Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Crime and Punishment

"Club 12" eh? Who foresaw their meteoric rise from obscurity to the Elysian fields of the SPL? And w(h)ither Rangers?

There is much doom and gloom and talk of lose-lose decisions for the remaining SPL bigwigs as they wrestle with this thorniest of dilemmas. On the one hand Rangers need to be punished for their misdemeanours, relegation to the lowest tier of the SFL seeming to be acceptable to the fans of other clubs. On the other hand that will hit the remaining SPL clubs hard in the pocket, through the loss of cash from visiting Rangers fans and potentially reduced TV money. On that front the rumours seem to be that SKY/ESPN will countenance a single season without Rangers in the SPL, but not longer than that.

Amongst all this uncertainty the SFA, we are led to believe, are going to take action! Yes, that was "SFA" and "action" in the same sentence. It takes some getting used to. Attempts are being made to streamline the game in line with Henry McLeish's report, i.e. merge SPL and SFL, keep the SPL as is and re-brand the First Division as SPL2 with Rangers parachuting into it, introduce a proper pyramid structure to properly reward ambitious and well-run clubs, etc. Ambitious stuff, though not without problems - e.g. do Dundee (2nd in First Division) or Dunfermline (relegated from SPL) take Rangers place? (play-off maybe?) Will fans of other clubs accept Rangers only dropping into the First Division, and if not will they then make good on their promises of walking away from the game?

I wonder if the SFA aren't missing a trick. There is an opportunity here to kill all the birds with one stone. Below I've outlined my blueprint for Scottish football. Like all the best ideas it was hastily cobbled together in the space of a few minutes ;o) The benefits as I see them are:
  • we get a decent SPL of 16 teams, i.e. 30 matches a season, no Mickey Mouse split needed 3/4 of the way through.
  • with "only" 30 games there's enough room for a winter break.
  • Rangers are punished by demotion to the lowest level of the league, which happily for SKY/ESPN is now only one level below the top.
  • teams in SPL and SPL2 are roughly split according to the "size" of the club - a nebulous concept admittedly, but I'm using average home attendance as a reasonable proxy for this. Rangers aside, we only end up with the small anomaly of SPL2's Partick Thistle being "bigger" than a handful of SPL teams - but then the odd anomaly is no bad thing in sport.
  • 2 teams go up/down between SPL and SPL2 each season. Play-offs between 2nd bottom SPL team and teams 2-4 from SPL2 (same as current SFL play-offs).
Previously the SPL owners have rejected a 16 team set up as not generating enough income. But they seem to think they can handle the relegation of Rangers (and potentially a significant loss of TV money), so I'm sure they could adapt to a 16 team league.

I know some people feel that a 16 team league will lead to "meaningless" games, so I would definitely link performance (i.e. league points) to the sharing out of at least some of the TV money. A win in a "meaningless" game might then be the difference between affording a new player next season or not.

In addition I'd have a similar system to that used in Germany, whereby teams have to renew a license each year in order to operate within the league. Keeping a license could involve submitting properly audited accounts, having youth coaching schemes inspected and approved, maintaining suitable training facilities, etc. Once the exact criteria are decided clubs should be given 5 years to meet the standards. I would also have the SFA ring fence some of the TV money for meeting these standards - no more splurging the cash on some guy that played twice for Honduras U21s a few years ago.

That's enough blether now. Below is the starting point for SPL and SPL2. Comments welcome as ever!


NB Teams ordered by final 2011-12 league position (with one obvious exception!) average attendances for 2011-12 in brackets.

Celtic - 50,904
Motherwell - 5,946
Dundee United - 7,481
Heart of Midlothian - 13,381
St. Johnstone - 4,169
Kilmarnock - 5,537
St. Mirren - 4,492
Aberdeen - 9,296
Inverness Caledonian Thistle - 4,023
Hibernian - 9,909
Dunfermline Athletic - 4,799
Ross County - 2,874
Dundee - 6,879*
Falkirk - 5,386*
Hamilton Academical - 2,897*
Livingston - 4,938*

* attendances taken from last season in which the team played in the SPL

Partick Thistle - 4,710
Raith Rovers - 1,933
Greenock Morton - 1,814
Ayr United - 1,655
Queen of the South - 1,551
Cowdenbeath - 366
Arbroath - 793
Dumbarton - 632
Airdrie United - 810
Stenhousemuir - 603
East Fife - 598
Forfar - 507
Brechin - 521
Albion Rovers - 484
Stirling Albion - 557
I can't believe it's not Rangers - 46,324

