for trade.

      Relocation of businesses to Scotland is already happening. It would be likely to accelerate if it were clear that Scotland is not leaving the Single Market, or better still not leaving the EU.

      Point 2,
      I know a great deal about the NHS both sides of the border (doctor, manager, board member and service user at various times). The figures are clear that Scotland is about 5 years behind the downward spiral of the English NHS. Sometimes it is good to be behind when the direction is wrong! This does not stop tales of doom and gloom -some things are getting worse, but at least we have a Govt that believes in the NHS. Comparisons with the English NHS are good but rarely make it to the media. If we do nothing, we will eventually fail. Independence is our chance to make real different spending decisions.

      Engage firmly but respectfully.

      They fear Ghandi more than Braveheart

      P.S. does anyone know what Unionists would like to be called? I read recently that some found the term insulting and tainted by association with Northern Ireland Unionists.

  27. The “now is not the time” seems to have bitten this chap.

    “Wait and see what happens”… U-huh. We would have a clearer choice if the UK as the member state would simply ask the EU about EU membership for indy Scotland, and same as last time, they won’t. Ms May said we will be out of the EU, her opinion, nothing more and she was wrong about the Royal Prerogative she thought she had to enable A50.

    However, it looks increasingly more likely to me that iScotland would spend the time between UK union and full EU membership within EFTA, and that is just my opinion. If true though, and that comes to pass, iScotland’s future will be an open page. The best of both worlds. I suspect Westminster knows this to be true too.

    They will be snookered hard against the corner cushion and the 8 ball. Unlikely to be able to negotiate with Scottish assets (Fishing), as EU negotiators are not stupid and the UK has fewer than 40 negotiators anyway… simply not enough.

    Colour me happy if the UK gets a “good” deal; whatever that means. iScotland in EFTA will have the best deal. This chap will almost certainly return to Scotland, and he will not be alone.

    Ultimately Scotland will vote on full EU membership, yet only when rUK seeks to rejoin (ironically on less favourable terms as now). Ireland might even consider leaving the EU in favour of EFTA, who knows what the fallout might reveal.

    Remaining in the single market… EEA/EFTA is every bit akin (in terms of worth) as being in the EU… and again in irony have a greater say than we do at present in the EU as part of the UK.

    I see no betrayal in terms of policy either. Being ripped out the EU (single market) against our will. The best fix available IMO is EFTA. I am declaring no interest here other than a desire to remain in and be part of the single market. How Ms May has interpreted the “leave” result in the referendum ought to frighten you.

    • Do you happen to know of membership of the EEA entitles members to regional development aid? I know members have to pay to join, and end up paying almost as much as full members.

      • No expert, but I’ve always thought the premise was the other way round, i.e. it is the EU which is part of the EEA.

        Found this though:

        http://www.eftasurv.int/state-aid/state-aid-in-the-eea/

        “The state aid rules
        The state aid rules in the EEA Agreement are broadly equivalent to the state aid rules in the EC Treaty and which apply across the EU. Like the EC Treaty, the EEA Agreement contains a general prohibition on state aid in order to prevent distortions of competition and negative effects on intra-EEA trade. The rules seek to ensure a level playing field for companies across Europe, and to prevent government assistance being used as a form of protectionism in the absence of trade barriers. The prohibition is, however, subject to numerous exceptions, recognising that government intervention can be necessary to correct market failure and for social purposes, for example through regional policy or efforts to reduce unemployment.”

        This too:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EEA_and_Norway_Grants

        “How it works[edit]
        The Donors and the EU agree both to the total contribution and distribution of funding per beneficiary state.

        Within the national allocation, the Donors then negotiate with each beneficiary country and agree which programmes to establish, their objectives and the size of the allocation to each individual programme. The agreements are based on national needs and priorities in the beneficiary states and the scope for cooperation with the donor states.

        A National Focal Point is responsible for the overall management of programmes in each beneficiary country. Programme Operators develop and manage the programmes, often in cooperation with a partner from the Donor states, and award funding to projects. Projects are mostly selected following calls for proposals organised by the Programme Operators.”

