What If Scotland Became Independent?

Published in Investing on 13 January 2012

Does leaving the UK make economic sense?

Land of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Kingdom of the Picts. Country of rolling mists and the still waters of the lochs. The romantic notion of Scotland making a bid for freedom after centuries of repression by the English must certainly stir the (brave) hearts of many a Scot.

The question is, what would happen if Scotland really did leave the Union? Does the case for Scottish independence stack up, or is this a triumph of hope over harsh economic reality?

The subsidy

Certainly, it is a fact that Scotland gets a net subsidy from England. Scotland accounts for 8.4% of the UK population, but 9.2% of UK public spending.

Total non-oil tax revenues for Scotland are £42.7 billion, while total Scottish public expenditure amounted to £59.2 billion. That means that it is getting a subsidy of £16.5 billion.

"Yes, but what about North Sea oil?" say the nationalists. Well, it all depends how you slice the pie. If Scotland only got a share of oil revenues in line with its share of the British population, as the UK Treasury would say, then Scotland would still be getting a large subsidy.

But if, as the SNP argues, Scotland get the bulk of oil revenues, then the subsidy is reduced but not eliminated. Who is right? Well, I suspect the Treasury would win.

If Scotland was independent there would, of course, be no subsidy, and either taxes would have to go up or spending would have to be cut. Currently, Scottish students pay zero university tuition fees, while many English students pay £9,000 a year. I suspect if Scotland became independent, that subsidy would be one of the first things to go.

The currency

It is also interesting to ponder what would happen to Scotland's currency. Could Scotland keep the pound? If it did, it would face the situation of being a sovereign nation that would have little control over its currency, as I presume the Bank of England would still set interest rates. Such an arrangement could work, but it could also lead to increased tension between the two nations.

The alternative would be for the Scots to join the euro. But if you still think this is a good idea, just look at the events in the eurozone over the past year. Other small nations that have joined the single currency, notably Greece, Portugal and the country that's most similar to Scotland, namely Ireland, have really suffered.

They have endured bailouts, draconian austerity and this year they face severe recession. Ask most Irish people whether they are better off inside or outside the euro and I think I know what they would say. Does Scotland really want to be part of this euro mess? If I was offered the opportunity of joining the euro, I would run a mile.

The debt

Joining the euro also raises the question of debt. The UK's national debt is forecast to reach £1.4 trillion by 2014, when the SNP plans to hold its referendum on independence. That means that Scotland, with around 10% of the UK population, would have a debt of £140 billion.

What do you think the national debt of Ireland is currently? Yes, you guessed it: it is also £140 billion. Scotland would risk a debt crisis as big as Ireland's if it joined the euro. Is this really what Scots want?

The crisis

Finally, cast your mind back to the financial crisis of 2008. The Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS) was on its knees, drowning in a sea of bad debt, and had to go cap in hand to the British government for a bailout.

Just a few days before another Scottish bank, HBOS, was also crippled and had to get an emergency cash injection. These two Scottish banks received almost £70 billion in emergency funding from the Treasury.

While an economy the size of the UK could cope with such calls on its cash reserves, an independent Scotland would not have stood a chance.

So, in summary, if Scotland left the UK it would face a future of higher taxes, including high student fees, lower spending and the real danger of being ravaged by a eurozone or a banking crisis.

The Scots are a proud people and they live in a beautiful country, but their yearning for independence is misplaced. If it comes to a referendum on independence for Scotland, whether it is held now or in 2014, in my opinion the Scots should vote decisively 'no'.

But what do you think? Please share your thoughts in the box below.

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F958B 13 Jan 2012 , 10:53am

I generally agree - I think that Scotland would be worse-off if they go their own way.
Additionally, I suspect that there would be a considerable political shift towards socialism, which could act as a deterrent to investment by businesses.
Ultimately, after many years, I suspect that Scotland's prosperity would decline and we would see significant migration of Scots looking for a better life in England.

Please note that this is not an attack on the Scots; I am just telling it as I see it - I am no more or less fond of Scots than English or any other country; I have a few friends who are Scottish.

Bannockburn1314 13 Jan 2012 , 12:08pm

Prabhat Sakya clearly has little unbiased knowledge about Scotland or its people. I trust that comment on this article will come from those who have somewhat more of both.

sippquixote 13 Jan 2012 , 12:21pm

In a true democracy in a free nation I see no reason to forbid a referendum on our nation's future.

However the rest of the UK would have to be polled at the same time, and I suspect that the reactions of the other nations of the United Kingdom would surprise Mr. Salmond.

Time for all to take a sensible view on the United Kingdom's future.

Griffard479 13 Jan 2012 , 12:23pm

As an Englishman (born and raised in Northumberland), I have no view either way, as to whether Scotland should/ should not remain in the Union. However, I do find it a bit laughable that much of the noticeable rise in the push for independence has been fuelled by a terrible film in the 90s, featuring an Aussie, with a comical Scottish accent. I do think many of the pro-independence supporters would do well to look at the current economic benefits that Scottish people enjoy, before making up their minds. Oh, and another thing - I will be volunteering to rebridge Hadrian's Wall with some of the additional cash us Novocastrians would recieve as a result of the Scots going it alone!

theRealGrinch 13 Jan 2012 , 12:23pm

I would love to see an independent southern england.

SevenPillars 13 Jan 2012 , 12:29pm

Not sure why Scotland would be liable for 10% of the UK debt bill? This seems to be based purely on population size, but doesn't seem to take into account where the actual debt is, which is probably more difficult to calculate. Scotland's debt could be more or less, I would hazard a guess and say less, because an awful lot of the private debt seems to be linked to UK house prices and the bubble was much bigger in England than elsewhere.

I do find It interesting that this is one issue that seems to unite the Tories and New, Old, whatever Labour. For the Tories it is one of tradition and the right to rule that they think they have. For Labour it is simply a matter of electoral survival. The Tories are basically dead in Scotland as a political voice, while Labour needs those seats. Independence would mean permanent Tory rule for the rest of the UK, elections would be pointless. Not that elections make much of a difference anyway, but Labour would struggle to win ever again on a largely English ballot.

Novice3049 13 Jan 2012 , 12:29pm

Well... as a Scot I guess I'm equipped to be 'unbiased'. Sadly, the head and the heart are polar opposites in this case with no logical economic case existing for independence.