(NB avg. attendances for teams in SFL2 in 2011-12 were taken from here - last updated on March 27th 2012 so incomplete)

Below this I would go for something like North and South regional leagues, to include the remaining current SFL teams plus Highland/Junior/East of Scotland/etc/etc teams as required/desired. Let's face it, in footballing terms Montrose won't miss too much if they exclusively play against teams in the north east/highlands instead of the likes of Clyde, Stranraer or Berwick Rangers. And vice versa of course. Keeping this level of the game regional will save travel costs for teams and fans and encourage local rivalries. At the end of the season I would have the top 2 teams in each region play-off against each other for 2 promotion places, i.e. North Team 1 v South Team 2 and North Team 2 v South Team 1. Of course you could do things a bit differently, maybe beef up the existing Highland/Junior/East of Scotland leagues and arrange promotion between the respective winners using a different format.

Regional Leagues
Alloa Athletic - 672
Queen's Park - 519
Stranraer - 354
Elgin City - 628
Peterhead - 488
Annan Athletic - 473
Berwick Rangers - 396
Montrose - 335
Clyde - 566
East Stirlingshire - 321
Highland/Junior/East of Scotland/etc. teams

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Preaching to the unconverted

The thick haar around Brigadoon has prevented me from posting of late, but through the occasional gaps in the mist my faithful carrier pigeon, Coocoo, does manage to steal out with the odd message. One such comment seemed to find favour with, of all things, a Unionist yesterday, over at the hallowed turf of Cobblers with Cochrane. Who knows, maybe I'm onto something with the approach below? Although it didn't quite seem to convert that wayward soul, perhaps it might be an angle to try on any Unionist, erm, acquaintances that you have...?

Effie Deans:
The SNP has always been a single issue party. People join and campaign, not because they are opposed to Nato or the royal family, but because they want independence and can't bear being part of the UK. The reason for this is largely emotional. A true nationalist would want independence even if it meant Scotland would be poorer. It is for this reason that the SNP and its supporters are willing to do anything and to give up anything to achieve secession. This is necessary in order to try to persuade the two thirds us Scots who do not have their emotional needs. It is for this reason that the nationalist response to criticism and reasoned argument tends to be anger and hysteria. No doubt this time also.


Hi Effie, with respect I think your perception of nationalists/SNP members is maybe 20 or 30 years out of date. This group is a broad church, and a lot of them (but by no means all!) now have a much more rational reason for supporting independence. Namely, that successive UK governments of all flavours have shown themselves incapable of transforming Scotland's economic fortunes.

Imagine you are the UK PM/Chancellor with an election a few short years away. What do you do? Look after the economy of course. Which, with a short term view, means looking after the bit that generates most of the cash. Which of course means SE England and London. You do a good job, and these two areas get even more investment, jobs and wealth. Well done!

If you had the luxury of a longer term view you might think differently. You might remember for example, that you are supposed to be the PM/Chancellor for the whole of the UK. And that therefore, you perhaps ought to be moving to a state of affairs wherein all of the areas of the UK are economically successful. Wouldn't that be a better UK, economically as well as socially?

But sadly there are elections looming, and ignoring our love of the trappings of power for a second,
we can't let the other lot in. They would be a disaster (for the simple
reason that they are not us). No, we'd better go back to the short term view. I know, we'll set up a few special enterprise zones in "the North". That'll do.

Ignoring the silly overreaction to the front cover (which does demonstrate a kernel of truth in what you say!), the Economist article this week was interesting, basically saying that Scotland would be fine and dandy if it became independent now, but that of course the oil/gas revenues will have to be replaced over the next few decades. That is Scotland's big challenge. But it's coming whether we are independent or not. Look at the state of UK plc right now - and then subtract any oil/gas revenue...the UK safety net, such as it is, seems to be developing bigger and bigger holes as time passes.

Will we have the fiscal flexibility or political will necessary to perk up our economy if we stay in the UK? Recent history under UK governments of all flavours suggests not. Sadly Scotland is just not important enough within the UK. All of the UK parties have to (or rather choose to) consider how policies implemented in Scotland will play in England. This is doubly so if the policy is an important one that would actually make a big difference. This acts as a considerable brake on the changes that Scotland needs.

