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UK Constitution

Salvation of the Union

Land of Hope and Glory! Rule Britannia! God Save the Queen! Scotland has spoken, and, despite the tawdry interventions of certain glitzy Scots living comfortably in the Home Counties, Manhattan and the Bahamas, they have done so by a very comfortable margin of some 400,000. It seems that two million people in Scotland heeded the Queens advice to think very carefully about their future, and decided that Britons are simply better together. While the politicians are conceding, commiserating, celebrating and congratulating, the Archbishop of Canterbury has put out the following statement:

Over the past few weeks the campaign has touched on such raw issues of identity and been so closely fought that it has generated profound questioning and unsettlement far beyond Scotland.

The decision by the Scottish people to remain within the United Kingdom, while deeply disappointing to many, will be welcomed by all those who believe that this country can continue to be an example of how different nations can work together for the common good within one state.

This is a moment for reconciliation and healing not rejoicing or recrimination. Some of the wounds opened up in recent months are likely to take time to heal on both sides of the border. The historically close relationships that have existed between the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Church of Scotland and the Church of England and our long involvement in mediation have a contribution to make as our societies not only reflect on the lessons of the referendum campaign but engage in delivering the radical restructuring of the relationship between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom for which commitments have been made. 

The Archbishop is right that this has been a referendum about identity, and that it has unsettled the settlement. He is also right that we must move toward healing and reconciliation. But it is unrealistic to insist that there must be no rejoicing or recrimination. We who support the historic Union of crowns, parliaments and nations are indeed rejoicing; and in our fraught and vibrant liberal democracy it is impossible to avoid recrimination, for David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are tinkering with the British Constitution as though it were the Dangerous Dogs Act, seemingly oblivious to its complex history and the tortuous battles of faith through which it was forged. To unpick one golden thread risks the unravelling of the entire fabric, but that is seemingly of little consequence for the ‘here-today, gone-tomorrow’ politicians.

It is also impossible to avoid recrimination when David Cameron appears to be about to answer the West Lothian Question. If out of the ashes of attempted Scottish secession emerges ‘Devo-Max’ for both England and Scotland – that is, two classes of MPs at Westminster, with “English votes for English laws” – the consequences for Labour will be seismic, and the reverberations of nationalism will continue for many months and years to come.

The role of the big churches in this referendum has been interesting. While the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has remained “resolutely silent” throughout the long campaign, it is no secret that the hierarchy has long supported independence: indeed, disgraced Cardinal Keith O’Brien called for the break-up of the United Kingdom on numerous occasions, much to the chagrin of Labour-supporting, Unionist-inclined, Scottish Roman Catholics. The Church of Scotland has also been perched firmly on the referendum fence along the “middle way“, despite having previously said that “Self‐determination for any nation is a good political principle that the Church would support”.

The great historic Free Church movements in Scotland were all concerned with the protest against patronage and prelacy, and on behalf of the right of the Christian congregation to appoint its minister of choice to preach the gospel of salvation. This privilege was a founding principle of the Church of Scotland, though it has occasionally and long been abrogated. Ruling hierarchies tend to dislike fervent expressions of popular power: it is infinitely preferable to owe one’s position to the arbitrary appointment of a patron rather than to the goodwill of a fractious congregation. After all, if congregations are allowed to call their own ministers, how does one guard against the scratching of itching ears and doctrinal lukewarmness? Such questions and contentions are nothing new: politicians all over the United Kingdom need to learn the lessons of this referendum and ask why our national politics has become so elite and anodyne, and why Scotland’s 84% turnout (over 90% in some areas) was the highest participation in any election in our nation’s democratic history.

Our Christian leaders are now encouraging the opposing factions to put aside their rancour and bitterness, but that will require humility, prayer and patience. And that will require an ecumenical mission of mediation of the sort envisaged by the Archbishop of Canterbury. We must set aside our differences over church government and doctrinal peripheries to heal a hurt and divided nation, and that is work of the Holy Spirit. It will require dutiful and responsible men and women of character and conviction, and they must be free to speak clearly and truthfully without fear of threat or intimidation. We will only now make progress toward re-union if the causes of our division and dis-union are addressed in a spirit of respect, humility and mutual toleration. We might even try a little national repentance..

