Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Connecting with the “lost generation” – will take a referendum.

Reading a recent article by Gerry Hassan, where he asked how a nation can reconnect with a lost generation; the answer appeared blatantly obvious. It can’t.

Deep scrutiny of the article also explains why any Scot voting NO in the upcoming referendum is likely to be derided worldwide in the years to come for squandering an opportunity absolutely unique among the family of nations.

Reconnecting with the “Lost Generation” can’t be done when Mr. Hassan’s “nation” under discussion is the unitary state presently referred to as the United Kingdom.

It quite simply can’t be fixed because Holyrood is tied to Westminster, as Westminster is tied to Washington. The ties must be broken, and the easiest tie to sever for Scots is the Holyrood/Westminster connection.

Backtracking slightly, the first question that must be asked is this. Why is there a perceived “Lost Generation” requiring re-connection to mainstream society? In his article Mr. Hassan points to youth unemployment rising around 2004 and leading us thereafter to the present debacle of what’s described by him as a “Lost Generation”.

When the facts are examined, it is fundamentally obvious that there is no lost generation; what we have now is approaching a lost society. At least it is in England and possibly in Scotland, as austerity truly bites.

The problem didn’t happen in 2004 and accelerate since that time, the problem began in 1939. Although, no one realized it then. There were slightly more immediate pressures that year.

The Big Event in 1939 was of course the advent of World War 2, possibly the only just war of the last three centuries in which Scotland has had a part.

This was the war that brought an end to US isolationism and woke her up to the fact that there was a whole new, relatively untapped market for her industrial goods.
 

Following WW2 there was a period of social upheaval from which many good public policy issues were brought kicking and screaming into UK public life. The welfare state and the NHS being two excellent examples of governmental policies remaining with us today.

This period also brought post war austerity, as the UK had to make payments
primarily to the USA, on the massive war debts accumulated. Rationing in the UK didn’t end until almost ten years after hostilities ceased, i.e. almost a decade after it ended in the USA.

Effectively in the decades after WW2 the UK was paying substantial funds to the US which its government and companies utilized to “invest” directly back into Europe. The “Marshall Plan” was very good for US business and certainly had a part in engineering the US post war boom years.

Boom in the USA while rationing remained in the UK. That rationing officially ended on the 4th July 1954, and was indeed indicative of that “special relationship”.

By fifteen years after WW2 things were apparently improving; there had begun to be a steady and incremental upswing in living standards, coupled to better rich-poor differentials. The 1960’s were the decade that also saw the first real incursions of foreign industry into the UK, again primarily from the US in the form of corporations as vast and varied as IBM and Yale Locks.

Then in the early 1970’s, Nixon was pressured to ignore US human rights policy and negotiate free trade deals with China, accessing that vast cheap labour market and spelling doom not only for US internal manufacturing but much of UK manufacturing as well.

American companies first trickled, and then flooded into China; the high paying manufacturing jobs in the UK and the US were quite rapidly lost to the Far East even as global production and demand increased.

If we require an example we need only look to television manufacturing. Appropriately, a device invented by Scot, John Logie Baird.

The last domestic mass production of television took place in the UK in 2009, although it was by then a sole stubborn survivor of a once great industry. This was about the same time that self same industry saw its demise in the USA.

Those great manufacturing names of the past such as Baird, Echo, Fergusson, English Electric, Hayes, Invicta, Phelco, Pye and Westminster are snuggling together in history’s bin. Their workforces are gone together with their ability, and society’s ability to train and engage future productive generations.

No modern televisions are mass made in either the UK or US, both states are suffering a cataclysmic shortage of viable employment, both having pursued the same fundamental policies. This, like shipbuilding and others are not industries that died; they simply migrated because government policy encouraged them to. Both the US and UK economies are now primarily service based.

These manufacturing industries are still in existence and exceptionally vibrant in Developing Nations, in large part because both countries preferred to simply “encourage financial services”.

The problem with financial services is that they are only enablers. They produce nothing and drain much from any economy. Financial services can only hold power when an individual or a nation is indebted, or prepares to become so. Debtors must agree to the debt holders demands both at the outset of the agreement and again should they ever be unable to meet the terms of their original obligation.

The alternative is to play a form of Russian roulette with the banks, i.e. refuse to pay unless renegotiations are on your terms. Let’s see who blinks first.