With independence however, I think that necessity will prove to be the mother of invention. Scotland will have to change to prosper. Agility and flexibility will be more and more important as the world grows more interconnected. If Scotland always has to look over its shoulder for approval from Westminster politicians, then I would argue we'll be far too sluggish to be competitive. And consider that Scotland has everything it needs to be a successful country: well educated people, respect for law and order, established institutions, diverse industries that are a good base upon which to build, natural resources, freedom of speech, etc. That's a pretty good hand - I have confidence that the people of Scotland would make a success of it.

Effie Deans:

This is as good an argument for the SNP as I have seen and this unionist enjoyed reading it.

High praise indeed, or was it damning with faint praise? Either way, even the oft-splenetic orraquine recommended Effie's parting comment.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

We're doooomed!

I really have heard it all now. For those of you who missed this in the Herald yesterday, another of our ermine-bedecked superiors, aka Lord Fraser of Carmyllie, former deputy leader of the Tory party, has retched up quite the worst argument against independence that I've ever heard. And that's saying something.

It seems that if an independent Scotland decides to scale defensive capabilities back to a few fishery protection vessels then it is "asking to be invaded", and if some evil foreign johnnies decide to invade Scotland to gain a bridgehead for invading England (but of course, we wouldn't be important enough ourselves!), then under these circumstances England would have no choice but to "bomb the hell out of" Scotland's airports. So there you have it. Vote No in 2014 or else.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Other Barnett Formula

Yet more sad news, this time from those jackanapes in Australia that thought they could survive without Westminster's munificence. The poor deluded fools have apparently taken to digging rocks out of the ground, smashing them up a bit and then selling the resulting detritus. Of course without the expert oversight of a mandarin from Whitehall the cretins haven't realised that this so-called "ore" that they are totally, utterly and completely 100% dependent on, that they have based their entire economy and way of life on, that underpins their very belief system and is worshipped as a god in satanic rituals, is a...diminishing resource.

And incredibly they seem unperturbed by the price of said ore varying over time in a most volatile fashion! Despite all of this foreboding, some jumped up satrap has got it into his head that their mining industry might be a good thing, and might even be something that could benefit his enfeebled underlings for generations to come!! The BBC reports it thus in a typically craven, left-wing style:

Satrap Barnett, giving what may be a fascist salute to his ululating hordes from
the command centre of his mobile Scud launcher. Honestly, he's just as bad as 
Mugabe/Hitler/Mussolini/Stalin/Kim Jong Il/Franco/Ceausescu/Judas Iscariot/...
(delete as (in)appropriate, you may choose more than one answer)

The government of Western Australia has said it is planning to launch its own sovereign wealth fund in a bid to invest earnings from its mining boom.

The state, which has large deposits of minerals such as iron ore, has seen mining revenues rise in recent years.

The surge has been driven by increased demand from China and other emerging economies in Asia.

State Premier Colin Barnett said it was necessary to ensure the resources-led boom led to long-term benefits.

"The Liberal-National government is committed to ensuring future generations of West Australians have a legacy from this historic period of development, built predominantly on the significant but finite resources available to us at present," the premier said.

Mr Barnett said the details of the fund will be announced during the state's budget, which is scheduled to be presented in May.

Australia's government has its own sovereign wealth fund called the Future Fund.

Why oh why did we let them have separation?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Oily spam

An interesting article on North Sea oil in the Economist this week, although they did not consider the fairly hefty elephant in the room, i.e. the prospect of Scottish independence. The final paragraph in particular is worth repeating, neatly encapsulating why Scotland, contrary to the bizarre Unionist mantra, should not be cursing the gods for lumbering us with a "volatile, diminishing resource"...

[The UK] relies on its offshore reserves for 55% of its energy. Oil and gas account for 2.4% of GDP (finance is 10%, manufacturing 11%). In 2010 it invested more than any other industrial sector and paid a fifth of Britain’s corporation taxes. Meanwhile a thriving supply chain of British technical firms export their services around the world—a business that should continue long after the last drop of oil dribbles ashore.

But enough of oil. There seems to be a lot of spam appearing in blog comments at the moment. It might be time to move comments over to Disqus, as they apparently offer much better options for dealing with spam...(non-spam) comments are welcome on this subject.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012


The grim reaper is sharpening his scythe as stormclouds gather over Ibrox. How ironic that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs might deal the final blow to her most loyal of subjects. Celtic seem unmoved by the plight of their nemesis, cheerily proclaiming that their business strategy does not depend on their bedraggled foes. I wonder what odds you can get just now on Celtic getting 10-in-a-row?

