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    L i b

    I admit was exaggerating a bit but they're f****d for the foreseeable future. Part of the problem now is the fear of a Labour-SNP coalition costing them votes in England as well.

    Haven't Orkney and Shetland got about half of Scotland's oil and gas in their waters? If they decided to stay with rUK or fly solo that would screw things right up for the Indy govt.
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    (Original post by Sycatonne23)
    You misunderstand me. Scotland self-determines as a member of the UK, a political union of four countries. Let's say the Scottish government judges that the majority of Scots want independence. Let's say that somehow they organise a referendum, be it legal by UK law or not, be it within their legislative competence or not.
    Then it is by definition not a referendum, it is a privately conducted opinion poll by a political party that they will have to fund. *

    You can argue the referendum wasn't legal under British law, but you cannot argue that this wouldn't give Scotland the right to secede from the UK
    I'm not sure if you've been listening to what I've been saying: that is precisely the argument that I am making because that is unambiguously the position in law. Sure, the UK Parliament could decide effectively to offload Scotland tomorrow if it wanted to - but that's not really the point you're making, which seems to be around unilateral right. *

    If the Scottish people decide that they want to self-determine as a nation state which isn't a member of the UK, then they have that right
    They do not. They have the right to participation in their national government and will continue to self-determine in that sense, as part of a wider British democratic framework. That does not create a unilateral right to secession.*

    Secession (or accession if people want to join a political union) is inextricably linked to the right to self-determination.
    Except of course that the only time that question has been meaningfully tested in a court of any standing, the precise opposite conclusion was drawn.
    *
    And also, which country on Earth allows a legal method for one of its constituent territories to secede if that territory's population no longer desires to be a part of the country?
    There are of course examples of this. One where it was exercised was in the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro which, from 2003, was governed by its Constitutional Charter. Montenegro of course held a referendum under the requirements of this Charter and dissolved the State Union. In that case, there was a recognisable right - and indeed that right was exercised in a particular way that led to the creation of the state of Montenegro.*

    it's a non-argument to say that British law won't allow the Scottish to hold their own independence referendum, just because the law doesn't allow it, doesn't mean they can't do it
    "The Scottish" are not a legal actor here. What you're talking about is the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Parliament can act in any way it sees fit except in areas where are reserved to the UK Parliament: the absence of a reservation would indeed mean that such a referendum could be held.

    However that reservation does exist - a referendum is not simply not envisaged, it enters into an area where the Scottish Parliament is expressly prohibited from acting.

    You seem to think that the UK (and Scotland for that matter) is some sort of jumped-up banana republic where the rule of law doesn't apply. It certainly does and governments - devolved or otherwise - cannot simply run around doing things that they are prohibited from doing because they take the notion.*

    I've said before and I'll say it again: rights are recognisable parts of a legal structure that, when asserted, carry weight to them. Something is not a right simply because you will it to be a right - and despite repeatedly asserting that there is some sort of right of secession that attaches to the Scottish Parliament, there is clearly no such right at all - in fact, there is an express prohibition.*
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    (Original post by JamesN88)
    L i b

    I admit was exaggerating a bit but they're f****d for the foreseeable future. Part of the problem now is the fear of a Labour-SNP coalition costing them votes in England as well.

    Haven't Orkney and Shetland got about half of Scotland's oil and gas in their waters? If they decided to stay with rUK or fly solo that would screw things right up for the Indy govt.
    *
    Well, the days of large revenue returns from the North Sea are over. There's very little prospect of those revenues ever again being particularly substantial, even if oil prices rose again to their previous peak.*

    Ultimately Orkney and Shetland don't really have "waters" in that sense. There's no jurisdictional boundary or anything like that over the UK Continental Shelf in the way that there is a Scottish boundary (two, actually, which are different lines on the map used for different purposes). So it's quite difficult to suggest how such things would be agreed for an independent Orkney or Shetland.

    There's a solid moral point there though: for years, Scottish Nationalism was very much about pulling up the drawbridge based on oil wealth. Despite almost three centuries of fiscal sharing, they said this should be wiped out the second Scotland seemed to have a bit of cash in its pocket. They essentially wanted to shaft everyone else in Britain who had worked together in good faith. I'd find it entertainingly ironic if someone - be it Orkney or whoever - turned around and used that very same principle to shaft them.

