sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland

The grass roots of independence

Posted on January 21, 2013 by

One of the most unfortunate things about the Scottish media’s coverage of the independence debate is the persistent portrayal of the Yes campaign as nothing more than a figleaf concealing the SNP. Recently we’ve pointed out the unwillingness of the press to acknowledge information that’s already in clear public view with regard to the demographic make-up of the pro-independence movement, even while making great play of the alleged comparative broadness of the No side.

So we decided to conduct our own poll, just out of curiosity, on a dozen random topics. With just shy of 1000 respondents it’s a respectable sample size, and while of course it isn’t scientific (being self-selecting) it wasn’t aiming to be. The large majority of this site’s readership is of the nationalist persuasion – for want of a better term, at least – so we weren’t trying to take a snapshot of all Scotland, but rather one specifically of the Yes movement. The results were pretty interesting.


On the monarchy

  • Have a referendum after the death of the current Queen (41%, 400 Votes)
  • Become a republic after the death of the current Queen (17%, 164 Votes)
  • Become a republic immediately (17%, 163 Votes)
  • Have a referendum immediately (14%, 133 Votes)
  • Keep the monarchy (11%, 105 Votes)

Total Voters: 965

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The first subject we picked immediately showed opinion significantly at odds with SNP policy. Only 11% backed the party’s current stance of retaining the monarchy indefinitely, with just over 50% favouring a referendum either right away or – the most popular choice – after the death of the current Queen. Just over a third wanted an independent Scotland to become a republic without having a referendum, split evenly between on Day One of independence and after the death of Elizabeth I.


On membership of NATO

  • Remain in NATO conditional on removal of nuclear weapons (71%, 676 Votes)
  • Withdraw from NATO (18%, 170 Votes)
  • Remain in NATO (11%, 103 Votes)

Total Voters: 949

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The second question, though, delivered a result strongly in line with the SNP’s view. When the party debated the subject at its autumn conference last year, many of those who spoke passionately against changing its policy towards NATO cast doubt on opinion polls that suggested leaving the military alliance was a major vote-loser. Our survey suggests they were wrong, with just 18% of respondents wishing to withdraw from the Organisation.

Even among campaigners for independence, it appears that public support for NATO is indeed very strong – providing Scotland dispenses with the UK’s weapons of mass destruction. (As we’d have to anyway under non-proliferation treaties.)


On defence spending

  • Spend a similar proportion to comparable countries (c. £1.6bn a year) (54%, 520 Votes)
  • Spend the SNP's proposed amount (c. £2.5bn a year) (35%, 336 Votes)
  • Spend less than £1.6bn a year (6%, 55 Votes)
  • Spend the same as we do now (c. £3.3bn a year) (4%, 41 Votes)
  • Spend more than we do now (0%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 956

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On the broader issue of defence spending, however, readers once again diverged significantly from the SNP view. At the same conference the party committed to a substantial defence budget of £2.5bn a year, but our survey found that most people considered that far too high.

Fully 60% wanted to spend either a similar proportion of national income to comparable small countries – which would mean almost a billion pounds a year less than the SNP’s proposals – or an even lower sum. Just over a third backed the SNP figure, with a mere 5% wanting to maintain current UK levels of expenditure or more.


On foreign-aid spending

  • Spend 1% of GDP on foreign aid (c. £1.5bn a year) (40%, 377 Votes)
  • Spend roughly what we do now (c. £1bn a year) (37%, 347 Votes)
  • Spend less than we do now (15%, 140 Votes)
  • Spend more than 1% (5%, 49 Votes)
  • Spend nothing (3%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 943

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The SNP managed to just squeak a plurality of support for its recently-announced plans to significantly increase an independent Scotland’s foreign-aid budget, but couldn’t get majority backing even by including those who wanted higher spending still. A margin of just 3% separated those who backed the increase with those who wanted to keep spending broadly the same as it is now, and a substantial minority – 18% – wanted aid lowered or even abolished, undermining the common allegation from opponents, particularly on the Tory end of Unionism, that the independence movement is dominated by tree-hugging lefties. (If the NATO vote hadn’t done so already.)