The best idea for everyone might just be to draw the curtain on Scottish football v1. The result after 130 years? Well, Rangers won more titles, but then again Celtic won more Scottish Cups and also a European Cup, and made it through to the end with their finances in decent order. So a draw. Well played everyone.

All that remains is to set up new teams for the Scottish Phoenix League, coming to a stadium near you in Spring - Autumn 2013. What an opportunity to re-shape Scottish football (into a sphere presumably), sweeping away the vested interests that hold it back, removing at a stroke the tribal tensions that blight our game.

For starters we could have a couple of new teams in Glasgow. Maybe one team could be for people that keep their place in books by folding over the corners of pages, the other for sensible, godly folk that use bookmarks? On second thoughts imagine the bile and hatred that this would unleash!

And we could have a single team for Edinburgh, maybe with a nickname that unites everyone in Auld Reekie...the Edinburgh Trams? Naw. The Edinburgh Goodwins? Optimistic sounding, who could possibly object to that name...?

Ditto for Dundee. I can just see the Dundee McGonagalls playing in a shiny new stadium down by the Tay, sporting a swanky new jute kit designed by the bods at the V&A, with player names and numbers made up of Topaz gemstones (they would at least justify the ridiculous price of the replica kits).

A single team for Aberdeen seems fine. Maybe a bit of re-branding could bring in a new audience? The Aberdeen Trumps, aiming for golf-football crossover appeal? Maybe not. The Aberdeen Turbines, going for the lucrative untapped eco-warrior audience? Hmmm...maybe the Aberdeen Bypasses? Since success regularly passes them by perhaps that would be right.

So there we have it, the blueprint for a successful SPL v2. Five realistic contenders for the title each year, with room for a challenge from one of the regional teams once in a while. Who needs Henry McLeish's review, or Ernie Walker's think tank?

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Join THE Party

And so it begins in earnest. The age old tactics, so tried and tested, scourge of many of those colonial Johnnies, are now being turned on Scotland. Yes, it's that perennial favourite, divide and rule!

The so called Earl of Caithness, Chief of Clan Sinclair, Malcolm Ian Sinclair, has added some amendments to the Scotland bill. These are to the effect that Orkney and Shetland should be removed from Scotland in the event that they reject independence while the rest of Scotland votes in favour, and that Rockall should be retained by the rump UK despite being part of the Isle of Harris and therefore under administrative control of Na h-Eileanan Siar.

It's difficult to know quite how to react to this latest unionist skulduggery. Part of me starts fantasising about Madame Guillotine, part of me rages against a Tory peer wielding this sort of influence, part of me wants to laugh at the desperation inherent in this f**kwit's proposals. I guess in the absence of a treasonous cat's paw as First Minister they can't simply redraw the maritime boundaries again to annex all of the above into English waters.

What is abundantly clear is that the Earl only cares about islands that have, or might have, oil nearby. He seems not to care about the democratic wishes of, say the people of the Hebrides, surely also a part of Scotland with significant cultural and historical differences to much of the mainland. He doesn't even single his own Earldom, Caithness, out for his special treatment, despite it also being under Norse control for a time.

In any case, I can't really imagine that the Machiavellian manoeuvrings of a Tory lord will do anything other than turn people firmly against the British state. If this is British fair play and the way the British establishment deals with my country then count me out. I always swore I would never join a political party, but Earl Caithness, congratulations! Your devilish scheming is the final straw after the last few weeks (or rather decades) of unionist lies, outlandish scare stories and disgusting denigration of Scotland and its people. You have created an enemy today, and he's off to join the SNP. I urge everyone else to do the same.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Harrbrian tells it how it is

There's actually a fair and balanced article on Scottish independence in the Telegraph today. No not penned by Alan Cochrane, but by Tom Hunter: The Scottish independence debate needs pragmatism not Braveheart (sadly the headline writers and indeed the picture editor just had to get Mel Gibson in there somehow).

But better than the article itself is a superb comment from Harrbrian which I've shamelessly copied below (Harrbrian, I've assumed your consent but I'm happy to remove this post if you prefer). It's a brilliant summary of the problems afflicting the UK. Enjoy...or rather don't enjoy, and then resolve to change this unholy mess that the UK is in...

"What the Union requires is a fact-based debate that centres around the positives – of Scotland staying put, moving out or indeed accomplishing Devo-Max." At last a grown up comment in this newspaper.

