The persecution of Emma West continues

Robert Henderson

Emma West  was arrested in November 2011 after she protested about immigration whilst travelling on a bus. Her protest was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube as well as being copied by many national media outlets. The video was  viewed millions of times.

Following the upload of the video Emma was arrested, held in the UK’s highest security prison for women , released and then subjected to a year and a half’s intimidation by the state as the powers-that-be desperately tried to get her to plead guilty to charges relating to racially motivated serious crimes (racially aggravated intentional harassment and racially aggravated assault)  which would have almost certainly sent her to prison. Eventually, worn down by the stress she pleaded guilty to the  lesser charge of racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

I say Emma’s outburst was a protest against immigration because that is precisely what it is. Here are some of her comments:

She says: “What’s this country coming too?

“A load of black people and and load of f***ing Polish.”

One commuter challenges West, who rounds on him telling him: “You aren’t English”, to which he replies “No, I’m not”

She then scans the tram, pointing out people one-by-one, saying: “You ain’t English, you ain’t English, None of you are f***ing English.

“Get back to your own f***ing countries.”

“Britain is nothing now, Britain is f***k all.

“My Britain is f**k all now.”

You can argue that is foulmouthed,  but you cannot argue it is anything but a protest against immigration. In fact, it is the most grass-root form of political protest there is, namely, directly engaging with the effects of policy.

Emma lives in a country which has been made unrecognisable by the permitting of mass immigration for over sixty years. Neither Emma nor any other native English man or woman (or Briton come to that) has had any say in this invasion of the country. This most fundamental act of treason has been committed by generations of British politicians who to date have got away with their crime. But to continue to get away with the crime the guilty men and women need to suppress public protest against what they have done.  That is why the authorities were so desperate to get to plead guilty. She was a refusnik and they could not let that pass.  That she resorted to foul language in her frustration is entirely understandable.

But those with power were not satisfied simply with her criminal conviction. Emma has now had her livelihood as a dental nurse taken away by the General Medical Council with this preternaturally smug judgement:

A [Dental Council] spokeswoman said: “Her conduct was truly appalling.

“It clearly has the capacity to bring the profession into disrepute and to undermine public confidence in its standards.

“Furthermore, her violent and abusive conduct would demonstrate a real risk to the safety of patients.

“In relation to her racially aggravated offence, this was committed in a public setting and received further public exposure, as a person had uploaded the video clip to the internet which has been viewed extensively.”

So there you have it, political correctness can not only send you into the clutches of the law but take your means of living away.

For the full story of Emma West’ persecution see

The oppression of Emma West : the politically correct end game plays out

Robert Henderson In November 2011 Emma West was arrested  and subsequently charged for a racially aggravated public order offence ( The charges concerned her  public denunciation of the effects of mass immigration whilst on a tram in Croydon,  a suburb … Continue reading

Posted in Culture, Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 61 Comments | Edit

Emma West and the State – The State has its way (sort of)

Robert Henderson Emma West has finally been worn down. Eighteen months after she was charged with racially aggravated intentional harassment and racially aggravated assault , she has agreed to plead guilty to the lesser charge of racially aggravated harassment, alarm … Continue reading

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Emma West’s trial scheduled for the sixth time

Robert Henderson Emma West was due to stand trial at Croydon Crown Court for  two racially aggravated public order offences  arising from her complaint about  mass immigration and its effects made on a Croydon tram  in November 2011 . The … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , ,, | 36 Comments | Edit

Emma West trial scheduled for the fifth time

Robert Henderson A fifth, yes that’s fifth,  date for the start of Emma West’s trial on criminal charges arising from her complaint about  mass immigration and its effects made on a Croydon tram  in November 2011 has been set  for  … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood | Tagged , , , , , , ,, | 28 Comments | Edit

What has happened to Emma West?

Robert Henderson It is now 14 months since Emma West was charged with racially aggravated public order offences after she got into an argument on a tram which led her to make loud complaint about the effects of mass immigration. … Continue reading

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Emma West trial delayed for the third time

Robert Henderson The trial of Emma West on racially aggravated public order offences has been delayed for the third time ( ).  No further date has been set.   The trial was originally scheduled for June, then July and finally September … Continue reading

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Emma West has her trial delayed yet again

The trial of Emma West on two racially aggravated public order offences has been put back to 5 September to allow further medical reports (  Her trial was meant to take place on 17th July but a request for … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , , ,, , | 12 Comments | Edit

Courage is the best defence against charges of racism

Robert Henderson The trial of Emma West on two racially aggravated public order charges which was scheduled for 11 June has been postponed until 16 July to enable further psychiatric reports to be prepared. ( As Miss West was charged … Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments | Edit

Emma West, immigration and the Liberal totalitarian state part 3

Robert Henderson Emma West appeared at Croydon magistrates court on 3rd January.  She  will stand trial  on  two racially aggravated public order offences, one with intent to cause fear. She will next appear in court  – Croydon Crown Court –  … Continue reading

Posted in Anglophobia, Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , , ,, , , | 12 Comments | Edit

Emma West, immigration and the Liberal totalitarian state part 2

Robert Henderson Emma West has been remanded in custody until 3rd of January when she will appear at Croydon Crown Court (  By 3rd January she will in, effect , have served a custodial sentence of 37 days,  [RH She was … Continue reading

Posted in Anglophobia, Culture, Immigration, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , ,, , , | 23 Comments | Edit

Emma West, immigration and the Liberal totalitarian state

Emma West of New Addington, London has been arrested and placed in “protective custody” following the publication on YouTube of  a two minute 25 second  recording labelled by the YouTube poster as “Racist British Woman on the Tram goes CRAZY …Continue reading

Posted in Immigration, Nationhood | Tagged , , , , , , ,, | 39 Comments | Edit
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The Scottish referendum and the accidental emergence of the English voice

Robert Henderson

The outcome of the Scottish independence referendum has resulted in the breaking of a particularly effective omerta within the British political classes, namely, that there should be no acknowledgement of the wilful damage done to English interests by the devolution settlement of the late 1990s which has excluded her from having a national political voice while Scotland, Wales and Northern  Ireland were given such a voice and ever increasing devolved powers.

Having denied England her due for 16 years the Tory Party has suddenly embraced the idea constitutional equality with the rest of the UK, with the necessary changes being made in tandem with the new powers so recklessly promised by Gordon Brown during the last days of the Referendum campaign.    No matter that the Tory Party has had this sudden conversion to being the upholder of English interests because it is a way of marginalising the Labour Party through both threatening to remove the influence of its many non-English seat MP and placing it in a very awkward position if they do not back the idea a strong English political voice; no matter that so far all that is proposed is English votes for English laws rather than an English Parliament; no matter that the Labour and LibDem leaders have rejected the idea. What matters is that the English devolution train has started to move and once moving it will be very difficult to stop.

Cameron’s “solution” to the constitutional imbalance

The morning after the NO in the Scottish independence  referendum vote David  Cameron  proposed  this:

“Just as the people of Scotland will have more power over their affairs, so it follows that the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland must have a bigger say over theirs.

The rights of these voters need to be respected, preserved and enhanced as well.

It is absolutely right that a new and fair settlement for Scotland should be accompanied by a new and fair settlement that applies to all parts of our United Kingdom.

In Wales, there are proposals to give the Welsh Government and Assembly more powers.

And I want Wales to be at the heart of the debate on how to make our United Kingdom work for all our nations.

In Northern Ireland, we must work to ensure that the devolved institutions function effectively.

I have long believed that a crucial part missing from this national discussion is England.

We have heard the voice of Scotland – and now the millions of voices of England must also be heard.

The question of English votes for English laws – the so-called West Lothian question –requires a decisive answer.

So, just as Scotland will vote separately in the Scottish Parliament on their issues of tax, spending and welfare so too England, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland, should be able to vote on these issues and all this must take place in tandem with, and at the same pace as, the settlement for Scotland.”

Whether Cameron could deliver much of this in the seven months before the General Election is highly dubious, both on the  grounds of time and the difficulty of getting agreement with the other major Westminster parties . Labour leader Ed Miliband has already refused to back the idea of linking English constitutional reform to the granting of extra powers to Scotland. This is for a crude political interest   reason: without Labour MPs from outside of England the Labour Party would have no chance of forming a government in England for the foreseeable future.  LibDem leader Nick Clegg has also refused to back Cameron’s proposal,  but  will support the formation of an English Grand Committee to scrutinise and amend English-only legislation. However,  this would still leave Parliament as it is present constructed with the final say , which would include votes for MPs sitting for  seats outside of England.