    Either way, it's not really reasonable or sensible. It's the politics of insularity and division. *
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    (Original post by L i b)
    Like the Labour Party was bordering on extinction in the 1980s, or the Conservative Party was bordering on extinction in the late 90s and early 2000s?*

    Parties drop in popularity and other parties take over government. That doesn't mean they're going to die out. Things will probably get worse for the Labour Party before they get better, but I have no doubt they'll be back eventually - and I say that as a Scots Tory. *



    Presumably given their very different politics, you'll assume that the Scottish Borders, or Orkney and Shetland, leaving Scotland is an inevitability too then? *

    I'd be hard-pressed to name a sovereign state without geographical variations in its politics. I do not think this means that virtually every country is going to break-up on that basis. I know we're used to being told that Scotland is terribly special and extraordinary, but it's really quite normal.**

    Let's not forget there was far greater variation in the EU referendum vote within Scotland than there was between Scotland and England. *
    As for your first point about parties dropping in and out of popularity, that is one thing and wholesale annihilation is another. I'm not taking about Labour's electoral success in the UK as a whole, my point made quite clear that I mean in the context of Scotland. What you're talking about is popularity — the Scottish example goes far beyond that. Labour has made a gradual decline from dominating the political landscape to almost total wipeout (bar merely one prosperous Edinburgh constituency populated by the same type of people who lead the party). As a fellow Scots Tory, I can't see them ever making a significant comeback in Scottish politics; at least not before a monumental transformation in the party which isn't exactly imminent.

    As for your second point, I think you underestimate the disparity between Scotland and England's political landscapes. It goes beyond a 'variation' — one is, on the whole, imbued with a socialist characteristic which is markably distinct from the other. In election after election, for some decades now, Scotland has continually illustrated this by the way we vote — and lost in the process, every time. It all goes beyond a few petty differences; it's a different political landscape. When a nation state with such a distinct political, cultural and social identity as Scotland has shown, as it has done, such a resistance to Westminster politics over many decades now and almost half of its populace (who actually voted) welcoming a political break from the union, then there is an unavoidable democratic question which must be raised.

    I don't welcome the split (I'm a unionist), but I do think it inevitable and see some good reason for it democratically speaking.
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    (Original post by dkj50496)
    As for your first point about parties dropping in and out of popularity, that is one thing and wholesale annihilation is another. I'm not taking about Labour's electoral success in the UK as a whole, my point made quite clear that I mean in the context of Scotland. What you're talking about is popularity — the Scottish example goes far beyond that. Labour has made a gradual decline from dominating the political landscape to almost total wipeout (bar merely one prosperous Edinburgh constituency populated by the same type of people who lead the party). As a fellow Scots Tory, I can't see them ever making a significant comeback in Scottish politics; at least not before a monumental transformation in the party which isn't exactly imminent.
    The UK situation is instructional. We've only had devolved politics in Scotland for 17 years: there are few examples of parties rising and falling to draw on.

    Even in a completely rubbish state of affairs, Labour have managed to get comfortably over 20% in each of the last two major elections in Scotland. For comparison, in 2010 the SNP polled under 20% in a UK election.

    In 2007, they beat Labour with fewer votes (around the mid-600,000s) than Labour got in 2015 in Scotland. The SNP had come from polling in the low 20s in 2003 into government in 2007.

    Labour's electoral position is better now than the SNP's was just one term before forming the Scottish Government. They've not really been annihilated, as much as it may seem tempting to see it that way under an FPTP system.

    I think Labour will make a monumental transformation under a better (UK) leader. There's still a considerable appetite for a competent, moderate centre-left pro-union party in Scotland.
    *
    *
    As for your second point, I think you underestimate the disparity between Scotland and England's political landscapes. It goes beyond a 'variation' — one is, on the whole, imbued with a socialist characteristic which is markably distinct from the other. In election after election, for some decades now, Scotland has continually illustrated this by the way we vote — and lost in the process, every time. It all goes beyond a few petty differences; it's a different political landscape. When a nation state with such a distinct political, cultural and social identity as Scotland has shown, as it has done, such a resistance to Westminster politics over many decades now and almost half of its populace (who actually voted) welcoming a political break from the union, then there is an unavoidable democratic question which must be raised.

