A visit to Scotland

With UKIP Candidate Denise Baykal, in Cowdenbeath

With UKIP Candidate Denise Baykal, in Cowdenbeath

On Friday, I went to Edinburgh to assist the local party with the Cowdenbeath MSP by-election.  We have a super candidate in Denise Baykal.  She’s a solicitor by profession, and a relative newcomer to politics, but her enthusiasm is infectious and refreshing.  Like most people in UKIP, she says what she thinks, and her sincerity shines through.

Inevitably the question of the Scottish Independence Referendum came up — it’s perhaps the most important domestic question in UK politics for 2014.  What’s our position?  The clue is in the name.  We’re the United Kingdom Independence Party.  Despite the much-discussed economic and political benefits to the Remainder of the UK (May I call it RUK?  The acronym works much better than “Former United Kingdom”), I believe that we should all of us be much diminished by a UK break-up — north and south of the Tweed.

Some bright spark will ask “In that case, and by analogy, won’t we be diminished by leaving the EU?”.  But the answer to that question is so blindingly obvious that I shan’t waste your time or insult your intelligence by setting it out.

But we’re also the United KingdomIndependence Party.  Our founding objective, our lodestar, the principle that imbues our policies, is that we want the UK to be an independent, democratic, self-governing nation.  Yes, of course we want trade and cooperation with our neighbours (and with all nations of goodwill).  But we don’t want to be governed by anti-democratic, technocratic foreign institutions.

And here we get to the heart of the deceit practised upon the Scottish people by Alex Salmond.  (I have a sneaking admiration for Alex Salmond.  He’s a bit of a Jack-the-Lad, and he’s a superb political operator — as is Nigel Farage.  The difference is that Nigel is right, and Salmond is wrong).  Salmond offers Scotland “Independence in Europe”.  In the phrase that Galsworthy loved to use, that is “An Irish Bull”.  (In this case, it’s Scottish Bull too).  It’s a contradiction in terms.  It’s an oxymoron.

As Salmond knows (or ought to know), the great bulk of our new laws are now made in Brussels, in institutions where we have no control and little influence.  What sort of independence does that give Scotland?  And if the UK has little enough influence over the Brussels institutions, how much less would an “Independent” Scotland have?  It’s a constant complaint of smaller EU member-states that the power is exerted by Germany and France, and they scarcely get a look-in.  Scotland would have no more influence than Slovenia.  Or the Baltics.  With a population less than half that of Greece, it would have less influence than Athens.  What’s half of zero?

But on the other hand, in Gordon Brown’s Cowdenbeath constituency, it’s easy to make the case that Scotland as part of the UK has huge influence in Westminster (if not always for the good).

Salmond’s promises are unravelling fast.  He’ll keep the Queen as Head of State.  But has he asked her?  I suspect that her Majesty might accept, but it’s a bit presumptuous of Salmond to assume so.  He’ll keep the Pound. (Cue pantomime chorus: “Oh No He Won’t!”).  Even if HMG, the Treasury and the Bank of England agree to an independent Scotland using the Pound, they certainly won’t want to be lender of last resort (not after RBS).  And they’ll decide monetary policy and interest rates in the interests of RUK, not Scotland.  Again, Scotland will be in a position vis-à-vis London like that of Greece vis-à-vis Frankfurt.  Ouch.  Wait for the Troika.

He promises 100% renewable energy generation — a technical impossibility.  But if Brussels’ 20% renewables target is rapidly becoming unsustainable (as it is), how will Scotland cope with 100%?  He will drive energy prices and fuel poverty to excruciating levels, undermine competitiveness and security of supply, and decimate what’s left of Scottish industry.

He wants to finance an independent Scotland, and replace the Barnet Formula, with North Sea Oil revenues (curious, given his commitment to 100% renewables).  But output is in decline.  The ownership position of North Sea Oil in the context of an independent Scotland is a can of worms, and will keep lawyers busy for years.  Meantime the Orkneys and Shetlands are “considering their position”, and might prefer to stay with the RUK.  Or they could go for full independence.  In either case, they could take with them a huge slice of North Sea resources — and blow a big hole in the SNP’s economic plans.

Even Salmond’s plan to retain free tertiary education for Scots is under fire.  He says he can do it, although it appears to breach EU rules, and the Scottish government has commissioned legal advice.  Yet it is desperately refusing to publish that advice.  No prizes for guessing why.