But  even if  Cameron  could  do it in the time and the other major Westminster Parties agreed to his proposal, it is difficult to see how Cameron could achieve what he wants – an equality of control over  national affairs in the four Home Countries – because he is determined not to have an English Parliament.  English votes for English laws suggests he wants to have only  MPs for English seats voting  on issues  which affect only England. But it is not clear at  present whether Cameron would exclude Welsh and Northern  Irish MPs . If  they were not excluded,  the problem of non-English MPs voting on English issues would remain.  But there is a difficulty in doing this insofar as Welsh and Northern Irish devolved powers are less than those already in Scotland and will be even more inferior to a Scotland with the Scottish parliament’s  proposed new powers.  The solution to this is to give all four Home Nations equal devolved powers. However, this could meet with a refusal of such powers by Wales and Northern  Ireland , whose assemblies and governments have been unwilling to use all the powers they currently have., most probably because of the responsibilities they bring.

But excluding non-English seat MPs from voting on English issues would not  entirely  solve the problem.  There would still be the question of who makes the policy on which  MPs vote.  It is easy to see how a situation could arise where a Labour government  or a coalition  government with MPs drawn  from non-English seats  could have an overall majority in the Commons ,  but be in the minority amongst English-seat MPs.   If that was the case it would not be for such a government to make laws for England because it would be non-English MPs making English policy.  English laws would have to be formulated and developed  by an executive drawn only from English-seat MPs. That would  mean   two executives in the Commons, one dealing with English affairs and one with all other affairs.  It would be unworkable.    If there was both an English Parliament and a Federal government the problem would not exists because the two executives would be clearly delineated and their areas of responsibility  obvious.

Consider also the position at a UK wide general election.  How would those standing for seats outside of England campaign? If such MPs were allowed to be   part of the policy making process  for English-only legislation but were not allowed to vote,  what exactly would they put in their election manifestoes about such a  situation? Similarly what would the parties they represent put in the general  Party manifesto?  If MPs outside of England were excluded from both voting and  policy making on English-only matters  would the Party manifestoes for seats outside of England  have to exclude any mention of what the Party manifesto for England said on English-only issues?

There is also a serious procedural  problem with English votes for English laws, namely, who would decide what is an English only issue. It has been suggested the Speaker would make the decision. That would place a dangerously large  amount of political power and influence in the hands of one man. (Imagine the present speaker John Bercow making such a decision  when faced with a Tory government).  But whatever the arrangements for making such a decision  there would be immense opportunity for dissension and many seemingly English-only issues could end up classified as not qualifying as English-only.  Indeed, while the Barnet Formula remains any English legislation with spending implications could be argued  to not be English-only because what England gets to spend is linked to what Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland receive: England gets more for the NHS, the other home nations gets a proportionate boost to their spending and so on. That difficulty could be removed by abolishing the Barnett Formula, but that would engender  a great uproar amongst the Celtic Fringe.  There would also be the a problem if the Welsh and  Northern Irish assemblies were not given the same powers as the  Scottish parliament because  that would also cause great confusion and argument.

But the question of English representation goes beyond mere numbers. Even if  a Westminster government  is formed with a majority of English MPs, the fact that MPs from outside of  England would still be able to both vote on and help frame  English-only legislation  and policy would colour that legislation and policy  because personal relationships between politicians of the governing party would compromise  the desire of the government to act in England’s interests. The smaller the government majority  amongst English MPs  the more influence non-English seat MPs would be able to exert because their voice would be louder and the Government would  always be afraid of a general rebellion by the non-English seat MPs if non-English  interests were  not  pandered to.  A government with a tiny majority of English seats this could well itself defeated in such circumstances.

If the Westminster government with a majority English-seat MPs  was formed by a party with strong representation in one or more of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies, the temptation not to act solely in English interests would be strong because of the fear that what was done at Westminster could damage their standing in the other Home Countries.   A coalition with an English-seat majority  which excluded the Tory  Party would be particularly difficult  for England because it would have non-English seat MPs  from different parties pulling in different directions.

The only practical  and honest solution to the constitutional mess  is an English Parliament. It would allow an exact equality of powers and national focus to be granted to each of the Home Nations. The Parliament  could be created very simply at little or no additional cost: only MPs for English seats would be elected to the  House of Commons which would become what it was originally, an English institution.

An English Parliament would remove not only the practical difficulties of  deciding who should make policy to put before  the Commons and  what legislation was to be dealt with only by English seat MPs, it would force England’s representatives to concentrate on England’s interests first, second and last.

The UK federal Parliament could be created simply by forming it of the MPs of the four Home Country national Parliaments.    With federal matters restricted to a handful of important issues – defence, macro fiscal policy, foreign affairs, homeland security and suchlike – the federal parliament would not have that much to do. This would allow it to  meet at Westminster if a physical gathering is required or it could be conducted through linking the four national parliaments via the Web  The federal government would be formed as the UK government is now, on a majority drawn from the four Home Country parliaments.

The attempts to fudge the English constitutional question

There are  already frantic elite  attempts to fudge the English question  in play. As soon as the NO vote was certain the mainstream media and Libdem and Labour politicians started pushing the idea of devolving the powers Scotland had to either English regions or councils. The BBC was particularly assiduous in this respect with Radio 5 who started their propagandising for devolution which would deny England a Parliament as soon as it became clear in the early hours of the morning  that the NO vote would win.

Devolving to English regions or even councils  the powers enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament after the new powers are added  manifestly cannot achieve  what Cameron wants, namely, equality of treatment for England.  For example, Scotland is to have new tax raising powers over income tax. If  such powers were given to English regions or large conurbations , this would  result in a hideously complex post-code lottery which would set one area against another.

But it would not simply be  a matter of setting one area against another which would be an ill consequence of such devolution. Imagine what would happen if  one area suffered a severe shortfall in revenue under such a tax regime?  This could happen because they set the rates too low  for any new taxpaying businesses or individuals they attracted to cover the tax they had forgone by lowering the rate or because there was a flight from higher  tax areas. Would what remained of central government in the UK  be willing to stand idly by and allow vital public services in the afflicted area  to fall into disuse? Most probably not, but that would raise a problem: if much of the revenue raising had  been devolved where exactly would the money come from to bail the at risk region or council out?   But even if central government did have the funds,  it would be politically toxic for them to be handing out money to a region or city which could not fund its public services because it had set its local tax rates too low or left them too high. Solvent regions or cities would be up in arms. There would be plenty of issues such as this. The whole thing would be an administrative mess of heroic proportions. The disaster of Spain’s  devolved regions provides a lesson what can happen if  important  fiscal powers are given to regions of a country.

Regional assemblies would not work  even if their remit was restricted to genuinely local matters and their taxation powers remained small. . This is because there are no English regions which have anything approaching  as strong an identity as any of the home  nations. Most  of England has no strong regional identity.  Even the North East and Cornwall – the two English areas most commonly touted as having a strong regional identity – would be unsuitable.  The North East is comprised of Northumberland and  Durham but that has strong antipathies within it, for example, the rivalry between Newcastle and Sunderland.   Cornwall is too small to stand on its own – with much of its population not being Cornish but incomers  – and  a South West Region comprising Cornwall, Devon and Somerset  would have no natural unity. The Northwest would include Manchester and Liverpool, two major  cities with little love for one another.

At the level of devolution to towns and cities, this would raise the problem of what to do with the considerable stretches of England without large cities or substantial towns.  That would rule out extending the powers of large cities and towns to the surrounding countryside in much of England..

What needs to be done now?

Although English votes for English laws on policies developed by MPs from England and put forward by an English executive  would be very messy and ultimately impractical, the adoption of the scheme   could be  a springboard to an English parliament. This would be partly because the public would see that it was not working efficiently or fairly and partly because the habit of publicly speaking about English interests and English constitutional circumstances would have been formed. That would embolden politicians and the mainstream media to advocate an English parliament.   If it was only English votes for English laws with MPs outside of  England still forming part of the policy determining  group for the legislation for England,  this clear evidence of  blatant inequality between England and the other Home Nations  would boost demand for  English votes for English laws to be scrapped and English Parliament put in its place.