It is relatively simple to predict who will win, or who’ll blink first. If the nation concerned is in the black or alternatively, has no predictable future hope of repayment at the time of the agreement, it will win. As the bank simply can’t get what doesn’t exist, or realises there is no future need for its services.

If that country is continuing to run a “sustainable” deficit it will lose, for the bankers and bondholders know it still requires more of their money – the nation needs them. The main grounds for banks to refuse funding or become embroiled in negotiating favourable terms with a borrower, is when they categorically see no hope of recovery.

As a consequence of perpetually operating in the red, Westminster is compelled to have a revolving door to the City of London. It is this perpetual need that has created the fiscal elite. It is this requirement that has installed a virtual “red telephone” for emergencies between the money men of “The City” and the political select few of Westminster.

This situation is a direct consequence of the exportation of manufacturing jobs.

This ongoing red ink on the balance sheet was the main reason Labour bailed out the banks and thereby destroyed the concept of private industry, capitalism, free markets and risk within the financial sector.

For the time being, banking is fundamentally an industry guaranteed not to fail.

Both in the UK and across much of the developed world, a banking system has been created that has a virtual guarantee of success. The cost of underwriting this guarantee is the high probability of individual and societal penury.

Disturbingly, this can only last so long before the illusory wealth upon which it is built, i.e. “electronic money” evaporates, causing that house of cards to crash to the ground.

In the real world, where the Bank of England recently issued another “electronic” £75b of quantitative easing, the markets promptly reduced Sterling’s exchange rate against the dollar from about $1.65 to about $1.55. Production of “Electronic” money led to a direct devaluation of “real money” as the total “money” was still backed by the same total assets, which never changed.

This is where we find ourselves today, not with simply a “lost generation”, but a generation that has no apparent future, and where riots are the tip of a shimmering iceberg of discontent.

We are beginning to live in a society where the political elite, rather than representing the electorate, begin to live in fear of them. A society where it’s permissible to not only contemplate but propose pan-European ALEO’s that are above the law of any nation and answerable to no electorate.

We are fast approaching a nexus, evident by the increased usage of words like “obfuscation” or “spin” in news or reporting circles. Couple this with a need for “official secrets” in peacetime, and we have testimony to a mentality where the political elite live in fear of the unadulterated truth reaching the populace.

This combination of de-industrialisation and debt policy organisation has created our fiscal system, one that has required us being informed Capital is “too big to fail”. The consequences would be disastrous we’re told, and yet previously, society put in place laws, policies and procedures to prevent this happening; organizations such as the Monopolies Commission.

It was subversion of these social protections by the likes of Gordon Brown that have brought us to our current position.

In a vain attempt to make good on these debts encumbered upon us by Westminster, the entire UK is facing post WW2 austerity once again.

This austerity is yet again the result of a war, no less real, no less fraught with casualties, but for the most part absent of bullets. Power brokers want power, they will utelise bullets or ballots, claymores or cash, the end justifying the means.

The present conflict is quite simply between big capitalism and big society. Society is presently losing. Society in the industrialised world is definitely on the ropes.

David Cameron’s actions are at cross purposes to his words, he is very much for big capitalism; as is Ed Miliband in refusing to support those protesting further erosion of big society.

Big society is one where we all pay in a little bit, we all share in the burdens of our fellows and we all have an opportunity to enjoy life to the best extent possible. It is a society where we care for our elderly and sick, our distressed and disabled, and it is a society where opportunity exists at all levels.

The proposals for pension’s reform, welfare reform, retirement age increases, extra taxation and NHS privatisation are all designed to bleed resources from those who can least afford it.

It is these policies that are creating our lost society.

It began with de-industrialisation. It is the dismantling of “big society”. Since without the wealth that primarily manufacturing generates, nothing else can be paid for.

In America, every winter they collect the frozen corpses from the underpasses and alleys; society’s detritus eking its meager existence. They’re often only a stone’s throw from the parties and bright lights, music and dancing of the wealthy celebrating the festive season. I have witnessed this, it is a lost society. Furthermore, I have witnessed the pensioner on oxygen working at Wal-Mart so she can afford her medication. This is a lost society. It is the society of big capital in its purest form.

It is coming to a city near you.