    I don't welcome the split (I'm a unionist), but I do think it inevitable and see some good reason for it democratically speaking.
    Well, I could merrily prattle on for a long time with my own view that Scotland has never been a remotely Socialist country and demonstrated that consistently in the overwhelming majority of elections since the war, but that's probably going a bit beyond the scope of the discussion.

    *You've yet to really demonstrate to me politically why Scotland is any different from a "red state" or a "blue state" in America, or from Orkney and Shetland, or whatever. In every country, political parties have their heartlands and their hard-to-reach areas. There's not really a huge difference in meaning between variation and distinctiveness: in both cases, there can be wide, clear and sustained differences.

    I do not underestimate these differences in voting behaviour: I've seen the data. I'm also drawn to believe there are close commonalities (Labour's successes and declined being mirrored in both Scotland and England albeit to different scales, very similar social attitudes across a huge range of policy areas etc). That's not really what I'm getting at here though - this distinctiveness, no matter how broad, is normal. *
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    (Original post by L i b)
    The UK situation is instructional. We've only had devolved politics in Scotland for 17 years: there are few examples of parties rising and falling to draw on.

    Even in a completely rubbish state of affairs, Labour have managed to get comfortably over 20% in each of the last two major elections in Scotland. For comparison, in 2010 the SNP polled under 20% in a UK election.

    In 2007, they beat Labour with fewer votes (around the mid-600,000s) than Labour got in 2015 in Scotland. The SNP had come from polling in the low 20s in 2003 into government in 2007.

    Labour's electoral position is better now than the SNP's was just one term before forming the Scottish Government. They've not really been annihilated, as much as it may seem tempting to see it that way under an FPTP system.*
    *
    I think Labour will make a monumental transformation under a better (UK) leader. There's still a considerable appetite for a competent, moderate centre-left pro-union party in Scotland.*
    *
    Well, I could merrily prattle on for a long time with my own view that Scotland has never been a remotely Socialist country and demonstrated that consistently in the overwhelming majority of elections since the war, but that's probably going a bit beyond the scope of the discussion.

    *You've yet to really demonstrate to me politically why Scotland is any different from a "red state" or a "blue state" in America, or from Orkney and Shetland, or whatever. In every country, political parties have their heartlands and their hard-to-reach areas. There's not really a huge difference in meaning between variation and distinctiveness: in both cases, there can be wide, clear and sustained differences.*
    Fair point about Labour. They may not be dead but they're definitely on a life support machine fed by, I think at least in a large part, 'blind' voters at the moment. Though perhaps under a new leader this will change and I have no doubt that there is indeed an appetite for such a party as you suggested,

    I didn't say Scotland's a Socialist country but that is has a Socialist characteristic; in order words has qualities sympathetic with socialism — more so than England. I'd think this to be somewhat uncontroversial, so would be interested to hear why you disagree.

    Allow me to explain. As I mentioned in my previous comment, Scotland has a distinct political, social and cultural legacy from England. Unlike, say, a 'red state or blue state', Scotland had been its own country for some time before the union — and there's been sustained attempts to make it once so again ever since. As for your Orkney and Shetland example, I see exactly where you're trying to go with that. Of course, there must be geographical limits to just how far self-governance can extend (or how little for that matter), but Scotland seems a perfectly satisfactory boundary for the shared culture I alluded to before.

    Despite the disparity in political alliance in American, there isn't almost half (perhaps even more now) of the population articulating this difference and demanding something be done about it. That changes things. Again, I'm definitely not in favour of independence, but I can see good democratic cause for it.
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    (Original post by dkj50496)
    As for your first point about parties dropping in and out of popularity, that is one thing and wholesale annihilation is another. I'm not taking about Labour's electoral success in the UK as a whole, my point made quite clear that I mean in the context of Scotland. What you're talking about is popularity — the Scottish example goes far beyond that. Labour has made a gradual decline from dominating the political landscape to almost total wipeout (bar merely one prosperous Edinburgh constituency populated by the same type of people who lead the party). As a fellow Scots Tory, I can't see them ever making a significant comeback in Scottish politics; at least not before a monumental transformation in the party which isn't exactly imminent.