  • IanCad

    Sorry; posted on wrong thread.

     

    Let’s not get overly excited.

    We’ve dodged a bullet on this one.

    Looming over us is the prospect of another referendum likely to go the same way.

    That of our membership in the EU.

    Most probably it will also result in a “No” vote, and will effectively bind us in chains to the EU until we have to fight our way out.

    Again I must say it – Referenda should have no part in our system representative government.

    There is a lesson and a warning here to be remembered..

    • DanJ0

      Surely constitutional change is just the sort of thing that a referendum ought to be used to decide?

      • IanCad

        I don’t know about you but I have no desire to be ruled by the mob – which is essentially what a referendum is.

        • The Inspector General

          IanCad. If a UKIP government be formed, and it be done without need of coalition, then no referendum necessary. Leaving the EU is a manifesto commitment. It’s there for all to see, and one hopes, be agreed with. If you don’t want to leave the EU, you don’t vote UKIP.

          • Problem is that makes them essentially a single issue Party. Jack wants to know what else they stand for. Plus, let’s be honest, some of their members are, how shall Jack put this, let’s say, rather unsophisticated, especially when it comes to complex issues.

      • Maybe, but with all affected parties entitled to vote according to normal suffrage rules. Scot’s voters represented a mere 4% of the UK electorate.

  • Dreadnaught

    We should re-establish the nation of England by the visual presentation of the Union Flag cross-staffed with the Flag of St George on every public building, school, hospital and ports of entry throughout the country. Then, set to work on a written constitution.

  • JayBee

    Apologies for posting this on yesterdays thread YG.

    It’s all over bar the consequences.

    The Mother of Parliaments now faces the mother of all hangovers in the wake of referendum partying. Now the implications of extra devolution by panic attack start to sink in. Constitutional change commitments made at the 11th hour without consulting Parliament. Promises regardless of practicality are an implementation minefield.

    We, the English, are not going to accept the balance of power remaining in the hands of Scottish MP’s (+Welsh & NI) on English matters, nor are we going to pay a disproportionate share to keep Scotland afloat. Standby for the rise of English Nationalism and a surge in support for UKIP. I can’t wait to see what happens in the Clacton by-election.

  • bluedog

    ‘ David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband are tinkering with the British Constitution as though it were the Dangerous Dogs Act,’
    True. But then all three of them are completely lost and have no vision of where they want to go, let alone how to get there. Your communicant’s money is on Miliband to be the first to come up with the right answer. Clegg is ideologically inhibited from proposing or accepting any workable solution and Cameron continues to lurch from one Band-Aid solution to another. Cameron should be sacked at the forthcoming party conference for his grossly inept management of the indyref. For the Conservative PM to be saved destroying the UK by a failed Labour PM is hardly a mark of competence or success.
    Farage has proposed the correct vehicle for determination of the way ahead, a constitutional convention. Getting the constitution right is the essential precursor to an equitable financial settlement between the component nations of the UK. No equitable constitutional settlement, no equitable financial settlement, it’s a simple progression. Cameron’s interim proposal of excluding 59 Scottish MP’s elected to Westminster from deliberations on English matters is frankly bizarre and merely creates yet another constitutional dilemma – two classes of MP sitting in one house. Where does he get these half-baked ideas from, Bogdanor? One knows exactly what Cameron is trying to do, but that is not the way to do it. He really must go before he stuffs anything else up.
    Back to the constitutional convention, appoint David Steel to run it and table his 2005 report as the working draft. Everything will fall into place shortly thereafter.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    The Scottish referendum has certainly got people thinking in a way they didn’t before. For me, it raises the question about why so many countries have separatist movements. Is it just history? Is it because they are “oppressed” by central government? Or is it symptomatic of our increasing inability to live together and tolerate each other as a species? Political unions seem a bit like marriages. They work until one side is tempted by what looks like greener grass on the other side of the fence.