England has no choice; for Westminster has backed England into an untenable position. There can be no “UK” without Scotland. As the understanding of their position clarifies, then Wales and N. Ireland may reconsider their situation. Cornwall might even follow.

The future for England is therefore rather bleak without a rapid and substantial re-industrialisation to create true wealth generation. This is a fundamental driver behind Westminster’s unending negativity towards Scotland and her bright future.

In Scotland we have a referendum coming up.

In this referendum the only sensible, the only intelligent vote is a YES vote.

It has nothing to do with history; it has nothing to do with patriotism. It has nothing to do with political parties or affiliations.

It has everything to do with our culture, the preservation and ongoing resurrection of our society. It is the only way to the development of a future Scots nation in which our children will have far better opportunities to excel.

It has everything to do with the realisation that to preserve our society and way of life, we’re in a “war” that is as dire as any that Bruce or Wallace ever fought, the outcome of which will have the same profound influence for Scotland’s future generations.

A YES vote has only one aim in the upcoming referendum, it is to prevent Scotland becoming yet another lost society, another England, America, Greece, Italy or Spain.

The one thing that makes a YES vote paramount in this referendum is a single SNP pledge, re-industrialisation.

Re-industrialisation, especially in a green economy is a world class masterstroke from what will be a world leading nation with a society envied across the globe.

The green part of the re-industrialisation process can’t be exported elsewhere, except as a finished product. The technology and expertise united with pro-active political leadership will be increasingly Scots based. University funding and research will likewise increase.

In the lottery of life we can make certain future generations of Scots hit the jackpot simply by the accident of their birth being here.

We can do this because Scotland already operates in the black, ensuring the ball is at our feet, not the bankers or “The City”. We will not blink as we put our nation on the path to prosperity.

We will not hesitate to engage with all our generations.

Re-industrialisation is the only viable hope for our future, for our presently “lost generation” and for our soon to be otherwise, lost society.

Green and conventional re-industrialization isn’t possible within the Treaty of Union, Westminster’s fundamental fear of Scots confidence and her own loss of dominion ensure that.

Re-industrialisation and societal salvage are the reasons why there must be a YES vote; why there can only be a YES vote from any thinking Scot at the referendum.

Scotland’s Europe – What price democracy?

There has been the almost universal cry from Westminster of late; the world is falling apart and the SNP is responsible. Everything seems to be Alex Salmond’s fault simply because he won’t publicize either the referendum date or the questions.

There we have it – investors are shunning Scotland, Amazon didn’t just open up, there isn’t a new wind-farm proposed for the Moray firth, and we don’t have four of the five world leading turbine manufacturers with a significant presence in Scotland. The mainstream media is also largely ignoring the fact that Westminster is being lobbied by the north of England, apparently jealous of Scotland’s ongoing success.

Oddly Westminster and its denizens of power are ignoring the much more significant and radically dangerous European issues as many of these individuals appear to be focused on preventing success for Scotland.

Scotland’s current success can now be argued as better than Europe’s powerhouse, Germany. For a start we legitimately can claim to have no national debt, massive per-capita natural resources and plenty of ongoing investment. In reality the debt aspect might change if we elect to assume partial responsibility for current UK obligations. This argument may still be rather tongue in cheek, but in an independent Scotland that could soon be a serious stance to take.

This week marked a first in recent European history when Germany tried to sell €6bn of 10-year bunds - the kind of debt that investors have been continually rushing to buy. It only managed to sell €3.64bn worth - leaving more than a third of the bonds unsold. Germany herself may be facing significant borrowing problems as her debt to GDP is now past 80% and marching strongly to the 100% level nations prefer not to contemplate.

German banks are noted to be in significant turmoil and her closest ally on the Euro stage, France, is staring at a potential credit downgrade.

Although it remains unlikely at present that Germany will see the same fundamental takeover of government as Greece and Italy, who have basically lost democracy by default and are now governed by technocrats, it is no longer something that should be considered impossible. This was re-enforced strongly by this week’s EU statements.

Lost democracy is the only description that can be applied to a situation exemplified by Greece’s opposition leader, Mr. Samaras, being informed by the euro technocrats that the next round of money to keep his nation afloat will be withheld until he also agrees to implement what the technocrats want. Basically the EU wants a guarantee that whoever Greeks vote for EU policies will be paramount. Italy is being treated with a bit more tact and diplomacy but the resultant requirements are little different.