The four elephants in the room are :
- Proportion of national debt acquired.
- Defence burden or budget.
- Natural resources (oil) split.
- Currency.

Unfortunately, the guinea pig status acquired by Scotland on things like poll tax are well remembered while the generosity of the last couple decades in terms of subsidy is not widely known.

What is required is a unified PR campaign to put the facts in front of the people; without this (or with a Tory only effort) the horrible truth is that people may well vote with the heart and not the head.

loquitur 13 Jan 2012 , 12:52pm

If Scotland wants to go its own way then so be it! No half measures, no get-out-of-jail cards. It is just a shame that the rest of the UK won't get a chance to give an opinion in such a referendum. If it happened I would not be surprised if a majority outside of Scotland, would also prefer an independent Scotland. I am a British mongrel - English with some Scottish and Welsh from generations back, but I am generally fed up with the general whingeing. What's left of the UK can happliy survive without Scotland, and so if Alex Salmond wants to lead his people into the Wilderness, let's just do what is necessary to remove the whingers and move on!

babyboomer49 13 Jan 2012 , 12:52pm

A country cannot survive on beautiful scenery alone. The BBC & Westminster Parluament is infested with Scottish accents in a much greater proportion than you would expect given the relative populations of Scotland and the UK overall.

There must be a fundamental problem with the country's economy & general employment prospects if so many have to leave to make their way in rhe world.

I live in Northern England & I wish the referendum allowed the whole of the UK to vote.

Basia02 13 Jan 2012 , 1:04pm

As Devil's Advocate, I am surprised that this whole debate is being handled with such typical British politeness and deferral. One commentator said that the fairest thing would be two referendums. One in the Uk asking if Scotland should be allowed to leave and one in Scotland asking if they want to de-unit. Why are we all deferring to the Scots, and acting as though it would be a disaster. If a Uk referendum says they should leave then they should go - doesn't matter what they think - its called democracy. Their reps have been voting on some English law for a decade without being effected by it. Representaion without consequences. The above article certainly is saying that they cost the rest of us a lot of money. A campaign should be started to get rid of them, and we would be better off? A lot of those Scottish jobs would move to the UK one suspects. Great news for us. Lets start having a two sided debate.

countingcrow 13 Jan 2012 , 1:11pm

Of course, Scottish independence would have some potential advantages. Perhaps we could bar Gordon Brown from entering England. I know it would be about 15 years too late but still better than nothing...

countingcrow 13 Jan 2012 , 1:13pm

by the way, Prabhat, I though it was an excellent and objective article - thanks...

Invest2bBlessed 13 Jan 2012 , 1:53pm

The Nationalist movement is a typical play of power seekers and damn the consequences. An economic failure after independence will provide lots of opportunities for the Nationalists to justify their position by blaming and demonizing the past Union as the cause of any misfortune.
This is doomed, but the political changes in the rest of the UK would mean the favored South would get all the benefits from then on, and the North will be left to rot.
Remember the Policy Exchange saying that people in the North should move South as Northern Cities were beyond help? (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7556937.stm) The intended policies were accidentally let out of the bag there. I immediately became determined to sell my house in Manchester and move when I heard that, and I did. (Though I moved rather further south, somewhat nearer the Alps).
As for the Independence Movement, there's always a sense that Scotland was invaded and this is the wished for Freedom, but the actual act of Union was brought about by the financial disaster of The Darien Scheme bankrupting Scotland and Union being seen as the only way of them recovering. This is mysteriously never recognised generally. Is history repeating itself?

BKKMike 13 Jan 2012 , 2:01pm

It's so obviously an article written by someone that's English that it's unreal.

If Scotland was no longer part of the UK, why on earth does anybody think that it wouldn't own the oil in Scottish waters. (There is some oil, and quite a lot of gas, in English waters).

Scotland has around 8% of the population of the UK, but that didn't suit the author, so he changed it to 10% when working out how much of the UK's debt to allocate to Scotland. (2% might not sound a lot, but it's £28bn).

I do admit that under current EU laws, Scotland would probably be forced to give up free University places as, under EU law, an independent Scotland would be required to subsidise English students studying in Scotland in the same way that it currently has to subsidise students from elsewhere in the EU. That would probably be untenable in the long run (but Ireland has somehow managed to continue to offer free University places, and not been swamped with applications from England). However, with it being predominantly 4 year degrees in Scotland rather than the shorter 3 year degrees that you get in England, it wouldn't have to go up to the English level of £9K.

As for RBS and HBOS. What is the likelihood of any regulator allowing either bank to become so dependant on short-term funding for it's core business. Capital requirements will continue to be raised on all banks globally...

apprenticeDRL 13 Jan 2012 , 2:17pm

Everybody talks about the oil being Scottish, Territorial waters stretch for 14 miles from the coast. I believe a lot of the oil is extracted further than that so what is to stop the oil companies landing the oil at Newcastle?
I wonder what the interest on the money used to bail out Scotland after the failure of the Darien scheme would be? and can we expect Scotland to repay this?
Will Scotland be liable for the money used to bail out HBOS and RBS about 70 billion I think?

The post is a bit tongue in cheek but as somebody from the SW I get a bit fed up with Scots winging about how hard up the are.

kageshuma 13 Jan 2012 , 2:18pm

I am not sure that student fees would be the first thing to go up. Scotland has a historic culture of valuing tertiary education for as many Scots as possible. Remember the city of Aberdeen alone had two universities at a time when the whole of England only had Oxford and Cambridge. I suspect any Scottish govt would attempt to uphold this. Particularly as they would need a highly educated workforce post independence.

lberbm3 13 Jan 2012 , 2:20pm

there are valid ecomomical arguments for and against, one of them is that England stole the North Sea Oil from the Scots.
Sometimes they blame the English unfairly.
Politicaly in the past Scotland always voted for labour and always got Tory.
They never had a government that represented them, it was always an English choice.
However they are Scots and now they have semi independance.

Many want independance. It is not an economic decision, it is the right to self determination with all it brings, good or bad.

Let us decide.

RobbesPierre 13 Jan 2012 , 2:29pm

Cut spending on Education and Universities? No. We'd cut spending on defence.