The danger for England is that she will end up  without anything which goes anyway towards remedying the disadvantage she is presently under.  Nothing will be decided let alone implemented  before the 2015 General Election and if Labour form a government, whether on their own or in coalition with the parties other than the Tories, the chances of English votes for English laws getting off the ground is remote. In such circumstances the issue of English devolution would be likely to be kicked into the long grass with things such as a constitutional convention and the devolution of some unimportant extra powers to the cities. I doubt whether regional assemblies would be attempted because of the resounding rejection  of an assembly in the North East in 2004. It would also look like treating England as a second class citizen. Moreover, the idea of devolving important powers such as those  granted to Scotland to cities  would be a non-starter because it would take so much power from Westminster.  MP  turkeys would not be voting for Christmas.

If the Tories have a modicum of sense they will go to the country on a platform of  English rights. Ideally, this should  contain support for an English Parliament , but even English votes for English laws would have considerable traction with English electors because at long last there would be a major Party which appeared to be “speaking for England”.  Such a platform would place both Labour and the LibDems in an impossible electoral position because a refusal to allow the English to have the same powers as the Scots, Welsh and Irish would be self-evidently unreasonable.


But there are dangers . The problem with giving Scotland ever greater powers is that it prepares them for independence. (Wales and NI need not be worried about as serious independence candidates because they are such economic basket cases and their politicians know it). Personally I am very angry about devolution full stop because the centrifugal forces it has released may well end up splitting the union. But there is no going back so the only way England can be protected is to go for full federation with an English Parliament and equal powers for all four Home Country houses plus a federal parliament consisting of the members of the four Home Country houses.

In addition, England should work to remove all the potential bargaining chips that Scotland has  England should go for this:

  1. The removal of Trident from Scotland.
  2. All military equipment to be made outside of Scotland.
  3. The removal of public service jobs in Scotland which deal with English administrative functions such as the administration of English social security near Glasgow.
  4. A limited written constitution defining the relationship between the four Home Countries with clauses which would make it a legal requirement to (a) make any decision to leave the union a matter for the entire UK electorate and (b) any referendum on independence to only be held after the terms of independence have been agreed.
Posted in Anglophobia, Devolution, Nationhood, Politics | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

How Scotland said no

Robert Henderson

Great is the wailing and gnashing of teeth of the independence side as they try to come to terms with rejection in the Scottish referendum. The  Scots National Party (SNP) politicians and much of the mainstream media are trying to portray this as a  great result because  1.6 million voted to leave the UK, with many  of this motley crew claiming that the result  gave the independence supporting politicians a mandate to bargain for greater devolved powers. But try as they may there is no disguising  that a  55% to 45%  result is a  thumping win for the Unionist side in a two horse race.

The win is even better than it looks because of the grotesque  ineptitude of Cameron and the Better Together side  which handed Salmond a platter full of goodies to boost the pro-independence vote.

Cameron spinelessly  accepted  these  conditions when he signed the Edinburgh Agreement  with  Salmond :

  1. A referendum which excluded the rest of the UK.
  2. The referendum to go forward without the terms of separation being agreed. (The terms should have been  agreed and put to the rest of the UK in a referendum before being put to the Scots).
  3. A simple majority to decide the referendum rather than a super-majority, for example, 70% of those voting or 60% of the entire electorate.  Such super-majorities are reasonable when the matter at issue is of such profound importance.
  4. The referendum to be held in 2014 which is the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn. This allowed Salmond to tie the anniversary celebrations to the referendum. In addition, if there had been a YES vote,  holding the referendum in 2014 would have created immense practical problems because , unless Parliament extended its life, there could only be seven months  after the referendum  before a general election had to be  held.  After a YES vote  that election could easily have returned a House of Commons which was very  different from the present one. There could have been a  Commons  with a Labour government or Labour in coalition with parties other than the Tories  with  very different ideas  to the  present coalition government of what should be agreed with Holyrood.  It is also plausible that the Tories could have come back with a solid majority  if the electorate thought they were the party least likely to give too much to Scotland.
  5. The voting age of the electorate for the referendum being reduced to 16.
  6. The Scottish parliament to frame the referendum question . The question “Should Scotland be an independent country? was clearly biased because voters had to mark the ballot paper YES or NO . Yes is an hooray word and NO a boo word . It was an elementary framing error.  The question should have been put in such a way as to avoid YES and NO, for example, with two questions such as “Do you want Scotland to be part of the UK?” and Do you want Scotland to leave the UK?”  with a blank box beside both in which a cross could be put.  (It tells you a great deal about Electoral Commission that it passed the wording of such an obviously flawed question)

Those are the strategic mistakes.  There was also many errors of presentation:

  1. Cameron began the process by going to Edinburgh to conclude what became the Edinburgh Agreement. This was a mistake because a politician who goes to  treat on another politician’s home ground will be seen as subordinate.  It  was particularly absurd behaviour  in this case because Salmond wanted something from Cameron. He was the supplicant but it was Cameron who  behaved as a supplicant.
  2. The placing of the Better Together campaign in the hands of the Labour Party. This meant the game was played according to Salmond’s rules, because  Labour is heavily dependent on Scotland to provide MPs and is one of the main players in the Scottish Parliament.  Consequently,  the Better Together spokesmen were constantly treading on eggshells  in case their behaviour rebounded not merely on the Better Together campaign but Labour’ fortunes generally.  The exclusion  from the Better Together campaign of political voices who were not Scots  reinforced this  problem. Because it was wall to wall Scots being put up by the Better Together campaign, those who acted as its spokesmen lived in terror of being accused of being a traitor or Quisling or generally slighting Scotland. This meant they were constantly lauding the great qualities of Scotland and the Scots whilst saying by implication that Scotland were not fit to rule itself.  The absence of  non-Scottish voices also meant that there was no balance whatsoever to the frankly over-the-top representation of the human resources of the country both past and present.  There was no Better Together speaker who simply gave the pros and cons of the debate without encasing it in Scottish patriotic mantras.
  3. The choice of Alastair Darling as head of Better Together. If there was a turning point against the NO campaign it was Darling’s dire performance in his second debate with Salmond.
  4. The Unionist politicians’ response to a single poll two weeks from the ballot showing the YES camp marginally ahead  was unalloyed  panic as Cameron, Clegg and Miliband all suddenly headed for Scotland   promising Scotland the Earth, including the preservation in apparent perpetuity of the Barnett Formula.  Such promises were bogus because only the Westminster  Parliament can sanction such promises and no Parliament can bind a successor.  This made the NO camp look both dishonest and lacking in character (Frankly, these  are   not people with whom you  would want to be with in a tight corner).

To these errors can be added  points which remained unmade and  questions unasked by the Better Together representatives which would have seriously embarrassed the YES side:

- Salmond’s claim that Scotland has part ownership of the Pound. This is a literal nonsense. The legal position is very simple: the Pound Sterling is the English currency. Scotland gained the right to share it when they signed the Treaty of Union. If they leave the Union they forfeit that right because the Treaty and the subsequent Acts of Union will no longer operate.

- Salmond’s threat to default on taking a proportionate share of the UK national debt if they do not get a currency union. This is a non-starter because Scottish independence is dependent on the Westminster Parliament repealing the Act of Union.

-  Why on Earth did no one on the Better Together side not ask Salmond the question              “Who will be Scotland’s lender of the last resort if there is Sterlingisation?” A simple            question but one Salmond would not have been able to evade.

- The startling failure of the NO camp to expose s the bogus nature of the “independence”  Salmond was chasing by mentioning the out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire result of Scotland joining the EU. This was  down to the fact that all the  Westminster politicos involved in the NO campaign are bound by their devotion to the EU  not to mention the UK’s subordination to the EU at all costs.  To accuse Salmond of seeking to go from emersion in the UK to emersion  in the EIU, quite probably within the Euro, would be to admit that the UK is not independent but a prisoner of the EU.

The influence of the pollsters

The polls seriously understated the noes.   The last YouGov Poll (taken after people had voted)  gave the No camp a lead of  six points.  Earlier polls had veered wildly (although only two showed the YES camp in the lead).  During the campaign pollsters  were suggesting margins of error as high as six  either way which means a span of 12 points.  A margin of error of  two either way is reasonable, three is  just about acceptable,  but anything larger simply means the poll is next to worthless.