    The “Yes” campaign in Scotland looked more like a blame game than a cry for freedom. It is hard to imagine there being real freedom under the intimidatory rule of Salmond’s thugs. Threats to businesses and attacks on “No” supporters gave us a foretaste of life under the nationalists.

    I would also question the SNP’s use of child voters. Kids of that age have an opinion, but it is unlikely to be a discerning one, and is more likely to be based on peer pressure on facebook than reason or wisdom.

    • bluedog

      ‘For me, it raises the question about why so many countries have separatist movements’
      Good question. In the view of this communicant the proliferation of separatist movements is an indulgence that springs from a long period of peace and prosperity. When poor or threatened you tend to be risk averse. The proposed creation of a raft of essentially non-viable micro-states can only happen when perceptions of risk are low and economic confidence is very high. WW2 is now three generations away and large numbers of voters have never known fear or poverty. Skilled and self-serving politicians are then able to offer attractive emotional inducements.

      • IanCad

        The Forty Shilling Freeholder worked very well.

      • Uncle Brian

        Also the EU. It’s taken for granted that if Belgium should split into two separate countries, for example, neither of them would have full sovereignty nowadays as they would have had pre-EU, so neither of them presents as much of a danger to the other any longer.

    • Intonsus

      Child voters:
      I came across this intelligent and insightful piece of political analysis written on Facebook by a teenager:

      “Vote yes! Teachers from primary schools have to pay tax to west
      minister from their money and only get a small amount to keep, my
      teacher told me this. She said she loves England, most of her family is
      English but it is because of this tax payment she has to pay to
      Westminster, it isn’t fair vote yes!”
      Presumably she thought that there was not to be any Income Tax in an independent Scotland, or else that paying tax to Holyrood would be so much nicer, and her teacher would have far preferred ‘to get a small (much smaller, judging by Salmond and Sturgeon’s plans and the loss of the subsidy from England) amount to keep” in the glory of ‘freedom’.

      • Pubcrawler

        I thought Scottish schooling was suppoed to be of a decent quality. I could spell, punctuate and construe sentences better than that when I was at (state) primary school in the West Midlands in the 1970s (despite the handicap of having to learn ITA first*).

        if the future belongs to those who turn up, I’m glad to be living in the past. Forsooth.

        * Actually, that did sort of help with becoming proficient in IPA (international phonetic alphabet) in my later life, but I don’t think that was what my teachers — or the educationalists — had in mind at the time.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    it is infinitely preferable to owe one’s position to the arbitrary
    appointment of a patron rather than to the goodwill of a fractious
    congregation

    Is this not somewhat patronising of the flock, that they do not know better that the Patronage administration. Throughout the Anglican community Christians are complaining at the inept manner in which the Anglican Church considers it’s reponsibility towards the spread of the Gospel. Numbers of attendees diminish where there is no ‘Light’ and nothing to feed the flock.

  • avi barzel

    Very good news to wake up to, Your Grace. Great Britain retains her greatness and the blue saltire. The splash of blue makes the look from a designer’s perspective. On the down side, welcome to the Canadian malady, where national policies will include haggling over endless and costly demands delivered in a continuous background whine. Thinking ahead, I suggest a slight modification to the plaque at Bannockburn:
    We fight not for glory, nor for wealth, nor honour…we fight for social benefits and Free Stuff, which no good man (or woman, or gender-uncertain persons) surrenders but with his life.

  • grandpa1940

    Many people said many things in the long run up to the Scots Referendum. ‘First Minister’ Alec Salmond pronounced his usual inflammatory sentences, toned down just a little from his Marxist youth, when he and his ‘comrades were committed to the establishment of a ‘Socialist and Republican Scotland; just a little bit less of the bully in his tone as he knew that he had to speak not only to the Scots, but also to the hated English who have so languidly and so long held the financial reins of the Scots Exchequer. But his was not the voice who, in the end, lost the campaign for that illusory ‘Independence’, he may be a revolutionary but he is no fool. That distinction is held by one man, the former deputy leader of the SNP, Jim Sillars.