GladToBeGrey 13 Jan 2012 , 2:34pm

@Bannockburn1314 - with a nickname like that one might reasonably suppose you are not entirely neutral and objective yourself. Perhaps you should back up your criticism with some 'unbiased' facts and analysis, rather than posting a comment that has potentially unsavoury overtones; what particularly gives rise to your accusation that "Prabhat Sakya clearly has little unbiased knowledge about Scotland or its people"?

chubbybrown 13 Jan 2012 , 2:38pm

I thought the Scots already had its own money and it seems so as its in my wallet; they also have thier own banks HBOS,RBS.

anyone want a Legal pound note? we still use them in small numbers.

I think Scots require more control over what happens in Scotland and thats ok as most things have been taken up by Down south.
bus passes,prescriptions,eye tests common sense stuff really!

Anyway I don't think Scots want to leave the Union 100% thats how Mr.S wanted that extra question on the voting to slip that he isnt going to get....

If this was done 20-30 years ago It would have made a difference but not now.

SmudgeButt 13 Jan 2012 , 2:48pm

Does it make any difference that a lot of the world doesn't know that Scotland isn't already independent? I certainly didn't when I moved to the UK.

I'm constantly surprised at the fuss made about the fact made over a Scottish parliament - but then I was raised with a two tier system and differences between provincial and federal jurisdictions. What does surprise me is there is no corresponding English parliament - but that I suspect is down to the fact the English don't want to admit the UK may be divisable.

As for currency - surely with so much electronic banking there could be an easy fiction devised of Scottish money with it's own controls (The New Bank of Scotland??) while still using the English money when trotting down to the chippie on a Friday night. Nobody in Canada complains that much if someone uses Yankee bills and coins (as long as the exchange rate is right).

cabertosser 13 Jan 2012 , 2:54pm

For all the size of Scotland and its population, it,s people have had the biggest positive effect on the world than any other country. example
Alexander Graham Bell & John Logie Baird, the phone and the tv, the 2 most popular items on the planet. John Macadam made the road surface still in use today, James Watt developed steam into usable power. Alexander Flemming did penicillin. , Kirkpatrick Macmillan invented the bicycle. John Boyd Dunlop invented the tyre. Andrew Carnegie the steel magnet, lets not forget the Bank Of England was founded by William Paterson, yes thats right a Scotsman & Sean Connery was the best bond, the list could go on and on. A number of the english believe we run about in kilts chasing the haggis all day long, while the benifit to the world they have bestoyed is to invade just about every continent in the world to lay claim to its oil and mineral rights.
Back to the question, could Scotland survive on its own, not only would it survive it would positvely flourish. Those snooty toffs in westminster aren,t daft they know they need us more than we need them. Bring on 2014 and give us our FREEEEEEDOMMMMMMM !

Fool1636517108 13 Jan 2012 , 3:58pm

more parochial guff from the English a few facts here London and the south east of England get more subsidies as Scotland as does the north east and west of England,all you snidey comments you should know better just because Kelvin Mackenzie writes it in the rag Daily Mail it must be true,I think that a lot of people will get a shock when we have the Referendum the majority of Scotland dont want it it was apathy that caused the Nats getting in they went round the doors taking folk in their cars to polling stations they emptied sheltered housing complexes,Salmond is a nasty wee man hated up here apart from the SNP supporters,but he is a match for the old Etonian Cameron we`re all in this together aye right so we are him and the millionaires in the Gov. it is not separation from England it is separation from the UK the Gov. is not English it is British,as for the free prescriptions and free Uni. places we Scots are subsidising them our council tax is far higher up here than in the rest of the UK for example a one bed roomed flat in a sheltered housing complex £101 monthly one of my friends in London has a three storey townhouse 3 bathrooms and 6 bedrooms double garage he is not paying that monthly so you anti-Scots get your facts right you know hee haw about Scotland as for the winter fuel allowance why should the English get it it`s never THAT cold in the south is it.

manuelp12 13 Jan 2012 , 3:58pm

As a Welshman of very mixed British descent I feel an overwhelming sense of both boredom and despair at these interminable arguments and complaints.
We live on a small island and want to divide it up for reasons which seem utterly childish. All the countries of the future - China, India, Brazil, Russia, the USA are enormous and consist of people of far greater differences than exist here.
OK the UK is London-centric but what country isn't run from its political or economic capital? That's just life. OK the Scots have to put up with a Tory government at times but we've just had a long stretch in which most of the cabinet were Scots - and look where that got us!
Either we grow up and live more amicably together on these small crowded islands or we have a UK wide referendum and ask whether the rest of us want to get rid of the Scots. I would have some difficulty in deciding how to vote!

500tg3l 13 Jan 2012 , 4:00pm

I'm all for Scotland going it alone- bring English jobs back to England

Xrat 13 Jan 2012 , 4:10pm

Is this referendum going to be like the Building Society to banks vote? Where if the vote goes against them they hold another, and another, until they get the vote they want.., before going bust and expecting the taxpayer to bail them out?

If Scotland becomes independent willl they be able to have another vote later and opt back in to the UK? Would the U.K. get to vote whether to accept them?
If Scotland votes 'No' When does the U.K. get a referendum on whether they should be allowed to stay?
Why is the U.K. thinking of giving over the banks.., but only part of the debt?

itstoohard 13 Jan 2012 , 4:26pm

As a traditionalist I am saddened that there is a such a vocal minority that can't accept the idea of being 'different' under the same big umbrella.

Especially as the cultural differences that made Scotland special disappeared centuries ago, when the Lowlanders now making so much noise, went on a mass-murder spree through the highlanders - perhaps the noise they make now is an echo of their guilt at taking English money to suppress them.

A few thoughts:

Can we get the SNP to take the North of England as a present - that will make a decent sized economic unit and off-shores most of the moaners in one go.

We should assume that the SNP will win the votes. So to avoid a last minute rush the UK Gov should start to repatriate the central government funded jobs now, back to the rump UK. I expect Ulster and Wales would appreciate a few tens of thousands of new jobs?

Given the precedent set by Alex Salmond's objections in 1999 to force being used to prevent ethnic cleansing in Kosova; if I was a Brit, or some other minority living in Scotland, I might be to tempted to sell up now and move elsewhere before the cattle trucks arrive?


A couple of those points should be seen more as playing devil's advocate than being totally serious. There are a lot of individual Scots that I have really got on well with over the years - but at the same time when visiting Scotland I have encountered both physical & verbal abuse just for being English! The reverse does not seem to happen in the South.

Politican's stock-in-trade is whipping up emotions; I think there a danger that few rabble-rousers could make this all very ugly?