Why did pollsters  get it so wrong?   Many  polls these days  are conducted through the  internet rather than by phone or even better face to face.  These are  based on cohorts of those of different social and economic status, age, gender and ethnicity whose details are held by the company.  The sample for a poll is drawn from this   database. This  produces a  built in bias because it only draws its samples from those who are computer literate and have access to a computer.  This will under-represent  the poor  generally and older people  in particular, the latter being  much less likely to use computers but  more likely to vote and vote NO in this particular poll.

The second thing understating the noes was the intimidatory atmosphere towards NO voters  in which the referendum was  conducted.    Although there may have been rough stuff on both the YES and NO sides,  the balance of misbehaviour was heavily on the YES side. For example, there were widespread complaints in the mainstream media  about the vandalising of NO posters and plenty of examples where NO supporters were shouted down, often with accusations of being traitors or Quislings .   There was little of this type of behaviour  reported in the mainstream media  involving NO supporters .  It is easy to see how NO supporters could be wary of advertising who they were supporting.

Even where polls are accurate, there is a very strong case for banning polling during any campaign involving an official  ballot because of the natural  herd mentality within humans in the mass.  They undoubtedly influence voting behaviour. In this referendum the case for banning polls was made a good deal stronger by the their  lack of veracity. This had its most dramatic effect  when a  single poll showing the YES camp  marginally ahead panicked  the leaders of the three major UK parties into  making promises to the Scots which they did not have the power to keep and which by their nature would have severely damaged English interests had such promises been kept.  A clearer example of polling influencing a public vote would be difficult to find.

Why did the Noes win?

In the end the primary reason was the fact that the YES side to often offered the voters  little more than emotion on which to base their decision.  No matter what facts  were  provided by the NO side, no matter what questions were asked, the YES side effectively  stopped their ears and shouted that they weren’t listening.

The three major Westminster parties stated that there would be no currency union, the Yes side said it was just a bluff (it should be remembered that Salmond was booed during his first debate with  Alastair Darling when he repeatedly refused to answer the question).  When Salmond said Scotland would not take on a proportionate share of the UK’s national debt if there was no currency union he refused to engage with those who pointed out that it would be treated as a default  with serious consequences for Scotland’s ability to borrow on the international markets and allegedly said “What are they [the rest of the UK] going to do, invade us?”.   When  senior EU figures said that Scotland would have difficulty in joining the EU at all or on the terms the YES camp  claimed would be available, essentially those which Scotland  enjoys  part of the UK, these objections  were waved away as being of no account.  Whilst saying  Scotland would remain part of NATO the Yes side  insisted not only that the British nuclear deterrent must be removed from Scottish soil, seemingly oblivious to the fact that NATO membership, while not requiring nuclear capability of its members, commits them to collective  responsibility  if NATO uses nuclear weapons, for example, in the circumstances of a nuclear strike having occurred on a NATO member.

Those were the headline  issues to which the YES camp had no sensible answer or strategy, but there were many more  questions – defence,  immigration, pensions (both public and private) and welfare  and suchlike – which were left in limbo by the YES camp’s bluster.

Alongside a failure to provide meaningful answers to important questions, there was an unsavoury side to the YES campaign which became nastier as the vote approached  with both  routine intimidation of NO supporters and threats such as those made by the SNP’s former deputy leader  Jim Sellars  that Scottish businesses supporting the NO side would face “a day of reckoning” if there was a YES vote.  Nor did it help that Salmond and co were presenting directly or by implication NO voters as unpatriotic, a tactic encapsulated in their description of YES voters as “Team Scotland  That will have had an effect.

Doubtless  the natural inclination to preserve the status quo  and the warnings by the NO side of dire consequences if there was a YES vote for everything from the currency would use to the price of goods in Scottish supermarkets had  an effect but as these were present throughout the campaign it is reasonable to believe they were of secondary importance to the way the YES camp presented themselves.

The YES camp made the mistake of thinking that a single strategy –  appeals to the emotion through patriotism – would be enough.   That was effective with those emotionally vulnerable to such pleas but it offered little to anyone willing to think about the consequences of independence.   It is perhaps significant that the wealthier and better educated  voters favoured NO, while the poorer and less educated favoured YES .  The poor are less likely to have voted, something shown by the lowest turnout in the referendum (75%)  being in Glasgow, by far the largest electoral  district  in Scotland.  There  were not enough people with whom the patriotism drum resonated who also took the trouble to vote.

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All you could ever want to know about Scottish independence

Note: These are all the Independence blog posts to date in one place for easy access.  Robert Henderson

The Scottish independence referendum  – The second STV debate 2nd Sept 2014

Robert Henderson The full debate can be found at Better Together panel Douglas Alexander Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary and MP Kezia Dugdale  Scottish Labour  Shadow Party Education spokesman and MSP Ruth Davidson Leader of the Scottish Conservatives and MSP … Continue reading 

Salmond vs Darling round 2 – The  shameless chancer versus the trembling incompetent

Robert Henderson The second Darling vs Salmond debate on 25 August was even more depressing than the first. It might have been thought that having gone through one debate the palpable nervousness both showed the first time round  would have … Continue reading 

Alex Salmond is a chancer in the mould of Paterson and Law

Robert Henderson William Paterson was the main mover of the Darien disaster which bankrupted Scotland in the 1690s through a mixture of ignorance, general incompetence and embezzlement; John Law was the Scot who ruined the currency and economy of Louis … Continue reading 

Federal Trust meeting: Devolution in England: A New Approach – Balkanising England By Stealth

Robert Henderson Speakers Andrew Blick  (Academic  from Kings College, London,  Associate Researcher at the Federal Trust  and  Management Board member of Unlock Democracy). Graham Allen (Labour MP and chair of the Commons Political and Constitutional Reform Committee) Lord Tyler (LibDem … Continue reading 

Scottish Independence – How Cameron sold England down the river with the Edinburgh Agreement

Robert  Henderson The Edinburgh Agreement was signed By David Cameron and Alex Salmon  in Edinburgh on 15 October 2012. ( ). It established the legal basis for the Scottish independence referendum. The first point to note is that Cameron went …Continue reading 

BBC drama goes in to bat for Scottish independence

Robert Henderson The BBC Radio 4 play  Dividing the Union was  a crude piece of propaganda for Scottish independence (Broadcast at 2.15pm 14 March  – available on IPlayer  for six days from the date of  uploading this blog post The … Continue reading 

What happens if Scotland votes NO to independence?

Robert Henderson The Scottish independence referendum is deeply flawed as a democratic process because (1) the terms of independence have not been agreed before the referendum is held so Scottish voters will be buying a pig in a poke; (2)  … Continue reading 

Frank Field calls for an English Parliament on Any Questions

Robert Henderson Any Questions on 21 Feb 2014 (BBC R4) came from  Blundells School in Tiverton, Devon. The panel answering the question were the  Secretary of State for Scotland  and LibDem MP Alistair Carmichael, Conservative backbench MP Nadhim Zahawi  MP, … Continue reading 


Make you own currency kit Allows you to name your currency,  design your own coins and banknotes, create coins (3D printer included) and banknotes and set up a central piggy bank.  Warning: the money will have the same value as … Continue reading 

The Scottish Independence Referendum – unanswered questions

Robert Henderson NB UK2 stands for the UK containing England, Wales and Northern Ireland The vote on Scottish independence is in 2014. The next UK general election is scheduled for 2015. The date for  Scotland to leave  the Union is … Continue reading 

The future of England

Meeting arranged by the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP) House of Lords 20th November Speakers Frank Field Labour MP Lord Maclennan (Lib Dem) Professor Wyn Jones ( Professor of Welsh Politics, Cardiff U) Eddie Bone CEP There were around …Continue reading 

The BBC way with Scottish independence

Victoria Derbyshire BBC Radio 5 16 Sept 2013 10.00 am -12.000 noon Debate on the Scottish independence vote This was a  classic example of  the BBC’s  interpretation of balance and consisted of a number of regulation issue BBC propaganda tricks. … Continue reading 
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Suppressing scandal – The Mayor of London’s State of London Debate 12 June 2013

Methodist Central Hall Event broadcast by LBC Speaker Mayor of London Boris Johnson Presenter Nick Ferrari  of LBC There was a substantial audience of, according to LBC , 2,000. Boris Johnson gave a short inconsequential speech in his routine  Old … Continue reading 