    Jim Sillars claimed there is talk of a “boycott” of John Lewis, banks to be split up, and new law to force Ryder Cup sponsor Standard Life to explain to unions its reasons for moving outside Scotland.
    He said: “This referendum is about power, and when we get a Yes majority, we will use that power for a day of reckoning with BP and the banks.
    “The heads of these companies are rich men, in cahoots with a rich English Tory Prime Minister, to keep Scotland’s poor, poorer through lies and distortions. The power they have now to subvert our democracy will come to an end with a Yes.”

    He added: “BP, in an independent Scotland, will need to learn the meaning of nationalisation, in part or in whole, as it has in other countries who have not been as soft as we have forced to be. We will be the masters of the oil fields, not BP or any other of the majors.”
    Mr Sillars said that under an independent Scotland, Standard Life would be required by new employment laws to give two years warning of any redundancies – and reveal to the trade unions its financial reasons for relocation to any country outside of Scotland.

    Earlier this week, a number of banks, including Lloyds Banking Group and RBS, said they would look to move their headquarters south of the border in the event of a Yes vote. “What kind of people do these companies think we are? They will find out,” he added.

    “In each and every election to an independent Parliament, parties and individuals can put forward a manifesto of their choosing and the people will decide. The role of Yes is to achieve a Yes vote, so that the people of Scotland will always get the governments we vote for – and never again Westminster-imposed Tory governments.”

    That is the tone which scared the living daylights out of the Tory & Labour parties, as well as the multitude of steady Scots who were considering, or even swinging, towards the ‘Yes’ campaign. So, a big ‘Thank You Jimmy’, from the United Kingdom to the fool who just could not keep his big Communist trap shut!

    • avi barzel

      So, a big ‘Thank You Jimmy’, from the United Kingdom to the fool who just could not keep his big Communist trap shut!
      Priceless, Grandpa. Word has it that the diminishing remnant of my brother and sister Hebrews in Alba breathed a quiet sigh of relief this morning over the threat of being stranded with chortling Jimmy and his newly invigorated Bolshie ilk. Perhaps the vote will encourage that remnant to stay a while longer and in a suitable act of celebration, one of the remaining kosher meat shops will bring back kosher haggis for Robbie Burns Night and offer it for export along with the kosher-certified kippers and butter cookies. In any case, good news; it will be Glenmorangie for sure for the table this Sabbath eve.

  • Graham Wood

    Grandpa 1940. Well said!

    “This referendum is about power”. Yes, in Scotland this was perceived to be the real issue. The fall-out from the Scottish independence vote lost by the Nats will continue, but one single issue has emerged as being a point of principle which many political commentators and MPs appear to be agreed upon, namely that of the “West Lothian” question – or as now expressed – English laws for English people.

    By general consent from all political parties this principle is seen as paramount and one that must be addressed and rectified.

    All now see that Scottish MPs have no business being present in a Westminster Parliament and able to vote on matters of purely English concern. If the failed referendum has done one thing it is to highlight this problem. All seem agreed, and the only debate is precisely how this should now be implemented

    Nigel Farage’s suggested solution of Scottish MPs voluntarily being ‘in absentia’ during parliamentary English debates has the virtue of being simple and is a good start. .

    But the principle does not stop there. Why limit the discussion to the role of Scottish MPs, and other devolution questions relating to the English? By the same token “English laws for English people” must be applied to the law making powers presently and undemocratically held by the EU’s hegemony over every aspect of our national life in the form of thousands of directives, regulations etc which pour out daily from the EU Commission.

    If there is to be a constitutional convention as suggested, then this glaring anomaly of the undemocratic and unaccountable EU’s grip on our law making process must also be broken once and for all. What is sauce for the Scottish goose must be sauce for the EU gander. The sooner THAT debate is held and applied the sooner real devolution of powers can take place.