AlysonThomson 13 Jan 2012 , 4:57pm

Scotland's oil revenue - and, at the time, I believe it was only oil in the waters off of Scotland which had been discovered, which any International Court of Law would agree was Scottish - paid for the State Benefits of - largely - the English and other Nationalities in England in the late 70's, 80's, etc but that's not all. I only just discovered the other night by watching The Drinking Years on TV that the Scots whisky revenue repaid the UK's War debts after WW2! It was all exported to do so.
I am Scottish and my family are from yonks back and I live in Scotland and what infuriates me is that the Nation of Scotland is regarded as a "Region" of the UK.

AlysonThomson 13 Jan 2012 , 5:01pm

Check out the UK's National Anthem. Most people only know the first verse. I believe it is the fourth one which is absolutely anti-Scottish!

gulliblejack 13 Jan 2012 , 5:05pm

I see the usual preconceptions exist here. Please note that SNP members represent themselves, not 'The Scots'. Alex Salmond is the voice of the SNP, not the voice of Scotland. His pronouncements are aimed at the English, not the Scots, encouraging just the kind of 'let them go, bunch of whingers' attitude which would come in handy if a referendum, as it should, involved the whole of the UK rather than just Scotland.
The United Kingdom is the most successful Union ever, by any criterian, economic or otherwise. It owes its success to the variety of its peoples and their tolerance of one another's differences. Why break it up to satisfy the egos of one group of parochial politicians?

AlysonThomson 13 Jan 2012 , 5:06pm

Oh another thing - check how much money was taken away from the Scottish Sports Council for Olympics 2012 - which anyone with any sense knows can only be of benefit to the East end of Londonistan.

ps200 13 Jan 2012 , 5:27pm

OK folks, let's not go overboard here. My article was intended as a sober analysis of the economic pros and cons of Scotland becoming independent.

This is not meant as an opportunity for the Scottish and the English to vent their spleen at each other!

Please let's be sober about this, calm down, and have some perpective about the issue.


Prabhat (the author)

DouglasMansion 13 Jan 2012 , 5:30pm

Having 7 Scots among my 8 great-grandparents I have always thought of myself as Scottish. As a graduate of Edinburgh and a Scots CA, I am saddened by the way Scotland is moving. Returning to Edinburgh I see Scotland has degenerated to a self-parody in the style of the late Harry Lauder, and they can't even manage their capital's traffic properly.

There is no doubt that the Scots played a disproportionate part in the development of the colonies but since the loss of Empire they seem to have lost their purpose. Pride in achievement has been replaced by a false assertiveness.

As a nation they will have too many people on the public payroll, too many on benefits, not enough earning their way. They will suffer from low inward investment, high unemployment and a falling standard of living. If they join the Euro they will follow the route of the Club-Med, eventually splitting off from the Euro, then having a depreciating currency which will not keep up with Sterling. I can't see the logic of casting off the control of London to fall into the grip of the dictators of Brussels.

theredflag 13 Jan 2012 , 5:33pm

We are better together. Lets stop all this sniping and celebrate our differences (which aren't [i]that{/i] large really) within a wider United Kingdom.

ANuvver 13 Jan 2012 , 6:17pm


The "rebellious Scots" verse was a temporary propagandist addition in the 18th century and was dropped long before the song was officially adopted as the national anthem.

The common claim about "that verse" is a bit like saying the Cuban anthem contains a verse about any given footballer not being able to score in a brothel...

ANuvver 13 Jan 2012 , 6:20pm

And if I were the Grand Vizier of Londonistan, Scotland could have had the Olympics with my blessing!

longpod 13 Jan 2012 , 7:06pm

If Scotland does become independent, let's hope that there is a clause in the constitution preventing them from getting a bail out from the rest of the UK when it all goes horribly wrong!

manicmunchking 13 Jan 2012 , 7:09pm

Thanks for an interesting and thought provoking article. I learnt some interesting things from the comments, particularly the point ‘Invest2bBlessed’ makes about “the Darien Scheme bankrupting Scotland” – a clear parallel with RBS and HBOS’s near collapse and a fact that most Nationalists don’t want to discuss.
Cabertosser makes a valid point about the ingenuity of Scottish inventors, but it’s worth noting that most of that list didn’t make their discoveries working in Scotland – but in other parts of the UK or the world. Will the Scottish brain drain change with independence? I doubt it.
I strongly agree with Douglas Mansion as well – Scottish Nationalist parochialism won’t do Scotland any favours if this key decision is mainly discussed in those terms.
But the point I want to make concerns the Nationalists claim on the North Sea’s oil and gas fields, much of which lies around the Shetland Isles. As a Shetlander, I don’t think we should be forced out of the UK on the whim of the mainland Scottish Nationalists and I question their right to lay claim to Shetland’s oil and gas. Shetland was independent before Scotland took her over from Norway as part of a marriage dowry some 236 years before the Union and I think if Shetland voted to stay in the UK our wishes should be respected.

cabertosser 13 Jan 2012 , 7:17pm

Lets all remember here that the island of Great Britian is not a chunk of land that broke off the continent, as one piece. Scotland and England were two totally different land masses that were pushed toghther. The pro was that with england pushing into us we got all the great mountains and glens out of it. The con was we got them as neighbours.

Monkeynugget 13 Jan 2012 , 8:16pm

Well the SNP and Salmond won't suffer i can imagine many of his friends have been promised nice positions in foreign affairs should they become independence. Whilst the scottish peoples suffer an austerity similar to greece.
I believe in self determinism and so i would never begrudge them the referendum but should they claim independence i do not want the UK government pandering to their whims.
I will also be the first to petition that all scottish nationals be phased out of the british armed forces and that scottish nationals need to obtain work visa's like any foreign national before working in the rest of the UK.

galden 13 Jan 2012 , 8:35pm

When sotland goes it a loan think of the baggage we would be dropping.
1 We would not be financing war all over word and paying 75% ot the cost

2 We would not have smart bombs worth millions.

3 we would not be giving hand out china brasil and all so called
poor countries.

4 Scottish mp in wetminster are a joke they are to busy toeing the party line to look after scotland intres we would not have the this upkeep.

5 After 25 years of tories & labour even the english folk need a break
after all was it not govements job save guard our intrest I/ethe financial mess we are in today paying so called expert bullions of poundsto advice lok at money scoland will save not helping to pay them.