SNP 2012 XMAS Novelties

Independence Balloon When filled with hot air the balloon floats away leaving its owner with nothing to hold onto Comes in your clan tartan or decorated with Saltires Hours of  innocent fun Has a use-by date of  31 December 2013. … Continue reading 

The English voice on Scottish independence must be heard

Robert Henderson The shrieking flaw in the  proposed Scottish independence referendum is the failure to establish the terms of Independence before the referendum is held.  This is vital because all parts of the UK are potentially seriously affected, especially if … Continue reading 
Robert Henderson Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish Numpty Party (SNP),  has been at full impotent froth over an article in the Economist which describes Scotland as Skintland and carries a map of Scotland with puns on place names … Continue reading 

The English white working-class and the British elite – From the salt of the earth to the scum of the earth

Robert Henderson 1. How it used to be  Thirty years ago the Labour Party primary client base was the white working-class, while the Tories still had remnants of the heightened sense of social responsibility towards the poor created by two … Continue reading 

Bring the Nuclear Deterrent to England now

Robert Henderson A Daily Telegraph report  of 27 January 2012  “Nuclear subs will stay in Scotland”  ( James Kirkup - is most disturbing. The essence of the story is that should  Scotland votes for independence the  UK nuclear deterrent would … Continue reading 

It must be no to Devomax

Robert Henderson The leader of the Scots Numpty Party  (SNP) Alex Salmond has a secret love. He has a long-time partner Independence , but also  a burgeoning  affair with  the siren Devomax.    No, this not a relative of the cyber personality Max … Continue reading
Posted in AnglophobiaDevolutionNationhood | Tagged CeltsEnglishScotland | 14 Comments | Edit

Salmond’s proposed referendum question is heavily biased

The Scotch Numpty Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond’s proposed referendum question “‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” is strongly biased. ( The question is biased because it is (1) asking people to positively agree not merely choose from … Continue reading 

An “independent” Scotland must not be allowed to have the pound as their official currency

Robert Henderson The Scottish Numpty Party leader Alex Salmond desperately wants to have his independence cake and eat it. He wishes to have DEVOMAX as well as independence on the “independence” ballot and, if the vote is for independence, he …Continue reading 

SNP 2011 XMAS Novelties

Independence Puzzle Based on the Rubik Cube principle,  when solved the puzzle represents  a map of the Scotch mainland with the word INDEPENDENCE  in the its centre.  WARNING: this is a very demanding puzzle and even the brightest players will …Continue reading 

The complete “Wages of Scottish independence”

I have now completed the series on the implications of Scottish independence on the Calling England blog. They cover all the important ground relating to the question: The wages of Scottish independence – England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be …Continue reading 

The wages of Scottish independence – England, Wales and Northern Ireland must be heard

In the matter of Scottish independence, the British political elite and the Scottish Numpty Party (SNP) are flatly  ignoring the interests of the English, Welsh and Northern Irish.  This is unreasonable for two reasons: firstly, the granting of independence to … Continue reading 

The wages of Scottish independence – If Parliament says NO

Whether or not Scotland would vote for independence is debatable.  Polls consistently show a majority against, although there are always a substantial number of “don’t knows”.  In a  referendum held only in Scotland with the YES campaign headed by the … Continue reading 
Posted in DevolutionEconomicsPolitics | Tagged CeltsindependenceScotland | 3 Comments | Edit

The wages of Scottish independence – infrastructure

Geographically Scotland is very isolated. It is a stranded at the top of mainland Britain with a single land border with England.  Any goods or people coming and going to Scotland have a choice of independent access by air and … Continue reading 
The divided country is not the UK but Scotland. Its divisions are cultural, geographical, religious, demographic and racial. Demographically Scotland is a most peculiar place. It has a population estimated at 5.2 million in 2010 ( set in an area … Continue reading 

The wages of Scottish independence – membership of the EU

The Scottish Numpty Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond has a dream; well, more of an adolescent  fantasy really. He imagines that an independent  Scotland  would  immediately be embraced enthusiastically by the EU. In the more heroically bonkers versions of the fantasy, … Continue reading 
Posted in DevolutionNationhood | Tagged CeltsEUindependenceScotland | 6 Comments | Edit

The wages of Scottish independence – The monarchy

The Scottish Numpty Party (SNP) has committed itself to the Queen being Scotland’s head of state should independence occur. As with so much of the SNP policy towards independence this presumes something which is far from self-evident, namely, that …Continue reading 

The wages of Scottish independence – Public Debt

One thing is certain about an independent Scotland: it would begin life with a massive national debt. Exactly how much is problematic because  the Scottish referendum on independence will probably not be held until 2015. The Scots Numpty Party (SNP) …Continue reading 
Posted in DevolutionNationhood | Tagged ethnicityindependence | 18 Comments | Edit

The wages of Scottish independence – the currency problem

The most problematic  decision for an independent Scotland is the currency.  There are three choices: to keep using the pound, join the Euro or create their own currency.   If they choose the pound or Euro they will not be truly … Continue reading 

The wages of Scottish independence – the loss of the military

One of the most complex aspects  of disentangling Scotland from the rest of the UK should  Scotland become independent is defence.   It is complex because of  (1) the siting of the Trident submarines and other major ships at Faslane; (2) … Continue reading 

The wages of Scottish independence – public sector employment

One of the many major issues which an independent Scotland would have to address is the extent to which the Scottish economy is  dependent on public spending and in particular the number of public sector jobs which would be  moved … Continue reading 

The truth about UK oil and gas

The Scots Numpty Party (SNP) bases its case for the viability of Scotland’s independence  on the idea that wicked England has been “stealin’ ouir oil” and that  if only they had control of the tax revenues from UK oil and gas … Continue reading 

Make sure the costs of Scottish independence get into the media

The letter  below was published in the Times 10 May 2011. It is extremely important that the debate on independence for Scotland  is conducted on the basis that Scotland will not be allowed to walk away from the financial obligations … Continue reading 

Scottish independence? Yes, but only on these terms

by Robert Henderson The Scots Numpty Party (SNP) has managed to defeat the  attempts of the unionists who deliberately devised the electoral system to thwart single party government (and hence leave independence off the practical political agenda) and get a …Continue reading 
Posted in DevolutionNationhoodPolitics | Tagged Celtsethnicitylawsrace | | Edit
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The Scottish independence referendum  – The second STV debate 2nd Sept 2014

Robert Henderson

The full debate can be found at

Better Together panel

Douglas Alexander Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary and MP

Kezia Dugdale  Scottish Labour  Shadow Party Education spokesman and MSP

Ruth Davidson Leader of the Scottish Conservatives and MSP

YES Scotland  panel

Nicola Sturgeon Deputy First Minister (SNP) and MSP

Elaine C Smith Convenor of Scottish Independence Convention

Patrick Harvie Co-Convener of the Scottish Green Party and MSP

Presenter Bernard Ponsonby

The debate  was divided into opening and closing statements by Alexander and Sturgeon with three sections in which one representative from the Better Together and Yes camps was put up to answer  questions. There was a fourth section which was the audience asking questions which could be put to any member  of the two panels at the presenter’s discretion.

It was a more edifying spectacle than the Darling-Salmond shouting matches.  This was largely but not wholly due to the   difference in programme structure , which included much more audience participation, had  six voices rather than two to be accommodated and excluded  formal questioning of each other by the two sides. This removed much of the opportunity for  the unseemly squabbling which had tainted the Darling-Salmond debates.

To the difference in programme  structure improving matters   can be added the absence of Salmond, , who was primarily responsible for the way the Darling-Salmond debates deteriorated into incoherence as the two politicians repeatedly spoke  over one another.  Darling is not  naturally shouty and was provoked into behaving out of character by Salmond’s  toxic behaviour.  It is also true that Douglas Alexander was a vast improvement on Darling, both in his persona, which was relaxed and controlled,  and in the quietly reasonable  way he answered questions. However, his effectiveness was curtailed  because  the format of the show   meant Alexander remained  silent for  much of the time.