The issue for Scotland is the same for all the regions of the United Kingdom - Westminster's overwhelming grip on revenue and political power, but in Scotland's case history and sentiment may provide the energy for change. For comparison: local councils in the UK are allowed to raise only 25% of their own revenue (which is why they ramp up parking fees), the Scotland bill will allow Holyrood to raise up to 35% (while taking away some powers), meanwhile local municipalities in Denmark, nearly 100 of them in a pop'n of 5.5M, raise 60% of their own revenue, and in Sweden it is 70%.

The politicians talk about sentiment and principle but this is about power. Westminster will not hand over powers voluntarily (nobody ever does - Blair was pushed into devolution by the EU), hence the refusal to consider the undefined but popular option of Devomax. The SNP obviously want more power in Edinburgh.

The catch that Westminster cannot see is that it is precisely its monopoly of power that makes Westminster so dysfunctional. Unlike in the other European democracies, we have no other centre of power, except perhaps Holyrood, which has less revenue raising ability than a Danish municipality. In England Westminster interferes with bin collection and how often nurses make their rounds, for god's sake. Lack of local responsibility turns citizens into fractious whingeing children, (read this comments column). You cannot run a medium sized business like this let alone a complex modern country.

In whatever form it comes, Independence or Devomax - the more power that is taken from Westminster the better.

The incompetence of Westminster is clearer the further you get in any direction from London, and wider travel plus the internet have made the comparisons easier to draw. It is not just the scandals like the Iraq war, MP's expenses, News International, the power of unregulated banks, although they are shameful enough, or even the hilariously inconsequential public inquiries ("Carry on, Westminster"): it also shows in the numbers.

Google almost any economic measure - GPD per capita, percentage industrialisation, balance of payments history, balanced budgets, external debt levels - and all the North European countries, (except France and Finland on some measures), outperform the UK. The UK's long term economic failure versus its Northern European competitors is being achieved despite reduced union bargaining power, significant privatisation, and it being made easier to sack staff than in any of them, and also despite repeated devaluations (a factor of 5 compared with German currencies of the last 40 years). The UK has had North Sea oil and still achieved a permanent trade deficit: genius.

For most social indicators - life expectancy, obesity, cocaine usage, teenage pregnancy, % GDP spent on Health, % of the population in prison, etc - the UK is nearly always the worst, and the more time you spend in Northern Europe the more you sense this. The internet also reveals that the same is true for less obvious indicators - social mobility, Gini index, percentage of women in positions of power, pay differentials, pension regulation, percentage of youth in training, liveable cities,
renewable energy capacity, etc.

With its secretive ways (look up the McCrone report if you live in Scotland), and massive centralisation of power, Westminster is failing the individual populations of England, Scotland and Wales. The McCrone report also contains some interesting remarks about the inevitable failure of regional policies.

But despite the crowded trains, the cracked pavements and pot holed streets that catch your eye when you return here, Westminster will not make the comparisons: it thinks in terms of its own importance, total GDP -" we're 6th in the world", rather than that of its citizens, GDP per capita - "we're poorer than everyone in Northern Europe". It is not just Westminster that is dysfunctional, but so is the underpinning "Great British" culture of its political and chattering classes, a culture that is encapsulated in its veneration of the polar explorer Scott, whose men died of starvation and who lost to Amundsen, whose men put on weight. It is not just the endless wrangling of left and right idealogues, any form of drama is more valued than a grasp of the numbers, cooperation and long term thinking. Costly and outdated assumptions are not challenged, as if Britain somehow deserves its UN security council seat, as if it can afford Trident and its military spend, and so, from Suez to Iraq, it is considered normal to indulge in murderous, self important adventures. Most disabling are the myths - Westminster being the mother of parliaments has nothing to learn from other democracies - and distorted narratives of identity - we won WW2 and have little to learn from our neighbours. The arrogance of empire without the fact.

The current British state works well for the metropolitan chattering and political classes, Westminster in short, who even if they do not believe all the myths buy themselves out from sharing the health and education services of their fellow citizens, and who, looking only to the USA, enjoy empire by association; however, for over a generation Westminster has failed to meet the test of basic competence, let alone the aspirations of the governed.