6 All I am hearing that the english whant scotland to go alone fine DO Scotland a favour start e mailing your mp now and no doubt they will listen to the what seems like the majority t of the english his will save us referendum.

gloxinia 13 Jan 2012 , 9:08pm

Yes, independence could greatly benefit Scotland. Canny Scots could look to Luxembourg, and become another tax advantageous investment centre.

monarcho 13 Jan 2012 , 9:35pm

There are some really good comments and some unhelpfull ones here. Liked Douglas Madisons post. My two euros is that Alex Salmond may just be looking for his place in the history books whatever the outcome. Also I wonder why so much is said of North sea oil and the europeon union they both wont be here in a few years.

jaizan 13 Jan 2012 , 9:57pm

Scottish independence means fewer Labour MPs sent down to Westminster. I like that part.

wagontrain 13 Jan 2012 , 10:57pm

Why,when i listen to Mr Salmond, does it often appear to me that his rants are of an anti English nature.I have little interest in his background but suspect that this seemingly ill thought out independence idea has a lot to do with this character in particular.I believe it would be a great shame if the Scots voted for independence & agree with many of the disadvantages expressed in previous threads. That said,the Scots must have the right to decide & sooner rather than later.
What ever their decision I wish Scotland & the rest of the the current Home nations prosperous & happy future.

LookFriend 13 Jan 2012 , 11:58pm

If the Scottish Nationalists were to transform themselves into “British Nationalists,” offering voters:

* Free health care for the elderly
* Free medical prescriptions
* Free Higher Education

they could well find themselves getting elected!

English voters may wonder why their political parties prioritise spending billions on nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers and wars in Iran and Afghanistan.

Is it all about weapons of mass destruction?
Or, is it all about money for arms firms? – And backhanders for political parties?

wagontrain 14 Jan 2012 , 11:12am

Lookfriend,I'm somewhat puzzled by your assertion that all the current listed free Scottish public services would remain so after proposed Independence.I agree with the many who think an Independent Scotland would struggle to balance it's books & whilst I have some sympathy with your WMD argument, see this as a distraction from the Independence issue. Time & the ballot box will show who is right & I repeat my view that Scotland should proceed sooner rather than later with their decision for the sake of the UK & it's economy.[we all know the markets don't like uncertainty & delaying until 2014 will have just that affect].

BrianWild 14 Jan 2012 , 12:34pm
BrianWild 14 Jan 2012 , 12:38pm

The comments so far have been inward looking, but my comment is more general. We have a permanent seat at the UN, and a veto at the EU based on our membership of these organisations as the UK i.e. the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

If Great Britain (England Scotland and Wales) is no more, how are these memberships affected. I am sure the EU would love to see our membership changed and our veto eliminated

Welwynboy 14 Jan 2012 , 2:21pm

My grandfather came from Glasgow and my grandmother came from somewhere in Wales and both served in the royal navy. They where both proud of it too. I'm halfthai and scotish/welsh but i was born in welwyn garden city Hertfordshire so I'm basicly from England Scotland and Wales, but raised mostly in Thailand. I don't really think Scotland should leave the UK, yeah we all share same monarch but in the end most of the population in Great Britan are mixed race of scotish welsh english anyway we all have the same heritage. If scotland leaves what will happen to the Mighty Brittania ?

matchmade 14 Jan 2012 , 4:45pm

Sctoland leaving the Union makes sense for the English, who will be relieved of the burden of supporting Scottish people with their much-higher public expenditure, free tuition fees, free nursing care and all the other freebies they get at the expense of English taxpayers. English people would also get better representative government because we wouldn't have all those Scottish MPs voting on exclusively English affairs. The pound sterling would also probably be a stronger currency without the burden of Scottish taxation and its subsidised weak economy weighing us down.

I can't see how the Scots can possibly imagine they would be better off economically outside the UK, especially once they are obliged to join the euro.

That said, I don't want Scotland to leave: it has a great deal to offer culturally and is part of waht we mean by Britishness.

PlaneZach 14 Jan 2012 , 6:00pm

So petty party politics come to the fore,

Scotland post independence would be a totally different place, the reliance on public sector jobs would have to end and for a period say 15 years would be subject to significant reform and lower living standards.

However, in that time Scotland would have to return to the practice of earning its way in the world and will have achieved the level of living standard appropriate.

The key point is don't vote for independence on the basis of a delusion of a utopian dream - Scotland will have to earn its way in the world - it won't be easy.

That said, Scotland (and the rest of the UK) will no longer subsidise the london elite and it is worth mentioning that Scotland as a nation would have no desire to act on the world stage as a faux superpower and as such would have much lower expenditures on these external frivolities.

On the quoted statistics - Scotland gets less back than it contributes, unless you fudge the figures to the population rather than geography - easy rebuttal - however it is also worth mentioning that this does not include what are British wide institutions like defence, the BBC and other such national bodies - which strangely cluster around the home counties - this is a subsidy by any other name

So Scotland can exist as an independent nation, the effect on England will be minimal and when they use England and British as synonyms they will eventually be right.

Another thought for the right wing brigade - you find it unacceptable England being subordinate to Europe - possibly paradigm shift - Scotland has endured that position for 300 years - starting to understand it yet ?

PlaneZach 14 Jan 2012 , 6:13pm

Sorry a second bite of this cherry,

Why is RBS or HBOS Scottish ?

HBOS is an English Building Society - based in Halifax - which has not been Scottish since William Wallace sacked Derby.

Also these are companies listed on the UK stock exchange (London) and are owned by shareholders across the globe - the only Scottish bit is the figure head of a Scottish HQ in RBS's case - HBOS's is in Halifax, Engerland.

To me these companies are trading in a bygone Scottish reputation for fiscal responsibility and should be sued for tarnishing our reputation.

john10001 15 Jan 2012 , 12:12am

The article makes some very good points, I think they would struggle if they became independent. It would be a decision that would have to be made by Scottish people though. A lot of them do seem to think they'd be better off due to North Sea Oil reserves and seem to miss a lot of the points raised in this article. I think Scotland, England and Wales are better off together as we have a lot in common but it's down to the people of each constituent nation in the end.

john10001 15 Jan 2012 , 12:18am

The Bank of Scotland and Royal Bank of Scotland are Scottish banks which are part of larger global banking groups. They employ a lot of people and one of them even prints Scottish money. What do you think would of happened if they weren't bailed out? It is irrelevant where the shares are listed. Some Italian companies list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

lookingforclues 15 Jan 2012 , 7:49am

To make Scottish independence about economics is to completely miss the point. It's like a couple debating the finer points of the family budget when they are no longer in love. Not that the English and Scottish were necessarily ever in love (!) but the point is this is first and always a matter of the heart. If the Scots want independence from the English then all that happens is that mutable economic arguments will be found to support that position and vice-versa.