This begs the question, why bother with elections if one will only elect a puppet?

Lost democracy indeed, when it doesn’t matter who you vote for as those finally elected are bound to do what Brussels or a group of unelected technocrats tell them to do. National sovereignty for Italy and Greece has substantially been consigned to the historical bin; the respective populations just haven’t realized it yet.

Italy and Greece are the first to suffer such ignominy in our present day, but by all appearances they will not be last.

After all this was the week that EC president José Manuel Barroso presented his plan to improve financial stability in the EU. He started off by outlining why he wants the European Commission to have more control over national budgets stating:

“Measures for tighter euro-zone oversight are needed for growth, financial stability, and budget discipline”.

The EU proposals fundamentally resolve themselves into six points:

1. All 17 euro area countries would send their draft budget plans to the Commission by 15 October each year.
Clarification: The EU approves your budget. Period. No approval = no budget = no spending.

2. This unelected European Commission shall be able to request [demand] a new draft budget if the original shows serious divergences with commitments made by member states.
Clarification: If we don’t think you can afford what you think you can afford then you have to resubmit your budget again and again until we say it’s OK.

3. The unelected European Commission will carry out closer monitoring of Member States under its 'Excessive Deficit Procedure.'
Clarification: In time, and probably not a long time, expect our technocrats, which you will pay for, to be resident in your nations with power of life and death over your budgets/economies. We will be watching, very, very closely.

4. The unelected European Commission will have the right to decide on enhanced surveillance of member states when financial stability is threatened.
Clarification: If we get suspicious of what you’re doing, we’ll watch you even more closely, and we will be no toothless dog.

5. The unelected European Council could recommend to a Member State that it requests financial assistance.
Clarification: We will not wait for issues to become critical in future – it will be our right to tell you you’re heading for trouble and make sure you turn over the reins and trappings of power to us so that we can fix things for you.

6. All euro area Member States would be required to set up independent fiscal councils, and prepare budgets based on independent forecasts. Clarification: extrapolated to its logical conclusion each euro member state will eventually have an unelected, appointed fiscal council. These fiscal councils will control monetary policy. As money basically underwrites everything in our society, that will give veto power on all aspects of our society to these fiscal councils. Effectively this equals an unelected financial dictatorship.

That’s it, that’s the substantive outline for the next stage of the EU story. It will require treaty modification. As Rothschild once said, it doesn’t matter who’s president, just give him control of the money.

Europe has been in this situation before, where a small group of “bankers” controlled much of the revenues of most of Europe – it didn’t end well for the Templers and history has a tendency towards repetition.

In the midst of this mayhem David Cameron wants to repatriate powers from the EU, yet sees an issue with Scotland repatriating powers from Westminster.

In both cases Cameron has no bargaining chip, he’s not part of the Euro and has no veto. No bargaining chip in Europe means a strong likelihood of no repatriation of power unless Merkel agrees. He’s also got to accept Scotland’s right of choice as ratified by the UN charter the UK is party to.

The above proposals will fundamentally make for a two tier EU, those in the Euro and those not. Expect those not in the Euro to have to tag along on many items of EU legislation that those simply in the European Free Trade zone don’t have to bother with. In time they may be forced into the choice, into the Euro or out of the EU.

All of the above, ultimately enacted or not, equate to Scotland being required to have a substantive debate on EU membership followed by a referendum.

It will be another three choice referendum, in, out or EFT. The single currency must be reserved as a separate question for another time.

Just like the upcoming independence referendum all three questions must be asked, because to fail in the asking is to disenfranchise substantial portions of our own electorate. It appears this is a position currently favoured by Westminster.

The EU referendum must come after the independence referendum; it would be followed by a currency referendum. The Scottish Government must make clear soon that these options will be available for vote by Scotland after the independence referendum, thereafter the subject will be closed until a yes vote is attained.

The currency referendum would be the final stage in Scotland’s long walk back to sovereignty, and it simply can’t be offered until the nation decides on the status of its EU membership, and Scotland, unlike England will be the decider of the status of her membership for she has power and resources that Europe requires whereas England does not.

The fears over Europe and Westminster’s scare tactics can be demonstrably more applicable to London than Edinburgh in a post independence referendum world. As a continent on the brink of fiscal and energy calamity which would you welcome with open arms – the net debtor or the net contributor in both areas?