  28. He seems to be poorly informed for a businessman.

    Take currency. He misunderstands here. Last time the proposal was to share the £ in a currency union. This was a perfectly sound proposition which would have eased coming and going on both sides of the border. It would have meant Scotland would have had some say in monetary policy, though not an equal say, it would be pro rata.

    The problem with it was not economic, but political. It needed England to go along with a currency union. England said get lost. The proposal was in both parties best interests but the proposers made a mistake in assuming there would be willing co-operation, and rational self interest on the part of England, in the matter of a currency union, which obviously there could be, but George Osborne would not allow it. England, as we have seen with Brexit, is perfectly capable of cutting its nose off to spite its face, and it did so with the currency union idea.

    However as Steve has said, the £ is a perfectly tradable currency. You don’t need a currency union to use another state’s currency if it is fully tradable. Any state could adopt the £ if they wanted. But they wouldn’t be in a currency union. They would have no say in monetary policy, because they would not have sovereignty over the currency they were using if it was the currency of another state.

    Sturgeon’s current plan seems to be to keep the £ as a preliminary measure but not as part of a currency union. This is totally viable, however your man is right to voice that it is not viable long term. Though Sturgeon indicated it would be an interim measure only. Because I don’t think you can have a central bank if you don’t have your own currency which you alone control. Though I’m not sure of that, because doesn’t Panama – which uses the US$ not have a central bank? At any rate, if you don’t have your own currency in a central bank you can’t print money. A state with its own currency and a central bank can never run out of money. And that’s what we would need to do long term.

    It’s interesting to hear his views. But honestly, he’s been in England too long. These opinions are straight out of the Daily Mail.

  29. And as Steve has pointed out, he’s also wrong about a whole lot of other things in Scotland like the police and the NHS. Both are working better in Scotland than in England. We hear every day about the crisis in the NHS in England.

    More taxation? Quoi? It’s only very recently that it was decided not to raise the threshold for upper rate taxpayers which will mean that those in that bracket will pay slightly more in tax than in England. But it has yet to come into force, and the small amount of difference is unlikely to send upper rate tax payers scrambling across the border. Plus, house prices are lower here anyway.

    Sorry, but he’s just been brainwashed by the Daily Mail.

  30. Gavin C Barrie

    A simply dreadful article. The best analysis I can think of is that it is an attempted self-justification of a decision that causes him much discomfort and uncertainty.

  31. I have to say there is nothing that I agree with in this article.
    There are many good comments here by others who explain why each of the 9 points made don’t stand up.
    But one of the points ‘3. Access to our biggest market.’ is one that I have often thought about.
    The fact is the vast majority of UK exports/imports move through English ports.
    England also holds the majority of the main goods distribution centres.

    As we know from GERS there are no accurate breakdown of the statistics relating to Scotland’s economy, so are based on ‘estimates’.
    Quite possibly goods that are exported to England could very likely end up on a ship in one of the English ports as an English export.
    In reality of the £48bn of exports to England a considerable percentage of that might end up being exported to the EU and other countries. So the claimed £12bn of exports to the EU may infact be considerably larger.

    Take car manufacturing in England as an example. We know that most of the components that end up being assembled by the manufacturers come from other EU countries. So when we in Scotland buy a Nissan car from the North of England how much of the value of that car actually is attributed to the real point of origin instead of England?

    I believe we are so reliant on England for trade only because they own the vast majority of the infrastructure used for trade and are able to cream off a percentage of the value for themselves which ever direction that trade goes.
    What happens today is little different to the conditions that existed before we were forced into joining the UK.
    Only when we do get independence and have control of our own trade will we be able to learn the truth.

  32. That was total and utter guff. Truly dreadful repeat of BT bullshit

    1. Even without oil Scottish GDP is 99% of the UK’s. An Independent Scotland remaining in the EU would attract all kinds of business from other parts of the UK. Our business would be booming!