IMO Scottish wealth post -independence, if they go that route, will depend on govmnt policies and the ability of those policies to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of the people. One thing that I believe will help is if the energy of the govmnt and the people could be directed towards making Scotland successful rather than the more negative energy associated with anti-English sentiment (whether merited or not). It will be genuinely interesting to find out what kind of leader Salmond is when he has to turn away from 'stirring things up in Westminster' or talking about 'our oil' and focus on inspiring the Scots.

Personally, as an Englishman living in Scotland, I'm leaning towards independence as it may finally allow the Scots to leave their antipathy towards the English behind and focus instead on their (our) own future. With the right positive attitude and the right governance there is no economic argument preventing it long-term. In the meantime economics are simply being used as a tool to defend entrenched positions and beliefs. It is the positions that are the issue not the eonomics.


Britnot 15 Jan 2012 , 8:36pm

I have no doubt that Scotland would do well as an independent Country. Just looking at the economic situation in 2008 and whilst the UK as a whole had a deficit of just over £68 Billion, Scotland had a surplus of £1.3 Billion. So the misinformation about Scotland being subsidised by England is just that, misinformation. I have seen many articles by those that want to maintain the Union and they always resort to fear tactics and this idea that none of the Countries that make up the UK could possibly survive outside it.

It doesn't take long in these discussions before the divisions between the Countries that make up the union bubble into unpleasant vitriol. That is a real shame as what we should realise is that what Scotland is proposing is a different relationship based on greater equality and respect. I just think that the Union has gone past its sell by date and needs to be replaced. Maybe if the Unionists had gone for a proper federal system allowing the Countries of the UK to reflect their differences, the union could have been saved, but that time is past.

Some of the presumptions made in this article are typical of the scare tactics used and I am sure there will be Scots who well remember the McCrone report of 1975 which was designed to show what a basket case Scotland's economy would have been had they become independent. What it actually showed was that with North Sea Oil Scotland's economy would have been one of the strongest in the world, so the UK government shelved the report until it was published under the 30 year rule.

There is no economic argument to prevent Scotland from being independent and the more I see of an increasingly right wing UK state, the more I think it would be a good idea to consign this unequal union to the dustbin of history.

orfc 16 Jan 2012 , 2:31pm

It will be scotland's oilfields as they would lie within scottish waters. The only problem is that by current estimates of reserves 75% of the oil is now gone *slurp*

The scots want to go independent because of the increasingly london-centric governance, infrastructure and economy of the UK. As the furthest from the capital, they get the least out of it. And even if they get independence it will still be a problem for the rest of the UK.

The answer then is to split the centre of government away fron the centre of finance. Look at the countries doing well, they all have separate centres of government and economy- Germany (Berlin / Frankfurt), China (Beijing / Shanghai), India (New Delhi / Bombay), Canada (Ottawa / Toronto), USA (Washington / New York), Australia (Canberra / Sydney), Brazil (Brasilia / Sao Paolo). They avoid the trap of spinning aimlessly around a black hole that gobbles the life from the rest of the country. even Italy, not doing well economically, seemes more unified because it's capital and financial centres are not in the same place. Let's move the government to York and have a new UK.

ProfessorMarcus 16 Jan 2012 , 4:49pm


When did William Wallace 'sack Derby' please? He didn't even get as far as York (which was sacked in Braveheart but not in reality).

If/when Scotland gains independence could we please have our language back? It's been terribly maltreated over the last 300 years.

Xenophile100 16 Jan 2012 , 6:07pm

PlaneZach, 14 Jan, 6:00pm. In your final paragraph you compare British subordination to Europe (A view you see as being 'right wing') with a supposed Scottish subordination within Great Britain. The Union with Scotland was entered into when Scotland was, due to the actions of her leaders, in the grip of financial catastrophe. By making this union she was able to survive to the enduring benefit of both parties, not as a vassal state but as an equal. We were led into Europe under utterly false pretences by treacherous leaders where our traditions, customs and even our very laws are being taken from us by anaccountable beaurocrats. I do not see the highly honourable Act of Union and the thoroughly disreputable, degenerate European scam in the same light at all. I think there are people on both sides of the political divide who agree.

PlaneZach 17 Jan 2012 , 12:13pm

@ Xenophile100 -

The similarity is more telling than you probably realise !

The treaty to join with England was signed in a basement in the old town of Edinburgh by the good lords and merchants of Scotland while the citizens rioted in the streets above and when the deed was done they fled to their estates in the north of England in fear of being lynched by the mob.

Read some Robert Burns which captures the mood very well and has generated the oft used phrase " never such a parcel of rouges in a nation, that sold there souls for English gold ..." never more apt than when describing our elected representatives.

The Darien Company was a failure, however English ships did disrupt the support effort for commercial interest - just as they hampered the french further up the coast.

I make no apology for being a federalist - it works very well for the US - it is the ultimate market led approach - there will be winners and losers - but get up and work hard and the rewards are available.

Europe has issues - but you must understand that with a european style legal system and a degree of history influencing its institutions it is less of a culture change for the Scots

PlaneZach 17 Jan 2012 , 12:19pm

In case you want the history

Lyrics to Parcel Of Rogues :

Farewell tae a' oor Scottish fame
Farewell oor ancient glory
Farewell even tae oor Scottish name
Sae famed in martial story
Noo Sark runs o'er the Solway Sands
And Tweed runs tae the ocean
Tae mark where England's province stands
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation

What force or guile could ne'er subdue
Through many warlike ages
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling traitors wages
The English steel we could disdain
Secure in valour's station
But English gold has been our bane
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation

Oh would or I had seen the day
That treason thus could fell us
My auld grey heid had lain in clay
Wi' Bruce and loyal Wallace
But pith and power, till my last hour
I'll mak' this declaration
We are bought and sold for English gold
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation

Solarian 17 Jan 2012 , 2:54pm

We've got to the current devolution position by the "muddling through" method the British usually go for. If we'd gone for a federal state - with 4 parts having similar powers - there'd be a more rational state to defend. Scotland is a more confident place with the advent of its Parliament, and may well vote for independence when a poll comes along in 2 years time. The economic condition is important, but not everything. Nations generally govern themselves, so part of the decision will be whether Scots really consider themselves a nation, or whether the shared language and last 300 years of shared history make the union worthwhile to them.