On EU membership

  • Remain in the EU (56%, 534 Votes)
  • Leave the EU, join EFTA (40%, 378 Votes)
  • Leave the EU, stand alone (4%, 36 Votes)

Total Voters: 948

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The results on EU membership were among the most intriguing. Despite recent claims by commentators that Scots are almost as Eurosceptic as their English neighbours, a colossal 96% of respondents wished to stay in some form of continental union. The EU was the most popular option, and secured an overall majority, but a hefty 40% preferred the smaller EFTA.


On currency

  • Have our own currency (58%, 543 Votes)
  • Keep Sterling indefinitely (27%, 253 Votes)
  • Adopt the Euro as soon as feasible (14%, 134 Votes)

Total Voters: 930

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On a related subject our poll was once more at odds with SNP policy, preferring by over two-to-one the notion of a distinct Scottish currency to the SNP’s plans to retain Sterling for an unspecified period. A small but perhaps still surprisingly sizeable minority – 15% – wanted to go straight into the Euro despite its current difficulties.


On higher education funding

  • Continue free tuition for all (88%, 837 Votes)
  • Free tuition for some, means-tested (8%, 76 Votes)
  • Some sort of graduate tax for all (3%, 31 Votes)
  • Tuition fees for all (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 947

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On the next topic, though, our survey was again back fully behind Alex Salmond’s party, with an overwhelming majority supporting free university tuition. As polls often show the policy to be a more divisive one among the general electorate than we might like to belief, the level of support – a crushing 88% – was perhaps unexpected. Johann Lamont’s suggestion of a graduate tax attracted just 3% of opinion.


On local taxation

  • Local Income Tax, set nationally (36%, 328 Votes)
  • Local Income Tax, set locally (31%, 283 Votes)
  • Land Value Tax (19%, 175 Votes)
  • Keep the Council Tax (11%, 102 Votes)
  • Other (3%, 32 Votes)

Total Voters: 920

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There was far less consensus on local taxation. The SNP doesn’t actually have an official position on a Council Tax replacement at the moment, but its previous policy of a nationally-set local income tax again won a narrow plurality of support, just ahead of the locally-set variant backed by the Lib Dems. A significant minority preferred the Green alternative of a Land Value Tax – and would perhaps have been higher had the option been discussed in more detail in the media – while the current arrangement for financing local government was the least popular. (And would probably have been even less so had it not been frozen for the last six years.)


On general taxation

  • Higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for better public services (47%, 436 Votes)
  • Higher taxes on EVERYONE to pay for better public services (29%, 269 Votes)
  • More or less the current tax structure (18%, 167 Votes)
  • Lower taxes - people pay for the services they want/use (6%, 56 Votes)

Total Voters: 928

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General taxation is another area where none of the parties of the Scottish Parliament have explicit policy positions. The Greens are most open about seeking an increase in taxation, while the Tories are the only ones to have called for a reduction in the basic rate of income tax. Our respondents’ view was unequivocally behind the former – almost half wanted taxes on the wealthy hiked, while just under 30% were prepared to have everyone pay more to fund services. Less than a quarter wanted taxes kept at current levels or cut. We suspect this is another area where Scottish opinion differs greatly from that south of the border.


On universal health services (tick up to 5 boxes)

  • Keep free personal care for the elderly (94%, 876 Votes)
  • Keep free prescription charges (94%, 875 Votes)
  • Keep free eye tests (93%, 864 Votes)
  • Keep free dental check-ups (92%, 860 Votes)
  • Keep free bus travel for the elderly (90%, 838 Votes)
  • Means-test some or all of the above (8%, 70 Votes)
  • Cancel all of the above (0%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 931

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Johann Lamont took another kicking here, with an absolutely overwhelming majority of our sample backing the SNP’s policy of retention of all universal health services, and just 8% being prepared to support Lamont’s call for means-testing and “targetting”. We’ll be fascinated to see if Scottish Labour’s “cuts commission” sticks to its guns in the run-up to the referendum.


On land ownership

  • Give rural communities the right to buy their land (95%, 877 Votes)
  • Landowners retain all rights to their land (5%, 42 Votes)

Total Voters: 919

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Land ownership is a minority-interest subject if the Scottish media is to be believed, which may or may not be due to opinion being enormously one-sided in favour of rural communities and against absentee “lairds”. To be honest, in hindsight we don’t know enough about it ourselves to be able to offer any useful analysis, and probably shouldn’t have included it in the poll. Sorry.