Of the others  Dugdale was nervously gabbling,  Davidson attempted to give factual answers , but spoke  too quickly, Elaine Smith  was strident  and emotional and  Harvie supercilious and adolescently idealistic by turns.  Listening to Sturgeon  was to hear Salmond’s words slavishly repeated by someone else. She even mimicked his practice in the second Darling-Salmond debate of moving from behind her rostrum and wandering about the stage.

Although the debate was much  better mannered than   the Darling-Salmond encounters,  it was not  much more informative. There is an inherent  problem with public debates where two sides are allowed to make assertions without challenge from any disinterested third party.   Even where , as was the case here, the audience were able to ask a good number of questions, little is achieved because there is  no sustained questioning of the  speakers’ responses.  Even where the speakers appeared to be giving hard facts there was no solid challenge to what they claimed. The presenter, with the amusingly incongruous  English name of Bernard Ponsonby,   made attempts to challenge what was being said, but these interventions  rarely went anywhere and appeared more for show rather than a determined attempt to stop the speakers waffling, evading or lying.  The upshot was that after the one and three quarter hours  the programme ran I doubt whether the studio audience or the viewers were much the wiser about where the truth lay.

The subjects  covered  were social justice ,  benefit spending, health and social care,  tuition fees, the currency, North Sea oil,  the Barnett Formula, domestic violence,  the nuclear deterrent, Faslane, defence,  the EU and  the further powers offered  in the event of a NO vote. Because of the number of subjects,  they were all dealt with quickly and inevitably superficially. Some questions or points from the audience went unanswered lost in the fog of politician’s waffle.

Only Alexander and Davidson made any real attempt to consistently answer questions with reference to   facts. For example, Davidson had  a very good point about the startlingly meagre nature of the proposed armed forces  put forward in the SNPs white paper on independence.  (Go into the recording at 1 hour and 15 minutes). At the point of independence  the White Paper proposes that “ Scotland will have a total of 7,500 regular and 2,000 reserve personnel at the point of independence, rising to around 10,000 regulars and 3,500  reserves by the end of the five years following independence” (P237) with the possibility after  ten years  of  15,000 regulars and 5,000 reserves.   (That is for the army navy and airforce of a country whose territory constitutes 30% of  the UK).

Judged purely on the information being given by the panellists,  the Better Together side was far superior, but the YES mixture of bluster, bald assertion  and outright lies was  backed  up by aggressive audience participation by YES voters  which covered the massive gaps in their responses to questions.  The  NO  part of the audience applauded vigorously when good points were made  by Better Together, but they did not exude the childlike  excitement and joy  seen on YES supporters’ faces , which were eerily reminiscent of the sublime inanity of the faces of the hippies in the film Easy Rider.

The extremely  large elephant in the room –   the interests of the rest of the UK in the referendum – went unmentioned  but for one brief comment by Alexander. He  pointed out that  a vote for independence would give Salmond a mandate to engage in negotiations for the terms of separation, not  as the YES camp claimed,  a democratic mandate for anything Salmond demanded : “ The sovereign will applies here  in Scotland.  it can’t bind what would be the sovereign will of what would be a  separate country after independence. “ Go into recording at 33 minutes.

To take one example of the rest of the UK’s ignored  interests  which is of immediate concern , no  discussion has taken place about the position of Scottish MPs at Westminster if there is a YES vote.  If the General Election takes place in 2015 but Scottish independence not until 2017 (or even later if the negotiations go badly), there would be the absurd situation of Scottish MPs and peers  still sitting in Parliament at Westminster, making decisions on English matters.  In addition, if Labour win the  election but only with the support of Scottish MPs, a Labour Prime Minister could find himself with a majority in the Commons one day and a minority government the next. It would also mean that the terms of independence  for Scottish independence would be negotiated by a PM who was arithmetically certain to have to resign after Scottish independence day and was dependent on the Scottish MPs to pass whatever terms were agreed.  That would be an incentive to give far too much away to the Scots.

Looking at the three debates   together , (the two Darling-Salmond debates and this one)  it is astonishing that so many important questions other than the  rest of the UK’s interest in the referendum have gone largely or wholly unexamined. Here are some of them:

  1. The public service jobs which will go south of the border if there is a YES vote. This will be the military  ones,  including the Trident submarines and missiles at Faslane,  plus the  considerable number of public service jobs which have been exported from England to Scotland which deal with English matters  such  as the administration of the English  welfare system.
  2. The position of public sector pensions in Scotland, both those already being drawn and the pension entitlements accrued to the date of independence which have not yet begun to be drawn.
  3. The condition of private sector pensions in Scotland such as those attached RBS and HBOS. These could very easily default especially if the Bank of England is no longer the lender of the last resort.
  4. The very heavy reliance of the Scottish economy on taxpayer funded jobs .
  5. The narrowness of the private sector of the Scottish economy, it being massively dependent on oil and gas, financial services and food and drink.
  6. Immigration to Scotland.
  7. Scottish Nationality.

How should  the NO  campaign have been conducted?

The Better Together campaign has suffered from what is always a fatal flaw: they have  built their strategy  around  appeasement of the Scots. Appeasement can never be a strategy because the appeased always returns for more concessions. Appeasement can only ever be a tactic to buy time, something which does not apply in this context.

The policy of appeasement  has meant there has been no input from those who are  not Scottish and opposed to the break up of the Union.  Any Unionist politician with an English accent has been treated as toxic  by the NO campaign.  The debate has been entirely about what is best for Scotland. Fear of being accused of being  a traitor or Quisling has meant that no honest answer has been given to the challenge put by pro-independents along the lines of “Are you saying that this extremely wealthy and wondrously talented country Scotland cannot be successful as an independent country?” . This is   because to suggest  that Scotland is  anything other than a supremely talented and amazingly  wealthy country would bring exactly those accusations.   Faced with that dread the NO camp has  retreated to the absurd position of  agreeing that Scotland is an extremely wealthy and talented country whilst saying that it should not be independent because it would lose so much economically by independence.

The fear of being labelled  either a Quisling (if Scottish) or a bully (if an English Westminster politician) has allowed the YES camp in general and Salmond to make absurd statements which have gone effectively unchallenged, for example on  these two major issues:

  1. Salmond’s claim that Scotland has part ownership of the Pound. This is a literal nonsense. The legal position is very simple: the Pound Sterling is the English currency. Scotland gained the right to share it when they signed the Treaty of Union. If they leave the Union they forfeit that right because the  Treaty and the subsequent Acts of Union will no longer operate.  No one on the pro-union side has made this very obvious point.
  2. Salmond’s threat to default on taking a proportionate share of the UK national debt if they do not get a currency union. This is a non-starter because Scottish independence is dependent on the Westminster Parliament repealing the Act of Union. Again, no one on the pro-union side has made this very obvious point.
  3. Sterlingisation. Why on Earth did no one on the Better Together side not ask Salmond the question “Who will be Scotland’s lender of the last resort if there is Sterlingisation?” A simple question but one Salmond would not have been able to evade.

The whole business has been misguided from beginning to end. Granting an independence  referendum to be decided simply by those in Scotland  when it affected around 90% of the population of the UK was wrong in principle.  That error was compounded by the failure to define the terms of independence before the referendum was held. Had the terms been decided before the referendum,  it is very doubtful that  the referendum would have resulted in a YES vote because Westminster politicians would have been forced to take account of what the electorate in England, Wales and Northern Ireland  would tolerate by way of terms for Scotland to secede from the Union.  For example, the three major  Westminster Parties would have had to make their pledge that there would be no currency union part of the terms,  because to  agree to a currency union would have left them open to the  anger to the electors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland  at the idea that the Bank of England (and hence the UK taxpayer)  would be the lender of last resort  for Scotland.

If the terms had been agreed in advance, ideally these should have been put to a referendum of  the people of England, Wales and Northern Ireland for their acceptance. But even if that was not done,  the fact that a UK general election was  to be held in 2015  would have put great pressure on the politicians negotiating the deal with the Scots to not give too much away.

What can be done before the referendum by unionists?  Precious little if anything in terms of promoting the positives of the UK  because it is simply too late. . What the Westminster parties should not be doing is scrambling around promising an ever more potent version of  DEVOMAX.  That would be because it will be seen as appeasement and because the closer the DEVOMAX on offer gets to independence, the less reason there is for people to vote NO  to get DEVOMAX.

What we have had since the referendum was announced has been  the very small Scottish tail  wagging the very large English dog. That is both absurd and a betrayal of the 90 per cent of the population who do not live in Scotland.