NEILLCAU01 17 Jan 2012 , 8:37pm

Economically the canny Scots know what's best for them.Alex Salmond used to argue "look what a small nation like Iceland can do". I notice he doesn't say that any more.

Britnot 20 Jan 2012 , 3:03pm


Try looking at this website showing GDP Per Capita. With all its problems the average Icelander is still doing better than their UK counterparts and what the link shows is how much better smaller Countries do than their larger counterparts. Salmond also spoke about the other successful Scandinavian Countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland or even little Luxembourg, one of the richest Countries per head of population.

But that tends to get conveniently forgotten about, can't think why?
They also tend to have less inequality which in turn provides better social cohesion another of the many advantages small mobile economies have over their larger counterparts.


spendfrith 21 Jan 2012 , 10:51pm

In the end, the Scots are a sovereign nation with their own language and culture, and they are entitled to self government if they want it.

If they do want to go down that road, it may be hard economically, but no doubt they are tough and talented enough to make a successful new Scotland for this century.

It will not be achieved to hanging on to grievances against men dead in their graves for centuries, or by encouraging racial hostility among a racially integrated population. That is an ugly and dangerous road to go down.

I am mostly English with a bit of Scots and Irish in the mix.

Goel3 22 Jan 2012 , 4:04pm

The writer appears misinformed. This is hardly surprising: Scotland has been the subject of a persistent campaign of misinformation emanating from Westminster over these matters for over 35 years:

An independent Scotland's budget surpluses as a result of the oil boom, wrote Professor McCrone, would be so large as to be "embarrassing".

Scotland's currency "would become the hardest in Europe, with the exception perhaps of the Norwegian Kronor." From being poorer than their southern neighbours, Scots would quite possibly become richer. Scotland would be in a position to lend heavily to England and "this situation could last for a very long time into the future."

In short, the oil would put the British boot, after centuries of resentment, firmly on the foot standing north of the border.

Within days of its receipt at Westminster in 1974, Professor McCrone's document was judged as incendiary and classified as secret. It would be sat upon for the next thirty years.

How black gold was hijacked: North sea oil and the betrayal of Scotland

It is most certainly not a 'fact' that Scotland receives a subsidy from England.


WeeWilliam 27 Jan 2012 , 10:43am

There are also many misconceptions about the 1707 Treaty.

It was not so much a baling out of the Scots after the Darien Scheme failure - which was a contributing factor - as desire a by the English government to ensure the Hanovarian or protestant succession. An issue that seem ridiculous nowadays. That coupled by the English desire to absorb Scotland and the wealth of england at that time made it probably inevitable.

The situation is reversed now. The UK government is amassing huge debts which Scotland has to pay for even though it doesn't cause them.

johnheppell 27 Jan 2012 , 10:48am

A bit of shame for them that the Scots did not get a pre nup sorted out 300 years ago as the SNP claim an equal status with England. But as they didn't then if they want a split it needs to be 50:50 - 50% of north sea oil and 50% of the debts.

WeeWilliam 27 Jan 2012 , 3:21pm

It never was equal status back then, and it certainly isn't now.

It was divided up on an arbitrary basis which suited the English Government. Scotland had to take on a proportion of the English National debt even then. There was no referendum then either.

Sounds like we are going to be going the same way again.

scotswhahae29 29 Jan 2012 , 12:17pm

I do not care what our country will look like financially after independence. We already earn less (on average) than the English, our life expectancy is lower and our infrastructure is poorer. The economic argument is a typical scare story from Westminster. There is one reason you know that Independence is a positive step - anything that unites Labour, Libs and Tories MUST be good if they all object!
With the depressing turn to right-wing politics down south it is even more impreitive for us to leave this archaic economic union. On the whole, we are a much more socially aware and fairer society than the English - the Tories are poisonous here - and they always will be.
There is a common misconception that everyone who wants Scotland to be independent is "racist" or "anti-english" - another myth peddled by Unionist MPs and their supporters. I am very much in favour of being independent, but some of my biggest heroes are English - Tony Benn and Billy Bragg. Just ask Mr Bragg how he feels re the Union!
The reason we have free prescriptions etc is we prioritise life over death - i.e we do not want Trident or to go to war illegally.

Everyone will twist the facts to suit their own argument, but why not let the people of Scotland decide and please try to stop the petty and childish name calling.

giuspeace 29 Jan 2012 , 1:49pm

Since when did the treasury override international law. This is done to the nearest landfall, not by the percentage of population.

If this journalist and the treasury's reasoning was employed, then surely China would own one quarter of all international waters.

I note that there is no mention that the treasury forecast for 2011-12, is that 25% of all corporation tax raised in the UK, will be from North Sea oil and gas.

Try looking at the facts and not the propaganda.

Why not make a start with the McCrone Oil Report.

Perhaps then you might be able to formulate a sensible opinion and not one that is lopsided,due to your inability to give a fair account surrounding these issues.

arjomac 29 Jan 2012 , 6:07pm

@cabertosser .... Dunlops 1888 patent for the tyre as revoked two years later, as the inventor Robert William Thomson (of Stonehaven, Kincardineshire) had patented the idea in the 1840s.

As regards Scotlands share of the debts, can one of the obviously ill-informed economists tell me the extent of our share of the (jointly owned) assets that we are leaving with, little things like property in the UK and abroad, military assets, gold and currency reserves, and on the subject of oil what IS Scotlands share of the Falklands oil reserves ? And if you think about this carefully, when the UK is dissolved in 2016 (?) who will actually own the Falklands as the current occupiers will have dissolved the legal partnership that has existed since 1707 ?

Thargon 12 Feb 2012 , 5:06pm

We have heard lots about the people of Scotland voting to separate, but what about the rest of us being allowed to vote to. We should have a vote to say we agree for this to be allowed to go ahead.

The area of Great Britain is 88,782 Square miles

Scotland 30,414
England 50,346
Wales 8,022

Why are we allowing 10% of the population the chance to walk away with 34% of our combined land area?

echobeats 15 Feb 2012 , 4:38pm

Schoolboy errors abound in these two paragraphs:

"Certainly, it is a fact that Scotland gets a net subsidy from England. Scotland accounts for 8.4% of the UK population, but 9.2% of UK public spending."