On Berwick

  • I am entirely ambivalent about Berwick (65%, 597 Votes)
  • Demand return of Berwick to Scotland (30%, 274 Votes)
  • England can keep Berwick (6%, 52 Votes)

Total Voters: 923

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And finally, our light-hearted final question revealed that almost two-thirds of respondents had no strong opinions about Berwick-upon-Tweed, with most commenters believing that the citizens of the border-straddling settlement should be given the opportunity to choose its own fate. A hefty 30% will be growling menacingly outside the town walls, however.


So that’s our poll. It revealed that from our sample of almost 1000 mostly pro-independence respondents, there was clear agreement with the SNP on just three out of 12 subjects, clear opposition on three others and a pretty even split of opinion on a further three (with the last three being largely non-party-political).

With all the usual disclaimers about the non-professional methodology of the survey, it does at least seem to present a fairly compelling case that the SNP is NOT the Yes movement. The supporters of independence are variously green on taxation, orange on local-government funding, blue on NATO, red on the monarchy and yellow-and-black on universal services.

We’ve noted before that the referendum will not be split on party lines, but it’s an argument the mainstream media and much of the blogosphere is still strongly and dismayingly resistant to. We hope 2013 sees a less tribal and more rational approach to the debate, but we’re not holding our breath.

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89 to “The grass roots of independence”

  1. TheGreatBaldo says:

    Like Rev…..

    Any particular reason the piece is illustrated with a picture of undoubtedly Scottish fitba greatest triumph EVER… used to illustrate ‘Local Taxation’

    Nae complaining like….(though God’s face is obscured in that photae….blasphemy)….it is after all 3 and a half months tae Gothenburg Day !!


  2. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    See the caption.


  3. Craig says:

    I compleated your poll as a YES supporter but as a member of no political party.

    Over the years I have voted for all major parties in Scotland so I cannot be accused of narrow Nationalism. 


  4. muttley79 says:

    What a fantastic picture that is of the Gothenburg Greats…  😀


  5. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “What a fantastic picture that is of the Gothenburg Greats…  :D

    It’s a beauty, isn’t it? No two expressions the same. Just by the by, the shamefully weak justification I’m using is that as a team of all Scots, the Dons side that won the trophy were all “local”…


  6. Ken Mac says:

    Yet another excellent article Rev. Just one small gripe and it may be I’m just getting a little bit sensitive but as I am approaching, rapidly approaching, the time for my bus pass if see anything else resembling ”Keep free bus travel for the elderly” I will be forced to forget you’re a clerical gentleman and kick your arse.


  7. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Feel free to suggest some alternative wording I can use next time. I wasn’t sure if it was over-60s of both genders, or if it was retirement-age-based ie different for men and women.


  8. Doug Daniel says:

    Good captions, my favourite being “Frankly, this many Scots should be enough to win most wars”. And obviously the picture of the Dons was an inspired choice.

    What’s the deal with the answers in bold? You’ve put the top answers in bold except for local taxation, income tax and Berwick. Are these the ones that there’s no real SNP position on, or does bold = Stu’s answers?


  9. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Bold should = YOUR answers, and therefore be different for each reader.


  10. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    Bus passes are indeed for over-60s of both genders.


  11. Aucheorn says:


    @Rev. Stuart Campbell
    I refer to my bus pass as my crumbly card and my fellows as crumblies.



  12. Seasick Dave says:


    I think that that is what YOU answered originally.

    They seem to match my original shouts.


  13. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    a fairly compelling case that the SNP is NOT the Yes movement. The supporters of independence are variously green on taxation, orange on local-government funding, blue on NATO, red on the monarchy and yellow-and-black on universal services.

    I think you’ll find the same is true for the general SNP membership. That’s not to say The SNP IS the Yes movement, just that it’s a broad church within an even broader one.


  14. Keef says:

    Stu, were you aware that Lamont, Sarwar and Davidson participated in your survey?

    The give away was the answer to the universal health services question i.e. – Cancel all of the above. :-)


  15. Aucheorn says:

    Sorry, that should have read peers not fellows.  Must be getting sexist in my dotage.


  16. MajorBloodnok says:


    I am surprised they had the collective wit to select the same answer without Ed telling them what to do.


  17. Keef says:

    @ MajorBloodnok.

    :-) :-)


  18. Seasick Dave says:


    I believe that it was Cameron that told them what to do.

    Ed wasn’t sure.