Make no mistake, both resulting state entities, Scotland and the rump of this dis-United Kingdom will have to renegotiate their EU status. South of the border it just may not be quite so automatic, north of the border we just might decide that it isn’t worth the bother.



As an adendum to this article, it might be worthwhile watching this short video.


Monday, 28 November 2011

Devo-Max and Full Fiscal Autonomy are very different animals.


There is a substantial and strong argument that Alex Salmond and Scotland’s SNP government should back the Devo-Max option which presently appears the preferred choice of Scots voters. Salmond himself has indicated it may be a third option on the ballot. It is an argument that Nationalists as a whole tend to reject wanting a simple yes/no.

Examination of Devo-Max and Full Fiscal Autonomy, FFA, indicates that while campaigning hard for an outright yes vote, independence supporters should also sing the praises of the third option. Any vote removed from the NO campaign has to instinctively be a good result for the Yes campaign, and in view of Westminster’s tactics many in the NO camp may find it substantially easier to slide to “maybe” than all the way to YES in the time allowed.

The middle choice, Devo-Max or FFA, are apparently halfway houses that neither Unionists nor Nationalists appear to want. This third choice is also an option that Salmond recognizes must be on offer if much of the Scots electorate is not to be disenfranchised.

The SNP acknowledgment of the need for a third question at the recent Inverness party conference is testimony to a belief in democracy. Although Alex Salmond declared he personally doesn’t want it and has promised he will not campaign for it, he acknowledged its need because of that indicated grass roots policy support.

The major problem for all political parties is that a compromise between the perceived extremes does have such widespread support, a fundamental reason it enjoys such popularity is due to the inherently conservative nature of the average Scot coupled to Westminster tactics and mainstream media reporting bias.

Many Scots have yet to realize that Devo-Max is the one option that it’s not in Alex Salmond’s power to give, nor is it in the Scots' electorate’s power to demand. We can accept the status quo. We can demand and take independence we can dictate FFA, but Devo-Max is Westminster’s gift. It is, however, a gift that cannot be left to Westminster to define.

As a fundamental difference it bears repeating, Scotland can dictate FFA, but Devo-Max is Westminster’s gift - or not - as Westminster alone chooses.

Unlike Devo-Max, FFA is is a declaration by the people of Scotland that they will control all decisions regarding their own finances. Fundamentally Scotland will be informing Westminster that the Treaty of Union is now formally over and invite Westminster to co-operate on measures for common benefit that Scotland wishes to support.

In a simpler manner, the Scots would authorize Holyrood to repatriate all fiscal powers from Westminster. It’s not that substantially different in concept than the repatriation of powers Cameron talks about from the EU to Westminster.

FFA would appear from Scotland’s perspective to be the better option if there must be a third choice. Unless public opinion alters dramatically, if we are to have even pretence of democracy in our new Scotland, that third option must be present.

If the Scots are given a referendum option of FFA and endorse it then Edinburgh will simply kick the ball to London on a set timescale and wait to see what London sends back.

Westminster quite simply has two options, they can either accept an ongoing union of truly equal partners with both Scotland and England having a veto on any policy, or it can reject it and accept the resultant fully independent nation on its northern border. This is why, politically, FFA is being played down and Devo-Max talked up by many Unionists.

FFA will directly result in a federal UK or the end of the Union, there is no other possible outcome to such a vote. Devo-Max could simply be another long step in an already overlong process. As evidenced by the Unionists attempts to derail autonomy within the current Scotland Bill it could easily end up “not fit for purpose” if the details are left until after the referendum.

From a Scots perspective FFA would be preferable; it retains the decision making process within Scotland.

Scotland will effectively tell London we’re going to “reap our own harvest and ring our own till” then wait for London’s negotiators to agree a new constitutional settlement, or not.

Effectively an FFA vote will turn back the Scots constitutional clock to 1705/1706. Scotland votes for Union but only under a union of true financial equals. These are terms England cannot foreseeably accept.

England should not be expected to accept these terms, a country with 10% of the economy and population having a veto on the decisions of a land ten times its own would be inappropriate. Just as it would be as inappropriate as any nation dictating to any other nation.