Unlike the successfully capitalist countries of Northern Europe, the UK is simply not earning its living in the world. As a result it can afford less and less of the modern goodies, like infrastructure investment, market regulation, targeted welfare and wide access to education and training: this leads to its making worse use of its only asset, its people, who become relatively less resourced, educated, numerate, healthy, less
socially mobile and less united in purpose, which in turn leads to relatively less wealth creation, which in turn leads ... etc, etc.

In Scotland the SNP are quite rightly looking to the more successful countries of Northern Europe as their model, because it would be almost impossible to be more dysfunctional than Westminster, from whom the rest of us should try to remove as much power as possible: the more the SNP succeed, the more we may all benefit.

Monday, 16 January 2012


My eternal thanks to James at Scot goes Pop! for putting a broad Monday morning smile on my face. He reports on the grave tidings that Labour's new media savant, Tom Harris MP, has continued his unique line in comic Unionism by uploading a riotous video depicting Alex Salmond as Hitler, a mere two or three years after the Downfall meme stopped being funny. Unfortunately the powers that would like to be, in the form of Labour in Scotland leader Anas Sarwar Johann Lamont, have taken a dim view of his japery. The Sun reports that Tom has sadly stepped back from his much coveted post as Labour's new media adviser. Tom has duly apologised, that is to say he has apologised for having provided an "unhelpful distraction". His regret and sorrow at his actions know no bounds, and surely only his grief at his foolishness can explain why, as of 9:30am today, the video is still available on his YouTube channel.

What can have occasioned such a misjudgement from somebody who has hitherto been an utterly unremarkable Labour MP? Only last month he was warning the Morning Star not to copy nationalist smears. And he has been a longtime and vocal critic of the evil cybernats and their online skulduggery. Following Ian Gray's valedictory Kevin Keegan-esque rant against the cybernats, and in particular his exhortation to Harris and the other Labour in Scotland leadership contenders to stand up to the "vile poison" that the cybernats have allegedly brought into Scottish politics, I guess Labour had little choice but to ask Harris to step down.

I wonder if and when Tom will re-emerge in the new media...all seems quiet on his Twitter account this morning...

UPDATE at 09:50 on Jan 17th

The video is still available on Tom Harris's YouTube channel. Indeed, adverts are now being played in front of the video. I wonder who receives payment from the placement of these adverts.

Friday, 13 January 2012

George Osborne: a UK Chancellor damaging Scotland's reputation

George Osborne is doing a marvellous job for the Yes campaign. In one breath he says uncertainty over the constitution is harming investment (no evidence provided), in the next he is saying Scotland would be worse off if independent. Aren't you creating a self-fulfilling prophesy there George, effectively creating uncertainty by telling investors that Scotland could be struggling in 3 or 4 years time? What damage will that do to investor confidence? Rather reminds of me of his French counterpart who recently, to howls of protest from the UK government, highlighted the UK's massive debt and called for it to be downgraded ahead of France. Extraordinary though his attack was, at least he was speaking about a foreign country, rather than part of his own.

Contrast Osborne's damaging remarks with Alex Salmond's recent trips trying to drum up business for Scotland in China and the Middle East. Perhaps the Chancellor needs reminding that Scotland is still part of his responsibility, right up to the point of independence. Instead Scotland (for his attack was on Scotland, not just the SNP) is already on "the other team" to Osborne. How quickly, easily and smoothly the mask of ruling the UK in the interests of the entire UK has slipped.

And suddenly rumours are swirling that rUK would stop Scotland using the Pound after independence. Quite how they would do this I'm not sure. Similarly, Scottish bank notes would no longer be accepted south of the border. I guess that's the end of any pretence of common sense from the Treasury then. All that cross-border traffic, English people hurriedly trying to get rid of their last Scottish notes before heading back south. Madness.

All of this only serves to show the truth: Sterling is the English currency, even after 300+ years of union, and as long as we behave and do what George and Dave tell us they will let us keep using it. Just like they let us keep using their embassies, their military, their membership of the EU, their treaties negotiated with other countries, etc., etc. What a fine recipe for a happy and contented Scottish population within the UK that is! Dangerous tactics in my opinion. Even if they do help them to win the referendum, it will be a victory achieved by fear and intimidation, a victory that will only serve to breed resentment north of the border. Hardly a harbinger of goodwill and peaceful co-existence in the grievously wounded Union that would follow. We still await the positive case for the Union...

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Sea change

For those who haven't yet seen it there is an interesting post from Craig Murray about the post-1999 maritime boundary between Scotland and England in the North Sea. It seems he's a man that knows a thing or two about such matters.