    • JayBee

      The tin gods of the EU are not smiling on reform. Apparently the prospect
      of Scottish independence was widely regarded as cataclysmic for Europe,
      encouraging separatism elsewhere and creating a continent of rival
      nationalisms. A Europe driven by self-determination of peoples is
      ungovernable when viewed through the prism of those plotting the
      inexorable advance of a superstate. The EU is incapable of
      devolution. The only way to break its hegemony is secession.

      • Graham Wood

        JayBee. Could not agree more. I was not suggesting that the EU would kindly “grant” us devolution. Of course, secession is the only answer, but there is only one political leader in the UK who would go for that given a chance – Farage, but he is not (yet!) in office.

    • Che Yeoh

      It may interest you to know that SNP MPS already observe a rule of not voting in English parliamentary debates. It will be interesting to see how this will develop post referendum with the Labour party.

  • Athanasius

    I would be disinclined to crow quite so loudly about your victory over the rebellious Scots, were I you, Mr Cramer. When one’s country is as institutionally corrupt as the UK, those in union with it are apt to find they are shackled to a corpse, and may quickly find themselves doing what is necessary to free themselves.

    • avi barzel

      All nation states are “institutionally corrupt” to various degrees, Athanasius. It seems that the Anglo-American models, though not perfect, are better at monitoring and controlling corruption. Which Utopia, which state entity, displays a paragon of virtues you admire? Perhaps it is you who are shackled to the corpse of idealized Socialism.

      • Athanasius

        I think you misunderstand me, Mr Barzel. Corruption may be an ever-present DANGER in any country, but take the electoral system of the UK, couple it together with its “rotten borough” constituencies, and harness both to the philosophical supremacy of so-called “negative liberty”, the complete absence of any form of objective morality, and what you have is a system of power which might have been explicitly designed to breed and advance corruption.

        • avi barzel

          Methinks not, Mr Athanasius; the details of corruption differ from place to place, as does intensity. You seem to think that Scotland can shake off its “shackles” and under the leadership of local elites, unions, petty potentates and regional politicians, not to mention with the loving assistance of unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, will somehow “free itself”…from something. The cheesy, mendacious and jingoistic way in which Salmond and friends fought in this referendum should have evaporated any lingering illusions you might have had about those characters and their movement.

          • CliveM

            Athanasius

            If you have any doubt at to the truth of what Avi says, consider Glasgow council. A institution rotten in its cronyism. As you will know Scottish local politics has an ignoble history with regards corruption.

            But then we can always blame Westminster rather then addressing our own faults. So much easier.

          • Che Yeoh

            And last night Glasgow council got rocked to its foundations when Glasgow voted yes. Although the main vote is lost, I think it will have a huge effect on Glasgow and also North Lanarkshire where people voted yes against the wishes of their masters in these places.

  • The Inspector General

    But it is unrealistic to insist that there must be no rejoicing or recrimination.. Absolutely, Cranmer ! As for the healing wounds whatever mentioned by Welby, that man needs to get a grip. No animals were harmed during the making of this referendum. What would you have us do Welby, with the devastated million
    or separatists ? Arrange counselling for them, perhaps. Convince them that life is worth going on with, maybe. Or tell the ingrates to fall back in and stop their mutinous behaviour.

    To think that the future of us all were in the hands of a couple of hundred thousand
    Scots whom had they changed their mind at the last moment, say admiring a sun
    bronzed Connery parachuting in, would have wrecked everything the far greater
    number of us hold dear. The Union must never again be put to this awful test. We are all in it together from now on. This prohibition of separatist sedition needs to be enshrined in law, and that any political party wishing to make capital out of this
    destructive action be declared a criminal organization, and face the full impact of the law, and the deserved wrath of us all. It’s the only way, you know, it’s the patriotic way. Quite rightly !!

    God save the Union ! God save the Queen !

    • Athanasius

      Criminalizing nationalism? An excellent suggestion, Inspector. After the Good Friday Agreement the security services were beginning to look a little porcine and idle. A new guerrilla insurgency is just the thing to ginger them up.

      • The Inspector General

        Needs must, old chap. We came too damn close to disaster.