The FFA vote would also require the UN to stand behind Scotland’s democratic right to self determination, effectively removing the UK constitutional arguments. It is arguable that there is no UK constitution, as immediately Scotland decides to repatriate powers the Westminster government should be required to comply. We co-exist under a treaty, not by right of conquest.

With the fiscal veto authority that would inherently lie within Holyrood after an FFA vote being anathema to Westminster, the establishment therefore presently perceives its best interests to lie in Devo-Max.

There will be a considerable amount of both Unionist and Nationalist political maneuvering around the Devo-Max stance, defining what Devo-Max will really mean and what it accurately entails. There will be resolutions to be reached on taxation, foreign policy, defense, health, social security, welfare, the unemployment system and more.

Each area impacted by Devo-Max will have far reaching and presently uninvestigated consequences. Confusion in issues must be anticipated as far as possible, and statutes amended to avoid those confusions. Issues of potential conflict like the status of power generation [reserved] and planning permission [devolved] should be avoided or a process for resolution put in place.

Each area must be investigated as thoroughly as possible before the question is put into the referendum. The process should start early in the new year to allow a reasonable period of investigation and debate.

The only foreseeable method of doing this in the timeframe available before the referendum is for Alex Salmond to announce the convening of a cross party panel of MSP’s who will frame the fundamentals of the Devo-Max question. There should be members of every party invited and the roll, with party affiliations, acceptances and refusals must be publicized prominently.

It is the biggest question of our generation and will carry an impact for countless years.

If any of the Unionist party’s decline to participate then the panel would comprise those that remain. The panel would be tasked with deriving a set of constitutional adjustments in a defined timeframe that should be passed as a bill by the Scottish Government.

The bill as passed by Holyrood would also have a defined implementation timetable; it would go to Westminster for ratification well before the referendum. Westminster can then either ratify or reject the legislation.

Ultimately Westminster shall be the entity to easily enfranchise or make the attempt to disenfranchise this presently vast swathe of Scots, and those self same Scots will be very aware of Westminster’s actions, reasoning and underlying motives.

If Westminster refuses to ratify Devo-Max prior to the referendum, Holyrood can simply state that to avoid disenfranchising such a greater part of Scotland’s voters they will put forward the option of FFA as the third choice instead.

Independence, FFA or Devo-Max and the Status Quo are the options presently facing Scots.

The benefits of advanced constitutional debate at Holyrood and Westminster are clear. Scots will know who and what they are voting for at referendum time should they choose the Devo-Max/FFA option. They will know why they have which of the center options. There will be no confusion as they either vote to get the blue turbocharged sports car of independence, the nice conservative white minibus of Devo-Max or the nimble sedan of FFA.

Unless the Devo-Max minibus has the wheels removed by Westminster, as could be anticipated by the content of present comments from London. Scots will then know both who to blame for the attempted disenfranchisement and the true value of Westminster’s “respect agenda” – a fact which will be re-enforced on the ballot paper as they actually cast their vote.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Referendums, legality and usurpation.


There is ongoing confusion for many over the legality of the upcoming independence referendum, who can hold it, when, what the questions should be and will it be binding or advisory. This confusion is perpetrated by widespread reporting in the mainstream media without full verification of all the underlying facts.

Most recently we have one Professor Tomkins, an expert on constitutional law at Glasgow University, who largely echoed Aiden O’Neil’s earlier comments by informing the Scottish affairs committee in Westminster that “any referendum should be run by the Electoral Commission and, for it to be acceptable, the questions and their meaning and effects should be "crystal clear".


Professor Tomkins is described as a leading academic in the field of constitutional law; therefore his views certainly deserve merit as does his warning that there is a "very strong" argument in constitutional law that the Scottish Government will be exceeding its statutory powers by staging an independence referendum.


The Scottish affairs committee at Westminster is certainly exceeding its remit, as it is limited to commenting and examining the affairs of the Scottish Office, not Holyrood, but is Holyrood also exceeding its remit as the good professor would infer and have us believe.


Alex Salmond has rejected this and all previous claims that the Scottish Government lacks the powers to hold an independence referendum. While David Cameron in referring to the referendum as being for Scotland to decide, apparently agrees with this stance.


Immediate indications are that the proposed poll is legal from the standpoint of both leaders and that what is proposed by the Scottish affairs committee and its quoted expert is without basis. Professor Tomkins does throw out the same credible arguments, similar to those used by others before him as they try to deny Scotland a voice.