  19. Castle Rock says:

    Good stuff as usual but I aint saying nothing until scottish skier has cast his beady eyes over the results!

    O\T Can I suggest that you add Peter A Bell’s excellent! page to your blog role as he pulls together some of the best writing and articles on the independence debate on a daily basis?

    It really should reach a wide audience as possible.


  20. MajorBloodnok says:

    @Seasick Dave

    By Jove, I think you’re right!


  21. Ken Mac says:

    My local YES Scotland group contains Greens, SSP, SNP, Lib Dem, Labour and the non aligned. The only thing we are missing is a Tory and a Monster Raving Loony.


  22. Cuphook says:

    If anything, this poll shows how exciting politics will be in an independent Scotland; and would even suggest a realignment of Yes supporters as they find, or even found, parties which represent their views.
    I really can’t see the current Unionist parties continuing. Having staked their all on a No vote they would lose credibility, which, when when you consider their low membership and the need to take on their share of respective UK parties debts, will see them become unfeasible.
    Hopefully we will all have a party to vote for in 2016.
    As to the monarchy, can anyone honestly see Charles III’s ears sticking out from under the Scottish crown?


  23. Macart says:

    Nicely done Rev.

    Look forward to some more of those polls appearing, fun and informative. 


  24. M4rkyboy says:

    I vote SNP purely for independence.
    I am closer to the SDA in terms of my policy expectations of an independent Scotland.I favour our own currency,EFTA membership and NATO(non-Nuke) membership.
    I would probably vote to abolish the monarchy in a referendum though i must say iam pretty indifferent about them.


  25. muttley79 says:


    The present No parties would either have to keep their present names, and effectively replace most of their present elected representatives, have comprehensive policy reviews, attract new members etc, or go for a name change.


  26. Doug Daniel says:

    Stu: “Bold should = YOUR answers, and therefore be different for each reader.”

    *facepalm* Doh. I had no idea WordPress polls could do that. That’s MAGIC. Or just good programming.

    Ken Mac: “The only thing we are missing is a Tory and a Monster Raving Loony.”

    No need to repeat yourself, Ken!


  27. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Can I suggest that you add Peter A Bell’s excellent! page to your blog role as he pulls together some of the best writing and articles on the independence debate on a daily basis?”

    It’s been on our blogroll since it started, cunningly concealed under the link name “Referendum 2014″…


  28. Cuphook says:

    I just can’t see them being effective organisations if they are to take on millions in debt before they even fight an election. Forming new parties with a new constitution etc would allow them to leave the debt with their current Westminster offices. Maybe their sense of ‘responsibility’ won’t allow them to do this and they’ll accept the debt and their obligation to pay it off.


  29. MajorBloodnok says:


    You said ‘new parties with a new constitution’.  But according to the Unionists, constitutions are a very bad thing. impractical and literally unpossible.


  30. dadsarmy says:

    OT completely. Game of Thrones Series 2 ep 1 on Thu 2am Sky Atlantic HD for those like me that missed it. Other times too I expect. I almost missed it again as I thought it wasn’t repeated till March / April.


  31. Castle Rock says:

    “It’s been on our blogroll since it started, cunningly concealed under the link name “Referendum 2014…”



  32. Cuphook says:

    There is obviously no way round it then and they shall have to disband and leave politics to those who can do the whole joined up thinking thing.
    The need for a Scottish constitution, and my participation in Yes Scotland and RIC, has got me thinking about how fulfilling it would be if, after independence, we had some sort of local forums where people of all parties and non could meet to discuss and exchange ideas. I’m a dreamer.  


  33. muttley79 says:


    But according to the Unionists, constitutions are a very bad thing. impractical and literally unpossible.

    An yet so many independent states have a constitution at the present time…


  34. TheeForsakenOne says:

    Apart from a couple, I seemed to end up in the majority. So much for being a rebellious Scot. 😛


  35. Luigi says:

    Nice pics, Rev. But why did you put the Berwick cockles beside a jar of unionists?


  36. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:



  37. Morag says:

    Oh dear.  The very thought if Jug-ears being actually crowned, in Edinburgh, with the actual crown of Scotland, makes me feel very ill.  I need to go and lie down in the darkened room.


  38. Cuphook says:

    It’s never going to happen. We’re sovereign, not him, and if the SNP were to continue with their ludicrous policy of having a monarch I’m sure that we could put up another candidate. You fancy the job?