    2. Scotland is OUTPERFORMING the rUK in health, education and policing, go and look it up, get the facts!

    3. Why would we be OUTSIDE the UK market? Don’t they need our oil, electricity, whisky, food. If we join EFTA/EEA we can have our own deal with rUK that doesn’t involve customs or tariffs!

    4. What are you frightened of is Scotland used a different currency? We trade worldwide and not all use the pound!

    5. New powers that are just about useless. The “new powers”, were a Tory trap, we are responsible for raising only 31% of all taxes and 71% of this is from a single source, Income Tax. Welfare well only 15% to total spend is the responsibility of the SG. Absolute piffle “most powerful devolved assemblies in the world”!

    6. Out of 15 European Cities Dublin is expected to benefit the most from rUK companies relocating after Brexit. Particularly high paying skilled jobs. Edinburgh and Glasgow would do even better particularly for financial sector jobs!

    7. Sure yeah let the UK get the best possible deal while it sells out Scotlands fishermen and farmers for London passporting for the City. I’d like rUK to get the best possible deal but they need to do it without Scottish assets!

    8. There is a choice to be made and it will be made by SCOTS who voted 62% to Remain in the EU!

    9. Leaving the EU makes Europe a more dangerous place with the right wing fanatics we currently have in power. Was Ireland a more dangerous place when it remained neutral in the second world war!

    Worst article ever on this blog!

    • I agree with your last sentence: worse article ever on this blog.
      We can read or hear stuff like this at any time of every day of the year. Just standard Unionist propaganda, which today we are also hearing from Lab/Tory/Lib MSPs at Holyrood.

  33. kailyard rules

    Maybe after a few malts and a good blether Derek passed the keyboard over to Gordon and said, “On you go. Fire away pal”

    We all have the right to bung in our twa pence, but Gordon’s have missed the plate. It’s a long throw from Londonland.

    Good luck Gordon.

  34. I’m sorry but this argument sounds like a rehashed version of the argument used by Bettertogether. Viewed through the lens of Brexit, it might seem like a wake up call, but really in the end – its the same one we had to listen to last time.

    We are being asked to seriously consider not going for this now, because we need to work for the best deal for the UK and Brexit. There are a few problems with this. The best deal the UK can get was to remain in the EU. That ship has sailed. The best brexit deal is lost because the UK gov have behaved and continue to behave like petty, petulant, pugnacious little piss ants. So we are unlikely to get favorable terms. The other uncomfortable truth is that the UK got more out of the EU than it ever contributed, so we have a really weak hand.

    What this gentleman is asking is that we seriously put aside Scotland security and long term prosperity and allow the Tories to work out a deal for the UK. Seriously how many people here have any faith in the Tories to do anything in good faith. When we tried to get a deal for Scotland we got endlessly slapped down by them. When we tried to work with them, we got some tories mobile phone number. They didn’t have the decency to let us know when section 50 would be triggered. We had to read about it in papers.
    Thats the level of commitment they want from Scotland. Nothing. Nothing but unquestioning obedience.
    I am being asked to put my faith in a party that couldn’t be bothered to pick up a phone. Hell even if we asked any questions, it became clear that they didn’t have a bloody clue about what was going to happen, except that they banking of their EU hostage wheeze to save their wretched hides.

    Lets face it – we are going to crash out and crash out hard. The gentlemen thinks we should crash out with the rest of the UK and endure all the pain and misery this will bring, because this isn’t the time to talk about Scotland.

    Jesus. Fucking. Wept.

  35. Can you refer your friend to The National, 21st March, 2017: “Why you can’t rely on GERS to judge indy Scotland’s financial state” written by Professor Richard Murphy. He makes several pertinent points in his article, but I particularly like the following:
    “…..Westminster does not think it is important that Scotland has its own economic data, so it does not measure it. It sends along half-hearted estimates instead.”

    The whole article is woth reading and keeping.

  36. I think Derek’s point though is that these are the kind of concerns this man has. He holds them sincerely.

    As many posters above have said, his fears seem to be a case of manufactured dissent, the product of very successful Better Together scare stories and propaganda, almost all of which can be easily refuted.