In his paper as submitted to Westminster's Scottish affairs committee, Professor Adam Tomkins put forward the argument that there was a "strong constitutional case" for the UK Government, and not Holyrood, to legislate for the referendum. He stated "If the question is 'Should Scotland remain in the United Kingdom?' that is a question on a reserved matter and should therefore be asked (if at all) by HM Government under the authority of an Act of Parliament”.


His use of the wording, “if at all” gives an exceedingly strong indication as to Adam Tomkins personal leanings with regards to dependency or self determination.


The submission to the committee continued, "Were the Scottish ministers to seek to ask such a question in a referendum held under the authority of an Act of the Scottish Parliament (ASP), there is (at the least) a very strong argument the ASP would be outwith competence and, therefore, 'not law' under section 29 of the Scotland Act 1998, and that the Scottish ministers would be acting outwith their devolved competence if they sought to exercise powers in pursuit of such an ASP.


"If the question is 'Should the Scottish Government seek to renegotiate with HM Government the terms of the Union?', my view would be the same: this is a reserved matter, even if the referendum question somehow made clear that the renegotiation was not intended to end the Union and that the proposal was not that Scotland should leave the United Kingdom."


Professor Tomkins views are therefore crystal clear; Holyrood doesn’t have the power under the UK constitution to hold a referendum.

 

Offsetting the opinion of this constitutional law expert appears the previously mentioned views of both Alex Salmond and David Cameron with the Scottish government also firm in its commitment and belief that it both has the legal remit and authority to bring forward a referendum bill followed by a constitutional poll in the second half of the current Scottish Parliament.

Who’s correct and who’s obfuscating, is it Prof Tomkins who appears to know what he’s speaking about with respect to UK constitutional law, or is it Holyrood who have certainly set out their stall on this issue.


One aspect both sides agree upon, as voiced in Professor Tomkins’ submission is that "For a referendum to be constitutionally acceptable, the questions to be asked must be crystal clear as to their meaning and their effects. That is to say, the options must be clearly defined and it must be clear what the consequences are of voting in any particular way."


A spokesman for Alex Salmond said "Professor Tomkins needs to catch up", before adding: "Everyone else, including the Prime Minister, accepts the right of the Scottish Government and Parliament to hold the referendum - we are entirely confident of the legal position and will bring forward a Referendum Bill for the vote on Scotland's future to take place in the second half of this parliament."


Professor Tomkins apparently has the crux of the matter; under UK law Holyrood doesn’t have the legislative authority to legislate for a constitutional referendum. UK law is very clear on this in that “the constitution” is a reserved matter. This gives a notional meaning that if Holyrood wanted a referendum on prescription charges or university fees then such is within its competence, but on the constitution the parliament in Edinburgh would be exceeding its remit – per Westminster.


The professor therefore hangs his hat on a peg by stating “it would be preferable for the United Kingdom Parliament to legislate on the matter”.


Interestingly Professor Tomkins doesn’t say “Only Westminster can legislate on this subject”, simply that it would be “preferable”. The issue again is why the use of the word “preferable” and preferable for whom?


For whom it is preferable is indicated in his statement. As he calls for any referendum to be held as quickly as possible, his is another voice to the constant Union generated bedlam. The use of his word “preferable” is not so quickly explained, and as the trails are unravelled it’s clearly demonstrated that it is preferable from a Union perspective only.


Professor Tomkins is apparently viewing the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as a single country, which it is not. The “UK” in its present form is a state, not a nation, and has only existed under its current name and verifiably compound status since 1926. Constitutional rights in Scotland are different from those in England; therefore that “constitutional argument” is on a shoogly peg indeed.


The original Treaty of Union of 1707 was between two independent nation states, setting aside the legality questions surrounding that agreement there is an indisputable fact that Scotland and England are not “one country” but two nations co-existing with a unified government under a potentially worthless treaty. Effectively under that treaty both Scotland and England devolved their government to Westminster. The Union treaty made no mention of suspending Scotland’s constitution or laws – in fact it promised to “forever uphold” Scotland’s laws. In effect it promised to uphold Scotland’s constitution.