  39. pmcrek says:

    O.T. saw this linked from Mckenna’s Guardian article, thought it was hilarious:



  40. dadsarmy says:

    I’m a fair bit different. Monarchy. No, I’m not a monarchist but once we’re independent it shouldn’t cost us much. We’d have little or no legal and no moral duty to have all the hangers-on on the civil list, which we woldn’t have anyway. Our responsibilites are Balmoral (open to tourists) and Holyrood palace, and the same protection we’d give to any visiting head of state. Much of the world still envies Britain our monarchy, and I think the benefit is directly and indirectly, immeasurable. Even in Scotland we get tourist and business benefit, and I think if IPPR did a cost-benefit analysis, we’d be on a winner. it’s also a little pomp and circumcision in our lives!

    Defence. Me hawk, and at March last year I’d have been UK spending plus, the reason the SNP (probable government) Partners for Peace which having looked at it, wouldn’t suit an ex-UK Scotland, so defence spending would have to be higher, not lower. By my reckoning NATO saves us £1 billion a year or even2, AND we get both articles 4 and 5, PfP only gets 4 (?). It means mutual defence, whereas PfP doesn’t have that. Even then I thought the SNP knew nothing about defence but was very pleasantly surprised to find they do. So, after doing some costings, I accept their budget. It gives a strong defence, while saving mayb £0.8 billion a year (plus Trident). I’m NATO full stop,

    EFTA. Council Tax but I’d prefer a combination of Coucnil Tax, LVT and share of natioanlly collected income tax. Berwick – ambivalent but not really, I’d have ticked the box “support if they YES a referendum for themselves”.

    Party position: none, non-aligned.


  41. dadsarmy says:

    @Ken Mac
    You could always find willing volunteers to join the missing parties …

    … potentially the same one, no-one would notice the difference.


  42. TheGreatBaldo says:

    Ah right your meant to wave your mouse over the picture….

    Talking of polls…..

    The Tories revival starts here…….

    Any chance of some in depth WoS statistical analysis (ideally illustrated using footage of Peter Weir giving Mick Mills twisted blood) on the relationship between Tory opinion poll rating and the increase in the YES vote 😉

    Elsewhere in the Grun, the excellent John Harris is on form again on the welfare reforms…..

     “The argument about the end of universal child benefit was eventually reduced to moronic noises about a few people trousering the money for Tuscan holidays. Columnists and politicians are calling time on such catch-all post-retirement benefits as the winter fuel allowance, free bus travel and the paid-for TV licence. In Scotland, Labour leader Johann Lamont has commenced a party review of universal benefits, and declared war on what she calls a “something for nothing” culture – yes, that one again – supposedly embodied in the SNP government’s attachment to such totems as free prescriptions and state-funded tuition fees. [In response, the Jimmy Reid Foundation has just published an excellent paper titled The Case For Universalism, and last week saw the latest face-off between the SNP and Labour, over the latter’s role in a cancelled debate about the same issue.”


  43. M4rkyboy says:

    I think the 6000sq miles of Scottish waters that Westminster snatched in a late-night vote is a bigger issue than Berwick to most Yes campaigners.Have the SNP ever acknowledged this?


  44. FreddieThreepwood says:

    If nothing else, the rainbow alliance in favour of independence as shown by your poll should be used as part of the argument against those eejits who tell you they’ll vote no ”Cos I hate that Alex Salmond’.
    With SLAB running out of feet to shoot themselves in, the Nats are still a stick on for the 2016 election. What’s the best long term way to avoid more of Eck as FM? Vote for an independent parliament and then vote according to your political persuasion safe in the knowledge that this time it will actually mean something.


  45. Tris says:


    If Cameron told them what to do, you can bet it came straight from Obama.



  46. kininvie says:

    It may be that we’ll see a raft of new parties for 2016, and maybe they will bear little resemblance to the traditional ones. I imagine some kind of ‘country’ party (a reasonably respectable name in 1707 terms) will be needed to counter Central Belt politics. Pre 2011, most constituencies outside the CB consistently voted differently, and I’m sure some beady-eyed ambitious people will have spotted that….


  47. Tris says:


    Although we would have to provide security at Balmoral, it belongs to the Queen personally, so we don’t have to maintain it.