    That’s the point to take away from this exercise. BT bullshit is alive and kicking.

  37. Holyrood is not with the so called new powers one of he most powerful devolved assemblies in the world. Fiscal powers are minimal, Vat, corporation tax, fuel dues etc are still held at Westminster fir example.
    It has disposal powers of 15% of all revenues spent in Scotland and the Barnett model only trails English spend patterns.
    In matters of security, these are Nato wide you do not need the incorporating union to effect “UK, or post UK security.
    EVEL is still in place.
    To follow your argument, the Irish Republic should merge with Northern Ireland and become reincorporated into the Westminster domjnated Anglo-state, because that is what it is.

  38. Police failures in England:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/police-force-hmic-watchdog-overstretched-public-risk-national-crisis-government-cuts-a7606836.html

    Can England afford to be independent of EU given this shocking record?

    Thought not.

  39. Furthermore, I almost laughed my head off when you mentioned the Russian news agency in Edinburgh and followed up with the non sequitur scare of “Russian interference” in future elections. Ha Ha, not the old red in the radio scare, get real, and use your critical faculties. The Russian RT station, English language base is London. Why is it that you suddenly think in Edinburgh it will have sinister intentions? It is there to broadcast from the capital of Scotland, just as many other news media from abroad broadcast in English from London. Such fear rubbish from your text just makes one laugh! Just get used to the fact that Scotland is bro g seen as part of the world and not just some appendage of dahn sath, which many want to keep.

  40. This is a really interesting article and seems to me to be well argued. That doesn’t mean it’s right but a balanced view would be that it could be. The uniformity of the negative reaction it’s received suggests this blog is only read by one set of opinions. That’s not going to help the Yes campaign learn any lessons from last time around. Taking the view that anyone who disagrees with you must be wrong might mean you keep your friends on side but democracy involves persuading those who take a different view. In that respect humility is a much sought after commodity.

  41. I really think, that Gordon, being a Brexit man is being a bit disingenuous and a tad untruthful. http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2016/06/10/why-voting-brexit-will-reduce-chances-scotland-exiting-uk

    • Well done in finding that article!

      But Sturgeon DOES have a mandate. This is another thing Gordon is misinformed about in that article. She always said – and it is in the manifesto she stood on – that if there was a significant material change affecting Scotland during her time in office that would be grounds for another referendum.

      Gordon needs to know that without control of immigration – which EU freedom of movement ensures, but Brexit threatens, we in Scotland are sunk.

      40,000 young people between the ages of 16-25 leave Scotland every year, taking their taxes with them. People we educated and invested in. Without immigrants of working age coming in to replace them and with an aging population, our tax base is going to shrink whilst demands on welfare services will increase.

      Gordon himself is one of those who took the high road south. Taking his taxes with him.

      Concerns about emigration in the economic meltdown of the 1920s were what prompted the formation of the National Party of Scotland in 1928, the forerunner of the SNP. Scotland has continued to haemorrhage people, its most vital asset and will continue to do so until we get some greater control over the levers of our economy.

    • Having ready this article, it is now clear that this guy is completely disingenuous and can be relied upon to vote purely out of self-interest. He should fit in very well in his adopted home.

      Either that or you’re a week or so too early, Derek. You do, of course, have form!

  42. Is Gordon a figment? Derek’s Other? I wonder whether his reasons for voting Yes in 2014 coincided with Derek’s own…

  43. I shared this very article a few days ago and I was quite surprised by the response I had. Like you Derek, I felt that it is an extremely interesting article that gives us a real insight into the minds of No voters. It’s also a brilliant basis for building the case that we will find ourselves having to make over and over again.

    What I got was a string of replies telling me how this can’t possibly be a genuine Yes to No voter, that everything he’s saying is total rubbish, and that he is to be simply ignored as someone who has swallowed the Better Together play book.

    This is to miss the point entirely. These arguments are very familiar to us politics geeks for the very reason they are raised every single day in the media and by unionist politicians at every opportunity. So this is exactly what many people will be thinking and we’d better be ready with good and respectful answers. Sometimes I think the Yes side really is its own worst enemy.