  • Marie1797

    The celtic peoples are a difficult bunch of socialists for any government
    to deal and work with, but it comes down to diplomacy, cultural
    knowledge,understanding, and keeping each of them involved in
    government decision making which has been lacking. All this is hard work, but necessary and of value if the United Kingdom is to stay united.

    The divide under Dave and the clueless metro sexuals in the
    Westminster bubble, that was formalised and encouraged under Bliar
    with devolution, has been allowed to grow even bigger. The Scots
    and Welsh don’t need their own governments and wouldn’t want them if
    Westminster had been doing its job properly. Cameron and a lot of
    his cabinet are incompetent so should be sacked before the party
    conference begins.

    What has been so bad that the Scots feel they want to break away?

    I don’t think HG is crowing at all, it seems he is suggesting ways to foster a united spirit.

    • DanJ0

      Metrosexuals? You mean the metropolitan elite, surely? Lol

      • Marie1797

        A metro sexual is a bland, metropolitan, elite, big city dweller who is
        a trendy, atheist, gay or certainly LGBT supporting.

        • DanJ0

          Because most of our politicians have the groomed look and behaviour of the epitome of metrosexualism: David Beckham. I expect Michael Gove spends hours every day moisturising, given his fashion sense and coiffured look. You’re a strange one and no mistake, Marie.

          • Marie1797

            It’s not only about grooming Danj0 it’s about types of groups of people.

            Mr Gove is less of a metro sexual type because he’s more into creating trends than following them, his education reforms for one, and I don’t think he’s as bothered like the metros are about being with a particular in crowd. His results will speak louder for him.
            Metro sexuals tend towards snobbishness, are rather inward looking with little patience for anyone who has different views and ways to theirs. They are good at labelling anyone who’s not in their milieu a backwoodsman or a turnip Taliban member even!

          • DanJ0

            I’m still smiling that you’re got the wrong word and are trying to run with it nevertheless. I wonder if Ed Balls takes a copy of GQ into the ‘rest room’ at the HoC?

    • Dreadnaught

      What has been so bad that the Scots feel they want to break away?

      People outside Scotland making silly statements like this –

      The celtic peoples are a difficult bunch of socialists for any government

      • Marie1797

        I take it you’re a dour faced Scot who voted for independence?

    • Che Yeoh

      Foodbanks, poverty, austerity imposed on people because the banks gambled away their money and expected to be rescued even though they believe in a free market, the privatisation of the NHS, a moribund and utterly fossilised political system in Westminster. I know these are also the problems of England, but we had a chance to escape them through independence and start to create the country we wanted. Can you blame us for wanting that?

      • Marie1797

        No I can’t blame you for wanting that at all. But, independence is not really the answer. A decent government that can govern unhindered by corporate influences is. We have a chance to change them next year. I think we also need to make government more accountable to the people instead of in the pockets of corporates.

        We also have very little say over our destiny as long as we are being choked by the EU. We are only a small Island and it has been proven to be beneficial to us being a United Kingdom.

        I think we should bury our differences and look forward to a fresh new government with UKIP in it next year and unite in one big push to get out of the EU for a start.
        I realise UKIP are not popular in Scotland or most of wales now, but I think they are looking at things from a totally different angle that is more hopeful than the other three.

      • CliveM

        Well just a couple of the more obvious points. The banks greed was encouraged by wee Eck , he was the main cheer leader in Scotland and gave Fred the Shred as much help as he could. Wasn’t it wee Eck who recommended his knighthood? In addition the NHS in Scotland cannot be privatised unless the Scottish Parliament privatises it.

        Typical SNP garbage and propoganda, only talk truth when they trip over it by accident.

        • Che Yeoh

          ‘The NHS in Scotland cannot be privatised unless the Scottish Parliament privatises it.’
          You, and others on this forum, need to look up TTIP as a matter of urgency (Transatlantic Trade Investor Partnership). This actually will allow the NHS in Scotland and water and other services to be privatised without the Scottish government’s consent, or face enormous fines for loss of profits from American companies. TTIP was originally to ease trade between the US and the EU, but has been transmogrified into a means by which the wishes of large corporations subvert the sovereign powers of countries to do exactly as they wish. It has been getting negotiated behind closed doors and so far Cameron has been in favour of it. Others like me decided we didn’t want it in Scotland and supported independence as the only weapon we had against it. Look it up.