Posted in Devolution, Nationhood | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Salmond vs Darling round 2 – The  shameless chancer versus the trembling incompetent

Robert Henderson

The second Darling vs Salmond debate on 25 August was even more depressing than the first. It might have been thought that having gone through one debate the palpable nervousness both showed the first time round  would have been largely gone.  In the event Salmond  was less nervous,  but Darling was  embarrassingly anxious.

Whoever thought Darling was a safe pair of hands for this type of work was profoundly wrong. The man is woefully ill equipped for a one-to one-debate. Throughout he frequently fell into  stuttering and even when he did not – which was primarily when he was reading from prepared notes – his delivery was leaden. When Salmond attacked him Darling  seemed peevish; when the audience derided him or asked insulting questions he was utterly at sea. (example audience comment: “I think the  fundamental difference here is that the YES campaign are fighting passionately for the future of  Scotland; Alastair Darling and others are fighting passionately for their jobs”)  Darling  spent much of the debate staring blankly ahead  like a rabbit caught in a car’s headlights while Salmond stood looking at him grinning insultingly. Darling also waved his hands for emphasis far too much, while  his habit of pointing at Salmond was a sorry mistake.

Darling also got his strategy wrong by concentrating heavily, almost obsessively,  on the point which he had laboured in the first debate,  namely, what Salmond would do if there was a vote for independence and Scotland was denied a currency union with the rest of the UK .  This is a seriously difficult question for Salmond,  but there  are only so many times a debating opponent can be prodded with the same weapon before the audience becomes restive, and restive is what they became here. The nadir of this Darling obsession came when the debate reached the section where the two politicians questioned each other. What was Darling’s first question? You’ve guessed it:  “What is your plan B for the currency?”  It was an open goal for Salmond who immediately taunted Darling with being a one-trick pony.

The way Darling asked  questions was also feeble. Not only did he keep repeating the same things, but time and again he allowed Salmond to ask him questions when he, Darling,  was supposed to be grilling Salmond. nNor did Darling seemed to have prepared himself properly,  because he was constantly running into trouble with  questions for which there was a perfectly reasonable answer, an answer which should have been anticipated.  For example, Darling was asked what his choice of the best  currency for an independent  Scotland would be if a currency union was not available. That should have been his cue to say any of the alternatives on offer was  unpalatable or that none was better than the others  and use the opportunity to run through the various weaknesses of the currencies on offer: new currency, sterlingisation and joining the Euro. Instead Darling kept on feebly saying he would not choose anything which was second best for Scotland. That of course led to calls for him to explain why he did not back a currency union which was, of course, the best bet.

Apart from  his personal deficiencies and misjudgement of which subjects to raise, Darling was at a disadvantage because he is a Scot, a Labour MP  and the last Labour Chancellor.  The fact that he is a Scot means he is vulnerable to any question which places him in a position where he if he answered honestly he might be portrayed as having no confidence in Scotland. In the first debate when Salmond asked Darling  whether Darling believed Scotland could go it alone, Darling floundered around saying he thought Scotland could but it would not be the best thing for Scotland. This allowed Salmond to keep on pressing him by asking why he had no confidence in Scotland. Here, Darling  allowed himself to be lured into flatly admitting that Scotland could use the Pound if they chose to use it because the Pound  is  a freely traded and convertible currency. This had Salmond bouncing around shrieking that Darling had said Scotland could use the Pound. Darling  desperately tried to mend the damage by pointing out that it would mean having no say on how the Pound was managed or having a central bank to act as lender of the last resort, but the damage was done with his initial admission without qualification.

The fact that Darling is a Scot also meant that he could not easily raise the question of the interests of the rest of the UK  for any suggestion that he was concerned more for the rest of the UK than Scotland  risks accusations of being a  Quisling in the service of England. Consequently,, those interests were only raised very briefly when Salmond tried the “will of the Scottish” people gambit again in an attempt to get  Darling to agree that if there is a YES vote  that would mean Salmond would have a mandate to insist on a currency union with the rest of the UK  (Go into recording of the debate at 21 minutes)   Darling  did point out that sharing the Pound with Scotland might not be the “will of the rest of the UK”.

When Salmond repeated his threat  that  Scotland’s liability for a proportionate share of the UK national debt would be repudiated  if a currency union was refused, Darling did not do the obvious, say  that  Scotland could not have their independence  legally unless the Westminster Parliament repealed the Act of Union.  No taking on a proportionate share of the debts, no repeal of the Act of Union.   Darling  could also have pointed out that the rest of the UK could block Scotland’s entry into the EU if the debt was not taken on, but failed to do so.

Being the last Labour Chancellor also allowed Salmond to attack Darling on the grounds of his economic competence because of the vast addition to the National Debt built up under his chancellorship and the massive budget deficit he left the coalition.  Being a Labour MP left him open to jibes about  being in bed with the Tories just because he was putting the case to stay within the Union.

There was also two other  built-in advantages for Salmond which had nothing to do with Darling’s shortcomings . 200 of the  audience of  220  was supposedly scientifically chosen by the polling organisation ComRes  to reflect the balance of YES, NOs and Don’t Knows in the Scottish electorate.  The remaining 20 , again supposedly chosen to reflect the balance of opinion in Scotland, were chosen by the BBC from those who had sent questions in prior to the debate.  Whether the selection was honestly and competently made to reflect the balance of opinion, judging by the audience reaction there seemed to be more YES  than NO  people in the audience.  The YES camp certainly made a great deal of noise while the NO camp was pretty quiet.

Darling’s final handicap was the fact that debate’s moderator  Glenn Campbell  behaved in a way which intentionally or not  favoured Salmond.  Arguably ten of the thirteen questions  from the audience came from committed YES voters. It is rather difficult to understand how simple chance could have produced such a bias to one side of the debate.  In addition Campbell made only half-hearted attempts  to stop  Salmond and Darling interrupting one another. As Salmond was the prime culprit,  this gave him advantage, because whenever he interrupted he almost invariably went into a long riff which was rarely cut short by Campbell.  When Darling interrupted it was generally to correct Salmond on a point of fact and his interruptions were generally short. Moreover,  Darling did his cause no favours by allowing himself to look visibly put out by questions which were essentially crude abuse.

Salmond’s  strategy in the second debate was straightforward: to make an emotional appeal to Scots patriotism as often as possible whilst giving as little detail  as he could get away with of what would happen if there was a YES vote.   He largely succeeded  because of Darling’s truly dreadful performance and Campbell’s ineffective moderation, although his refusal to tie down the currency question continued to cause him discomfort and he got himself into a mess when answering a question about the loss of jobs if the Trident nuclear subs and missiles were removed from the Clyde as the SNP promised.  (To the latter question Salmond claimed that the Trident Base would become the centre of Scotland’s independent defence force   and this would  make up for the loss of Trident. On being pressed for details of how that could be, he did his usual, simply claiming it was so.  )

Some important issues other than the currency and the Nuclear deterrent were raised, the oil and gas reserves (a shouting match with different figures being thrown around), the NHS  (Salmond had to admit that Scotland could not be forced to privatise the NHS because they controlled the Scottish part of it) and the entry of an independent Scotland into the EU (Salmond simply asserted that the EU would let Scotland join without being bound by the requirements of new members such as membership of the Euro).  Important issues al, but l treated in a superficial fashion.

What effect did the debate have? An ICM Poll for the Guardian shortly after the debate ended gave the debate 71% to 29% to Salmond. However, the sample was unscientific, viz: ‘ICM,  said the sample of 505 adults was not representative of the Scottish electorate at large and support for independence was “identical” before and after the debate. ‘ 

That there has been no radical shift is unsurprising because of the unsatisfactory nature of the debates which provided all too little hard information. For the onlooker,  the two debates could almost be reduced to the unwillingness  or inability of Salmond to address the currency question meaningfully  and Darling’s nervousness and general ineptitude  which showed all too bleakly  just how much modern politicians rely on the recital of set positions and are unable to think on their feet.    As  vehicles for informing the voters in the referendum they were next to worthless.

All in all, a most dismal display of the meagre quality of our politicians.


See also

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What is treason today?