This brings the Vienna Convention on Treaty law into play, with the UK being a signatory. Interestingly one country that Whitehall has authority to enter into treaties with is Scotland. Wales and N. Ireland are notable for their absence. Any bi-lateral treaty can be ended unilaterally with appropriate notification by either party. Scotland, in lacking a recognized parliament for some centuries, could arguably have been said to have been without the voice that allowed it make such a declaration.


That situation where Scotland lacked self government has now been rectified, and as Westminster is in agreement that international law trumps national law they are effectively bound by the Scottish Government’s decision in this matter. Had Scotland been taken by right of conquest and not entered into a treaty this fact might not hold true.


The second player in the referendum arena that Westminster must be mindful of is the United Nations. The UK is a principle member of the UN and signatory to almost every treaty of relevance within its sphere of influence at the UN. The UN position is clear.


The UN charter reads, quite specifically, and was reportedly re-affirmed on 10th November 2011 as:


“..the Assembly reaffirmed that the universal realisation of the right of all peoples — including those under colonial, foreign and alien domination — to self-determination is a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee, observance, preservation and promotion of human rights.

The Assembly also declared its firm Opposition to acts of foreign military intervention, aggression and occupation, since those have resulted in the suppression of the right of peoples to self-determination and other human rights in certain parts of the world”.

In effect, if the Scottish government were to poll the Scottish people on independence they might contravene Westminster’s interpretation of what’s legal internal to the UK but they should anticipate the backing of the United Nations and the Vienna Convention, both of which the UK is signatory to and bound by under international law.


The best that London could hope for is a delaying tactic, which with incessant screams of “referendum now” would appear to go against current Westminster policy. Any legal delaying tactic by Westminster would also have a strong potential of driving a mass of undecided voters to the pro-independence side of the argument as the SNP would rightfully clamour deprivation of democracy.


Should Westminster choose it can ignore the referendum result as “advisory”, however “the mother of parliaments” would then be in a position of arguing before the UN that the democratic will of a people in its most basic sense, isn’t worth squat. Alex Salmond would also have an irrefutable mandate for UDI under such a scenario; the only question is will he use it?


At day’s end David Cameron will decide the path Westminster walks after the Scottish referendum, however he may yet choose to dictate the path that our nation will follow up to that point, but in so doing he must tread with great care of he is to avoid his personal Rhodesia moment. Although none in the Scots government at Holyrood openly talks UDI, it would be foolish to think there aren’t contingency plans for almost every foreseeable eventuality.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The CyberNat Song Video and Lyrics




CyberNat Song Lyrics. 

I'm a Nat, I'm a Nat, I'm a CyberNat that's the name ye gie’d tae me,
I'll speak fur masel an ma pals as well, aboot ma land that will be free.
I'm no’ the kind o' Nat that listens tae a Brat, sayin the union hus tae stay
Naw, I'm the kind o' Nat that’ll tell yon Brat, we will go our own sweet way.

 I roam aroon the old chat rooms, the forums and the threads,
The unionists are feart ae me, they all take tae their beds.
Fur they cannae convince us ony mair that the UK's the only way,
We've a’ seen the light, and it’s shining really bright, we're gonnae be free one day

Well one fine day no so long ago, they tried tae moderate
My comments on a newspaper site, all aboot the unionist debate
It simply went tae show them up, for the cowards we know they are
Ah tore them a’ tae shreds, on the forums and the threads, cuz I wullnae let them get too far

Noo, Labour hud been in power here, for fifty years or more
But Scotland never seemed tae thrive, like the great big country right next door
So why do we gie them aw oor dosh, oor oil an' oor whisky tae?
Cuz, they hivnae got a clue, an don’t ken whit tae do, wi the hunners o the money we pay.

Oh they spend a’ oor cash, in the far South East, for roads an' nice railways.
While we sit freezing tae death in the north, wae the bills we can’t afford tae pay
Despite the grafting that we’ve a’ done, they buggers have frittered it away
Aye their future's looking bleak an they’ve started tae feel seek, doon the London union way

Weel, you'll hear them say doon Shettleston way, "Whit’s happened tae the big union wigs?
We got them on the run an we had a bit of fun, wae them dancing tae oor highland jigs.
But noo we’re on the loose, I only hope that yous, can see the changes comin' ower me
I know it sounds absurd, but be sure n take my word, that Scotland IS gonnae be free.


Glossary:

Brat .... contraction of BritNat ... jist saying!