Then again he says that Scotland will simply sashay seamlessly into membership of the EU on grandfather terms.  He’s plain wrong.  It’s absolutely clear that the RUK would be recognised by Brussels as the successor member-state to the UK.  Scotland would have to apply as a new member.  And while Brussels would probably be amenable, Spain has a veto and is vehemently opposed, not wanting to create any precedent for its own secession issue in Catalonia.  In any case there would have to be some negotiations, for example to settle Scotland’s budget contributions, EU subsidies, representation in the parliament and so on.  Probably a condition of any such negotiation would be an obligation to join the €uro, as it is for other applicant states.  This would blow a hole in Salmond’s “Keep the Pound” pledge.

These are some good reasons not to vote SNP.  But why should the good people of Cowdenbeath vote UKIP?  We can’t expect to win, can we?  Realistically, no, we probably won’t win.  But in Scotland we are where we were in England five years ago — and look at us now!  If everyone said “We won’t stand because we don’t believe we can win”, there’d never be a new political party.  And remember that we started in Scotland seven years after England.  We’re on the same upward curve across the UK, and we’re offering the people of Scotland a genuine alternative.

We’re offering real independence, within an independent UK — not Alex Salmond’s ersatz version of “Independence under the Brussels thumb”. That’s why we call UKIP “The Real Independence Party” (see photo above). We’re offering lower energy prices and a reduction in fuel poverty, and indeed more jobs, by dropping the SNP’s daft renewables objectives — and we wouldn’t be covering some of Scotland’s finest landscapes with unsightly wind turbines.  We’re offering a tax threshold set at the minimum wage, to help the low-paid and make work more attractive.

Parts of Cowdenbeath are (let’s face it) economically depressed.  It needs jobs and investment.  Yet it sits in Central Scotland on what the British Geological Survey says is a shale gas basin.  There’s a long history of coal mining in the area (and UKIP is pro-coal, and gas, and nuclear).  But shale gas is “the new coal”.  It can bring jobs and prosperity as coal used to do, but it’s much safer and cleaner and less visually intrusive.

On all these issues, UKIP is offering common-sense solutions that seem to have escaped the old parties.  Go for it, Denise.  You’ve got all the good arguments on your side.

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14 Responses to A visit to Scotland

  1. A Justice says:

    A lot of people moved to UKIp becuase farage excepts regardless of the Scots vote that devolution
    Discriminates against the English nation and people,and farage ecepts england must have Her own devolution settlement ( English parliament ) if scotlamd votes yes then England by default becomes a independant nation.for to long labour has ran England even though they have never
    Recieved the majority of english votes at ANY election

  2. “If everyone said “We won’t stand because we don’t believe we can win”, there’d never be a new political party”… The only time I have truly agreed with you Roger, There is a new political force as well you know, The English Democrats are fast placing you in the shade and simply because The English Democrats put England First, The English are fed up with getting second best and more fed up paying for everyone else to have more than them, enough is enough Roger and the ED’s will put England back on track, You are wasting your time in Scotland as well you know, The Scottish have an excellent system, Their MSP’s can decide to have free tuition fees and as you also know can then walk into Westminster and vote that English kids have to pay £9k per annum or the disparity on prescriptions fees, or old age care or the many other issues where as always The English come second best because of the half baked devolved state that we have, All things evolve Roger and the natural evolution of this half baked devolved state is that The English have awakened, There is no place for ukip in Scotland or England for that matter as time will fast tell.

    • Hogarth says:

      Haha!

      Firstly, well done Roger – you have stated very clearly why my community in Western Scotland consider the SNP to be a farce.

      To the poster above, I think you’ll find that UKIP have in the past proposed having an English parliament as well. The idea being that MPs spend three weeks dealing with UK issues and one week dealing with national issues. Please correct me if I am mistaken…

    • The English Democrats are fast putting UKIP in the shade? Yes indeed. And acorns are overshadowing oak trees!

    • willing says:

      Having an English parliament will make no difference at all if, as we are at present, we remain under the anti democratic umbrella of the EU. The West Lothian question could and should have been finally resolved when Holyrood was built, at enormous expense to us all (not only the Scots).

      Scotland have had it pretty good as part of the UK, with higher capita spending than that in England, and political representation at both Holyrood, and Westminster.