A vital part of the liberal internationalist plot to destroy Britain as an independent nation is the destruction of the concept of treason. They do this the attempt through a tidal wave of propaganda about the joys of diversity, the incessant reciting of mantras such as that “we live in a globalised world” , the signing of treaties which embroil Britain in supra-national authority and the repeal of laws relating to treason. (see as an example of the present government’s mentality).

A concept of treason is fundamental to every society because it sets the bounds of loyalty. Allow that there is no difference between a native of a state and a foreigner, as the liberal internationalist does in practice, and the coherence of a society is destroyed which puts its very existence under threat.

This is particularly pertinent now because of the emergence of large numbers of British born Muslims showing unambiguously their rejection of British society through violence and threatened violence.

The article below examines what constitutes treason today.  It was published in Right Now! magazine in 2001.
What is treason today?

Robert Henderson

Treason is a famously slippery word, not least for the reason enshrined in the oft-quoted but, because it contains a savage truth, eternally potent rhyme:
Treason never prospers,
What’s the reason?
For if it does
None dare call it treason.

Yet elusive as it is, treason clearly has an objective reality, a reality, moreover, whose essence is changeless. That quality is betrayal which goes beyond the personal. If a friend betrays you to another friend that is not treason. If a fellow countryman betrays you to an occupying power that is treason.

As a legal concept, treason has been redrawn during the past millennium. In a dynastic context, where the king is king in executive fact as well as name, treason is the betrayal of the sovereign by a person who owes him allegiance. That betrayal may be through disloyalty or an attempt to harm the person of the monarch (and generally his family). By extension, the same applies to those to whom the monarch’s executive power is delegated. Kill the King’s man and you attack the King.

But treason in dynastic circumstances was not a straightforward matter of simply plotting against the king or attempting harm to the king’s person or doing the same to his representatives. A great noble or courtier close to the king might well lose his head through being deemed to have given “evil counsel” to the monarch, even though that counsel had been accepted and acted upon by the king. The “evil counsellor” would be blamed (and probably executed) to ensure that the monarch was not held to account.
The idea of “evil counsel” had an important effect in English constitutional development and a consequent broadening of the idea of treason. Evil counsellors were generally identified not by the king but by others, most notably Parliament. Thus the practical application of the idea of the evil counsellor both reinforced the idea that the monarch was not a completely independent agent and created the idea that any man involved in politics owed not merely his formal loyalty to the king (and later the people), but also should take care to act and speak in a way which would not be to the disadvantage of the king and his subjects.

The notion of treason evolved in Europe because monarchs have rarely if ever been able to act indiscriminately in their own interests. Indeed, European monarchs have been remarkably unsuccessful in creating efficient and lasting despotisms. Because of that, their subjects never truly succumbed to politically debilitating ideas such as the divine right of kings. Rather they expected of a king duty as well self-promotion and satisfaction. The concept of the unjust prince was well developed by 1100 and culminated in the doctrine of tyranicide developed by John of Salisbury in the 12th Century. Here is Manegold of Lautenbach writing in the 11th Century:

No man can make himself emperor or king; a people sets a man over it to the end that he may rule justly, giving to every man his own, aiding good men and coercing bad, in short, that he may give justice to all men. If then he violates the agreement according to which he was chosen, disturbing and confounding the very things which be was meant to put in order, reason dictates that he absolves the people from their obedience, especially when he has himself first broken the faith which bound him and the people together.*

* Quoted by A.J. and R.W. Carlyle in A history of Medieval Political Theory in the West , Vol. III, p. 164, n. 1.

For Manegold a people’s allegiance to its ruler is a promise support him in his lawful undertakings and is consequently void in the case of a tyrant. In a sense, a tyrant committed treason by dishonouring the office of monarch and its implied and inherent obligations.

Restraints on the monarch were given formal status by their coronation oaths. In England, Magna Carta (1215) moved matters on to another stage where a monarch was forced to agree to direct constraints on his power. The example of Magna Carta in turn led to the development of the English Parliament, which moved from a petitioning and tax granting body in the 14th century to the point where it practically, if not in theory, usurped the power of the king.

As the power of monarchs waned, the emphasis of who was betrayed gradually moved to the idea that the entire population of a country was an entity in itself and betrayal of that entity amounted to treason. The shift from monarch to people was completed with the advent of the formally democratic state, where, in theory at least, the general population became the sovereign.

Of what does treason consist in the formally democratic nation state? Generally it must be the conscious decision to act in a way which will weaken the integrity of the nation state. Betrayal in the old manner of spying or acting for an enemy in war is still part of that. But the primary treason in the modern formally democratic state is more insidious. It is the abrogation of the sovereignty of the nation state by immersement in larger political entities and through the signing of treaties which restrict the opportunity for national self-determination.

This raises an interesting question, namely can an elected politician commit treason if the treasonable activity is part of an election manifesto or it is put to a referendum? The textbook answer would be that ultimate sovereignty in a formal democracy lies practically and morally, if not always legally, with the electorate. An electorate which elects a party or individual on a manifesto or votes yes in a referendum is considered to be tacitly granting the policy legitimacy. However, there are strong objections to this interpretation.

The first is that the treasonable activity may be misrepresented by the party or politician. A classic example of this is Britain’s entry into what is now the European Union (EU). The British electorate were undeniably deliberately misled by the 1970 Tory manifesto into believing that they were merely joining a free trade area.

They were deliberately misled again during the 1975 referendum on Britain’s continued membership. They have been deliberately misled consistently in the 35 years since the referendum, being told by every government that British sovereignty is not being lost, when massive amounts have been ceded. That is treason by any meaningful definition that has ever been used in the past.

But what if all the sovereignty which had been ceded to the EU had been done after it was presently honestly to the electorate? Suppose every change had been the subject of a referendum. Suppose those referendums had been conducted with absolutely fairness.What then? Here the old idea of “evil counsellors” has utility. In the modern formal democracy, politicians play the role of counsellors. Where their counsel is bad and the results of it disadvantages the people to which they owe their good sense and loyalty, then that might be said to be treasonable. Our representatives owe us their best judgement and courage. If they act in a way which is compromised by considerations other than their honest judgement and that action has results which are treasonable, they are guilty of treason. Not only that, but the representative must be honest about the foreseeable consequences of what they propose. In the representative’s special position, treason may be committed though acts of omission as well as commission, through not pointing out consequences.

What are the great particular treasons of our time? They can be defined in terms of what causes damage to the viability of the nation state. In the case of Britain, the most dramatic formal act of damaging the nation state has been our membership of the EU. But that is only one of a number of serious attacks on the British state and people. The permitting of mass immigration is a profound form of treason, for mass immigration is a form of conquest. North America is now dominated by the white man because of a slow accretion of settlement not through sudden and violent conquest. To that treason is linked its sister act, the attempted cultural cleansing of the native population of Britain in general and the English in particular, through the wilful denigration of the native population of this country, the deliberate denial to them of their history in our schools and the suppression of dissent through the power of the state, willingly assisted by the mass media.

To those may be added these others which are patently against our interests. Entering into treaties which remove freedom of action from the country, for example those governing membership of the World Trade Organisation. The failure to maintain the country’s military capacity and the use of what military we have in foreign adventures in which Britain has no natural interest. The deliberate refusal to ensure that the country’s economic capacity can supply all essential items in time of emergency, in particular the securing of the food supplies. The spending of taxpayers’ money on foreign peoples. All these treasons, and those of the preceding paragraphs, apply to a lesser or greater degree throughout the First World.

Our own time has brought a new problem of definition to treason. The elite ideology of the moment is Liberal Internationalism. This might seem to be a direct challenge to the very idea of treason, for where neither the primacy of the nation nor the authority of a sovereign is recognised, against whom is treason committed? The answer is that for the Liberal Internationalist, treason is any dissent from his ideology. Treason has put on totalitarian clothes.

Unfortunately, the Liberal Internationalist propaganda has been so successful that treason has an old fashioned ring to the modern Briton. It is mocked along with the very idea of patriotism. So long have the British been at peace, so safe does everyday life seem, so ruthlessly have the liberal elite and their educational and media nomenclatura promoted the idea that the time of the nation state is passed, that even naturally patriotic Britons find the idea of treason an uncomfortable one.

That is a mortally dangerous because a belief that treason may be committed is vitally important if we wish to maintain our independence. It is so because the nation state requires a concept of treason as a foundation of its integrity. We desperately need to understand the nature of treason and act upon it for our own protection.

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