"Total non-oil tax revenues for Scotland are £42.7 billion, while total Scottish public expenditure amounted to £59.2 billion. That means that it is getting a subsidy of £16.5 billion."

A leading financial website should know better than to compare apples and oranges. To know if Scotland gets a net subsidy, we need to be told whether Scotland's share of the tax take is greater or less than its share of public spending (9.2%). But we are not told what this is. If Scotland receives 9.2% of the public spending, but pays (say) 10% of the tax, it is a net contributor to UK finances. The population size (8.4%) is irrelevant.

Public expenditure exceeding revenue doesn't mean that the difference is being subsidised by other parts of the country. It only means there is a deficit. Apparently the writer hasn't noticed that this is true for all of the UK. The information in the article gives no justification for concluding that the £16.5bn difference is being plugged by English/Welsh/NI taxpayers.

harpo63 17 Feb 2012 , 7:50pm

Lots of stuff to think about on this post alone. An interesting article that tinkers around the edges with unknowns. I have no axe to grind either way but if it was me looking to set up a new business or in this case, a country (!), I think I would start by realistically assessing everything from a bottom up perspective.

Doing this will avoid a lot of distractions. Basics like determining what a new country's health service would look like? How much would it cost to deliver?, same for education, policing, border control, fire services, childcare assistance, paternity leave, maternity leave, postal service (would they still want a 6 day delivery and collection service and flights out to the remote areas - things like this are currently subsidised at national level and more heavily in scotland due to the rural geography), will grant provision exists for rural areas and services which will inevitably be prioritised out of most sectors, water and drainage services, electricity, television services (Will the B[ritish]BC for example wish to provide a BBC Scotland without a directly proportionate funding from scotland), nuclear decommissioning, legal aid systems, customs services, excise, road tax for cars registered in scotland, fuel tax, clearly the list goes on and on.

Once the cost of each service is properly assessed versus the available revenue can decisions even start to be made as to whether the economics argument stands up.

If the parties involved get bogged down in arguing the toss over percentages of cost versus value in the current system, then it will all end in tears.

We are in a country that actually admits to not really knowing how much tax is owed (thought to be several £billion) from several multi nationals then we have no chance of a top down true assessment.

To be frank, a referendum on the Scottish devolution argument is really a good opportunity to start doing the same sort of exercise all around for England , Wales and Northern Ireland.

I think I would like some explicit information on exactly where my tax pound goes (I dont mean the duff summary stuff from the FOI requests) but a choice of whether i actually want a state pension or workfare or child benefit, whether i want a system that spends millions on defence, do i want to send millions to countries in aid money that have nuclear armaments and partake in the space race, do i or do i not want a system that pays for example income tax versus tax on purchases or a system that spends millions on environmental gambits that really make little difference overall to climate change - we have cars exhaust gases cleaner than the air breathed in a lot of places and yet other countries pay no attention to 'green issues'. Do I want to burden private or public companies with a 'corporate social responsibility scorecard', do I want exhaustive human rights protection or common sense decisions which don't protect the perpetrator more than the victim?

Just some food for thought here - I'm not suggesting any of the above favours for or against but the main point is that the impact of a devolved Scotland will, in one way or another be felt both in and outside Scotland.

I think the Scots have a right to determine their own sovereignty in the way the Falkland Islanders have. I hope the many questions that will arise in the coming months be met with clear answers so that a straightforward yes or no to a devolved and independent Scotland is an easy choice to make for all involved.

I'm a lifelong labour supporter - I know if Scotland does become independent then the support we have enjoyed as a party will ultimately render our party unelectable due to the numbers game for a long time to come. Unfortunately democracy is flawed but it's what we have. it's unlikely by voting for a party based politician that we will ever get anything other than a hotchpotch of compromise on such basics. Now, I'm sure there's an 'in ' here for the argument brought to the surface by John Prescott for regional government.....

I can rise above that to say I support anyone's right to self government and if that is what Scotland wishes then the very best of luck to them.

VPPartner 24 Feb 2012 , 9:02am

Isn't the obvious solution to move to a proper federal country like the USA with three sovereign states, each with its own legislature? The House of Lords could become an elected Federal Parliament and the House of Commons the parliament for England, minus the Scottish and Welsh MPs.
Each country would have national income tax and federal income tax, but there would be one head of state, one army and one currency.

RodTM 25 Feb 2012 , 1:25pm

"But if, as the SNP argues, Scotland get the bulk of oil revenues, then the subsidy is reduced but not eliminated. Who is right? Well, I suspect the Treasury would win": -

UN conventions and the law of the seas (not under Holyrood or Westminster influence) determine a 200 mile exclusive economic zone for a countries resources. The division of oil would likely be determined by a Supranational body, whereby Scotland and England would be involved in the discussion, but "informed" of the outcome.

The bailout of banks worldwide was largely apportioned by economic activity in a particular country (where was the corporation tax of the incorporated subsidiary collected?). These "scottish banks" were distributed throughout the UK and regulated by the UK. Most of the corporation tax collected in the past would not have been on scotland's books for GERS purposes.

RodTM 25 Feb 2012 , 1:34pm

VP Partner. I very much agree with the proper federation structure suggestion - rather than independence.

There is much talk of Scotland's subsidy. However, breaking down the figures by region rather than country reveals that most of the UK is performing very poorly indeed and London, the South East and London are booming by comparison.

BTW most Scots want full fiscal autonomy for the Scottish Parliament rather than independence and want no truck with a block grant at all. We didn't ask for it, we've been getting it since the mid 70s and even through the period when Margaret Thatcher was in power.

leftearhole 29 Feb 2012 , 10:58pm

It wouldn't be long before Sallymond realised his mistake and went to the euro for help. It all boils down to which country he wants to bail HIM out. In any Country, there good and bad people and laws.He should look at why, over the years,Hundreds of millions of people have up rooted and moved on? If , as he seems to want ( Scotland for the Scots ) Where would he put them all, if they ALL came back home. If in the end,All countries lived under the same roof, but with elected leaders and staff following guidelines laid down by a Central assembly, then there maybe peace around the globe! Good luck, Sal, You will need it

leftearhole 29 Feb 2012 , 11:14pm

I enjoyed your very informative comments. No jealousy or biggotry. Just good old fashioned Research and tons of Intelligence.

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