    Holyrood belongs to us, so it is our responsibility. If we had a president we would have to provide him or her with a palace in Edinburgh, so  there’s probably not much in the expense one way or the other. 

    I’m a republican, and will be an even stronger republican when Elizabeth dies and we get her son and Mrs Parker Bowles, but I take your point on the tourism front. I suspect Prince William and Ms Middleton would be a bigger tourist draw though… perhaps we could skip a generation.


  48. Cameron says:

    I still can’t see how it is possible to square our high ideals and ambitions to create a modern, accountable democracy, with membership of NAT0. This may not be the correct forum to discuss such subjects, but would anyone care to try and explain that one to me?


  49. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I still can’t see how it is possible to square our high ideals and ambitions to create a modern, accountable democracy, with membership of NAT0.”

    That would seem to be easily explained by the fact that the public overwhelmingly wishes to be in NATO, and therefore the democratic and accountable outcome is that we are.


  50. Holebender says:

    M4rkyboy: I don’t think there was even a vote. I’m pretty sure it was done on the orders of some minister or other.


  51. dadsarmy says:


    Article 4

    The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.

    Article 5

    The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

    Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .”

    It’s a cheaper way to take care of your defence – the alternative is to have an incredibly strong defence force. I couldn’t even start to put a figure on what the annual budget would be, let alone the money that would have to be borrowed to build up on what would be needed as a “top-up” from what we get as our share of UK assets.

    And to answer the inevitable question – who’s going to attack us? No idea, but we’ve got till the Sun burns out or the next meteor hits, to find out!

    I think PfP just gets article 4 – we’ll think about it.


  52. Cameron says:

    That is no explanation.
    It may be the wishes of the majority and so the democratic choice of Scottish society, but NATO is the antithesis of democracy (IMO). So how is it possible to demonstrate democratic principles and practice, in the support of an anti-democratic organisation? I know that I am in the minority of this one, but it is simply illogical in my eyes.
    I suggested previously on WOS, that support for NATO may be as large as it is, due to the total lack of transparency and democratic accountability of the British state. The Scots public is generally unaware of the crimes and barbarity carried out by NATO, in the name of democracy.
    Anyway, I will still be voting Yes in 2014, as I will then hopefully have the chance to vote for a party more in line with my moral stance, in 2016.


  53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “It may be the wishes of the majority and so the democratic choice of Scottish society, but NATO is the antithesis of democracy (IMO).”

    You don’t seem to have quite grasped how democracy works.


  54. Cameron says:

    You appear to be missing the point.
    How can democracy support, well what shall we call it?


  55. dadsarmy says:

    Cameron, it’s why I put in the thing about cost. I’m a defence fanatic, I’d love nothing more than to see everey single ship the RN has going up and down the Clyde and around the coast of Scotland, and same for the other forces.

    Realistically I think membership of NATO potentially saves us plucking a figure out of the air, £2 billion a year on defence – money that can be spent on welfare, care, the NHSS, research, development. The alternative is to have no defence worth talking about and shelter under someone’s skirt if they’ll let ue (rUK), or in 10 years time when the EU destroys itself for example, be invaded and taken over by – Holland. My apolgies to the Dutch, it just seems unlikely somehow, but if you do, please bring proper draught Grolsch, small glasses and plenty of music. Oh, and about those brown cafes …


  56. Cameron says:

    @ dadsarmy
    I’m all for effective defense as well, anything else would be daft. I suppose I am just a hopeless idealist and can not bring myself to trade economic expediency for moral authority.
    Who is it that controls NATO anyway?


  57. dadsarmy says:

    Look at the 12 founding nations.

    France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Denmark – all invaded WWII. Iceland – well, strategic, and after Norway was invaded a target.

    Belgium, which was neutral, the HQ of NATO.


  58. AndrewFraeGovan says:

    Calling The Netherlands “Holland” can only increase the likelihood of your feared Dutch invasion :)


  59. Cameron says:

    @ Dadsarmy
    You are aware of NATO’s Operation Gladio aren’t you? I reckon it is still in active service.


  60. Cameron says:

    @ AndrewFraeGovern
    The Dutch will be parachuting in their elite “Alpine” troops, if they continue to be disrespected in that manner. :)


  61. Seasick Dave says:

    The Dutch will be parachuting in their crack “Alpine” troops, if they continue to be disrespected in that manner.