    As for your second point, I think you underestimate the disparity between Scotland and England's political landscapes. It goes beyond a 'variation' — one is, on the whole, imbued with a socialist characteristic which is markably distinct from the other. In election after election, for some decades now, Scotland has continually illustrated this by the way we vote — and lost in the process, every time. It all goes beyond a few petty differences; it's a different political landscape. When a nation state with such a distinct political, cultural and social identity as Scotland has shown, as it has done, such a resistance to Westminster politics over many decades now and almost half of its populace (who actually voted) welcoming a political break from the union, then there is an unavoidable democratic question which must be raised.

    I don't welcome the split (I'm a unionist), but I do think it inevitable and see some good reason for it democratically speaking.
    Scotland's vote is definitely up for grabs over the next few parliaments.

    What many fail to realise is the referendum deal after no to independence the government gave them extra powers.

    Many see that strengthening the SNP I see it as the opposite.

    It's easy to moan about everything and what you would do if you have the chance.

    Problem for them now is they do have the chance and the SNP don't have a great record. You want more public spending? Ok give me more tax etc.

    The SNP will never be as powerful as they are right now in the future.

    Who those votes go to God only knows but I'd expect quite a lot of them to go to a left wing Labour Party if corbyns successors in the coming decade or so are in the same mould as he is


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    (Original post by dkj50496)
    I didn't say Scotland's a Socialist country but that is has a Socialist characteristic; in order words has qualities sympathetic with socialism — more so than England. I'd think this to be somewhat uncontroversial, so would be interested to hear why you disagree.
    It's been a fairly well recognised part of political discourse up here for quite a while. In 2011, the Nuffield Foundation sponsored some fairly good research concluding the differences were "modest at best" between England and Scotland, and pointing out that both have become "less - not more - social democratic since the start of devolution".

    Since then it's been fairly extensively considered by left-wing groups (eg here and here). The findings have been backed up by other polling - for example, the ultranationalist Wings Over Scotland website set about to prove quite the opposite with some polling in England and Scotland, however found that the differences were actually very slight, concluding "the perception that the difference is greater than it really is arises, we suspect, because social democracy is still a part of Scottish political debate in a way it isn’t in the rest of the UK."

    In short, social attitudes are similar, but perhaps there is a level of greater comfort with a bit of old-fashioned hypocrisy up in Scotland. The people tend to like governments to act right but talk left, perhaps assuaging their consciences as they vote against increasing tax.*

    Labour have recently tested this idea to breaking point. The SNP also learned the hard way under John Swinney that even modest tax increases did not make a party electable in Scotland.*
    *
    Allow me to explain. As I mentioned in my previous comment, Scotland has a distinct political, social and cultural legacy from England. Unlike, say, a 'red state or blue state', Scotland had been its own country for some time before the union — and there's been sustained attempts to make it once so again ever since. As for your Orkney and Shetland example, I see exactly where you're trying to go with that. Of course, there must be geographical limits to just how far self-governance can extend (or how little for that matter), but Scotland seems a perfectly satisfactory boundary for the shared culture I alluded to before.

    Despite the disparity in political alliance in American, there isn't almost half (perhaps even more now) of the population articulating this difference and demanding something be done about it. That changes things. Again, I'm definitely not in favour of independence, but I can see good democratic cause for it.
    The problem with this as I see it is that you've strayed from politics to culture. I don't really "do" culture, but I often think that behind the window-dressing of kilts and Burns nights the UK is actually fairly culturally homogeneous. It's also increasingly so - my parents were born just after the Second World War and since then local Scottish newspapers have become supplanted by UK titles in popularity, BBC television has been a considerable force for cultural convergence and unique Scottish traditions are withering - hell, in their day celebrating Christmas in any usual sense was still something of a novelty given the Presbyterian distaste for it.*

    What you've done there though is stray beyond political differences into nationalism: to assert that Scotland is a special case, because of its history, culture or whatever else. The problem with claiming that is democratic is that it is quite the opposite: democracy is no respecter of culture, race, ethnicity or identity - it's one person, one vote within a set political boundary.*

    It's my main problem with nationalism. Any level of hypocrisy is eventually justified with "because Scotland's a country". Virtually everything that they say requires an acceptance of that core credo. I've always though the concept of nations is inherently gibberish: peoples cultural influences and identities are more complex than a line on a map, or an absolute assertion of where loyalties should lie. *
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    (Original post by paul514)
    What many fail to realise is the referendum deal after no to independence the government gave them extra powers.