  • CliveM

    Alex Salmond has decided to step down. Devious, conniving, dishonest but a brilliant strategist. I can’t say I am sorry to see the back of him.

    • The Inspector General

      Clive. It would be pleasant to believe the man is one of honour and has done the decent thing. A rather more prosaic explanation is that enough of his separatist thugs made contact and told him to piss off. The usual reward for a failure.

      • CliveM

        Inspector. It would be pleasant but wrong. It was one of my highlights today to see him with that smug smile wiped off his face.

        Thing is if someone tickles his ego enough (easy to do, as he admires himself greatly), he could well be back.

        • The Inspector General

          We must not ignore the nasty petty nationalism that is in some Scot’s nature, Clive. It would not surprise this man if drunken jocks have made threats on his wellbeing and that of his extremely elderly wife.

          • bluedog

            ‘Elderly wife’ may be the operative words, OIG. Eck was 27 when he married Moira who was 44 at the time. No prospect of a tumbling, tousle-headed tribe of bairns in that union. One can only speculate how history may have differed if Salmond’s energy had been directed into raising a family instead of destroying the UK. Sad, really.

          • The Inspector General

            Dismay, Bluedog. For she may well have dried out by time family matters were discussed…

          • CliveM

            Isn’t it sad that Alex doesn’t have a mini me!

          • Athanasius

            What a gentleman you are, Inspector.

          • CliveM

            If you could get rid of the nasty nationalism, the SNP would cease to exist. Its the engine room of the movement.

          • Inspector
            What position do you take on Irish Nationalism and the North re-joining the South?

          • Athanasius

            In fact, Inspector, they have. You would not have been aware of it because the BBC and the rest of the media have chosen not to report it.

          • The Inspector General

            Thanks for that Mr A. One’s discus times suggest you are in the America’s and thus not dependant on the BBC news.

          • Athanasius

            I am actually in Scotland, Inspector – and ths not dependent on BBC news.

          • The Inspector General

            Bloody Discus !

      • John Knox’s left foot

        Such assurance, matched only by total ignorance. Do you really wonder why 45% of my brothers want shot of ye?

        • The Inspector General

          Greetings Jimmy. You’re true to form, if one may say…

          • John Knox’s left foot

            One may, but I prefer ‘meenister’ nnowadays. It’s been a fair while since the appendage last dragged me to HG’s huise of heresy, and I send ye my britherly greeting, and hopes that ye have nae slipt further intae iniquity since yon time.

          • The Inspector General

            Ah, well fortunately the Inspector has previously attended a class in Scot etiquette. Yes, it’s true, it does exist. So, on the back of that he is able to say “Aye son” and furthermore “Have you got a problem wi’ that, or wha’ ?”

          • John Knox’s left foot

            Not at all, chiel. I think ye meant ‘whit’, but dinnae fash yersel, it’s a sma error, considring the company it’s in. Sprechin o error, is ‘his grace’ still using that daft wee book o fausehoods?

          • The Inspector General

            Little idea what you are on about, Jimmy Mack, but the Inspector has condemned entire races through generalisation, so don’t consider your people picked on. Oh the irony of that last bit.

          • John Knox’s left foot

            Ah ken that ye struggle, laddie. It has ay been the case, despite ma maister’s best efforts tae straighten ye oot lang syn. He’s gieen me a queer look richt noo and wad be aff afore he gets waylaid mair. But wud leave ye guid wishes and prayers that ye turn tae tru religion.

          • Happy Jack joins with those prayers.

          • ‘Tis true. Your prejudice is without discrimination.

          • Are you a relative of ‘John Knox’s Lovechild’ by any chance?