    You mean the Swamp Germans?


  62. dadsarmy says:

    If they bring a load of Amstel with them, I’ll call them Cloggies and apologise after!


  63. Cameron says:

    Sorry to be so serious, but what about NATO’s Operation Gladio and the strategy of tension?


  64. Cameron says:

    @ Seasick Dave
    Not really wanting to perpetuate the racial slurs, but I think you have that one around the wrong way.
    I thought the Dutch called the Germans “Bog/Swamp Dutch”, and the Germans called the Dutch “Tulip munchers”
    All pretty sick really.


  65. Seasick Dave says:


    I work with quite a lot of Dutch offshore and they have no problem laughing at it.

    Sick? Not really.


  66. Cameron says:

    @ Seasick
    I suppose you laugh or else you would have to cry. :)


  67. Seasick Dave says:


    Everyone gets on well on our boats and there’s all sorts of nationalities; Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, South African, Canadian, Egyptian, Pakistani, Russian, Philipino and of course all varieties of Brits etc etc

    Being called a Swamp German would be the least of your worries in 15m seas :)


  68. Cameron says:

    @ Seasick Dave
    Tanks for the correction re. Swamp Germans. Suppose I will add that to the list of “untruthes” my German ex hoped I’d swallow.

    I know calling people names doesn’t hurt, but generational animosity really is a bugger. :)


  69. Cameron says:

    I can’t help but notice that nobody has attempted to answer my two main questions. So I will ask them again, in case they have been lost in the body of this thread.
    Who “controls” NATO?
    How is it possible for an “accountable” democracy to support NATO, which has a proven track record of murdering civilians and undermining democratically elected governments, all in the furtherance of US foreign policy?


  70. Cameron says:

    Sorry to go on, but I do not see how we can support NATO and yet hope to have a written constitution worth a toss.


  71. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Sorry to go on, but I do not see how we can support NATO and yet hope to have a written constitution worth a toss.”

    We understand that’s your view, and evidently don’t care very much. I don’t think repeating it over and over and over is going to get anyone anywhere. You don’t want to be in NATO, the vast majority of people do. That’s democracy.


  72. Cameron says:

    @ Rev. Stuart
    I thought the whole point of your blog and the Yes campaign, was in response to a democratic deficit? I’ve get the message, so I won’t harp on.
    It would be nice though, if someone were to attempt to answer my questions.


  73. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I thought the whole point of your blog and the Yes campaign, was in response to a democratic deficit?”

    And? There’s nothing whatsoever undemocratic about the NATO issue. Quite the reverse. You’re misusing the word “democratic” to mean “something that I want even though most people don’t”, which is not just wrong, it’s the exact opposite of what it actually means.


  74. Cameron says:

    @ Rev. Stuart
    Q: What is the main vector through which the British state exerts its authority.
    A: The MSM.
    Are you really trying to suggest the British state and the MSM are lying to us about just about everything, apart from NATO? That is the democratic deficit I am pointing to. The fact that most of us have absolutely no idea about what NATO gets up to, in the furtherance of democracy.


  75. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Cameron: whatever. Please stop now.


  76. Holebender says:

    Cameron; you are free to ask questions, although it doesn’t win friends or influence people positively if you repeat them ad nauseam. What you are not entitled to in any way shape or form is answers to your questions. I, like everyone else here, am under no obligation to answer you or any other random stranger who wanders in here.

    Your obsessions are not my obsessions.


  77. BillyBigBaws says:

    The funniest thing about the possibility of Berwick rejoining Scotland is the implications it would have for our marine border with the rUK. The sneaky and underhanded implementation of the Adjacent Waters Boundaries Order 1999 would have to be reversed in full, and Scotland would gain a lot from that. Plus, Berwick is a cool place.


  78. Morag says:

    Yeah, that’s kind of what I meant above.  When idiots start going on about Shetland and Orkney becoming part of England (or whatever the idea is, I’m never quite sure), the killer answer is, and do you support the right of Berwick to re-join Scotland?

    Sometimes it takes them a wee while to work it out, but it’s a sure-fire conversation-stopper.


  79. dadsarmy says:

    The problem with Berwick is that according to the last opinion poll, well over a year ago, the majority were happy as they were. Maybe that would change. They do see an advantage as a “border town” for tourism though. I see one too as a “trading town”. In fact they should ahve half in, half out, that worked for town(s) in Germany / Switzerland.