    Many see that strengthening the SNP I see it as the opposite.

    It's easy to moan about everything and what you would do if you have the chance.
    It's quite impressive how the SNP have essentially talked down the 2016 Scotland Act as modest, when it is hugely transformative. The Scottish Government now have enormous control over the shape of the welfare system, including the ability to top-up reserved benefits. They have fairly broad powers of taxation.

    Yet very little is being done: every proposal the SNP have come out with on either has been modest. It seems that the parties in Scotland don't particularly want to do things all that much differently from the UK Parliament.

    It suits certain parties to present the SNP has some sort of devious but irresistible juggernaut with constant momentum behind it and a particularly special link to the people, but it's a lot of rubbish covering up for their own inadequacies. Labour especially were lucky to get their 2010 general election result in Scotland and failed to realise that they were all very much on probation. They failed by through poor leadership, a confused and unappealing policy platform and presenting lazy and sub-par candidates. These things can be fixed, but it takes a level of self-awareness that I think is sorely lacking.*
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    (Original post by JamesN88)
    It's an interesting perspective.

    My Dad lives in Glasgow(been there 15 years with zero chance of ever moving back south), he's English and is 100% for Independence. He ended up resigning his Labour Membership and joining the SNP.
    I am English and lived in Fife for 8 years and could never countenance supporting a party that plays on generalisations and stereotypes of my home turf. Each to their own.


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    (Original post by L i b)
    It's been a fairly well recognised part of political discourse up here for quite a while. In 2011, the Nuffield Foundation sponsored some fairly good research concluding the differences were "modest at best" between England and Scotland, and pointing out that both have become "less - not more - social democratic since the start of devolution".

    Since then it's been fairly extensively considered by left-wing groups (eg here and here). The findings have been backed up by other polling - for example, the ultranationalist Wings Over Scotland website set about to prove quite the opposite with some polling in England and Scotland, however found that the differences were actually very slight, concluding "the perception that the difference is greater than it really is arises, we suspect, because social democracy is still a part of Scottish political debate in a way it isn’t in the rest of the UK."

    In short, social attitudes are similar, but perhaps there is a level of greater comfort with a bit of old-fashioned hypocrisy up in Scotland. The people tend to like governments to act right but talk left, perhaps assuaging their consciences as they vote against increasing tax.*

    Labour have recently tested this idea to breaking point. The SNP also learned the hard way under John Swinney that even modest tax increases did not make a party electable in Scotland.*
    *


    The problem with this as I see it is that you've strayed from politics to culture. I don't really "do" culture, but I often think that behind the window-dressing of kilts and Burns nights the UK is actually fairly culturally homogeneous. It's also increasingly so - my parents were born just after the Second World War and since then local Scottish newspapers have become supplanted by UK titles in popularity, BBC television has been a considerable force for cultural convergence and unique Scottish traditions are withering - hell, in their day celebrating Christmas in any usual sense was still something of a novelty given the Presbyterian distaste for it.*

    What you've done there though is stray beyond political differences into nationalism: to assert that Scotland is a special case, because of its history, culture or whatever else. The problem with claiming that is democratic is that it is quite the opposite: democracy is no respecter of culture, race, ethnicity or identity - it's one person, one vote within a set political boundary.*

    It's my main problem with nationalism. Any level of hypocrisy is eventually justified with "because Scotland's a country". Virtually everything that they say requires an acceptance of that core credo. I've always though the concept of nations is inherently gibberish: peoples cultural influences and identities are more complex than a line on a map, or an absolute assertion of where loyalties should lie. *
    Just came after reading this post, right on the money.


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