          • John Knox’s left foot

            Beloved Jock, ye maun ken the maister’s left appendage disnae bide in these maiters. But a hae banged mysel oan wee Tam’s traivel trunk, and a ken whit the sinfu loon keeps therein. As dae ye a, bit gie it a deef ear.

          • Well, whoever you were and are, Happy Jack welcomes you back and hopes you’ll find a place here again and stay awhile . And do keep heart, this is a new blog.

            As for the little man’s secret – mums the word.

    • JayBee

      If Salmond was a brilliant strategist I’d hate to meet an incompetent one. With indefensible assumptions like Scottish membership of the EU, and continuing to use the pound the man backed himself into a corner and had to rely on bluff and bluster.

      • CliveM

        JayBee: I can’t stand the man. However he dominates Scottish politics. Until relatively recently Labour saw Scotland as its fiefdom. The part off the UK where it could rely on an unthinking loyalty at the Polling Booth. It was said of most central belt constituencies, that it they put up a donkey, he would win. Alex has destroyed that, Labour won’t win the next Scottish Parliament elections.

  • Happy Jack is …. fair Canty Jack after last night.

    Now I’m a union man
    Chuffed with what I am
    I say what I think, that Independence stinks
    Yes I’m a Union man

    Oh, you don’t get me, I’m part of the Union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the Union
    You don’t get me, I’m part of the Union
    Til the day I die
    Til the day I die

    Us Union men are wise
    To the lies of the Salmond’s guise
    And we don’t get fooled by the factory rules
    ‘Cause we always read between the lines

  • bluedog

    Your Grace, now that Alex Salmond has announced his retirement from day to day politics, your communicant suggests that Eck be appointed to the UK constitutional convention being proposed by Nigel Farage and Lord Tebbit.

    David Steel should remain the president of the convention, and his 2005 proposals the basis for discussion.

    • Pubcrawler

      I see his future career as a jowly front for a well-known insurance firm. Oh Yes!

  • Shadrach Fire

    Your Grace,
    You may not aware of the medium of Film. A means of projecting a series of
    pictures in rapid succession. This gives the illusion of real movement.

    In recent years films have been produced that show the early days of the
    conflict between England and Scotland. The heroes of the Scottish fighters have
    been romanced and glorified and this has created an unreal perception of
    Scottish Nationalism.

    Time for a new film that shows the greatness of the union and the camaraderie
    between the respective regional groups of the UK in the hope that the exuberant
    Nationalism and separatist ambitions might be stilled.

  • I suppose it’s too much to hope that the Church of England will stand for England & the English?

    • Good Sir, it should stand for God, regardless of country and ethnicity.

  • Manfarang

    None of the Churches in Ireland recognise the border.They are all island wide,

  • carl jacobs

    There is an interesting mechanism if devolution at play in all this. Nations used to seek mass by expanding to natural borders in order to make themselves strong enough to survive and compete. Now we are seeing the reverse. National groups seek to carve out small incompetent nations that serve primarily to flatter their own vanity. Two things are taken for granted: security and prosperity. The Scots feel no threat of invasion and see no connection between prosperity and the size of their economy. They desire to be recognized as a people in their own right, and so divide by faction. It’s exactly the dynamic that the authors of the Federalist Papers feared would turn the US into a mass of suspicious warring states.

    I noticed that there are three other separatist movements in Europe – Italy, Spain, and Belgium – that hoped for a positive result to buoy their own efforts. Little nations seek to become littler nations and make themselves more vulnerable in the process. It can’t go on forever. At some point common sense must dictate that national identity be found in the whole and not the parts. Britain survived the emergence of Germany only because it was united. Three warring bickering states on the British Isles would have been easily defeated in detail.

    It’s hard to see that an independent Scotland would benefit anything beyond Scottish pride. Human nature hasn’t changed and Europe has not entered an age of perpetual peace. A collection of small weak nations invite conquest and war. Nations must be strong enough to restrain each other. And it is a given that a collection of small nations is no match for one large united nation. In that foolish assumption may be found all the rubble of the Second World War.

    carl