  44. Just to add to my last comment.
    He does peddle lies for a living.

  45. He moved to England? Ok – I am there already.

    260k removed from my kids school this year.
    Junior Drs striking.
    City of London emptying into Europe.
    Prison riots.
    Colossal NHS problems.
    Huge NHS privatisation.

    He obviously was pulling the wool over Dereks eyes, I do wonder, but its like he ate the Daily Mail on arrival. Or he’s bluffing to not upset some zoomer neighbours.

    I work in the City (I always point this out). We (financial types in the City) all know Scotland will do better than England now, the EU option will set it high above the mess to come down south.

    Derek – want to ping me? I can tell you of yesterdays conversation … with a conference hall of people being baited by a speaker from Germany .. and the unanimous opinion that Scotland would be insane to stay, but even more insane to reject the EU.

    • I really fear the power of the Bitter Together propaganda. Our European friends may well think us insane to stay.

      But do they grasp how powerful the Bitter Together narrative is? What we are up against? It’s conned Gordon, clearly.

  46. Alastair Naughton

    We NEED these perspectives so we can have our responses honed and ready. It is NO USE WHATSOEVER believing our own message, even if we know it to be right, and even if we know the BBC and all the MSM are rotten to the core. We NEED to counter arguments such as these, so get the replies such as Steve’s well rehearsed, ready to trip off the tongue. More will come, and things will become clearer as time goes on, I’m sure. For example, once it becomes clear what currency we are using, once it becomes clearer that we WILL in fact be able to keep our membership of the EU, or that rejoining it will be a simple formality, things will be a lot easier to rebut. Once we see firms giving serious consideration to relocating to Scotland as a serious financial centre and gateway to the EU, once we see the consequences of the virtual collapse of academic collaboration at all our universities once Brexit starts to bite and academics start to get up in arms. It will be hard, but the argument CAN be won!

  47. Jimmy The Pict

    The exodus from UK is already happening, just not reported as much as required. People will begin to feel the economic impact as jobs start to go. Finance will not be the only industry affected, manufacturing for European orders will be next, once the orders books are empty of EU work then peoples wallets will be affected. This is why the next 12 months are required to have the effects bite hard.

    The soft ‘No’ vote that is based on honest selfish economic impact, they will vote for what is best for them and their family, may change its mind when the catastrophic Brexit mess that is on its way starts to impact even if it is not reported by main stream media fully.

    • the media in this country are complicit in a truly mind boggling deception , where one section controls everything that is discussed , their view and opinion is the only one thats promoted , a truly sad state of affairs .

  48. It is necessary for the YES side to counter the view that Brexit will create an English economic
    renaissance. One way to do this is to revisit England’s economic performance 1945-1975 before joining the EEC.

    From What has the EU done for the UK?
    https://www.ft.com/content/202a60c0-cfd8-11e5-831d-09f7778e7377,

    The most relevant section

    Britain joined what was then the European Economic Community in 1973 as the sick man of Europe. By the late 1960s, France, West Germany and Italy — the three founder members closest in size to the UK — produced more per person than it did and the gap grew larger every year. Between 1958, when the EEC was set up, and Britain’s entry in 1973, gross domestic product per head rose 95 per cent in these three countries compared with only 50 per cent in Britain.

    After becoming an EEC member, Britain slowly began to catch up. Gross domestic product per person has grown faster than Italy, Germany and France in the 42 years since. By 2013, Britain became more prosperous than the average of the three other large European economies for the first time since 1965.

    Although past performance is no indicator of future performance it can be anticipated that growth and inward investment into the English economy will slow and that the multiple deficits, current account, trade and domestic will encourage sustained devaluation which will lead to social tensions within the English state.

    aj

  49. Thanks Gordon, at least you didn’t use the phrase “I’m a proud Scot but”

  50. Forgive my scepticism. This guy was never a YES voter, as long there is a hole in my bum.

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