    I don’t think the “stolen 6,000 square miles” are dependent on Berwick coming back into Scotland though. That was used as the excuse to use an equidistant (from the immediate coastlines) median, but some paper I read says the more likely to be settled on is equidistant for the first 12nm, and then perpendicular to the overall coastline England / Scotland. This would give us back most if not all of that 6,000 miles – and boost the oil from 91% to 95%.


  80. Morag says:

    I don’t think it’s a problem if the Berwick people want to stay in England.  I don’t believe there is a majority opinion in Shetland wanting to become part of England either.  It’s just a fun way of shutting up the pot-stirrers about he Northern Isles.  If they can make stuff up about Shetland, we can point to a much more apposite example at the other end of the country.

    I think as you say there will be a renegotiation of that boundary on independence, much in the way you describe.


  81. dadsarmy says:

    As far as Shetland is concerned, I think Tavish Scott is doing exactly what he should be doing – representing the interests of his constituents. Shetland and Orkney – like the other Isles – have unique problems to overcome that don’t exist on the mainland. Unlike the other Isles, Shetland (and Orkney) have what could be called a strong bargaining chip. All power to their elbow for using it.

    I’d like to see it being used for the benefit of all the Isles, including for instance the issue of the Barra (Castlebay) to Mallaig ferry reinstatement!


  82. Morag says:

    It’s not really Tavish Scott I have a problem with.  It’s the trolls who declare, yah, see you can’t be independent because if you do that Shetland will walk away with all the oil.  I think Shetland’s and Orkney’s needs should be fairly and generously dealt with, and good on Tavish for trying to promote that.

    I do not on the other hand see any appetite in the Northern Isles for either complete independence, or becoming part of England, or becoming part of Norway.  Any of these proposals would be fraught with difficulty and they are all in fact pretty unattractive prospects looked at in the cold light of day.  It’s simply disingenous to bring it up as another scare story, which is how it’s being used.

    On the other hand, Berwick regaining its historical place as a Scottish town isn’t obviously problematic, if the people were inclined that way, and unlike the “detached island group” issue with Shetland the effect on the maritime boundary is uncontentious and obvious.


  83. Cameron says:

    I am beginning to understand this site.
    I ask important questions, which did not seem to be appreciated and remain unanswered. The next thing that is talked about is a non-issue (i.e. Berwick).


  84. Keef says:

    Mate, don’t take it too heart. 

    There is a certain unwritten rule that if you piss people off, they will tolerate your posts but there is no onus on them to engage with your comments.

    At least you don’t get ‘modded’ on here (most of the time).


  85. dadsarmy says:

    The 1707 Treaty of Union mentions Royal Burghs, but doesn’t supply a list, in the context of Scotland. I think Berwick was part of Scotland then, so yes, if they wanted to come back I don’t think they’d have a big problem. I think Doncaster might find it a bit more difficult!

    Cameron, people engage or don’t engage as they/we wish, and answer or don’t answer questions in the same way. Nobody is obliged, it’s not our job, and it may or may not be interesting to us, it’s personal choice.


  86. Cameron says:

    Perhaps I should have approached the subject in terms of the constitutional implications, rather than the moral deficit required to join the gang.


  87. Cameron says:

    @ dadsarmy
    I tried to engage, but you are correct, as nobody seemed to want to get involved. I understand that and was simply passing a comment. I hope that is not felt to be unacceptable, after all, isn’t the article about grass-roots support?


  88. BillyBigBaws says:

    EDIT: Just realised I am an idiot.


  89. Cameron says:

    It has been suggested to me previously here, though it might have been on NNS, that it is a waste of time to push the Yes line on London based MSM comment pages. The rational being that the rUK does not have a vote in 2014. Why should that matter?
    The grass-roots support for political parties in rUk, is also pretty hacked off with the London/S.E. dominance of UK politics. This same rUK grass-roots support also recognises that the MSM is urinating on it from a great height. I would be happy to bet a significant proportion, at least. I am finding an increasing willingness from rUK posters, to consider the proposal that Scottish independence is their best hope for gaining democratic accountability for themselves. If more rUK grass-roots support can be persuaded of this, wouldn’t the MSM really have a big problem, and isn’t the MSM the Unions BIG persuader?
    Only asking. :)


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