      Given that Scotland is a part of the UK,, one has to question why Cameron has acceded to Alex Salmond’s fanatical desire to achieve Scottish independence by permitting a Scottish referendum on Salmon’s terms, and not a UK wide referendum. After all, Scottish independence would diminish the whole of the UK, therefore we should all have a voice. More than that, why has Cameron granted the Scottish referendum, while refusing a referendum for the British people on the EU, which is a bigger and even more contentious issue?

  3. DICK R says:

    Many english voters will be glad to see the back of Scotland,because immediately it gets rid of about 40 labour MPs plus ,the grievance mongers in the SNP won often vote with them in Westminster.
    Roll on independence FOR ENGLAND !

  4. I think some English voters may take that view, but I believe that on reflection most will have a broader perspective. I hate the phrase “Little Englander”, but I think maybe you’ve earned it, Nick.

    • Ukippers have fallen asleep and no they have never suggested an independent England to address why we pay for tuition fees and prescription charges when no one else does, The English are sick and tired if their country being ruined and asset stripped and The English Democrats whilst small Roger i concede are made up of loyal and committed nationalists who will put at the forefront of their manifesto The English People and England, not the EU or anyone else.

  5. A Justice says:

    Sadly the eds were found out to be frauds ence lots of working class former torys
    Like me joined ukip, but the little englanders tag is quite offensive roger ,somethung red ed cameron and there anti emhlish partys usualy ascribe to.you dont here little scotlader,ulster or welsher do you.? Nigel farage i repeat understands the gerrymanderd devolution system very well but i say again we are not the ones who subscibe to braking up the uk the scots and to a degree the weslh started this process decades ago ,just sk tam dyell,ukip can remidie this and bring foreward a new and truly federal democratic Umited Kingdom,as i said befire after the corpt Eu devolution for Rngland is the next big game changer

  6. Andrew T says:

    What’s the ukip position on Scottish devolution? Always struck me there is a vacant niche for a party in Scotland and Wales that made the case for _less_ devolution.

  7. There is NO Carbon climate forcing, only FORCED Carbon commodity markets, taxes, controls and failed mitigations. There is NO ‘sustainable’ energy as all these green meanie schemes require more energy to create than they produce [1]. There is NO ‘peak’ oil as Hydrocarbons are a natural byproduct of Earths fission reactions [2]. Be skeptical of over paid, under trained, bobble head professors with their peer/pal reviews of their false echo chamber hypothesis [3].
    We have been LIED to about everything by the ruling monarch-monopolists [4]

    [1] “Green Prince of Darkness” at Faux Science Slayer site
    [2] “Fracturing the Fossil Fuel Fable” also at FSS
    [3] “Becoming A TOTAL Earth Science Skeptic” also at FSS
    [4] “Overthrowing the Kit and Kaboodle” under History at FSS

  8. Neil Craig says:

    Thank you for coming.

    UKIP in Scotland has heretofore not had much grasp in Scotland, The Scottish political scene being a weird variety of leftist loonyism partly caused by the Scottish state getting a disproportionate amount of “aid” (rather proving the point about “aid” dependency being bad) and a BBC propaganda monopoly that makes the London output look balanced by comparison.

    However our proportional electoral system does suggest we may have a good future. Lord Marshall’s Tory polling has suggested we will get 11% of the list votes in the next Holyrood election to their 10% which would give us about 13 MSPs – possibly comparable to UKIP’s in Westminster if we make no breakthrough. In a house with no overall majority that should allow us to try some of our policies making us a testbed for the UK (the reason I support federalism is because it provides testbeds).

    • catalanbrian says:

      Er – um – “possibly comparable to UKIP’s in Westminster if we make no breakthrough”. You perhaps need reminding that UKIP has no MPs in Westminster at present (nor for that matter in Holyrood) and although a vote of 11% in Scottish elections would give UKIP some 13 MSPs I don’t think that, breakthrough or not, UKIP is likely to get 13 MPs in Westminster, let alone the 66 MPs that would be the comparable number to the hoped for 13 MSPs in Holyrood. This is just fantasy land and personally I would be very surprised to see even one UKIP MP in Westminster after the 2015 election.

  9. Neil Craig says:

    Thank you for the promptness and dedication with which you follow my thoughts Brian. I note your potential for surprise and will allow reality to deal with it.

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